Origins and Rise of National Socialism Term Paper

Pages: 9 (3207 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Drama - World

¶ … Origins and Rise of National Socialism

Since the Antiquity and until the 20th century human life or human nature has been thought to be restrained by certain imposed rules; from the Egyptians, who thought their human life was a preliminary stage of their universal existence and until the Fascists, who considered life as being a perpetual war, the worldly existence has been "chained." Having these in mind, we can reduce history to a simple axiom: the attempt of the people to escape from the chains the world tried to tie them with. Following these perspective, the human crowd has become vulnerable in front of some leaders who, in order to attain their hidden ambitions, have promised them the absolute freedom and the entire world at their disposal. Some of these leaders have been grouped in the Nazi Party and the most fearful of them, the same one who stood at the basis of the greatest atrocities in the 20th century, has certainly been Adolph Hitler. Thus, "the rise of Nazism in Germany was definitely the event which brought an end to the system established in Paris and also to the era of political stabilization." The reasons for this rise were, of course, manifold: the economic crisis gave strong impetus to the Nazi movement; but this was not the only - and perhaps not even the most important - reason for which it spread. "To a large extent, Nazism was an inner German phenomenon, one which" revived old political attitudes dominant in imperial Germany authoritarism and nationalism.' Therefore, in order to make an exact illustration of the reasons which stood at the basis of the appearance of the party which caused the bloodiest war in history, I will start my attempt by describing the origins of the main points of its ideology, then I will present the de facto occurrence of the facts and I will end up by arguing why Fascism and the party which promoted it occurred exactly at that period. A short conclusion will sum-up the way the Natzis and Hitler have influenced the world history and the unbearable loss of image in the case of Germany.

One the one hand, I consider that the Nazi ideology was the first reason for the amazing and fast gain of adherents: the promise of the spread of the Arian race, the only "perfect" one, in a modern world characterized by deep cultural differences and diverse nations was definitely something unusual and desired by those who believed themselves to be superior to the rest of the peoples. At first glance, it might be assumed that the origins of the 20th century authoritarian right had its roots in the first reactions of liberal and leftist forces during the French Revolution and its aftermath.

While there are undeniable links between the new authoritarian right of the late 19th century and early 20th century forces of traditionalism, neo-legitimism, and reactions that preceded them by a hundred years, no fixed goal or terminus relates them and, besides, cultural major differences also existed, as Stanley G. Payne points out: "The reactionary movements of the early 19th century tended to be simply and directly traditionalist, and aimed at avoiding the development of modern, urban, industrial, of mass society rather than transforming it, whereas by the latter part of the century the new rightist groups had achieved much greater sophistication, and tried to come in their own way to come to terms with modern, social, cultural and economic problems." In addition, Fascism, as it showed itself to the nations, was animated by an intense and obsessing sense of the difference of its own folk, by the intense awareness of its leaders of their duty of keeping different and uncorrupted by any other alien elements the regime they supported and by a conviction of the immeasurable value of their supposedly unique characteristics. On the other hand, though, the national Socialist ideology has been proven to exist long before fascism occurred on the world political scene and what is more amazing is the fact that it appeared during the French Revolution, once with the birth of Liberalism. Why during that period? A logical explanation could refer to the fact that people in 1789 had experienced a quite similar feeling as their predecessors in the Ancient Greece: the quest for the best type of regime. The cause for this historical repetition consists in the idea that the French in the 18th century were tired of the Monarchic tyrannies and were in need of a new regime, characterized by the rule of law, on the one hand, and by the people through their chosen representatives

The roots of the new forms of the authoritarian right in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have therefore been taken by those who dreamed to promote Fascism; these ideas may be found in at least four different areas: "the growth of the corporatist doctrine, primarily in catholic circles, and the ambiguous development of certain new forms of political Catholicism; the transformation of moderate or conservative, liberalism by degrees, in an overtly authoritarian direction, especially in southern Europe; the transformation of previously traditionalist anti-liberal and monarchist forces in various countries from the Latin west to Russia and the emergence of an instrumental, modernizing, and imperialist new kind of radical right in Italy."

On the other hand, the latest assumptions on the origins of Nazism point out the fact that its ideology was inspired as well, by several Romantic ideas. As Arthur Lovejoy points out, "Romanticism is important for understanding not only the authoritarian period but also the last 150 years and consequently, the contemporary intellectual, moral and political situation." A strict definition cannot be given to this term, as it does not have one accepted meaning but, on the contrary an amazing, diversity of meanings. Its roots can be found in the last quarter of the 18th century - 1780-1790- when there were discovered or revived -especially in Germany- a large number of ideas which were unfamiliar with the prior ones -those of the 17th and of the 18th century-. These ideas had a great impact on the European intellectual class and influenced its style in policy, poetry and metaphysics.

The German Romantics of the 1790s were in revolt against all the other currents of thought but first of all in the theory of art, as they claimed themselves to be the prophets of a new "modern" art - and by "modern" they understood "Romantic" -.They also had a preference for the "infinite," which had an opposed sense to the "finite," a basic characteristic of all the previous currents and ways of thought. The Romanticism was characterized mainly by a propensity for infinite values, objects for thought or imagination to contemplate, a love for mystery, an awareness of the duality of man's constitution, a preoccupation with the inner life and a sense of the man's inner corruption, all of these being contrasted with the classical sense for the "form and limits." The modern history a sort of culminating join-effect, which is at least an essential and conspicuous part of the monstrous scene presented by Germany and Europe in the 20th century. One of them is represented by the relationship of the individual with the whole, where "the whole" could have signified one of the first references to the idea of the innate connection of the state to its citizens.

But the practical tendency of this idea is profoundly modified by its fusion with another idea of the 1790s. This is the assumption of primacy, in reality and in value, of process, striving, and cumulative becoming over any static consummation - "the dislike of finality and in particular, the peculiar sensibility to the pathos of struggle, which is, by necessary implication, a struggle against something of somebody." As a political idea, this notion has been fused with the first. The individual as essentially an organ of the state does his striving through the state, which is the embodiment of the Will to Power. If it is too effective in this capacity, it must be completely integrated; it can permit no struggles within himself, between its parts. The parts must be strictly regimented for the service of the whole, whileas the State must strive for expansion, external power and yet more power.

What is seems to be obvious from these observations is that Social Nationalism was in its first form a legitimate regime, from a historic point-of-view. Practically, its ideology gathered different ideas, from different currents of thought. But what determined these ideas to be put together was the sum of events which occurred in Germany at the beginning of the 1930s.

Thus, it has been many times assumed that during that period the Weimar Republic was dominated by a strong antinationalistic and anti-republican feeling because people of the Old Regime had been held in key functions within the state apparatus. In addition, the popular support through which the republic had been installed was soon whittled… [END OF PREVIEW]

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