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Adolf Hitler and Ideology of National Socialism

Any work about ideas of Adolf Hitler and Ideology of National Socialism would
be impossible without introduction with ideas in Germany which were popular in XIX
century and before WWI, and which could and did have influence on the new
created/established Movement. Also it is very important to understand which kind of
national ideas developed after WWI as reaction to the outcome of the war and to the
constantly growing danger of the bolshevism.1

In their works Claude David and Marvin Perry 2 made concept of vast variety of
ideas and intellectuals who were in some way predecessors of atmosphere in which
National Socialist movement was created. It is possible to follow basic development of
the mainstream ideas in Germany trough XIX century: German nationalism, as the
nationalisms of other European nations, was in expanse after Napoleonic wars, eventually
it has transformed into pangermanism which was under great influence of the Social
Darwinism and racist ideas and thus developed into idea of superior race. Before WWI
this German race was known as Teutonic race and after the war it was recognised as
Arian race.
Nationalism wanted country with linguistic borders and not with natural borders, in
other words they wanted that their country lay border on the territory where Germans
were living. They also demanded education, which will provide unity of the nation, and it
was meant that objective education should be replaced with one knowledge, one state of
spirit and one character. After the establishment of Bismarck’s Reich nationalism was
transformed in the pangermanism. Borders of that state were to small for nationalist and
they thought that was right time for the creation of the Reich with linguistic borders as it
was stated in the Speeches to the German Nation from Johann Gottlieb Fichte in 1807/08.
On the other hand there was strong need for the creation of the state on the German base
which meant rediscover of the German roots: rejection of Roman law and reestablishment
of German common law, rejection of the Christianity and reestablishment of the German
pagan religion, but this ideas were to romantic and they could not be realized. Greater
influence on the string of ideas had connection of the social Darwinism and
pangermanism. Social Darwinists were using biological theories of Darwin for the
explanation of the functioning of the society. This led them to the conclusion that there is
constant fight in and between societies, fight in which only strong and best wins. This
struggle erase humanity from the human relationships and war is recognised as the best
thing for the development of the nations. They recognise superior and inferior races and
their race struggle is stipulation for the human development. Social Darwinism create the
idea of existent of the superior races3: Anglo-Saxon race and Teutonic race. Social
1
Because this is only student presentation, I will use for this purposes analyses and conclusions made by
the other historians: Andrej Mitrovic, Claude David and Marvin Perry.
2
Claude David, Hitler and Nazism, Belgrade 1999, 50-60.
Marvin Perry, An Intellectual History of Modern Europe, Belgrade 2000, 337-344, 483-490.
3
These ideas were popular before and in early stage of the WWI. The idea of Anglo-Saxon race was
popular in British Empire and USA, and idea of Teutonic race was popular in the German Reich.

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Darwinism strongly influenced on Arthur Gobineau and Huston Stewart Chamberlain,
two very popular race theoreticians in Germany. Gobineau made conclusion that there are
three races and he put them in the hierarchical order: white, yellow and black race; and
there were only differences in physiognomy and intellectual development between them.
Chamberlain made a step forward by pronunciation of the differences in moral senses in
this way he could make differences between German and Jewish race, even though both
of them were part of the white race. Chamberlain also “proved” that Christ wasn’t a Jew
and that Jews and Germans are two dialectical opposites and they are in the struggle of
the historical importance. Both of this theoreticians were very popular in the intellectual
circles in Germany4 and H. S. Chamberlain was close friend and associate of Kaiser
Wilchlem II.
In the pre-war period there were two more ideas which has some influence on the
ideology of National Socialism: idea of state autarchy and philosophy of Friedrich
Nietzsche. Idea of the state autarchy was developed in the period after the Napoleonic
wars and before the creation of the Bismarck’s Reich. This was period when many the
German states were to week to protect themselves from the influences of the Great
powers of that time. The base of this idea was strong united German economy as the
prerequisite for the independence of the united German state. Creation of the Zollverein
was the first step in this direction, at least the economist, who created idea of Zollverein,
Friedrich List thought that. The final stage of the development of this autarchic German
state was planed as the union of all German states, Belgium, Netherlands and South
America.
Nietzsche’s philosophy was abused by the national - socialist, and basically had
nothing to do with the Ideology of National Socialism5.

