Rhetoric:The Nazis Were Leftists

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A propaganda poster contemporary to the Nazi rise to power, mocking the insincerity of their actual policy platform.

Antisocialists typically make two arguments in support of their accusation, namely: the fact that ‘Nazi’ is an abbreviation of ‘National Socialist’ and, to a less extent, that these other anticommunists were somehow against private property or against business. The first one is the easiest to refute: anybody can nullify it simply by reminding antisocialists of misnomers. For example, Rhode Island is not an island (it is a state on a continent), the Italian Social Republic was not a republic (it was a collaborationist state; republican only in that there was no king), the Independent State of Croatia wasn’t independent (it was also a collaborationist state), the Revolutionary Government Junta was not revolutionary (it was conservative), anarchocapitalism is not anarchism[1] (it is neofeudalism), and we could go on for hours with more examples. As Lenin correctly concluded, ‘In order to understand the real significance of parties one must examine, not their labels, but their class character and the historical conditions of each separate country.’ As for why these anticommunists chose such a misnomer at all, Samuel W. Mitcham explains:

Meanwhile on February 20, 1920, the German Workers’ Party switched its name to the [more euphemistic] National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeitpartei, called the N.S.D.A.P. for short). [The Führer] did not like the addition of the term ‘Socialist’ but acquiesced because the executive committee thought that it might be helpful in attracting workers from the left‐wing.

—Samuel W. Mitcham, [2]

Antisocialists’ next claim, however, requires citations. But these shall all conclusively demonstrate that Fascism, far from being socialism or otherwise anticapitalist, was itself a form of class rule that concentrated all its efforts into defending and expanding capitalism. However one redefines capitalism, the fact of the matter is that the Reich still preserved capital, generalised commodity production, the law of value, and wage labour. Surely no capitalist rejects all of those.

Capitalism[edit]

A Western academic has documented privatization in the Third Reich.[3] Indeed, the terms ‘privatization’ and ‘re-privatisation’ were themselves coined (by the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1943 and the Economist on August 1st, 1936,[4] respectively) to refer to their economic reforms,[5] which were almost the modern world’s first, even predating Chile’s and Britain’s, and postdating only the Kingdom of Italy’s.[6] (Capitalist economist Mark Thoma conceded as much.[7]) The Reich introduced ‘Keynesian’ economic stimulus through military spending, privatisations, and breaking unions, instituting deep cuts in the proletariat’s wages.[8] [9] Consequently, income from capital and business increased from 17.4% of the national income to 26.6%,[10] and the rate of return on capital increased in the Reich’s industry.[11] By the mid‐1930s, the Third Reich became the second country to recover fully from the Great Depression.[12] (Tell us, just how many capitalists regard socialism and economic recoveries as compatible phenomena?) For most industrialists, it was superprofitable to cooperate with the ethnostate;[13] the net profits of corporations such as Krupp and I.G. Farben increased tremendously from 1933 to 1940.[14] Krupp in particular immediately commercialized a local engineer’s ore‐refinement technique, licensed it to several Imperial businesses, and exported the corresponding plants to said businesses. This resulted in an enormous amount of licensing and export revenue for Krupp.[15] The Reich’s most important sources of foreign currency included the Empire of Japan (with 14.5%), Britain (with 14%), occupied India (12%), the U.S.A. (with approximately 10.5%), and the Kuomintang (with over 10%), the last of whom were the Reich’s only important source of foreign currency who were also a purchaser of its arms.[16]

Regardless of their (infrequent) ranting against international plutocracy or how it devastated the national community, the fact remains that the Axis protected both private property and capital accumulation, especially those that periodically bent to the anticommunist state’s needs. Thus the ‘new’ world that the Axis envisioned still defended a central pillar of neoclassical liberalism’s world.[17] Capital was actually holding up better in the Reich than in Imperial America due to the Third Reich’s economic policies,[18] and for half of 1933, the Reich’s stock market actually outperformed that of Britain, France, and the U.S. (until intersecting with Britain’s in July that year).[19] Despite some of the import restrictions that the Third Reich imposed on behalf of its foreign exchange reserves, Italian luxury products kept their high shares. The Kingdom of Italy’s southern fruits alone accounted for ℛℳ 34.9 million in 1933 and remained almost completely unrestricted. Exports of other products (that did not satisfy any of the Reich’s existential needs) grew as well, with silk and floss in particular rising from ℛℳ 10.6 million in 1933 to 23.2 million in 1935. German exports of hemp and similar fibres increased from ℛℳ 9.2 million in 1933 to ℛℳ 16.7 million in 1935, which the Reich’s authorities had shifted from other countries—especially the Soviet Union—to the Kingdom of Italy instead. Tourism was another major source of Fascist revenue: the money that Germans travelling to the Kingdom of Italy spent bloomed from ℛℳ 16 million in 1933 to ℛℳ 38.1 million in 1935 (a sum already exceeded after the first nine months of 1936).[20] The binational Fuji Electric’s prosperity coincided with that of the Third Reich,[21] businesses fared well as the Fascist bourgeoisie controlled France,[22] and by December 1941, the Third Reich became Imperial Japan’s largest foreign owner in terms of design, patent, and utility model rights, and second only to the U.S. in terms of trademark rights.[23] Mitsubishi share offerings raised a sum of about ¥45 million from the 1920s to 1931, and further offerings in the early 1940s only brought in many times more. Nissan’s own paid‐in capital (¥5.25 million in 1933) increased to ¥198.37 million in 1937; its total assets jumped from ¥91.08 to ¥383.10 million.[24] The Third Reich fostered consumerism as well.[25] [26] [27] Imperial Japan’s consumer culture in particular was overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Duce, and contributed to his celebrity throughout the Empire.[28] In terms of practical policy, the Fascists favored a market‐based economic policy:

Irrespective of an awful overall performance, an important characteristic of the economy of the Third Reich, and a big difference from a centrally planned one, was the rôle [that] private ownership of firms was playing — in practice as well as in theory. The ideal [Fascist] economy would liberate the creativeness of a multitude of private entrepreneurs in a predominantly competitive framework gently directed by the state to achieve the highest welfare of the Germanic people.

—Christoph Buchheim & Jonas Scherner, [29]

Germany was not the Soviet Union, centrally planned and centrally commanded. [The Chancellery’s] orders, though they shaped national policy, were refracted and distorted by a system that was poorly coordinated, factious, and obstructive. There was no straight line of command between Führer and factory. In between lay a web of ministries, plenipotentiaries and Party commissars, each with their own apparatus, interests and rubber stamps, producing more than the usual weight of bureaucratic inertia. At the end of the line was a business community most of whom remained wedded to entrepreneurial independence, and resented the jumbled administration, the corrupt [N.S.D.A.P.] hacks, the endless form‐filling, which stifled what voluntary efforts [that] they might have made to transform the war economy.

—R.J. Overy, [30]

All of this is no surprise since the Fascists themselves explicitly recognised private ownership[31] as a primary economic factor:

The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

—The Duce, [32]

The Chancellor himself only ever described the N.S.D.A.P. as a right‐wing movement; something that supported private property. His economic ministers reflected this:

Adolf Weber was asked to make a report by the plaintiff in my denazification process before the Ludwigsburg court. In this report he showed how I succeeded in bringing [the Chancellor] to his senses where questions of banking and currency were concerned. At the end of March, 1933 [the Chancellor] declared in the Reichstag ‘In principle, the [Fascist] government will safeguard the interests of the German people, not by means of a state‐organised bureaucracy, but by means of the greatest possible furtherance of private enterprise and respect for private property.’ And a little later he said to his party leaders ‘It is wrong to get rid of a good economist provided he is a good economist because he is not yet a [Fascist], at least not if the [Fascist] who is to take his place knows nothing about economics’.

—Hjalmar Schacht, [33]

I tried to accomplish my mission by impressing on the Führer and the Party as a whole that private initiative, the self‐reliance of the business man, and the creative powers of free enterprise should be recognized as the basic economic policy of the Party. The Führer personally stressed time and again, during talks with me and industrial leaders to whom I had introduced him, that he was an enemy of state‐economy and of so‐called “planned economy”, and that he considered free enterprise and competition as absolutely necessary in order to gain the highest possible production.

—Walther Funk, [34]

There are yet more cases of Fascist privatization: as,

In 1936/37 the capital of the Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank in the possession of the German Reich was sold to private shareholders and consequently the state representatives withdrew from the board of these banks. Also in 1936 the Reich sold its shares of Vereinigte Stahlwerke. The war did not change anything with regard to this attitude. In 1940 the Genshagen airplane engine plant operated by Daimler-Benz was privatized; Daimler-Benz bought the majority of shares held by the Reich earlier than it wished to. But the company was urged by the Reich Aviation Ministry and was afraid that the Reich might offer the deal to another firm. Later in the war the Reich actively tried to privatize as many Montan GmbH companies as possible, but with only little success.

—Christoph Buchheim & Jonas Scherner, [35]

With regards to agriculture:

The agricultural policy of fascism with regard to tariffs and prices favors the big landowners and rich farmers almost exclusively at the expense of the small peasants. In both Italy and Germany, in fact “the technical division of products corresponds to an economic and political division of property and classes.” The big landowners and rich farmers, because their holdings are larger and they can use scientific methods, have a monopoly in the production of grain. The small peasants, on the other hand, produce almost no grain for the market but devote themselves to other activities, such as stock raising, truck farming, etc. But fascism assures profitable prices almost solely to the grain growers. As a matter of fact, the industrialists are opposed to any increase in prices of agricultural products which could have an adverse effect on their own costs. Fascism avoids sacrificing agriculture to industry when the products of large scale farming are involved, but it is less ardent in the defense of other commodities, produced chiefly by small peasants. In short, it manages a compromise that safeguards the interests of both the big landowners and the industrialists, but that is paid for by the small peasants.

—Daniel Guerin, [36]

Hans Peter Danielcik, anticommunist lawyer and head of the Hanseatic Federation of Commerce, Trade, and Industry, noted that competition ‘is essential to the [Fascist] economy.’ For example, Krupp and I.G. Farben competed over exporting high‐pressure reaction pipes to the Japanese Empire.[37] Needless to say, if the Fascist state were micromanaging these businesses, the persistence of competition would make no sense. Other Fascist leaders likewise defended, both in theory[38] and practice, private property and the profit motive.[39] The German anticommunists considered private property a precondition to developing the creativity of members of the ‘German race’ in the ‘best interest’ of the people.[40] For example, here is the Führer himself concerning private property,[41] and in May of 1930 he spat at his neighbour, Max Amann, this little nugget of wisdom:

What right do these people have to demand a share of property or even in administration? […] The employer who accepts the responsibility for production also gives the workpeople their means of livelihood. Our greatest industrialists are not concerned with the acquisition of wealth or with good living, but, above all else, with responsibility and power. They have worked their way to the top by their own abilities, and this proof of their capacity — a capacity only displayed by a higher race — gives them the right to lead.

—Adolf Hitler, [42]

Similarly, on unions:

Our great heads of industry are not concerned with the accumulation of wealth and the good life, rather they are concerned with responsibility and power. They have acquired this right by natural selection: they are members of the higher race. But you would surround them with a council of incompetents, who have no notion of anything. No economic leader can accept that.

