National Social German Workers Party circa 1922

NAZI: A Misused Word

It seems that we are being bombarded by the word Nazi these days over and over again in the main stream media. It’s weird because the word is quite literally being misused when trying to vilify anyone or anything that is right of center on the political spectrum. In reality, the word Nazi means much more than what is being intended and that’s why we need to understand what the word means before throwing it around indiscriminately.

First of all, we need to understand where the acronym came from. The name of the party to which Hitler was the leader was called the National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). By using the words National and Sozialistische an acronym is formed where “Na” is taken from National and “zi” from Sozialistische to form the word Nazi. The word Sozi is a shortened phrase used to refer to a Socialist in Germany or sozialistische. There was a further meaning attached to the word Nazi that came from the Bavarian region of Germany and was a word in common use way before the party was ever founded and it meant lazy peasant. It has been said that the political German labor movement of the 1920’s, who were opponents of the NSDAP, used the term in a derogatory way to humiliate the NSDAP by calling them Nazi. A party of yokals or country bumpkins.

While we are all familiar with the Nazi’s from our history class lessons, they being the ones who started World War Two, what we also need to understand is that they were the party that ruled Germany from 1933 until 1945 and they were not some right wing party steeped in fascism as many like to believe but in fact they were staunch socialists as their party name implied and their 25 point program of 1920 also clearly laid out. The twist, however, is that they were Nationalists, which makes a big difference because this made their ideology different than other socialist movements of the day.

Of course we all know what someone means when they call a person or group Nazi, they just mean the nationalist parts of the Nazi ideology such as the supremacist, antisemitic and racist aspects of it, as in, Germany only for Germans. They certainly do not mean the socialist aspects of the Nazi ideology and that’s ironic considering that Nazi name calling is usually coming from those who glorify themselves on the left side of the political spectrum. So by calling someone or a group Nazi, they have to also mean that they are anti-communist, anti-capitalist and support the nationalization of healthcare, education, old age welfare and private corporations as the 25 point program of the Nazi party advanced.

It really is a double edged sword that word Nazi and it is equally confusing when the word is also interchangeably used to mean fascist. Either way it is meant, the word has been so politically weaponized since world war two that it is no longer possible to understand its true meaning. Anybody can be called a Nazi today just because they happen to be conservative or patriotic.

If any one saying could be used to sum up the overuse of the word Nazi it would be this one: say what you mean and mean what you say.


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