"Basically, National Socialism and Marxism are the same," remarked Adolph Hitler during a November 1941 speech in Munich, Germany. But wait, wasn't Hitler a Right-wing German nationalist? That is what we have been told by Left-wing politicians and academics since the end of World War II. But is it true?
Corporal Hitler Supported the Bavarian Soviet Republic....
While researching his 2011 book, Hitler's First War, German historian Thomas Weber discovered and revealed lost archives from the barracks, in Munich, where where Hitler served as a young corporal after World War I. Thought to have been lost during a bombing campaign, by Allied forces, these archives provide compelling evidence of Corporal Hitler's support for and involvement with the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic.
Defeat of Germany in World War I led to social tension and unrest throughout the country, culminating in the German Revolution of 1918. On November 7, 1918, the first anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, King Ludwig III of Bavaria fled the palace with his family and Kurt Eisner, a Jewish politician from the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) became president of the newly proclaimed People's State of Bavaria.
Hitler is seen carrying the coffin of Jewish Socialist Kurt Eisner....
Though he advocated for a socialist republic, Eisner separated himself from Soviet-backed communists, vowing to protect property rights. But, his administration proved unable to provide basic services and was defeated in the January 1919 elections. While on his way to resign before parliament, the following month, Eisner was shot and killed by German nationalist, Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley. From the archives Weber recovered a picture of the mourning crowd carrying Eisner's coffin in procession. Among those seen carrying the coffin is a young Adolph Hitler!
Eisner's death created a martyr for the Left, but left the Bavarian parliament in disarray. Members were shot by extremists and government became disfunctional. By March 7, 1919, the USPD's new leader, Johannes Hoffman, a former school teacher, managed to form a coalition government. But, before he could consolidate his rule, German communists and anarchists formed a counter-government in Bavaria.
Communist "Bavarian Revolution of Love"....
Inspired by news of a communist revolution in Hungary, they declared their own Bavarian Soviet Republic under the leadership of Ernst Toller. Toller immediately called upon the army to support the new dictatorship of the proletariat and to ruthlessly stop any counter-revolutionary activities against the new government. This caused Hoffman and his Social Democrat administration to flee Munich for Bamberg, which it declared the new capital and seat of government.
Toller described his rule as the "Bavarian Revolution of Love," while others called it the "regime of the coffeehouse anarchists." It was an incompetent administration that did not garner much support. As a Social Democrat, himself, Toller didn't command full allegiance from communists, who defected from his revolution and seized power just six days later on Saturday, April 12, 1919.
Having received the blessing of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, Communist leader Eugene Levine, the new head of state of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, started enacting more hardline communist reforms such as seizing cash, guns and food supplies. He also formed a "Red Army" from factory workers and placed ownership of factories under their control. Luxury apartments were seized and given to the homeless, and Munich church was confiscated and rededicated to the "Goddess of Reason."
Hitler elected to office in Bavarian Soviet Republic....
While researching the Munich archives, Weber discovered that the young Corporal Hitler, whom we know mourned the death of Socialist leader Kurt Eisner, sought and was elected to office in the new Bavarian Soviet Republic, as Deputy Battalion Representative. His election meant that he was pledging his allegiance to Lenin and the Soviet Union, and a photograph, taken by Heinrich Hoffman, shows Hitler wearing the red armband of support for the new communist regime. His duties included acting as liaison between BSR leaders and their Department of Propoganda.
Some argue that Hitler was an opportunist and not a true-believer of the Soviet cause. In fact, Weber fully admits that all Munich-based military units, including Hitler's regiment, were considered part of the Red Army. But most members never actively supported Levine's regime, as Hitler did. He loyally served for the entire lifespan of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and never defected to join the German Freikorps, as did some of his fellow soldiers, who fought to free Bavaria from communist rule. This failure to join the partisans fighting the "Bolsheviks in Bavaria" brought Hitler criticism from Otto Strasser, an early member of the Nazi Party, as well as from Ernst Rohm, co-founder of the Nazi Stormtroopers. Having stayed loyal to Levine and the BSR until the very end, Hitler was arrested and held along with other communists, during the street battles that brought the downfall of the Soviet republic on May 1, 1919.
The evidence of Hitler's socialist sympathies, although strong, remains circumstantial, if based only upon his years of military service in Munich. But, his Left-wing beliefs become more clear if we follow his political journey immediately afterward and throughout his reign as Fuhrer of the Third Reich. This journey began with his joining the German Socialist Workers Party just months after the fall of the Bavarian Soviet Republic.
Samuel Griswold is a lifelong student of history and politics, whose studies have given him unique insights into the true nature of totalitarianism in all of its aspects... Fascism, Communism and Socialism. As an American Jew, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, he's lived by the pledges "Never Forget" and "Never Again." But, for him, these pledges mean to never let the policies that led to the Holocaust happen again. To prevent fascism from thriving, we must know how to see and define it. That is the purpose of FightingFascism.com, to draw attention and rally opposition to current fascist policies and governments.