The return of Hitler -

The return of Hitler

The troubling resurgence of his ideas and manifesto, ‘Mein Kampf’

Hitler, Nazis, Europe

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On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler took his own life with a simultaneous bite into a cyanide pill and gunshot to the temple. The day before, he dictated his will from the dank confines of the Führerbunker, a concrete shelter buried some eight metres below the old Reich Chancellery, as Soviet forces encircled Berlin. What exactly happened next is still fiercely contested, but by most accounts, the bodies of Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, were carried upstairs to the garden by SS devotees, doused in gasoline, and burned to pieces—then buried, then later unearthed, and then buried again in an unknown location, or perhaps just scattered to the wind.

Almost 65 years later to the day, the man and the totalitarian regime he established continue to fascinate us. In just the last few years, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler’s poorly written, 700-page magnum opus, “turgid, verbose, shapeless,” to borrow from Winston Churchill, has earned bestseller status in some unlikely markets: India, Turkey and the Palestinian territories. His paintings are fetching record-setting prices, and trade in anything the Third Reich leader touched, or might have touched, is thriving. In some cases, the fascination is trivial, even absurd, such as the “Nazi chic” clothing that has been popular in Asia: T-shirts with Hitler portraits and swastikas. In others, though, it is more pernicious: the 65 years that have passed since Hitler’s death have not dulled the allure of the Führer, or his ideology, for the now-burgeoning extreme right.

Take the lead-up to last Sunday’s national elections in Hungary, which saw the far-right Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom (Movement for a Better Hungary) rake in 16.7 per cent of the national vote. In just a few years, Jobbik has grown from almost nothing, winning over a disenchanted electorate with its stark anti-Semitic and anti-Roma rhetoric. Party officials have been careful to dismiss any direct links to Nazism; anti-Semitism is masked in attacks on Israeli investors and hatred of the Roma is justified with talk of “gypsy crime.” But members of Jobbik’s paramilitary wing, the Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard), have not been so cautious. Neither have its supporters, who gathered by the Danube River last week to lash out at “Jewish pigs” and to unite in a common cry against foreigners on Hungarian soil: “They should leave!” Jobbik’s leaders, now at the helm of the opposition, are ready to take their country forward—away from all that “commotion over the Holocaust.”

Hasnain Kazim, a journalist of Pakistani and Indian origin who is based in Islamabad, shies away from revealing where he was born: Germany. But it’s hard to avoid; Kazim says people in Pakistan jump at any opportunity to talk with someone from Germany. “They say: ‘Wow! Cool! So you’re in favour of Hitler!’ ” It’s even worse, he says, when family comes to visit him in Pakistan’s bustling capital. The embarrassment might begin on the busy drive home from the airport. “You’ll find cars with the Deutsches Kreuz, the German Cross. You’ll find people with stickers on their car saying ‘I LIKE NAZI’ or ‘I LIKE HITLER.’ ” And then there’s the banter. “People start talking about Hitler [in a] friendly way,” Kazim explains. Even though “the people aren’t Nazis,” he says that Nazi imagery is ubiquitous in Pakistan’s large cities. It took some time away, and then a move back to Islamabad eight months ago, for it to really resonate: “I only realized now how many people like Hitler.”

Jonathan Solomon, a lawyer in Mumbai, says the same revelation struck him when he was browsing for books. “I was shocked to see that Mein Kampf is available in Indian bookstores, even in the prestigious bookstores. It was not 10 years ago.” Moreover, pirated copies of the book, in a country where a 22-year ban on Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses has still to be lifted, are available at street stalls. “It sells very well,” says P.M. Shenvi, manager of the Strand Book Stall in Mumbai. Today, publishers continue to churn out multiple reprints of Mein Kampf a year to meet what R.H. Sharma, an editor at Mumbai’s Jaico Publishing House, insists is a surging demand. In 2009, “we sold 10,000 copies over a six-month period in our Delhi shops,” Sharma has boasted.

Perhaps Solomon should not have been taken aback. In 2002, the English-language Times of India published a report showing that Indian college students found much to admire in the Führer: namely, his efficiency, military strength and nationalism. The newspaper asked 400 elite college students, “Who’s your favourite leader from history?” Hitler came in third, just behind Mahatma Gandhi. “Because he made Germany a superpower,” was one student’s response.

Of course, it’s not just India where Mein Kampf is topping the charts. In 2001, it became a hot item after being introduced in Bulgaria. Soon afterwards, an Arabic translation became the sixth best seller in the Palestinian territories, according to Agence France-Presse. (“National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald,” read its introduction.) Then, in 2005, the book took a top-seller spot in Turkey, selling over 100,000 copies in January and February alone—mostly, said publishers, to males between 18 and 30. And, it’s been flying off Croatian shelves for years.
Not bad, for a badly written book. (“A boring tome that I have never been able to read,” Benito Mussolini, the Italian Fascist dictator, once jeered.) Hitler wrote Mein Kampf—part autobiography, part raving philosophical treatise—in 1923, while in jail for a failed plot to seize control of Munich. It eventually became the holy book of the German National Socialist Party.

Global sales figures are hard to estimate; the official rights to Mein Kampf are held by the German state of Bavaria, which bans it from being printed. In the U.S. and U.K., the rights were seized when Hitler was still alive, and are privately held today. Houghton Mifflin, the U.S. publisher, told Maclean’s that it sold 26,000 paperback copies in 2009. The U.K.’s Random House would not release its sales figures upon request. In many other countries, however, the situation is less controlled, and small publishers are apt to print Mein Kampf at will. Increasingly, they are feeding eager markets.

Ilhas Niaz, history professor at Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University, says Hitler fares well in Pakistan in part because of a particularly Pakistani admiration for strong leaders. “The cult of personality is strong,” says Niaz. When “the current crisis cannot be met by any ordinary leader, people are looking into history for a charismatic figure.” Aurangzeb Nazir, a 24-year-old student in Islamabad, told Maclean’s, “Hitler united his nation and brought it from the brink of collapse to global prominence. That’s why we look up to him.” It’s certainly not a new phenomenon. One of Pakistan’s most beloved leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, also saw the 20th century’s most famous mass murderer as someone to emulate. “Bhutto had silver-bound copies of Mein Kampf in his library,” says Niaz. “He incorporated lines from Hitler’s speeches directly into his own oratory.”

But much of the popularity, Niaz admits, has more to do with the present than the past: “It’s an emotional response to what is happening in Palestine.” Besides the struggle with India over Kashmir, it is Israeli-Palestinian relations that dominate Pakistan’s foreign policy consciousness, and sympathy for the Palestinians and a deep distrust of Israel help fuel the cult of Hitler worship. Maqudas Ghumman, a 21-year-old international relations student at Quaid-e-Azam, told Maclean’s: “We admire Hitler partly because we want to remind Jews about what happened to them and express our anger over what their leaders, the leaders they admire, are now doing to the Palestinians.”
Not surprisingly, the Israeli issue also plays strongly into Palestinian sales of Mein Kampf. Issa Ahwach owns Bissan, a Lebanese publishing house that prints an Arabic translation for the Palestinian region. Through an interpreter, he told Maclean’s that sales have held strong “because we are suffering a similar kind of oppression under the Israelis. We can relate to what the Jews suffered.”

In India, however, the situation is very different. “This admiration for Hitler that we do see in some circles is very much divorced from his anti-Semitic policies,” says Yulia Egorova, a social anthropologist and author of Jews and India: Perceptions and Image. Historically, Egorova says, Hitler’s popularity dates back to the 1920s and ’30s, when the nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose saw the German leader as his country’s ticket to independence from colonial British rule and formed an Indian Legion to fight at Hitler’s side. “But at the same time he denounced anti-Semitism,” Egorova says. Bose eventually became disenchanted with Hitler, but in some places, his dubious image as a defender of Indian sovereignty still stands.

How seriously should Indian interest in Hitler be taken? Rafique Baghdadi, who runs the Business India Book Club, calls Mein Kampf a cult book, “rather like Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. It isn’t a book that you see a lot of on local commuter trains.” More ominously, though, activist Teesta Setalvad, co-editor of Communalism Combat, a monthly journal aimed at promoting secularism, ascribes the revival of interest in Hitler’s ideology to the rise of right-wing Hindu fundamentalist politicians like the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi, and the “horrendous tendency of India’s upper middle class that has always liked authoritarianism.” Adds Egorova: “They [draw] parallels between the Jewish question in Germany and the Muslim question in India.”

Mumbai lawyer Solomon, who also heads the Indian Jewish Federation, agrees. “There is no anti-Semitism in India,” he says. But Muslims, Solomon adds, are not safe: “It is a peculiar situation where we Jews have to raise our worries about these Nazi tactics being used against our Muslim brethren.” Tensions have grown because of recent terrorist attacks by Muslim foreigners, but they have deep roots. One famous Hindutva ideologue, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, said in 1949: “If you take Mein Kampf and if you remove the word Jew and put in the word Muslim, that is what I believe in.”

