Information icon.svg The RationalWiki community standards are under review, and voting on a proposed change has begun. Your comments and inputs are welcome on the community standards talk page
Bronze-level article


From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Nazi)
Jump to: navigation, search
The NSDAP emblem.
A lunatic Chaplin imitator
and his greatest fans

Icon nazi.svg
First as tragedy
Then as farce

Nazism (the common English short form of the less-commonly used full official name National Socialism) can refer to the political beliefs held by the Nazi Party (officially the "National Socialist German Workers' Party" - Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, commonly shortened to NSDAP, a feature of German politics from after World War I until the end of World War II, which once in power would morph into a syndicate of organized crime). Nazism resembled its contemporary doctrine of fascism in many particulars, such as its authoritarianism and ethnic nationalism, although it had a much stronger emphasis on race. The Nazi Party destroyed terrorized ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945, during a period known as the "Third Reich". (In case you were wondering, the the Holy Roman Empire ranks as the first Reich, and the second Reich was the German Empire of 1871-1918. Despite lasting longer than Hitler's "thousand-year Reich", the Weimar Republic - officially known as the "German Reich" - doesn't count.)

Communists in the 1920s and 1930s lumped all their authoritarian enemies together under the label of "fascist". Today, continuing this usage, many people use the terms Nazi and fascist interchangeably. Since very few true Nazis are still living (although there are quite a few neo-Nazi groups), the term often more generally refers to various authoritarians, especially those who focus on hate, racism, or grammar; though brandishing the term "Nazi" around in a haphazard fashion when referring to anyone who disagrees with you rather diminishes the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.


Nazi rally in Berlin, 1936.

The myriad influences leading up to the rise to power of the Nazis are well documented, but there are also many topics which are hotly debated. Oswald Spengler's historical determinist book The Decline of the West is cited as an "intellectual" influence although his work was later banned by the Nazis because he dared to criticize them, and because he rejected anti-Semitism. Spengler also rejected racism and found the idea of racial superiority laughable, since the work that the Nazis loved had eight dominant cultures (called 'high cultures'), only two of which were actually European.[1] Ironically, his other book, Prussiandom and SocialismWikipedia's W.svg, provided a basis for their view of socialism. Germanic romanticism and national mysticism, as expressed in Wagner's operas, the Wandervögel youth movement (which was outlawed by the Nazis, too), and German occultist movements like Ariosophy, are also cited as precursors. More hotly disputed is the extent to which Nietzsche may have been an influence, but his sister Elisabeth was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Hitler's and helped the Nazis to claim him as one at least in name; some allege that certain potentially racist turns of phrase found in contemporary editions of his works (most famously, the "splendid blond beast of noble race") were added by her after his death.

A more immediate precursor was the state of Germany after World War I, when the country experienced hyperinflation and economic collapse during the Weimar Republic period, and suffered under the international sanctions imposed after the war, and many Germans were confused about the outcome of the war. Wartime censorship had led many to believe that the German Army was undefeated in WW1, right up until the day they surrendered, seemingly out of the blue. The predecessor to the Nazi Party, a tiny group of a few dozen individuals calling themselves the "German Workers' Party", was founded in 1919 by an unimaginative nobody called Anton Drexler. Hitler, at that time a military man, was given the task of spying on this group but decided to take it over instead. Because of Hitler's charisma and the talent of many of his followers, the Nazis were able to largely absorb the other right-wing movements in Germany at the time, and with the help of Ernst Rohm were able to mobilize them as a ferocious street fighting force all throughout Germany, significantly hindering any democratic processes. The Nazis would find significant electoral success starting in 1930, and would become the largest party in the Reichstag in 1932. While the Nazis did use violence and intimidation to stack the deck in their favor in these two elections, it is important to remember that much of their support was legitimate, despite post-war hand-wringing. Less than a year later, Hitler would be named chancellor after the Reichstag fire and quickly consolidated power before abandoning the pretext of democracy entirely. The Nazis came to power promising to restore Germany's "might" after this period of national pessimism and effectively manipulated the recent popularity of Germanic romanticism to his advantage. They also offered an explanation for Germany's failure in WW1, adopting the position that the Germans would have won the war if not stabbed in the back by Communists and Jews (these two were often merged into one boogeyman Hitler termed Judeo-Bolshevism). This proved to be irresistible to some segments of society who were quick to fall for demagoguery blaming "the Jews" and other sinister forces for Germany's plight. The NSDAP's brand of "national socialism" was seen by conservatives and business elites as a favorable alternative to Bolshevik communism, which had a strong following among the German working class, while many businessmen feared it might overtake Germany. The influence of socialism within the NSDAP is also hotly debated; there was a faction within the party, the Strasserites, that took the "socialism" part of National Socialism seriously, but they were violently purged (with a few exceptions) from the party soon after Hitler consolidated his power.

