This is a question that bears repeating and emphasis, especially - remember - it is the deluded members of the Right who've tried to pin the "National Socialist" - Nazi tail on the left. See e.g.
But this emerges as codswallop rife with cow manure now that The Atlantic has captured the denizens of one Alt Right group - the National Policy Institute- in full throated homage to Nazi ideals and agendas with their 'Hail Trump!" (Ger. "Heil Trump!") salutes and "Sieg Heils" See e.g. this bunch at their recent gathering in D.C. after Trump's rise to power:
Are there parallels with more distant history, especially in Germany after Hitler rose to the Chancellory? Yes, and much of this background has been provided by German author Konrad Heiden in his mesmerizing book, The Fuehrer. Heiden, unlike most who write about the Third Reich and Hitler today, actually lived at the time. He was one of the first to hear the young Hitler's rousing, anti-Semitic orations even as he recognized the perverse self-serving ideology and narcissism at work. (One now ascendant again after Trump has been voted in and appointed Stephen Bannon to his inner circle. ) This as Heiden worked as a staff reporter for The Frankfurter Zeitung. Heiden was also one of the few writers at the time, despite the Reich laws, to stand against Nazism.
This elicits the question of what Hitler's N.S.D.A.P. or Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei has in common with the National Policy Institute apart from shouting "Heil Hitler/Hail Trump". In fact, as Heiden points out (p. 468, 'Heil Hitler' was the greeting of the N.S.D.A.P. while "Front Heil!" was the greeting of the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmet) itself derived from the Vaterländische Front, VF or Fatherland Front - which is the closest analog to the National Policy Institute today. This is given both are devoted to pure Nationalism and the removal of "untermenschen". (More below).
Heiden in his earlier German version 'Hitler- Das Leben Eines Diktators' (1936), of his remarkable book, traces extreme German Nationalism as embodied in the Volkisch movement extant in Germany since the Middle Ages. It extolled a eugenic Aryanism and invested much of it in myths traced back to ancient Nordic origins. It also incorporated Christian rituals, such as the Passion Play at Oberammagau, in which the Jews were featured as "Christ killers". In other words, it was the Volkisch movement - embodied in a cultural anti-Semitism that had gone on for centuries, which Hitler then applied as justification for the Final Solution. (And which he crudely described in Mein Kampf).
And just as the Jews were deemed untermenschen in the Reich, and hence listed in a National Registry for identification purposes, so also are Muslims earmarked for a similar fate under Trump's appointed White Aryan Nationalists, as exemplified by the National Policy Institute and the alt Right movement in general.
While it is true that Hitler had a rabid hatred of Bolshevism, which he tied to Jews (Karl Marx in particular) this in itself would not have made Jews a "threat" to his expansion demands for Lebensraum. Indeed, he saw the Jews as no "threats" at all but as inconvenient impediments or better, vermin, to be exterminated in line with the Volkisch mindset.
But let us bear in mind the Jews weren't the only "undesirables" to Hitler and the Nazis. In fact, he wanted the elimination of all those deemed to be members of inferior races or nationalities, including: Slavs, Gypsies, the disabled or mentally enfeebled, and homosexuals as well. (Blacks would also have been included but essentially numbered zero in German population statistics at the time of Hitler's final power grab on March 23, 1933.) Heiden described Hitler's thinking in his own words, in The Fuehrer, p. 257:
"If Germany should get a million children each year and eliminate seven to eight hundred thousand of the weakest, in the end the result would be an increase in power."
Heiden's point is that Hitler believed he could attain the "American" eugenic ideal by brutally murdering those he regarded as the weakest, including those seen as a human sub-species: the Jews.
Now, to more firmly establish parallels: It is actually the Stahlhelm to which the National Policy Institute is most closely compared from a historical perspective. This is because - as Heiden notes (p. 239) it was in this group that the leading and more educated classes placed their trust for advancement of nationalist imperatives. This as opposed to the more working class -composed Sturm Abteilung. In like manner, to advance its own agenda, the National Policy Institute depends on more college educated white men as opposed to working class men.
Another prime parallel is that both have evidently gorged on Josef Goebbels' propaganda with the National Policy Institute actually translating some of his tracts from the original German. It is most plausible that they included this segment of one Goebbel's tract (The Nazi -Sozi, 1932) cited by Heiden:
"Certainly the Jew is also a man, but the flea is also an animal. And the other animals do not harbor and cultivate the flea but exterminate it"
Which was directly incorporated by Reinhardt Heydrich and others in implementing the Final Solution. DO the tracts being translated by the National Policy Institute reflect the same disgusting notions and vile language? We can only surmise they do, which is why so many neo-Nazis, White Aryans and others hail the election of Trump because it's set their vicious memes free. Indeed, Richard Spencer in his screed shown in the link above actually refers to the U.S. media in the original Nazi parlance "Judenpresse" used by the Nazis. (Jewish press.)
All of which settles once and for all which side of the ideological spectrum the alt Right is on: the side of fascism and Nazism. Again, Ian Kershaw in his magnificent account of Hitler’s rise to power (‘Hitler Nemesis’) describes in detail how the NSDAP party members would regularly beat Marxists, socialists, and any leftists on the streets while holding up signs that read: “Tot dem Marxem!” (Death to Marxists!) Since Marxists are, in fact, Socialists first and foremost, it would make no sense for a true Socialist party to encourage anyone to do that.
If these geniuses who insist Hitler "wasn't of the Right" were correct, then WHY did they beat up on Marxists, Socialists and Commies of the LEFT? But this shows how even these whackos abhor comparisons with Hitler and the Nazis, even when they encourage Nazi salutes! (As shown in the youtube link above). This fact is unassailable: with the spectacle of alt Right loonies giving Nazi salutes they are clearly pro-Nazi and if they subscribe to Nazism's agendas they are full Nazis. As my sister-in-law Krimhilde put it: "Being a Nazi isn't simply being a formal party member. It is embracing Nazi ideals and agendas."
The saddest chapter in Heiden's lengthy book has to be XXIII ('Coup D 'Etat by Instalments') where we learn how fast the German electorate regretted its ill-advised choice to help Hitler attain power. When the overt persecution of the Jews and others did finally begin, we are informed (p. 456):
"Up until this time, foreign countries, as well as the German public, had been lulled by the National Socialists in the comfortable faith that 'things would not be so bad', that the anti-Jewish agitation was not meant so seriously ...Now it turned out this was a lie. The anti-Semitic agitation was meant seriously. The persecution of political enemies, bestial as it was, was part of the political struggle but the attack on Jews was an attack on a peaceful group".
Will Americans come to rue their decision to unleash Trump and his minions, as the Germans did with Hitler - and when it was too late? We can only guess. But a first important marker and indicator will be the Senate hearings for racist hate monger Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. If the Dems roll over on this, it will be almost as bad as the Reichstag voting for the Enabling Act.. Bottom line: at the risk of our nation's own integrity we cannot allow an alt Right segregationist and white nationalist to occupy the top seat of law enforcement - come Hell or high water.
As for "fake news" anyone reading this blog can be assured that is a non-starter. That's because I rely on multiple independent (including historical) sources which can all be cross-checked. More on this in a future post.