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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also Naziism, 1934, from Nazi + -ism. Perhaps based on French Nazisme (1930).


n. (alternative case form of Nazism English)


National Socialism , more commonly known as Nazism , is the ideology and practice associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party and Nazi state – and, by extension, other far-right groups. Usually characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and antisemitism, Nazism developed out of the influences of Pan-Germanism, the Völkisch German nationalist movement, and the anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged during the Weimar Republic after German defeat in World War I.

Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying Germans as part of what Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a homogeneous society, or "people's community" based on national unity. The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum, while excluding those deemed either to be community aliens or foreign peoples. The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of "socialism", as an alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of class struggle, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, and sought to defend the private property and privately owned businesses of Aryans.

The Nazi Party was founded as the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers' Party on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s, Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP) to broaden its appeal. The National Socialist Program, adopted in 1920, called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while also supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf, written in 1924, Hitler outlined the antisemitism and anti-communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for parliamentary democracy and his belief in Germany’s right to territorial expansion.

In 1933, with the support of traditional conservative nationalists, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis gradually established a one-party state, under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalized, with several millions eventually imprisoned and killed. Hitler purged the party’s more socially and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives and, after the death of President Hindenburg, political power was concentrated in his hands, as Führer or "leader". Following the Holocaust and German defeat in World War II, only a few fringe racist groups, usually referred to as neo-Nazis, still describe themselves as following National Socialism.

Usage examples of "nazism".

Philip Conwell-Evans, whose professorship at the German University of Koenigsberg had made him both an expert on Nazism and to some extent a sympathizer with it.

You can be explicitly pro-Nazi without claiming to be a pacifist -- and there is a very strong case for the Nazis, though not many people in this country have the courage to utter it -- but you can only pretend that Nazism and capitalist democracy are Tweedledum and Tweedledee if you also pretend that every horror from the June purge onwards has been cancelled by an exactly similar horror in England.

Cultural meanings that flagrantly violate the fabric of the Kos-mos (from Nazism to Serbian ethnic cleansing) are nothing that one would particularly want to adapt to in the first place.

A committed liberal, he had shaped his lab in the 1930s to make space for a generation of refugees from Nazism who were later, in England and the US, to provide the cornerstones of research into modern biochemistry and in doing so to win a clutch of Nobel Prizes and find themselves enshrined in every student's text-book: Hans Krebs, Fritz Lipmann, Ernst Chain, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and many others.

Would the play be less poignant if you didn't know about the civil war in Spain, the massive poverty of the Great Depression, and the growth of Nazism?