On the other hand, the claim of certain Religious Right nutjobs like Scott Lively that Nazism emerged out of a homosexual subculture is almost universally discredited, except among homophobes. While there were indeed a handful of gay Nazis, most notably Ernst Rohm, their homosexuality was largely incidental to their Nazism and they were almost entirely wiped out during the Night of the Long Knives (as the Nazi Party was actually violently homophobic, tolerating Rohm among others initially only until they were no longer useful or Hitler deemed them a threat).


National Socialism’s ideological incoherence fuelled its virulence. There was no end-goal of conquest, or of purity: it was focused purely on the twin processes of struggle and of racial strengthening-cleansing. There could be no peace, no acceptable measure of racial purity, no absence of enemies. Nazism was not in this sense Utopian, “because in a Utopia there are no enemies.” Ultimately, every measure short of near-omnicide was a mere tactical concession. The Nazis did not militarise their society and wage wars of conquest because they feared weakness: they did it to be militaristic and to conquer.[2]


The legacies of Nazism are many and complex. The flagrant way in which this complex legacy is often reduced and simplified in order to score a cheap point has led to the necessity of Godwin's Law:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.[3]

The German Nazi Party along with its subsidiary organiztions was quickly dissolved under Allied occupation and was illegal in both the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic, as well as Austria. With the reunification of Germany the ban on Nazi activities, symbols, and songs remains intact in 2019 in both Austria and Germany.

Nazis and occult craziness[edit]

The Nazis were also proponents of Horbiger's Cosmic Ice theory which held that the stars were made of ice. They also imagined they had superior intelligence, which seems a bit at odds with the previous sentence.

They contended that the novel "Spring in Atlantis" ("Frühling in Atlantis"[4]) by Edmund Kiß (or Edmund KissWikipedia's W.svg) was based on truth - that the Aryan race was descended from Atlanteans (or if they did not originate in Atlantis then it had to be something similar and northern called Thule), which was later overrun by inferior races.[5] The Waffen-SS (the paramilitary wing of the NSDAP) employed a team of archaeologists searching for proof of these theories, similar to that featured in the Indiana Jones films.

On a political spectrum[edit]

Anti-Semitic and anti-communist Nazi poster.
People who say "Hitler was a socialist cuz his party included the word socialist" must be incredibly confused that the titmouse is a bird

Nazism is more complicated than fascism when trying to place it on a political spectrum. The majority of scholars identify Nazism, in practice, as a bizarre form of right-wing extremism.[7] Many Nazis were advocates of third positionism when it came to economics. This meant that they were opposed to both socialism (especially communism) and capitalism, despite many being advocates of the right to own private property (so long as you were an Aryan...but that goes without saying). Where they differ from capitalists (when it comes to economics) is that they openly advocated a kind of symbiosis between the state and big business, where the state would favor certain companies (German-owned, of course) in return for them doing favors to the state. Basically, the Nazis openly endorsed crony corporatism. Up until relatively recently, this economic nationalism was shunned by mainstream conservatives. However, ever since the rise of both ultra-conservatism and right-wing populism in the West, these third position policies have quickly become the ethos of right-wing economic practices. For instance, Steve Bannon and the intellectual wing of the alt-lite have expressed explicit third-position economic policies. Donald Trump, while not an economic isolationist like Bannon, follows a model very similar to (but much, much older than) economic nationalism - the precursor to capitalism, corporatism, and socialism: a crony 17th-century system known as mercantilism. Even populists on the economic "left" support economic nationalism, as many of their right-wing counterparts do. While they are both protectionist, the only difference between the pure economic isolationism of the third position and the mercantilism of the right is that the former is obligatory and the latter is coercive via tariffs. However, they both encourage state intervention when setting market prices.

Notable Americans try to push Nazism to the other side of the political spectrum, or deny that Nazism was truly right-wing. While it's obvious that Nazism is completely different from the politics of their own party's establishment (in that Nazism is much further to the right with its advocacy of anti-Semitism, genocide, misogyny, etc.) that does not automatically discount their right-wing elements. Its odd form of right-wing politics, however, is removed from the vast majority of today's mainstream conservatism (neoconservatism should tell you that quite blatantly). Many on the right refuse to accept this, as they are unable to comprehend three basic notions: that "right and left" are both simplistic and arbitrary concepts depending on the context of the time and place (for instance, laissez-faire capitalism, which is now generally seen as being right of centre, was once as radical in 1790 as socialism is seen today); that both wings incorporate countless individual schools of thought, and are not indicative of singular and universal ideologies; and that fascism is actually a lot closer to far-leftism than conservatism is to fascism. The exact same thing applies to the left. Communism and pure state-socialism are far closer to Nazism than it is to modern progressivism. Partisanship is a completely separate issue, as, though it is not as common anymore due to polarization, there can exist left-leaning Republicans (though that is generally no longer the case) and right-wing Democrats (such as the Clintons and Jimmy Carter...not to mention that the political spectrum, which was once a contextually simple concept, has been made more complicated than it even should have been in the first place. As a matter of fact, the most extreme ideology of right-wing thought is, by definition, monarchism, to which mainline fascism like that of Italy in the 1920s and 30s was very similar.

