Seventy years after the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, a number of important historical details about the conflict have been forgotten by the US public. These facts may be unknown or ignored by the people of the United States, but much of the world hasn’t forgotten them, and they have relevance in relation to current events.
1. Hitler was a right-winger
Endless books and articles, such as “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg, have attempted to paint Adolph Hitler as some kind of leftist. These texts often play up the fact that the Nazi Party’s official name contained the word “Socialist, ” or that Hitler’s speeches sometimes talked of “revolution.”
Regardless of what Glenn Beck and much of the US media would prefer to be the case, Adolph Hitler considered himself to be a right-winger. In his speeches and writings, he frequently referred to his Nazi organization as the “Party of the Right.”
When establishing the Nazi Party in the early 1920s, Hitler made abundantly clear that he was on the right wing of the political spectrum, saying: “There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction — to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power — that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago. Here, too, there can be no compromise — there are only two possibilities: either victory of the Aryan, or annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew. “
The Nazi program, despite having some populist economic policies, sought to reinforce tradition, morality, religion, and nationalism. The Nazis had absolute contempt for the “left, ” which they associated with internationalism, Marxism, class conflict, and “racial impurity.”
This unfortunate detail does not fit in the with the neoconservative logic of “All bad people are on the left, Hitler was bad, so he must have been a leftist.” The ignorance of Hitler’s actual political views has led to many embarrassing incidents. In 1970, Ohio governor James Rhodes called anti-war protesters at Kent University “Brownshirts” before he sent in the National Guard, who killed four of them. During the direct aftermath of Barack Obama’s election, many right-wing activists hyped up by Glenn Beck’s televised sermons accused Obama of simultaneously being a Muslim, a communist and a Nazi.
2. The Soviet Union did more than any other country to defeat Hitler
This fact cannot be denied, but it is often unacknowledged. Even before the Second World War began, the Communist International in Moscow was directing and facilitating anti-fascist resistance from within the borders of Germany and Italy. The Soviet Union sent aid to the people of Spain to defend their republic against the Nazi-aligned Falangists. Communists around the world formed International Brigades to fight in Spain. The Soviet Union lost 27 million of its citizens in the battle against Hitler.
During the late 1930s, many came to consider the word “anti-fascist” to be a synonym for “communist.” The alliance between Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and imperial Japan, commonly called the “Axis Powers” in US historical discourse, was officially called the “Anti-Communist Pact.”