For the understanding of the National Socialist movement it is essential to have


insight into the main national movements, which were created right after the WWI. Two
most important movements were Fascism and National Socialism. Historian Andrej
Mitrovic made the comparative study about these two ideas, their beginnings and their
development6, so he could understand similarities and differences of these movements.
Some of his results are important for this work.
Both fascist and national socialist party programs were the national programs,
which had some socialist points, because of the situation in Europe when these parties
were created. Similarities between these two programs were: they were based on the
national ideas; they were glorifying the war which has just ended; homogenization of the
nation by integration of the workers into the movement and nation itself, as the class
which is cooperating with the industrials; although they had some points which were in

4
They were praised by the Richard Wagner and his Bayeruth intellectual circle, H. S. Chamberlain was
even the member of the same society, his second wife was daughter of Richard Wagner and in 1926. he met
Adolf Hitler.
5
Nietzsche’s Übermenschen had now similarities with the National Socialist Übermenschen, it easy to
understand the differences between the meaning of these two terms, because Nietzsche thought that the
prerequisite for the development of the humans to the evolutionary stage of the Superhuman is the
liberation of the human from all society strains, or as he defined the humans: Man begins where society
ends.
6
Andrej Mitrovic, Fascism and Nazism, Belgrade 1979.

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the favor of the workers there was none of the points in the program which was calling
for the changing of the society system. Instead of asking for the changing of the society
system they were asking for the unity of the nation and all of the parts of the society.7
Differences between movements were as follows: national - socialists had racism,
especially, antisemitism, as one of the main ideas, but in the fascist movement racism and
antisemitism wasn’t so strong until the 1938. That’s why the national socialists thought
that pure - blooded nation is base for their system and fascists thought that state is the
base of their system. This led to the institutionalization of the fascist movement in the
existed states institutions, and it led to the parallelism between state and the party in
national socialistic system, in spite of all the efforts toward the direction of “nazification”
of the state. “Italy under fascism was monarchy… and the king was formal
representative of the state sovereignty … but Duce was the most powerful person in the
state… In Germany things were different, especially when Reichspräsident von
Hindenburg died, title which has been taken by Hitler, Führer und Reichskanzelar, shows
us the parallelism between the state and party, fundamentally united in the personality of
the Führer.” 8
NSDAP wasn’t the first party which tried to connect nationalistic and socialistic
ideas into one coherent ideology. There were some parties in Austro-Hungary and in
German Reich before WWI, and this idea became popular in German world in period
1904-1918, when there were established several parties, beside NSDAP: German
National Socialistic Party in Czechoslovakia, German National Socialistic Party in Wien,
German Socialistic Party in Germany. All of them had connections with NSDAP from
the very beginning of their existence. All of them were based on the ideas of:
nationalism, anticommunism, antisocialism, antiliberalism and antisemitism.9

In this milieu the NSDAP was developed, under the firm hand of Adolf Hitler, but
many of its ideas were old or borrowed and reshaped into new ideology. Beside Hitler,
the most important ideologist were Gottfried Feder, who wrote program of party in 25
points and Alfred Rosenberg, who wrote book “Myth about XX century” (Mit o XX
veku).
Party program, known also as 25 Points, was introduced to the public on 25.
February 1920. in Munich in brewery Hofbräuhaus. Hitler was recesent for this program,
and as he stated he accepted it as a one of the basic documents of the Movement.10
Analysis of this program shows us goals of this ideology:
• Union of all Germans into one state in which non-Germans want have citizenship,
but would be treated as aliens; and imperialism for the new Lebensraum. These
are two main goals of the ideology and this confirms the fact that these goals are
explained in first 7 points of the program
• In points No 9 and 10 is expressed desire for the homogenization of the nation