In Turkey, the flourishing Islamic movement has spurred interest in Hitler and Mein Kampf. “It is the Islamists rather than the fascists who have fuelled the sales,” says professor Dogu Ergil of Ankara University. “It was a reaction against the war in Iraq and Israel’s actions in Palestine.” Ergil says Islamist factions consciously boosted Mein Kampf sales in 2005 by printing the book in large numbers and driving its market price down to $3: “This was done against Israel and Jews.” Arnold Reisman, author of Turkey’s Modernization: Refugees from Nazism and Atatürk’s Vision, also suspects state involvement in the sales, but he thinks the target of the plot was broader. “They are essentially saying: ‘Up yours, Europe!’ ” says Reisman. Turkey was “lying on the floor begging” to gain EU membership for years, but “they’ll never get it—and they’re beginning to see that. And as a result, they’re turning away from Europe.”

In some instances of Hitler glorification there is a “wilful blindness” at work, says Syed Jamaluddin, a history teacher at the Khaldunia high school in Islamabad. In 2005, the Indian state of Gujarat came under fire for issuing a textbook to high school students that included a chapter on the “internal achievements of Nazism”; it instructed that “Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time by establishing a strong administrative set-up.” (Teesta Setalvad has been leading the battle to amend the texts—“Thankfully, young people in India today are realizing that economic growth is no justification for human rights violations,” she says.) But in Pakistan, says Jamaluddin, “The information is out there but our young people are ignoring it. They’re only seeing what they want to see. I try to nail Hitler in my class. I try to destroy him.” Some are not listening. Sales of Mein Kampf were reportedly boosted by business students who saw the book as a how-to guide to becoming a self-made man.

Elsewhere, Hitler’s continuing legacy is far less innocuous. In Hungary, the far right’s foremost self-made man seems to have engaged in a closer reading of the Führer’s message. In just four years, Gabor Vona, 31, a history teacher with closely cropped hair and a penchant for T-shirts, has catapulted his Jobbik party from the fanatical fringes to the mainstream, moving from only 2.2 per cent of the national vote in 2006 to almost 17 per cent in last Sunday’s elections.

Vona keeps his speech tempered, distancing himself from overtly National Socialist rhetoric. But for many, his party’s heated platform, which rests on an intense preoccupation with Hungary’s 80,000 Roma, a consistent slew of attacks on “Israeli colonizers,” and a solemn vow to ban immigrants from diluting Hungarian purity, draws comparisons that are tough to overlook. There are also the party’s more direct connections to neo-Nazi elements in Hungary. For starters, Jobbik’s platform is carried on the shoulders of the Magyar Gárda, the paramilitary corps founded by Vona in 2007. The uniformed wing is “redolent of the Hungarian Nazis, the Arrow Cross Party, who during the war were really important in carrying out the Holocaust,” says professor Jeffrey Kopstein, director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. The guard, illegal but still active, wears black and marches in military formation, carrying a red and white flag similar to that of the Arrow Cross. Ervin Nagy, a disillusioned former vice-president of Jobbik and a philosophy lecturer at Karoly Gaspar University, has admitted that the guard was established to attract the extremist vote for a party reluctant to openly display Hitlerian imagery.

There are also extremist elements inside Jobbik that, despite the party’s efforts, make their violent tendencies known. Some party members have been linked to the extreme right-wing, anti-Semitic news portal All this could still be dismissed as the stirrings of a Budapest fringe—if Jobbik had not just won a place in parliament. “This is not acceptable in a democracy,” insists Andras Gero, history professor at Budapest’s Central European University (CEU).

Jobbik’s presidential campaign chief Zsolt Várkonyi is quick to defend his party from comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis—“nonsense,” he told Maclean’s. Indeed, Jobbik supporters are not the swastika-emblazoned skinheads of the ’90s; they are, largely, disenchanted voters under 40. And Vona has built his career not on a loyal adherence to Mein Kampf but on a blending of Hitlerian rhetoric that evokes Hungary’s past glory and more modern concerns about globalization. It clearly strikes a chord with today’s hard-luck Hungarians—one out of 10 are unemployed in the wake of the global recession. Says Geros: “Apart from the Nazi undertones, party propaganda plays heavily on Bolshevik ideals of anti-capitalism—Hitler and Stalin meet at the extreme ends of the political spectrum.”

In Austria, the Nazi-inspired Freedom Party (FPO), which become the third-largest national party in 2008, is also preoccupied by the immigrant question. Leader Heinz-Christian Strache has a solution: set up a ministry for the deportation of immigrants. Strache vehemently denies a Nazi link: “I was never a neo-Nazi and never will be.” But even Austrian courts are not convinced. When Strache sued a Vienna newsweekly for defamation after it branded him a neo-Nazi, the court ruled that he indeed showed “an affinity to National Socialist thinking.” It’s not hard to see why. Photos of Strache, allegedly taken at a neo-Nazi training camp, have been leaked. (Strache says he was out for a day of paintball.) He was also photographed giving the three-finger radical-right salute. (Strache insists he was ordering three beers, earning him the nickname “Three Beers Strache.”) He attacks Jewish bankers and veiled Muslim women (“female ninjas”); he loathes globalization and the EU; and he was once engaged to a girl whose father founded the Austrian branch of the German neo-Nazi National Democratic Party. Most recently, he campaigned to overturn the Verbotsgesetz, the 1947 law banning Hitlerian ideology.

Unlike Jobbik, a relatively new Hungarian product, the FPO has a history with real Nazis: the party’s founding fathers were two wartime SS officers. And many high-ranking FPO officials come from the Burschenschaften, a secretive network of right-wing duelling societies that was banned after the Second World War but made a resurgence in the 1950s. Nazi frontmen Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichman were Burschenschaften; so is Strache.

Because of Austrian law, of course, “the leadership of the party is careful not to play the Nazi card too directly [since] the Nazi party is not legal,” explains Anton Pelinka, professor of nationalism studies at CEU. “The Nazi manifesto is used indirectly. For example, with anti-Semitism, the party does not criticize Jews, it criticizes the ‘East Coast.’ The East Coast is a code word for the New York Jewish conspiracy.” And behind it all, Pelinka says, Hitler is there, “in the closet.”

In the U.S., “I don’t think there’s any doubt at all that the radical right as a whole in the U.S. has been Nazified over the last 30 years,” says Mark Potok, spokesperson at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a legal advisory group that tracks American hate groups. But it’s become a curious mix: in a 2009 SPLC report on the rapid-fire growth of American right-wing militias, Potok and his colleagues wrote: “Militiamen, white supremacists, anti-Semites, nativists, tax protesters and a range of other activists of the radical right are cross-pollinating and may even be coalescing.”

There’s also been a shift, says Potok, away from the archetypal enemy: African-Americans. “It’s not that the groups like black people,” he explains. But they “now believe that behind black people, brown people, gay people, stands the Jew. More of them have come to a National Socialist view of the world: Jews manipulate everyone else.” Of course, the old racism remains: in 2008, two white supremacist skinheads were arrested for plotting to kill Barack Obama and 88 more at a predominantly black school before beheading 14. In neo-Nazi circles, “88” is code for “Heil Hitler,” while “14” is a reference to “Fourteen Words” from Mein Kampf: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Changing racial demographics have undoubtedly fanned the U.S. flame. In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau issued a report predicting that whites would fall below 50 per cent of the American population by 2050. “I can tell you that the year 2050 is imprinted on the brain of every white nationalist in this country,” says Potok. “That’s Armageddon for them.” As a result, the SPLC reports, hate groups, many of them with neo-Nazi elements, are thriving—the SPLC located almost 1,000. But Leonard Ziskind, author of Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, points out that today’s American National Socialists might be harder to spot than their 1990s forefathers. “You have radical neo-Nazis actually covering up their swastikas, trying to become more mainstream.” In a crowd, you couldn’t pick them out: “These are people who fly the American flag.”

Around the world, efforts to ban Hitler’s words, along with other evocations of his Third Reich, continue—an implicit acknowledgment of the Führer’s continuing political potency. Just last month, Russian prosecutors officially banned Mein Kampf as “extremist,” making the sale and distribution of the book punishable by fine. In a public statement, the prosecutor-general’s office judged that Hitler’s vitriolic rant deserves blacklisting because it “justifies discrimination and destruction of non-Aryan races.”

The action follows a spate of far-right violence, in this country that lost 26.6 million people in the war against Nazi Germany. Most were attacks on foreigners and migrant workers; SOVA, a Russian research centre that tracks xenophobia, estimates that last year 71 people were killed and 333 injured in hate attacks. Shortly before the ban was introduced, Mein Kampf was reportedly being distributed in Ufa, a region where ultra-right groups are active. Matthew Light, a criminology professor at the University of Toronto and an expert on Russia, is not surprised to see officials panicking. “The Russian government has become more afraid of skinheads and other extreme-right organizations,” Light explains. “Whereas in the past they saw them as an outlet for people to vent their frustration, they now think this kind of movement is potentially threatening to the government itself.”

