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What is a Nazi?

By Tyler Bauer

Nowadays, it seems like everyone is a Nazi.

If you aren’t a Nazi, you might be “literally Hitler.”

People throw the term “Nazi” around so much, but so few people are aware of what a Nazi is really like. So, let’s take a look at what actual Nazis are like.

What does “Nazi” Mean?

“Nazi” was originally used as an abbreviated name for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. “National socialist” translates to “Nationalsozialistische” in German, so it’s easy to understand how the term “Nazi” came about.

Racial Superiority and Eugenics

This seems like the most obvious place to start. The Nazi Party that we all know of believed in a superior Aryan race of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people. To the Nazi Party, the main antagonist was the Jewish population of Europe. Among other (lesser-known) targets were Gypsies and homosexuals. These three groups made up a significant proportion of the Holocaust’s victims and were regularly targeted by Nazis, whether they were part of the government or private citizens.

It is worth noting that supporters of Nazi Germany weren’t only concerned with the previously-mentioned groups. Nazis weren’t only white supremacists – they were Aryan supremacists. Any non-Aryan was a second-class citizen (if they were even considered a citizen).

Furthermore, not all Nazis support extermination or eugenics. Some just want each racial group to live separately (whether this segregation be voluntary or forced usually doesn’t matter as long as segregation takes place).

Modern Nazis are generally more likely to be white supremacists than Aryan supremacists. However, there is still a great deal of anti-Semitism among modern-day Nazis.

Freedom of Speech, Press, and Religion

Believe it or not, the Democratic Party and its supporters is much closer to Nazism than the Republican Party and its supporters when it comes to speech. Calls to ban certain speech or viewpoints and whatnot are exactly what Nazis – or any other fascists, for that matter – would want. For proof, look no further than the fact that Nazi Germany was formerly a republic. The Nazis’ fear of democracy is a clear and obvious example of the repression of free speech under the Nazi Party. In Nazi Germany, virtually every form of communication – whether it be among citizens or in the press – was state-controlled.

When it comes to religion, the Nazi Party takes a very odd stance. The Nazis were obviously opposed to Judaism (although, to Nazis, Jews were viewed as more of an ethnic group than a religious group). Nazis also vehemently opposed German Catholics because they were generally moderate, falling in the center of the political spectrum. Nazis also opposed Christianity, although they did use elements of Christianity (which they twisted to support their political ideology) to their political advantage.

Economics

Nazis and Communists are two sides of the same socialist coin. Nazis are national socialists, while Communists are international socialists. Economically speaking, Nazis and Communists are equally far-left – the only difference between the two is whether socialism stays within borders or crosses borders.

People often say Nazis weren’t socialists because the Nazis opposed the Communists in interwar Germany. While it is true that Nazis did – and still do – oppose Communists, this doesn’t make Nazis any less socialistic than Communists.

For example, Germany’s famous Autobahn highway was a government project that was enthusiastically supported by Hitler. Also, the original Volkswagen car was in part the brainchild of Hitler himself, who supported the Volkswagen as “the people’s car” (the fact that it was called “the people’s car” is a huge indicator that its origin is in socialism). Lastly, much or Germany’s economic success under the Nazi Party was due to rearmament. The German military – and every military, for that matter – is inherently socialistic since it is government-run and tax-payer funded.

One common counterpoint to the claim that Nazis are socialists is the role of big businesses in Nazi Germany. To be fair, big businesses did play a large role in Nazi Germany. However, their role was socialistic. The Nazi Party entered into an agreement with big businesses almost immediately after taking power. The Nazi Party asked for support from big businesses and, in return, oversaw the actions of German businesses and protected German businesses from international competitors (after all, it is national socialism). If the Nazi Party did not have control over German businesses, it would have been much more difficult to implement Nazi social policies.

At the very least, Nazis support crony capitalism, which is just socialism by a different name. If you don’t believe me, here’s a list of companies that collaborated with Nazi Germany and benefitted from the Holocaust. If this isn’t a prime example of socialism, I don’t know what is.

Where are Nazis on the Political Spectrum?

Nazis are an odd group to characterize because many of their viewpoints aren’t present in a standard political spectrum. For example, is Aryan supremacy a left or right-wing idea? When it comes to racial superiority and eugenics, it’s hard to place Nazis on a left-right spectrum. While racism and eugenics are generally viewed as right-wing ideas, they aren’t exclusively right-wing. For example, Karl Marx – the father of Communism – and Joseph Stalin – the iconic leader of the Soviet Union – were both incredibly racist. This isn’t meant to justify or minimize racism among Nazis – I’m just saying that Nazi racism can’t be accurately placed on the traditional left-right political spectrum.

Freedom of speech, press, and religion are also hard to pinpoint on the political spectrum. Authoritarian governments – whether they be left-wing or right-wing – always crack down on these basic freedoms. This is the inherent nature of an authoritarian government.

Economically, I believe I can accurately place Nazis on the left side of the political spectrum. Nazis are openly national socialists, and being a nationalist doesn’t make their socialism right-wing in any way.

So, where are Nazis politically? I’d say they’re left of center and extremely authoritarian. Before you call someone a Nazi, make sure they meet the description.

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