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Intro to the Cold War: Nazi Germany

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Written by   26
2 years ago

Most of my post are still talking about the lead up to the Cold War and the start of the Soviet Union and 1920s America, but with this post I am considering jumping forward in time to the rise of fascism. Most people have heard about Nazi Germany in one fashion or another, especially with their genocides like the Holocaust, but here I want to describe how fascism ended up affecting the actions of both the U.S. and USSR while helping to usher in the genuine start of the Cold War:

  • Nazi Germany formed in 1933 after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor. It was considered the successor of the Holy Roman Empire of 800 CE to 1806 CE (the First Reich) and the German Empire that existed from 1871 CE to 1918 CE (the Second Reich). The nation was based around  intense nationalism, mass appeal, and dictatorial rule, and shared many elements of Italian fascism (being a fascist movement itself). Fascists like the Nazis of Germany hated Marxists of all stripes, from the Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union and totalitarian communists to democratic socialists. While having some similarities to authoritarian communists, fascists (especially Nazi fascists) were different since unlike communists, they supported limited capitalism and defended the interest of economic elites who agreed to their policies like how Nazi Germany allowed Coca-Cola's German branch to continue to own factories and property. Fascists were also nationalistic while totalitarian communists attempted to create international movements and own all the means of production on behalf of the common worker in accordance to Karl Marx's idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat & the Nazis had a limited market economy compared to a Marxist socialist command economy.

  • Despite supporting some degree of capitalism, fascists like the Nazis were against democracy and ownership of private property to the point where private enterprise existed in every industry. Hitler believed democracy undermined natural selection and was “nothing other than the systematic cultivation of human failure.” Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda, maintained that history was never made by people ruling themselves, but by aristocrats.

  • Nazism was about survival of the fittest and that the state existed to fight wars until only the strongest nation-state survives, even when such action is unprofitable and detrimental to the national economy. This belief even spread to Nazi allies like Imperialist Japan, who declared in 1934 in pamphlet publications that “War is the father of creation and the mother of culture.” The Nazi party also called for nationalization of industries like education, preventing any private business from being in those particular industries.

  • The Nazi Party got its support because of the weakness of Germany following World War I. Despite having nothing to do with the start of the war, Germany was blamed for World War I and given a crushing debt that took 92 years to pay. The Weimar Republic formed as a weak government that could only pay small portions of this debt. Problems like this led to discontentment and a rise in popularity for those who claimed they could fix Germany.

  • Nazi Germany collapsed on 1945, which is the year we consider to be the official beginning of the Cold War. Since Germany had declared war on Russia during World War I and attacked during World War II, the USSR grabbed the eastern portion of Germany so Germany could never be a unified threat again &, in 1949, created a Marxist socialist republic called East Germany. Meanwhile, the United States and the West formed West Germany & the Cold War was truly off to the races!

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Written by   26
2 years ago
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