—Adolf Hitler, [43]

In terms of workers’ rights, the Fascists prohibited collective bargaining[44] and immediately began to crack down on ‘illegal groups’ (read: communists and social-democrats): first, ensuring that these groups were ‘destroyed by force’, and second, granting ‘extraordinary powers’ to employers to minimize the proletariat’s ability to organize.[45] The Führer himself dismissed profit‐sharing and the workers’ right to consultation as ‘Marxist principles’.[46] As in the Kingdom of Italy,[47] the German anticommunists abolished the eight‐hour workday[48] and replaced the unions themselves with pseudodemocratic, bourgeois apologist organizations[49] which could neither negotiate wages nor working conditions,[50] rendering them ‘unions’ in name only. Consequently, many of the proletariat’s benefits faded away while the capitalists grew richer.[10] (Incidentally, most mainstream economists also agree that the world would be better off without trades unions.[51]) The anticommunists accused those organizing wildcat strikes, and those wanting to make the ‘German Labor Front’ less useless to the proletariat, of being ‘Marxist gangsters’, and subsequently interned them in concentration camps.[52] [53] [54] (Hopefully this at least prevented the Marxist mafia from hiding Blondi’s severed head underneath the Führer’s clean sheets.) In 1932, the Führer spewed:

But in the economic sphere communism is analogous to democracy in the political sphere. We find ourselves today in a period in which these two fundamental principles are at grips in all spheres which come into contact with each other; already they are invading economics.

—Adolf Hitler, [55]

In 1935, he also spewed:

National Socialists [read: Fascists] see in private property a higher level of human economic development that according to the differences in performance controls the management of what has been accomplished enabling and guaranteeing the advantage of a higher standard of living for everyone. Bolshevism destroys not only private property but also private initiative and the readiness to shoulder responsibility.

—The Chancellor, [56]

In one of his earliest speeches as Chancellor:

Here all action shall be governed by one law: the Volk does not live for the economy, and the economy does not exist for capital, but capital serves the economy and the economy serves the Volk! In principle, the Government protects the economic interests of the German Volk not by taking the roundabout way through an economic bureaucracy to be organized by the State, but by the utmost promotion of private initiative and a recognition of the rights of property.

—The Chancellor, [57]

In 1938 (the same year that the Reich was hosting the world’s largest business[58]), he would reiterate that he approves of property and rejects scientific socialism:

A Socialist is one who serves the common good without giving up his individuality or personality or the product of his personal efficiency. Our adopted term ‘Socialist’ has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti‐property; true socialism is not. Marxism places no value on the individual, or individual effort, or efficiency; true Socialism values the individual and encourages him in individual efficiency, at the same time holding that his interests as an individual must be in consonance with those of the community. All great inventions, discoveries, achievements were first the product of an individual brain. It is charged against me that I am against property, that I am an atheist. Both charges are false.

As Leon Trotsky correctly observed,[59] [60] the N.S.D.A.P. was directed and financed first by small capitalists and then by big capitalist powers.[61] [62] [63] According to some estimates, the Third Reich’s big businesses altogether donated approximately seven hundred million Reichsmarks to the N.S.D.A.P.[64] While the party itself initially had limited support directly from corporations[65] (with a couple exceptions[66]) they did not have to wait too long for Anglo–American businessmen to support them.[67] [68] Ford (whose writings influenced the Third Reich[69] [70] [71] [72]),[73] IBM,[74][a] the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation,[75] the Harriman railroad fortune,[76] Ethyl Gasoline Corp.,[77] Wall Street financiers, and others[78] [79] were happy to do business with them,[80] even if it meant exterminating entire ethnicities:

IBM, headed by Thomas Watson, had purchased a controlling interest in the German firm Dehomag in the early 1920s, and held on once the [Fascists] seized power. On his 75th birthday in 1937, Watson accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, given him for the assistance IBM’s German subsidiary provided the government in tabulating its census with its punchcard machines. This later proved very effective in, among other things, identifying Jews, and later still in helping make the trains to Auschwitz run on time.

On an even larger scale, General Motors Alfred Sloan, through his German subsidiary Adam Opel, built cars and transport vehicles for the [Reich’s] army. Sloan, on the eve of [the Reich’s] invasion of Poland, said [that] his company “was too big to be affected by a petty international squabble.”

Henry Ford’s German subsidiary manufactured an arsenal of military vehicles throughout the war with the consent of the parent company in Michigan. Ford himself had earlier published a series of articles — later a book — entitled The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem. [The Führer] hung a portrait of Ford in his Munich office, and told the Detroit News in 1931, “I regard Heinrich Ford as my inspiration.”

When the European war was declared in 1939, Ford and GM, despite subsequent disclaimers, refused to divest themselves of their [Fascist] holdings, and even complied with [Fascist] government orders to retool for war production, while resisting similar demands from the U.S. government.

Ford, GM, Standard Oil, ALCOA, ITT, General Electric, the munitions maker Du Pont, Eastman Kodak, Westinghouse, Pratt & Whitney, Douglas Aircraft, United Fruit, Singer, and International Harvester, continued to trade with [the Fascists] up to 1941. Although the United States declared many of these business activities illegal under the Trading With the Enemy Act, several corporations still received special licenses to continue operations in [the Reich]. Profits piled up in blocked bank accounts as Americans were dying on the battlefield.

—Oliver Stone & Peter Kuznick, [81]

Winston Churchill himself said in 1918 that the British Empire ‘might have to build up the German Army, as it was important to get Germany on its legs again for fear of the spread of Bolshevism.[82] During the 1920s, Anglo–American capitalists frequently paid off the reparations that Berlin was supposed to pay (allegedly because they feared that the Reich’s poor shape would lead to ‘unrest’ on the continent).[83] Between 1924 and 1929 American private investment in the Reich totalled nearly three billion dollars, more than twice as much as the 1940s Marshall Plan in real terms.[84] U.S. Ambassador to the German Reich, William E. Dodd, confirmed in the early 1940s that ‘certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist régimes into being in both Germany and Italy.[85] Through the Dawes–Young Plans,[86] much of the German Reich’s rearmament was only thanks to the Anglo–American capitalists:[87]

[The Chancellor] quickly began a massive program of rearmament, which he made public in 1935, and once Hjalmar Schacht became his Minister of Economics he received vital bank credits from Montagu Norman, who in 1934 told a Morgan partner, “Hitler and Schacht are the bulwarks of civilization in Germany. […] They are fighting the war of our system of society against communism.” Many American bankers[88] agreed, trusting their friend Schacht and hoping that [Fascism] would repay at least some of the reparations and also crush the […] communists.

—Oliver Stone & Peter Kuznick (paraphrased), [89]

Similarly, in the Empire of Japan:

We would like to emphasize that the high growth of [Imperial] Japan in the 1930s, and the foreign policy of [Imperial] Japan from the mid‐1920s, clearly, and sometimes directly, were the results of and reflected [Imperial] Japan’s absorption from Western nations during the 1920s and 1930s of the technological capability for producing more and better capital goods.

—Kozo Yamamura, [90]

In the 1930s, British and U.S. steel producers were shipping to the Japanese Empire and would have ceased had there existed no major oil company support.[91] Sweden’s capitalists in particular built some of their wealth on supplying the Third Reich’s war effort with scarce essential resources (such as iron ore) for weapons, arguably prolonging the world war by one year.[92] Switzerland was the Reich’s most frequent client among all of the so‐called ‘neutral’ countries due to its liberal policies[93] and willingly supplied it with loans, gold reserves, munitions, machines, electricity, aluminium, and much more.[94] [95] Mitsubishi in particular designed and manufactured fighters for Imperial Japan (such as the famous Mitsubishi AM6 ‘Zero’) and was in many other ways a huge part of the war effort.[96] The same applies to European auto manufacturers such as BMW[97] and Mercedes[98] which both made aircraft engines during WWII and used neoslave labour. Likewise, social capital (propaganda) was crucial to the anticommunists’ success.[99] One particularly influential European capitalist, Gustav Krupp, strongly supported these anticommunists throughout his life[100] [101] and his business handed out Fascist literature to his wage slaves.[102]

Goebbels is also recorded as having released a wealthy capitalist by the name of Günther Quandt[103] after he was imprisoned for tax evasion (like the Chancellor should have been[104]). The Third Reich had a lower tax rate than even Britain’s;[105] the anticommunists were reluctant to increase taxes on individual German citizens to pay for the conflict, so the top personal income tax rate in 1941 was 13.7% in the Reich (as opposed to 23.7% in Great Britain). These anticommunists primarily funded their bellicism by means of neoslavery and by plundering assets from ethnic minorities.[106] The Reich’s industry used millions of neoslaves since they were cheap and therefore perfect for maximizing profits.[107] Indeed, the Fascists in general practised policies of terrific wealth accumulation:[108] [109]

[Fascist] officials and SS commanders amassed personal fortunes by plundering conquered territories and stealing from concentration camp inmates and other political victims. Huge amounts were made from secretly owned, well connected businesses, and from contracting out camp slave labor to industrial firms like I.G. Farben and Krupp. […] [The Chancellor] accumulated an immense fortune, much of it in questionable ways. He expropriated art works from the public domain. He stole enormous sums from [Fascist] party coffers. He invented a new concept, the “personality right,” that enabled him to charge a small fee for every postage stamp with his picture on it, a venture that made him hundreds of millions of marks. […] During his entire tenure in office he got special rulings from the [Fascist] tax office that allowed him to avoid paying income or property taxes. He had a motor pool of limousines, private apartments, country homes, a vast staff of servants, and a majestic estate in the Alps.

—Michael Parenti (paraphrased), [110]

Abroad, the Reich engaged in what historian Maurice Dobb termed ‘fascist imperialism’.[111] The historian pointed out that, while earlier imperialist ventures targeted unindustrialized and undeveloped countries, fascist imperialism annexed many that had ‘already reached a high level of industrial development’ and incorporated them as colonies of the Reich. Sometimes when it successfully subordinated a country, the Fascist state embarked upon the ‘unprecedented’ task of ‘de‐industrializing’ it so that it could produce food and raw materials for the Fascist economy — while maintaining a ‘monopoly of industrial production’ in the Reich’s heartland,[112] though not every region (e.g. Austria and Czechoslovakia) had to adhere to this policy. When de‐industrialization completed, the anticommunists granted Fascist firms ‘extensive privileges’ to develop raw material production in the occupied territories, and established ‘obligatory delivery quotas’ of such materials to the Reich.[113]

Finally, when discussing with antisocialists one should avoid mentioning the quote ‘Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.’ While this description may not be too far from the truth,[114] there is still no evidence that Mussolini ever said it,[115] and thus we kindly advise against using it.[b] Quote from Schmidt’s The Corporate State in Action instead.

Redefinitions[edit]

Antisocialists, first of all, have a long history of redefining socialism on a whim:

Whether it was a question of the right of petition or the tax on wine, freedom of the press or free trade, the clubs or the municipal charter, protection of personal liberty or regulation of the state budget, the watchword constantly recurs, the theme remains always the same, the verdict is ever ready and invariably reads: “Socialism!” Even bourgeois liberalism is declared socialistic, bourgeois enlightenment socialistic, bourgeois financial reform socialistic. It was socialistic to build a railway where a canal already existed, and it was socialistic to defend oneself with a cane when one was attacked with a rapier.

—Karl Marx, [117]

Thus the Chancellor had not one but multiple redefinitions of socialism, none of which anarchists and communists ever touted. For example, an ultranationalist one (unconcerned with economy):

Whoever is prepared to make the national cause his own to such an extent that he knows no higher ideal than the welfare of the nation; whoever has understood our great national anthem, “Deutschland über Alles,” to mean that nothing in the wide world surpasses in his eyes this Germany, people and land — that man is a Socialist.

—Adolf Hitler, [118]

An almost childlike oversimplification:

Socialism! What does socialism really mean? If people have something to eat and their pleasures, then they have their socialism.

—Adolf Hitler, [119]

And this convoluted inaccuracy, wherein he also spewed that he was ‘reclaiming’ socialism:

Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists. Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.

