02 April, 2008
Political Topography of the NSDAP
This is my latest attempt to create a topography of political factions within (and around) the NSDAP.
On the left we find three categories: National Bolsheviks who are too far left to remain within the NSDAP or ever to have joined, National Socialists who were the genuinely socialist faction within the party, and Left Opportunists who, while being socialist in outlook, ultimately subordinated this to other motivations. Thus National Bolshevik includes Nazi defectors (e.g. Stennis and Otto Strasser), disaffected Communists and Socialists who could not embrace the lingering petite-bourgeois character of the NSDAP (e.g. Radek, Niekish and Winnig), and characters who were simply too radically anti-bourgeois to fit anywhere else (e.g. Ernst Saloman, or von Stauffenberg). The Left Opportunists usually were careerists (e.g. Hans Fritzsche) who willingly subordinated any opinions to their personal interests, though there were many (e.g. Dr. Joseph Göbbels or Julius Streicher) who subordinated their socialist ideas to their racist mania, as well as those who, for whatever reason, failed to act upon their beliefs (such as the brain-damaged Dr. Ley).
In the Center, there are three Anti-Bourgeois Categories: The Left Anti-Bourgeois are the State Socialists, who think that socialism, by eliminating the class struggle, would ultimately strengthen the nation (e.g. Spengler, and the Tatkreis [“Action Circle”] faction). In the Center Anti-Bourgeois is something of a grab bag, including as it does out-and-out monarchists (e.g. Frick and von Epp), third way theorists (e.g. Möller van den Brucke), disaffected militarists (e.g. Doenitz or Steldte), and flaky race theorists (e.g. Dintner or Eckhardt). The Right Anti-Bourgeois are State Capitalists who, though accepting capitalism, wish to subordinate it to the nation. This eventually became the de facto Nazi ideology as this faction was heavily weighted with the sort of fanatical racists that Hitler favored. The Right Opportunists mirror their complement on the left and are designated opportunists for similar reasons (e.g. careerists like Speer, the racially obsessed like Himmler, or out-and-out opportunists like the amiable sociopath himself, Herman Göring).
On the far right we find the Reactionary Capitalists who are too far right to work with Hitler. They constitute a conventional hard right faction alienated from the “Weimar System” which they perceive, rightly or wrongly, as “socialist.”
The “Y-Axis” of this chart deals with the national/race issue. No one in the NSDAP is an internationalist or anything less than a German patriot, so we begin there with Völkish. The völkish believe Germany was cheated at Versailles, is the best of all possible nations, and perhaps they believe that neither Poles, Jews, nor Czechs living within the Reich can ever really be good Germans, yet they are not obsessed with the race issue, respect other nations, nor harbor real hatreds. Anti-Semitic encompasses those who see Jews as constituting an economic or cultural menace, see other nations as inferior, and are not adverse to a war of conquest. Racist defines those as favoring or willing to go along with genocide.
Hitler’s program was one of genocide and imperialism. He was thus fundamentally neither right nor left (though he ultimately allied himself with the right) but merely a racist. The proof of this is that no one supporting genocide was ever purged!