However, in contrast to standard fascism, Nazism is far more complicated of a system. Besides technically not being fascism,[citation needed] the hierarchy itself was determined more by race as opposed to aristocracy, and the idea of race as it is understood today did not come about until globalization began, prior to the Age of Enlightenment. Despite Nazism generally being considered a right-wing ideology for the case of simple taxonomy - as it is very similar to the extreme-right ideology that is fascism - stating that it is the epitome of far-right politics or that it is firmly right wing is simply not true. In some ways, it bears nearly or just as many similarities to the extreme left as it does to the extreme right, meaning that it is really both and neither right or left. In terms of its raw ideological ethos and reactionary foundations (racism, patriarchy, expansionism, hyper-cultural traditionalism, etc.) it is undoubtedly right. Organizationally, however, it had more left-wing features. The best example would be that Nazi society was collectivistic, supported eugenics (which, in the 1930s, was widely a leftist notion[note 1]), anticlerical[note 2], and did not support individualism. It is very similar to the modern alt-right phenomenon, which is both socially far right (for the same reasons as the OG Nazis) and organizationally collectivistic. They are generally considered a constituency of the American right, however, due to their history of association with the GOP and, more recently, paleoconservative and populist movements, Donald Trump being a great example of the latter (although Trump seems to hold views more in line with monarchism than Nazism, which, in some ways, is even worse). "Alt-right" is a term that was originally coined by the Nazi cosplayer Richard Spencer to describe an ideology that was an alternative to traditional right-wing thought, particularly conservative, hence "alternative to the right", as he put it.

So, basically - both economically and socially - Nazism gives you the worst of both worlds.

In any case, Nazism was primarily concerned with Aryan racial purity and territorial conquests. Racism and imperialism were its defining features. Like most imperialist regimes, conquest was done to benefit the population of the imperialist power, in this case, the German volk. Lebensraum existed for fear that Germany was on the brink of starvation and needed resources. As such, German motives for invading Poland, Russia, etc. were equally racist and imperialist. The need for Germany to expand was commonly defended by Germans with the belief that Slavs and Jews were destined to be serfs for Aryans, and the extermination of Slavs and Jews was defended by Germany's perceived need for land and resources.[8] It cannot be stressed enough that this type of thinking was frighteningly common among other Western powers. It was only their aggressive pursuit of war and genocide that made them special. In terms of economic policy, the Nazis were unremarkable and very much inside the mainstream. Therefore, if someone does not aggressively support war and genocide, then no matter what side of the political spectrum they're on, they shouldn't be compared to the Nazis.

Religion in Nazism[edit]

Somehow, we don't think Jesus would've been down with thisWikipedia's W.svg.

The role of religion in the ideology of the NSDAP has been a much discussed and controversial question. Hitler made a distinction between "master religions" and "slave religions." According to Hitler, master religions would help the Aryan master race to dominate other races. Religions which preached love and tolerance would hinder the master race in dominating others:

Hitler extended his rationalizations into religious doctrine, claiming that those who agreed with and taught his 'truths,' were 'true' or 'master' religions because they would 'create mastery' by avoiding comforting lies. Those that preach love and tolerance, 'in contravention of the facts,' were said to be 'slave" or 'false' religions. The man who recognizes these 'truths,' Hitler continued, was said to be a 'natural leader,' and those who deny it was said to be 'natural slaves.' 'Slaves,' especially intelligent ones, he claimed were always attempting to hinder masters by promoting false religious and political doctrines.[9]

Basically people either had to agree with Nazi-type religion or had to be treated as slaves, and so-called slave religions were persecuted.[10]

The claim by some that Nazism is an atheist ideology can be rejected out of hand. Nazism includes many near-mystical elements drawn from several different types of religion, and the early Nazi party was also involved in several direct conflicts with freethinker groups in Germany as early as the 1920s. This hostility continued after Hitler took power in 1933 when atheist movements were banned in Germany; however, it is worth mentioning that at least a few members were atheists, namely Martin Bormann, who was openly anti-Christian,[note 3][11] and some others were probably religious, such as Heinrich Himmler (though he was more into German and Nordic paganism and wanted to revive it as a replacement for Christianity).<refHimmer and religion,</ref> It is important to note that Nazism is first and foremost an ideology, and thus will attract people from many different backgrounds. Generally however it opposed atheism, with atheists being banned in the SS (and denounced by its oath), particularly since atheism was a part of Communist (the Nazis' arch-enemies) philosophy. Hitler, while reportedly attacking Christianity privately, also expressed a belief in God at the same time (while also criticizing atheism) albeit possibly of a more deist or pantheist variety.