It is easy to dismiss Mein Kampf; Galina Kozhevnikova, deputy head of SOVA, says “it’s been a long time since this book by Hitler was of ideological importance. Hitler’s text is archaic and out of date.” And yet it remains a charged symbol. In China, Mein Kampf is forbidden except for research purposes and exists only in special libraries—as is also the case in Brazil. In the Netherlands, selling the book is illegal, although owning or lending it is not. In Canada, the book can be sold legally, but a de facto ban has been in place since Indigo CEO Heather Reisman banished it from her shelves in 2001. In France, it’s legal to sell the book, but only if it is historically annotated. In Austria and Germany, Mein Kampf is banned.

Recent efforts to challenge that injunction in Germany have been blasted by the state of Bavaria, which explained in a statement to Maclean’s that it maintains the ban out of respect for Holocaust victims. But in 2015, the state’s rights to Mein Kampf will expire, the book will enter the public domain, and officials are counting down the time with growing unease. “Once Bavaria’s copyright expires,” warned state science minister Wolfgang Heubisch in February, “there is the danger of charlatans and neo-Nazis appropriating this infamous book for themselves.”

As a result, Bavaria is maintaining its grip on Mein Kampf until the clock runs out, continuing to go after publishers that try to reprint it. When a small Czech publisher began printing Mein Kampf in 2000, the Bavarian prime minister wrote a letter to then-Czech president Vaclav Havel, begging him to put a stop to it. In 2005, when a Polish man’s plan to print a version was revealed by the Associated Press, state officials were urged to get involved directly with Warsaw. And when a Spanish translation appeared on iTunes in 2009, Bavarian officials forced Apple to take it down.

The fear of Hitler and Nazism as a political rallying cry remains. Germany, says Richard J. Evans, a Cambridge professor and one of the most prolific scholars of the Second World War, has been relatively successful in reining in its extreme-right wing. The grounds for that were laid in the postwar period, when the Allies directed an aggressive “de-nazification” campaign in the former Third Reich—one followed by a period of obsessive German self-scrutiny in the 1960s. But in other countries, like Austria, the process was never completed. “Austria,” says Evans, “never came to terms with the past.” (Note, he says, the dearth of Holocaust memorials there.) Evans explains that “most Austrians were happy to be incorporated into Germany with the Anshluss,” even though after the war they would “treat themselves as the first victims of Nazism, and that’s how the Allies treated them.” That incomplete postwar de-nazification might in part explain why, today, the political opposition is run by a party founded out of the SS.

But the state of the current world economy is also fuelling the trend. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, says Annette Timm, professor of European history at the University of Calgary, those Germans who joined up with neo-Nazis “were the ones who fell through the cracks after reunification and needed something to identify with.” Today, Timm says, it is again the down and out “looking for something to feel passionate about.” It’s not surprising that support for Austria’s Freedom Party is high among those without high school degrees, or that in Hungary, one of Europe’s most suffering markets, a Nazi-inspired party is faring so well.

Evans stresses that this can happen because Nazism “adapts and changes to present-day circumstances.” Rather than featuring thuggish skinheads, the far right now runs “young, good-looking white men” like Hungary’s Vona and Austria’s Strache. In most cases, it’s not exactly time to panic—Evans says that in spite of some gains, neo-Nazism still remains to a great extent “on the fringe of society.” But he still finds it all “worrying,” given today’s mass unemployment and recession. The cautious scholar grants that, as of now, the appropriation of Hitlerian ideology is mostly part of “a protest movement,” a way of sending a clear message of frustration to the government. But “that’s what Nazism started out as,” says Evans. “In the 1930s when people voted for the Nazis, they were voting out of protest: not necessarily because they supported the whole ideological package.” And, he adds bleakly, “We all know the results of that voting.”

With Andras Badics, Utku Basar, Tom Henheffer, Naazneen Karmali and Adnan R. Khan


The return of Hitler

  1. This really does not surprise me as Hitler's ideology did'nt die when he did.

    • You are correct the German Government uses Hitler's Law on Legal Advice 13th December 1935 to RIG courts against its's citizens I have a letter from the German Ministry of Justice to prove this. I have also had personal experience of German Labour Courts and they are anything but Democratically convened.

  2. Wasn't National Socialism a left-wing movement?

    • Not really. The left and the right both like to claim that Hitler was emblematic of the other ideology – both are wrong: Hitler was pragmatic on a lot of policy issues (with the exception of his genocidal policies towards Jews, his opposition to Germany and his confrontational foreign policy goal of conquering a "lebensraum" or living space for Germany).

      His policies largely reflected the same Keynesian policy prescriptions that drove FDR. In other words, Hitler used public works spending to decrease unemployment (as opposed to central planning or letting the market fix itself). Unlike FDR, he used the power of the state to crush labour unions, however, so it is hard to paint him as a socialist.

      On many other issues Hitler's instincts were conservative, but his policy was flexible. For instance, initially the Nazis opposed women in the workplace, both to fight unemployment (well, male unemployment) and for typically conservative reasons. However, with public works spending and low wages, unemployment quickly dropped. With an industry desperate for new workers, Hitler reversed course and encouraged women to work.

      • "We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." –Adolf Hitler, May 1927

        The only reason why Hitler/Nazis are considered 'right wing' is because Stalin called the Nazis right wing and all the communist profs in academia were happy to run with it because they wanted to protect their murderous ideals. Nazis and Commies are interchangeable, they are both wildly left wing.

        Here are some highlights from 1920 platform and tell us again how Hitler was not left wing:

        "The abolition of incomes unearned by work."

        "We demand therefore the ruthless confiscation of all war profits."

        "We demand the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations (trusts)."

        "We demand a land reform suitable to our national requirements, the passing of a law for the expropriation of land for communal purposes without compensation; the abolition of ground rent, and the prohibition of all speculation in land."

        "he aim of the school must be to give the pupil, beginning with the first sign of intelligence, a grasp of the nation of the State"

        "The State must ensure that the nation's health standards are raised by protecting mothers and infants, by prohibiting child labor, by promoting physical strength through legislation providing for compulsory gymnastics and sports, and by the extensive support of clubs engaged in the physical training of youth."

        "Unlike FDR, he used the power of the state to crush labour unions, however, so it is hard to paint him as a socialist."

        Why is it hard to paint him as a socialist when Hitler describes himself as a socialist? Also, how do you think unions fared in USSR when Stalin took over? Unions were crushed because they worked against the State – have a look at communist countries and you find little in the way of unions as we know them in Canada.

        • "Nazis and Commies are interchangeable"

          You are a moron.

          • "Judean People's Front. We're the People's Front of Judea! Judean People's Front ….. Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the f*cking Judean People's Front ….. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters… " Life of Brian, Monty Python

            Monty Python guys understood the left wing, why don't you? You should be more careful about who you call a moron because it is better to keep your mouth closed and have people think you are a idjit than open your mouth and confirm their opinion.

          • Except in that scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian they aren't talking about opposing ideologies like national socialism and communism, they are spoofing the tendency by modern left wing groups to bicker and split over trivial differences. National Socialism and communism have more real differences than similarities, and were never in unity, hence they never split off from each other.

          • Your a Moron, government take over of the country is communisim? Why don't you explain instead of putting down stupid comments?

          • Which country hasn't been taken over by government?

            Are you this stupid in real life?

          • Those who don't know the proper usage of "your" and "you're" shouldn't be too fast too place the moron moniker on others, Calvin…

          • Typical leftist response….Nazism is on the left.

          • Nazism is right wing. You are right that extreme right wing and extreme left wing do have their similarities.

          • Wakie wakie chris.
            Socialism = communism is on the left and republics and democracies are on the right.

            NATIONAL SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY of Germany were the founding members of the NAZIS.
            Got it now?

          • You're aware that Communists were one of the groups besides the Jews that ended up in the camps? That the German army went to Spain in support of the Fascists and to defeat the Communists?

            Your reasoning is facile to say the least – all democracies are on the right?

            Reader, you are not reading enough.

          • Nazis and communists are interchangeable. The only difference being communists are responsible for many more deaths. idiot

        • "Why am I wrong to say Nazis might have been to right of Communists but they were still entirely left wing. The only reason why Hitler/Nazis are considered 'right wing' is because Stalin called the Nazis right wing and all the communist profs in academia were happy to run with it because they wanted to protect their murderous ideals."

          Completely unsubstantiated nonsense. So any professor who describes the Nazis as right wing, must, by your definition, be a communist. Talk about circular logic.

          "Nazis and Commies are interchangeable, they are both wildly left wing and brought more death and destruction with them than any other ideology or belief."

