Early Nazi Platform: Liberalism and Socialism?

In 1920 the newly created Nazi party had to create a platform to stand for. To do so they wrote a 25 point program conveying their goals and demands that they saw as necessary to the future of Germany. The program expressed many changes for the German people, forefront among them ideas of socialism, expansionism, statism, and racism. In our discussion of the modern state I see another great step forward from fascism with the German extreme nationalism in this document.

The in all regards the platform attempts to build a stronger nation by homogenizing the population and enforcing strict centralized power both economically and politically. The Nazis want to create a single race of Germans (point 4) without the Jewish and “non German” people (points 4, 7, 8), and enforced by politically only appointing citizens (point 6). With a plan to have a new racial pure Germany they next sought to expand militarily shedding of the shackles of the 1919 treaty, and create a strong central government (points 1, 2, 3). All these show a direct attempt to instill a modern state in Germany with state control and a homogeneous society retaining a national identity.

These ideas are similar to many other documents of the time in regards to the modern state. The futurists and Mussolini’s definition of fascism obviously set much of the foundations for the political enlargements and conservative aggressiveness seen in the program. Works on eugenics influenced Hitler’s ideas about the Nazi’s goals. Even the hated Marxist Leninist communist doctrine is seen in the economic points about ensuring employment and working for the state.

Personally what I found most interesting was point 9 “All citizens must have equal rights and obligations”. This has the classic liberalist idea of rights, common in modern democracies and the trappings of socialist doctrine with obligations. This sounded very contradictory; can liberalism and socialism work together with their desired effect? By definition can one have rights and obligations? I think that the Nazis were able to make their system effective but to say that citizens had equal rights when many in the country lived in fear, had to share wealth, and the state tried to control everything that a true attempt at liberalism is possible.

3 thoughts on “Early Nazi Platform: Liberalism and Socialism?

  1. Perhaps you could write more about how Nazi rule proved effective. I think effectiveness presupposes sustainability. Seeing how the Nazis brought destruction upon themselves after putting most of Europe to the sword for four years does not bring the word “effective” to mind. On the other hand, we should remember that other elements of German society under the Nazis, notably its economy, interested many people, including George Orwell. You can find more information on how fascist and Nazi economic efficiency gave Orwell hope for socialism in Britain here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/04/13/090413fa_fact_wood.

  2. This is a good blog post. You’re central point is clear and you provide detail to back it up. Regarding your questions, I think the idea that all citizens must have equal rights and obligations is very interesting and completely false of what happened in Germany at the time. Germany treated its citizens poorly and created complete hatred towards foreigners and jews. I do think one can have rights and obligations, but it is up to he or she’s discretion whether or not they do both.

  3. Even in early American “liberal” democracy it was written in the constitution about “equal rights for all” however we know very well that those equal rights weren’t applicable to all. Women and African-Americans weren’t entitled to those rights until years and a lot of advocating for equal rights got us to our current point in history. Yet still there is debate on wether all rights are truly equal. I believe that when equal rights is promised by a government, it is more of a point to appease the public, and is never meant to apply to all citizens.

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