Nazism and communism

  • Created by: wika0821
  • Created on: 15-06-21 09:36

Nazi ideology - a national socialism

Adopted name 'National Socialist German Workers' Party' (NSDAP) to gain the support of the wc and to separate themselves from the international socialism of the Communist party.

25 point programme = economically radical and similar to that of anti-capitalist parties.

Hitler never fully committed to these radical aims and changed his message based on who he was speaking to.

1929 onwards -> he sought the support of wealthy businessmen (Hugenberg and Fritz Thyssen) and reassured them that the Nazi government would not threaten them,

Hitler used the term 'socialism' loosely.

He believed in socialism = Volksgemeinschaft.

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Nazi ideology - the Fuhrerpinzip

Hilter wanted to destroy the Weimar Republic because it was a form of parliamentary democracy.

He saw this as a weak system that encouraged communism.

'Democracy is not German; it is Jewish. This Jewish democracy, with its majority decisions, has always been only a means towards the destruction of any existing Aryan leadership.' - Hitler

Nazis believed that the Weimar Republic was built on the betrayal of the 'November criminals'.

Thus, it should be destroyed and replaced by a one-party run dictatorship based on the principles of Fuhrerprinzip (leadership).

Nazi Party ran on Fuhrerprinzip since 1925.

Hitler had ultimate control over policy, strategy, etc and the members were subordinate to him.

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Nazi ideology - aggressive nationalism

Hitler was a German nationalist and had 3 aims:

- Undo the humiliation caused by the Treaty of Versailles.

- To establish a 'Greater German Reich'.

- To secure Germany for its Lebensraum to settle its people and provide necessities

Lebensraum - 'living space', used by Hitler to justify taking over territories in the East.

This was an aggressive form of nationalism.

Hitler did not only want to restore Germany but to expand it.

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Nazi ideology - anti-semitism

Hitler blamed the Jews for all of Germany's struggles.

Nazi propaganda portrayed them as greedy and cunning parasites.

They believed that Jews had to be held responsible for the growth of communism, the defeat of ww1 and the Treaty of Versailles. 

Hitler believed that communism was a Jewish creed that undermined the political and social structures of Germany.

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The importance of Hitler to Nazi success

1929 - Hitler had full control over the Nazi party.

His political skills and qualities = crucial to the success of the party.

He had great charisma and oratorical skills.

His speeches lasted hours, although they were full of lies, they left people 'hypnotised'.

He was an opportunist that was able to tailor his message to play on the struggles of whatever his audience faced.

This appeal helped Nazis secure votes.

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The role of anti-Semitism in Nazi electoral succes

Nazis used the Jews as scapegoats in their propaganda.

Portrayed them as being responsible for all of Germany's economic, social and political problems.

Great Depression = Mittlestand willing to blame 'Jewish capitalism.

People felt more comfortable expressing anti-Semitic views.

Many Germans were not comfortable with this but they were struggling with their financial problems and were willing to overlook anti-Semitism due to the promises of work and bread.

Nazi propaganda was adapted according to local issues.

SA encouraged anti-Semitism e.g often chanted 'Down with the Jews'.

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The role of propaganda in Nazi electoral success

Nazis were skilled in the use of propaganda = a lot fo support.

Joseph Goebbels = Reich Progpaganda Chief

Nazis had their own newspapers,

Other propaganda included:

- Posters

- Leaflets

- Films, etc

Changed message based on audience.

Simple message -> Weimar Democracy + responsible for the GD and international humiliation.

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Joseph Goebbels

Chief propaganist of Nazism 1928 - 1945.

Fanatically loyal to Hitler since mid 1920s.


Has written novels and plays.

Partook in street violence against left-wing opponents.

Key to the success in Nazi rise to power.

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The appeal of communism

Gained 2 million votes in Reichstag elections 1928 - July 1932.

Membership increased from 117,000 (1929) to 360,000 (1932).

Large impact on German life in street and Neighbourhood settings especially.

1920s -> focused on building a presence in factories and workshops where union trade members were located.

After 1929 -> shifted focus to unemployment due to the economic circumstances of Germany.

Set up committees of the unemployed, staged marches and hunger strikes.

Red-Front FIghter's LEague of the KPD was often involved in battles with the Nazis SA and the police and they portrayed themselves as the defenders of the wc against the Nazis.

Had some success in some areas of cities.

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Policies and ideology

Demanded to end cuts to unemployment benefits and wages.

Demanded the legalisation of abortion.

Advoacted for cooperation with the USSR.

Advocated for the ending of military spending.

Advocated for the creation of a workers' state.

Ultimate aim = overthrow the Weimar Republic.

Saw the GD as the final nail in the coffin of capitalism that would inevitably lead to a workers' revolution. 

AImed to replace the SPD as the leading left-wing party by accusing them of being 'social fascists.

Social-fascists -> theory that stated social democracy was a variant of fascism as it stood in the way of a complete transition to communism.

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Communism - strengths

Propaganda attracted members, especially speeches about overthrowing capitalism.

Appealed to the unemployed, e.g slogans 'Bread and Freedom'.

Emphasised their links to the USSR and its belief in internationalism. 

Much of the propaganda attacked the SPD and claimed it was a tool of capitalists.

Support grew 1930 - 1932, reaching a peak of 16.9% in Nov 1932.

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Communism - weaknesses

KPD never came close to a revolution.

High membership turnover = more than 50% of new members in 1932 left within a few months.

Failed to attract support outside the main industrial area.

Had little support from women.

Large amount of members were unemployed = KPD short on money.

Its constant focus on attacking the SPD distracted them from the Nazi threat.

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