          If Nazis and Commies are interchangable, why don't they themselves feel that way? Or is this another example of your own made up definitions. You do realize that Hitler murdered communists right? of course you don't. And if they're both left wing, what makes a political philosophy right wing?

        • Nazis were fiercely anti-communist and vice-versa. They fought numerous times during the Weimar Republic years.

          Do not confuse centralism as being interchangeable with left wing ideology.

      • That's correct as far as it goes, but it's quite incomplete. On social policy, for example, Hitler was notable in that he instituted the infamous T4 program of euthasia for the severely disabled. This is a hallmark of social leftism and is generally opposed (as it was then) by those on the right.

        Another interesting indicator is the history of the Brownshirts…but I suspect that may be a little too politically incorrect for this blog.

        • The Nazi's had command of the wartime economy (playing catch up actually) just like the western democracies did, and that hardly makes them left wing. If anything, the Nazi's developed a right-wing corporatist state as firms were allowed to keep their profits. Well into the war, private firms in Germany were producing home consumer goods for a profit and only by about 1943 were they ordered to switch to war material production only.

          And as far as euthanasia goes, that's one of those things where far left and far right meet to complete the circle, so nice try on "it's a hallmark of the left" there. Was Alberta of the 20th C left-wing with it's forced sterilization of mental patients and the disabled?

          • The Nazis had command of the economy before the war – they were a fascist state. That is the very definition of fascism: the unity of corporate entities with the state. Keep that in mind when you see things like the government taking over large corporations with public money.

            You've got a good point re the far left and the far right resembling each other, if one considers the Nazis to be far right rather than far left. Alberta in the 30's flirted with eugenics for the same reason a lot of other places did: they were flirting with fascism and Nazi ideology. And yes, since it is a system that entails state control of industry (healthcare? education? childcare? auto?), complete disregard for the right to life, and limits on free speech that is considered politically incorrect, it is indeed leftism to the extreme.

          • Sorry guys. Both wrong. This whole fairy tale about the far right and far left resembling each other is a left-spun story to whitewash their own past and to bring out the "far right hidden agenda" scare every chance they get.

            A true political/social spectrum is a measure of government control over the populace. Here we have all forms of subjugation of individual rights to uphold the common good or the interests of the state (Stalinists, Castroites, Moaists, Pol-Pots, Nazis, Marxists…(one could even say Obama). On the right, you have all those who believe in minimalistic government and upholding of individual rights and freedoms. Extreme right in this definition would be anarchists and left of that would be Libertarians and modern Tea Party members.

            One wonders how the left can keep going with a track record that it has – responsible for virtually all mass murders and human rights abuses in modern history…

          • God, it bugs me when lefties and righties alike try to spin Naziism as being one or the other. It was really neither. Hitler and his ideological brethren were directly reacting to the left-right politics of their time, and in particular, the strong divisions, social conflict etc. that they saw. A lot of people at the time — including Hitler and his later sworn enemy Churchill — saw the choices as essentially between Bolshevism on the one hand, and a very traditional sort of conservatism (most often at that time characterized by adherence to monarchism and religion) on the other. Hitler saw Bolshevism as abhorrent, and traditional conservatism as outdated.

          • "One wonders how the left can keep going with a track record that it has – responsible for virtually all mass murders and human rights abuses in modern history… "

            Are you purposely delusional?

          • Corporatism isn't right wing. When lefties wax enthusiastically about the Netherlands or postwar Germany it is corporatism they are talking about. Corporatism isn't corporate rule, it is the representation of major interests in society through leading organizations. Anyhow the Nazis (unlike Mussolini) were not all that corporatist, since they obliterated organized labour and hardly represented consumer interests.

        • The very first diplomatic accord Hitler government undertook was a treaty with the Vatican in July 8, 1933. In exchange for unchallenged control of the education of Catholic children, the church instructed its followers to disband any party and associations that was against the Nazi regime. The church also ordered the annual celebration of Hitler's birthday on April 20 from 1939. Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XI secretary of state, is believed to have destroyed a papal encyclical that expressed concern over the treatment of the Jewish people. Pacelli is known to most as Pius XII, who four days after his papal ascension wrote a letter to Hitler to make sure that the state and the Catholic church continued their harmonious relation. The regime in Germany may have been anti-Christian but it certainly was not anti-Catholic.

          • Correct on the facts, incorrect on the interpretation. The Vatican signed the Concordat to ensure that anyone with a baptismal certificate would not be persecuted in Germany. This allowed Catholics a reprieve and also provided the opportunity to save thousands of Jews later on when parishes began to forge baptismal certificates for them – one of the reasons the World Jewish Congress formally thanked the Vatican in Nov 1945.

            This was followed up by preaching from pulpits across Germany against the Nazi regime in 1937 when the Pope wrote his encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (the only encyclical ever originally published in something other than Latin – in this case German) condemning racism, Nazism, and the Nazi regime's rejection of the Bible, and preaching the notion that human rights are fundamental and cannot be taken away by the state. This was smuggled into German parishes illegally and was read in every single one at Palm Sunday Mass from the pulpit that year.

            Following this, the Nazis began systematically taking down priests in parishes across Germany using arrests for trumped-up charges and sending them to concentration camps. Seminaries and churches were already shut down in most occupied territories (which is why, for example, Pope JP2 began his training in hiding in Poland during the war). Cardinal von Galen (Archbishop of Munster) continued attacking the Nazi regime's iconoclasm and disrespect for life in Germany for the duration of the war. Allied pilots were frequently assigned to drop leaflets containing his homilies and Mit Brennender Sorge over German territories that were Catholic.

            They Church and the Nazi regime were enemies, just as the Church and any leftist regime that attacks fundamental human rights, promotes eugenics, and tries to quash religious practice will always be enemies.

    • Does it really matter? I mean seriously, do you have to label this crap so you can comfortably attack, agree, or dismiss it? Try actually just evaluating the policies put in place.

      • If it's making a return, it certainly does help to correctly assess its roots.

        Our "progressive" society is "progressing" back to something we already defeated. That's worth noticing so that we can defeat it again, hopefully before it gets as far this time around.

        • Yeah, we can do that without trying to ascribe this mythical left-right divide on it though. That's just pure intellectual laziness on the part of those doing it.

          • Well said.

            Simplistic binary divisions are good for young children and primates, but verges on Double-Think for anyone who is even remotely concerned about political discourse.

          • Hmm, yes. I seem to recall a lot of other "simplistic binary divisions" being totally useless. Oh right:

            Westminster Parliamentary system
            Common law courts
            U.S Politics
            Canadian Politics
            Hegelian Philosophy

            Indeed, these are simple and primitive. [/sarcasm]

            Look, just because *some* binaries are flawed, does not mean *all* binaries are flawed. It's basic formal logic. I'll admit that maybe Gaunilon's characterization may not have been the best, but can you honestly tell me that all binary distinctions are simplistic and wrong…. is wrong (for lack of a better term.)

          • The intellectual laziness comes when someone decides that history began with the 1950's – as is popular among the post-modernist political elite – and that we can disregard the lessons of the past. Define Nazism and Socialism and Communism in any way you like – they all come down to overwhelming government control over the population. The population must be vigilant against the tendency of the state to overstep their bounds and begin to control every aspect of our lives. The real travesty over the past decades has been the movement of the political discourse to what level of government control is acceptable, as opposed to whether it's justified or not. "Those that would trade liberty for security deserve neither."

          • Just a reminder, the government isn't the only one that can exercise overwhelming control over a population. They're just the only ones sanctioned to do so with physical force. Economic (unfettered capitalism/corporatism) and psychologic(theism, propagandism) force are just as real, and can be just as devastating.

    • Far from it, it is totally right wing.

      • No dude it's totally LEFT wing.

        • Neener, neener, neener.

  3. Little bit surprising the Mein Kampf is popular in India, but not surprising it is so popular in Pakistan and Palestine.
    Islam goes perfectly aligned with Fascism.
    Al-Husseini (former grand mufti of Jerusalem) gave great example how to build islamofascism that is alive until today.

    • oh God: "Islamo-fascim".


      Imagine the outrage and incredulity that would break out if non-Christians talked about "catholo-fascism" or "protestant-fascism". Facile histrionics.

      But hey, I suppose free expression allows you to wallow in the rhetoric of racist hatred you've clearly adopted, the exact kind of belligerence those very-same terrorists you despise use as fuel to further indoctrinate the naive and uneducated.

      Keep playing into the hands of a few extremists and tar an entire religion with specious contempt if that suits you, however. Hope you can live with the astounding hypocrisy of such a standpoint.

      • Go back to rabble or where ever you're from.

        Islamo-fascim is real but then there were many that played footsey with the nazi murderers hoping they'd be eaten last…
        ALSO it's also fact that the Islamo-fascists in the ME helped the nazis kill more jews, they wanted that as it's suites their closed minded cultish belief system. It's in the koran.

