More on fascism and the church

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Sun Aug 13 12:02:22 MDT 2000

more info on the relation between fachism and the church (catholicism,
Protestantism, calvinism) etc.... good analysis of different ideological

Gary, you should also look at _Behemoth_. To my memory, Neumann goes
into the semantics of Catholic alliances in Reichtag, including the
catholic liberal party on the right (I guess...)

another topic worth looking at is the convergence between church's
religious ideology at that particular moment in history and  the
sociobological/racial ideologies of Nazis, and  how anti-semitism was
imported to the Anglo-Saxon world etc..


R.J. B wrote:

>The literature on this is briefly gigantic - there must literally be
thousands upon thousands of books on this. A good point to start with
might be E. Nolte's classic "Der Faschismus in seiner Epoche" (there is
I believe an English translations) to be used with the greatest of
caution though as E. Nolte (with the ritual terms of abhorance) in
reality rather sympathises with national-socialism. All the same Nolte
brings out two things:

>a.) The central tenent of National Socialist and Fascist (Italy)
ideology was anti-communism. Anti-communism in spite of the
`anarcho-socialist' dollop to speak with Wagar, which was particularly
embraced by Mussolini, was the only really common point of all fascist
and `fascistisant' movements of the interbellum ranging from the Action
Francaise in France to the Fallange in Spain. Otherwise fascism embraced
a wide spectrum of ideologies ranging from the extreme catholicism in
Portugal to the neo-paganism of some groups around Himmler in the SS
(never a mainstream of the NSDAP, let alone in Nazi Germany though -
every German soldier in World War II had on his collar the words: "Gott
mit Uns" - God is on our side - and the Nazi's were forced to abort the
euthanasia-program because of protests from the German church - a
telling comment on the attitude of the church towards the Holocaust - a
few brave people of course excepted -), from the monarchism of the
Action Francaise to the extreme anti-monarchism of the group around
Strasser in the NSDAP.

>b.) Nolte also clearly brings out that even if particularly Mussolini's
Fascists did have ties to anarcho-syndicalist groups the mainstay of
Fascist ideology is firmly based - and is absolutely no deviation from -
mainsteam extreme right wing ideology in the nineteenth century. Centred
around such groups as the pro-Bourbon movement in France or - excusez le
mot - the Unionists in Ireland. Such groups were always strongly
represented in the army - note particularly in the colonial army with
people like Gallieni to some extent also Petain - The army was shaken in
the early twentieth century by cases like the Dreyfus-affair in France,
the Social Democratic majority in the German diet or the Asquith
government in Britain and therefore began to drift ever more to the
right. Indeed the governments in 1914 saw the increasing drift of the
army to the extreme right as a very serious danger - which is why for
example the French army was in 1914 commanded by Francois Joffre (a
rather undistinguished commander rather than say the legendary Gallieni
or the flamboyant Foch since he was the only `leftist', non-extremist
clerical, general available.)

> It should be noted that the extreme right was in many ways rather
`feudal' than 'capitalist' though - It had at best a snobbish disregard
for industrial capitalism, and at worst hated it. The extreme right was
almost always pro-imperialist - but - except in Britain kept a far
distance between itself and various pro-imperialist shipping and
industrial lobbies such as the Deutsche Kolonialverein - it was mostly
pro-monarchist - but not necessarily so in France where there was the
memory of the Boulanger-fiasco - it was pro-landlords or (in France)
pro-great farmers. It was first and foremost anti-French revolution, it
was almost always anti-semitic (also in Britain although that's a point
British historians nowadays rather painfully avoid to adress) mostly
anti-big industry, often anti-catholic (and in Germany pro-protestant -
but in France by contrast the right was ultra-clerical) and always
anti-socialist (but not necessarily anti-working class - for the
`national-feeling' working-class was often seen as a potenial ally
against the international plutocratic/Socialist/Judeo/Catholic

> Now, these might appear to be from our present perspective `wacko
ideas' but we live in a world which is very different from 1900 and
because then `mainstream' ideas are so utterly alien to us now, it is
very tempting to associate the ideas of the NSDAP - which really derived
from those 1900 ideas with an infusion of extremism derived from the
trenches of World War

>I - from extreme groups such as the Aryan brotherhoods, which
flourished in the Sudetenland and Vienna around 1910 and from brochures
of which Hitler undoubtebly got much of his ideas. Yet in a for me quite
shocking booklet called "Hitler war kein Betriebsunfall" the great - and
very courageous ! - German historian Fritz Fischer showed that the
National Socialist ideas including the National Socialist racist
doctrines were in 1900 held by large parts of the ruling classes in
Germany - in particular by the court and the military.

