Talk:Socialism/Socialism and Nazism

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Socialism and Nazism: Jan 2004

The German Nazi Party described itself as "National Socialist," and some other fascist parties have also used the word socialist in their names. Socialists of all varieties reject the view that fascism and Nazism have anything in common with socialism, although this is sometimes disputed by non-socialist writers, who see fascism and socialism as having similar ideological origins.

What idelogical origins are they alledged to share? I'm not asking you to prove that socialism and National Socialism are similar, just that people have accused them of beeing similar (and I mean in a serious argument rather than the purile way some right wingers argue that National Socialism is a variety of socialism purely based on its name). Saul Taylor 08:29, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

it's Lirath who insisted on dragging the subject of Nazism into this article so I suggest you ask him. Adam 09:39, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Hitler thought he was a socialist, I don't know why your POV should be placed above his. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Now that I have looked at Lir's homepage and discovered that he is a LaRouche admirer, I know the source of his stupid and malicious edits, so I will delete them at every opportunity. Adam 12:37, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Socialism should have a comparative link to National Socialism, but should not delve into the topic of itself. Nagelfar

Sure, originally I just added a link; but Carr felt it was necessary to inform the reader that somebody or other didn't feel that Nazis were socialists; so, of course, I felt it was necessary to NPOV the paragraph. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Rubbish, you are a professional vandal and provocateur, all you do here is insert tendentious garbage into articles so that you can start fights. I suspect your real aim is to sabotage the whole project. Adam 12:59, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Any article about Socialism should at least mention the Nazi party, as they referred to themselves as Socialists. Either way, an edit war is not helping anyone, someone please pick a revision and lock the article. --Flockmeal 12:55, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)

Indeed, the article will have to be protected. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Any article you get involved with needs to be protected. Adam 13:12, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I don't think locking it is the answer, it's runs against the purpose of this site. If there are only a few individuals who dispute the content, it can be worked out. I personally, feel the mention of Nazism to be far too long, and to take away from the impartiality of an unqualified, broad interpretation of Socialism (a Socialism that can encompass it's different Historic & theoretical understandings of it in all of it's different context) there is no one way to view Socialism, and as an Encyclopedia, it should be discribed in as many historically relevant ways as possible. If the Nazis viewed themselves as Socialist, it should be discribed by their terms under the Nazism entry, an encyclopedia is never a propaganda device, whether it's Revisionist propaganda to counter a precieved revisionist propaganda of the past or not. Nagelfar


I agree Nagelfar, we should just link to Nazism within the list of forms of socialism. Lirath Q. Pynnor

There lies the problem, was Nazism, in it's execution, really a form of socialism? --Flockmeal 13:24, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)

Sure, it was a nationalistic form of state socialism. The Nazis were very anti-capitalist; its a shame their leader developed schizophrenia. Nazism is just as much a part of the socialist heritage, as is Stalinist Communism. Whether they were successful is not the issue. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Nazism was not a form of socialism, and I will delete any form of words which says or implies that it was (as opposed to saying that some people - a few people - have said that it was). I will certainly delete any inclusion of National Socialism in the list of forms of socialism. This is a matter of principle on which I won't budge. Adam 13:26, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

An encyclopedia links words to meanings as they're used, it is not a cohesive system of connecting words to fill the place of one idea that cannot be filled by another. Especially since it's open to debate, there should be a link along with syndicalism, communism, etc, that says "and in a partially inverted sense, Nazism" or something similar to let it be known it's open to interpretation. But this should be an apolitical medium for getting the history of word usage across. Nagelfar

I have said that I have no objection to a reference to the fact that some people wish to argue that Nazism was a form of socialism, while most people (socialists and non-socialists alike) reject that view. Those are facts, though they are not really relevant to the topic of this article. Listing National Socialism under "forms of socialism," however, makes a POV statement that Nazism was a form of socialism, which is simply false. Lir wishes to force that opinion on the encyclopeadia, partly because he appears to believe it (who knows what LaRouchite fantasies he believes?) and partly because he enjoys taking unpopular positions and starting fights. I repeat that I will delete any inclusion of Nazism in the list of forms of socialism. Adam 13:40, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Socialist Hitler Quote

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions" Hitler was a Socialist

Socialist Goebbels Quote

""England is a capitalist democracy. Germany is a socialist people's state. There are lords and City men in England who are in fact the richest men on earth. The broad masses, however, see little of this wealth. We see in England an army of millions of impoverished, socially enslaved and oppressed people. Child labour is still a matter of course there. They have only heard about social welfare programs. Parliament occasionally discusses social legislation. Nowhere else is there such terrible and horrifying inequality as in the English slums. The Lords and City people can remain the richest people one earth only because they constantly maintain their wealth by exploiting their colonies and preserving unbelievable poverty in their own country." on nationalist socialism


As it stands, I disagree with the state of the article because of what I view to be a lack of impartiality in it because of the line; "Socialists of all varieties reject the view that fascism and Nazism have anything in common with socialism, although this is sometimes disputed by non-socialist writers.", that it says "socialists of all varieties reject..." is a biased POV that discounts a National Socialist view which considers itself socialist, that it is only "disputed by non-socialist writers" only discounts the view that there are socialists who identify with Nazism, no matter how unpopular such a fact may be. All of this should, however, be taken up in the Nazism entry, although the arguments there should furthermore be in-line with a definition of what Socialism is in the first place here, that should be the only subject taken up in this entry. the exception being a side note of no more than a line Nagelfar

I agree, but unless we merely list Nazism as a form of socialism; we can't avoid having a full paragraph on it...one that is a little more NPOV than Carr's version. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Assuming that quote is genuine (and the world is full of fake Hitler quotes), it is well-known that Hitler used "capitalist" as a synonym or euphemism for "Jew" (as does LaRouche, by the way). He had nothing in common with socialism, which is an ideology based on class - his politics were always based on race. His real views on capitalism were shown when he took millions of marks from the Ruhr industrialists for his campaigns, and when he came to power he didn't touch the capitalists unless they were Jews.

