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Was Nazism nationalist or racist?
The party's ideology of Nazism
The national socialist worker's party which is popularly referred to as Nazi was established back in the year 1919. In 1921, the party emerged not only as the most influencing but also as the most powerful political force in Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Germany was governed using the party’s ideology from 1933 to 1945. The party’s ideology was based on nationalism and racism. The party utilized the scientific theory of racism to attain its superiority. Under this theory, they believed that the Nazis people were racially superior to all others. Through their relentless effort and endeavor, the party achieved an immense success to the followers and the nation at large. If the statements by the party authorities were something to go by, the party advocated for equality of the German people with all other nations.
According to NSDAP program ex.3, the Nazi authorities demanded liberty on land and soil for the nourishment of their people. Looking at the party’s ardor on a quick glance, it seems to harbor more of nationalism in its ideology. But this is not the case when a deeper analysis, evaluation and appraisal is conducted. In fact, nationalism was just an ideology used to hoodwink unsuspecting followers and interest group about the motives of the party. In reality, the party was a racist. The purpose of Nazism was to discriminate the non-Germans. The people with German blood were favoured against foreign races. The party formulated and adopted massive restrictions against foreign races to advance racial discrimination. This was in comparison with the utmost favoritism advanced towards the people with German blood in all aspects of the country’s agenda. The non- Germans were banned from participating in the country’s politics, intellectual events and cultural activities (Hitler 1937 speech ex.1). the Nazi beliefs gave rise to Adolf Hitler dictatorship. An open racism where foreign races were discriminated through being abjured to experience Germany environment was witnessed. This was a lifetime ban. This essay analyses the practices of Nazism on the basis of racism approach. The essay tends to argue that Nazism was racist and not nationalist.
The aim of the national socialist was to establish a homogenous race commonly referred to as Aryan' national community (Volksgemeinschaft) by reshaping the existing society. The ultimate way to achieve their goal was through persecution of those who did not perfectly fit into their Aryan society. This did not spare those people with German-blood who were considered weak and wayward. These included the homosexuals, those who were congenitally sick and also the asocial. They were discriminated together as those of foreign races. The Nazis considered the Jews as their lead enemy and the represented them as anti-race. The Nazis believed that the Jews were as a result of natural selection and had integrated into the German national body through assimilation. According to them, the Jews served as a barrier towards their aim of creating an Aryan society. The Nazis had to revive what had become a social convention though Anti-Semitism (German blood ex. sec 1). The native-Christianity hostility was revamped. In additional to the Jews, gypsies were considered as a dangerous race by the Nazis.
Nationalism vs Racism in Nazism
The Nazi racism was prominent between 1933-1939. This was the period which saw a massive persecution of Jews who were considered as foreign races. In 1933-1934, the Nazis focused on excluding the Jews from public life ((Hitler 1922 speech ex.1).). Adolf Hitler, who was the leader of Nazi, announced that the Nazis should boycott the Jewish businesses He went ahead to introduce anti-Jew laws where the Jews were barred from being public servants or event practice law. No Jew was allowed to hold any public position (German blood ex. sec 1). To extend their discrimination towards gypsies and others who could not fit into the Aryan society, the Nazis passed a law that allowed forced sterilization to those people who were congenitally sick in 1933. Around 300000 Germans were victims of this legislation by the end of the 3rd Reich. Also, the year 1933 was characterized by anti-Semitic rioting fronted by Nazi supporters. In 1935, the Nazist party authorities under the command of Adolf Hitler sponsored Nuremberg laws which defined on who was to be considered as a Jew ((Hitler 1933 speech ex.3).). This show the termination of 1871 equal rights that existed between Jews and Germans. This led to the abolition of intermarriages and extramarital sexual relations between the Jews and the non-Jews.
The appointment of Heinrich Himmler as the head of police in 1936 led to the persecution of other stigmatized groups. According to Nuremberg laws extract (1935), the Nuremberg laws were extended to include the Gypsies who were put other house arrest through the established special camps and their freedom of movement curtailed (Abel life ex 1). The social outsiders were pronounced asocial having being accused of carrying defective genes and on top of being imprisoned, they were sterilized. Homosexuality was abolished and homosexuals were persecuted. A comprehensive campaign conducted in 1937 saw the sterilization of Rhineland Bastards (crossbreed children between German mothers and fathered by French-African soldiers in Germany).