      • eddo, it's done all the time – especially in mainstream meadia. "Those idiot, southern Bush-lovers." They're called nazis and fascists all the time…and you know what? I don't see any internet videos of riots or people being beheaded because of it. Hmm…

        Jaque is simply pointing out two things:
        1. Nazis and Muslims did enjoy a kinship during the 30's and 40's that went beyond their beloved Jew-hating. Islam is a faith-based version of fascism – with control over a population via faith-based beliefs instead of nationalism. This is not opinion – just history.
        2. Islam has a systemic problem in that it's central teachings (the Koran and Hadith) preach hatred of all un-believers and classifies them as sub-human (pigs, dogs etc). THIS is where the problem is, not with a "few" radicals. Until the rest of the world (ie. all the unbelievers) face this fact, we will be on the losing end of this clash of civilizations.

  4. What's troubling about this article is that it seems to paint all modern right-wing movements all over the world with the neo-Nazi brush. Muslims in Pakistan, Hindus in India, Christians in Austria and Hungary, and tea-partiers in the United States.

    There is no deep insight in this article. Not every far-right ideology is linked to National Socialism, and attempting to cram every modern political movement into the same worn-out dismissal box will eventually blow up in our faces. We should invest more effort in understanding the real issues involved here.

    Maybe all right-wingers are crazies for all I know, but we certainly gain no insight into how to approach the problem by dismissing them as Nazis.

    • I don't think that being "right-wing" is the primary descriptor of these movements (and "left wing" and "right wing" are useless as descriptors anyway these days.)

      What matters to foreign observers, and what makes the article liken them to neo-Nazis,, is a nativism verging on xenophobia and (where possible) an aggressively nationalist foreign policy. These are not strictly the domain of the "right wing", but they're common traits to all of these movements, they appeal to the worst instincts of any human populace, and they make these movements extremely dangerous.

      • Yes, jingoism exists in all these places and more. It is neither strictly left nor right, although somewhat incompatible with Marxism on a theoretical basis and more easily associated with the right at least socially.

  5. Is this when we decide to go to war against any foreign leader with a mustache?

    • bomb jack layton!!

    • Nah, Hitler is just like an old shoe that's come back in style.

  6. I think there are two explanations for this, although it's pretty murky:

    (1) Anti-semitism is on the rise. Frightening, but indisputably true.
    (2) Eugenics is once again gaining acceptance. Currently it is widely practiced on the unborn (e.g. 90% of Down's Syndrome babies are terminated in utero in Canada) and occasionally practiced on those in "vegetative states". There is a gradual but entirely noticeable push toward using it on the elderly and disabled… from which I fully expect it to make the small step to "purifying the race" by eliminating all offspring considered to have non-optimal genes.

    • Where is there a "push" to use euthanasia against the elderly and disabled? Granting the self-requested right to die for those who are terminally ill is not the same thing as "pushing" euthanasia. Ensuring a woman has the right to choose abortion– however tragic a decision that may be– is not "pushing euthanasia" or eugenics.

      I agree however, that anti-semitism is on the rise and that it's worrying and disgusting. Having said that, there must still be room to criticize the policies and actions of the government of Israel– and to nudge Bibi ahead on a peace process– without being labeled anti-semitic.

    • Anti-semitism is on the rise relative to when? What empirical studies monitor such fluctuations? Any of them accessible and citable?

      I'm sorry, but whenever I hear or read that particular sentiment, utter incredulity abounds. It's a red herring and as a speaking point, a complete non-starter.

      The important and eternally shameful fact to respect is that Jews remain one of the most hated ethnic/religious minorities worldwide. The rest is badly-worded, ill-conceived histrionics that threaten to distract and dilute from this important standpoint.

      • And you point is?
        Talk about bluster and bs.

        Jews are more targeted today than 20 years ago.
        Not more than 60 years ago though.
        But it is on the rise.

        "Frist they came for the Jews,
        I said nothing because I was not a Jew. … "

        • When are the powers-that-be comming for A_READER?

          • WTF are you talking about?
            Or is being snide your point?

    • I think a lot of it is about power. Hitler is seen as one of the most powerful figures in the past, like Napoleon. People who wish to become powerful wish to emulate his methods. Power is especially sought after in countries like India where it is very difficult to overcome institutional barriers.
      That's my theory anyway.

  7. Ironically, today's hotbed of Hitlers methods and madness is Israel.

    • How is Israel like Nazi Germany?

      "Moshe Ya'alon, a former Israel Defense Forces general who now serves as Benjamin Netanyahu's strategic affairs minister, posed the following query in an interview published in the Jerusalem Post: “If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews? Why do those areas have to be Judenrein? Don't Arabs live here, in the Negev and the Galilee? Why isn't that part of our public discussion? Why doesn't that scream to the heavens?”

      These are excellent questions. If what Israel is being asked to negotiate with the Palestinians is mutual recognition and legitimacy in the context of a cessation of violence, why can't Jews stay in the areas designated as part of a Palestinian state, just as Arabs live in Israel with full rights as citizens? Indeed, what kind of a crazy peace would create a state alongside Israel in which Jews are forbidden to live and where Arabs face the death sentence for selling property to Jews, as is currently the case in both Jordan and the Palestinian Authority?" Jonathan Tobin, Contentions, Apr 16, 2010

      • The Canadian wing-ding left continues to smear israel whenever they get the chance. Lefty is as close to the Nazi as anyone in this so called civilized world.

        • Equating left-wing politics to Nazism is just as profoundly stupid as equating the state of Israel with 1930s-1940s Germany.

    • While Israel doesn't have the cleanest of hands on a lot of issues, this is unwarranted and goes too far, I think.

    • You jacka$$.

    • Hotbeds of jingoism yes, but you can't equate them with Hitler personally or ideologically. Israel is more colonialist. They just happen to be colonizing territory they have claimed is theirs going back hundreds of centuries.

    • Ironically, you can't purchase the book at Chapters because the owners are jewish.

  8. Of course the Nazi's were left wing what part of National Socialist Party do you not understand – the right wing equivalent at the time was the Wehrmar Republic – the nazi (socialist party) believed that the state had all the power and the individual was subservient to it just as the left wing loonie class believes today the German Socialist class was closer to the communists that it despised than it was to the right wingers of the time.. the Republicans believed in a real constitution and representative democracy which is why Hitler was so opposed to them ..

    • Except for those Republicans who believe that there should be no separation between church and state, and that the state should have the right to legislate consenting-adult morality.

    • Firstly, its Weimar. Secondly, having read ovev all of these comments, I am pretty distressed by the understanding of history, philosophy etc.. of people who choose to comment on these things. The whole left/right debate is a canard used by people without any actual thought to back up their point of view. You can take any totalitarian regime and identify them as left or right as your personal political beliefs dictate. Nazi's were leftists, because they had socialist in their name, and they ran a command economy! They also destroyed labour unions, exterminated the communists in Germany and wherever else they took control and had social values so conservative they would make Focus on the Family blush. And having Socialist in their name was an historical abberation, basically if hard right wingers took over the NDP by appealing to the Unions etc…, but keeping the name. But either way, arguing whether one totalitarian regime was more or less left or right than another insults legitimate, democatic, liberal and conservative governments. Comparing Nazism to FDR or Nixon or Bush or Obama is both disgraceful and completely inaccurate. I would hope for more from people wanting to discuss the rising influence of Hitler in world affairs.

      • Thanks Graham for the first sensible post I've read so far. I have absolutely no idea where this 'Nazis were left wing' canard came from (although I have my suspicions). National Socilism was a unique form of fascism, somewhat comparable to Italian fascism, but borrowing ideas from both left and right. People today forget that after the stock market crash of 1929 and during the Great Depression there was widespread distrust of Big Business and capitalism in general throughout the western world. The philosophies of socialism and communism began to appeal to people, and those ideas were 'in the air' as popular alternatives. Any political party wanting to gain power during this historic period had to incorporate at least some of left-wing rhetoric, jargon and practice in order to gain popular support. Calling themselves national socilalists was at least in part a strategic move.

    • Perhaps this is why Islamofascism and antisemitism are apparently held in such high esteem by leftwing liberal arts students and profs.

    • Can I get a *facepalm* up in here?

  9. I guess I give more credence to the opinion of the World Jewish Congress, which formally thanked the Vatican in 1945 for saving more Jews than all other organizations combined, than a recent hit-piece by Wilensky.

  10. I wonder if most of these people reading, incorporating or extolling the *ahem* virtues of Hitler, appreciate the irony that ninety percent of them would have been exterminated had the Nazis won the war. There is no explanation for this kind of lunacy and selective ignorance.

    • Actually, irony need not be a part of it, since in the Islamic world, whites are the "inferior race"….even Christian ideals espouse that todays "white race" evolved from intermarriage with the darker populations of the middle east and africa. So in the eyes of those people in India, etc., the cleansing of society would be perfectly natural, although their idea would include all white people.

