Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins

Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins, by Bradley Birzer.

We scholars have failed to convince the public of just how wicked all forms of communism were and remain. … Almost all historians ignore the most salient fact of the 20th century: that governments murdered more than 200 million innocents, the largest massacre in the history of the world. Terror reigned in the killing fields, the Holocaust camps, and the gulags. …

The five nations that remain officially communist—Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, North Korea and mainland China—seem to be relentlessly backward, mad, or capitalist. No one thinks about the first three countries anymore. North Korea looks like a loony bin. China seems more bent on profit and power more than anything it might profess officially. …

Most younger defenders of communism buy into the oldest propaganda line of the Left—that real communism has never been tried and fascism is the polar opposite of communism.

That the Nazis were actually “National Socialists,” these apologists argue, was merely a cynical ploy on the part of Hitler to gain the support of the working and middle classes of Germany. The term “socialism” meant nothing to Hitler. He was really a supporter of controlled corporate capitalism, not of the beautiful and compelling idea of socialism. Many of these young communism supporters go so far as to argue that those who label the Nazis “National Socialists” are either ignorant or willfully smearing a good word. While these new supporters have yet to proclaim those who call Nazis socialists as racists, they are coming close. …

The young communists are more than convinced of their intellectual as well as their moral superiority. With dread certainty, they bully anyone who believes differently than they do. In other words, the Left is back and in full force, up to the same deceptions and tricks as it was in the 1920s and after.

That the National Socialists embraced socialism is factually accurate. Though they did not nationalize to the extent the Leninists wanted, they did nationalize very vital industry in Germany, even if by outright intimidation rather than through the law. …

Read it all. See here, here, and here for why fascism is a left wing ideology.

Short answer: The essential distinction between left and right is collectivism versus individualism. Nazis (nationalist socialists) were obviously collectivists, just ever so slightly less so than the communists (internationalist socialists). Those were the only two choices in Germany in the 1930s (“everyone knew” that socialism was the way of the future it was “science”), so German conservatives plumped for the Nazis — the lesser of two evils.

hat-tip Stephen Neil