In the eyes of Marxist theorists fascism is seen as the most immediate and brutal manifestation of imperialism ; that is, it is a form of capitalism which seizes upon right-radical elements of society during times of economic and social upheaval in an effort to maintain a system of total suppression and control of public opinion. Internally, fascism is evoked to dissolve the opposition of leftist labor organizations; externally, it launches an aggressive mobilization of the interests of "big business" by creating new colonies, outlets for manufactured goods, sources of raw materials and areas of market manipulation. Thus viewed, Hitler ought to be considered the logical successor to the throne of Kaiser Wilhelm II. For it was the ambitious policies of this last German Kaiser, including repressive acts against the Social Democrats in the sphere of internal politics and an accelerated rearmament with an expansionist foreign policy seeking the conquest of new colonies, which all culminated in open conflict with other imperialist nations in the First World War. Serving this brand of German imperialism foremost as propaganda machines were numerous political organizations, especially the "German Naval Union" (Deutscher Flottenverein), the "National Union for the Founding of Colonies" (National er Kolonialverein) and the "League for Protection from Social Democracy" (Schutzverband gegen die Sozialdemokratie). They all beat their chauvinist drums to the tune of imperialist expansion of German power in the areas of Central Africa, the Pacific, the Balkan States, the Ukraine and in the direction of Belgium and France. But these ideological precursors are misleading: by no means did Hitler or the ideologues of the Third Reich glorify Wilhelm II or his Second Reich. These National Socialists considered the imperialist maneuvers of the Wilhelminian era to be much too bold, too direct, and too heavy-handed.


Translated from the German by James Brewer



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