Menu JTA Search

New Book on Nazism Holds Capitalism Dominant in Reich

A STUDY OF NAZI GERMANY THAT POINTS TO THE MORAL “IT CAN HAPPEN HERE,” IS “THE SPIRIT AND STRUCTURE OF GERMAN FASCISM,” BY ROBERT A. BRADY, WITH FOREWORD BY HAROLD J. LASKI, PUBLISHED BY THE VIKING PRESS.

SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH PROFESSOR BRADY’S BOOK, THERE HAS APPEARED A MORE SYMPATHETIC STUDY OF THE NAZI PHENOMENON BY A FRENCH SCHOLAR, HENRI LICHTENBERGER, DIRECTOR OF THE PARIS INSTITUTE OF GERMANIC STUDIES, “THE THIRD REICH,” WITH A PREFACE BY NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER, PUBLISHED IN TRANSLATION HERE BY THE GREYSTONE PRESS.

PROFESSOR BRADY’S BOOK DESCRIBES IN DETAIL THE MACHINERY BY WHICH HE SAYS GERMAN BIG BUSINESS, USING ADOLF HITLER’S NAZIS AS ITS TOOL, HAS PRACTICALLY ENSLAVED THE GERMAN MASSES.

IN THIS, PROFESSOR BRADY’S VIEW CONTRASTS COMPLETELY WITH THAT OF THE ANONYMOUS GERMAN ECONOMIST WHO, WRITING RECENTLY IN THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS QUARTERLY UNDER THE PSEUDONYM OF “V,” DECLARED THAT NAZISM WAS HAVING THE SAME END-RESULT AS COMMUNISM, AND THAT THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM HAD BEEN DESTROYED IN GERMANY, AND PREDICTED THAT THE INSTITUTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY WOULD SOON BE ABOLISHED.

“THE NAZI SYSTEM,” PROFESSOR BRADY WRITES, “REPRESENTS, IN SHORT, NOTHING MORE THAN AN EXTENSION TO THE NATION AT LARGE OF THE RULES, THE BEHAVIOR PATTERNS AND THE POINTS OF VIEW OF THE ORDINARY AUTOCRATICALLY GOVERNED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE….”

HE STRESSES THE POINT THAT THE SUDDEN RISE OF THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST PARTY FROM COMPARATIVE IMPOTENCE BEGAN WHEN THE JUNKERS, THE BIG INDUSTRIAL OVERLORDS, AND THE BANKERS REALIZED IT COULD BE MADE TO SERVE THEIR PURPOSES, AND THREW THEIR RESOURCES BEHIND IT. THESE PEOPLE, PROFESSOR BRADY POINTS OUT, ARE THE REAL MASTERS OF GERMANY TODAY.

PROFESSOR LASKI’S FOREWORD STRESSES THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BOOK TO AMERICANS. BIG BUSINESS, LASKI SAYS, CAN AND WILL USE THE SAME DEVICES IN ANY COUNTRY WHERE ITS DOMINATION IS THREATENED.

ALREADY THE NAZI EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN REPEATED IN AUSTRIA, HUNGARY, GREECE, AND BRAZIL, HE SAYS, AND EFFORTS TO ENFORCE NAZISM ARE CONVULSING SPAIN. THERE ARE FASCIST ELEMENTS IN BRITAIN, FRANCE AND THIS COUNTRY, HE POINTS OUT.

“THE LESSON OF ALL FOREIGN EXPERIENCE,” LASKI SAYS, “IS THAT A GOVERNING CLASS WILL NOT PERMIT THE USE OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS TO ABROGATE ITS ECONOMIC PRIVILEGES.”

PROFESSOR LICHTENBERGER’S WORK IS VERY DIFFERENT IN TONE. WHILE HE IS FAR FROM CONDONING NAZISM, HE EXPLAINS IT ON THE BASIS OF OPPRESSION OF GERMANY BY THE VICTORIOUS POWERS AFTER THE WORLD WAR, AND CASTS SOME OF THE BLAME ON THE PRIOR DEMOCRATIC LEADERS IN GERMANY WHO, HE SAYS, WHILE WELL-INTENTIONED, WERE “IN GENERAL MORE OFTEN SHREWD TRADE UNION SECRETARIES RATHER THAN VERITABLE LEADERS.”

HITLER HE PAINTS SOMEWHAT SYMPATHETICALLY AS A POWERFUL PERSONALITY, A TALENTED DEMAGOGUE, WITH AN IRON WILL BUT ALSO AN INSTINCTIVE FEELING FOR THE MOODS OF THE PEOPLE, WHO HAS RALLIED ALMOST THE ENTIRE GERMAN NATION BEHIND HIM. HE DID NOT TURN TO THE PAST, PROFESSOR LICHTENBERGER SAYS, AND “THE THIRD REICH HE WISHED TO ESTABLISH IN NO WAY RESEMBLED THE OLD GERMAN EMPIRE.”

PROF. LICHTENBERGER DEVOTES HIS DISCUSSION PRIMARILY TO THE NAZIFICATION OF GERMAN CULTURE AND SPIRIT, GIVING LESS ATTENTION TO ECONOMIC QUESTIONS.

“IT IS HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE THAT GERMANY HAS SUDDENLY BECOME A LAND OF BARBARIANS,” HE SAYS, ADDING THAT “THE ‘ETERNAL’ GERMANY STILL LIVES UNDER THE BROWN SHIRT OF HITLERISM.”

NEXT STORY