The 9th of November 1938 was characterized by a pogrom after extensive demonstrations and rioting of Nazi party workers. The Kristallnacht commonly referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass” saw the introduction of further anti-Semitic laws where the Jews were stripped off all their rights. The forceful acquisition of Jews property came into a halt as the Jews started being expulsed forcefully through the use of threats and violence (Heredity and race ex 1). In 1939, the Nazis celebrated their conquest and started expanding their racist policies throughout the European continent. Their effective tool to achieve their goal was mass murder.
In August 1939, a programmed duped Euthanasia (T4) was established where all malformed children in Germany were required to register. Around 5,000 children which were registered were transferred to different ‘children departments’ and then they were persecuted. More than 70000 adults who were in psychiatric hospitals were massacred after the programme was extended to include adult patients in mental institutions just after the start of the 2nd world war (Hitler motivation ex 1). There were six massacring centers fitted with gas chambers where the killings took place. Despite the abolition of the programme in August 1941, the killings continued through the locally decentralized actions. It is documented that, there were thousands of murders targeting institutionalized patients occupying Poland centers. The special SS units either used the gas chambers or mass shooting to undertake the massacre. This is the period after the commencement of world war 2. Other documentation revealed that over 10000 people of the polish elite group were systematically killed by the special SS unit during the Poland invasion.
Racism in Nazism
After the Nazis conquered Poland where over 1.7 million polish were brought under the Nazist rule, a Jewish reservation was established. This reservation was meant for all Jews from Poland and extended regions of the German Reich (citizenship law ex. Art.1). There was mass displacement where hundreds of thousands of polish were transferred to create room for ethnically German settlers. Due to the scale of the polish megalomania, the idea of creating a reservation failed but was replaced by a territorial solution, a project that was established after the Nazis conquered France. Under what was referred to the Madagascar plan, all the Jews were to be transferred to France territory(colony) of Madagascar. This plan did not work because the British royal navy continued to control the seas. After conquering Soviet Union, however, a variation to the territorial solution was presented by Adolf Hitler where the Jews were to be deported to the said colony.
Regardless of the location where the Jews were to be secluded, be it Poland, Madagascar or Soviet Union, the intention was to expose them to diseases, malnutrition, general abuse and forced labour. Thus, the territorial solution advanced by the Nazis was meant to exterminate the Jews from Europe. The invasion of Soviet Union territory began in June 1941 where the German Nazis contemplated to advance a racial war of extermination in addition to exploiting the territory economically. The Nazi leadership also planned on how to liquidate the territory’s ruling class on its entirety (prevention ex 1). This was followed by a mass murder operation in Soviet Union targeting the Jews. It was the belief of the Nazis that the Jewish mass murder was the beginning of creating an ethnic new order. After successfully carrying out the mass murder, Adolf Hitler ordered for the deportation of Jews from German Reich to European Ghettos (citizenship law ex. Art.3-4). The killings which were executed by the Nazis were systematic in that they discriminated the Jews and the gypsies although they both faced the same fate. It is important to note that the mass murder and genocide perpetrated by the 3rd Reich and the conformist allies till the final days of the word war also contextualized the racist policies of the Nazis (proclamation ex 1).
In conclusion, it is evident from the discussion above that the Nazism was racist oriented rather than nationalist-oriented. They were advocating for the seclusion of other races from the European continent. They considered the Jews as their lead enemy towards achieving their racist policies. They hatched extermination plans where they could seclude the “foreign races” and exterminate them. That’s the reason they established a territorial solution campaign to deport the Jews to Poland, Madagascar or Soviet Union where they would easily exploit and exterminate them. The Nazis racist policies resulted in mass deaths where millions of people were massacred.
Abel, T 2018, Nazi followers: life history extract, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Heredity and race extract 2018, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Hitler, A 2018, On the motivating force of life extract, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Hitler, A 2018, Speech, 12 April 1922 extract, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Law for the prevention of genetically diseased offspring extract 2018, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Law for the protection of German blood, 2018 Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
NSDAP program extract 2018, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Proclamation of the Reich government 1933 extract 2018, Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
Reich citizenship law extract, 2018 Trinity College Foundation Studies, Melbourne.
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