In today’s readings: The Speech of April 12th, 1921, Mein Kampf, and The 25 Points of 1920, Adolf Hitler expressed many of the tenets of his political ideology, which was still in its fledgling stage. In this National Socialist ideology Hitler rejected both leftist and rightist ideologies alike. He stated, “the condition which must precede every act is the will and the courage to speak the truth-and that we do not see today in either the Right or in the Left.” Hitler despised capitalism because he believed that the Jews were able to harness it as a tool to oppress the German population through economic means. He also detested socialism and Marxism because he associated these movements with the Bolshevik-Jewish led Russia, and believed that it would lead Germany to “complete destruction-to Bolshevism.” Hitler advocated a political philosophy where the German peoples were to put the “nation” above everything else in degree of importance, and secondly to bolster the strength of this “nation” by being “social” and acting in the best interest of the community at large; Hence the term National Socialism.
Compared to the Hitler’s popular conceptions, I believe that the aforementioned documents expressed both similarities and differences. Hitler is well known for his demonization of the Jewish peoples, and this component was present in the various examples of anti-Semitic rhetoric. Hitler’s ideology created a binary opposition where there existed only the “victory of the Aryan or annihilation of the Aryan and victory of the Jew.” In his mind it was either one or the other, with no room for compromise. While he was professedly anti-Semitic, he did not yet advocate violence against this population. In these writings his principal aim was to distance the “pure-blooded” Germans from their Jewish counterparts. It was not until later, particularly with Hitler’s mandate of the Final Solution, that he garnered the reputation as a heinous, bloodthirsty, maniacal mass-murderer.
Adolf Hitler is one of the most controversial and despised individuals in human history, considered by some to be an anti-Christ. Certainly, he most definitely did some awful things; he started wars with other countries, which caused WWII, and he perpetuated the Holocaust. However, there are certain parts of his story that get left out in popular knowledge. For one thing, Hitler himself was not even born in Germany, but rather, the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire. Because of the state of the Habsburg Dynasty, Hitler, along with many youths like him, placed more support in adjacent Germany, with whom they felt a kinship. Therefore, his early years instill in him a huge amount of nationalist ideals. Among his other early struggles included poverty and living as a bohemian, differences with his father, and rejection from art school twice. It was not until WWI that he turned his life around, in which was a huge war hero. He was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class – an extremely high honor for his rank. Hitler valued his war experiences quite highly, but was shocked by Germany’s “defeat.” Looking for answers, perhaps it is not too surprising that when going undercover to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party (the precursor to the Nazi Party), he became attracted to their ideas. In fact, many of the ideas that the party perpetuated were similar to what he grew up hearing and living by.
Aside from the context, Hitler appears to be similar in many ways to that of his popular image. Many of the points made in the pamphlet follow common knowledge: he was anti-Semitic, he was pro-Aryan race. However there were a few odd parts in his writing that really stood out. First, Hitler held a very strong view on education, and judging from the extent to which he goes into it on Point 20, he intended to make sure it went well. In thought, this could be the precursor to the Hitler youth, but at least it demonstrates a priority in equal education opportunity not held by many today. It was also intriguing to read about his high placement on physical education and gymnastics. In many ways, it’s a sneaky way of preparing students/children for war, similar to many Communist Chinese programs during the Mao era. The reading relates to past ideas as well, such as Fichte’s belief in shared culture leading to nationalism and borders, Herder’s belief that different groups should not mix, and Mussolini’s point that the state should mean everything (statist), with the “people” being an extension of that state.
 “Adolf Hitler.” Wikipedia. Accessed March 31, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler.
Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Dystopian Future novel We, is one of the greatest works of science fiction. We, is remarkable for a number of reasons. The first being that it draws so much from Zamyatin’s own experiences such as his naming of the auditorium. Auditorium-112 was his cell number from his time in jail. The book is a commentary about the new socialist movements in Russia brought to the extremes in the One State. D-503 the narrator, and the main protagonist is a faithful follower of the Benefactor, or the leader of the One State. D-503 believes in the socialism that the One State preaches to all of it’s citizens, however as in all Dytopian novels he has a major change of heart when he meets the beautiful I-330.
I-330 is a women who does not fit any of the accepted social norms of the One State. She smokes, drinks, and wears different clothes, but most importantly she does not believe in the complete socialism that the One State enforces. She is the first person that D-503 meets who has true ideas about individuality, and personal freedoms. D-503 soon discovers that she has a true soul, and almost follows her to the end before he figures out that she is only using him to get to the space-ship.