      • "since in the Islamic world, whites are the "inferior race"."

        Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Islam is not at all racial, or do you assume that all muslims are Semitic/Arabs?(If so, are you sure you are not a nazi? As nazis were essentially anti-semitic/Arabs) Do you realize that the worlds largest muslim country is actually Indonesia? Have you not heard of the Caucasus mountains where many muslims are pale white?

        • I should have been more specific….my comment was in the context of radicalism. As for Islam not being "racial", in the context my comment was intended Islam certainly IS racial, which is why so many radical Islamic clerics and their followers spew hatred of all western nations. And as for your very personal comment asking me if I'M a nazi, I'm far from that but certainly see no use for people in this world such as yourself who have to make personal attacks of this nature. I can only accept that your hatred filled remark comes from a small mind and would advise that personal attacks of this nature might lead very quickly to a lawsuit for libel or worse…

          • What you're describing is not racial, but cultural. Islamic extremists are anti-liberal on a similar level as some reactionary Conservatives in the US. Al-Qaida was started by an Egyptian man who worked as a teacher in the United States and was troubled by liberal attitudes and among other things, obsession with lawn care. I highly recommend watching a British documentary on the subject called "The Power of Nightmares." Even if you don't draw the same conclusions, it is highly informative and well researched.

            What threw me off with your comment was the insinuation they are 'anti-white', to me when I see that I assume that the person saying it is actually psychologically projecting their own feelings towards the subject in question, as to me that concept is irrational. What islamic extremists want is for the west to leave them alone so they can form a new Caliphate, and possibly even to revert back to cultural conservativism and then maybe become converts, probably in that order.

            I don't hate you. I don't even know you. I do not hate people in general either, not even Hitler. I despise his actions and pity him personally. I just had objections to your language, and am weary of Anti-Islamism, as I think it is dangerous.

          • When you say " What islamic extremists want is for the west to leave them alone" you seem to have ignored one glaring fact
            Islamic extremeists are everywhere, and very much in the peoples' faces with their almost daily suicide bombings in public places. They hate western culture & values, yet immigrate to those very places en masse. Look at London, Paris, New York, Toronto – how many Muslims do you have running around in those cities, resentful of the places they have chosen to live….
            So your comments are not at all based on any sort of relevant facts.

          • I was simplifying it, on purpose.

            The last Caliphate was ended after the WWI with the dissolution and carving up of the former Ottoman Empire by the West (mostly Britain and France). They set up puppet regimes(Dictatorships) sympathetic to the west that tended to be secular, and they could be quite brutal as well, especially in the case of Egypt which was controlled by Britain before the war. This left Islam without a kind of Pope/Emperor position as well as being dominated by a foreign culture. As Islam has had a rich proud cultural/religious heritage this decline was quite a shock to its population.

            Muslims who emigrate to the west do so for many different reasons. Most of them are not at all radical extremists. Those that are, aren't even welcome in places that they come from, for the most part. These types do so in order to infiltrate the west as a kind of diaspora and to fund further terrorist activities against the west and perceived puppet regimes of the west from whence they came. They also prey on other muslims and youth who have trouble integrating into the west and give them purpose where they had none. As the West is a highly individualistic materialistic culture, it can be quite difficult to adapt to and feel apart of, even for non-muslims, and this can lead to isolation and desperation which can be easily manipulated if one has a purpose in mind. (google "Jihad Jane") They also have manuals that suggest to target people who aren't familiar with religious texts as they would be easier to recruit than those who might have religious arguments against their extreme ideas.

            In Essence, these people find themselves in a world that has been progressing onwards without them and they wish to fight it anyway they can, in a very similar way to militia movements in the US, like the recent Christian-extremists 'Hutaree'.

            They do not represent the mainstream at all. Mainstream muslims are much more moderate and want to have more democratic rights, freedoms, etc.. just like anybody else.

      • You do realiize that India is not an Islamic country. So even if one agrees withr your argument that Islam believes "whites are the "inferior race"" and that "the cleansing of society would be perfectly natural " in Islamic countries that doesn't explain India. For the record I know lots of muslims for which "the cleansing of society" would not be perfectly natural so your argument doesn't hold true either way.

    • In the case of Pakistan and India(largely), theoretically no as they are considered to be part of the greater Aryan:Indo-European racial group. Although I doubt nazis would have cared.

  11. Sorry, meant to say there is no excuse for it.

  12. It's not helpful to try and label fascism or nazism either right or left. Simply two sides of the same dispicable coin. If we are not careful we won't have to worry about global warming for all the wrong reasons.

  13. No matter what the story or anniversary, I do not want to see Hitler on a Canadian magazine cover! My family suffered enough from him and from Stalin. Great buddies, those two.

    • oh yeah, the Battle of Stalingrad was one extended hug-fest.


      Just because both were raging anti-Semites doesn't make them pals.

      And to think everything else you said up to that point was sensible.

      • You are unbelievable ignorant.

    • eddo34 — learn your history

      The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 1939

      • That lasted less than two years, and Hitler's reason for doing it was to hold off Russia long enough to secure an alliance with England. But a nutjob named Churchill wanted glory at any price.

        The story of WW2 is one of small men wanting big legacies at the cost of millions of lives.

  14. The original National Sociialists were called The German Workers Party in 1919. After Hitler became the leader, most of the left-wing factions within it were ultimately purged. During the 1920s and 1930s there were two major influences on national socialism: Hitler and Otto Strasser, representing right and left-wing tendencies within the movement. The Strasserites were eventually assasinated in the Night of the Long Knives.

    Most scholars place national socialsim on the far right, and for good reason, although both left and right wing ideas permeated Nazism for a long time. This, along with racial theory, is what made German fascism unique. Historian Henry A. Turner reports Hitler's regret at having integrated the word socialism to the Nazi Party name The Nazi Party's early self-description as “socialist” caused conservative opponents, such as the Industrial Employers Association, to describe it as “totalitarian, terrorist, conspiratorial, and socialist”.

  15. Hitler believed in both private property and a strong State, market competition and a command economy, national unity and war-fueled imperialism. He dispised equality, egalitarianism, liberalism, internationalism, trade unionism, class struggle and Marxism. Note how all these are hallmarks of what we think of as the 'left' today. In the unique currents of German National Socialism during the 1920s and 30s Hitler was conducting an experiment in right-wing socialism, an attempt to protect all that was good about capitalism, private property, religion, hierarchy, inequality, racial theory and nationalism under the umbrella of an all-powerful State. In traditional left wing political philosophy, socialism is supposed to protect people against these things by fostering equality and egalitarianism, leading eventually to the withering away of the State, moving from the phase of socialism to the stage of communism. Hitler wanted an almighty State (The Reich) to last 1000 years.

    To say that National Socialism was 'left wing' is lunacy. It was a mixture of both left and right early on in its unique development within Germany. It eventually became mostly right wing.

    • That reminds me of a good passage from WIlliam Allen's seminal work of history, The Nazi Seizure of Power. He explains how, depending on the particular crowd/demographic that the Nazis were trying to attract, they would emphazise or de-emphasize certain words in their official name. So if they were holding a rally in a left-wing or pro-trade union area, the poster would read "national SOCIALIST german WORKERS" party. If they were holding a rally in a conservative nationalist area, the poster would read "NATIONAL socialist GERMAN workers'" party. The Nazis were in a sense political chameleons.

  16. A fair lot of you people are idiots. National Socialism began as a revolutionary conservative movement against the "degeneracy" and "excesses" of the liberal Weimar era. It appropriated the word "socialist" to draw followers from the other revolutionary groups active in Germany at the time. And, truth be told, it did hold some "socialist" platform points, but Hitler specifically quashed all of those when he personally ordered the assassination of Ernst Röhm and top members of the Sturmabteiling (Hitler's Brownshirts) in the Night of the Long Knives. National Socialism was, is, and ever shall be a radical traditionalist conservative ideology– albeit in a revolutionary form. Remember, the Brownshirts had pitched battles with Communists in the streets of Germany before Hitler assumed power, and socialists and communists were right next to the Jews on the boxcars to the camps. Nazis are not leftists. They never have been and never will– anyone telling you different is ignorant of history.

    • SO ?

      The leftist always eat each other in the climb to the top.

  17. Godwin's law: affirmed.

    • Since Hitler is the topic of discussion, I'd say Godwin's Law does not apply.

  18. Whoa, last sentence makes no sense. Disregard, folks…. nothing to see there.

  19. Do you think all of the atrocities Hitler committed against the Jews, Slavs, communists and homosexuals were because he had a small penis? That is one of the theories forwarded over the last couple of years? When I heard that, I laughed my ass silly. Maybe his mini moustache was an homage to his mini…

  20. "Why is it hard to paint him as a socialist when Hitler describes himself as a socialist?"