7
Ibid, 11 - 14. page
8
Ibid, 42. page
9
Ibid, 23. page
10
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Belgrade 2004, 300. page

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• Social questions are elaborated in points No 11-17, and some of them are very
familiar with communist rhetoric
• In point No 23 it was elaborated who and how can work in newspaper, as one of
the main means of propaganda. This point shows high concern about the future
propaganda in the new state which national socialist wanted to create
• In point No 25 is explained the order of the new centralistic state, which shows
intention that in the new state central authority would be firmly over federal
authority, and that the party leaders are responsible for the carrying out all the
parties and state programs, which means that they will be the main authority in
the country
• In other points, are given briefly, attitudes about national health care, new way of
the education of young generations for all the needs of the state, and the desire for
abolishing the Roman law and constituting, again, German common law.

As Hitler explained in Mein Kampf and Zweite Buch 11 only strong and united
nation can expect that other European countries will deal with full respect with their state.
So if he was expecting to unite all Germans into one state and to conquer new
Lebensraum, he needed strong and united German people. Most of the program and ideas
about Policy of the Interior Affairs have for the goal creating the base for the Policy of
the Foreign Affairs.
Hitler knew that the main problem on his way to position of power would be
Marxists and social-democrats, he created strategy against them, and formulated it: “If
social - democracy would be opposed new teaching of better quality, but with same
brutality in conducting, then this new teaching will win, although after hardest fight.” 12
Hitler same to the conclusion that he must not oppose to the Marxists new party, but new
general view and new movement13 which will be able to use in the same time: masses,
trough social points in program and propaganda; intellectuals, by mean of connecting
ideology and science and religion, by creating new common base with party and goals of
fight against same enemy.14 Führer explained that he doesn’t want to weaken the
“national front” against communist by creating another national party which will fight
with other national parties for the votes, rather he want to weaken the “red front” by
taking their votes and their members – workers. So the socialist part of the ideology had
double role to attract workers for his movement and to create good base for united nation.
This kind of united nation is possible only in those states where there is no possibility for
the workers to unite with workers from other countries through Marxistic and social-
democratic parties.15 For the strong movement, which he wanted to create, Hitler knew
that he needs support of the small bourgeoisies, because they can be only true strength
which enable victories in political struggles: “members (he speaks about small

11
Zweite Buch was never published during the life of Führer, and he never gave the title for this book, so it
is known as Zweite Buch (Second Book) and Secret Book of Adolf Hitler.
12
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Belgrade 2004, 38. page
13
Ibid, 78. page
14
Ibid, 81. page
15
Ibid, passim

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bourgeoisies) which is hard to shaken by whatsoever means and who are as ready for
sacrifices as they are full of resisting bellicose strength.”16
Now it is obvious that the party program points, which are dedicated to the
questions of better living for the small bourgeoisies, farm workers and workers there are
two ideas. One is really attempt to solve problems of small bourgeoisies and farm worker
who were first party members and who are traditionally supporters for the national ideas,
and other is propaganda message for the workers to join the movement. As wealthy
industrials start to support NSDAP, this struggle and propaganda for the workers rights
started to lose on its intensity.17
Marvin Perry defined ideology as “relatively coherent system of beliefs – “social
formulas” or “secular religions” which has ability to unite and move large number of
people for political action. In some way ideologies fulfilled the gap, which was created
by the weakening of Christianity and destruction of old order…”18 This definition is good
for understanding why Hitler wanted some kind of alliance or at least sympathies from
the both Christian churches during the struggle with the Marxists who were directly
opposing atheism against Christian religion. But on the other hand he knew that he will
have problems with divided Protestants and Catholics, like Bismarck. That is why in the
point No 24, of the party program, is stated: “The party as such represents the point of
view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession.” 19
This undefined “positive” Christianity was probably the Christianity, which do not “…
endanger its (it means state) existence or offend the moral and ethic sense of the German
race.”20 This attitude toward Christianity is hard to understand, unless it is not compared
with the ideas of pangermanists from XIX century and some other attitudes, which Hitler
exposed in Mein Kampf. During XIX century pangermanists were opposing German
pagan religion to Christianity21, and racist look upon the Reformation of the Luther as the
German version of Christianity free from Jewish elements. This point of view was
accepted also from Alfred Rosenberg22. Hitler stated in Mein Kampf that: “…Christianity
forced “spiritual world” upon the Antic World which was unknown to it, and that terror
can be destroyed only by means of the even greater terror used against Christianity
itself.”23 But later Hitler wrote in the same book “In the columns of our movement, the
most pious Catholic was able to sit next to the most pious Protestant, without any feel of
guiltiness because of his religion beliefs. Mutual hard fight, which was fought by the
same two persons against the destroyers of Arians mankind, taught them mutual
respect.”24 So the “positive” Christianity would be the Christianity, which does not
disturb national unity and which is accepting new general view of the members of the
NSDAP with all the changes of moral and all the means they are using for reaching their
goals. With this Christianity Hitler and National Socialism is fully ready to cooperate.