On the other hand, the opposing view that Nazism is essentially based on Christianity is not very credible either, although this is a much more complex issue. Elements and themes drawn from Christianity often figured prominently in Nazi propaganda, but these were invariably twisted to fit with the National Socialist context, possibly due to the fact that Christianity was a prime element of Germany's cultural ethos.[12] Overall, it is probably better to see Christianity as carrying out a legitimizing function for Nazism, rather than as a part of its ideological foundations. Eventually, however, a specifically National Socialist brand of Christianity evolved, known as Positive Christianity, which was basically quasi-atheistic state worship based upon the notion that Jesus was an Aryan crusader who hated Jews and preached white supremacy in the name of an antisemitic god that frolicked around in the sky on his horse accompanied by his retinue of Wild Hunt ghost riders for no particular reason other than shits and giggles.

From a political perspective, it would also be outright wrong to categorize Nazism as a movement based on pushing Christian viewpoints, due to the popularity of the German Centre Party with the German Christians of the time. If Hitler were really so eager to push a Christian agenda, an alliance with the German Centre party would have occurred. On the other hand, it should be noted that it is undeniable fact that the CDU/CSU (a successor to the German Centre party) had a fair share of success thanks to the fact that former Nazis were in their ranks that successfully attracted other Nazis to vote for them.

On a more practical level, the Nazi ascension to power in 1933 resulted in the unification of the Protestant regional churches in each of the 28 federal states into one church known as the Deutsche Evangelische KircheWikipedia's W.svg (German Evangelical Church). This new church was from the beginning dominated by the strongly pro-Nazi Deutsche ChristenWikipedia's W.svg ("German Christian") movement, whose leader, the theologian Ludwig Müller, was also appointed as the first Reichsbishof. However, strong political and theological conflicts inside the Church and waning interest from the Nazi leadership prevented the DEK from ever assuming any prominent role in the Third Reich, and it had faded from significance by 1935. Many smaller Protestant churches remained outside the Deutsche Evangelische Kirche, and in 1934, many of these joined together in the movement known as the Bekennende KircheWikipedia's W.svg (Confessing Church), which aimed especially at opposing the influence of the Deutsche Christen. Although many of its members were against the unification of the churches for theological or confessional reasons rather than anti-Nazi as such, the Bekennende Kirche were seen as an opposition group by the Nazi government and were eventually persecuted, especially after 1937.


Some Roman Catholic Church clergy attempted, ineffectively, to oppose the Nazi regime.[13] Other clergy, the "Brown Priests" or Braune Pfarrer, were party members.[14] Members of parliament from the Catholic Center Party voted for the crucial 1933 Enabling Act that gave Hitler dictatorial powers, after Hitler gave a speech praising the role of religion in the German state. Despite all this, some people seem dead-set on convincing themselves that the Catholic Church in general or Pope Pius XII were somehow complicit in the Nazi crimes.[15][16]

Hitler seems to have used a mixture of beliefs to justify Nazi ideology, depending on what suited him at the time. This mixture included more or less conventional Christianity, borrowings from Nordic mythology, pseudoscience, and a belief in Germany's and his own personal spiritual predestination for greatness. While he was disdainful of religion in his private life, he did make substantial efforts to accommodate Christian belief as a way of reconciling the German establishment to Nazism. Indeed, he referred to himself publicly as a Christian, yet on a personal level he didn't really care about theology - he was mainly interested in fulfilling his ordained role in history as Führer.

According to Albert Speer, Hitler privately stated "[t]he Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?’"[17] In the book Hitler's Table Talk he also called the religion Bolshevism's "illegitimate child".[18] This could actually be possible due to the rise in Islamism and Wahabbism during the time, which themselves were the product of anti-intellectual reactionary thought that grew out of the Ottoman Empire's collapse and the fundamentalism that, by then, had already established itself as the primary foundation of Saudi-Arabian society. The Goebbels Diaries by Joseph Goebbels also mentioned that:

The Führer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race. This can be seen in the similarity of their religious rites. Both (Judaism and Christianity) have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end they will be destroyed. The Führer is a convinced vegetarian on principle.[19]

Goebbels also despised Christianity and advocated for National Socialism as its replacement:

National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church,… That is my gospel.[20]

The Nazis also were planning to replace Christianity and traditional church institutions with the National Reich Church,Wikipedia's W.svg a religious organization that essentially would throw all things Christian out the window (bibles, priests, chaplains, religious orders etc.) in favor of a Nazi-based faith as detailed in the "30 Points Program". There was also the German Faith Movement,Wikipedia's W.svg another religious organization set up by the Nazis that would replace Christianity in favor of a religion that would fall more in line with Nazism mixed with ancient Germanic paganism.