    Becasue you don't understand the history, culture and zeitgeist of the 1920s and 30s. After the stock market crash of 1929, and during the subsequent Great Depression, there was widespread mistrust of big business and capitalism in general. Socialism and communism appealed to people as an alternative. These ideas were 'in the air' and any self-respecting political party or leader had to incorporate left wing rhetoric, jargon and practice into their platforms in order to have any chance of getting elected. Hitler later came to regret using the label 'socialist'. The birth of the Social Credit Party and CCF in Alberta also occurred during this time and left wing rhetoric was deployed to the same effect. Let me guess, you think the Social Credit party was left wing too, just becasue they used the word 'social'?

    Just becasue a political party labels itself one thing, does it really make the lable true? Are you really that naive? See also: federal Liberals vs. BC Liberals.

    • "Just becasue a political party labels itself one thing, does it really make the lable true?"

      Peter's right. Just look at the American "Democrat" party.

      • Exactly – look up BC's Social Credit party. I would have assumed they were a bunch of lefties.

  21. "Also, how do you think unions fared in USSR when Lenin/Stalin took over? Unions were crushed because they worked against the State – have a look at communist countries and you find little in the way of unions as we know them in Canada."

    And yet most people (not just commie profs) would describe unions as belonging to the left. There goes your whole theory.

    You're a mess.

  22. Jews and Israel understand Hitler better than anyone. And what happened to them in Nazi Germany will never happen again, unless their enemies are willing to pay an extraordinary price.

    • Jew's were not the only ones who suffered under Hitler, but they sure do seem to be the one's who get the most attention…shrug. How about Gay's Gypsies, or pretty much everyone who didn't fit into his belief system? Those groups suffered far worst atrocities than the Jew's did.

      • that is absolutely incorrect! everyone suffered equal torture because they resided in the same extermination camps. No group was treated worse than others but the amount of Jewish victims far outnumbered the amount of any other group and that is why they get more attention.

        • Proportionally more of the gypsy population was exterminated than any other.

          • Homosexuals (or those thought to be) were used more often for lab experiments in the camps, I believe this is were the notion that some were treated worse than others arises.

          • Even then, it's debatable if homosexuals were actually singled out as a group for persecution and what role homosexuality played in the Nazi hierarchy and ideology. One thing we can be sure of, Hitler was "socialist" "Christian" or _______ (fill in whatever you'd like) when it suited his needs.

    • Would you mind telling us what this extraordinary price is?

  23. "We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." –Adolf Hitler, May 1927"

    Yes, and two years later in 1929, Hitler backtracked, saying that socialism was “an unfortunate word altogether” and that “if people have something to eat, and their pleasures, then they have their socialism”. Historian Henry A. Turner reports Hitler's regret at having integrated the word socialism to the Nazi Party name.

    “I absolutely insist on protecting private property … we must encourage private initiative”. Adolf Hitler 1942

  24. good times? money is the root of all evil? one more time,

  25. How about evil men are the root of evil deeds?

    Gees, the no-minds are worse than ever these days.

  26. Wow, some intelligent discourse here. "YOU'RE like Hitler," "No, YOU'RE like Hitler!"

  27. This article is the silliest pandering since the "Canada must have an abortion debate" cover.


    • I'd much rather invest in a "Canada must have an actual space program" campaign, especially with what Obama did to the American space program. All the fighting down here is because we've all been cooped-up with each other in close quarters for far too long squabbling over precious resources. We've got to get out of the cradle, there's no shortage of planets out there… well maybe there's a shortage of habitable ones, still no excuse to stay put.

  28. I wonder if jennifer lynch has mein kampf on her bookstand at home? How bout Heather McNaughton? I'm sure Lori Andreachuk must marvel at how Herr Hitler was able to stigmatize and rout certain groups in society; as we've seen from at least one of her more august rulings, she's certainly not above making invidious distinctions based on gender, race and religious affiliation. Have you ever noticed that it's a bunch of white women who are the ones who are most enthusiastically in agreement with the authoritarian mindset?

  29. Nazi is just Darwinism carried to it's logical extent into the political arena. As long as Darwinism is taught Nazism is always a lingering possibility.

    • Not at all, before Darwinism beliefs of those who were superior due to nature has always existed.

      • But Darwinism has entrenched that flawed way of thinking and made it normal. It has contaminated all the upper crust of society. The Banks were using Darwinian terminology in the 90's and it formed the justifiable basis for the outlandish abuse we received and will continue to receive. Society is now asking for better policing to keep further abuse under control. But that is just the next step backwards into totalitarian rule.

    • You are proof that Darwinism doesn't always work so well

    • wow your dumb!

  30. What Hitler wanted to create was an ideology which was "revolutionary" but did not result in bitter class struggle, as Bolshevism did. This was a big part of the philosophical underpinning of National Socialism — that instead of putting your lot in with class struggle, you would subsume and overcome conflict by uniting everyone in a common purpose, i.e., love of country — thus the "National" in National Socialism. This was exemplified by the Nazi Propaganda films showing German factory owners sitting down and eating lunch with the soot-encrusted factory floor workers, etc. Of course, this is just one aspect of Naziism — if you like, it's kind of the "innocuous" aspect — as opposed to the homicidal, genocidal, racist, etc. stuff.

  31. Hitler was an abysmal failure, besides the obvious xenophobic insanity he took on way more than he could possibly handle. Why would anyone look to him for advice on how to succeed. He wasn't responsible for the superpower status of Germany, that can be laid at the feet of Bismark and The president of the Wheimer Republic, the name has slipped my mind something like Studdesmen. Germany was already on the way to recovery before he took over, Hitler only made it as far as he did because he was insane and his contemporaries were quite hesitant to embark on campaign after the beating that Europe took in WWI. They didn't expect him to be as, how do you say.. audacious as he was, stupid of them considering that Mein Kamf had already been released and some of them must have read it.
    To the students that look to his book for advice on success, your looking in the wrong direction. If you want to know how to succeed in business based on competition there are many other more applicable books to be read. Machiavelli's the Prince and the Discourses and Sun Ztsu's The Art of War as well as Miyomoti Musashi's the Book of Five Rings are much more coherent. They also lack the bullshit rhetoric that you will find in Hitler. They are thousands of years old and are time tested and proved to be applicable to any age of 'civilization'. Another good book just for good measure would be Lao Tzu's The Tao Te Ching.
    Anyway that's my two cents. The only way the human race will succeed is if we work together. Money never was the root of all evil, that was simply a bad translation. The original read as "Greed is the root of all evil" and as Keynes described capitalism as "Trusting the most wicked of men to do the wickedest of things for the good of all" No body has a corner on stupidity we are all sadly weakly human and it is only when we realize this that we will be able to see each other for what we are…. sadly weakly human.

  32. The irony is he was a socialist, far more closely identified with the left. Nevertheless, the left lies about him (like they do everything else) which is why many have embraced him as they are sick and tired of the lunacy of todays left.

  33. *sigh* Ok, here's an experiment. Get a buddy and drive two cars to a nazi rally (neo or regular nazis, take your pick!). One car will have a bumper sticker saying "f*** left-wingers!" The other will have a bumper sticker saying "f*** right-wingers!" See who gets their arse kicked.

    • I loved that challenge, John D. Good one! Any takers.

  34. I wonder what Hitler would have had his army do to the very people that are reading his books so much today in these countries? I think they would not have any praise for him if they had made it that far.

  35. hitler has been dead for quite sometime now yet he is kept alive by some spin doctors in newsrooms and such across the country….who brings this on? it is necesary to be reminded and most do but to keep this freak of nature alive today is not smart…

  36. When you said that Hitler's poorly written, 700-page magnum opus, I found this comment to be very in fact very biased, maybe you should check with your publisher before you post such a biased comment…

  37. Calling Hilter 'Right Winged' is like calling Colonel Saunders the rightful leader of PETA. This Red Euro-Socialist media continues to brainwash kids into believing Nazis were right wing, with hopes they will blindly run to their leftist agenda, which is the real SOCIALISM!

    Right wingers are protestant christians, and jews and Hilter was neither! He was a Catholic, and this is why the vatican turned a blind eye while Nazis were gassing capitalist jews and homosexuals by the millions!

    • "Right wingers are protestant christians"
      Good lord what a simple universe you live in!

  38. The '14 words' mentioned in the article were not from Mein Kampf. They were coined by David Eden Lane, inspired by a statement in Mein Kampf. The least Katie Engelhart could do is get her basic facts straight.

    • It is clear that Katie Engelhart did not even read Mein Kampf before writing this trash. She just wants to compare all of her political opposition to Hitler in order to write them off and not see their points of view. Sheer propaganda.

      • I laugh whenever I see anyone referred to as "neo-nazi", "far right", a "hate group" or anything along those lines.

  39. What a strange and illogical article. Let's begin with the fundamental issue; the left or socialism extended is fascism, which is Hitler. The far right extended is anarchy. Nothing else therefore follows from the strange and disjointed thinking of this writer.