—Adolf Hitler, [120]

(And note how none of these mentions anything about ‘big government’, ‘redistribution of wealth’, ‘state interference’, or some such thing, likewise ahistoric redefinitions[117] that antisocialists give. The white supremacist welfare programme itself relied not on state funds but private donations, usually from the poor, in order to function;[121] this too was a feature that the anticommunists privatized.[3] The somewhat relevant ‘certain lands in common’ bit may imply redistribution, but when they reimplemented this we have no idea; it seems totally arbitrary given the promotion of privatisation anyway. These redefinitions however are consistent with the anticommunist, antianarchist, and class‐collaborationist reconceptions of socialism that the European right invented,[122] one of which called scientific socialism ‘the capitalism of the working class’ and accused Marx of wishing to merely substitute capital’s right to private profit with ‘the worker’s right to private profit.’)

Some have irrelevantly[c] asserted that, even though private property wasn’t abolished, their economic regulations alone somehow suffice as proof of their ‘socialism’. The fact of the matter however is that these ‘regulations’ were never intended to suppress businesses’ freedom; these were collaborative arrangements[123] [124] that the upper classes instituted for the sake of their militarily driven economy, much like the U.K. and the U.S.A. did during wartime:[125] [126] they had to maximize efficiency with a central authority. So did the Republic of Korea during its number of five‐year plans, in which the bourgeois state directly commanded all of its major corporations in its interests (yet it gained the compliments of the U.S.A. during these plans for ‘upholding the free market’ regardless).[127] [128] So have other antisocialist states, which ‘have maintained a public sector that is centrally planned, although the private ownership and accumulation of capital have predominated.[129] As Lenin noted,

[M]onopoly capitalism […] must be emphasized because the erroneous bourgeois reformist assertion that monopoly capitalism or state‐monopoly capitalism is no longer capitalism, but can now be called “state socialism” and so on, is very common. The trusts, of course, never provided, do not now provide, and cannot provide complete planning. But however much they do plan, however much the capitalist magnates calculate in advance the volume of production on a national and even on an international scale, and however much they systematically regulate it, we still remain under capitalism—at its new stage, it is true, but still capitalism, without a doubt. The “proximity” of such capitalism to socialism should serve genuine representatives of the proletariat as an argument proving the proximity, facility, feasibility, and urgency of the socialist revolution, and not at all as an argument for tolerating the repudiation of such a revolution and the efforts to make capitalism look more attractive, something which all reformists are trying to do.

—V.I. Lenin (emphasis added), [130]

The Reich’s anticommunists sought to establish a Wehrwirtschaft (‘defense-economy’) above all else. Henry Spiegel (writing in 1940) noted three main characteristics of the Reich’s economy under Fascism: That it was an ‘economy of scarcity’, in other words, that the exploitation of humanity ‘and materials was pushed to the limits’; that the anticommunist state used ‘centralized planning under maintenance of some element of the price system’; and that the anticommunist state retained the profit motive as the primary ‘economic motor’.[131]

What little ‘central planning’ that the anticommunists applied was not analogous to Soviet‐style central plans, but were more akin to strategic visions for the economy. The Wehrwirtschaft ideal held primacy in these plans, which sought to transform the economy into an ‘integrated part of the military machine’, but retain the system of private ownership.[132] Thus rather than allocating production directly according to the System of Material Balances (as the U.S.S.R. did), the Four Year Plan of 1936 merely instituted price controls, particularly to discourage consumption of goods deemed to be luxuries and to promote the ‘basic industries’ that formed the anticommunists’ apparatus of war production.[133] As well, the Four Year Plan of 1936 only assured the Reich’s synthetic oil industry of a secure market and profit when the Empire of Japan’s industry finally went underway through the Seven Year Plan for the Promotion of Production of Synethetic Oil that anticommunist officials initiated the year after. Private industry was to undertake synthetic oil production in both cases under the auspices of a government (in other words, a customer’s) plan.[134] In the agricultural realm, the anticommunists did not undertake anything resembling Soviet collectivization, but rather instituted price controls through the Reichsnährstand (‘Reich Food Estate’) to control cost of living.[135]

Among Fascism’s industries, the oil industry was perhaps the best example for how the anticommunists operated the Wehrwirtschaft, as they considered it to occupy a ‘special and irreplaceable rôle’ within the economy and military machine.[136] Under the banner of ‘rearmament and autarky’, they began to use their Four Year Plans to encourage sectors like construction, oil, chemicals, and engineering over others, such as coal and agriculture.[137] Under the Plans, the régime took control over marketing, but corporate leaders ‘remained in charge’ of the industry as a whole, confirming that the Fascists were uninterested in either nationalization or direct government management.[138] This is even more apparent in the case of their antebellum policies for Southeastern Europe:

While [Fascist] policy‐makers like Clodius and Funk advocated limited economic development for Southeastern Europe, their ideas remained intentionally vague. They discussed improving agricultural and mining productivity in Southeastern Europe, but they rarely presented concrete plans that went beyond purchasing grains, livestock, and oil from the region at high prices. Instead, they left it to Germany’s private organizations to elaborate what development for Southeastern Europe actually meant, and how it was to proceed. Ironically, in contrast to the British Empire, where the [bourgeois] state drove development policy, before 1940 Germany’s private organizations played a much stronger rôle in both planning and orchestrating development in Germany’s hinterland.

—Stephen G. Gross (emphasis added), [139]

One document alleges that the Führer privately spewed in 1931 that ‘every owner should feel himself to be an agent of the State; it is his duty not to misuse his possessions to the detriment of the State or the interests of his fellow countrymen. That is the overriding point. The Third Reich will always retain the right to control property owners.’ But as Western scholars such as Thomas Schirmacher and Rainer Zitelmann have concluded, the document alleging this is a forgery.[140]

Antisocialists furthermore overlook the fact that while ‘regulatory activity’ was extensive, firms still preserved a good deal of their autonomy even under the Third Reich;[141] they valued freedom of contract and opposed any bureaucratic management of the economy:[142]

This monopolistic structure is not maintained soley by the general managers (Generaldirektoren), but just as much by capitalists. Otto Wolff, Friedrich Flick, and Günther Quandt are not managers, but powerful capitalists. They are not rentiers who at the end of the year cut the dividend coupons of their stock certificates and cash their dividends. Nor are the managers themselves simply managers, that is, salaried employees. They have long ago assumed the role of capitalists proper, investing their savings in shares and often speculating with the funds of their own corporations, thereby strengthening their personal financial power within them. Moreover, the managerial positions are often as hereditary as those of the capitalists proper.

—Franz Leopold Neumann, [143]

[I]t is not astonishing that Otto Ohlendorf, an enthusiastic [anticommunist] and high‐ranking SS officer, who since November 1943 held a top position in the Reich Economics Ministry, did not like Speer’s system of industrial production at all. He strongly criticized the cartel‐like organization of the war economy where groups of interested private parties exercised state power to the detriment of the small and medium entrepreneur. For the postwar period he therefore advocated a clear separation of the state from private enterprises with the former establishing a general framework for the activity of the latter. In his opinion it was the constant aim of [Fascist] economic policy, “to restrict as little as possible the creative activities of the individual. […] Private property is the natural precondition to the development of personality. Only private property is able to further the continuous attachment to a certain work.”

—Christoph Buchheim & Jonas Scherner, [40]

Trade and commercial power cannot be understood by only examining state‐to‐state interactions or the intentions of political leaders. At its core, trade is about private transactions, about buyers finding sellers. This remained the case, albeit with limitations, throughout the 1930s. Although the [bourgeois] state intervened in ever more extensive swaths of the economy after 1929, both in Germany and in Southeastern Europe, the basic building blocks of trade remained private actors. By the 1930s the [bourgeois] state may have dictated the broader goals of the economy and even set some prices, but firms and other private institutions gathered the information, evaluated the price signals, and made decisions that in the aggregate affected the shape and substance of foreign trade.

—Stephen G. Gross, [144]

A very similar arrangement applies to the Kingdom of Italy, too: ‘The intervention of the State in economic production takes place only when private initiative is lacking or is insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. Such intervention may assume the form of outside control, encouragement or direct management.[145] Hence to ensure the success of arms exports in particular, businessmen had to rely on the Fascist régime’s support (in both diplomatic and financial terms).[16] While the Fascists did come to increasingly shape business policies, they provided security against the risks of business only to the biggest capitalists:

Beyond the frontiers there has been a misunderstanding of the meaning of one of [the Duce’s] phrases to the effect that three-quarters of the Italian economic system, both industrial and agricultural, is under State supervision. Almost all the medium-sized and little firms and the great majority of slightly larger firms, with the exception of a few categories, are completely outside the sphere of the State’s healing activity.

—Signor Pirelli, [146]

One must first and foremost exclude the State or any public body such as a syndicate, or more important still a Corporation, from taking upon itself the management of businesses and thus eliminating private enterprise or placing it in a thoroughly subordinate position. This would be in contradiction to the Charter of Labor.

—Gino Arias (emphasis added), [147]

There is furthermore no reason to believe that all or most capitalists were unhappy about this turn of events:

Typically, the corporate élites were not concerned about the large‐scale state involvement. Although it happened that besides the financial involvement, structural changes up to the appointment of a “trusted board” were enforced, the majority of entrepreneurs appreciated the state becoming a shareholder. Particularly those sectors could benefit that had been less attractive for private capital. The position of the entrepreneurs was strengthened by the appointment of its lobby organisation Confindustria, which had been in operation since 1910, to an official body the economic administration. Henceforth, the entrepreneurs were committed in inter‐ministerial and inter‐corporate committees and further strengthened the ties between the state and private businesses.

—Per Tiedtke, [148]

The Fascists were certainly not meddling in the affairs of all businessfolks and landowners either:[149] dozens of thousands of small businesses unable to obtain either loans or subsidies had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. The rural petite‐bourgeoisie received little or no help, as the Fascists ignored thousands of requests for financial aid.[150] Fascist Robert Ley promised “to restore absolute leadership to the natural leader of a factory—that is, the employer. […] Only the employer can decide. Many employers have for years had to call for the ‘master in the house.’ Now they are once again to be the ‘master in the house.’[151] Room for responsibility and initiative was a cultural theme that ran through numerous articles from the Third Reich, whether they dealt with entrepreneurs, judges, or senior civil servants. The upshot was always that Germans of all classes were not supposed to wait for regulations; the Fascists encouraged them take matters into their own hands (provided that they remained within the realm of folkish spirit) instead. This antibureaucratic message drew on a broad cultural uneasiness with rationalization, but the new anticommunist dictatorship still enhanced, promoted, and emphasized the rôle of individual responsibility and initiative within large factories and bureaucracies:[26]

The point is that industrial behavior under [Fascism] cannot be reduced to simple structural explanations. Even within the context of a dictatorship that demanded high levels of production for war, industrialists made choices as individuals. They approached the SS for cheap labor; they decided whether to buy a Jewish company at a fraction of its value; they determined how forced and slave laborers would be treated in their factories.

—S. Jonathan Wiesen, [152]

For example, Krupp and I.G. Farben both responded differently to a fuel industry director’s enquiries.[153] This discord simply would not happen in a collectivist system. Krupp itself attempted repeatedly to convince Reich officials into permitting exports of hydrogenation high‐pressure reaction pipes to the Empire of Japan. Ultimately they all refused these requests (perhaps in part because Krupp failed to gain I.G. Farben’s cooperation, whose interests were mainly in licensing[154]), but nevertheless this fact does not fit nicely with the claim that the Fascist state was simply micromanaging businesses;[155] Krauch on the other hand successfully petitioned both the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Export Association of the Special Group for High‐Quality Steel to transfer to his own department’s centralized control the maintenance of matters concerning applications for supplies to Imperial Japan.[134] In the case of arms exports, the Fascists actually abolished a regulation from 1927:

Although Krupp had not been totally absent from the export market for arms during the Weimar Republic, the policies of the [Fascist] régime eventually allowed the firm to compete freely on the open market and promote the export of war material. From a legal perspective November 1935 marked the decisive turning point for Krupp, and indeed for all [Fascist] arms producers. Up to that point the export of war material was governed by the law of 27 July 1927 which had prohibited the ‘import and export of war material of any kind (arms, munitions, and other material) and its production for export’. […] Although the November 1935 law institutionalized government supervision of the export of arms, such control was clearly not intended to impede the flow of exports.

