NazismThe most merciless and cruel party in the world, was under the role ofAdolf Hitler, their violence remained a deep gash in the western worldhistory. Nazism was originated in Germany in the early 1920s. It was thedoctrines or practices of the Nazi party.
Nazism was a shortened versionof the tern National Socialism, denoting the doctrine and form ofgovernment of Nazi Germany under the rule of Adolf as enunciated in hisbook Mein Kampf. The term was an abbreviation of NationalsozialistischeDeutsche Arbeiterpartei (German National Socialist Worker Party). National Socialist German Workers Party founded in 1919 on fascistprinciples and dominant from 1933 to 1945 in Germany. The party’sprinciples were essentially antidemocratic and racist.
Hitler borrowedconsiderably from the Italian Fascist and Soviet Communist Systems, but theNazi pseudoscientific racist theories were original German contributions. In the past storm troopers and communists had contested the streets onfairly equal terms. Now, three days after the formation of Hitler’scabinet, communist meeting were banned in Prussia. To enforce suchmeasures, there was a new and ominous agency. A minor department in theBerlin police, detailed to watch anticonstitutional activities, was putunder Goring’s command. As of April 26, 1933, this old Department IA ofthe Prussian political police was replaced by the Geheime Staatspolizei(“Secret State Police”), better known as the Gestapo.
Within two years itsactiones would be free from judicial review and it would take its placebeside the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, or “Security Service”) and the securitybranch of the SS in a sadistic competition to achieve the totalitarianstate. Until this time Nazism was very much a function of communism– theother side of the revolutionary coin. Now, within Germany, NationalSocialism stood alone. Communism was gone as a counterweight. The Jews, if their reviled relationship to Nazism had been simply thatof expedient scapegoat, could now have been passed over.
Hitler hadarrived and did not need them in his further rise to dictator andconqueror. As unprincipled conqueror, he might well have enlisted theirtalents and loyalties, but Hitler had his principles and the Jews remainedas ever the evil force behind all that sought to destroy the master race. As a myth they had to be crushed. As a reality within German borders theywere a weak minority, so in practice the myth could be put aside and dealtwith at Hitler’s convenience. Hindenburg himself had little patience with the new chancellor’santi-Semitism and wrote Hitler a letter objecting to the persecution ofthose Jews who had fought bravely for the fatherland in World War I.
Indeed, while Hindenburg lived, Hitler was relatively restrained in hispersecutions. Many foresighted Jews did leave the country. Others,accustomed to centuries of persecution, accepted this as just one moreperiod of hard times which must be endured. After all, Jews in England andthe United States were barred from the best clubs. A good many German Jewswishfully believed that Hitler’s venom was reserved for the Eastern Jewswho had begun flooding into Germany after World War I.
A few Jews,thinking of themselves of labor, Friedrich Syrup, to stop furtherimmigration of Eastern Jews on the grounds that their presence stirred upanti-Semitism. Not until 1936, with Hindenburg dead and Hitler in sole command, waspersecution seriously escalated. On September 13, during the Nuremburgparty rally, Hitler raised the specter of the almost forgotten partyprotocol by announcing the Law for the Protection of German Blood andHonor. Henceforth, only those of “German or related blood” could becitizens.
This event marked a deterioration of the Jewish lot in NaziGermany, but the monstrous “final solution,” instrumented under theLebensraum program, remained unimaginable in 1935. Communists and Jews might have expected little better on the basis ofHitler’s past performance. Labor, though a portion of its membershipmerged with the communist left, seemed to be in for gentler treatment. They had, in theory, been part of the National Socialist program form thebeginning. Reassuringly, Hitler declared May 1, 1933, a Day of NationalLabor. Labor was flattered.
A big rally was held that night at theTempelhof airport. There, Hitler warmed a crowd of several hundredthousand with his praise of labor’s dignity and the need for unificationbehind the nation. His listeners cheered themselves hoarse. Patrioticsongs were sung. Rockets flowered in the sky.
Bright and early the next day regular police, together withdetachments of SS and SA, occupied union headquarters throughout the land. Leading officials were arrested and dispatch to concentration camps. TheLabor Federation’s banks and businesses were seized. Files wereconfiscated.
Labor newspapers were shut down. Within three weeks theright to strike and to bargain collectively were removed, withdecisionmaking left entirely to the “natural leaders,” the employers, a farcry from the socialistic goals espoused by so many early Nazis. Hitler, meanwhile, informed the disgruntled workers that they would bebetter off as part of the New German Labor Front. In reaction, there wasnot even an organized protest, let alone an uprising which the communistleadership would undoubtedly have encouraged had it not already beenremoved. From marching to the old “International” (the communist anthem),the workers now marched to a Nazi tune without ever breaking stride.
Forthe duration of the Third Reich the workers were industrial serfs, secureenough in their jobs but with a share in the national income that was evenbelow the Depression level. As the economy moved toward war, a specialdecree on June 22, 1938, instituted the conscription of labor. Thiscommanded each German to work where the state assigned him, with thereciprocal assurance that he would not be fired without governmentapproval. Besides this promise of security, the state brought one more rigidgood to the worker.
For his cheap enjoyment there was the state-run KraftDurch Freude (“Strength through Joy”) program, which organized all hisleisure and vacation time into sporting and travel groups. Individuality,as far as the Nazi state was concerned, no longer existed. Could Nazism happen again? German universities remained centers ofunrest, but the last likelihood seemed to be another Hitler. For the mostpart, Germany was a burned-out crater of big- power politics. She had nostab-in-the-back legend, no “Jewish conspiracy” myth to spur her on. Infact, if democracy should falter, the greatest probability was that itwould be supplanted by communism, that totalitarian system which existed inEast Germany and which, although Nazism’s undying foe, was more akin toNazism in practice than to democracy.