16
Ibid, 97. page
17
Claude David, Hitler and Nazism, 43-44. page
18
Marvin Perry, An Intellectual History of Modern Europe, 276.
19
Gottfried Feder, Das Programm der N.S.D.A.P, Point No 24,
www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/nsdap/docs/nsdap.html
20
Ibid, Point No 24
21
Claude David, Hitler and Nazism, 53. page
22
Ibid, 64. page
23
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 298. page
24
Ibid, 361. page

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Education of the young generation of this united German nation, must be different
according to the Hitler’s plans, from the education which existed in Austro-Hungarian
Monarchy, Second German Reich and in Weimar republic. New education will have only
10% of the school material from that period and the free time will be used for the
physical exercises and in this 10% of the school material technical knowledge will be
preferred, by the educational authorities. Hitler thought that he could manage to
accomplished this if the new school system teach the young people how to read and
learn: “The art of reading as well as learning is thus: important data should be kept and
unimportant data should be forgotten.”25 From this plan for the new educational system it
is obvious that the young generation will be prepared for the tasks which will state order
them, and the two main tasks will be: better industrial production, and that’s why is so
important technical education, and military service, and that is the reason why is
important physical readiness.
United nation cannot be strong without good state system. This system is partly
explained in point No 25 of the party program. Also Hitler wanted do destroy local
patriotism of the German states which were part of the Weimar republic, and for these
purposes he declared next principle: “National Socialism must principally to ask (?) to
put upon the entire German nation, no matter of the today borders of the federal borders
of German states, its principles and to continue education based on its ideas and
conceptions. The same way the churches are not feel obliged with national borders, the
same way National - socialistic ideas are not obliged with federal borders of our German
states. National - socialistic teaching is not servant to the single federal state, but it should
become master of the entire German nation.” 26 This is the idea of the centralistic state
where party has unifying task and has centripetal strength, which can hold this structure
in one coherent creation. Thus there would be no separatistic or local-patriotic ideas, in
any of these federal states, which could damage or destroy unity of the entire nation.
Another important part of the National - socialist ideology is racism and
antisemitism. This was very important for many of the members and ideologist of the
party. Beside Hitler, there was another great racist ideologist – Alfred Rosenberg. He
wrote a book “Myth about (of) XX century (1931)” and in this work Rosenberg even
further developed ideas of H. S. Chamberlain from his book “Base of XIX century
(1899)”. He presented history as constant struggle between Arians and non-Arians. This
idea was also familiar to Hitler, and there is great similarity with the communist idea of
constant struggle between classes. I think that it was another idea which was opposed to
the Marxist ideology: not only they opposed the idea of the constant class struggle with
idea of national unity where all cases are cooperating, but also they create idea of
constant struggle between Arians and non-Arians. That means there is no fight inside one
nation, so that could be established international unity of working classes, but there is
unity of the nation because it is fighting in the international and interracial struggle. With
these kinds of explanations both National - socialist and Marxist movement could easily
explain past, problems of today and promise better future. This racism and especially
antisemitism was very important part of Hitler’s emotional conditionals. As Richard
Breiting stated during second conversation with Adolf Hitler: “But Mr. Hitler, you