—C.M. Leitz, [16]

Likewise in 1935 (even before the approval of the Anti‐Comintern Pact), Nippon Electric and Siemens freely made a deal that the Imperial market would be divided 70–30 for both automatic switchboards and related equipment, and, furthermore, that cross‐licensing would go into effect. This was a notable example of parent companies consenting to an agreement between their subsidiaries, an agreement which substituted for one between the parents, and occurred regardless of a background of economic nationalism emerging in the Imperial market and the advancement of ‘Japanization’ within the subsidiaries.[156] (Nippon Electric itself, like Tokyo Electric, was under the U.S. corporate umbrella.[157]) Danish capitalists in particular were mostly free of state intervention:

In comparison with the conditions of industry in other [Fascist]‐occupied western or northern European countries, [Axis] authorities hardly interfered with the management of big businesses in Denmark, and large Danish corporations, acting out of economic more than political necessity, chose to collaborate extensively with the occupying power. The activities of F. L. Smidth and Højgaard & Schultz in Germany, the Polish General Government, Estonia, and Serbia underline the willingness, if not eagerness, of companies to collaborate, even if it meant the use of forced or [neo]slave labor. We are thus faced with a clear example of what happens when, in Avraham Barkai’s words, business leaders, instead of asking, “What else could I have done?” fail to ask themselves, “What must I under no circumstances do?” The two companies also demonstrated a level of strategic planning. Economic collaboration in occupied Europe was not simply about the [Fascist] economy trying to control business but also, in 1939–42, the voluntary choice of companies keen on preserving market shares. The result was businessmen’s active support for the [Axis’s] europäische Grossraumwirtschaft (European Greater Economic Area) under construction.

—Joachim Lund (emphasis original), [158]

Historian (and nonsocialist) Carrol Quigley, in Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, chapter IX, goes to great lengths to demonstrate how Fascism always assumed the form of what he calls ‘dictatorial capitalism’, in which ‘society is organized so that everything was subject to the benefit of capitalism.’ This is done through ‘removing all dangers to the profit system’ (that is, organized labor, foreign competition, business losses and alternative forms of economic production). Specifically though, the reason why these anticommunists meddled in the state and the economy is something that Quigley explains at length:

The danger to the profit system from the state has always existed because the state is not essentially organized on a for profit basis. In Germany this danger from the state was averted by the industrialists taking over the state, not directly, but through an agent, the [N.S.D.A.P.] The threat from public ownership, as well as a bevy of far less radical policies, was henceforth eliminated for capitalists. […] The United Steel Works, as well as three of the largest banks in Germany, which had been taken over during the crisis of 1931, were restored to private ownership. […] Throughout [Fascist] Italy, the so‐called Labor Fronts had no economic or political functions and had nothing to do with wages or labor conditions. Their chief functions were (1) to propagandize; (2) to dominate workers’ leisure time ‘Strength Through Joy’; (3) tax workers for profit; (4) to provide jobs for reliable party members within the Labor Front itself; (5) to disrupt working‐class solidarity.

[…]

Business hates competition; Businessmen prefer to get together with competitors so that they can cooperate to boost rather than injure profits.[159] […] Fascists allow the Businessmen to get together and cooperate. […] Under this system there were no collective bargaining, no way in which any group defended the worker in the face of the great power of the employer. Under this control there was a steady downward reduction of working conditions. Employers got the labor, wage, and working conditions [that] they wanted, and abolished labor unions and collective bargaining. In this way competition was largely eliminated, not by the state but by industrial self‐regulation in the form of (1) cartels (Kartelle) (2) trade associations (Fackverbände) (3) employers’ associations (Spitzen‐verbände); the privately run cartels regulated prices, production, and markets.

—Carrol Quigley (paraphrased; emphasis added), [160]

Even the ‘nationalisations’ that the German anticommunists introduced were limited. They despised nationalization,[161] sometimes equating it with scientific socialism,[162] and instead pushed for intense privatization whenever they got the chance:

Available sources make perfectly clear that the [Third Reich] did not want at all a German economy with public ownership of many or all enterprises. Therefore it generally had no intention whatsoever of nationalizing private firms or creating state firms. On the contrary the reprivatization of enterprises was furthered wherever possible.

—Christoph Buchheim & Jonas Scherner, [163]

These nationalisations were only of ‘Jewish’ businesses and lands to soon be vended to private investors.[164] On the rare occasions when the Third Reich was forced to make use of state‐owned factories, it included a contract option allowing private owners to purchase it; it avoided the creation of state‐owned enterprises whenever possible, favoring private investment:

State‐owned plants were to be avoided wherever possible. Nevertheless, sometimes they were necessary when private industry was not prepared to realize a war‐related investment on its own. In these cases, the Reich often insisted on the inclusion in the contract of an option clause according to which the private firm operating the plant was entitled to purchase it. Even the establishment of Reichswerke Hermann Göring in 1937 is no contradiction to the rule that the Reich principally did not want public ownership of enterprises. The Reich in fact tried hard to win the German industry over to engage in the project.

—Christoph Buchheim & Jonas Scherner, [35]

Since the N.S.D.A.P. stands on the platform of private ownership it happens that the passage ‘gratuitous expropriation’ concerns only the creation of legal opportunities to expropriate (if needed) land which has been illegally acquired or is not administered from the viewpoint of the national welfare. This is aimed mostly against the Jewish land‐speculation businesses.

—The program of the N.S.D.A.P., [165]

As the Führer himself spewed,

The word ‘Socialism’ is in itself a bad word. But it is certainly not to be taken as meaning that industry must be socialized, and only to mean that it could be socialized if industrialists were to act contrary to national interests.

—Adolf Hitler, [166]

Many of the Axis’s industries in Austria particularly became nationalized only after 1945 (primarily for lack of private capital capable and willing to invest the required amounts, and also to protect these industries against Soviet reparations claims).[167] As for the education and healthcare systems,[168] these were simply the populist concessions inherited from the Second Reich. In actuality, though, the anticommunist state immensely reduced social spending at the lower classes’ expense in favor of military spending, benefiting the capitalists.[169] [170]

Considering that no socialists advocate any kind of business regulations as a primary or long‐term strategy—if in any term at all—such an argument is and should be irrelevant anyway. To quote Friedrich Engels, ‘if the taking over by the State of the tobacco industry is socialistic, then Napoleon and Metternich must be numbered among the founders of Socialism.

Plagiarism[edit]

Some claim that the N.S.D.A.P. was positively influenced by scientific socialism. This is false.[171] While it is true that the unimportant party programme indeed mentioned some leftist concessions, these would intentionally remain unimplemented,[3] as were those[172] of the Fascist programme of 1919[173] and that of the Falange.[174] One can say that scientific socialism influenced Fascists in the same way that it did other anticommunists, but no more than that:

Just as scientific medicine equips one with the possibility not only of curing the sick but of sending the healthy to meet their forefathers by the shortest route, so the scientific analysis of class relations, predestined by its creator for the mobilization of the proletariat, enabled [the Duce], after he had jumped into the opposing camp, to mobilize the middle classes against the proletariat. [The Chancellor] accomplished the same feat in translating the methodology of fascism into the language of German mysticism.

—Leon Trotsky, [175]

Regarding the claim that the Chancellor was a self‐proclaimed socialist, see his statement from when he was on trial for The Beer Hall Putsch about being a ‘revolutionary against the revolution’.[176] The Chancellor is commonly misquoted as saying[177]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,’ which is in fact a quote by Strasser.[178] Regarding the claim that the Chancellor was an active member of the Bavarian Soviet Republic: Kershaw merely mentions first of all that the Führer may have been sympathetic to social democracy at one point,[179] but he clarifies the Führer’s opportunism.[180] He states that this anticommunist ‘was probably known to those around him, at the latest towards the end of April, for the counter-revolutionary he really was, whose actual sympathies were indistinguishable from those of the ‘white’ troops preparing to storm the city. […] This speaks in favour of the recognition within his battalion of his deep antagonism to ‘red’ rule.[181] In any case, both Bavarian conservatives and the ultranationalist Thule Society competed for control over the N.S.D.A.P.;[182] the Führer’s anticommunism would remain as strong as ever during his career in Bavaria.[183]

The anticommunist Giovanni Gentile did claim amidst his incoherent ramblings ‘that Sorellian syndicalism, out of which the thought and the political method of Fascism emerged—conceived itself the genuine interpretation of Marxist communism’,[184] but this is a confusing claim to make since the mediaeval guild system was another (if not the only) influence, and a far more significant one at that.[185] (His assertion that the conception of violence being a political necessity is an explicitly communist conception is, likewise, just ahistoric, patent nonsense.) Hermann Rauschning has claimed in Hitler Speaks that the German anticommunists adopted methods such as ‘the workers’ sports clubs, the industrial cells, the mass demonstrations, the propaganda leaflets written specially for the comprehension of the masses[186] and others from the scientific socialists, and that the Chancellor said that his ideology ‘is what Marxism might have been if it could have broken its absurd and artificial ties with a democratic order.’ Scholars Ian Kershaw,[187] Eckhard Jesse, Fritz Tobias, and Richard Steigmann‐Gall,[188] however, have reason to believe that Rauschning is an unreliable source. There are likewise no extra sources to support these presumed quotations.

Some (e.g. neoconservative Richard Pipes) have unconvincingly claimed that the N.S.D.A.P. took their inspiration for concentration camps from the GULAG, but there is no documented evidence to support this unlikely tabloid rumour. On the other hand, there is evidence that the N.S.D.A.P. borrowed their practices from the European‐Americans and other colonists:[17] the Fascists actively studied these forced relocations and reservations and modelled their own concentration camps after them.[189] Even the notorious antisocialist hack H. Arendt conceded as much:

Not even concentration camps are an invention of totalitarian movements. They emerge for the first time during the Boer War, at the beginning of the century, and continued to be used in South Africa as well as India for “undesirable elements”; here, too, we first find the term “protective custody” which was later adopted by the Third Reich. These camps correspond in many respects to the concentration camps at the beginning of totalitarian rule; they were used for “suspects” whose offenses could not be proved and who could not be sentenced by ordinary process of law.

—Hannah Arendt, [190]

In contrast, recently declassified Western documents confirm that the GULAG functioned quite differently from a concentration camp, and would have been an inefficient model for the anticommunists to copy. The Fascist practice of poisoning millions of weak prisoners with Zyklon‐B was directly inspired by the U.S.’s policy of dousing nude Mexicans and their belongings with pesticides (including, in the case of their belongings, with Zyklon‐B itself) before letting them cross the border.[191] The entity that manufactured these pesticides was a business called Bayer, which I.G. Farben partially owned at the time.

Some suggest that Fascists like Gentile, Goebbels, and Mussolini having socialist pasts alone is evidence that they were never antisocialists. (After all, Mussolini once exclaimed ‘Down with the State in all its forms and incarnations![192]) Under this reasoning, one could just as easily argue that Eldridge Cleaver, Karl Popper,[193] Ronald Reagan,[194] [195] and others were never antisocialists either. Some might think that a Fascist symbol having something in common with a socialist one means anything, but these are usually just meaningless coincidences (the Third Reich’s flag simply inherited its color scheme from the antisocialist Second Reich’s, and sometimes a swastika in the U.S.S.R. was permissible because swastikas have long had positive connotations in Asia; the blackshirts probably indirectly appropriated their symbol from anarchists though[196]). Some might think that the Third Reich celebrating May Day means anything, but one could easily say the same of Reagan,[197] Thatcher, and other capitalists as well. All of these are just superficial similarities devoid of substance, hence they belong near the bottom of this section.