I-330 could be seen as a savior figure, or a Christ like figure. She like Christ, preaches something completely new and different from the acceptable societal norms. We draws many parallels with the Old Testament, and the Genesis story because of the process of creation of the One State. Zamyatin uses these parallels as a way to show his displeasure at the tearing down of the Orthodox Church, and instead being replaced with icons of Socialism, and Communism in the new Soviet Union.
We not only functions as a true political commentary, but also as one of the first Dystopian novels to be written. We has been hearkened back to throughout the 20th century as the book that started the genera of the futuristic novel with a cataclysmic future, often as a result of humanities own mistakes.
“Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939” by Wolfgang Schivelbusch gives a new take on the ideals and foundations of totalitarianism and collectivism by juxtaposing the politics and economics that dominated the US, Germany and Italy during the 1930s. In this text, Schivelbusch investigates the fundamental similarities between the “three new deals.” Putting all three of this regimes next to each other gives a different perspective on the totalitarian regimes that rose after the Great Depression, as well as on Roosevelt’s democratically praised New Deal programs. Schivelbusch begins the book with a quote by Scottish philosopher David Hume. He states, “as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and the most military governments as well as to the most free and popular.” Schivelbusch sets the tone using this quote by Hume from “Of the First Principles of Government” in an effort to portray and demonstrate some of the similarities and characteristics of the three governments that resulted from the First World War and the Great Depression in an effort to reestablish economic, political, and social order. Schivelbusch compares and contrasts all three new deals in order to offer a new explanation as to why Europe’s totalitarian systems became so popular. In his introduction, he explains that “the New Deal, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany all profited from the illusion of the nation as an egalitarian community whose members looked out for one another’s welfare under the watchful eyes of a strong leader” (15). This shows that these “three new deals” grew popular because it resulted in the improvement of its respective nations after suffering a Great Depression.
Although the United States fought against Italy and Germany in the Second World War, initially, there were many similarities between the three governments and economic systems. In the first chapter, Schivelbusch describes how similar Roosevelt’s New Deal economic policies were so similar to the policies enacted by Hitler and Mussolini especially. The chapter is titled, Kinship? From the very beginning, Schivelbusch challenges his readers to consider these close similarities despite the clear divide between the US, Italy, and Germany during WWII. It is described that the New Deal was often compared to Fascism because of its transition from a liberal free-market system to a system with corporatist characteristics. Schivelbusch cites a German paper that stated that “if not in the same words, [Roosevelt], too, demands that collective good be put before individual self-interest. Many passages in his book Looking Forward could have been written by a National Socialist. In any case, one can assume that he feels considerable affinity with the National Socialist philosophy” (19). In addition to policy, Schivelbusch also demonstrates the respect and sympathy that all politicians shared for each other. Mussolini and FDR in particular admired one another’s policy implementations as well as each other’s character up until the Italian led invasion on Ethiopiain 1935. Schivelbusch quotes Roosevelt stating, “there seems to be no question that [Mussolini] is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose of restoring Italy” (31). This is an interesting take considering that fascism is often linked to one of the many evils that the United States and its allies tried to rid the world of. Meanwhile, FDR himself praised the very beginnings and economic foundations that Mussolini preached and incorporated into Fascist Italy. Although Schivelbusch uses an ample amount of evidence that the “three new deals” may have shared similar origins, he also stresses the fundamental difference that the New Deal, unlike Fascism, had preserved individual civil liberties (30). Can we argue to opposite in terms of internment camps in the US that were formed later on in the war? Can we argue the Roosevelt indeed incorporated Fascist ideals? Lastly, can we consider collectivism as another characteristic of the rising modern world?
In the early 1930s, Germany, Italy, and the United States endured a period of economic downturn known as the Great Depression. These three countries took separate roads toward recovery. However, in the book, Three New Deals, Wolfgang Busch argues that the United States may have had more in common with the National Socialists in Germany and the Fascists in Italy.
In Chapter One of his book, Wolfgang Schivelbush gives a detailed narrative about Nazi Germanys’ and Fascist Italy’s perspective on Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Schivelbush notes that in the first half of the 1930s, Germany and Italy held a positive position on Roosevelt and his new deal. Nazi Germany, according to Schivelbush, believed the beginnings of the new deal echoed their “Revolutionary Program”.(Schivelbush 18). Though FDR did adapt some socialist ideas in his policies, FDR made sure that these ideas were in line with American values and to help quell any concerns over the direction of American democracy. While intrigued occurred in Germany over FDRs policies, Facists in Italy took interest in FDR and his policies. Benito Mussolini stated in his book that “The Appeal to the decisiveness and masculine sobriety of the nation’s youth, with which Roosevelt here calls his readers to battle, is reminicent of the ways and means by which Fascism awakened the Italian people”.(Mussolini quote in Schivelbush’s Three New Deals, 23). Mussolini praised FDR as a strong man who was able to take grasp of power in the United States and move it in a fascist friendly direction.