Interestingly, Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer of the SS, thought that Islam was compatible with Nazi ideology. He stated that "It's a religion that promotes the warrior and the war - and it promises sex in the afterlife."[21] Many Bosnian Muslims, Arabs, Africans, and Indians joined the SS and fought for the Germans throughout the war. It is worth mentioning, however, that many of these people joined more because Nazi Germany opposed their enemies (the British Empire for most, although in some cases opposition to the USSR or Yugoslavia was the primary motivation) than any particular fondness for Nazi ideology. This did not, however, mean that they were saints or above the brutality inherent to Nazism, especially given the heavy indoctrination the SS underwent.[21] On the other hand, many Bosnian Muslims helped Jews during the war, and the Albanian Muslims were so good at hiding Jews that not a single Albanian Jew was killed in the Holocaust. Only one other country was capable of keeping all of its Jews from the Nazis, and that was Bulgaria. It is very likely however that most Muslims weren't that much influenced by Hitler's existence because the division between Arab socialists and Islamists left little room for Nazi ideology to develop, as there is only one party that takes direct influence from Nazi ideology in the Islamic World, the Syrian Social Nationalist partyWikipedia's W.svg, which was unsurprisingly created by a Greek Orthodox Christian.

Hinduism also played a role in shaping Nazi thought. Not only was the swastika symbol taken from Hindu mythology, but Hitler believed in the Hindu notion of the Ayran race and wanted to create a caste system within Germany. There have been Nazi officers known for reading the Bhagavad Gita.[22] In turn some Indians tried to synthesise Nazism with Hinduism. Think of all the moments Bal ThackerayWikipedia's W.svg celebrated Adolf Hitler as a hero.

To a lesser degree, Buddhism is also seen as an influence of Nazism, in the sense that many Buddhist scriptures were searched by the Nazis to continue the notion of a warrior religion.

Allegations of US and church cooperation[edit]

It has been suggested that the Catholic Church helped members of the Nazis escape after World War II with assistance of intelligence agencies.[23]

Nazism in the United States[edit]

Bund parade in New York City in 1939

In 1936, the German American Bund[24] (also known as Deutsche amerikanische Bund or as it called itself, Amerikadeutscher Volksbund) was founded after the dissolution of a smaller pro-Nazi group, Friends of New Germany (which itself was founded by the merger of two even smaller groups, "Gau-Nord Amerika" and the "National Socialist Teutonia Club"). Led by German-born Fritz Julius Kuhn,[25] a naturalized US citizen, and headquartered in the then-predominantly German neighborhood of Yorkville in Manhattan, it attracted attention to itself by holding marches with members in Nazi uniforms displaying Nazi banners, organizing boycotts of Jewish businesses, and running resort camps in New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania[26] used for both pro-Nazi rallies and training the children of members in an Americanized version of the Hitler Youth. The largest of these was Camp NordlandWikipedia's W.svg in Andover Township, New Jersey, covering 204 acres.[27][28]

While the organization is not known to have received any funds from Nazi Germany, it did reportedly receive propaganda literature through the German Railroads Information Office, which had offices in the USA.[29] Despite the fact that Kuhn liked to promote himself as an "American Führer," Hitler himself didn't like the publicity the Bund was attracting to itself, preferring that the USA remain isolationist.[30] The height of the group's organization was a 1939 rally at Madison Square Garden, billed as a "Mass Demonstration for True Americanism," where an estimated 20,000 people attended.[31] An estimated 100,000 protesters[32], many being Jewish war veterans and German-Americans who opposed the Nazi regime, held a demonstration outside. (One protester was beaten by Bund goons when he rushed the stage during Kuhn's speech.[33]) Despite the arrest and imprisonment of Fritz Kuhn for embezzlement of the Bund's funds shortly after the rally, he was still held in high regard by his followers. It wasn't until the US entry into WWII that the group finally disbanded. Kuhn was arrested as an enemy agent after serving his sentence for embezzlement, and held in an internment camp in Crystal City, Texas for the duration of the war. His U.S. citizenship was later revoked and he was deported to West Germany, later dying in Munich in 1951 at age 55, both unrepentant and nearly forgotten.[34][35][36][37]

George Lincoln Rockwell in 1951. Oy vey, another frustrated artist!

The first serious pro-Nazi group in post-WWII USA was the American Nazi Party (originally "World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists"), later known as the National Socialist White People's Party,[38] founded in 1959 by George Lincoln Rockwell, a U.S. Navy commander of both WWII and the Korean War, who had worked as a commercial artist, sign painter, cartoonist, photographer, advertising agent, and magazine publisher. Rockwell's group, which never had more than an estimated 100 dues-paying members,[39] made a splash in the media with rallies and marches of men in Nazi uniforms, as well as professionally designed propaganda (often the work of Rockwell himself) that promoted the party's philosophy, which included one the earliest accounts of Holocaust denial. His popularity included an interview for Playboy magazine in 1966,[40] and an extensive speaking tour at American colleges, where he was invited to speak about his extremist views. Rockwell's two attempts of running for public office (as a write-in candidate for President in 1964 and an Independent candidate for Governor of Virginia in 1965[41]) ended in embarrassing defeats.[42][43] He was fatally shot in 1967 at age 49 by a purged ex-member of his party in an Arlington, Virginia laundromat parking lot.[44][45] Without Rockwell's leadership, the party eventually fractured into a number of smaller groups,[46] but his writings still influence Neo-Nazis of today.