 > I found particularly shocking that Fritz Fischer lists a long series
passages on "the Jewish/black/yellow danger to European civilisation",
"the danger of racial mixture to the Aryan stock", "the
capitalist/plutocratic threat to European culture", the "conspiracies,
plotted by the elders of Zion together with the Vatican and the
Socialist international, against the German nation" - uttered not by
Goebbles but by ... his imperial majesty William II.  Again, another
example, Erich Ludendorff - supreme commander of the German forces
during World War I and comrade in arms of Hitler during the 1923 Putch-
wrote many booklets after the war, blaiming the German defeat on the
American/Anglo/Jewish//Bolshevist/plutocratic conspiracy and,
of course, the Socialist `stab in the back'. Ludendorff was becoming
extreme in fact - that Hitler by 1925 painstakingly kept his distance
him - not to alienate his more moderate working-class voters.

>To that extent the extreme right was a very complex movement and it is
difficult to say whether it was pro- or anti-systemic because the system
itself was not a monolyth. For in Europe unlike in the US there was the
old ruling class: the landlords, financial capital (mostly), the clergy,
the land-army, the court, the judiciary and the colonial armies and
there was the new ruling class: industrial capital, agro-industry, the
fleet and technical arms - such as the artillery.

 >In general - it could be said facism was mainly constructed on
segments from the old ruling classes e.g. in Germany financial capital,
part of the land-army, the judiciary (for the massive and enthusiastic
collaboration of the lawyers with the Nazi-terror is a very dark chapter
in German history which German historians still rather shun to treat)
and parts of the Junker-class but not necessarily on the industrial
bourgeoisie. For the industrial bourgeoisie deeply distrusted the more
anti-capitalist utterings of Hitler of which there was no lack and not
only to pander towards the workers. Hitler himself was of
petty-bourgeoise descent and like most German `spiesbuerger' he had a
deep dislike and distrust for 'capitalists'. And in particular for the
petty pursuit of profit against the heroic sacrifice in the army.
National-socialism had an anti-capitalist component, then, but it was
never, ever against the army the `saviour of the German nation' - Hitler
did not necessarily  have to court Krupp but he HAD to court Hindenburg
- though the army was easily bribed by 1934 by offering an astronomic
expansion of the defence-budget. Pre-1945 Germany was still a nation
belonging to an army, rather than an army belonging to a nation - as, I
believe, Voltaire said about Prussia. The system in Germany ... that was
first and foremost the army, then the bureaucracy, then the judiciary
and only THEN the bourgeoisie.

 >Thus, the industrial bourgeoisie typically supported moderate
`pro-industry' - parties and - up to the successes of 1932 - not
necessarily the NSDAP. But, actually, I would probably have to reverse
Eric's order of things. Hitler did NOT come to power through subsidies
from the German industry - the NSDAP was funded by its memberships and
by collections from the middling bourgeoisie rather than from industry -
Hitler was above all a brilliant fund-raiser. - Although some groups
(e.g. the Thysen-concern) began to give subsidies to the NSDAP after the
electoral successes of the early 30's, to hedge their bets. (Better give
some support to the NSDAP in case it comes in power and then really
begins to carry out the anti-capitalist program it has announced). And
throughout the 1930's most of German industry kept its distance from the
Nazi-regime; partly out of sheer social snobbery - because the new
Nazi-dignitaries were at best lower-middle
class if not to the industrial bourgeoisie the drag of society -.
too, because the German industry much resented the efforts of
Reichsmarshall Herman Goering to build up his own industrial empire
through the `Reichswerke Herman Goering' (which by 1939 accounted for
30% of German industrial production.) There was a fight for orders
between the old industry and the new Nazi-industry and - although all
industry profited from the expansion of the defense-budget - Herman
Goering profited most ...

The big scramble for profits only really began in World War II. German
big capital - IG-Farben (present Bayer), Porsche, Krupp, Thysen or BMW -
was by 1942 far from resenting Hitler an enthusiastic supporters of the
war and of the party. That was partly because German industry made huge
profits. Ever wondered why the German army had up to 15 different types
of tanks in production in 1943 - entailing a huge waste of resources
because the component of all these tanks were not exchangeable - so that
most Panzer-division had often half their tanks in repair-shops? That
was because each producer of cars produced its own type of tank to make
monopoly-profits on army delivery contracts. It was partly because the
Wehrmacht was systematically liquidating foreign competitors on behalf
of the German industry - one other major cause for the grotesque waste
of resources by Germany during World War II. Ever wondered why, for
example, the German occupation-forces transferred, say, Peugeot workers
to Germany to work in
BMW-plants - where they were only 60% as productive than they were in
France - instead of simply continuing to operate Peugeot factories,
which were idle or producing anti-aircraft guns for .... Brazil ? (Ditto
example for Fiat in 1944?) Well - because the German auto-lobby wanted
to liquidate its competitor.  Ditto for the steel-industry in the
Ukraine - as the Ruhr steel-industry insisted the potential Russian
competitor be liquidated, the industry of the Ukraine stood idle,
instead of it contributing to the German war-effort - thus actually
obviating the entire purpose of `Fall Barbarosa'. And it was partly
because German industrial enterprises all garnered their share in the
plunder of the occupied territories - thus, whenever the Wehrmacht
overruns a territory you see a frantic bout of bidding for shares in
confiscated factories and mines - whether that be the Norwegian
aluminum-industry or Cockeril-Sambre in Belgium; the result often being
that the whole industry was idle because the Germans couldn't agree on
who was going to take over the production.

Far from ferociously opposing Hitler's `wacko schemes' in winter 1943
the IG-Farben was engaged in a ferocious fight with ..... the SS on
whether IG-Farben was to rent or to own its new plants in the
`industrial plant' Auschwitz-Birkenau; on whether it was to hire
`laborers' on a daily basis or to permanently engage its `workers' in
Birkenau, on how much and - more importantly - to whom it was to pay
salaries - if it was necessary to pay salaries - rather not. But finally
IG-Farben did pay for the delivery of workers to the administration of
Auschwitz, which then could be `invested' by the SS in more efficient
killing ... It was also busily discussing whether it could plan its own
productions or if that was to be coordinated with the SS-owned plants in
Birkenau and so on, and so forth. At any rate the main concern of
IG-Farben was then that the profits from Birkenau were
under no circumstance to go to the SS alone  ... So much for the
supposed opposition of the German industry against Hitler - or against
undoubtedly the most `extreme' scheme in history ...

    Far from being opposed to `wacko-extreme' measures like the
Holocaust then, German industry actually enthusiastically seconded it.
First because otherwise the profits would have only gone to
SS-enterprises; secondly - ponder about that and henceforth dear WSN'ers
don't accuse me of harboring any illusions on the humanitarian
intentions of big capitalism - because the Holocaust MADE A PROFIT. For
example, unlike for war-transports, the Reichsbahn was neatly paid per
transport to transfer Jews to the gas-chambers; one cause why Eichman
c.s. insisted as many people as possible were to be pushed into single
carriage was to push the cost per transport down. Again, German banks
enthusiastically collaborated with the holocaust because they could thus
get their hands on Jewish bank-assets; much of these assets already
during World War II being transferred into Swiss bank-accounts

Was Fascism anti- or pro-systemic then? Probably neither - German big
industry joined World War II rather than plan to initiate it (for that
was a
responsibility of party and army) but it was only too willing and only
enthusiastic to join the `New Order' when it promised big profits after
1939. And for the sake of these profits it was both willing to throw
its inherited snobbery and, indeed, its human decency, inherited or not,
for by 1944 IG-Farben managers were perfectly well aware of the purpose
of Auschwitz - they were gladly shown around the death-camp if they
liked so; I could go on detailing the quarrels between several
construction-companies on the competitive bidding for the most solid and
efficient gas-chamber or the fight between several compnies on who was
to deliver the `desinfection - gas'. But I better cease writing on this
disgusting topic - profiting on genocide is really the lowest you can
stoop in human dignity. - For, as Theodor Adorno said after Auschwitz no
poem can be written anymore - and I don't want to cause that so shorty
before the happy Christmas - the last one of this century which has seen
so much human suffering and which we
perhaps should gladly say goodbye ...

Peace to all
R.J. Barendse


Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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