25
Ibid, 19. page
26
Ibid, 369. page

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shouldn’t recognise everywhere Jewish plot.”27 Führer put blame on the Jews for
everything, which was wrong, according to his opinion, in the world or in German
society, so he blamed them:
• That Jews are standing behind Marxist and Social-democrats
• Internationalism is created by the Jews so the races can easily mix together, thus
creating descendants of lower racial quality and Jews can dominate over these
descendants, because they are becoming racial on lower level of development
than Jews
• They are deceiving citizenship and they are controlling most of their newspapers
• Parlamentarism with all its faults, was created by the Jews, and in that Parliament
they manage to oppose the idea of majority to the idea of leaders of which are
chosen from the best citizens of the state. In this idea of majority none of the
members of Parliament has to have any sense of responsibility, because everyone
can hide behind the decision of the majority
• The Jews are responsible for the breakdown of the Reich in WWI, and together
with Slavs they are responsible for the breakdown of the Austro-Hungarian
Monarchy
• Jewish world plot (svetska zavera) is responsible for every problem in the world,
outside of the Germany
• Jewish art is everything which was disliked by the National- socialist
• They are responsible for the diseases like syphilis, cholera, etc.

All these ideas are very often mentioned in Hitler’s books, and as more as he is
mentioning them the stronger is his will for brutal solving of this problem. That this is not
just a pure propaganda and that he fanatically hated Jews realized Richard Breiting after
only two conversations he had with future Führer: “Now I am convinced that he will – if
he gets to power – persecute Jews. His tirades, full of rebuke, against Jews are not any
kind of maneuvers of frightening… Albert Einstein is for him, also an alien. What a crazy
idea!”28

One of the most important topics of the National - socialist ideology was rebirth
of mighty Germany and after that conquering the countries and territories, which Adolf
Hitler and other ideologists thought they either rightfully belong to Germany or are
necessary for the further German development. How important is foreign policy for
Hitler show the fact that he dedicated almost whole Zweite Buch to this topic. Also, some
important ideologist, like Feder in 25 Points, didn’t involve their work in this field, and in
that way they left Führer free hands for the creating whole idea. Although Hitler didn’t
have any detailed plan for foreign policy, which he was strictly realizing, he had some
general principles and he tried to create foreign policy, when he was on the power,
according to this policy. He stated: “By that we, National - socialist, are willingly
finishing with the direction of the pre-war foreign policy. We continue where it was
stopped before six centuries. We are halting the never ending campaigns of Germans in
Southern and Western Europe, and we are looking for the land in East. We are ending,
finally, colonial and world trade policy of the prewar period and we are beginning with
27
Eduard Calic, Hitler without mask, Pula 1985, 66. page.
28
Ibid, 94.