While there a number of miscellaneous Neo-Nazi groups scattered about the USA, the National Socialist Movement (NSM), founded in 1974, based in Detroit, Michigan, and led by Jeff Schoep, is one of the few that can be rightly called a political party, since it has run candidates for office.[47] In January 2009, as part of the Adopt-A-Highway trash cleanup program, they sponsored a ½-mile section of US 160 outside of Springfield, Missouri. The state legislature later renamed it the "Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway", after the Jewish theologian who marched alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights campaign.[48][49]

Another major Neo-Nazi party was the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) (originally the "Traditionalist Youth Network") founded in 2013 by Orthodox Christian, white nationalist, and racist Confederate supporter Matthew Heimbach who proudly modeled his party policies after Nazism. The party disbanded in 2018 after Heimbach had a fist-fight with party spokesman David Matthew “Matt” Parrott after Parrott caught Heimbach sleeping with his wife (On top of this, Heimbach was married to Parrott's step-daughter from a previous marriage).[50][51]

Nazism in Europe today[edit]

See totally not also: Alternative für Deutschland which has nothing to do with this topic; we don't know how it got here. Honest.

The Nazi party, the swastika and essentially everything associated with Nazism, such as the Celtic cross, are currently illegal and banned in Germany as well as in several surrounding countries such as Austria and the Netherlands. Buildings in Germany and Austria that once displayed swastikas or other Nazi symbols that survived the war have been extensively cleansed of such imagery, if not torn down completely.[52]

Forty films made under the Nazi regime are officially classified as "Vorbehaltsfilm" (Restricted or Conditional films). The sale, exhibition, and distribution of these films (such as the costume drama "Jud Suss" ("Suss, the Jew") and the comedy "Robert und Bertram", both with heavy Anti-Semitic content) is prohibited in Germany, with the exception for use in academic situations, and exhibitors must have formal education in "media science and the history of the Holocaust."[53][54] The sale of many of these films is also prohibited in Austria, Italy, and France.

Germany has even changed the part of its National Anthem "Deutschlandlied" ("Song of Germany") officially sung. Instead of the lyrics proclaiming "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles/Über alles in der Welt" ("Germany, Germany above everything/Above everything in the world"), only the third stanza is used, beginning with "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit/Für das Deutsche Vaterland" ("Unity and justice and freedom/For the German fatherland"). However, it should be noted that already in Weimar times all three stanzas were the official German anthem and only the Nazis commonly shortened it to only the first stanza being played. Contrary to popular belief, the first stanza is in no way illegal and the legal ground for anything being the national anthem is shaky at best, as it is not based on the constitution or any act of parliament but two exchanges of open letters between the (figurehead) president and the chancellor; first between Adenauer and Heuss (the first holders of these offices) and then between Kohl and von Weizsäcker (the holder of said offices upon reunification)[55].

It should be noted that the first verse of the "Deutschlandlied" contains a geographical description of Germany that, while accurate at the time this song was made, is nowadays widely inaccurate, as it spoke of Germany reaching up to the MemelWikipedia's W.svg. Nowadays this river flows through Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. Performing the first verse of this song wouldn't sit well with people of any of the three above mentioned countries.

The Nazi party anthem, "Horst-Wessel-Lied" ("The Horst Wessel Song"), also known as "Die Fahne hoch" ("The Flag on High"), once performed throughout Nazi Germany on par with the national anthem[note 4], is now banned in both Germany and Austria, except for educational purposes.[note 5]

In popular culture[edit]

Chaplin "as Hitler" in The Great Dictator
This list is not, nor could ever be, exhaustive. Everyone laughs (or in video games, shoots) at the Nazis, with new works being made every day.

Endless multitudes of artistic works have contained references to and parodies of the Nazis, and as an utterly humorless form of totalitarianism reeking of unwarranted self-importance, Nazism became the perfect target of works of satire, including:

  • The film The Great DictatorWikipedia's W.svg (1940) by Charlie Chaplin. The title character is "Adenoid Hynkel", the Dictator of "Tomania".[56]
  • The book Snorre Sel: En Fabel i Farger for Barn og Voksne (1941) by Frithjof SælenWikipedia's W.svg was a satire of Nazi Germany and was translated into several languages (e.g., Snorri the Seal: A Fable in Colors for Adults and Children). The Nazis belatedly attempted to confiscate all copies in occupied Norway where it was published.
  • The children's book Yertle the Turtle and Other StoriesWikipedia's W.svg (1951) by "Dr. SeussWikipedia's W.svg" (Theodore Seuss Geisel) tells the story of a turtle who proclaims himself superior to all the others in the pond. In various interviews, Seuss stated that Yertle was a representation of Hitler.[57]
  • The film The ProducersWikipedia's W.svg (1968) by Mel Brooks, with its play-within-a-film (and later play-within-a-play) "Springtime for Hitler".
  • The film Snide and PrejudiceWikipedia's W.svg (1997) is set in a mental hospital where patients are allowed to express their delusions by posing as historical members of the Nazi party. True to form, the patient posing as "Hitler" attempts to consolidate his power.[58]
  • "Hitler reacts",[59] a YouTube meme based on a scene in the film DownfallWikipedia's W.svg (2004) (German title: Der Untergang) where Hitler blows a gasket and loses his shit on his subordinates (based on actual events, as described by survivors present in the FührerbunkerWikipedia's W.svg at that time). For this meme, the parodist simply takes the unsubtitled clip from Downfall and adds humorous subtitles (that naturally do not reflect what Hitler is actually yelling about in the scene), making it look to people who read the subtitles - without paying attention to what's actually being yelled in German - as if Hitler is reacting to whatever the parodist wants.[60]
  • "Wolfenstein" [61], is a well-known video game series featuring Nazis as the bad guys, and allows players to mow them down with impunity with weapons ranging from ordinary to out-of-this-world. "Wolfenstein 3D" in particular helped popularize the first-person shooter genre, while "Wolfenstein: The New Order" depicts a hypothetical Nazi victory using stolen ancient technology.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. It should be noted however that the reasons behind the support were dramatically different. The Nazis supported eugenics to eliminate "undesired" populations like Jews or Slavs. Leftists like Margaret Sanger, the right's ever-popular pro-eugenics boogeyman, were in favor of eugenics due to a concern for Malthusian ideas of overpopulation, and essentially wanted to slow down reproduction rates (and, yes, they were often controversially in favor of sterilizing people with genetic handicaps). Sanger in particular was vehemently opposed to the Nazi version of eugenics.
  2. Again, for very different reasons. The Nazis were generally not anti-religion (although a few Nazi leaders were indeed quite so, notably Goebbels and Rosenberg, and even Hitler occasionally criticized Christianity in private), rather, they were very anti-church. They didn't like other powerful organizations exerting control over their subjects, and made a habit of closely monitoring clergy in order to spot even the slightest evidence of disloyalty. They also did not like religious groups that had values that strongly conflicted with their own- for instance, the Jehovah's Witnesses were ruthlessly oppressed by the Nazi regime because they opposed military service and swearing loyalty oaths.
  3. "National Socialist and Christian concepts are irreconcilable. The Christian churches build upon man's ignorance and endeavor to keep the greatest possible number of people in a state of ignorance. For it is only in this fashion that the churches can maintain their power. National Socialism, on the other hand, rests on scientific[sic] foundations. Christianity has certain unalterable principles, established nearly two thousand years ago, which have petrified into a system of dogma that is even further removed from reality. National Socialism, on the other hand, if it is to fulfill its purpose, must forever be brought in harmony with the latest results of scientific inquiry.[sic]" -Bormann
  4. The common way was to play the Nazi party anthem after or before the first stanza of the Lied der Deutschen
  5. The song's melody has been appropriated with different lyrics by a number of Fascist organizations, such as "Comrades, the Voices (of the Dead Battalions)" by the British Union of Fascists, "Banners of the Above" by the USA-based All-Russian Fascist Organization, and "Raise the Banners" by Greece's Golden Dawn.


