NazismThe most merciless and cruel party in the world, was under the role of
Adolf Hitler, their violence remained a deep gash in the western world
Nazism was originated in Germany in the early 1920s. It was the
doctrines or practices of the Nazi party. Nazism was a shortened version
of the tern National Socialism, denoting the doctrine and form of
government of Nazi Germany under the rule of Adolf as enunciated in his
book Mein Kampf. The term was an abbreviation of Nationalsozialistische
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German National Socialist Worker Party).
National Socialist German Workers Party founded in 1919 on fascist
principles and dominant from 1933 to 1945 in Germany. The party’s
principles were essentially antidemocratic and racist. Hitler borrowed
considerably from the Italian Fascist and Soviet Communist Systems, but the
Nazi pseudoscientific racist theories were original German contributions.
In the past storm troopers and communists had contested the streets on
fairly equal terms. Now, three days after the formation of Hitler’s
cabinet, communist meeting were banned in Prussia. To enforce such
measures, there was a new and ominous agency. A minor department in the
Berlin police, detailed to watch anticonstitutional activities, was put
under Goring’s command. As of April 26, 1933, this old Department IA of
the Prussian political police was replaced by the Geheime Staatspolizei
(“Secret State Police”), better known as the Gestapo. Within two years its
actiones would be free from judicial review and it would take its place
beside the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, or “Security Service”) and the security
branch of the SS in a sadistic competition to achieve the totalitarian
Until this time Nazism was very much a function of communism– the
other side of the revolutionary coin. Now, within Germany, National
Socialism stood alone. Communism was gone as a counterweight.
The Jews, if their reviled relationship to Nazism had been simply that
of expedient scapegoat, could now have been passed over. Hitler had
arrived and did not need them in his further rise to dictator and
conqueror. As unprincipled conqueror, he might well have enlisted their
talents and loyalties, but Hitler had his principles and the Jews remained
as ever the evil force behind all that sought to destroy the master race.
As a myth they had to be crushed. As a reality within German borders they
were a weak minority, so in practice the myth could be put aside and dealt
with at Hitler’s convenience.
Hindenburg himself had little patience with the new chancellor’s
anti-Semitism and wrote Hitler a letter objecting to the persecution of
those Jews who had fought bravely for the fatherland in World War I.
Indeed, while Hindenburg lived, Hitler was relatively restrained in his
persecutions. Many foresighted Jews did leave the country. Others,
accustomed to centuries of persecution, accepted this as just one more
period of hard times which must be endured. After all, Jews in England and
the United States were barred from the best clubs. A good many German Jews
wishfully believed that Hitler’s venom was reserved for the Eastern Jews
who had begun flooding into Germany after World War I. A few Jews,
thinking of themselves of labor, Friedrich Syrup, to stop further
immigration of Eastern Jews on the grounds that their presence stirred up
Not until 1936, with Hindenburg dead and Hitler in sole command, was
persecution seriously escalated. On September 13, during the Nuremburg
party rally, Hitler raised the specter of the almost forgotten party
protocol by announcing the Law for the Protection of German Blood and
Honor. Henceforth, only those of “German or related blood” could be
citizens. This event marked a deterioration of the Jewish lot in Nazi
Germany, but the monstrous “final solution,” instrumented under the
Lebensraum program, remained unimaginable in 1935.
Communists and Jews might have expected little better on the basis of
Hitler’s past performance. Labor, though a portion of its membership
merged with the communist left, seemed to be in for gentler treatment.
They had, in theory, been part of the National Socialist program form the
beginning. Reassuringly, Hitler declared May 1, 1933, a Day of National
Labor. Labor was flattered. A big rally was held that night at the
Tempelhof airport. There, Hitler warmed a crowd of several hundred
thousand with his praise of labor’s dignity and the need for unification
behind the nation. His listeners cheered themselves hoarse. Patriotic
songs were sung. Rockets flowered in the sky.
Bright and early the next day regular police, together with
detachments of SS and SA, occupied union headquarters throughout the land.
Leading officials were arrested and dispatch to concentration camps. The
Labor Federation’s banks and businesses were seized. Files were
confiscated. Labor newspapers were shut down. Within three weeks the
right to strike and to bargain collectively were removed, with
decisionmaking left entirely to the “natural leaders,” the employers, a far
cry from the socialistic goals espoused by so many early Nazis.
Hitler, meanwhile, informed the disgruntled workers that they would be
better off as part of the New German Labor Front. In reaction, there was
not even an organized protest, let alone an uprising which the communist
leadership would undoubtedly have encouraged had it not already been
removed. From marching to the old “International” (the communist anthem),
the workers now marched to a Nazi tune without ever breaking stride. For
the duration of the Third Reich the workers were industrial serfs, secure
enough in their jobs but with a share in the national income that was even
below the Depression level. As the economy moved toward war, a special
decree on June 22, 1938, instituted the conscription of labor. This
commanded each German to work where the state assigned him, with the
reciprocal assurance that he would not be fired without government
Besides this promise of security, the state brought one more rigid
good to the worker. For his cheap enjoyment there was the state-run Kraft
Durch Freude (“Strength through Joy”) program, which organized all his
leisure and vacation time into sporting and travel groups. Individuality,
as far as the Nazi state was concerned, no longer existed.
Could Nazism happen again? German universities remained centers of
unrest, but the last likelihood seemed to be another Hitler. For the most
part, Germany was a burned-out crater of big- power politics. She had no
stab-in-the-back legend, no “Jewish conspiracy” myth to spur her on. In
fact, if democracy should falter, the greatest probability was that it
would be supplanted by communism, that totalitarian system which existed in
East Germany and which, although Nazism’s undying foe, was more akin to
Nazism in practice than to democracy.