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the policy of future land. But when we today speak about new land in Europe, we could
think primly on the Russia and her neighbor countries.”29 Hitler was well aware from
which country he can count on the greatest opposition: ”Germany should never forget for
a moment that regardless how, and along what ways, she thinks to change her fate,
France will be her enemy, and that France from the outset can count on any combination
of powers that turns against Germany.”30
First of his two main aims was to united all Germans into one Homeland, as it
was also stated in the 25 Points, and until this goal hasn’t been reached Hitler didn’t want
any other plans and goals in his foreign policy: “As long as Germany views the
maintenance of the freedom and independence of our Folk as the supreme aim of her
foreign policy and wants to secure this Folk the prerequisite for its daily life, for so long
will its foreign policy thinking be determined by our Folk's territorial need. And for so
long will we not be able to have any internal or external inducement to fall into enmity
with a State, which does not in the least stand obstructively in our way.”31 But for the
fulfillment of this task he didn’t recognised any of that day country borders: “… no
people on this earth poses any quadrate meter of land by some ultimate authority (po
visoj zelji) and by ultimate law (po visem pravu). Like the borders of germany are
temporarily borders of present - day situation in political struggle, so are the borders of
the Lebensraum of other peoples.”32 Führer has explained his plans for fulfillment of this
task to Breiting during their second conversation in June 1931: “Of course, I demand
returning of the Austria into the Reich, and also including of those parts of
Czechoslovakia where German language is only spoken language, Sudetenland. I am
wandering how shall recognise, the part of Switzerland where German language is only
spoken language, this integrations. You now as good as I, that Zürich, Basel and Bern are
German towns… Belgium is one monstrous - state in which religion and monarchy are
trying to safe the balance between Flemings and Walloons, but Flemings speak the same
language which is spoken in Netherlands, but this separation of two German lands is
maintained by the religion and monarchy. We did not forget Alsace - Lorraine.”33
The next goal was as he stated is to conquer new Lebensraum in East and for the
fulfillment of this task, Hitler thought that the best allies would be Italy and England. He
thought that Germany should become the most powerful state in continental Europe, that
Italy should dominate in Mediterranean and British Empire should remain the main
colonial power on the other continents. This idea shows how Hitler little understood vital
interests of British Empire; he did not realize that Mediterranean is main rout to India that
“The most precious jewel in the crown of Queen of England”. In the alliance with these
two countries he thought that he will have freedom to conquer the East without worrying
about the French reaction, and in that way, avoiding the war on two fronts.
For the fulfillment of these tasks of foreign policy Hitler needed strong and united
German nation, so he did everything he could to achieve this prerequisite. He did the
most of the things which were necessary, by his opinion: he created centralistic state in
which federal states lost their authority and on top of this system was Führer himself with
the highest authorities in interior and foreign affairs; he created one - party system and
29
Mein Kampf, 421. page
30
Adolf Hitler, Zweite Buch, 98. page, from: www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/books/zweites/zweites.htm
31
Ibid, 142. page
32
Mein Kampf, 419. page
33
Eduard Calic, Hitler without mask, 76. page

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destroyed all syndicates which were, for many years one of the strongest means of
Marxistic way of political struggle, and create Reichs Arbeitsdienst (Reichs Working
Service) which was very similar to his ideas of union of workers and their employers,
where they are not fighting for their personal causes, but they are cooperating for the
better production in states economy. And main purpose of this economy was preparation
for the future war, as it is clearly stated in the Four Years Plan, for which fulfillment was
responsible Hermann Göring, German pilot ace of WWI and the commander of the new
established Luftwaffe and this fact shows how important this plan was for the military
plans. In education of the young generations, physical education was one of the most
important things and all Youth organizations were put under control of the NSDAP.
There were some better conditions for the farmer workers and small bourgeoisies, but this
did not solve all their problems. Although Hitler did signed Concordat with Vatican, he
was weighing true war against those elements in the church, which were opposing his
ideas and especially his methods. Also he tried to create united Christian church with
archbishop Müller under his directly influence, which will work for the cause of united
German nation. Also Hitler brutally, as he promised, confronted all his political and racial
enemies. In foreign policy Führer tried to reach all of his goals, but he succeeded to fulfill
only some of his intentions. But he was completely right in one thing, concerning
German foreign policy: “For the struggle for the regaining of German freedom will
thereby again raise German history to the level of world history.”34

34
Zweite Buch, 98. page

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Sources:

1. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Belgrade 2004.


2. Adolf Hitler, Zweite Buch, www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/books/zweites/zweites.htm
3. Secret conversations Hitler – Breiting in 1931, look in Eduard Calic, Hitler
without mask, Pula 1985.
4. Gottfried Feder, Das Programm der N.S.D.A.P.
www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/nsdap/docs/nsdap.html
5. The Four Years Plan, www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/proc/proclamtion.htm

Literature:

1. Claude David, Hitler and Nazism, Belgrade 1999


2. Marvin Perry, An Intellectual History of Modern Europe, Belgrade 2000
3. Andrej Mitrovic, Fascism and Nazism, Belgrade 1979.

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