Nazism

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Nazism

National Socialism was similar in many respects to Italian fascism (see Fascism). The roots of National Socialism, however, were peculiarly German, grounded, for example, in the Prussian tradition of military authoritarianism and expansion; in the German romantic tradition of hostility to rationalism, liberalism, and democracy; in various racist doctrines according to which the Nordic peoples, as so-called pure Aryans, were not only physically superior to other races, but were the carriers of a superior morality and culture; and in certain philosophical traditions that idealized the state or exalted the superior individual and exempted such a person from conventional restraints.

The theorists and planners of National Socialism included General Karl Ernst Haushofer, a German geographer who exercised much influence in German foreign affairs. The German editor and party leader Alfred Rosenberg formulated Nazi racial theories on the basis of the work of the Anglo-German writer Houston Stewart Chamberlain. To the German financier Hjalmar Schacht fell the task of formulating and carrying out much economic and banking policy, and the German architect and party leader Albert Speer was a major figure in overseeing the economy just before the end of World War II (1939-1945).

III. EFFECTS OF WORLD WAR I
The immediate origins of National Socialism are to be found in the consequences of the German defeat in World War I (1914-1918). Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was charged with sole responsibility for the war, stripped of its colonial empire, and forced to pay heavy reparations. German political and economic life was seriously disrupted as a result of the treaty. Severe inflation, which reached its climax in 1923, all but destroyed the German middle class, leaving many of its impoverished and despairing members vulnerable to the appeals of radical political groups that sprang up in the postwar years. Only a few years after some measure of economic stability and progress had been achieved, the worldwide economic crisis that began in 1929 plunged Germany into an apparently hopeless depression. During these years the democratic Weimar Republic was subjected to increasing attack from both left and right. The republic proved unable to cope effectively with the desperate condition of the country. By 1933 the majority of German voters supported one or the other of the two major totalitarian parties, the Communist and the National Socialist.

National Socialism was similar in many respects to Italian fascism (see Fascism). The roots of National Socialism, however, were peculiarly German, grounded, for example, in the Prussian tradition of military authoritarianism and expansion; in the German romantic tradition of hostility to rationalism, liberalism, and democracy; in various racist doctrines according to which the Nordic peoples, as so-called pure Aryans, were not only physically superior to other races, but were the carriers of a superior morality and culture; and in certain philosophical traditions that idealized the state or exalted the superior individual and exempted such a person from conventional restraints.

The theorists and planners of National Socialism included General Karl Ernst Haushofer, a German geographer who exercised much influence in German foreign affairs. The German editor and party leader Alfred Rosenberg formulated Nazi racial theories on the basis of the work of the Anglo-German writer Houston Stewart Chamberlain. To the German financier Hjalmar Schacht fell the task of formulating and carrying out much economic and banking policy, and the German architect and party leader Albert Speer was a major figure in overseeing the economy just before the end of World War II (1939-1945).

III. EFFECTS OF WORLD WAR I
The immediate origins of National Socialism are to be found in the consequences of the German defeat in World War I (1914-1918). Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was charged with sole responsibility for the war, stripped of its colonial empire, and forced to pay heavy reparations. German political and economic life was seriously disrupted as a result of the treaty. Severe inflation, which reached its climax in 1923, all but destroyed the German middle class, leaving many of its impoverished and despairing members vulnerable to the appeals of radical political groups that sprang up in the postwar years. Only a few years after some measure of economic stability and progress had been achieved, the worldwide economic crisis that began