National Socialism is a political term that is both vague and ambiguous. As the name suggests, features of nationalism and socialism are combined and interrelated to form an overall National Socialist ideology, although the combination process is neither obvious nor straightforward. The term most typically refers to Nazism, which was the ideology of the German Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers' Party, or Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP)), which was led by Adolf Hitler.

As a generic concept, National Socialism opposes capitalism, communism, democratic socialism and liberalism.[1] It may also oppose certain nations, ethnicities and other groups that are deemed to be enemies of the specific ethnicity to which it is applied. Several political parties other than the Nazis in Germany have used the name National Socialist Party or National Socialist Movement, and the name has been adopted since then by neo-Nazi groups in other countries. Maurice Barrès was the first to coin the term "national socialism".[2] Barrès's conception of national socialism was similar to later kinds, although his rejection of pluralism, individualism, and materialism was rooted in a particular combination of the counter-revolutionary right (antisemitism, purging of enemies such as democrats and internationalists) and the anti-liberal left (socialism, nationalism, republicanism) in 19th century France; this amalgamation is seen by historian Robert Tombs as being exemplified in Boulanger, who was popular amongst royalists and the urban left alike.[3][4]

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The National Socialist Program as advanced by Hitler in 1920 set out 25 points that constituted the party's fundamentals. The points were prepared in a one-night meeting between Hitler and Anton Drexler, and were presented at a public meeting on 24 February 1920, where they were affirmed by the attendees. There were attempts to alter the program in the early 1920s, most notably by Gregor Strasser, but Hitler quashed such deviations at the 1926 Bamberg Conference, and the points were declared soon thereafter to be "immutable" at the party's 1926 General Meeting.[5][6] The Program advocated uniting the German people (through Pan-Germanism), implementing profit-sharing in industry, nationalizing trusts, providing an extensive welfare state, instituting government control of the media, and persecuting Jews, in part by canceling their German citizenship.[7] The Program stated that "Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.."

Hitler's National Socialism was founded on a Weltanschauung, or "World View", in which history was reducible to a racial struggle (founded on a belief in racial and biological determinism)[8] in the Social Darwinian sense. National Socialism was a Messianic movement, centered in the Fuhrerprincip and anchored in the thesis that only through racial purity could Germany find her salvation. The movement was based on antisemitism, anti-Marxism and hyper-nationalism, manifesting itself through Pan-Germanism and the quest for Lebensraum.[9]

An alternate worker-based variation, called Strasserism, though anti-semitic, is a blend of Nationalism and Socialism creating a right-wing socialist political stance. The Strasser brothers, Gregor and Otto, advocated this in response to Hitler's anti-socialist authoritarian stance.


  1. Payne p. 64.
  2. Sternhell.
  3. Tombs p. 85, 114
  4. Sternhell cites boulangisme as being influential on Fascism, though not Nazism
  5. Toland p. 95-99
  6. Kershaw p. 121-133
  8. Proctor p. 18, 19
  9. Toland p. 40-45; see generally Kershaw.


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  • Proctor, Robert N. (1995). George J. Annas, Michael A. Grodin. ed. The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0195101065 ("Proctor"). 
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  • Sternhell, with Mario Sznajder and Maia Asheri, Princeton University Press, NJ, l994. pg 11
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cs:Národní socialismus

de:Nationaler Sozialismus no:De nasjonalsosialistiske bevegelser sk:Národný socializmus

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