The truth is that antisocialists in general, not just Fascists in particular, have always been fond of misappropriating leftist rhetoric: for example, the Bolsheviks sometimes referred to the Russian Empire as a ‘prison of (the) peoples’ (and may have coined the phrase), but anti‐Soviet lobbies subsequently misappropriated this expression during the Cold War to disparage the Soviet Union. The subject of the ‘ruling class’ has of course long been a cause of concern for communists, but after the October Revolution some anticommunists (including specifically the Axis[198]) would also adopt this concept and cleverly use it against the Soviets, even going so far as to (falsely) declare the class war and history in general now ‘over’ by the time the short twentieth century ended, as if they themselves had realized world socialism, and nearly all antisocialists claim to be the ‘true’ representatives of the working class. From the anti‐imperialist rhetoric to the concerns over exploitation, be it from the anticommunists in Malaysia[199] to the capitalists in academia,[1] there is not one socialist trope (e.g. ‘#HandsOffVenezuela’) that antisocialists have not already lazily copied from us and simply reused for their own purposes (e.g. ‘#CubaHandsOffVenezuela’) instead. Not a single one. Some of the most cynical among us could even go so far as to argue that the Fascists plagiarizing from us only reconfirms what we’ve been saying about them all along; that kind of laziness suits antisocialists nicely.

Antisocialism[edit]

Some claim that they were friendly with the far‐left. That is false too;[200] many cotemporal antisocialists like Anthony Eden[201] recognised Fascism as rightist, as specifically the Fascists themselves did:

There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction — to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power — that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago.

—Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922

Giovanni Gentile’s most influential work, The Doctrine of Fascism (which he co‐authored with future Axis member Benito Mussolini), is rich with explicit denunciations of socialism: as,

Fascism is therefore opposed to socialism, to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon.

—Giovanni Gentile, [202]

(He then goes on to talk about how Fascism is going to supposedly make socialism and trade unions obsolete, since the Fascist state will presumably unify the classes and alleviate the need for struggle.)

Hence in March 1926, Mussolini composed a message addressing Imperial Japan’s youth, praising their empire’s “high level of civilization” while also warning them to stay away from socialism (“modern demagogic materialism”). His message reached a vast audience of both Imperial officials and ordinary citizens alike.[203] The first time that the German Fascists applied the term ‘subhuman’ (1927) was directed not necessarily at Jews per se, but at the communists of the Bavarian Soviet Republic:

It happened at the time of the Soviet Republic: When the unleashed subhumans rambled murdering through the streets, the deputies hid behind a chimney in the Bavarian parliament.

—Julius Streicher, [204]

The leading Fascist who attributed the concept of the Eastern European ‘subhuman’ (or ‘underman’) to elsewhom was Alfred Rosenberg, who, referring to Russian communists, claimed in 1930 that “this is the kind of human being that Lothrop Stoddard has called the ‘underman.’[205] Socialists were the first[206] [207] sent to the Fascist concentration camps,[208] such as Dachau.[206] The Strasserists,[209] perhaps the closest that the party had to a ‘leftist’ faction in spite of their antisemitism and other social chauvinism, were soon purged.[210] Röhm was another moderate member who was constantly trying to get the party to live up to its supposedly socialist objectives, but the other anticommunists did not want that since they saw it as causing problems for the status quo; they wanted their takeover to be seen as legitimate. With the military getting nervous about the other demands that he was making them (merging the military with the S.A.), they consequently ended him and anybody else deemed too socialist in one night. An unknown minority of K.P.D. members and other socialists (‘beefsteaks’, as the Fascists pejoratively called them) did join the N.S.D.A.P. at first, but in most cases their goal was purely subversive, and they too would suffer in the Reich’s Red Scare of the 1930s;[211] in 1933 alone, the German Fascists arrested over two hundred thousand people on charges of leftism, and massacred several thousand German socialists throughout the 1930s.[212] (There were survivors nonetheless.[213]) In 1931, the K.P.D. did receive a last minute decision from the Kremlin to attempt terminating the Prussian social democracy by means of referendum, which many anticommunist parties like the N.S.D.A.P. also supported, but few Communists ended up obeying this recommendation.[214] [215] (The K.P.D. itself referred only to the N.S.D.A.P.’s and the S.A.’s working class—not anybody else, as some have suggested—as ‘working people’s comrades’ that year.[216]) Some Comintern advocates did at first act as if an N.S.D.A.P. victory would be impossible or at least trivial, but such misconceptions were common at the time.[217] The Fascists did opportunistically try supporting a 1932 transport workers’ strike that the K.P.D. was coincidentally supporting, but the Fascists would soon win back the approval (or at least the tolerance) of the conservatives and the upper classes anyway.[218] A few examples of the Chancellor’s opposition to class warfare, in favor of warfare against anarchists and communists instead:

Peasants, workers, and bourgeoisie must all join together to provide the building blocks for the new Reich. The government will therefore regard it as its first and foremost duty to re‐establish Volksgemeinschaft — the unity of spirit and will of our volk. It will preserve and defend the foundations upon which the power of our nation rests. It will extend its strong, protecting hand over Christianity as the basis of our entire morality, and the family as the germ cell of the body of our volk and State. It will reawaken in our volk, beyond the borders of rank and class, its sense of national and political unity, and its resultant duties. It will establish reverence for our great past and pride in our old traditions as the basis for the education of our German youth. It will declare a merciless war against spiritual, political and cultural nihilism. Germany must not and will not drown in anarchistic communism…

—The Chancellor, [219]

The three factors which dominate our revolution do not contradict the interests of the rest of the world in any way. First: preventing the impending Communist subversion and constructing a Volksstaat uniting the various interests of the classes and ranks, and maintaining the concept of personal property as the foundation of our culture. Second: solving the most pressing social problems by leading the army of millions of our pitiful unemployed back to production. Third: restoring a stable and authoritarian leadership of the State, supported by the confidence and will of the nation which will finally again make of this great Volk a legitimate partner to the rest of the world.

—The Chancellor, [220]

The Fascists hated the Soviets[221] and the Spanish Republicans.[222] Operation Barbarossa would not be the first time that the Soviets and the Fascists duelled; Fascist assistance to the Spanish anticommunists was substantial. At the start of the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish anticommunists had almost nothing other than a few obsolete machines, but the Reich soon supplied them with dozens of tanks; at one point an anticommunist now had thirty anti‐tank companies under his command.[223] The Spanish anticommunists received 593 aircraft from the Reich as well.[224] [225] The Reich sent somewhere between 12,000–15,000 anticommunists (including civilians and instructors) to its Spanish allies during the Civil War, and the Condor Legion itself consisted of five thousand anticommunists.[226] The Reich, like the White House later, also supported the Kuomintang. The Third Reich’s media portrayed anticapitalists very poorly,[227] whereas their 1940 film Bismarck depicted an antisocialist emperor very positively throughout.[228] The first books that the N.S.D.A.P. burned were those of the scientific socialists Karl Marx and Karl Kautsky,[229] and the Fascists subsequently banned works by socialists such as F. Engels,[230] Lenin,[231] Leon Trotsky,[232] Luxemburg,[233] M. Bakunin,[234] P. Kropotkin,[235] R. Rocker,[236] and Stalin,[237] to name only a few. The Fascists converted Marx’s residence itself into a house for printing an anticommunist tabloid.[238] [239] There is no scarcity of anticommunist remarks from the Fascists;[240] throughout the Reich, some Fascists sported banners declaring Der Marxismus muß sterben damit die Nation wieder auferstehe (‘Marxism must perish so that Germany may rise up again’), and since at least the 1920s, the Führer himself claimed that scientific socialism, if accepted, would eventually lead to the extinction of all of humanity:

The Jewish doctrine of Marxism repudiates the aristocratic principle of Nature and substitutes for it the eternal privilege of force and energy, numerical mass and its dead weight. Thus it denies the individual worth of the human personality, impugns the teaching that nationhood and race have a primary significance, and by doing this it takes away the very foundations of human existence and human civilization. If the Marxist teaching were to be accepted as the foundation of the life of the universe, it would lead to the disappearance of all order that is conceivable to the human mind. And thus the adoption of such a law would provoke chaos in the structure of the greatest organism that we know, with the result that the inhabitants of this earthly planet would finally disappear.

Should the Jew, with the aid of his Marxist creed, triumph over the people of the world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of mankind, and this planet will once again follow its orbit through the ether, without any human life on its surface, as it did millions of years ago.

—Adolf Hitler, [241]

As if that weren’t enough, he would explicitly repeat his commitment to anticommunism upon appointment in early 1933:

At that time the struggle against Marxism first was raised as a goal of this fight. I then pledged to myself for the first time as an unknown individual to begin this war, and never to rest until this phenomenon was finally driven out of German life.

—Adolf Hitler, February 1933

Far from having a leftist support base,[242] most of Fascism’s supporters were ultranationalists, conservatives,[243] aristocrats,[244] industrialists, landowners,[245] and other influential antisocialists,[246] including Winston Churchill, the United Kingdom’s future Prime Minister;[247] [248] [249] Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., the father of a liberal–conservative head of state;[250] Prescott Bush, the father of a neoconservative head of state;[251] Harry Brittain, an antisocialist politician;[252] William Ashley, another antisocialist politician;[253] Harold Harmsworth, an owner of the Daily Mail;[254] the Perrone brothers, who controlled the Ansaldo shipping and steel combine;[255] Alfred Hugenberg, a media magnate and conservative cabinet minister;[256] [257] Friedrich Flick, a steel magnate;[258] factory owners in Milan and Turin and Po valley landholders, who easily valued the Fascists’ willingness and ability to combat subversives;[259] the Empire of Japan’s private media,[260] the control over which the bourgeois state never achieved anything comparable to that which its anticommunist partners exercised in Europe;[261] Elizabeth Dilling, an antisocialist[262] activist;[263] Otto Ohlendorf, an admirer of free markets;[264] Fritz Thyssen, a multimillionaire industrialist;[265] Hugo Boss, a Western businessman;[266] Otto Dibelius, the Kurmark’s General Superintendent and one of the Confessing Church’s most conservative members;[267] Wilhelm Keppler, a petit bourgeois advisor;[268] [114] Hjalmar Schacht, a liberal politician;[269] Prince Otto Christian Archibald von Bismarck, who almost joined the liberal Freie Demokratische Partei in the 1950s before settling for the more conservative Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands;[270] Gotō Tadanao, the head of the Amama paper‐manufacturing company in Shizuoka Prefecture;[271] Sakai Eizō, Osaka industrialist and right‐wing head of the Greater Japan Justice Association;[272] Kurt baron von Schröder, an important banker;[273] [274] Franz Seldte, a Western conservative; Franz Gürtner, another Western conservative; Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Western head of state;[275] Hans Walz, a managing director of Robert Bosch GmbH;[276] Ronald Reagan, another Western head of state;[277] [278] [279] Franz von Papen, a wealthy antisocialist politician;[280] Wickliffe Draper, a wealthy advocate for immigration restrictions and the World Anti‐Communist League;[281] [282] [283] Donald A. Swan,[284] a Western economist;[285] [286] Leon Degrelle, a supporter of Ronald Reagan;[287] Ludvig von Mises,[288] cofounder of the so‐called Austrian School of Economics (though he did denounce the Reich’s anti‐Semitism[289] and claimed Fascism as merely an ‘emergency makeshift’); Harry S. Truman, U.S. senator and then head of state[290] [291] [292] [293] (though he claims to have disliked the Chancellor regardless); Prince August Wilhelm, a conservative aristocrat;[294] Prince Leopold Charles Edward, an aristocratic anticommunist;[295] Alfred Hugenberg,[296] a major capitalist,[297] head of the German Conservative Party, and cofounder of the ultranationalist General German League and its successor the Pan‐German League;[298] the Italian Liberal Party,[299] a group of capitalists headed by former Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti;[300] free‐market economist Alberto De Stefani, the Kingdom of Italy’s new finance minister[301] (Luigi Einaudi in particular approved of Fascism’s economic policies, if nothing else[302]); the Finnish government, a bourgeois democracy;[303] and nearly all of the Whites, a horde of anticommunists[304] who fought ferociously against socialists and Jews during the Russian Civil War.

