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National Socialist Program

From Academic Kids

The National Socialist Program, also referred to as the 25-point program, was developed to formulate the party policies of, first, the Austrian German Workers Party (or DAP) and was copied later by Adolf Hitler's Nazi party. It is an amalgamation of demands that would be typically associated with various different (and antagonistic) political trends. It was first developed in Vienna, at a German Workers Party congress, and was brought to Munich by Rudolf Jung, who was expelled from Czechoslovakia. (1) Josef Pfitzner, a Sudetenland German Nazi author, wrote that "the synthesis of the two great dynamic powers of the century, of the socialist and national idea, had been perfected in the German borderlands [i.e. Sudetenland] which thus were far ahead of their motherland." (2) The National Socialist program also contained a number of points that supported democracy and even called for wider democratic rights. These, like much of the program, lost their importance as the Party evolved, and were ignored by the Nazis after they rose to power.

Background: At the time this program was written, Czeckoslovakia and Austria did not exist as separate countries. They both existed under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The programs of the Sudetenland and Austrian National Socialists developed under the Habsburg monarchy and in one single country at the time. Different German Worker parties developed in Vienna, Aussig, and Eger. Hitler and the other leaders that would later play a major role in Nazi Germany were not involved in the creation of the original National Socialist programs, a fact which explains the differences between these programs and the actions of the German Nazi Party.

Contents

Sudetenland Party Platform

In Cheb (northwest Bohemia, which is a part of the modern Czech Republic), Franko Stein was a member of the German National Workers' League. In 1898, he organized a German National Workers' Congress where a twenty-five point program was first promulgated.

Austrian Party Platform

Before Austria became a republic, the Austrian DNSAP (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei), proclaimed a similar program in May 1918. Here are a few excerpts:

...the German National Socialist Workers' Party is not a party exclusively for labourers; it stands for the interests of every decent and honest enterprise. It is a liberal (freiheitlich) and strictly folkic party fighting against all reactionary efforts, clerical, feudal and capitalistic privileges; but before all against the increasing influence of the Jewish commercial mentality which encroaches on public life....
...it demands the amalgamation of all European regions inhabited by Germans into a democratic and socialized Germany...
...it demands the introduction of plebiscites (referenda; democratic decision-making) for all important laws in the country...
...it demands the elimination of the rule of Jewish banks over our economic life and the establishment of People's Banks under democratic control... (3)

The right-wing author Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn claimed that this program was the synthesis of Pan-Germanism, collectivism, egalitarianism and pseudo-liberal currents. Moreover, he noted that this program was anti-Habsburg, anti-monarchical, anti-clerical, and anti-feudal. In demanding plebiscites for all important decisions, it also showed itself to be nominally democratic.

The German Party Platform

The 25 point Program of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) (i.e. the Nazi Party) was proclaimed by Adolf Hitler at a large party gathering in Munich on February 25, 1920 when the group was still known as the German Workers Party. The party kept the program when it changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party in April 1920 and it remained the official party program throughout the party's existence. It was adapted from Rudolf Jung's Austro-Bohemian program by Anton Drexler, Adolf Hitler, Gottfried Feder and Dietrich Eckart. Unlike the Austrian program, the NDSAP program makes no claims of being "liberal" or democratic, nor does it express an opposition to "reaction" or to aristocracy.

Ten of the twenty-five points are clearly pro-labor. "The program championed the right to employment and called for the institution of profit sharing, confiscation of war profits, prosecution of userers and profiteers, nationalization of trusts, communalization of department stores, extension of the old-age pension system, creation of a national education program of all classes, prohibition of child labor, and an end to the dominance of investment capital." (4) This was an important part of the party's propaganda campaign, since it raised their support among the working class, by making the party appear to have, in William Brustein's words, a "working-class orientation". However, Hitler was careful to also make it clear that "the NSDAP stands on the platform of private ownership".

The Agrarian crisis of the late 1920s prompted Hitler to add a further explanation of point 17, in the hope of winning the sizable agricultural vote in the May 1928 elections. Point 17 stated: "We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land". Hitler explained that "gratuitous expropriation concerns only the creation of legal opportunities to expropriate if necessary, land which has been illegally acquired or is not administered from the view-point of the national welfare. This is directed primarily against the Jewish land-speculation companies".

References

  1. Leftism Revisited, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Regnery Gateway, Washington, D.C., 1990. pp 147-149#Leftism Revisited, pg 149.
  2. Liberty or Equality, von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Christendom Press, Front Royal, VA, 1952, 1993. pg 257.
  3. The Logic of Evil, The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925-1933, William Brustein, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1996. pg 141.

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