Difference Between Communism and Nazism
Communism vs Nazism
Communism and Nazism – Two historic philosophies that have more in common than many think
In 1939, the world was stunned by the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. Here were two competing political systems –Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union – agreeing to work together. Even though Hitler nullified this pact by attacking the Soviet Union, this moment in history highlighted a common bond between these power-hungry philosophies. Despite each side’s adamant claims of being diametrically opposed to the other, Communism and Nazism are fairly comparable worldviews with only minor differences. Communism and Nazism are quite possibly the most vilified political philosophies in the modern era. At their historic zeniths, these totalitarian worldviews captured the attention of the world. Their radical nature inspired revolutions, built empires, and provoked wars. Ultimately, they collapsed upon themselves, and now have been relegated to the dustbin of history.
All radical philosophies are reactionary; Nazism and Communism are no different. Both of these ideologies were considered to be “natural” responses to historical phenomena that were unique to 19th century Europe. For Nazism, the convergence of nationalism and anti-Semitism ushered in this diabolical political movement as a means to building German pride by vilifying the “Jewish menace.” Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” was inspired by the rise of class consciousness during the Industrial Revolution, and the perceived widening gaps in income inequality and wealth.
Nazism and Communism fixate on hierarchies. The racial superiority of the Aryan race is central to Nazism. Built on a foundation of pseudo-science and biological determinism that places Jews, blacks, and other minorities in very low regard, Nazism divides human society along strict religious, ethnic, and racial lines. Communism focuses on economic hierarchy – more specifically the stratification of classes. There are the “haves” and “have-nots,” and Communism seeks to empower the latter to revolt against the former. Each belief system enforces a regimented set of rules for “acceptable” political behavior – painting a very bleak “black-and-white” world with very little wiggle room for divergent political thought.
The philosophical roots of both ideologies can be traced to the Victorian era, but their actualizations into flesh-and-blood political movements didn’t occur until the Modern era. Nazism was obviously ubiquitous during Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. The political ideology was the brainchild of Hitler, whose rise to power and twisted thoughts created the infrastructure that mechanized its destructiveness. Hitler seized the collective imagination of the German people, who willingly accepted many of the more horrifying tenets of Nazism.
Communism entered the picture with the October Revolution of 1917. However, the application of Communism has been reinterpreted time and time again, which has resulted in various branches – Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism to name a few – that differed from its original philosophical foundations. For example, Karl Marx postulated that the proletarian revolution could only take place in highly industrialized economies like that of Great Britain. Predominately peasant-agrarian economies, like Russia, were considered “backwards” by Marx, and the last place where Communism would succeed. Vladimir Lenin, the leading figure in the October Revolution and architect for the Soviet Empire, turned this concept on its head to usher in the Bolsheviks as the elite, vanguard party to overthrow tsarist Russia. There is a strong disconnect between what Marx philosophized and how his followers put his words into action.
A strong, centralized government is key to both Nazism and Communism. Bolstered by a military-style police state, each political movement subverts civil liberties, silences dissent, and limits the role of the individual – all in favor of law, order, tradition, and efficiency. Oddly enough, Marx postulated that the state would “wither away” during the transition to a socialist utopia. The totalitarianism present throughout the history of the Soviet Union – from Stalin’s gulags to arms race during the Cold War – highlights another reinterpretation of Marx’s words.
Despite the large historical impact of these ideologies, both of them now stand on the fringes of current political discourse. Nazism has been diminished to the lower echelons of political dialogue: the White Supremacy movement, which is nothing more than thugs with Swastika tattoos and violent tempers. Nazism doesn’t even control a minute fraction of any current governmental power. Meanwhile, Communism still exists – but barely. The People’s Republic of China is a far cry from the Great Leap Forward inspired by Mao; Communism in China embraces big business in a way that would make Marx rollover in his grave. North Korea and Cuba – the remaining Communist countries – don’t exactly arouse fear in the same way as the “Red Menace” once did, due to their own internal dysfunctions. Communism continues to be exposed as an unsustainable political/economic system.
The true strength of any philosophy must withstand the experimentation of history, and it is obvious that neither Nazism nor Communism have fully presented themselves as commendable options for the governance of civil societies.
1. Communism is a socio economic ideology that aims at a classless, egalitarian, and a stateless society. Nazism or National Socialism is a totalitarian ideology that was practised by the Nazi Party or the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
2. Nazism became so popular under Adolf Hitler. Communist ideology can be attributed to Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels.
3. Communism stands for a free society where all are equal and every one can participate in the decision making process. Nazism stands for socialist policies but also ensures that a wealthy class stays at the helm of power.
4. While Communism is on the far left, Nazism is considered to be far right.
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