Antebellum data indicate that 65% of N.S.D.A.P. members joined because of their anticommunism (whereas only 12% did so citing their anti‐Semitism);[305] Oxford scholar Neil Gregor likewise noted the party’s antisocialist support base.[306] True, a minority of antisocialists like Eduard Wagner eventually betrayed the Chancellor, but this was because the war was starting to go poorly for the Reich;[307] it is not as if they suddenly realized (or cared) how much Fascism was harming the lower classes. The Italian Fascists themselves, an important influence on the N.S.D.A.P., were usually explicitly antisocialist:

Officially, Fascism was born in Milan on Sunday, March 23, 1919. That morning, somewhat more than a hundred persons, including war veterans, syndicalists who had supported the war, and Futurist intellectuals, plus some reporters and the merely curious, gathered in the meeting room of the Milan Industrial and Commercial Alliance, overlooking the Piazza San Sepolcro, to “declare war against socialism […] because it has opposed nationalism.”

[…]

On April 15, 1919, soon after Fascism’s founding meeting at the Piazza San Sepolcro, a band of Mussolini’s friends including Marinetti and the chief of the Arditi, Ferruccio Vecchi, invaded the Milan offices of the socialist daily newspaper Avanti, of which Mussolini himself had been editor from 1912 to 1914. They smashed its presses and equipment. Four people were killed, including one soldier, and thirty‐nine were injured. Italian Fascism thus burst into history with an act of violence against both socialism and bourgeois legality, in the name of a claimed higher national good.

—Robert O. Paxton, [172]

Even the anti‐Bolshevist George Orwell[308] acknowledged Fascism to be capitalist ideology,[309] or rather, the means by which capitalists co‐opt a state in decline:

When one thinks of all the people who support or have supported Fascism, one stands amazed at their diversity. What a crew! […] But the clue is really very simple. They are all people with something to lose, or people who long for a hierarchical society and dread the prospect of a world of free and equal human beings. Behind all the ballyhoo that is talked about ‘godless’ Russia and the ‘materialism’ of the working class lies the simple intention of those with money or privileges to cling to them.

—George Orwell, [310]

Before the assault on Pearl Harbor most Yankees were opposed to having another conflict with the Reich, in part no doubt because of their diuturnal fatigue from World War I, but capitalist propaganda[311] [312] had a widespread[313] [314] effect as well.[315] [316] [317] [318] [319] The U.S. allowed Fascists to hold rallies until late 1939; one particular rally in early 1939 at Madison Square Garden had 20,000 attendees alone,[320] making it one of the largest rallies outside of the Reich. Anglo–American advertising inspired Fascist politicians & vice versa.[321] In the early 1930s, the U.S. advertising industry praised the Fascists for their slogans that its advertising methods ‘made general’, and stated that they have ‘some good lines, of present‐day application’ for U.S. advertisers.[322] Goebbels directly cited Edward Bernays’s Crystallizing Public Opinion as an influence on his own propaganda techniques.[323]

While it is true that the White House finally tried persecuting some Fascists during the war years, generally these misleaders and sympathizers fared reasonably well[324] (especially in comparison to Japanese–Americans then and the socialists shortly thereafter;[325] membership in Fascist parties was not considered ‘totalitarian’ during the 1950s[326]) regardless. After the Allies defeated the German Reich, the antisocialist victors treated the Axis war prisoners quite well (even allowing them to have alcohol with their meals) and brought over 400,000 of them to North America.[327] It is true that they still had to wait in prison camps and perform forced labors, but the Geneva Convention accords strictly governed these boring but by no means menacing or payless tasks. Hence few attempted escape, and some went so far as to claim that their life in a POW camp was much better than that in the Axis military.[328] Some of the POWs kept in contact with their Yankee friends when they returned to Europe by 1946, and many of these POWs would eventually return to the U.S. and acquire their citizenships there.[329]

Hence even after 1945 the surviving antisocialist states would consciously and willingly hire thousands of Fascists[330] [331] [332] [277] [333] [334] [335] [336] [337] [338] [339] [340] [341] [342] [343] [344] [345] [346] [347] [348] [349] [350] [351] [352] [353] anyway,[d] such as Adolf Heusinger and Hans Speidel, who soon became important NATO officials,[355] and many other Fascists like Lazlo Pasztor[356] got to live prosperous,[e] successful lives.[360] (Presently, antisocialist states like the U.S.A. protect or recruit neofascists.[361] [362]) Because many Italians also fought on behalf of the Western Allies from 1943–1945, the bourgeoisie had no serious interest in judicially scrutinising either Fascism’s history or that of the German–Italian collaboration,[363] and since hostility increased against the Soviet Union again, the British ruling class saw the surviving Fascists (e.g. Badoglio) as guarantors of an anticommunist Italy. Consequently, nobody ever tried them for Fascist war crimes committed in Africa, in the relatively few cases that anybody tried them at all.[364] [365] [366] [367] (It is true that the then‐Italian Minister of Justice, Palmiro Togliatti, unwisely agreed to pardon thousands of Fascists from Italy’s overcrowded prisons, but this was part of his unsuccessful compromise with the antisocialists to pardon thousands of partisans as well.[368]) Meanwhile for some of the new antisocialist régimes in East and Southeast Asia, the upper classes would willingly employ there thousands of Axis collaborators[369] [370] and some Imperialists[371] [372] [373] deemed too useful[374] for repatriation,[375] such as for the Republic of Korea.[376] (In 1948, at least 53% of the Republic of Korea’s police officers were men who had served in the National Police during the Axis occupation.[377] Korea’s Allied Military Government itself retained 80% of pro‐Axis officers above the rank of patrolman, including northern exiles experienced in suppressing the anticolonial underground.[378]) A private bulletin by the Union of German Industry (an organization for the Reich’s big industrialists) in 1932 explained very honestly their reasons for supporting Fascism:

The problem of consolidating the capitalist régime in post‐war Germany is governed by the fact that the leading section, that is, the capitalists controlling industry, has become too small to maintain its rule alone. Unless recourse is to be had to the extremely dangerous weapon of purely military force, it is necessary for it to link itself with sections which do not belong to it from a social standpoint, but which can render it the essential service of anchoring its rule among the people, and thereby becoming its special or last defender. This last or ‘outermost’ defender of bourgeois rule, in the first period after the war, was Social Democracy.[379] [Fascism] has to succeed Social Democracy in providing a mass support for capitalist rule in Germany[.] Social Democracy had a special qualification for this task, which up to the present [Fascism] lacks[.] Thanks to its character as the original party of the workers, Social Democracy […] also had the much more valuable and permanent advantage of control over organized labor, and by paralyzing its revolutionary energies chained it firmly to the capitalist State[.] The process of this transition […] has to pass through the acutely dangerous stage, when, with the wiping out of these gains, the mechanism for the creation of divisions in the working class which depended on them also ceases to function, the working class moves in the direction of Communism, and the capitalist rule approaches the emergency stage of military dictatorship[.] The only safeguard from this acute stage is if the division and holding back of the working class, which the former mechanism can no longer adequately maintain, is carried out by other and more direct methods. In this lie the positive opportunities and tasks of [Fascism].

[…]

If [Fascism] succeeds in bringing the trade unions into a social policy of constraint […] then [it] would become the bearer of one of the functions essential to the future of capitalist rule, and must necessarily find its place in the State and social system. The danger of a State capitalist or even socialistic development […] will in fact be avoided precisely by these means[.] There is no third course between a reconsolidation of capitalist rule and the Communist revolution.

—Union of German Industry (paraphrased; emphasis added), [380]

To paraphrase Richard J. Evans:

To many readers of the newspapers that reported [the Führer’s] appointment, the jubilation of the brownshirts must have appeared exaggerated. The key feature of the new government […] was surely the heavy numerical domination of the conservatives. ‘No nationalistic, no revolutionary government, although it carries [the Chancellor’s] name’, confided a Czech diplomat based in Berlin to his diary: ‘No Third Reich, hardly even a 2½.’ A more alarmist note was sounded by the French ambassador, André François–Poncet. The perceptive diplomat noted that the conservatives were right to expect [him] to agree to their programme of ‘the crushing of the left, the purging of the bureaucracy, the assimilation of Prussia and the Reich, the reorganization of the army, the re‐establishment of military service’. They had put [him] into the Chancellery in order to discredit him, he observed; ‘they have believed themselves to be very ingenious, ridding themselves of the wolf by introducing him into the sheepfold.’

[…]

The conservatives who levered [the Führer] into power shared a good deal of this vision. They really did look back with nostalgia to the past, and yearn for the restoration of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the Bismarckian Reich. But these were to be restored in a form purged of what they saw as the unwise concessions that had been made to democracy. In their vision of the future, everyone was to know their place, and the working classes especially were to be kept where they belonged, out of the political decision‐making process altogether. But this vision cannot really be seen as pre‐industrial or pre‐modern, either. It was shared in large measure […] by many of the big industrialists […] and by many modern, technocratic military officers whose ambition was to launch a modern war with the kind of advanced military equipment that the Treaty of Versailles forbade them to deploy. Like other people at other times and in other places, the conservatives […] manipulated and rearranged the past to suit their own present purposes. They cannot be reduced to expressions of ‘pre‐industrial’ social groups. Many of them, from capitalist Junker landlords looking for new markets, to small retailers and white‐collar workers whose means of support had not even existed before industrialization, were as much modern as they were traditional. It was these congruities in vision that persuaded men like Papen, Schleicher and Hindenburg that it would be worth legitimizing their rule by co‐opting the mass movement of the Nazi Party into a coalition government whose aim was to erect an authoritarian state on the ruins of the Weimar Republic.

—Richard J. Evans (paraphrased; emphasis added), [381]

Some (e.g. Ben Shapiro) have falsely asserted that the main, if not only, disagreement between the communists and the Fascists was that the former were internationalist, whereas the latter were ultranationalist. Not only is there no historical evidence to support this, but it is pretty clear from the quotations above that there were far more disagreements, and far more serious ones, than a geopolitical contention. It is furthermore absurd to imagine that these two sides would have been driven to mutual, violent hatred over this difference alone. For example, consider the case of Antonio Gramsci, who was sympathetic to the idea of national liberation, finding it perfectly compatible with internationalism, and Amadeo Bordiga, who likely would have considered the very concept of ‘national liberation’ to be almost oxymoronic, insisting instead on a more immediate and overwhelming internationalism. These were both socialists who were divided on a geopolitical issue, and yet they remained good friends regardless.