Nagelfar's argument seems to amount to saying that we are not allowed to say anything about the Nazis that a Nazi wouldn't agree with. I spit on this version of "NPOV". Adam 13:52, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Everything ideological or philosophical should be written from it's own POV, that is the purpose of an encyclopedia, otherwise it is nothing but a collection of opinions. Historical aberrations & transgressions to one's own held 'truths' are the rule rather than the exception, but this is a historical matter Nagelfar

Just because Hitler himself had personal failings, doesn't invalidate the fact that he (and his followers) were trying to accomplish socialist goals. Lirath Q. Pynnor

And as many say, the Soviet Bolsheviks 'betrayed' Communism, and yet they are linked even unto Socialism, it was certainly no more the case with Nazism to socialism, Nazism had it's own system, Keynesian economic policy and Labor Front movement, as well as an endless amount of individual's openly following and believing in it at it's time, it's professed socialism certainly became a real socialistic stance adhered to and expounded upon by an entire generation, which had nothing to do with the few individuals comprising the leadership which may or may not have run against the root principles of a stripped down, and 'nationally' qualified form of socialism. Nagelfar

Absolutely, for general purposes you can assume that anything Nagelfar says...I will probably agree with wholeheartedly. Lirath Q. Pynnor


Nagelfar says: "Everything ideological or philosophical should be written from it's own POV" I interpret this to mean that he thinks that only Nazis can write about Nazism. If that is his view he is welcome to it. I reject it and so will nearly every other historian.

Lirath says: "Hitler himself had personal failings." This startling piece of news merely shows that Lirath is a complete idiot, but we already knew that. "He (and his followers) were trying to accomplish socialist goals." The only goal Hitler was trying to accomplish was to rule the world and exterminate the Jews. I presume that is Lirath's definition of "socialist goals."

I'm not going to bother with this level of idiocy any further. I repeat that I will delete any inclusion of Nazism in the list of forms of socialism. Adam 14:26, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

It seems to me that the most of us agree (if you disagree please say so, I don't want to misrepresent anyone's true opinions, if I've misunderstood anyones comments I appologise) that those who alledge that the Nazis were socialists do so primarily (or exclusively) because the Nazis claimed they were. Where we disagre is whether that is in itself justification. Saul Taylor 14:50, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

  • Not merely because they said they were, but because they made the kinds of rhetorical statements which indicate that they actually did accept economic principles of socialist theory. In addition, Ive seen some evidence that during the mid-30s or so they were advocating and passing socialist legislation.
    • Obviously a war occurred, obviously Germany came under the control of a psychotic dictator, but the National Socialist Party ran on a decidedly socialist platform, differing from traditional socialism primarily in that they were nationalistic and believed in the creation of a strong military. I don't believe that, in 1933, Hitler was planning to "conquer the world"; and even if he was, he wouldn't be the first socialist to argue that its necessary to defeat the capitalists, via war.
    • There are many Nazi quotes which I would love to use in political/economic discussions, as I am a socialist. These quotes have nothing to do with Jews, nothing to do with conquering the world; they are about the need to end capitalist injustice and create a socialist utopia.

You appear to have no idea what you are talking about. If you were a real socialist you would notice the obvious difference. Secretlondon 15:12, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)

Maybe you should study your history more, the Nazis didn't run on a platform of "conquer the world and kill the Jews". Lirath Q. Pynnor

Primarily because they said so maybe, but not exclusively because of that fact alone. I believe the Nazis were socialist of a qualified sort (which their name does for them) and which every acting socialist is. Socialism is too ambiguous of a term to be worked in an unqualified sense. The only difference between Nazism and other forms of socialism put into action is that Nazism was ideologically qualified, where most others are qualified only in the sense that they can be put into action at some compromise. Furthering the confusion is the fact that the word 'National' needn't be taken as a territorial assignation solely, and means just as it's latin root does a 'people & culture,' therefore a 'culture/racial' socialism, that, if socialism is taken to mean a leveling of a condition to encompass all, would logically result in the genocide and extermination of those who did not fit the cultural model on a pervasive scale, because race is not something subjective like capital. Not only were the Nazis exactly what they said they were, the wordage used is intuitive to their entire modus operandi. This doesn't mean however, that it wasn't an inversion of international socialist doctrine of an all encompassing egalitarian sufferage, but it was qualified ideologically as 'National' and not 'National' as just a label to it's place & station for disambiguation purposes (they refered to themselves consistently as 'National Socialists' not 'Socialists' of the National Socialist party). Nagelfar

