What Is A Nazi?
The Nazi Party is one of the most virulent and dangerous strains of fascism that arose in the wake of World War I. Fascism is a political belief and system that has many different components and no scholars have ever agreed on a precise definition. However, there are many individuals aspects to Nazism that anyone can recognize.
A Racist Ideology
Nazism is only one type of fascism, but all Nazis believed in the superiority of their own race. Even though Hitler was Austrian and did not match his own vision of the “perfect German,” he nonetheless convinced millions of people that Germans were superior to all other races. In fact, German scientists and propagandists even claimed that all the civilizations of the world, such as Greece and Rome, had been founded by Germans.
A Belief In Force And Violence
In the early 1930s, the Nazis became the most powerful political force in Germany. They used the tools of democracy to destroy democracy, by persuading people to scapegoat the Jews and vote for them. However, Nazis were forcefully anti-democratic. They believed in intimidating, beating, and even killing their foes. Force was considered the final arbiter of any dispute.
A Focus On Central Authority
Partially because they were so against the idea of popular rule and democratic institutions, the average Nazi believed in central authority: That is, the authority of “Supreme Leader” Adolf Hitler. They felt that society should be patterned along military lines and that people should submit to the members of the hierarchy above them. This is one reason that so many Nazis claimed they were “only following orders” in the wake of awful atrocities.
Superficial Concern With Athleticism, Looks, And “Breeding”
A certain type of virile, blond-haired, blue-eyed look was key to the propaganda image of the “perfect German.” Germans were encouraged to engage in athletic competitions and daily exercise in order to perfect and sculpt their bodies. Hitler was an admirer of ancient Greek culture, and he believed that it was important that German men be both intelligent and strong. German women were also intended to eat healthy and exercise. A healthy look was considered a sign of good “German” breeding. Those with “Jewish” features were viewed with suspicion.
These are only a few traits common to Nazis. The unifying factor among them all was a willingness, even a desire, to overlook human suffering in order to seize powers over others on the basis of racism.