At home, the National Socialist and Fascist comparisons helped give FDR negative attention, particularly from his political opponents. Political and civilian opponents believed that FDR attempted to not only destroy civil liberties and gain more constitutional power, but also establish friendships with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Though Constitutional powers were never completely destroyed and an alliance with Italy and Germany never happened, FDR did push against these boundaries so that he could attempt to get the United States get back on its feet.
In Three New Deals, author Wolfganf Schivelbusch argues how three powerful states were all led by common ideals leading up to WWII. This is not to confuse with ‘same’ ideals in any sense. While these terms may seem alike, Schivelbusch clearly states there is a difference. He argues that while the United States, Germany, and Italy had common features the three cannot be considered identical in any way. It is difficult to place the United States, a democratic society, in the same category as two authoritative countries, but Schivelbusch continues to explain how they represent one another while being different at the same time.
Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal consisted of a series of acts that were established to help the United States recover from the Great Depression. While the New Deal looks as it could help the recovery process, it ultimately did nothing but create criticism both internationally and domestically. Much of the criticism was towards FDR and his Fascist and National Socialist fascinations. Schivelbusch argues how Germany and Italy identified the similarities of FDR’s economic solutions and supported his dictatorial leadership style. While these solutions may have been similar to those of the Fascist or National Socialist, they are not identical in any matter.
Another element Schivelbusch recognizes that is common within these three states is the use of propaganda, particularly war propaganda. War propaganda was used create a sense of nationalism through the respected states, and Italy and Germany seemed to create a strong idea of nationalism. Stated, “fascism and National Socialism saw themselves as the continuation of solders’ solidarity, as heroic, messianic movements that would invigorate nations still ruled by outdated ideas with new revolutionary spirit. Politics was a call to arms on the home front” (39). FDR and the United States did not have anywhere near the strength of the Germans or Italians, but was convinced he could spread it.
– “The Jew has suffered no privations!”. Hitler is attempting to rally the Christian population (many of those who are very poor) by blaming the Jews as the reason the majority of the populace is suffering economically. He states that the Jews go to a doctor’s office to “lose his fat” instead of going to get healthy, like a good, hard working German. He slanders them in order to rouse public disdain regarding these people, which would make it easier to expel them from the country/commit anti-semitic acts.
– Hitler pushed the idea of a “nationalist, socialist party” (Nazi). In this creation he would emphasize the state empowering characteristics of each wing, and minimize the radicals sitting on each end of the spectrum. The people on the “Right” and the people on the “Left” would bring the country to ruin if they were able to take control. If the party of compromises was not the one in power, there would be only two possibilities: “the victory of the Aryan or the annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew.”
– Since there would be only one race in his ideal Germany (Aryan), Hitler wishes there to be no class system. “Class means caste and caste means race”: ipso facto if there is only one race, then there is only one class, meaning there is no traditional “class system”.
– In his last lines, Hitler says that he is creating this party (and everything that goes on within it) because he wanted to build an institution that people can take solace in in order to “bring calm to their hearts”. Knowing what you know about how this party system ended (WWII), what would have been a better way about calming his people down?
– In this passage Hitler makes it quite clear that he opposes the Treaty of Versailles. Given what he states in this speech, what part of the treaty do you believe he disliked the most?
– Hitler uses the fears and concerns of the people to his advantage. Germany at this point in time was a country without a strong leadership; they needed someone to take control and lead them into the next chapter of their history. Hitler saw that they were a weak people, and took advantage by implanting his thoughts into their minds. By offering the populace the answers they sought, he was able to get the whole country on his side, making it much easier for him to impose his will.
3 Substainative points:
“We are already a colony of the outside world.” Hitler displays the opinions of many Germans when he says that Germany no longer had the ability to work for itself. Not only were they subjected to the conditions of Versailles without input, but those conditions have allowed the suppression of their entire work force. “The product of Germany’s work thus belonged, not to our nation, but to her foreign creditors,” shows the angry sentiments of Germans towards the other European nations- an anger that would only grow towards an outburst of war.