Actually, in some cases they referred to themselves as "socialists", not even mentioning the "nationalist" aspect. Lirath Q. Pynnor

True, but this was usually to imply that they followed it's anti-capitalist leanings and reinforce that matter, by 'consistently' I didn't mean 'exclusively,' but they knew how to qualify their meaning as something politically new. Nagelfar 19:18, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Nazis are not socialists/communists

The nazis adopted the "socialist" label because it was a popular one at the time. However, their policies were far from socialist. Allow me to copy and paste the explanation I have already provided on Talk:Hanseatic League:

If Hitler was using the "socialist" label to attract followers wouldn't that mean that a majority of his voters were socialist and wouldn't that make the NAZI party a socialist party since most of its members were socialist? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.117.164.32 (talk) 22:32, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Hitler's campaign was largely focused on scaring people about the dangers of the Bolshevik menace.
  • Before Hitler got to power, he re-assured German industrialists that he would respect private property and fight labor unions.
Did you ever think he might have lied to people to massage the masses fears that the guy is a socialist?
  • Hitler only got to power with the help from the conservatives in the "Enabling Act" (left wing social democrats opposed it, communists had been arrested after the fire falsely blamed on them)
What was the enabling act? And what conservatives supported the enabling act? Can you list some names or something?
  • After Hitler got to power, he sent thousands and thousands of communists, social democrats and unionists into concentration camps and killed the communist leaders in Germany. He outlawed labor unions and guaranteed corporate profits for Krupp & Co.
He tossed a lot of people into concentration camps and not just left wingers so your point is mute.
  • Many of Hitler's moral values were perfectly compatible with typical Christian-conservative parties. He appealed to family values, destroyed "indecent" art and literature, had homosexuals arrested and killed, abortion of "Aryans" outlawed etc. He created extensive youth and family programs. He openly embraced Catholicism ("the basis of our collective morals").
Did you just list a few things that right wingers believe in and try to link them to NAZIism? I was just wondering because Hitler was against traditional society values and wanted all Germans to live in a pre-christian state. Also, were you aware that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews? If so, how is that compatible with family values unless you think that churches are running around and advocating the genocide of entire races of people. You should list your statement as heavy POV.

Hitler did place heavy restrictions on industry production, imports, prices etc. But he did not outlaw corporations -- in fact, the profits of the large corporations soared during his regency. Many businessmen (except, of course, for the Jewish ones) continued to support Hitler and his party with much needed funds, knowing full well that he would make sure that communism couldn't gain a foothold. Ultimately, Hitler was of course interested in absolute power -- that's why we call his politics fascist.

The businesses that supported Hitler probably did because he was the dictator and he made sure that those businesses would get sole rights to do business by eliminating competitors. Thats hardly a conservative free-market idea.

But to call Hitler left-wing or socialist is ignorant to the extreme, and an insult to the millions who lost their lives fighting his politics. The strongest and most persistent resistance to Hitler's politics came from communists and socialists. The biggest support came from conservatives and businessmen.

A lot of non-rich non-socialist supported Hitler and his idea only because fascism was a new idea being batted about in the early 20th century. At one point Hitler was Time's man of the year so that might shows how popular fascism was in the US at the time.

As an aside, left-wing and right-wing are not really accurate labels. We have better terms: fascist, neo-fascist, liberal socialist, conservative socialist, communist, green, progressive, social democrat, christian-conservative, conservative, populist, libertarian ... "Left-wing", however, is typically associated with progressive positions on individual rights and more restrictive views on market regulation.—Eloquence 15:34, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)


Firstly, socialism does not in & of itself outlaw private ownership, this is reserved for Communism, a form of socialism. Because the Nazis opposed forms of socialism doesn't mean that they cannot be themselves socialists, opposition does not denote an opposite, but rather usually affinity in process (they overlap the same conceptual space).Nagelfar

Socialism may tolerate small business, as Cuba does. But when it not only tolerates but feeds the profits of large banks and corporations, it can no longer be called socialism. To quote from the article itself: "In its broadest sense, socialism is a belief that human society can and should be organised along social lines - that is, for the benefit of all, rather than for the profit of a few, which it argued had been the case hitherto. Its key ideas are a belief in equality, both political and economic, as well as opposition to capitalism." None of this was the case for the nazis.—Eloquence

And Hitler and his supporters often argued against a system that benefitted the few, at the expense of the many. It doesn't matter whether or not you personally feel Hitler achieved his stated goals; what matters is that the National Socialist party was advocating socialist theories, and there were whole-hearted socialists that joined the party, believing in it just as much as Communists believed in the Communist Party. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Advocacy and Neutral Writing

Adam, there is nothing wrong with contributors like Lir to have an allegiance to a point of view (POV), provided that they continue to write Wikipedia articles in accordance with our neutrality policy (see NPOV). It might feel "right" simply to delete every contribution from a "biased advocate", but that would be a cure worse than the disease, and would be more likely to get YOU banned than the person you think is biased. Be careful. --Uncle Ed 15:59, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

As far as I understand it, Lir tried to matter-of-factly list national socialism as a "type of socialism". This is of course POV and Adam was justified to remove it. Lir did make some attempts to find a compromise paragraph, and it would have been preferable to discuss this on the talk page than to engage in further edit wars.—Eloquence