  1. Those high cultures were specifically the Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Mexican (Mayan/Aztec), Classical (Greek/Roman), Arabian, Western or "European-American" societies.
  2. Bloxham, Donald, The Final Solution: A Genocide (Oxford, 2009) p.24
  3. See the Wikipedia article on Godwin's Law.
  4. Or to give it its full, and rather clunky, Germanic title: Frühling in Atlantis: Roman aus der Blütezeit des Reiches Atlantis, which roughly translates as Spring in Atlantis: A Novel about the Flowering of the Atlantean Empire (1933).
  5. See for instance: Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity (2002); Vanessa Ward, Nationalist Uses of the Atlantis Myth in a Nordic Framework, Pseudoarchaeology Research Archive (PARA) Research Paper A-10, January 26, 2008; Alicja Bemben, Rafał Borysławski, Justyna Jajszczok and Jakub Gajda (eds.) Cryptohistories (2015), particularly "Chapter Ten, The Riddle of Thule: The Search of the Crypto-History of a Racially Pure White Utopia"; Manfred Nagl, SF, Occult Sciences, and Nazi Myths, Science Fiction Studies, Volume 1, No. 3, Spring 1974.
  6. Twitter[a w]
  7. Fritzsche, Peter. Germans into Nazis, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998; Eatwell, Roger. Fascism, A History. Viking-Penguin, 1996. pp. xvii-xxiv, 21, 26–31, 114–140, 352; Griffin, Roger, "Revolution from the Right: Fascism," in David Parker, ed., Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West 1560-1991, London: Routledge, 2000
  8. Crash Course World History #220, World War II, A War for Resources.
  10. See the Wikipedia article on Nazism § Religion.
  11. Trial of the Major War Criminals before an International Tribune, Nuremberg War Trials
  12. "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter." - Adolf Hitler, April 12, 1922, Munich speech
  13. Besier, Gerhard and Francesca Piombo: The Holy See and Hitler's Germany (2007)
  14. , Kevin P. Spicer: Hitler's Priests: Catholic Clergy and National Socialism (2008)
  15. See, for example, this biased and selective website
  16. John Cornwell's disaster hack job book Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII is probably the most prominent example.
  19. Goebbels Diaries, 29 December 1939
  20. Joseph Goebbels, diary entry for October 16, 1928.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Hitler's Renegades, by Christer Jorgensen
  24. "Bund" (pronounced "booned") is German for "federation."
  25. No relation to the Green Party politicianWikipedia's W.svg with a similar name.
  26. A camp was planned for the Kettletown section of Southbury, Connecticut, but construction was prevented after local residents who opposed the Bund had the zoning laws changed.
  27. Click Magazine: "The Nazis In America", August 1938
  28. A fictionalized version of the Bund was depicted in the 1939 film Confessions of a Nazi Spy.
  29. The Nazi propaganda film "Hitlerjunge Quex (Hitler Youth Quex)", under the title "Unsere Fahne flattert uns voran (Our Flags Flutter Before Us)", had its USA premier at the Yorkville Theater in Manhattan on 6 July 1934.
  30. Coronet Magazine: "Hitler Despises German-Americans", April 1941
  31. This was the subject of the 2017 documentary short film "A Night at the GardenWikipedia's W.svg"
  32. Number taken from Arnie Bernstein's book Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund
  33. Sources identify this man as Isadore Greenbaum, a 26-year-old unemployed plumber's assistant and former Merchant Marine from Brooklyn. He was later fined $25 (roughly $430 when adjusted for inflation) for Disturbing the Peace.
  34. Footage of German American Bund activity
  35. US Holocaust Memorial Museum: German American Bund
  36. FBI Records: German American Federation/Bund
  37. Fritz Kuhn and the German-American Bund
  38. Virginia apparently refused to allow the terms "Nazi" or "National Socialist" in names of incorporation, so the group's official business name was "George Lincoln Rockwell Party, Inc."
  39. Number taken from a declassified 1965 declassified FBI monograph on the American Nazi Party
  40. 1966 Playboy interview of George Lincoln Rockwell
  41. Promotional poster for Rockwell's 1965 run for Virginia Governor
  42. George Lincoln Rockwell 1965 Virginia Gubernatorial Promotional film (WARNING: Racist language)
  43. His 1964 write-in campaign for the Presidency netted 212 votes, and he finished fourth out of four candidates in his 1965 Virginia run with only 5,730 votes, or 1.02% of the popular vote. He ran as an Independent because the Virginia electoral officers refused to allow the terms "Nazi" or "National Socialist" to be used on the ballot. He did, however, use "Vote White" as his campaign slogan.
  44. Murderpedia article on John Palter
  45. Death of an Arlington Nazi, Northern Virginia Magazine
  46. The quasi-religious organization New Order, led by former Rockwell follower Matthias "Matt" Koehl (1935-2014), is considered to be the "official" successor to Rockwell's group. Another Rockwell follower, William Luther Pierce (1933-2002), would later found the National Alliance. Yet another Rockwell follower, Allen Vincent (1932-1999), was the leader of the San Francisco, California unit of the NSWPP. He was featured in the 1975 documentary "The California ReichWikipedia's W.svg"
  47. Their best showing at the polls was in 2010, when Jeff Hall openly ran as an NSM candidate for a seat on the Western Municipal Water Board in Riverside County, California[1], finishing 2nd of 2 candidates with 27.66% of the votes[2]. The following year, Hall was murdered by his own son[3].
  48. Jewish Times; "Highway To Heschel", May 30, 2013,
  49. His daughter, Prof. Susannah Heschel, objected to this.
  50. Daily Beast:Neo-Nazi Group Implodes Over Love Triangle Turned Trailer Brawl March 14, 2018
  51. Heimbach later became "Director of Community Outreach" for the National Socialist Movement
  52. Geoff Walden's website "Third Reich In Ruins"
  53. German Wikipedia article on Vorbehaltsfilm
  54. The 2014 German documentary Verbotene Filme (Forbidden Films) deals in depth on these works.
  55. see this section of the wikipedia article on the details
  56. In Chaplin's 1964 autobiography, he wrote that if he knew of the horrors at the concentration camps at that time, he couldn't have made the film.
  60. Hitler Downfall parodies: 25 worth watching: Subtitled parodies of Adolf Hitler's last days in the Berlin bunker, as depicted in the 2004 Second World War film Downfall, have become one of the web's most enduring memes (7:00AM BST 06 Oct 2009) The Telegraph.