Stalin as a National Socialist
Hitler’s strategy for popularity was not lost on Stalin. Quite soon after Hitler invaded Russia, Stalin reopened the Russian Orthodox churches and restored the old ranks and orders of the Russian Imperial army to the Red Army so that it became simply the Russian Army and stressed nationalist themes (e.g. defence of “Mother Russia”) in his internal propaganda. As one result of this, to this day Russians refer to the Second World War as “the great patriotic war”. Stalin may have started out as an international socialist but he ended up a national socialist. So Hitler was a Rightist only in the sense that Stalin was. If Stalin was Right-wing, however, black might as well be white.
Ho Chi Minh as a National Socialist
Stalin showed that National Socialism could be used effectively against another National Socialist but it took Ho Chi Minh’s regime and its Southern extension to demonstrate that National Socialism could even defeat the Great Republic (the United States). That Ho Chi Minh was a socialist is hardly now disputable and it is also clear that he had Vietnamese nationalism working for him in his fight against the American interventionists. Their foreignness made this easy to do. Note that the Viet Cong were formally known as the National Liberation Front. Their primary ostensible appeal was in fact national, though their socialism was of course never seriously in doubt. So the nationalism of Ho Chi Minh’s regime gave it widespread support or at least co-operation in the South as well as in the North. Ho thus stole the emotional clothes of the conservatives as effectively as Hitler did and the magic mix of nationalism and socialism was once again shown to be capable of generating enormous military effectiveness against apparently forbidding odds. So the simple explanation that works to explain Hitler’s amazing challenge to the world also works to explain the equally amazing defeat of the world’s mightiest military power by an relatively insignificant Third World nation. A National Socialist regime has such a strong emotional appeal that it galvanizes its subject population to Herculean efforts in a way that few other (if any) regimes can. It sounds about as crazy as you get to claim that it was Nazism that defeated the U.S. in Vietnam but this once again shows how Nazism has been misunderstood and consequently underrated.
Distinguishing Hitler from Stalin
Hitler was, however, more Rightist than Stalin in the sense that, as a popular leader, he did not need to resort to extreme forms of oppressive control over his people (Unger, 1965). German primary and secondary industry did not need to be nationalized because they largely did Hitler’s bidding willingly. State control was indeed exercised over German industry but it was done without formally altering its ownership and without substantially alienating or killing its professional managers.
The contempt that Hitler had for Stalin and for “Bolshevism” generally should also not mislead us in assessing the similarity between Nazism and Communism. Leftist sects are very prone to rivalry, dissension, schism and hatred of one-another. One has only to think of the Bolsheviks versus the Mensheviks, Stalin versus Trotsky, China versus the Soviet Union, China “teaching Vietnam a lesson”, the Vietnamese suppression of the Khmer Rouge etc. Similarity does not preclude rivalry and in the end it was mainly competition for power that set Hitler and Stalin on a collision course.
Under Stalin’s wartime innovations, the difference between Nazism and Communism became largely a difference of emphasis. Both Nazism and Communism were nationalistic and socialist but with Communism, socialism was the ideological focus and justification for State power whereas with Nazism, nationalism was the ideological focus and justification for State power.
(read the complete article at: http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/hitler-leftist/id9.html )