The Nazis organized society along lines that benefited "the all" or 'the whole' of the nation & the national commodity, if one could prove they were of "German blood" you were open to an endless amount of social welfare, to support your family or have as many children as you desire (under the Lebensborn project), which not even Communist China allows within it's "benefit of all", clearly showing the contrast of Communism's equality for an established conventional situation, and Nazism's prosperity for an increase of National elements. It was definitely organized along social lines, but certain things were seen as 'asocial' within society. Communism takes it as it is, Nazism discriminates, but it still coercively socializes it's situation for the betterment or destruction of existing institutions, it certainly wasn't conservative, it was revolutionary socialist, it was simply divorced from the international aspirations traditionally a part of socialist ideology. Again, it was the term "National" which reengineers the entire sentiment to be partially inverted, and this is all I ask to be added as a link to the socialist entry, that Nazism was a form of partially inverted socialism. One wouldn't say the dialectic is non-Marxian, Marx certainly used dialectial theory, but it was partially inverted. Marx himself said he was "turning Hegel on his head", the same is true in Nazism's position toward socialism.Nagelfar

The Nazis saw themselves as creating a version of socialism that would compete with Marxist socialism. Lirath Q. Pynnor


The idea that Nazism should not be classed as "socialism" is a Soviet point of view, and should be labeled as such in the article. Soviet communists came to divide the political world into:

  1. socialists (the "good guys")
  2. capitalists (an enemy)
  3. fascists (another enemy)

Another classification, favored by Western intellectuals (chiefly, American conservatives) is:

  1. democracy (the "good guys")
  2. communist dictatorship (bad)
  3. fascist dictatorship (bad)

(Note that the term "totalitarianism" was coined to link communism and fascism as evil twins.

The article needs to describe all major classification schemes. Clearly, there is a dispute between advocates and opponents of communism, over how to classify Nazism.

I suggest the article say something like:

  • Mr. A, an advocate of B, says that Nazism has nothing at all in common with socialism, etc.
  • Mr. X, an advocate of Y, says that Nazism has the following elements in common with socialism, etc. --Uncle Ed 18:12, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I totally agree with Nagelfar on this one. We must give props to the Germans for coming up with a 100% apt name for their political party. National Socialism was just that, socialism for the nationals. Obviously it's rather distant from Marx' ideals, but the social programs are almost textbook apart from their selectivity. MarcusAurelius

Lir is that you? [1] Maximus Rex 18:45, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

No, thats MarcusAurelius. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Lir IM'd me saying wiki folks were arguing against Nazism as socialist, knowing that my exceptionally high iq gives me a stoic neutral point of view on all topics. NPOV has a meaning much more expansive than on this site. In your analysis of National Socialism, don't read up on what other political figures with drastically different ideals say about it. Read up on the actual practices and platform of the Nazis and use that to guage it's socialism. MarcusAurelius

A dictionary definition

This dictionary defines national socialism as a form of socialism.


My biggest problem with the article now is that it constantly lumps Nazism & Fascism together, while I argue that Nazism is a form of socialism, I in no way believe Fascism was, it was squarely anti-socialist, Hitler would have never described himself as Fascist either, though he admired it. Also, not that it matters, 'Totalitarian' was not coined to link communism & fascism, but was coined by Mussolini to describe his own regime.Nagelfar

Perhaps we should distinguish between the major variants of socialism better. If Soviet communists considered Hitler and his "national socialism" an enemy, I'm sure our readers would like to know why.
Also, politicians are notorious for lying about their enemies. So it's conceivable that Lenin or Stalin KNEW that Nazism was socialist but denied it for propaganda purposes.
Perhaps part of the problem is that Hitler is the closest thing on earth to a universally despised person. If advocates of socialism were to allow classification of Hitler's ideology as "socialism", they might fear that this would give socialism a bad name.
But Wikipedia's role is not to endorse or condemn any system, so we can rise above this controversy by describing as accurately as possible. --Uncle Ed 18:39, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I completely agree in every regard. Nagelfar
I totally agree in every respect. Lirath Q. Pynnor
I thoroughly agree in every denomination. MarcusAurelius
If advocates of socialism were to allow classification of Hitler's ideology as "socialism", they might fear that this would give socialism a bad name. Similarly, opponents of socialism might hope so. The sword cuts both ways, Ed. Any similarities between national socialism and communism/socialism should of course be discussed, but when the word "socialism" becomes so blurred that it could also be applied to Roosevelt's New Deal, it has clearly lost its usefulness (something which conservatives seem to hope for, as they also call European social democracies "socialist").—Eloquence
I think this is 'slippery slope' reasoning. Saying that Nazism was a meta-politic which transposed socialism on top of it's goals of Nationalism isn't at all redefining socialism or allowing any other thing to be defined as socialism. Nagelfar 19:06, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Hyperdictionary isn't the best source. But either way -- wouldn't it be better to move "A comparision of socialism and facism" to an extra page? All other interesting things about socialism (e.g. "history of socialism") are listed only as related pages. In the current configuration, the article looks as if the most important thing to say about socialism is it's relation to facism, and that's some four-letter-word. BTW: I corrected the Marx quote at the top -- who ever changed the "according to his need" with "according to his work" did good guerilla warfare work. -- till we *) 18:44, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)

