National Socialist Party

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National Socialist Party

 

(Nazi Party, full name National Socialist German Workers’ Party; Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), a fascist party that existed from 1919 to 1945 and reflected the interests of the most reactionary and aggressive circles of the German monopoly bourgeoisie; the terms “Nazis” and “Nazism” are abbreviations derived from the German word Nationalsozialistische.

The Nazi Party was founded in Munich, which remained its headquarters. In 1921, A. Hitler became the Führer (leader) of the party. The Nazi Party stood for antidemocracy, extreme anticommunism, chauvinism, and racism, and it indulged in unrestrained demagogy. To fan revanchism, the party appealed to the national feeling of Germans, many of whom were dissatisfied with the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919. It attracted déclassé elements, the petite bourgeoisie, retired officers, office employees, and people of peasant descent. Taking advantage of anticapitalist attitudes in the country, the Nazi Party in 1920 adopted a demagogic 25-point program, which included the nationalization of cartels, the abolition of “interest slavery”—that is, the dependence of small property owners on banks—and agrarian reforms. Large monopolists such as Thyssen and Kirdorf provided funds for propaganda and for the maintenance of paramilitary detachments.

During the economic crisis of 1929–33, when class contradictions became very intense, the ruling classes tried to use the Nazi Party (whose leadership included, in addition to Hitler, H. Goring, J. P. Goebbels, and R. Hess) to terrorize the workers’ movement in Germany and to prepare and unleash a war for the redivision of the world. By fanning chauvinism, racism, and anti-Semitism and by spreading myths about German superiority over other peoples, the Nazis succeeded in misleading and winning over a large segment of the population. In January 1933, at a time when the working class was split, the ruling circles brought the fascists to power. Hitler was appointed Reichskanzler (chancellor), and the Nazi Party became the dominant element in the fascist dictatorship.

In December 1933 a law was passed “to ensure the unity of the party and the state,” which proclaimed the Nazi Party to be “the embodiment of the idea of statehood.” Relying on the mass organizations under its control, such as the SS Storm Troops, the Hitler Youth, and the Labor Front, the Nazi Party directed the military preparations and later the war effort of German imperialism for world domination. After the defeat of German fascism in World War II (1939–45), the Nazi Party was disbanded. Many former Nazis joined the National Democratic Party and other neofascist organizations in the Federal Republic of Germany.

REFERENCES

Galkin, A. A. Germanskii fashizm. Moscow, 1967.
Heiden, K. Istoriia germanskogo fashizma. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935. (Translated from German.)
Die bürgerlichen Parteien in Deutschland, vol. 2. Leipzig, 1970. Pages 384–437.
Orlow, D. The History of the Nazi Party 1919–1933. Pittsburgh. 1969.
Schäfer, W. NSDAP: Entwicklung und Struktur der Staatspartei des Dritten Reiches. Hannover-Frankfurt-am-Main, 1956.

L. I. GINTSBERG

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