False equivalences[edit]

Antisocialists sometimes insinuate that the Fascists’ own violent antisocialism is unimportant or irrelevant since sectarianism between socialists has sometimes been violent too. This is a false equivalence. For starters, there is no record of the Bolsheviki issuing mass arrests or executions of all other socialists, let alone just because they were socialists.[382] Nobody arrested the critics of Lenin during or after their attendance of Kropotkin’s funeral,[383] nor did any of the Soviets treat the disillusioned Emma Goldman worse than Imperial America did.[384] The Black Army and similar anarchists eventually faced persecution not because of their anarchist tendencies but because of their aggressive anti‐Bolshevism and other controversial decisions.[385] (Beforehand they were on good terms.[386] In fact, it would be an exaggeration to categorize either Lenin or Trotsky as ‘antianarchist’;[387] [388] in August 1919 for example Lenin recognised very many anarchist workers as ‘the most sincere supporters of Soviet power.[389]) No doubt some socialists who suffered sectarian persecution during the Russian Civil War turned out to be harmless,[390] but such unfortunate measures were the natural byproducts of the material conditions rather than ‘ideology’,[391] and in any case these socialists were to be treated leniently (at least in comparison to the capitalists); their ephemeral detentions were to have an impunitive character,[392] capital punishment was usually strongly discouraged,[393] and sometimes the arrested were let go (almost) immediately.[394] The permanent revolutionaries faced persecution far more due to the anticommunists’ meddling at that time rather than due to simply having alternative socialist theories.[395] (Beforehand the Soviet government tolerated them up until about the eve of World War II[396] and Stalin occasionally praised Trotsky;[397] it was Trotsky hisself who later suggested that it ‘is possible that some of these minor saboteurs and the ones […] mentioned were actually [Anti‐Comintern] agents[398] than fellow permanent revolutionaries at all.) Even in the worst of times, executions were mostly rare, reserved normally for those already of great political influence,[399] and imprisonment was relatively brief.[400] This is all in stark contrast to the Fascists, who, shortly after having won institutional power, had all socialists either imprisoned for long periods (Antonio Gramsci) or executed (Pietro Ferrero) because of their socialism.

Some have argued that antisocialist states willingly hiring Fascists is meaningless because socialists have occasionally recruited anticommunists too.[401] This is likewise a false equivalence. For example, despite our rigorous efforts to purge the GDR of surviving Axis personnel, 14% of the Interior Ministry’s workers from 1949 to 1970 were (former) Fascists. Worrisome indeed, but it still pales in comparison to the FRG’s from the same period: 54% of their Interior Ministry’s workers were Fascists.[402] The situation is analogous to that in Korea, where the DPRK made a concerted effort to purge the administration of Imperialists and Axis collaborators; the Republic of Korea did not.[375] In some cases (e.g. Heinz Felfe), Moscow merely used these (former?) anticommunists to track down or thwart fellow Fascists who survived WWII.[403] In respect to science, when the Allies reclaimed Nordhausen it was the anticommunists, not the Soviets, who ended up with the larger share of the scientific materials.[404] The remaining anticommunists that the Soviets captured still had to live in unglamorous conditions: on some projects the Soviet authorities limited the rôle of the anticommunist specialists merely to consultation and practical training;[405] three anticommunist rocket experts confirmed that by 1952 the U.S.S.R. had sent most of these anticommunists back home, and that the Soviets (obviously) made major strides on their own.[406] In respect to defence, when the GDR was building up its military it mostly drew officers from the German antifa in Spain. They did fill in some gaps with anticommunist officers, but they cycled them out pretty quickly.[407] Likewise, by 1950 the DRV probably cycled out most, if not all, of the one or two thousand Imperialists working for the Viet Minh.[408] The Socialist Republic of Romania had also purged scores of thousands of troublesome anticommunists from the party by the early 1960s.[409]

Anticapitalist pretensions[edit]

While they denounced speculative international finance (along with all other forms of internationalism, cosmopolitanism, or globalization—capitalist as well as socialist), they respected the property of national producers, who were to form the social base of the reinvigorated nation. When they denounced the bourgeoisie, it was for being too flabby and individualistic to make a nation strong, not for robbing workers of the value [that] they added. What they criticized in capitalism was not its exploitation but its materialism, its indifference to the nation, its inability to stir souls. More deeply, fascists rejected the notion that economic forces are the prime movers of history. For fascists, the dysfunctional capitalism of the interwar period did not need fundamental reordering; its ills could be cured simply by applying sufficient political will to the creation of full employment and productivity.

—Robert O. Paxton, [410]

Fascism’s ‘anticapitalist’ pretensions seem to have multiple origins: the desire to win the lower classes’ support (or tolerance) is one that we have already mentioned, but another is that many petit bourgeois Fascists may have sincerely mistaken themselves for anticapitalists too, not because they cared about how much capitalism harmed the lower classes, but because they were frustrated with their corporate competitors:

Decorated with medals for distinguished service, commissioned and noncommissioned officers could not believe that their heroism and sufferings for the Fatherland had not only come to naught, but also gave them no special claims to gratitude. Hence their hatred of the revolution and the proletariat. At the same time, they did not want to reconcile themselves to being sent by the bankers, industrialists, and ministers back to the modest posts of bookkeepers, engineers, postal clerks, and schoolteachers. Hence their “socialism.”

—Leon Trotsky, [175]

Small businessmen’s disdain for the lower classes combined with their disappointment in big capitalists readily reflects Fascism’s simultaneous anticommunism and ‘anticapitalist’ pretensions. So while some may think that the German Fascists’ disdain for ‘Jewish businesses’ or ‘Jewish capital’ is sufficient evidence for their anticapitalism, on the contrary, capitalist gentiles themselves had their own economic motives for antisemitism, namely the desire to save petit bourgeois gentiles from capitalism’s horrible economic pressures,[411] but there were other motives too: as,

“Aryanization” also had appeal outside the radical right among Southeastern Europe’s business élites, insofar as they believed that the removal of Jews from trade would open up new commercial space for German minorities as well as for ethnic Romanians, Croatians, and Serbians. For Adolf Konradi, the director of the German–Romanian chamber of commerce in Bucharest, “kicking Jewish influence out of commerce” became one of his organization’s main goals. He claimed [that] Jewish intermediaries were responsible for “harming business with their excessive profits.” In their place he hoped to foster the growth of “medium and small German producers.”

—Stephen G. Gross, [412]

One point that antisocialists refer to is quoting this passage that the propagandist Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary during the 1920s:

‘It would be better for us to go down with Bolshevism than live in eternal slavery under capitalism.’

Similarly in 1925:

Lenin is the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between Communism and the Hitler faith is very slight.

—J.G., [413]

And in 1929:

We are a workers’ party because we see in the coming battle between finance and labor the beginning and the end of the structure of the twentieth century. We are on the side of labor and against finance. Money is the measuring rod of liberalism, work and accomplishment that of the socialist state. The liberal asks: What are you? The socialist asks: Who are you? Worlds lie between.

—J.G., [414]

These ignore the fact that Goebbels, like Mussolini,[192] had different politics back then. For example:

[He] simply records in this private and unedited diary his disgust at the Führer’s reactionary views on every major point of policy—restitution to the German princes, the sacrality of private property, the destruction of Bolshevism, Italy & Britain as Germany’s allies, the old twenty‐five‐point programme still the best, and so on. ‘I am flabbergasted,’ he writes. ‘What a Hitler! A reactionary! Astonishingly clumsy and unsure of himself… Brief answer by Strasser. Ach Gott, can we cope with these folks down here? A mere half‐hour’s discussion after this four‐hour speech and summarizing. I cannot get out a word. I am quite flabbergasted. We drove to the station. Strasser is almost demented with rage… I feel like crying… That was one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I can no longer believe in Hitler! This is the most terrific thing. My faith is shattered and I feel shattered.’

—Historians quoting J.G., [415]

Goebbels is one of the more interesting figures because he went from admiring Lenin in the early 1920s to denouncing the British Conservative party as ‘pro‐Bolshevik’ by 1944. He also called for the Führer’s expulsion from the N.S.D.A.P. in 1925, because the latter refused to expropriate the royal estates. His exact words: ‘In these circumstances I demand that the petty bourgeois Adolf Hitler be expelled from the National Party.[416] Because he was a competent rhetorician who was willing to put aside his economic beliefs and go with the policies of H. Schacht and W. Funk, nobody disposed of him. Here is something that he spewed when they were later in power:

The details about the murder of priests and rape of nuns that we received are totally incredible and indescribable. It is the Führer’s historical merit that is acknowledged to him by the whole world, to have erected a wall against the onrush of Bolshevism on Germany’s eastern borders, and thus clearly to have risen as a terminator of this craze in Europe in its conflict with the subversive forces of destruction, of anarchy.

—J.G., 1:33

Further proof is in this transcription,[417] where Goebbels said that he was actually ‘defending’ the West from Bolshevism. In addition:

That is a direct threat to the existence of every European power. No one should believe that Bolshevism would stop at the borders of the Reich, were it to be victorious. The goal of its aggressive policies and wars is the Bolshevization of every land and people in the world. In the face of such undeniable intentions, we are not impressed by paper declarations from the Kremlin or guarantees from London or Washington. We know that we are dealing in the East with an infernal political devilishness that does not recognize the norms governing relations between people and nations. When for example the English Lord Beaverbrook says that Europe must be given over to the Soviets or when the leading American Jewish journalist Brown cynically adds that a Bolshevization of Europe might solve all of the continent’s problems, we know what they have in mind. The European powers are facing the most critical question. The West is in danger. It makes no difference whether or not their governments and intellectuals realize it or not.

—J.G., [418]

World War II[edit]

Arguably the least uncompelling evidence is that the Fascists and Soviets temporarily agreed to some trading and neutrality,[419] which unfortunately disrupted the antifascism of all the parties (especially the German one) loyal to the Comintern.[420] But this ignores the facts that the Soviets agreed to this only after failing to secure an alliance with Britain and France,[421] that the Fascist bourgeoisie signed agreements with other countries earlier than the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics[422] (including the Japanese Empire early on[423]), and that there were Fascists (Alfred Rosenberg,[424] Oshima Hiroshi[425]) and socialists (Trotsky[426] [427]) who opposed such measures even at the time. Whether the agreement and the conditions therein (e.g. Basis Nord, a farewell parade,[428] &c.) were necessary is still a matter of dispute, but if nothing else, a far less irrational interpretation is that it was a necessary evil[429] in order for the Soviets to defend and rearm themselves since they were catching up with modernity and could not risk returning to war so early and without the help that they requested,[420] as opposed to implicit conclusions such as ‘they were evil’ or ‘they didn’t care’. Many nonsocialist historians agree:

It was no doubt disgraceful that Soviet Russia should make any agreement with the leading Fascist state; but this reproach came ill from the statesmen who went to Munich. […] [The German–Soviet] pact contained none of the fulsome expressions of friendship which Chamberlain had put into the Anglo–German declaration on the day after the Munich conference. Indeed Stalin rejected any such expressions: “the Soviet Government could not suddenly present to the public German–Soviet assurances of friendship after they had been covered with buckets of filth by the [Fascist] Government for six years.” The pact was neither an alliance nor an agreement for the partition of Poland. Munich had been a true alliance for partition: the British and French dictated partition to the Czechs. The Soviet government undertook no such action against the Poles. They merely promised to remain neutral, which is what the Poles had always asked them to do and which Western policy implied also. More than this, the agreement was in the last resort anti‐German: it limited the German advance eastwards in case of war, as Winston Churchill emphasized. […] [With the pact, the Soviets hoped to ward] off what they had most dreaded—a united capitalist attack on Soviet Russia. […] It is difficult to see what other course Soviet Russia could have followed.

—A.J.P. Taylor, [430]

When the Fascists struck East into Poland, nothing happened on the Western Front; from September 1939 to May 1940, there was almost no actual fighting whatsoever between the Fascist states and the liberal ones even though they were officially at war with one another:

[The American ruling class’s] attitude had done nothing to free the Soviet Union of its fear that the Western democracies would encourage [the Reich] to launch a crusade against Communism as a means of saving their own skins. […] If it was impossible to crush [Fascist] aggression by a united front, Stalin felt the next best thing for Russia was to attempt to divert any immediate [Fascist] attack from the Soviet Union.

—Foster Rhea Dulles, [431] [432]

The German Reich’s trading with the Kingdom of Romania between January and November 1940 still surpassed its trading with the Soviet Union.[433] While the U.S.S.R. did trade some raw materials in exchange for firearms and other machinery[434] (which, amusingly, they later used to help defeat the Axis), this credit deal hardly enabled the anticommunists’ bellicism; if anything, it only lead to the Reich’s defeat as it allowed the Soviets to prepare for the armed conflict. The Soviets were hardly appeasing the Fascists like the liberal bourgeoisie did. Likewise, the fact that the U.S.S.R. also declared war on the Japanese Empire mere days after the agreement[435] is another indication that they clearly intended to fight the Axis soon.

Contrary to popular belief, the anticommunists did not even have any agreement with the Soviets to “partition” Poland,[436] [437] nor did the U.S.S.R. exactly “invade” Poland[438] (or at least no more than the Anglo–Americans ‘invaded’ the Kingdom of Iceland[439]). The Polish government itself declared martial law against the Reich when it reinvaded in September 1st, 1939, but it did not do the same for the U.S.S.R. In fact the Polish marshal E. Rydz‐Smigly ordered Poles not to engage the Soviets in military actions (only in the event of disarming Polish units by them)![440] The Soviet sphere of influence itself was only a region that antisocialists took from the Soviets two decades ago. Another frequently ignored inconvenience is that, as mentioned earlier, the Soviets were actually interested in allying with the British and the French early on, but both rejected them.[441] [442] [443] [437] As early as the mid‐1930s the Soviets were preparing for armed conflicted with the Reich,[444] but on the eve of the Second World War, foreign minister of the Soviet Union, Maxim Litvinov, went to the Western powers and called for an alliance with England, the United States, and France against the Reich; that should the Fascists assault Czechoslovakia or any other state, these powers would unite to contain them. The liberal bourgeoisie refused these overtures from the Soviet Union:

Lord, how the British have been asking for this! An alliance with Russia was their one chance to stop Germany. They had years in which to do it. All of Stalin’s fear of Germany and the [Fascists] was on their side. And what did they do? Dawdle, fuss, flirt with [the Chancellor], and give away Czechoslovakia. Finally, finally, they sent some minor politicians on a slow boat to see Stalin. When [the Chancellor] decided to gamble on this alliance, he shot his foreign minister to Moscow on a special plane with powers to sign a deal. And that’s why we’re within inches of a world war.

—Herman Wouk, [445]

Even this passage is a bit of an understatement. Britain’s ruling class in particular was initially happy to work with the Fascist bourgeoisie and even cooperated in imperializing Czechoslovakia. To paraphrase M. Parenti’s Make‐Believe Media:

[T]he USSR [had] strenuous opposition to Munich, […] willingness to stand by Czechoslovakia, and […] Moscow was repeatedly rebuffed by Great Britain and France when it tried to form an anti‐Nazi alliance with them. […] The British [ruling class] did more than dawdle and flirt with [the Chancellor]. They actively allied themselves with him in the dismantling of Czechoslovakia. They ignored Stalin and strung him along, hoping ultimately to isolate the Soviet Union and set it up for an invasion by [the Third Reich]—which indeed happened.[446] Having witnessed how [Fascism] wiped out the socialist left within Germany, Chamberlain and the other western collaborators hoped that [the Reich] might do the same to Russia. Indeed, the plan almost worked. At least 85 percent of the fighting in the European war took place on the Eastern front.

—Michael Parenti (paraphrased), [447]

While the British upper classes were probably disinterested in starting another war, much of that disinterest arose merely from a willingness to strike the kind of bargain with an anticommunist dictatorship they would never dare enter into with the Soviets:

[The Fascists’] successes in foreign policy were due less to German rearmament, the deficiencies and limitations of which were known in competent military circles, than to the tacit alliance of powerful reactionary elements in England and France which, although loathe to see a reassertion of German equality, were still more unwilling to check it by military alliance with Soviet Russia or to run the risk of social revolution [in the Reich] as a result of [Fascism’s] fall.

—Geoffrey Barraclough, [448]

It is probable that the German Reich never sincerely wanted conflict with the British Empire at all,[437] and duelled mostly because of the conflicting imperialist interests. British membership was part of Ribbentrop’s original designs for the Anti‐Comintern Pact in October 1935,[449] and when Ribbentrop became ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1936, the Chancellor made clear to him that it was his greatest wish to welcome Britain into the Anti‐Comintern Pact. While Ribbentrop acted sceptical of this ambition, he placed some hope in King Edward VIII, whom Ribbentrop considered friendly to the German Reich.[450] [451] The Chancellor himself was an Anglomaniac who greatly admired the British Empire, and wanted an official alliance or at least a neutrality with it;[452] only when the British state repeatedly rejected his offer did his opinion on the British sour. Even when warfare broke out between the two anticommunist states though, the Chancellery still wanted an Anglo–German alliance, and despite bombing London it nevertheless commanded its armoured units not to advance into the undefended city of Dunkirk, allegedly to ‘spare’ the British forces.[452] This was probably more of a tactical decision than a kind gesture, as they were overextended and at risk of being of cut off,[453] but it suggests that they wanted diplomacy regardless.

In the book Molotov Remembers, there is a section about Molotov’s tenure as head diplomat of the U.S.S.R., and he talks about how after they had signed the nonaggression pact with the Reich, they instantly started preparing for the conflict that they knew was coming between them.[454] He also talks about how after returning to Moscow from Berlin, he and Stalin would spend time behind closed doors mocking or insulting the Chancellor and other Fascists. See also: a discussion of the events that led up to the Molotov‐Ribbentrop Pact.[455]

Occasionally antisocialists accuse the Soviets of having considered joining the Axis. There are no primary sources to confirm this improbable rumour. One author referenced Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik, D, ii, but this is merely an internal note from a member of a German delegation dated September 3, 1938. (In fact the entire volume is about 1937–1938, not 1940.) Another writer referenced AMVnR, PRETI/ 1 / 3 pap.1 op.2sh pop.1 l.7, report by D. Shishmanov, general secretary of the Bulgarian FM, 25 Nov. 1940: a report by a Bulgarian diplomat, available only in an archive, and without further source. Another made reference to The Incompatible Allies, presumably page 323:[456] no relevant information here either. (The closest is Stalin sending Molotov to Berlin ‘so that further development of the relationship between the two countries could be discussed.’) Another reference that a few authors use is Nazi-Soviet Relations: the closest line that supports this is presumably ‘[…] the Italian Ambassador to Matsuoka as to whether at the conversation between Matsuoka and Stalin the relations of the Soviet Union with the Axis had been taken up, Matsuoka answered that Stalin had told him that he was a convinced adherent of the Axis and an opponent [Gegner] of England and America.’ If this is verifiable then it appears to be no more than a third‐party source; worth little more than hearsay. Finally, there is a rumor of a ‘secret series of conferences’ said to have taken place between the Gestapo and the NKVD sometime during 1939 and 1940—usually no exact dates are provided, and it’s unclear who attended them or where exactly they took place or how the discussions went. Given the scarcity of evidence at hand, it’s probable that these conferences never happened.[457]

And as we all know, the anticommunists would soon break their agreement with the Soviet Union[458] and launch the largest invasion ever recorded: against them.[459] The anticommunist military commanders were caught up in the ideological character of this conflict and were involved in its implementation as willing participants.[460] For example, before and during the reinvasion, the Reich’s troops were heavily indoctrinated with anti‐Bolshevik, anti‐Semitic, and anti‐Slavic ideology through many forms of media.[461] Following this reinvasion the Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target folks whom they described as ‘Jewish Bolshevik subhumans’,[461] the ‘red beast’,[461] the ‘Mongol hordes’,[462] and the ‘Asiatic flood’.[461] Anticommunist propaganda portrayed the conflict as an ideological one between German Fascism and ‘Jewish Bolshevism’.[463] The Chancellor ordered the Einsatzgruppen to execute all Soviet functionaries who were ‘less valuable Asiatics, [Roma] and Jews’.[464] Anticommunist army commanders cast the Jews as the major cause behind the ‘partisan struggle’.[465] The main guideline for anticommunist troops was ‘Where there’s a partisan, there’s a Jew, and where there’s a Jew, there’s a partisan,[466] or more succinctly ‘The partisan is where the Jew is.[460] Simply put, many of the troops viewed the warfare in anticommunist terms and regarded their Soviet enemies as less than human.[467] At least seven out of every ten of the Reich’s soldiers who died in the Second World War died on the Eastern Front (the Soviets probably inflicted more than 80% of the Reich’s casualties during the conflict), and even anticommunist historians such as Max Hastings[468] and Winston Churchill[469] have conceded that it was the Red Army above all else that contributed to the Reich’s defeat. The scale of fighting was enormous; the battles of Kursk, Stalingrad, that of Berlin (featuring two million anticommunist soldiers against 3.5 million Soviets)—there was simply nothing like it that occurred on the Western Front. The losses were stupendous: the Soviet Union emerged victorious but only after being critically weakened; only after losing not only most of its industries west of the Urals but well over twenty million people.

Conclusion[edit]

With the overwhelming evidence in the way, it is reasonable to conclude that any ‘anticapitalism’ was just empty populism, and that the Fascists were just as ‘socialist’ as all of the gullible chumps insisting that they were. In other words, the word ‘Socialist’ (as respected historians such as Ian Kershaw and Richard Evans have noted[470]) was nothing more than a marketing tactic.[471] To quote Engels, ‘these reactionary socialists show their true colors by immediately making common cause with the bourgeoisie against the proletarians.’ The antisocialists who continue to promote this myth today do so almost certainly not in the interest of historical accuracy, but to destigmatize ultranationalism and strong conservative values: phenomena that they both preach and crave.

Notes[edit]

  1. IBM claims they were merely a ‘victim of circumstance’, since they had a subsidiary in the Reich before the 1930s, and they somehow lost control of it. But the records indicate that IBM sent internal memos in their New York offices acknowledging that their machines were making Fascism more efficient, and they never made any efforts to end the relationship with the German branch, not even during the 1940s. IBM never made an apology or conceded any need to apologize at all.
  2. A similar but much less common claim is that the Chancellor privately stated ‘I absolutely insist on protecting private property […] and […] we must encourage private initiative.’ The only problem with this is that its origins are apocryphal,[116] and thus we caution against its use.
  3. A minority of antisocialists are so extreme in their redefinitions that they’ll claim that the mere existence of a state somehow qualifies any country or the state’s proponents as socialist, hence the Third Reich still applies as ‘socialist’. Logically, this would only be possible if the claimers declared themselves the world’s first capitalists, and recategorized all thinkers in history, from Adam Smith[472] to Ayn Rand[473] to F.A. Hayek[474] to Ludvig von Mises[474] to Milton Friedman[475] to Murray Rothbard[437] to Ricardo[476] to Thomas Jefferson to billions of others, as socialists: the result is a redefinition so useless that (almost) nobody would ever take it seriously.
  4. For a brief summary, see here: [354]
  5. Example: Rudolf Rahn was the plenipotentiary of the so‐called Italian Social Republic[357] and subsequently faced prosecution for war crimes, but he served only four years in confinement; fellow anticommunists pardoned him in 1949. He resumed his diplomatic career[358] and afterwards served as director of Coca‐Cola’s West German branch.[359]

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