A separate article socialism and fascism, with a brief summary in this one, might make sense. Of course Nagelfar might disagree with the title "fascism", however, I think that such an article should include different types of regimes in its comparison, and fascism is a label that is commonly applied to "National Socialism" today.—Eloquence

But there is room in this article for a brief, one paragraph max, mention of National Socialism. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Soviet POV

One of the great successes of the Soviet regime was to promulgate and, eventually, to impose on the world its own ideological understanding of how political systems should be classified. Lenin reduced them essentially to two polar opposites, socialism and capitalism, a dichotomy preserved by Stalin until the 1930's. According to this scheme, capitalism, also known as imperialism, included in its purview liberal, social-democratic, and fascist regimes, as well as National Socialism. A different scheme emerged in the 30's to accommodate the new Soviet policy of building "popular fronts." Now the spectrum ranged from socialism--that is to say, the Soviet Union--through the bourgeois democracies (liberal and/or social- democratic), to, finally, fascism. Grouped together under the last category were Nazism, Mussolini-type fascism, the authoritarian regimes of Spain, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and so forth, and extreme right-wing factions in liberal societies.

Whatever the specific typology, Nazism in these schemes was erased as a category unto itself, and attached definitively either to capitalism or to right-wing fascism. It became the absolute incarnation of the Right, while Soviet socialism represented the absolute incarnation of the Left. In this way Nazism and Communism took their respective places in the great magnetic field of 20th-century politics.

To appreciate the sleight of hand involved, one need only recall that to an earlier generation of historians, it had been perfectly clear that both Italian fascism and German Nazism had socialist roots. Thus, Elie Halevy's classic History of European Socialism (1937) devotes a chapter each to the socialism of fascist Italy and the socialism of Nazi Germany. (The latter, indeed, had explicitly declared itself to be anti- capitalist.) Then there is the no less compelling scheme proposed as early as 1951 by Hannah Arendt, who spotlighted the essentially consanguineous nature of Nazism and Communism that I remarked upon at the outset, and divided these two representatives of modern totalitarianism from liberal and authoritarian regimes alike.

-- Forgotten Communism. Commentary Magazine, Jan, 1998, by Alain Besancon [2]


Were the Nazis Socialist?

The Nazi Party claimed to be socialist; in 1927, Hitler said, "We are socialists."; however: "By majority consent of both socialists and non-socialists, National Socialism (Nazism) and kindred movements are not considered to be socialist." (Massimo Salvadori, introduction to Modern Socialism, Harper, 1968.) The chauvinism of the Nazi racial theories is generally seen as anti-social. The opposing view is that socialism qualified with the term 'national' indicates an introverted, or exclusivist system of socializing society, and therefore is still properly considered a form of socialism. Class consciousness herein is seen as opposing a caste conscious ideal. This view of National Socialism as a legitimate form of socialism structuring a class egalitarian nation draws a governmental distinction to who is to be considered 'national' and then recognized to be a social element at the discrimination of the state. -- from wikipedia article on Nazism

That's outstanding, good paragraph. MarcusAurelius

This really is quite absurd nearly 65% of the article on socialism is about Nazis. This whole Nazis are socialists thing is a long running right-wing smear campaign in an attempt to discredit socialism, and is no more than propaganda, it appears in no other encyclopedia article about socialism and does not belong here. G-Man 23:42, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I agree not even 4% of the socialist article should be on National Socialism, but that it's a "right wing smear campaign" is an entirely POV opinion. The Nazis themselves didn't consider themselves 'right' or 'left,' only the surviving ideologies, which both did consider themselves left & right, respectively, had any such initative to define them (especially when the Nazis could no longer define themselves, and they were a mutual scapegoat, and infact the only such mutual scapegoat in political existence) Nagelfar 06:41, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I have moved the Nazism content to its own page Socialism and Nazism where it is perhaps more apropriate, and can be covered in more depth. I shall link the Nazism article here as well G-Man 00:16, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

A comment on lists

First, I generally agree that discussion of whether or not the Nazis were socialist fits better on Nazism than here; and extensive coverage of the ideologies' relationship will go well on a dedicated page like Nazism and socialism or Socialism and Nazism. Of course, this should be linked from both places.

However, that still leaves the question of whether to place Nazism on the list. Generally, I think that lists should be inclusive; the best way to be NPOV is to decide up front that X doesn't have to be a Y to appear on the list of Ys, but only to be believed a Y by a relevant faction. So if Nazis believe that they're socialists (and I guess that we have some quotes from Hitler to that effect), then they get on the list with this principle.

The problem here, of course, is that readers will then think that we are claiming that X really is a Y. The way that the list is phrased on this page certainly would give that impression; simply sticking national socialism onto the list would not be very NPOV. The solution here is to say before the list appears that we have a generous criterion. The list on this page is long enough that it would work well as a bulleted section, something like this:

Types of socialism

Since the 19th century, socialist ideas have developed and separated into many streams. Different groups may disagree over whether some competing forms may legitimately be considered socialism at all -- part of the problem of defining "socialism" in the first place. Rather than choose one definition, we list below movements that have often identified as socialist; but keep in mind that the entries could be disputed. More information should be on the ideologies' individual pages.

