Have you been able to notice a recurring pattern or two within our discussions of the various ARPLAN Posts on Pan-Germanic Socialism (PGS) lately? I have been thinking as of this year about why information on the pre-Hitlerist origins of PGS continues to be obscure and poorly understood. The information covered across multiple ARPLAN Posts provided glimpses into another aspect of PGS which most people are still unaware of. The past two years alone has revealed so much about PGS, why it is distinguishable from Hitlerism, and the real historical meaning behind the term “National Socialism.” And through my own efforts, I am now in the position of crafting a working theory on this recurring pattern which I will discussing here in relation to the latest Post.
As we had concluded in an earlier Post, PGS originated as a trade union movement affiliated with the German-speaking branch of Social-Democracy in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The term “National Socialism” stemmed from this version of Social-Democracy consisting of various Social-Democratic parties that represented the political-economic interests of various ethnic groups. In essence, PGS was considered as one among various “National Socialisms,” the presences and significances of other “National Socialisms” eclipsed by the more well-known German version. Other ARPLAN Posts on PGS have alluded to an emerging rift on defining the essence of what the ideology is supposed to be. Much like Social-Democracy in Tsarist Russia prior to the Soviet Union, either PGS was going to remain as a Social-Democratic current or it was going to develop a non-Marxist interpretation of Socialism incorporating Pan-Germanism and the Völkisch movement.
Meanwhile, the Social-Democracy of the German-speaking world, of which Pan-Germanic Socialism was considered a part of in its early years around the turn of 20th century, had arrived at a metaphorical crossroads. After 1918, it was presented with the choice of proceeding down one of several developmental paths. Our research has found up to seven different choices confronting the German-speaking world during the Weimar period, each one representing a political form which the Reich could have adopted from 1933 onwards. Those options were:
- Preserve the Liberal Capitalist regime and enforce the Versailles Treaty.
- Restore the monarchy by reinstalling the Kaiser and House of Hohenzollern.
- Side with the Social-Democrats and ameliorate the worst excesses of Neoliberalism.
- Modify the Corporatist tendencies of Tripartism in Social-Democracy to develop Fascism.
- Assert a Marxist-Leninist route like the Soviet Union and become a Communist nation.
- Implement any one of the different interpretations of Pan-Germanic Socialism.
- Forge National Bolshevism through some synthesis of the previous two options.
I am confident that those were all of the major choices that the German-speaking world could have taken, Bogumil. While there may have been other choices, they were probably too small or too insignificant to be worthy of mention here. We know for a fact that the Liberal Capitalist regime and the Versailles Treaty were both held in contempt. Neither the Liberal Capitalists nor the Social-Democrats wanted a restoration of the Kaiser’s reign. The SPD had failed to resolve the crisis of the Great Depression and Fascist Corporatism was more popular in the Austrian half of the German-speaking world than in the Prussian half. In the months of 1932 and 1933, only the last three options seemed to be the most viable choices from the perspective of most Germans at the time. And even then, the likelihood of the KPD and NSDAP working together in some coalition government, which would have been the most realistic outcome for any possible realization of “The National Bolshevik Manifesto,” was becoming increasingly unlikely.
This leaves Pan-Germanic Socialism as the last remaining and actual historical option, both of which are elucidated in the latest ARPLAN Post. Regardless of who Dr. Bubenhöfer was, it is clear from his writing that he adheres to the second option, as evidenced by his connections to the DNVP and correspondences with von Papen. He reflects a segment of the Völkisch movement that still had Capitalistic tendencies. His letter’s brief mention of Werner von Blomberg, who wanted the SA to be absorbed into the Reichswehr, is significant because it ties in with his description of the power struggle inside of the NSDAP in the “Political Memorandum.”
The “Political Memorandum” spent much of its length describing the NSDAP as comprised of various different factions competing against the predominant Hitlerist faction. While Dr. Bubenhöfer does not specifically mention what these factions are or who might be affiliated, we can draw inferences based on earlier ARPLAN Posts discussing Pan-Germanic Socialism’s relationship with the NSDAP.
- The Hitlerist Faction and the SS (became more influential after the Night of the Long Knives).
- The Strasserist Faction and the SA (later purged in the Night of the Long Knives).
- A Faction that predated the Hitlerists and Strasserists and promoted a Socialist Council State.
- A Faction which, while also promoting a Socialist Council State, actually preferred the implementation of Soviet-style Marxist-Leninism than Pan-Germanic Socialism.
- A Faction that emulated Italian Fascism and supported a German Fascist Corporative State.
- A Faction which adhered to the Anti-Modernist tendencies of the Völkisch movement.
- Various technocratic, business, and other special interests within the Party.
- Certain elements in the Prussian military aristocracy.
- Certain German Conservatives ranging from the DNVP to the sympathizers in the Conservative Revolution.
There might be other factions which we are still unaware of and have yet to uncover. But Dr. Bubenhöfer centered much of his discussion about the NSDAP on the power struggle between the Hitlerist and Strasserist factions, the latter of which wanted a “Second National Socialist Revolution” that entailed, among other priorities, the replacement of the Reichswehr by the SA. One could cite this episode as the precursor to the much later power struggle between the Wehrmacht and the SS in 1938, seeing how von Blomberg would later be implicated at the center of preserving the “Prussian military aristocracy.” I do think that Dr. Bubenhöfer, in his letter and Political Memorandum, is offering insight into why these power struggles were occurring in the manner that they did. The notion that the Führerprinzip is being justified to avoid a “Zahlenwahnsinn” (‘Madness of Numbers’) should be seen as a sign that the NSDAP was not as unified or as organized as one might assume from the outset.
Given all these other different factions and the possible disputes and disagreements which were probably occurring behind the scenes, I cannot help but fathom the idea of another power struggle emerging once the Party begins distancing itself from Hitlerism. Even the mere act of reforming any aspect of its dogmas and doctrines is going to be difficult because the Führerprinzip is what kept the Party maintaining some semblance of coherent organization. I mean, the NSDAP in this analysis alone is starting to have all the makings of a “party with a big tent platform,” its foundations anything but solid and could collapse through any erratic, reckless decision-making.
This is going to be the first in a series of additional comments because the latest ARPLAN Post feels like a culmination of everything we currently know about PGS.