You made an important discovery regarding how the trade union movement reacted to the rise of the Hitlerists from 1933 onwards. As I had suspected as far back as “National Socialists against Capitalism,” I became convinced that the Hitlerist position on economic matters also included incorporating aspects of the Führerprinzip into the national economy. Enterprises that are more cognizant of the Führerprinzip tend to be more successful than those which do not. We can reapply that same conclusion to the broader trade union movement outside of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (the DAF was already part of the NSDAP). Labor unions which strove to uphold the Führerprinzip are less likely to be shut down by the Hitlerists, whereas those which refused had their members imprisoned and their assets integrated into the Deutsche Arbeitsfront.
Granted, I do not have any empirical data on hand, but I am certain that the economic history of the German Reich under the Hitlerists would provide us with a number of valid clues. This ARPLAN post in particular mentioned IG Farben, which was one of the high-profile cases where the Hitlerists successfully applied the Führerprinzip to its everyday business practices. It has also validated my suspicions that the same methodology went on to be reapplied to the trade union movement. In that case, the usage of Führerprinzip becomes questionable when it came to labor unions which were not initially aligned with the NSDAP or its DAF. How could they have trusted the labor unions from the pre-1945 SPD, which had previously been supportive of the Liberal Capitalist Weimar Republic? Did men like Franz Joseph Furtwängler make the flawed assumption that the NSDAP was going to trust people like them, despite sharing similar viewpoints on non-economic matters? Based on the actions of the Hitlerists, I am inclined to believe that they were not quite ready to trust the rest of the trade union movement.
There were two other peculiar statements which caught my attention.
First, the SPD faction that Furtwängler was associated with, despite its sympathies to Pan-Germanic Socialism and even if they were integrated into the DAF, would have represented a conflict of interest in Pan-Germanic Socialism’s stances on economic policy. You mentioned that this particular SPD faction wanted a “Corporatist economy,” where the trade union movement would act as a state-sanctioned or quasi-state entity. What is not certain about that SPD faction was whether its interpretation of Corporatism was the Social Corporatism of Tripartism (which is pro-Parliamentary) or the Fascist Corporatism of Mussolini’s Italy (which is anti-Parliamentary). Given the fact that people like Furtwängler later went on to reestablish themselves in West Germany after 1945, I am willing to argue that the faction leaned in favor of Tripartism, which partly explained why the Hitlerists opposed them. But whichever the case might have been, the point I am trying to make is that because the NSDAP was split between State Socialist and State Corporatist tendencies, the SPD faction felt out of place in spite of its Pan-Germanist outlook. Think of this as being no different than the idea of the NSDAP viewing people from the DNVP as being out of place because of pro-Capitalist leanings.
And second, I did not view Furtwängler’s passing remark about a “few outsiders who chose to look more deeply into the Islamic power of the Hitler movement” to be a reference to Pan-Germanic Socialist opposition to Interest. Furtwängler was not exactly referring to Islam within the broader context of that statement. In actuality, he was describing how the Weimar Republic represented a degeneration of the old Parliamentary Democratic system that forced Chancellor Bismarck into making numerous compromises between Social-Democracy (SPD), Political Catholicism (Zentrum), and “Commercial Liberalism” (which were the various parties throughout the German-speaking world that supported aspects of Liberal Capitalism). What held all of these forces back, aside from Bismarck himself, was the House of Hohenzollern and the Prussian military aristocracy. Rudolf Jung in “Der nationale Sozialismus” alluded to this issue in ‘The Concept of Freedom and Defensive Readiness’ Chapter. In essence, none of the parliamentary parties were able to enact their own agendas without adherence to the Kaiser, which led to the overemphasis on centralization and formality that later became impractical by World War I. With the House of Hohenzollern out and power and the Prussian military aristocracy eliminated by the Versailles Treaty, these parliamentary parties had free rein over the Weimar Republic.
Since there was nobody to hold them back, this created a power vacuum which neither the SPD nor any of the parliamentary parties were able to fill. None of their party programs seemed fit to guide the Weimar Republic toward some semblance of stability by the 1930s. Thus, when Adolf Hitler and the Hitlerists came to power, Furtwängler was quick to mention that their “National Revolution” meant an overthrow of the Parliamentary Democratic system which was already languishing in 1933. It even signified the rise of Pan-Germanic Socialism, whose “Socialism” had to be treated with distrust by working class Germans because they could not tell if its Socialistic tendencies were genuine or not. As Jung also noted in “Der nationale Sozialismus,” the working class Germans according to Furtwängler were still adhering to the view that only Scientific Socialism (Marxism) can be considered “Pure Socialism.”
But because the Hitlerists were the ones who took power (rather than the Strasserists, people like Jung, the National Bolsheviks, or the Conservative Revolution), Hitlerism rested its laurels on Hitler’s Cult of Personality, enforcing it through the Führerprinzip. That is what Furtwängler was referring to when he meant about the “Islamic power of the Hitler movement.” Similar to the conclusions of Carl Jung (the Swiss Jung) or Martin Heidegger (when he joined the NSDAP), Furtwängler saw Hitlerism as being akin to a theology than an actual political-economic ideology. It is a kind of theology that will only give the German-speaking world a new purpose in this part of the 20th century, but nothing that help them get out of their then-current predicament or something that can be deemed relevant for the distant future.
Like the Swiss Jung, he recognized that Hitlerism’s political legitimacy was based around its ability to create a religious-like fervor in the German-speaking world. And like Heidegger, he was also convinced that maybe the Hitlerists could do something which might have improved the political-economic situation in Europe at the time. Where he differed from both men is that, despite his Social-Democratic outlook, he remained adamant about Hitlerism lacking the kind of substance that Pan-Germanic Socialism was looking for. The Swiss Jung and Heidegger might have had their own contributions but neither man can be considered to be cognizant of what the entire German-speaking world needs.
Hitlerism might have energized the German-speaking world toward a renewed sense of purpose in the 1930s and 1940s, but can we say the same if the Hitlerists did manage to survive past 1945? How long will it take before the SPD or another party begins to reorganize and challenge the NSDAP by promoting an actual party program that addresses the concerns of the late 20th century? If not the SPD, then what about the KPD, whose members were reported in another ARPLAN post as trying to infiltrate various NSDAP organizations?
How do we know that there will be no future power struggle in the NSDAP once Hitler is gone? Would the Führerprinzip lead to the same issues of centralization and formalism that the Bohemian Jung forewarned in ‘The Concept of Freedom and Defensive Readiness’? What about issues of corruption and cronyism among the Enterprises of the German Reich’s economy?
Will the NSDAP present itself as a third power for other nations not interested in siding with the Soviets or the Jeffersonians? And could Pan-Germanic Socialism distance itself from Hitlerism and try to present an “Artistic Socialism” that appeals to the national interests of the rest of Europe?
All of these are valid questions which I have gleaned from reading the latest ARPLAN post.
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