Marxism and communism may be further divided into:

I'm sure that you can improve on the wording (that's the wiki way). But the important point for NPOV is that everybody agrees (I hope!) that the Nazis did sometimes identify as socialist and that more information on that can be found by following the National Socialism link. The text above doesn't claim more than this -- and since anything more than this is disputed, Wikipedia shouldn't make a decision that claims more.

-- Toby Bartels 01:59, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

If you are going to do that, National Socialism must be spelled with a capital S to distinguish it from various kinds of national socialisms, ie, socialism peculiar to a particular country. There are many national socialisms but only one National Socialism. Adam 03:44, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

capitalizing is a good idea. Nagelfar 06:41, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Sure, whatever's the proper spelling. (I fixed it above.). -- Toby Bartels 23:33, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)

All of this could have been avoided if Carr could have refrained from deleting my link to Nazism (which should probably be moved to National Socialism, Nazism isn't that common of a term) and instead made a notation: "Different groups may disagree over whether some competing forms may legitimately be considered socialism at all." Lirath Q. Pynnor

An entertaining quarrel

The quarrel between Lir and Adam has been moved to conflicts between users, as it has IMHO opinion no relevance to the task of improving this article. Who's to blame? is not the question, but What shall we do next? --Uncle Ed 21:52, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Are we serious?

When I first came across this article, my hopes for Wikipedia crashed. I couldn?t believe that a serious encyclopedia article would cite "National Socialism" as an example of socialism. This displays a remarkable ignorance of European history, not to mention political science.

While I was contemplating this, G-man removed the text to a separate article. My hopes were raised. However, I note that National Socialism has since been added to the list of ?movements that have often identified as socialist.? I have seen no evidence that supports this contention. None of the major encyclopedias mention National Socialism in their articles on socialism. I think that our credibility is on the line here.

The origin of the name is an historical fact. Hitler took control of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP; National Socialist German Workers' Party) in 1921. While the original German Workers? Party was both nationalist and socialist, Hitler immediately began putting his own stamp on it. He minimized the socialist features of the program (ref. excellent articles on National Socialism in Groliers and Columbia, by reputable scholars).

In the discussion above, someone cited a 1927 statement by Hitler: ?We are socialists?? This is a quote from the unpublished article ??Hitler was a Socialist by John Ray. In the article, Ray puts forward textual evidence to support his case. He ignores, of course, the actions of Hitler and the Nazis?which may explain why the article remains unpublished. Herein lies the problem: Should someone be judged by their words or their actions? In Hitler?s case, while amassing power, he presented himself as all things to all people. When he came to power, however, he ousted Gregor Strasser and the left wing of the party. He established a corporative state; labor lost all rights. Hitler?s actions and those of his party had nothing to do with socialism.

Eloquence?s analysis (above) presents a sound case as to why "National Socialism" is not a form of socialism. No one has refuted this with opposing facts. If no one can present evidence that "National Socialism" is a form of socialism, we should delete the reference. Are we a serious encyclopedia or not? Sunray 02:36, 2004 Jan 12 (UTC)

I'm with Sunray here. It's as if we took Le Mondes "Nous sommes tous americains" to argue that the French should be classified as Americans. -- Jmabel 03:35, 12 Jan 2004 (UTC)


"Movements which have identified with socialism" -- are you seriously arguing that the National Socialist movement did not at least try to claim that it was socialist? That's all the text is saying. Lirath Q. Pynnor

Sure it claimed it was socialist. It made many claims at different times. But did it identify with socialism? That suggests it equated itself with socialism--i.e., was identical to it. Hitler demonstrated by his actions that he did not identify with socialism. Sunray

The article pretty much says that Nazism was not a form of socialism, although it called itself socialist. I don't see what's wrong with that. I've added a bit about the Austrian Christian Socialists. Surely there are other similar groups which have called themselves "Socialist," but are not, that might be discussed. What about the Polish Socialist Party of Pilsudski? john 14:40, 12 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I think the article needs to explain why so many people object to classifying National Socialism as socialist. Surely there are one or more clear differences between Hitler's idea of socialism and "real" socialism. Why can't the article list some of these differences? --Uncle Ed 16:07, 12 Jan 2004 (UTC)
A good article on socialism would clearly explain what socialism is. There is a page set up to discuss the differences between socialism and Nazism. With recent changes (paragraph added by Eloquence making the distinction and referring the reader to that page) the socialism article is o.k. - not great, but passable IMO. Sunray 17:35, 2004 Jan 12 (UTC)
I agree - there needs to be considerably more discussion of what socialism actually is. I'm not sure I know enough to do that, though. john 18:28, 12 Jan 2004 (UTC)
For one thing, socialism is anti-capitalist, and the Nazis were funded by the biggest capitalists in Germany of the day - Thyssen, Voegler, Krupp and so forth. I concur that a discussion of this topic is not for this page but worthy of a link elsewhere. -- Lancemurdoch 03:06, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Actually, the big capitalists mostly didn't support Hitler until he seemed inevitable (Thyssen was an exception). They didn't trust all those weird quasi-socialist bits in the Nazi program. The Nazis were basically a party of the middle classes, and of workers in small operations who weren't unionized. The Nazi voting base was fundamentally similar to that of other fascist movements. Once in power, it became evident that the Nazis would work with big business, but this wasn't necessarily clear before hand. john 03:50, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)

A few points:

