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To the editor:

A little bit of time with a history book or a comparative politics class can save a lot of embarrassment. Despite the posts on social media that claims that the Nazi party were socialists, due to their full name — the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the assumption is incorrect. This argument has been used to attack socialism through association with Nazi policies. Nazism is fascism and far-right-wing on the political spectrum.

Historians disavowed claims that Hitler adhered to socialist ideology. Historian Richard Evans wrote of the Nazis’incorporation of socialist into their name in 1920, “Despite the change of name, however, it would be wrong to see Nazism as a form of, or an outgrowth from, socialism. … Nazism was in some ways an extreme counter-ideology to socialism.” Or historian and Hitler expert Ian Kershaw, “Hitler was never a socialist.” Socialism, for supporters of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, appeared to substitute Marx’s idea of class war with a race one.

The Nazis didn’t create the term “National socialism” themselves; both the left-leaning Czech National Socialist Party and right-leaning Austrian National socialism movement predated the Nazi party in Germany. The term was added to the party’s title in 1920—turning the German Worker’s Party into the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. This, along with their manifesto, was done to appeal to the working classes. Hitler understood the value of language would be an enormous understatement. Propaganda played a significant role in his rise to power. To that end, he paid lip service to the tenets suggested by a name like National Socialist German Workers’ Party, but his primary-indeed, sole—focus was on achieving power whatever the cost and advancing his racist, anti-Semitic agenda.

Hitler allied himself with the German conservative and nationalist movements, and in January 1933 German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed him chancellor. Hitler’s Third Reich had been born, and it was entirely fascist in character. Within two months Hitler achieved full dictatorial power through the Enabling Act. In April 1933 communists, socialists, democrats, and Jews were purged from the German civil service, and trade unions were outlawed the following month. That July Hitler banned all political parties other than his own, and prominent members of the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps. Hitler ordered the murder of Gregor Strasser, an act that was carried out on June 30, 1934, during the Night of the Long Knives. Any remaining traces of socialist thought in the Nazi Party had been extinguished.

In addition, censorship, by definition, is the suppression of freedom of expression by governments, authorities, and institutions.. Not a company deciding what it wants to publish.

Iris Nielsen

North Logan

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