One claim that I'veseen quite often made on this board is that Hitler was left-wing, and not right-wing as almost every book on the subject states. This is a complex topic, and I can certainly understand some of the confusion. Both Hitler and Stalin were dictators with a lot in common, and the origins of Nazism do lie on both the left and right wings, and yet generally speaking there is very little controversy or disagreement about this topic amongst historians and experts. Prior coming to this board I don’t think that I had ever heard the theory before – and certainly not on Stormfront, where the extreme right idolizes the man and is proud to do so. History has recorded fascism as being right wing since the late-1930’s, and most dictionaries confirm the standard definition. I think there are three misconceptions and four overlooked factors that explain why people have become confused about this, and I’ll run through those seven points here. This IS complex, so do read the points carefully before making knee-jerk comments. Misconception #1: Hitler attacked conservatives and capitalism At some stage in his career, Hitler attacked almost everyone. He was a master of playing to the crowd, and prior to the age of the internet, he could attack capitalism in one crowd on one day, and attack socialism in another crowd on another day without a powerful media to point out the often obvious contradictions. When he first joined the Nazi party it was very much a populist party that combined left and right wing themes, and in early speeches, Hitler tended to follow the party line of trying to draw on working class support. Attacking traditional conservatism both achieved this goal and helped differentiate the Nazis from potential right-wing rivals. Most of the quotes of Hitler criticizing capitalism come from this early era, prior to his refocusing of the party during the mid- to late 1930’s.Even so, he continued to attack conservatism to differentiate Nazis from other, earlier conservative parties, establishing Nazism as an entirely new concept well to the right of existing conservatism. Misconception #2: Hitler backed big government, hence was left wing. The myth here is not that Hitler backed big government – of course, he did – but that there were other parties in Europe in 1939 who did not. The whole concept of small government is both relatively recent and relatively American. Prior to Reagan and Thatcher’s administrations, it was rarely used to differentiate left from right, because in 1939 every government in the world was big and state controlled. As late as the 1970’s a lot of strong right wing governments backed massive bureaucracy and state control. What made them right wing were positions on economic and social factors that were considered far more crucial than the idea of a streamlined administration. In short, only recently has small government been seen as a key ideological issue. Misconception #3: Stalin and Hitler’s regimes were both dictators – so must have been left wing. Yes, they were both dictators, and all dictators will control the press, the prisons and judiciary. However, dictatorships can occur on the left wing (Mao, Castro, Pol Pot) and on the extreme right wing (Cristiani, Franco, Rios Montte) both within fascism and in slightly more moderate forms such as Pinochet. People often post Hitler’s famous 25 Points as being evidence of left-wing policy, whereas actually they are more evidence of extremism and tyranny. Most politicians do ‘borrow’ policies when it makes sense to do so, but without compromising their ideological core. Hitler did this often and more than other fascists. Right wing factors #1: Capital This is one topic I think most of us can agree on: communism is about removing capital from the equation. In a perfect communist system, there is no money. All production is of, by and for the state. Fascism, on the other hand, is all about capital. Private investors pour money into shares, and earn huge dividends. Thus the middle and upper classes are bought off, their loyalty established, and the economy functions on a cycle of strong investments and the free flow of money through the domestic economy. The middle class blossoms. Under Communism, the middle class is crushed. In this, fascism and communism are polar opposites. This alone clearly defines a right-wing capitalist society in opposition to a left-wing, anti-capitalist regime. Right wing factor #2: Class Communism looks to smash the middle and upper classes, and create a society in which workers rule. The perfect communist system is without class. Fascism is based on class distinctions and in particular in the loyalty of the middle and upper classes. The aristocracy were the key people in Hitler’s world view. While he played to the workers and gave them rousing speeches, in fact they were intended to work hard and remain quiet. It was the upper classes who would benefit from the surging economy and expansion into neighbouring countries. Right wing factor #3: Other fascist leaders Hitler is only one example of fascism. There are several others. Franco’s Spain, Paraguay’s Stroessner and particularly Romania’s Antonescu all provide a portrait of fascism that are often less confused that Hitler. All of these states were fiercely anti-Communist, all enjoyed some support from the aristocracy (or even royalty) and all were fundamentally capitalist. Antonescu, in particular, is often seen the as link between Fascism and Conservatism. Right wing factor #4: Minorities & religion For all Lenin’s faults, he was not a racist. Communists have always opposed racism, with the Soviet ‘One nation, many peoples’ ideal the polar opposite of fascist racism. Under Lenin and Stalin, the Politburo favoured Azeris, Armenians, Kazaks and even the occasional Jew! Under fascism, minorities were more often rounded up and slaughtered, and all fascist regimes have been fiercely anti-Semitic and antizigaist. Likewise with religion, where Communism sought to dismantle and crush all religious activity, fascists often found common ground with the church; or at least managed to organize a degree of compliance. This is particularly clear in Romania, with Antonescu enjoying strong links with the Orthodox Church. I would also add in that all of the major academic biographies and histories of the regime that I am aware of discuss Hitler's right-wing ideology in detail. No doubt there are a few partisan attempts to say otherwise, but I doubt there are many written by genuine historians.