  • Nazism is not a form of socialism.
    • Response: I entirely agree. But that's not really relevant, since I'm not a political scientist. Wikipedia's NPOV policy means that we report what people believe, not the truth. This is a good thing, since it saves us from having to determine the truth. So I agree with you about the truth -- Nazism is not a form of socialism -- but if Adolf Hitler and John Ray disagreed, then we must report their views as well.
  • Groliers and Columbia don't say that the Nazis were socialists.
    • Response: Neither do we. But that is neither here nor there. Wikipedia is already more accurate than Groliers and Columbia on some points -- our mathematical articles are almost always more precise, for example -- and we shouldn't hesitate to say something that they don't, if that thing is in fact correct. The only relevance of G & C is that we will lose face if we're wrong and they're right -- but everybody already agrees that we should be right (about what people believe) in any case.
  • The Nazis never identified with socialism -- they never equated their programme with socialism.
    • Response: This is not what the word "identified" suggests to me (and I think that was the first to suggest that term ^_^). And while Marxists sometimes equate Marxism with socialism (in the sense of a political programme), many other groups on that list don't. For example, anarchists don't equate anarchism with socialism -- indeed, many anarchists (and I mean left-wing social anarchists) disavow the term "socialism" because of the historical political associations with statism. But anarchism belongs on the list since many anarchists do consider their anarchism to be a kind of socialism. And Nazism belongs on the list since many Nazis, to judge from the evidence archived above, did consider their political philosophy to be a kind of socialism as well. So if you're right about the word "identified" means and I'm wrong ... well, then that just means that it's a bad word and should be changed. You agreed that they "claimed" to be socialist -- would that word work better?
  • Here are all the ways in which the Nazis were quite anti-socialist.
    • Response: Very true and very important. This doesn't belong in a generic article on socialism, but it should appear either in an article on Nazism, or in the article on the relation of Nazism to socialism. I'm sure that our readers, when presented with these facts, will correctly conclude that the Nazis were not socialists. We shouldn't draw the conclusion for them (NPOV), but if any of these points are missing from Nazism and socialism, then they should certainly be included there.
  • The article should explain what socialism is in the first place.
    • Response: I emphatically agree! Of course, there won't be unanimity of opinion here -- but the article can say more than it does. Shall we work on that now?

-- Toby Bartels 03:01, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

You make some excellent points, Toby. I certainly agree that NPOV does not mean that we are trying to claim that what we present is the "truth." So you are right that there needs to be fair coverage of the different perspectives. Yes, I would be willing to work on improving the article on socialism. That should make it easier for people to see the comparison to Nazism. I also think that from what Jack says below, he could make a real contribution to the Socialism and Nazism article. Sunray 21:24, 2004 Jan 15 (UTC)

Nazism, Socialism, and Gregor Strasser

I have made a repair of the inadaquate reference to nazism in this artcle. I am still not happy with the ugly mentions of Nazism and Christian socialism not being "true" (communist?) socialisms, but I'll focus more on that later. For now I want to know what you think of what I've done, and how your arguments are influenced by Strasser. Jack 04:21, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Surely the material you have added belongs in the article on Socialism and Nazism. The comment that the two are distinct, and the reference to the page on Socialism and Nazism, would seem to be more than sufficient in an article on Socialism. Could you please move the material on the night of the long knives to the socialism/Nazism article (and also to the Nazism article if you think it is not adequately covered there)? Sunray 17:49, 2004 Jan 15 (UTC)

Clearly I think its not adaquately covered HERE. I don't agree with the decision to have even created the Socialism and Nazism article, but since it has been made, at least the basics need to be addressed, rather than glossed over here on socialism. I understand that some prefer a pretty picture of Socialism, and wouldn't want Nazism to tarnish that, but rarely is history (or the facts in general) an entirely pretty thing, for the faint of heart. JackLynch 21:33, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I don't think there is an intent to gloss over anything. But there is a need to cover the range of state socialism. Socialism as it has been implemented in Northern Europe (e.g., Sweden) works pretty well and the people like it. Social democratic policies in Canada have also been successful. But, because there is no agreement about whether or not the Nazis were socialistic, we have created a page for that discussion. Most of those who have commented agree with this (albiet with some reluctance and regret). Sunray 08:32, 2004 Jan 16 (UTC)
The same case can be made for "democracies" - not all are equal. In fact, even the most tyrannical states call themselves "people's democracies" - do they in fact have anything to do with democracy? No, of course not - nor do they really have anything to do with socialism. So, I think people want you to show a little more depth when it comes to understanding anti-socialist propaganda in the US, as well as the difference between socialist thinkers.
Was Stalin a socialist? Well, no - he was a dictator - but within certain contexts, yes he showed some social behavior. Were Nazi's Socialist? Again, only in the context of who they wanted to support. Thus: if by attemptint to attach Naziism with Socialism, arent you missing the point completely? Doesnt the entire US Armed forces (and for that matter, all US corporations) live under a 'Socialist' system of protections? (Chomsky:"The real purpose of the pentagon is to protect US corporations from world market pressures.")
One of the key components of socialism is surely anti-corporatism. It is what distinguishes them from liberals. Socialism, in almost all of it?s successful iterations, has been pro-labour. Sunray.
Develop an understanding of the use of "socialism" as a mere McCarthyism, and then you can move onto better things. Dont be fooled by the ideological rhetoric. I hate a apologist for Stalin just like the next guy, but at least I know why. -戴&#30505sv
Living in a part of the world that has been greatly affected by social democratic (i.e., socialist) policies, I can attest that the influence of socialism did not die with the Soviet Union. A kinder, gentler socialism, you say? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it is a political form that has been successful in many places in the world. Does it work? Yes, though it needs adjustment?which it gets on a frequent basis from conservatives.
Let's look to the process - how we proceed. We have pledged to accept NPOV as the arbiter and as others have mentioned on this page, NPOV does not necessarily equate to "truth." On this issue (socialism/Nazism) it is virtually certain that there will be ?truths.? My interest is that we discuss socialism under the heading of Socialism and Nazism under that heading. Where there is a need to explain the difference?because there may be people who are from a culture or an age that this is not part of their understanding?we have the Socialism and Nazism page with a strong cross-reference to it. Sunray 05:09, 2004 Jan 16 (UTC)
Respectfully:You sound like a very smart polemicist -- and like a typical conservative, you put rhetoric in front of substance. You talk about truth, as if it were simply another means to justify an preexisting supposition -- one which you happen to uphold. There can be a reference to Naziism on the Socialism page, but not a "strong" cross-reference to it - that would be POV, "truth" notwithstanding. -戴&#30505sv 01:15, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Well, I'm neither a conservative nor a socialist - not that there would be anything wrong if I was from either of those political perspectives. I also think you might have misread what I said about truth. I was quoting someone, after all. As to the "strong cross-reference" I agree that the word "strong" doesn't belong there. Sunray 07:16, 2004 Jan 18 (UTC)

