Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Yes, They Were Socialists: How the Nazis Waged War on Private Property

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2022

The Nazi government took control of the economy, which is what one expects from socialism.

John Kennedy

When the average person thinks of the Nazis, what often comes to mind is World War II, the Holocaust, and rousing speeches of hate. However, the National Socialists also had economic and political policies, policies many just assume were either free market or New Deal–style public works projects like the Autobahn. But Nazi policy was not so cut-and-dried.

The Nazis were socialists, and it showed in many of the policies they implemented after coming to power in 1933. First, like the Soviets, the Nazis initiated a war on private property. Not surprisingly, property rights were severely curbed by National Socialism in the name of public welfare.

How did the National Socialists combat private property in Germany? The first step came shortly after the Nazis took control, when they abolished private property. Article 153 of the Weimar constitution guaranteed private property, with expropriation only to occur within the due process of the law, but this article was nullified by a decree on February 28, 1933. 

With this, the new National Socialist government had complete control of private property in Germany. While they did not take complete control of the lands like the Bolsheviks did in Russia in 1917, the Nazis issued quotas for industries and farms, and later they reorganized all industry into corporations run by members of the Nazi Party. 

The War on Business

Peter Temin wrote about this in Soviet and Nazi Economic Planning, stating:

Both governments reorganized industry into larger units, ostensibly to increase state control over economic activity. The Nazis reorganized industry into 13 administrative groups with a larger number of subgroups to create a private hierarchy for state control. The state could therefore direct a firm’s activities without acquiring direct ownership of enterprises. The pre-existing tendency to form cartels was encouraged to eliminate competition that would destabilize prices.

The Nazis, ironically, called this reorganization “privatization,” although the owners of these corporations were either removed from board positions and replaced by Nazi Party members or sold out and became Nazi Party members. They included IG Farben and the Junkers airplane factory. IG Farben was a chemical company founded in 1925 by Carl Bosch and Carl Duisberg, who were both Jewish, and had a capitalization of around a billion marks by 1926. By 1938, all of the company’s Jewish workers had been purged and the supervisory board replaced by Nazis (see Joseph Borkin’s book The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben).

IG Farben was a clear example of the reorganization of industry the Nazis undertook for their benefit. Sybille Steinbacher, a professor of Holocaust studies, wrote about the public-private partnership in her book Auschwitz, stating:

Otto Ambros and IG Farben director Fritz ter Meer held a board meeting in Berlin with Carl Krauch who was not only a member of the board of directors of IG Farben, but also a member of the circle of industrialists around Reichsfurhrer-SS known as Himmler’s “Circle of Friends.” 

After the Nazis took power, this kind of cooperation was common.

See the rest here

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