Sunday, March 27, 2005

Socialist Ideology And The Nazis

A week in bed provides reading time as well as blogging time, and I got through among others Hugh Trevor-Roper's 'The Last Days of Hitler'.

And pretty mad days they were, too. Where there is centralised power you always get the court and courtiers. But even Cherie and her crystals had nowt on a movement where every other leader seemed to have his pet astrologer. Weird scenes inside the goldmine.

I'd already read snippets about Hitler's vegetarianism and love for animals - indeed, knowledge of this is so widespread that, amusingly, vegetarians feel the need to counter it. But it's still odd to hear Heinrich Himmler, who at the time was engaged in exterminating millions of people, denouncing blood sports as 'the cold-blooded murder of innocent and defenceless animals', or attacking Goering, a noted huntsman, in these words.

"Goering, that damned bloodhound, kills all animals. Imagine, Herr Kersten, some poor deer is grazing peacefully, and up comes the hunter with his gun to shoot that poor animal ... Could that give you pleasure, Herr Kersten ?"

Hitler and the Nazis have been done to death academically. Even our schools have been Hitlerised, in order to teach the children of what inevitably follows if you have a negative attitude towards bogus asylum seekers.

But there's one massive lacuna in the pile of Hitler books and research. What happened to the socialists in the National Socialist movement ? Who were they, what were their writings ? Even the Wikipedia author, while denying that the Nazis were socialist, writes that they liquidated socialists "including from within their own party in the Night Of The Long Knives".

Let's quote Churchill on Ernst Roehm, the uphill gardening leader of the paramilitary SturmAbteilung or Brownshirts.

Under Roehm's leadership the SA increasingly represented the more revolutionary elements of the party. There were senior members of the party, such as Gregor Strasser, ardent for social revolution, who feared that Hitler of arriving at the first place would simply be taken over by the existing hierarchy, the Reichswehr, the bankers and the industrialists ... To the rank and file of the SA the triumph of January 1933 was meant to carry with it the freedom to pillage not only the Jews and profiteers, but also the well-to-do, established classes of society.

And then Roehm himself, two months before Hitler had him shot.

The Revolution we have made is not a national revolution, but a National Socialist revolution. We would even underline this last word, "Socialist". The militant in the Brown Shirt from the first day pledged himself to the path of revolution, and he will not deviate by a hairbreadth until our ultimate goal has been achieved.

The Munich beerhall rally Hitler attended in 1919 was the "German Workers Party".

What happened to the writings and theorists of socialism in the Nazi party ? Was all the old 20s literature destroyed after Roehm and Gregor Strasser were shot ? Did the archives of the Nazi Party for the 1920s and early 30s all disappear ? Did the Russians get them ?

Or is it a case of 'don't go there' ? I'm not surprised those on the Left want to look away. After all, who wants to think that socialists may have supported an ideology which led to the deaths of tens of millions ? But I'm surprised no one on the 'right' has checked out this particular can of worms. Maybe they have and I'm just showing my ignorance. Wouldn't be the first time.

You mighht almost say that fascism is the bastard child of socialism. Wasn't the whole thing kicked off by a Socialist ? I do like his remark to the Socialist Party as it expelled him (for supporting the war as did the majority of British socialists) :

"You cannot get rid of me because I am and always will be a socialist. You hate me - because you still love me !"

And weren't the British Fascists founded by a former Labour Cabinet Minister ?

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