Just to note that a) Christian Socialism and Nazism are not socialist because they never really considered themselves to be socialist in the sense that the term is usually employed, and were not on the left. (well, actually, some so-called "Christian Socialism" probably comes close to being true socialism, but the Austrian clericalist variety certainly was not). I don't think socialism has to be Communist, or even Marxist (the various reformist social democratic parties of Western Europe certainly count), but I think genuine socialist movements are always on the left side of the political spectrum. Nazism was a phenomenon of the far right, and Christian Socialism generally of the traditional right or center-right. To get beyond this, this article clearly should not be an article about Nazism. For those of you who want to include more explanation of Nazism in the article, why don't you try to provide more information about Socialism, first, so that the article won't become ridiculously imbalanced? john 05:50, 16 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Saying that it cannot call itself something because it wouldn't be used in the way the term is usually applied defies all logic when definitional correctness is called for in a new idea or way of thinking. It is also POV to say that 'Nazism was a phenomenon of the far right,' that they were rabidly anti-establishment and anti-monarchist and wanted to restructure society around a racial caste makes them right-wing? Is that saying "right" is a political stance of race? It has no such orientation as such issues don't directly concern themselves with political models in the first place. Modern Socialists basically are themselves all Marxists, only in a sense that later movements of Marxist tradition were not able to stand up to it's standards; within Marx's own definition, Socialism was statist & Communism was non-statist, but Communist parties in Socialist states made people equate Communism to statism and therefore many now call themselves 'Socialist,' when in fact they are Communist. Of course, none of this has to do with a true original definition of Socialism as it relates to something apart from & predating Communist theory. Nagelfar 11:16, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure how closely you guys looked into what I added, or what it linked to, but I am refering to bonafide socialist Nazis, in the early days, prior to the night of the long knives, when the Left wing of the nazi party was... well, stabbed alot for one. It wasn't completely removed, but the right wing obviously took hold at that time. Anyways, this deserves mention. Nazi's are famous as all get out, and Strasser was a REAL socialist (and led the Nazi party during Hitlers imprisonment!). JackLynch 06:11, 16 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Jack, I think that the information you are bringing forward is important and needs to be included on the Socialism and Nazism page. The debate can go on there. Sunray 16:05, 2004 Jan 16 (UTC)

Hmm...while Strasser was certainly interested in appealing to workers, and was on the "left-wing" of the Nazi Party, I'm not sure if he was exactly a Socialist. But the point is certainly arguable. The SA, on the other hand, cannot, I think, really be considered to be Socialist. Strasser, it should be noted, left the party at the end of 1932 - he was long gone by the Night of the Long Knives. I'm going to make changes. john 07:11, 16 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I object to the paragraph:

Many advocates of free markets, particularly in America, dispute this contention, claiming that people generally prosper as a result of free market economies; hence, that Capitalism works for the benefit of all even more so than than in socialist economies (like Cuba or the old USSR). In this respect, they claim, it fulfills the purpose of socialism better than socialism does.

The examples used seem to imply an equation between Leninism and Socialism. john 19:38, 16 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. I've tried to edit it for coherence. If we don't make the distinction we will be spinning wheels forever. Sunray 06:40, 2004 Jan 17 (UTC)

There have been a number of disputes over terminology for this article and the one on Socialism and Nazism. I suggest that we try to work together in sorting this out. In recent edits, I have made a distinction between socialist and communist states. If you have a problem with this, would you please read the Wikipedia article entitled ?Communist state? before hitting the delete key. As this project is an encyclopedia, it would seem wise to be consistent in our use of terms.

It would also be helpful if people could provide references for their changes when they are deleting someone else?s text. Sunray 08:18, 2004 Jan 18 (UTC)