Friday, May 11, 2012

The Faustian bargain of the rich in Nazi Germany

Many people have commented on the class bias of the Fascist regime of Mussolini, and while some attention has been paid to the role of big business in the support of Hitler, one point is often lost. Unlike in Italy, where the Communists were the sole enemy, and business could be accommodated straightforwardly, in Germany, Hitler played to a kind of naive anti-capitalism, the "socialism of fools" as August Bebel termed it, populist resentment against Jews, who although poor overall were considered to be enormously rich and powerful. This meant that a move towards a pro-business environment in Germany, facing a potential Communist revolution in the midst of the depression, would have to happen with the Jewish part of the business community being destroyed to appease popular sentiment.  But after that happened, Germany reverted to a kind of pro-aristocratic corporativism, with the sons of the leaders of business and the traditional aristocracy courted by the Nazi party itself.  

No comments: