Gregor Strasser

Gregor Strasser

Gregor Strasser, the brother of Otto Strasser, was born at Geisenfeld on 31st May, 1892.

Strasser joined the German Army and during the First World War he advanced to the rank of lieutenant and won the Iron Cross (First and Second Classes) for bravery.

Strasser was a member of the Freikorps before joining the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). He took part in the Beer Hall Putsch and after its failure was briefly imprisoned. On his release he sold his apothecary shop and used the money to devote himself wholly to the party.

Gregor Strasser moved to North Germany where he quickly became one of the most important figures in Sturm Abteilung (SA). He developed a large following and became leader of the revolutionary wing of the NSDAP. Strasser was a committed socialist who believed in "undiluted socialist principles". Like Ernst Roehm, opposed Hitler's policy of trying to win the support of the country's major industrialists. His outspoken views caused a deep rift with Hitler and other leaders of the party.

In 1924 he joined forces with his brother, Otto Strasser, to establish the Berliner Arbeiter Zeitung, a left-wing newspaper, that advocated world revolution. It also supported Lenin and the Bolshevik government in the Soviet Union. Later that year, Strasser was elected to the Bavarian Legislature. His biographer, Louis L. Snyder, has argued: "In this capacity he proved to be an able organizer, an indefatigable if weak speaker, a shrewd politician, and a lover of action.... Using his parliamentary immunity to protect him from libel suits and holding a free railway pass, he turned his energy to seeking the highest post in the National Socialist Party. He would push Hitler aside and replace him. Strasser regarded himself as a proud intellectual who had far more to offer the party than the emotional and unstable Hitler."

In one speech Strasser argued: "The rise of National Socialism is the protest of a people against a State that denies the right to work. If the machinery for distribution in the present economic system of the world is incapable of properly distributing the productive wealth of nations, then that system is false and must be altered. The important part of the present development is the anti-capitalist sentiment that is permeating our people."

Ernst Hanfstaengel has claimed that Adolf Hitler was deeply jealous of Gregor Strasser. "He was the one potential indeed actual rival within the party. He had made the Rhineland his fief. I remember during one tour through the Ruhr towns seeing Strasser's name plastered up against the wall of every railway underpass. He was obviously quite a figure in the land. Hitler looked away."

Rudolf Olden, the author of Hitler the Pawn (1936) has pointed out: "Gregor Strasser, a chemist of Landshut in Bavaria, had borne the brunt of the agitation in North Germany.... In one year he made one hundred and eighty speeches and was for a long time better known and respected than Hitler among the volkisch groups on the further side of the Main. He had sold his pharmacy and invested his capital in politics. The first National Socialist papers that appeared in Berlin were started with his money. Strasser was a useful helper, but an awkward subordinate. He considered himself a Socialist, although his Socialism was little else than Bavarian self-assurance... At one time something that looked very much like a conflict of opposing schools of thought existed in the National Socialist Party."

On 14th February, 1926, at the NSDAP annual conference, Strasser called for the destruction of capitalism in any way possible, including cooperation with the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union. At the conference Joseph Goebbels supported Strasser but once he realised the majority supported Adolf Hitler over Strasser, he changed sides. From this point on Strasser began to call Goebbels "the scheming dwarf".

Hitler was deeply jealous of Gregor Strasser. He was the one potential indeed actual rival within the party. Hitler looked away. There was no comment about "Strasser seems to be doing well", or any approving sign.

Herman Rauschning was close to Strasser. "In Danzig and in most of Northern Germany, Gregor Strasser had always been more esteemed than Hitler himself. Hitler's nature was incomprehensible to the North German. The big, broad Strasser, on the other hand, a hearty eater and a hearty drinker too, slightly self-indulgent, practical, clear-headed, quick to act, without bombast and bathos, with a sound peasant judgment: this was a man we could all understand."

In December 1932, Paul von Hindenburg invited Kurt von Schleicher to become chancellor and invited Strasser to be his deputy. Ernst Hanfstaengel has pointed out: "His plan was to split off the Strasser wing of the Nazi Party in a final effort to find a majority with the Weimar Socialists and Centre. The idea was by no means so ill-conceived and amidst the momentary demoralization and monetary confusion in the Nazi ranks, very nearly came off." Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering challenged the move claiming it was an attempt to create a split in the NSDAP.

In order to maintain party unity Strasser resigned all party positions and found work in a large chemical firm. He told a friend: "Dr. Martin, I am a man marked by death. We shall not be able to go on seeing each other for long and in your own interests I suggest you do not come here any more. Whatever happens, mark what I say: From now on Germany is in the hands of an Austrian who is a congenital liar, a former officer who is a pervert, and a clubfoot. And I tell you the last is the worst of them all. This is Satan in human form."

In 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Industrialists such as Albert Voegler, Gustav Krupp, Alfried Krupp, Fritz Thyssen and Emile Kirdorf, who had provided the funds for the Nazi victory, were unhappy with people such as Strasser and Ernst Roehm, who argued that the real revolution had still to take place. Many people in the party also disapproved of the fact that Roehm and many other leaders of the SA were homosexuals.

On 29th June, 1934. Hitler, accompanied by the Schutzstaffel (SS), arrived at Bad Wiesse, where he personally arrested Ernst Roehm. During the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA officers were arrested on the way to the meeting. Erich Kempka, Hitler's chauffeur, witnessed what happened: "Hitler entered Roehm's bedroom alone with a whip in his hand. Behind him were two detectives with pistols at the ready. He spat out the words; Roehm, you are under arrest. Roehm's doctor comes out of a room and to our surprise he has his wife with him. I hear Lutze putting in a good word for him with Hitler. Then Hitler walks up to him, greets him, shakes hand with his wife and asks them to leave the hotel, it isn't a pleasant place for them to stay in, that day. Now the bus arrives. Quickly, the SA leaders are collected from the laundry room and walk past Roehm under police guard. Roehm looks up from his coffee sadly and waves to them in a melancholy way. At last Roehm too is led from the hotel. He walks past Hitler with his head bowed, completely apathetic."

A large number of the SA officers were shot as soon as they were captured but Adolf Hitler decided to pardon Roehm because of his past services to the movement. However, after much pressure from Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, Hitler agreed that Roehm should die. At first Hitler insisted that Roehm should be allowed to commit suicide but, when he refused, Ernst Roehm was killed by two SS men.

On 30th June 1934 Gregor Strasser was arrested by the Gestapo as part of the purge of the socialists. He was taken to Gestapo Headquarters where he was shot in the back of the head. The purge of the SA was kept secret until it was announced by Hitler on 13th July. It was during this speech that Hitler gave the purge its name: Night of the Long Knives (a phrase from a popular Nazi song). Hitler claimed that 61 had been executed while 13 had been shot resisting arrest and three had committed suicide. Others have argued that as many as 400 people were killed during the purge. In his speech Hitler explained why he had not relied on the courts to deal with the conspirators: "In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I become the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason."

The rise of National Socialism is the protest of a people against a State that denies the right to work. The important part of the present development is the anti-capitalist sentiment that is permeating our people.

Hitler was deeply jealous of Gregor Strasser. There was no comment about "Strasser seems to be doing well", or any approving sign.

November brought Reichstag elections again, but in spite of a frenzied campaign, the Nazis lost ground. Their representation was reduced to 196, and it was at this point that Schleicher became Chancellor, to exercise the power he had so long controlled from the wings. His plan was to split off the Strasser wing of the Nazi Party in a final effort to find a majority with the Weimar Socialists and Centre. The idea was by no means so ill-conceived and amidst the momentary demoralization and monetary confusion in the Nazi ranks, very nearly came off. With the failure came the final break between Hitler and Strasser, who, two years later, paid for this disloyalty with his head.

Gregor Strasser, a chemist of Landshut in Bavaria, had borne the brunt of the agitation in North Germany. Even during Hitler's detention in the fortress he had made contacts in the North. An untiring worker, he made ample use of the free railway pass which he enjoyed as a member of the Reichstag, and travelled from place to place, appealing and collecting. The first National Socialist papers that appeared in Berlin were started with his money.
Strasser was a useful helper, but an awkward subordinate. He considered himself a Socialist, although his Socialism was little else than Bavarian self-assurance and middle-class aversion to the "big noises." At one time something that looked very much like a conflict of opposing schools of thought existed in the National Socialist Party...

Strasser had discovered and brought out Dr. Goebbels, an unsuccessful writer. It was as Strasser's Socialist confederate that he first approached Hitler, and, immediately understanding on which side the balance of power was tipped, he went with colours flying over to the stronger battalions. Against his glowing ambitions, he had to set the obstacles nature had placed in his way. A dwarf, with a club foot and the dark, wrinkled face of a seven-months child-what had he to look for in circles where blond Nordic heroes were worshipped and idolised? The head of the Party publishing house, Amann, called him " the Mephisto of the Party, branded by God with a cloven foot." But the little man was clever, adaptable and tough, and so he succeeded in making his way.

It is possible that he really admires Hitler as his ideal, for he shares his most prominent quality: the instinct for power. However, it was certainly not admiration but downright policy that made him write to Hitler: "Before the Court in Munich, you grew in our minds to the stature of a leader. The words you spoke there were the greatest uttered in Germany since Bismarck... It is the catechism of a new political faith, in the desperation of a crumbling, God-bereft world... Like every great leader, you grew with your task; you grew great as your task grew greater, until you became a miracle."

Hitler was far too receptive to flattery not to recognise the talents of the young doctor. He made Goebbels his district leader in Berlin. He deprived Strasser of the province he himself had founded, appointed him "Director of Organisation for the Reich" and kept him under his eye. Rohm's affectionate friendship for Hitler survived the meanest treatment unscathed; Gregor Strasser likewise, in spite of all their differences, remained firm in his personal devotion to the Leader.

At the Party Congress which followed the alliance with Hugenberg, Strasser made himself the mouthpiece of the critics. Hugenberg's hopes of the alliance were his fears: the National Socialists would now no longer be able to fight against the "respectable" elements in the German Nationalist reaction; they would be overwhelmed by the others' superior financial strength; they would now be nothing but an appendage of the stronger party. He under-estimated Hitler. A man who, like an hysterical child, is only really alive when he is in the centre of the picture, does not easily become an "appendage." He did not understand Hitler either. He took the support of the masses for an end in itself. But Hitler thought of it only as the dowry he would contribute to the match he had at last arranged.

Dr. This is Satan in human form.

Adolf Hitler's Early Life (Answer Commentary)

The Hitler Youth (Answer Commentary)

German League of Girls (Answer Commentary)

The Political Development of Sophie Scholl (Answer Commentary)

The White Rose Anti-Nazi Group (Answer Commentary)

Kristallnacht (Answer Commentary)

Heinrich Himmler and the SS (Answer Commentary)

Trade Unions in Nazi Germany (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler v John Heartfield (Answer Commentary)

Hitler's Volkswagen (The People's Car) (Answer Commentary)

Women in Nazi Germany (Answer Commentary)

The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (Answer Commentary)

The Last Days of Adolf Hitler (Answer Commentary)


Gregor Strasser

Gregor Strasser was an early leader of the German National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP) or Nazi Party. Strasser was eventually murdered on Party Leader Adolf Hitler's orders, as part of Hitler's consolidation of power.

Born to a Catholic family in Geisenfeld, (Upper Bavaria), he was educated and employed as a pharmacist. When World War I broke out, he served his country as a First Lieutenant and won the Iron Cross for bravery, as did many who would after the war become members of the Nazi party.

Strasser was a member of the Freikorps, until he joined the NSDAP and became a leading member of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) (Stormtroopers). He took part in the Beer Hall Putsch of November 8 and 9, 1923, and was imprisoned. In May 1924, after one and one half years, he was released due to having been elected to the Reichstag. During Adolf Hitler's imprisonment, he briefly led the party. Strasser is considered among the discoverers and promoters of Heinrich Himmler.

In 1925, he was appointed the party leader in northern Germany where he created the Stormtroopers or SA. Together with his brother Otto Strasser he took control of the National Socialist Arbeiter Zeitung, of which Hitler was later known to have disapproved. Many contemporary German sources see Otto and Gregor Strasser as having been advocates of social democracy, and opponents of Nationalism within the party.

Strasser was a committed socialist and social radical as was Ernst Röhm. Strasser saw a need to redistribute wealth in Germany and like Röhm, opposed Hitler's policy of catering to the country's major industrialists such as Emil Kirdorf, although it should be noted that he received no small amount of personal financial assistance from industrial "contacts" and various "gentleman clubs." His outspoken views led Kirdorf and others to reject the party for a time, causing a deep rift with Hitler and other leaders of the party.

In 1932, he was placed in charge of party organization. In December 1932, Paul von Hindenburg invited Kurt von Schleicher to become chancellor and invited Strasser to be his deputy. Schleicher hoped that in bringing Strasser in he might pull with him the entire left wing of the NSDAP. Hitler and Hermann Göring challenged the move claiming it was an attempt to create a split in the NSDAP. A meeting of high-ranking Nazi officials was held at which all present repudiated Strasser and declared themselves "ready to continue the fight at the sides of Hitler." To maintain party unity, Strasser resigned all party positions and found work in a large chemical firm.

On June 30 1934, the date known as "The Night of the Long Knives," Strasser was attacked in his home while having lunch by Nazi Party elements loyal to Hitler, and was taken to prison, where he was later shot.

Sources: What-Means.Com. This article is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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Gregor Strasser (The Tsar's New Clothes)

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Gregor Strasser (31 May 1892 - 30 April 1945) is a German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP). Serving in the German military during World War I, Strasser joined the Nazi Party in 1920 and quickly became an influential figure within the party. In 1923, he participated in an abortive attempt to overthrow the German government as known as the Beer Hall Putsch. He was being imprisoned for a few months after the putsch but was released early due to political reasons. Strasser re-joined the NSDAP in 1925 and once again established himself a powerful and dominant position. He became the Nazi Party's de facto leader in 1928 and was appointed German Chancellor under Paul von Hindenburg in 1930. After Hindenburg's death in 1933, Strasser proclaimed himself as the Volksführer of Germany, establishing a totalitarian dictatorship. During his regime, he initiated World War II by invading Poland in 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.


WI: Strasserist Germany?

If you would pay some time to history you would know that the Strasser brother BROKE with each other in 1931. . to the deepes, as Otto - the 'Nationasl-Bolschewist' if you wanna call it, the real 'Beef Steak Nazi - had frauded on his brother Gregort, who virually controlled the party - aside Hitler he 'admired' - until he quit in december 1932.

Get you homework ready by yourself before asking uneducated questions.

CalBear

If you would pay some time to history you would know that the Strasser brother BROKE with each other in 1931. . to the deepes, as Otto - the 'Nationasl-Bolschewist' if you wanna call it, the real 'Beef Steak Nazi - had frauded on his brother Gregort, who virually controlled the party - aside Hitler he 'admired' - until he quit in december 1932.

Get you homework ready by yourself before asking uneducated questions.

Zach Rowe

David T

Strasser (unless otherwise indicated I mean Gregor here) may have considered himself anti-capitalist (though some capitalists actually preferred him to Hitler because of his greater willingness to have NSDAP participation in a genuine coalition, as opposed to Hitler's "all or nothing" attitude) but it is a serious error IMO to regard him as pro-Soviet. He emphasized that for "we National Socialists . the struggle against Marxism in its every form is a sacred task" and that there had to be no suspicion that "we sympathise with the Marxist Soviet Republic and its Jewish leadership." https://books.google.com/books?id=8Y-QBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA42 He did for a while think that despite their ideological differences Germany and Soviet Russia had some common interests as oppressed nations, but by 1926 he dropped this and accepted Hitler's idea of an alliance with Britain and Italy.

Strasser's idea of "socialism" was in any event vague, and consisted of little more than a hatred of the "materialism" which he thought capitalism and Marxism had in common, and of a nostalgia for medieval corporative crafts and guilds. "What distinguishes us from. . . Jewish-led Marxism is not only a fervent national outlook, but something deeper: the rejection of the materialistic world view. . We hate from the bottom of our souls the levelling, comprehensively idiotic Marxist ideology! Socialism does not mean the domination of the masses, the levelling of achievement and reward, but rather socialism is the deeply feit Prussian German idea of 'service to all'." https://books.google.com/books?id=8Y-QBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA43 Insofar as he had any positive economic program, it was mostly derived from his brother Otto, and consisted of trying to achieve autarky through higher tariffs, etc.

Anyway, I think it unlikely that Strasser would ever come to power. The most he could do would be to split the NSDAP--but at a crucial moment he resigned his party offices.


Biography

Gregor Strasser was born on 31 May 1892 in Geisenfeld, Upper Bavaria, German Empire, the brother of Otto Strasser. He served in World War I and served with Franz Ritter von Epp's Freikorps in suppressing communism in Bavaria Heinrich Himmler served as his adjutant. Strasser was ready to partake in the Kapp Putsch against the Weimar Republic in 1920, but his brother Otto Strasser helped to fight against the far-right putsch the Strasser brothers and their Freikorps later joined the Nazi Party. He was recognized as the Sturmabteilung (SA) commander in Lower Bavaria and took part in the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in 1925, he became Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria and served as the propaganda chief of the Nazi Party from June 1926 to April 1930. Eventually, Hitler supplanted Strasser and replaced him with Joseph Goebbels due to the Strasser brothers' support of anti-capitalism, as Hitler had moved beyond that belief. The left wing of the Nazi Party gathered around the idea of "Strasserism", and Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher wanted to offer Strasser the office of Vice-Chancellor to gain the loyalty of the leftist Nazis for his national conservative side of politics. Hitler forced him to refuse the offer, and Strasser was further angered when Hitler decided to turn down the offer of the post of Vice-Chancellor, as he was angry at his holding out for the title. In the 1934 Night of the Long Knives, Strasser was arrested and shot once in the arter while in prison, and Reinhard Heydrich had his SS forces leave him to bleed out.


Otto Strasser

Otto Strasser, the younger brother of Gregor, was a leading figure in the early days of the Nazi Party. Otto Strasser sided with his brother when it appeared that the Nazi Party might split into two different ideological groups in the immediate aftermath of Adolf Hitler’s imprisonment.

Otto Strasser was born in Windsheim on September 10 th 1897.

He sided first with the Social Democrats but joined the Nazi Party in 1925. He joined the party when it was in a state of flux. Technically the party had been disbanded after the failed Beer Hall Putsch but the ban was barely enforced. However, the real problem faced by the party was that Hitler was serving 5 years in prison – though he only served nine months. While he was away, a dispute arose in the party between two men – Gregor Strasser and Gottfried Feder. Gregor wanted the party to embrace urbanisation and true socialism while Feder wanted the party to remain true to rural Germany and the belief that all true Germans ‘came from the soil’. It was the view put forward by Hitler. However, the party was leaderless while Hitler was in prison.

Feder and Gregor Strasser co-ran the party but the partnership was doomed. However, Strasser made a name for himself within the party because it soon became obvious that he was a very skilful organiser and had natural leadership skills. Not unnaturally, Otto supported his brother. Otto strongly believed that the Nazi Party should be true to the ‘socialist’ and ‘workers’ words that were in the official name of the party. Otto wanted the Nazi Party to adopt classic socialist principles such as the state ownership of land and industry. He publicly stated his strong support for trade unions right to strike and he expressed sympathy for the way of life in the USSR.

This was completely against what Hitler wanted. Once he was released from prison, Hitler had to reassert his authority over the party. Matters came to a head at the 1926 Bamberg party conference. Here the clash between Hitler and Gregor Strasser was resolved in Hitler’s favour. It soon became clear that far more Nazis at the conference supported Hitler as opposed to Gregor Strasser. Though he initially supported the stand of Gregor, the future Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels crossed over to support Hitler. He realised that Hitler had far more support within the party than Gregor Strasser.

Otto’s association with Gregor did not bode well for his future within the party. Hitler called him a “parlour Bolshevik” and labelled anyone who followed the Strasser’s as “doctrinaire fools”. Hitler claimed that Otto was the victim of “democracy and liberalism”.

On May 21 st 1930 Hitler demanded a showdown with the two brothers. As party members they had continued to support the whole idea of socialism including nationalisation and the right of workers to strike. At the same time Hitler was courting wealthy industrialists and landowners. The last thing he needed was two well-known Nazis promoting ideas that were the opposite to those held by these industrialists. He ordered that both Otto and Gregor should submit totally to party discipline. Otto refused to do so and Hitler ordered Goebbels to expel him from the party.

As a result of this expulsion in 1930, Otto, along with former senior SA man Walther Stennes, formed a new political party – the Union of Revolutionary National Socialists, which became known as the Black Front. At this moment in time Otto was relatively safe as Hitler was not chancellor. Otto called Hitler “the betrayer of the revolution” but the Black Front never won mass support and was never a threat to Hitler. However, the Nazi Party had a deserved reputation for violence and Otto and his small band of followers made their headquarters in Prague where the former Nazi Party émigrés believed they were safe.

As the power of the Nazi Party increased in the early 1930’s so did its use of violence. Otto Strasser began to fear for his own life. His brother had withdrawn from politics and started to work for a chemicals company. Even in Prague Otto did not feel safe and he decided to leave Czechoslovakia for his own safety. He moved to Canada. Gregor Strasser was murdered during the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ – it was said that Hitler never forgot what Gregor had done nor forgiven him. It is probable that Otto would have suffered the same fate if he had remained in Nazi Germany.

Otto Strasser returned to West Germany in 1955 after being granted his German citizenship once again. He tried to get involved in politics once again but with little success.


What if Hitler was replaced by Gregor Strasser?

The Nazi become more left wing. Strasser was more of a fundamental socialist than Hitler ever was so the party will continue to stress worker rights and wealth distribution as they did in the early days. While I expect you see less cozy relations with the industrialists that they had under Hitler, considering Strasser's backroom relationships and arrangements various industry interests I think you still see the party eventually make an understanding with them if they gain power. While more definitely a Socialist, he was still a Nationalist and Antisemitic so if the Nazi's still gain power you can expect at least some of the same oppression against the Jews in Germany in the 1930s to still happen.

With Him in power you probably see Ernst Rohm continue to take a central role in leading the SA which acted as the Nazi's militant arm until superseded by the SS. Rohm was thug but one who, like Strasser, was an excellent organizer. The SA he lead in our history had half a million people so wasn't a minor group by any means. So with both of them remaining active in the party the Nazi's probably have an even greater chance of gaining control of the government through a much more effect party machine. Rohm, however, disliked the German military General Staff, most of them being of Prussian nobility background. You would likely see a purge of them at some point which would result in the loss of many, if not most of the best minds in the German High command. This will result, in the long run, in a less effective military than historically. Furthermore, Rohm had the idea that he could, in effect, replace the current military with his own SA people (keep in mind the Waffen-SS never replaced the Wehrmacht but worked alongside and usually under its command as a supplemental force so this is a big difference here).

Along with Rohm, Goebbels will still be a player as he at first supported Strasser before switching his allegiance to Hitler. Basically you can expected the Nazi propaganda machine to be as generally effective as it was under Hitler's reign.

Its still possible to see Himmler around but with Strasser in control, as he, too, supported him for while. But with Strasser sharing much the same ideals as Rohm, he's going to remain a more minor player since the Rohm-Himmler rivalry doesn't play out in his favor like it did with the Night of the Long Knives in our history.

In summery, Germany is still going to anti-Semitic and nationalist under Strasser. Its military effectiveness won't be as great due to purges of the military's best minds under Rohm. However its still likely to pursue a program of some rearmament due to Rohm's own desire to see Germany once again have a strong army. I don't know if Strasser would be as aggressive in annexations as Hitler so you have less of a chance of a world war erupting, I think. However, the tensions with the Soviet Union are going to remain, especially with Stalin still in charge and their own aggressive militancy. Considering the KPD (German Communist Party) didn't even care for the SPD (the German Socialist Party) and considered that party insufficiently dedicated to The Cause, the Communist-Nazi antagonism will also likely continue.


Gregor Strasser

German nationalsocialist politician. Strasser was the leader of the "Völkischer Wehrverband" which later joined forces with the Nazi Party.

After the failed Beerhall putsch he became the leader of the Deutsch Völkische Freiheitspartei, which was an subsituted of the banned NSDAP. Late he became a districtleader of the NSDAP again.

Strasser was considered to be of the leftwing of nationalsocialism and was murdered during the night of the long knives.&hellipmore

[close] German nationalsocialist politician. Strasser was the leader of the "Völkischer Wehrverband" which later joined forces with the Nazi Party.

After the failed Beerhall putsch he became the leader of the Deutsch Völkische Freiheitspartei, which was an subsituted of the banned NSDAP. Late he became a districtleader of the NSDAP again.

Strasser was considered to be of the leftwing of nationalsocialism and was murdered during the night of the long knives.


Nazis: Still Socialists

T his feels like old times. Across the pond at the Telegraph, Tim Stanley and Daniel Hannan are having a friendly disagreement on the question of whether the Nazis were in fact socialists. I don’t usually wade into these arguments anymore, but I’ve been writing a lot on related themes over the last few weeks and I couldn’t resist.

Not surprisingly, I come down on Hannan’s side. I could write a whole book about why I agree with Dan, except I already did. So I’ll be more succinct.

Fair warning, though, I wrote this on a plane trip back from Colorado and it’s way too long. So if you’re not interested in this stuff, you might as well wander down the boardwalk and check out some of the other stalls now.

Stanley makes some fine points here and there, but I don’t think they add up to anything like corroboration of his thesis. The chief problem with his argument is that he’s taking doctrinaire or otherwise convenient definitions of socialism and applying them selectively to Nazism.

Stanley’s chief tactic is to simply say Nazis shouldn’t be believed when they called themselves socialists. It was all marketing and spin, even putting the word in their name. Socialism was popular, so they called themselves socialists. End of story.

So when Nazi ideologist Gregor Strasser proclaimed:

We are socialists. We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today’s capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging the worth of human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever happens!

. . . he was just saying that because, in Stanley’s mind, socialism was “fashionable.”

Obviously there’s some truth to that. Socialism was popular. So was nationalism. That’s why nationalists embraced socialism and why socialists quickly embraced nationalism. It wasn’t a big leap for either because they’re basically the same thing! In purely economic terms, nationalization and socialization are nothing more than synonyms (socialized medicine = nationalized health care).

Nazis Hated Bolsheviks, Who Knew?

That Hitler wasn’t a socialist became apparent within weeks of becoming Chancellor of Germany when he started arresting socialists and communists. He did this, claim some, because they were competing brands of socialism. But that doesn’t explain why Hitler defined his politics so absolutely as a war on Bolshevism — a pledge that won him the support of the middle-classes, industrialists and many foreign conservatives.

There’s a stolen base here. Sure, Hitler’s effort to destroy competing socialists and Communists “doesn’t explain” all those other things. But it doesn’t have to. Nor does Stalin’s wholesale slaughter (or Lenin’s retail slaughter) of competing Communists and socialists explain the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact or the infield-fly rule. Other considerations — economic, cultural, diplomatic — come into play. But when people say Hitler can’t be a socialist because he crushed independent labor unions and killed socialists, they need to explain why Stalin gets to be a socialist even though he did likewise.

The fact that many “foreign conservatives” supported Hitler’s hostility to Bolsheviks is a bit of a red herring. Many conservatives today support the military in Egypt as a bulwark against the Muslim Brotherhood. That tells you next to nothing about the content of the junta’s domestic policies. But, it’s worth noting that some foreign Communists and liberals, such as W.E.B. Du Bois, actually supported Hitler’s domestic economic policies (though not the anti-Semitism) in the mid-1930s.

For what it’s worth, the reason that Hitler declared war on Bolsheviks is a rich topic. The short answer is that he was a socialist but he was also a nationalist (hence national-socialism). And the nationalist part considered Bolshevism an existential threat — which it was!

Dan asserts that Hitler was a socialist with reservations, that:

Marx’s error, Hitler believed, had been to foster class war instead of national unity – to set workers against industrialists instead of conscripting both groups into a corporatist order.

Yet, by this very definition, Hitler wasn’t a socialist. Marxism is defined by class war, and socialism is accomplished with the total victory of the Proletariat over the ruling classes.

Ah. So deviating from the definition of Marxism disqualifies one from being a socialist? Preferring national unity to international class solidarity will get your socialist membership card revoked? If that’s true, no one is a socialist in the real world. Stanley’s standard, if uniformly applied, would expel from the ranks of socialists: Stalin, Mao, Lenin, Castro, Chavez, Maduro, Ortega, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung (and progeny), Norman Thomas and all of the American Socialist Party, the Fabians of England, virtually every social-democratic or avowedly socialist party in the West now or recently. If none of them are socialists, then why ever again talk about socialism?

Simply put, no one talks about uniting the workers of the world anymore. Every socialist movement or party that comes to power promises national unity, not international solidarity. Sure, rhetorically a handful of tin pots may talk about their brothers across some border, but that’s a foreign-policy thing. Domestically, economically, culturally, it’s all about nationalism, not internationalism. In other words, nowhere in the world does being a nationalist preclude a person or movement from being a socialist. Rather, it’s a requirement.

As for splitting with Marx, they all did it and continue to do it. Some admitted it, some simply stumbled on Marx’s shortcomings without saying so and just tangoed-on, adding hyphens and modifiers: Marxism-Leninism, Marxism-Stalininism , Marx-Lenin-Stalin-Maoism, socialism with “Chinese characteristics,” etc. It was like totalitarians from across the globe kept forming booming law firms and adding names to the shingle. Finding Marx in error in one way or another isn’t a disqualifier for being a socialist it is once again a requirement for being one (outside the classroom, at least).

Stanley at times seems to hold up Marx as the only acceptable standard for socialism. It isn’t and never was. I would argue as a matter of sociology and philosophy, socialism traces back to caveman days. But simply as a matter of accepted intellectual history it long predates Marx. Babeuf’s “Conspiracy of the Equals,” for instance, was hatched long before Marx was even born.

Hitler the Non-Egalitarian

Then Stanley goes on to insist Nazism wasn’t socialist because it was anti-Semitic and racist. He writes, “Hitler’s goals were, in fact, totally antithetical to the egalitarianism of socialism.”

This is some weak sauce. Yes, Nazism was the worst of the worst when it came to organized bigotry and prejudice. But Stanley misses that the basic idea of Nazism was egalitarianism — egalitarianism for Aryans. Nazi rhetoric was incredibly populist. Workers were exalted over everyone. Economic policies were populist too — remember the peoples’ car (a.k.a. Volkswagen)? But it was all aimed at “good Germans.” This differed from Stalinism’s rhetoric to be sure, but it’s not all that dissimilar from various forms of African or pan-Arab socialism.

And again, why is only Nazism disqualified from the “honor” of belonging in the socialist club because of its bigotry? Why is it alone held up to the theoretical ideals of socialism, rather than compared to other socialist systems? (And, it’s worth noting, even in theory, socialism fails Stanley’s test. One need only read what Marx had to say about “the Jewish question” or blacks to recognize that.)

Stalin was hardly a racial egalitarian (or any other kind of egalitarian). Before he died, Stalin was planning a major new assault on the Jews to improve on the impressive work he’d already done. And he had no problem treating non-Russian Soviet populations as expendable playthings and puzzle pieces. Even later regimes had preferential policies for ethnic Russians. But, hey, is North Korea not socialist because its ideology is racist?

It’s somewhat amusing that Stanley invokes George Bernard Shaw as an authority on the inauthenticity of Hitler’s socialism. This is the same George Bernard Shaw who said “the only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialization of the selective breeding of Man.” Shaw wanted a “human stud farm” in order to “eliminate the yahoo whose vote will wreck the commonwealth.” Do such non-egalitarian comments mean that Shaw wasn’t a socialist either?

Stanley is certainly right that German National Socialist economics differed from Russian Bolshevik economics. So what? The question was never, “Were Nazis Bolsheviks?” Nor was it “Were Nazis Marxists?” The question was “Were Nazis socialists?” Demonstrating that the answer is no to the first two doesn’t mean the answer to the third question is a no, too.

I actually agree with Stanley that corporatism is the better term for Nazi economics. Here’s the problem: that’s also true of most socialist systems.

Yet in these historical debates, the term is only dusted off for Nazis and Italian fascists. “Oh, the Nazis weren’t socialists, they were ‘corporatists’” is a fine argument to make, if you’re willing to acknowledge that corporatism is actually a more accurate word for the socialisms of Sweden, France, South America, etc. In other words, the “they were corporatists!” line is usually an attempt to absolve socialism of any association with Nazism and fascism rather than an attempt to get the terms right.

I’ve come to believe that corporatism (which does not mean “rule by corporations”) is the natural resting state of pretty much every political order. Politicians naturally want to lock-in and co-opt existing “stakeholders” at the expense of innovation . They love talking about “getting everybody at the table,” which really means getting the existing insiders to create rules that help themselves.


Gregor Strasser

Post by Michal78 » 29 May 2007, 20:03

Here are next 2 photos from Hoffmann collection of gauleiter Gregor Strasser from 1925
(source is Historisches Lexikon Bayerns)

Did he ever wore the uniform of gauleiter? Does exist his photo in this uniform?

Post by Mark Costa » 30 May 2007, 01:07

Gregor Strasser never wore gauleiter uniform per see. He did wear a combination SA brown shirt at one time that also had an armband with two stripes indicating a regional leader but these definitions were vague and several other individuals also wore this type of insignia that did not hold a "gauleiter" title. Therefore one can not say he really wore a gauleiter uniform. The later gauleiter uniforms that used collar insignia etc. did not come into being until 1933 at which time Gregor was already out of the party and heading down the road to a firing squad.


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