What is national socialism?
National socialism, more commonly known as Nazism, dates back to decades of political history. Its ugly history caused one of the bloodiest wars in human history. Though there are many misconceptions about this particular political ideology, no one can deny that its doctrines have caused serious harm to many victims of the World Wars.
With the totalitarian nature of this ideology, Adolf Hitler used the nationalism part in its most extreme form. His ideas led to years of dictatorial rule over Germany and caused countless bloody battles that targeted minorities. Safe to say, history remembers Nazism and Hitler as synonymous. To know more about national socialism, read on below.
History of national socialism
Socialism has its roots in many places, such as the French Revolution. Nazism or national socialism is a totalitarian movement led by dictator Adolf Hitler. He was the head of Germany’s Nazi Party from 1920 until 1945, igniting World War I and II. Its roots and ideologies go as far back as the tradition of Prussian militarism and German Romanticism.
Hitler believed in the idea that racial superiority was the only way for a nation to prosper. Though he opposed the idea of communism, Hitler repeatedly praised the Soviet Union’s leader Joseph Stalin. He also took notes from the racist works of the Comte de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain.
Extreme German nationalism spread and worked its way into every department and agency of Hitler’s government. He made sure that all of his subordinates were loyal not only to him but also to his beliefs. They would be willing to kill, die, and do what must be done in the name of national socialism.
Nazism rejects the rule of law and human rights
National socialism has always been condemned for its blatant disregard for the rule of law, human rights violations, and liberal democracy. Some historians and political experts even see this ideology as nothing more than blind fanaticism and mythic prejudices. Nazism emphasizes the need for the individual to forsake their agency and pledge allegiance and obedience to their leader.
Principles of national socialism
National socialism wasn’t a system of well-defined principles. Instead, it was Hitler’s glorification of nihilism, combined with vague and mystical prejudices. His principal doctrine was that national socialism was about having one race become superior over the race. He also believed that everyone under the system should be subject to the leader or Führer, as he was called.
While its constant theme was that of nationalist expansion, Hitler’s Nazi party wasn’t thinking of the greater good of the Germans. They emphasized, again and again, the idea of a “pure race,” a group of individuals that solely belong to a superior race.
This so-called reunification of Germany, and later on other parts of Europe and beyond, meant ethnic cleansing and purging of the “undesirables” or the minorities.
Extremification of Darwinism
As part of Hitler’s plan to shape the beliefs of his newfound national socialist party, he took to one philosophy in particular and made it into its most extreme form. Social Darwinism was an ideology that suggested a correlation between evolution and human behavior, as per Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
Hitler took this idea and turned “survival of the fittest” into the foundation of the supremacy of the German race over everyone else.
Aryan race supremacy
Hitler penned his national socialist principles while being imprisoned in the 1920s. His work, entitled Mein Kampf (My Struggle), discussed how Germany’s diversity of ethnicity and languages had weakened the nation. He believed that the master race, a race of pure Aryan people, was needed to champion the country to greatness once more.
The Aryan race is a group of historical race concepts that describe the people of Indo-European heritage. Many historians and archaeologists have debunked their existence.
At the time, Hitler fully believed that the Aryans, people of Nordic descent who had white skin and blue eyes, were more healthy, intelligent, and generally better than every other race.
Stemming from his idea that only Aryans deserved to live in and out of Germany, Hitler and his people decided to start a very long, bloody war. They targeted the Untermensch, people whom they considered as socially and racially inferior. Hitler targeted the Jews for multiple reasons, but he believed them to be the lowest form of humans. There were an estimated 6 million deaths of Jews during the World Wars.
He also targeted Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, opposing political parties, and other ‘antisocials’ that he considered Lebensunwertes Leben (Life unworthy of life). Hitler saw these races as “impure or mongrel races.” They were no longer pure because of their “mixed” blood, and therefore, unworthy of being alive.
How is Nazism different from democratic socialism?
The argument of whether nationalism socialism belongs to the right or the left-wing has been going on for decades. Political experts have even argued that Nazism and Hitler himself had nothing to do with socialism. Their principles are not in league with socialist ideologies. Regardless, the term “national socialism” has garnered a bad reputation because of its history.
Democratic socialism is a political ideology that emphasizes democracy in the economy, workforce, and country. It also works by the law and abides by laws for human rights. Many politicians worldwide have shown equal disdain and support for this political philosophy. In turn, many make the misconception of condemning socialism altogether.
What are examples of national socialism today?
In essence, Hitler’s goal with national socialism was to make Germany great again. Does this catchphrase sound familiar? Many political experts and critics think that when Donald Trump ran for United States President in 2016, he reignited the national socialists of the country. Many of his supporters were popular by the media and the public as Neo-Nazi groups.
Trump and the Republicans who supported him have been consistent in showing their support for Nazi beliefs. They’ve been called white supremacists for their beliefs that only white people belonged in America.
Outside forces, namely immigrants, did not belong in the country. During Trump’s presidency, racial hate crimes exponentially increased, and so did racially profiled arrests and police brutality.
National socialism or Nazism has a long and bloody history. It will forever be to Hitler and Nazi Germany for the rest of human history. Rightly so, as its ideologies have caused suffering, death, and generational trauma to the victims of the Holocaust and the World Wars.
As Neo-Nazis have emerged in full force in recent years, many human rights activists have been vocal about opposing them. There have also been petitions to pass laws and for governments to protect their people — all of their people. Immigrants, people of color, everyone in America included.