Nazism, or National Socialism, is a set of political beliefs and convictions associated with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in Nazi Germany. Nazism is a radical branch of fascism: while the adherents of Nazi ideology retained their contempt for social liberties and parliamentary democracy, they pushed fascist policies to the extreme by adopting antisemitism and scientific racism. This paper will provide an argument as to how Nazis attempted to uphold the public good from the standpoints of power, order, and justice.
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The Concepts of Power, Order, and Justice
When Hitler’s party came to power in the 1930s, it asserted dominance over almost all public and private domains. The party’s grand plan involved making radical changes within and outside the country, and, in order to make ideas come to fruition, the government had to control the lives of people. It was evident that overwhelming control might lead to revolts, and thus, upholding a specific political order depended heavily upon the promotion of the public good.
One of the prime examples of how Nazi authorities controlled German people while providing a rational theoretical basis was their seizure of education institutes. The Ministry of Propaganda reasoned that the amended curriculum would benefit “Aryans” – the purest race to which Germans undoubtedly belonged – remain fit and develop their intelligence, which promoted the public good. However, including more hours of physical education and German history and geography in school programs was nothing more than the blatant grooming of young minds under the disguise of upholding the public good. The same was true for the role of women: Nazi ideology assigned them distinct roles reduced to being mothers and housewives in alignment with their “true nature” (Weinstein, 2014).
After Hitler’s rise, the justice system also underwent many changes to appease the Nazi ideology. The Third Reich with its totalitarian order became a police state where the police institution was independent of the judiciary branch. In practice, police officers had the authority of arresting social and political opponents of the party’s ideas. Putting those opponents in concentration camps did not require judicial review, which made German people helpless against injustice. However, it was explained that arrests were conducted for the public good – the safety of the nation in the face of the public enemy.
The dominance of the Nazi party in Germany was one of the most tragic pages in the history of humankind. After many years since the downfall of Hitler, the power and order imposed by the Nazis have been a didactic example of the use of propaganda to normalize violence and injustice. Upholding the public good in Nazi Germany meant satisfying the needs of a particular group of people and punishing those who dared to disagree. Radical political ideas were spread through education, and, namely, curriculums focused on the role of Aryans in the world and their entitlement to dominance.
Weinstein, F. (2014). The dynamics of Nazism: Leadership, ideology, and the Holocaust. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.