  40. I recall wandering down Rideau Street in Ottawa in 1969 and passing by a Maoist bookstore selling Mao's little Red Book and other communist propaganda. It was within a 25-minute jaunt from Parliament Hill. Three years later, I recall people being much enthused over Nixon's trip to China ("a great breakthrough," etc.). And, in 1976, after Mao died, Prime Minister Trudeau eulogized him in Parliament for having been "good for his people." It's now acknowledged Mao murdered about 80-million Chinese, Tibetans, Koreans, and others. So far as I know it's still not too serious a matter to pat Chairman Mao's back, metaphorically speaking (described by historian Paul Johnson in his opus Modern Times as "an oriental Hitler". But don't be patting Hitler's back, for whatever reason. Mind you, you can still pat Stalin's back if you like; it seems a lot of the citizens in Putin's Russia are becoming nostalgic over "Uncle Joe". That Stalin far out-Hitlered Hitler, statistically speaking, and Mao, too, far, far out-Hitlered Hitler, statistically speaking, where the grand death toll for innocents is concerned is neither here nor there; that Churchill and Roosevelt saved Stalin's bacon and extended his regime's heinous reign of terror by a decade is pretty well a non-issue, too. All that can be easily shunted aside. Culturally speaking, our Orwellian Two-Minutes' Hate is reserved almost exclusively for Hitler & Co. It's our particular cultural slant.

    • Exellent comment! Not to deminish what Hitler did ,it is always a good idea to keep things in proportion to maintain an objective perspective.But is it not typical Bully behavior to always pick on the same subject?

  41. The reason that extreme xenophobic ideas have appeal today is not hard to find: in a crowded world, people desperate for a decent life cast covetous eyes on the lands of their neighbors. If we had open frontiers and general prosperity, mistrust and fear would not haunt us so badly.

  42. I dislike how tax protesters are called "extreme rightists." Most people who believe in fiscal responsibility and limits on government power certainly do not identify with real hate groups.

    • That is the author's point – to associate any reasonable conservative initiatives with the extreme politics of Hitler in order to discredit said reasonable movements. It is called "guilt by association" and it is a logical fallacy. That is the best the author is capable of though since she has no logical ground to stand on so she can only sling insults and make immature comparisons.

  43. The "Nazi movement in Hungary" is the most idiotic misrepresantation of the Hungarian political sceen I have ever heard.
    — The Maclean should be sued for "HATE MONGERING" in front the Canadian Human Rights Council. —

    Hungary had suffered enough from Hitler, Stalin, and now from an ignorant Western Press such as the Maclean Magazin.
    — If you do not correct your stupid and preposterous activity, I will organize a volunteer society
    to reduce your number of prescribers to ZERO !!! —

    • Macleans magazine may now finally realize why their subscriber base stinks and why they have to offer a subscription rate of $36 for 52 issues for home delivery, because of crap like this article here. Luckily the magazine is redeeemed by the articles of Andrew Potter and Andrew Coyne and I also find Mark Steyn's column very provocative and thought provoking.

  44. Oh yeah folks. The fascist threat is alive and well. Better write those checks to the Southern Poverty Law Center. After all, they're bravely protecting you, but they can't get it done without A LOT of money, money, money…

    What…a…JOKE this article turns out to be.

  45. ""We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." Adolph Hitler, May 1927

    Please tell us some more about how Nazis are right wing. People on the right say Hitler was left wing because he was left wing, as anyone with half a brain can tell when they look at Nazi policies and actions.

    And as someone else has written here, why the focus on Hitler all the time. Soviets (Stalin) and ChiComs (Mao) were far more murderous than Hitler but for some reason Stalin and Mao aren't as nearly vilified. In fact, there are still plenty of people out there who think it's cool to be left wing even tho it is the most vile ideology humans have invented to date.

    • Well, you see, pal, what your problem is: you pick some mothballed quote from 1927 which says what Hitler would do and ask us to judge him on that quote. The problem is that it's not 1927 out there. We don't have to figure out what Hitler would do. We know exactly what he did.

  46. What a poorly written, 4-page article!

    Is it ever possible for mainstream media to not insert their propaganda everywhere? Disliking something does not automatically mean it is poorly written.

  47. This article is nothing more then an attempt to boost sales. Maybe Maclean's should try a roll up the rim campaign instead.
    Perhaps next time Maclean's decides to author an article about the Reich they might Study the subject first, But hey what subject has this Liberal magazine ever studied.

    Maclean's is a joke, this article is a joke and all of you that fell for this aimless propaganda are just as laughable.
    It has been said that NAZI PROPAGANDA would have no power over the public today. Well you all just fell for a much lesser form of motivation.
    why don't we all shut our TV's off, close our laptops, unplug our IPOD's and spend a day with our own thoughts. The people that lived in that time, had more time to manifest there own thoughts then the people of today.

    Think about it.

  48. "You missed a very dull TV show on Auschwitz. More gruesome film clips, and more puzzled intellectuals declaring their mystification over the systematic murder of millions. The reason they can never answer the question "How could it possibly happen?" is that it's the wrong question. Given what people are, the question is "Why doesn't it happen more often?" "

    – Frederick, Hannah and Her Sisters.

  49. As surprising as it may seem, there are actually some enlightening points in Mein Kampf. For instance, the discussion on reading versus reading for the sake of remembering dates. I have not forgotten the lesson…

  50. I own a copy of this book and think that providing sales figures here is a little misleading. The only reason I purchased this book is for the historical value and for the fact that I believe we should all read this so that we know when to spot evil. If we do not learn from the past the same mistakes will be repeated in the future. This is the very reason we keep the Concentration Camps standing, to serve as a dark reminder of how evil we can become.

  51. I am going to assume a lot of Hitler's master race doctrine wasn't included in his work Mein Kampf. Otherwise, would someone please explain how a book espousing the supremacy of the blonde, blue eyed white race would be popular in India and Palestine? Don't these people know were Hitler alive he would have had them exterminated too?

  52. I think the writers claims of Hitlers popularity are exaggerated , Even if it is true , one reason could be the reaction to the fears of some people who have a full time job of worrying about Hitler and the possible return of his ideology. In supposedly important countries like US , UK and Canada people are taught that they must hate Hitler and every thing he ever did or anything he ever said . Every one must hate swastika and must cry a few times a day for holocaust victims or he or she will be labeled as anti semite . wise people know that it is a good idea to let the people decide who was right and who was wrong , instead of forcing them to believe in the evil of Hitler and the heavenly (perpetual victim) character of Jews. Forcing people not to read Mein Kampf is just as bad as banning Salman Rushdie. It is just that when UK, US and Canada involve in controling the minds of people their acts are considered holier than the Ayatullahs who ban Salman rushdie. Let people grow ,let them read Hitler , let them read Quran, let them read whatever they want and still expect them to do the right things , reading and understanding the point of view of controversial people does not endanger the civilization , no matter how worried the writer of this article may be.

  53. Thanks for running this article. I found it most interesting.

  54. The argument over whether the Nazis were left-wing or right-wing is a silly one in that both sides are correct.

    The Nazis were Left in some ways, Right in others.

    For example, the Nazis favoured a strong welfare state (for the Aryans at least), nationalized plenty of businesses, and emphasized the collective "volk" – all very left-wing policies not out of place in any socialist state.

    On the other hand, they also worked closely with big business, did not favour equality of the sexes, formed a de-facto alliance with the Catholic church, and HATED communism with the passion.

    As for the National "Socialist" label, it was adopted by the Nazis largely as an appeal to left-wing voters.

    Once in power they wiped out the socialist party.

  55. I just don't understand the hysteria over Mein Kampf.

    Does anyone really think that a future rise of fascism will in any way depend on the availability of a single book?

    And that if you ban this book, we'll thus avoid a 4th Reich?

    Seriously, are people that naive?

  56. You know what's great about Wikipedia? It provides a general overview of a topic and references original source material. So that if you want to check out the original source for yourself, you can. We aren't talking about an academic paper here, and I'm going to guess that the majority of readers on Maclean's site are not going to be reading European Politics Into the Twenty-First Century: Integration and Division, so the Wikipedia overview will have to do.

  57. Obviously the author of this article is an idiot with an axe to grind. Not even basic knowledge of history or today's events.
    Go back to school and keep away from writing articles ..

  58. Hitler is not the devil he is made out to be in the West. He simply wanted German soil to be for ethnic Germans only, and promoted self-determination and for the Germans to control their own destiny without being controlled by international bankers. Many of the atrocities against Jews have been exaggerated in order to justify the war and creation of Israel.

  59. I am happy by knowing that still ,people likes Adolf Hitler and his deeds…..

  60. I am Hitler… i remember my past life in every detail. Currently i am 18, and i know for a fact that i am the returned fuhrer. I can prove it too…. but i’m not that sure i can start up another reich……………. *sigh