, 43 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
So, there's a couple of things going on with @RealCandaceO's pretty, uh, QUESTIONABLE thoughts on Adolf Hitler and nationalism. (thread alert)
One, her comments are part of a broader political project on the American right to turn Hitler and the Nazis, Mussolini and the Italian fascists, and all sorts of unsavory right-wing dictators into far-left socialists.
This has a *long* history, dating back to the 1930s. You see the antecedents in the rhetoric of anti-communist conservatives all the time--yes, Hitler and Mussolini are authoritarian dictators, but in that sense they're no different than the Soviets.
This is the origin of the term "totalitarian" in the United States. @Ben_Alpers wrote a wonderful book about this several years ago. amazon.com/Dictators-Demo…
Incidentally, pro-business and anti-New Deal activists in the 1930s -- you know, the types who hated labor unions because they're communistic -- understood Hitler and Mussolini to be bulwarks against the left and in fact blamed the communists for the rise of fascism.
(This is from the Economic Council Newsletter, a right-wing pro-business publication in the mid-1930s.)
Anyway, we've seen many examples of "the fascists were really the left!" in right politics in the past 10 years.

I'm always fond of citing Never Trump hero Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism," which argues that fascism evolved out of progressivism. amazon.com/Liberal-Fascis…
(Or something. It's not a very coherent book.)
Dinesh D'Souza loves making this claim, too -- Hitler was a leftie! The Democrats today would've gotten on board with the Nazi Party platform! (I debunk D'Souza's claims here:)
So that's the background to Owens' emphasizing Hitler's "socialism."

In fact, there *were* some Nazis who were very serious about their anti-capitalism.
The Strasser brothers, Otto and Gregor, were early Nazi leaders who emphasized "Jewish bankers" and "Jewish international finance" over "Jewish Bolshevism" in their politics, and actively advocated for anti-capitalist measures.
The *problem* is that the Strassers were marginal opponents of Hitler within the Nazi Party, were eventually expelled, and the elder brother, Gregor, was killed in the "Night of the Long Knives" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strasseri…
I don't want to minimize Strasserism, because I actually do think it's a danger for the left today--Michael Tracey and even, to an extent, Glenn Greenwald, have been in my opinion flirting with Strasserism and seeking a red-brown alliance...
...but to suggest that Hitler was himself a leftie is just not borne out by the historical evidence.
So, onto the meat of Owens' argument that "if Hitler had just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine," ... THAT WAS THE PRO-APPEASEMENT ARGUMENT MADE IN THE WEST IN THE 1930S!
I'll grant that Owens *is* onto something when she says that the problem was that
"[Hitler] had dreams outside of Germany," but she doesn't exactly grasp the thread.
The whole reason (I would argue) WWII was essentially inevitable the moment the Nazis came to power is that their whole political agenda was predicated on violently overturning the existing international order codified in the Versailles treaty.
How she goes from there to "He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way," I don't know.
For the record, the Nazis didn't want everybody to be German or speaking German, or everybody to look a different way.

They wanted to EXTERMINATE tens of millions of non-Germans in Europe, and enslave the rest. They murdered tens of millions of people to accomplish this.
The Nazi program was to subjugate those who were not part of the Germanic "volk."

One of the many ways you can translate "volk" is "nation."
So, @RealCandaceO, I don't really care how *you* define "nationalism." But when you're invoking the Nazis, you need to look at how *they* defined "nationalism," and the actions they took on behalf of their "nation."
/end rant
(h/t @berkthetrainer for bringing Owens' comments to my attention.)
Oh, and I also missed the part where Owens referred to Jeremy Corbyn as "Jew-hater Jeremy" right before she says she'd be cool with Hitler if he just kept that all that genocide stuff within Germany's borders.
Because one of the other things that I should have probably mentioned in my initial thread is that the Nazis did some *ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE THINGS* within Germany's borders before World War II.
There were the Nuremberg Laws, which effectively barred Jews from public life in Germany. (Wikipedia has an English translation.)

These were passed in 1935.
There was the T4 program, which systematically murdered anywhere between 275,000-300,000 people, most of whom were German citizens. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aktion_T4
There was Kristallnacht, an organized pogrom against German Jews in 1938. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristalln…
The brutal Dachau concentration camp -- which my granduncle helped to liberate in 1945 -- was opened in *1933* as a place to intern German Jews and political opponents of the regime.

This photograph is from May of that year.
So whatever you think about Corbyn, it takes *chutzpah* to go from "Jew-hater Jeremy" to "I'm cool with everything the Nazis did within their own borders!" in space of a few minutes.
You know who *wasn't* okay with the Nazis doing whatever they wanted within their own borders?

American Jews.

This a matchbook cover issued by the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, which organized a boycott of German goods in the United States in 1933.
UPDATE: I see that Owens is now on her "Margaret Sanger is worse than Hitler" kick.

It's funny, I'm old enough to remember when the conservative line on Sanger was that she was just as bad as Hitler, not *worse.*

Ah, memories.
(I guess I'm also not famous enough for Owens to respond directly to. Que sera sera.)
Also, I'm almost afraid to ask this, but... what has Candace Owens written about Haitian history?
So, I've listened to Owens' "clarification," and... hoo boy.

Where to begin?

“In my interpretation, or from my understanding, I would make the argument that [Hitler] wasn’t a nationalist.”

So, let me stop you there, @RealCandaceO, and let me just point out that your basic problem is that you're trying to redefine terms ahistorically.
By that I mean you're literally discarding how these terms were used historically -- in this case, *by Hitler* -- in order to strawman them, which is the only way anything you're saying makes even the slightest bit of sense.
But, hey, I'm a historian, so I'm not going to let the strawman slide. Moving on...
Because your argument is ahistorical and based apparently on what you *assume* to be true instead of the reading of historical evidence, let me explain why this take -- that Hitler couldn't have been a German nationalist, because he targeted *German* Jews -- is wrong.
And I'll direct you to a piece of evidence I cited earlier -- the Nuremberg Laws.

Notice how the laws specifically distinguish between "Jews" and "Citizens of German blood"?

That's not a typo or an oversight. The Nazis did not believe German Jews were *GERMANS.*
If this sounds kinda familiar -- that people who consider themselves to a particular nationality and/or citizens or residents of a particular polity are suddenly defined as "aliens" and "foreigners" who should be removed -- WELCOME TO THE #RESISTENCE, @RealCandaceO!
P.S. You would fail my history class. Not because I disagree with your politics -- I don't pass or fail students based on their politics.

I pass or fail students on whether they make historical arguments grounded in evidence.

You don't.
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