Friday, 10 July 2009

Labour and Hitler?

nazi-com Many blogs have already covered the story published in the Manawatu Standard that the First Labour Government and Hitler were rather friendly, based on research by two Massey University history “dons.”

Naturally, The Standard blog has taken offence; naturally, David Farrar has taken the opportunity for some fun at Labour’s expense; and quite unnaturally the Dim Post has avoided making fun of everybody and instead pointed out that “the article itself is a bit vague about the details” – which is quite true, but probably won’t be remedied until the research is published later this year in the British Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. (Note to journalists: remember to follow this up.)

That said, there are one or two crucial things we do know that can give some context. Look for example at this cartoon published by The Standard blog (originally published in Labour’s party newspaper 23 May 1940) which is intended to give the idea that socialism and Nazism were always and forever died-in-the-wool antagonists. But this is contradicted by a large number of things, not least the fact that the word "Nazi" was itself an abbreviation for "der Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei — in English translation: the National Socialist German Workers' Party — and what should one expect of a country ruled by a party with "socialist" in its name to be but socialist? And for other socialists to recognise a comrade – as they did, before the war,

Perhaps the most relevant two facts here in terms of the timing of any Labour “cosying up” with Hitler – since it’s the timing of Labour’s cosying and un-cosying that seems to be at issue here – is the ‘Molotov-Ribbentrop pact’ agreed between socialist hero Joseph Stalin and National Socialist leader Adolph Hitler, and the pre-war cooperation between the two totalitarian powers.

The Pact itself certainly confused socialists and communists all around the world when it was signed, since they were now faced with prima facie evidence that the two leaders of these putative opposing systems didn’t themselves see any barriers to cooperation – as they did even well before the Pact in tasks such as helping prepare the Nazi and Soviet war machines, helping with Nazi Germany’s covert re-arming (the Soviet–German air base at Lipetsk and the Soviet–German Tank School at Kazan are just two examples of this long-standing cooperation), and (just one month after the signing) in dismembering and dividing up Poland. It’s often forgotten now, but for the first year of the war and for much of the time before that, in every important respect the Nazis and the Soviets were military allies – and those died-in-the-wool communists who were taking instructions from Moscow were being so instructed.

Whittaker Chambers and other Soviet spies have since described the betrayal felt by all their colleagues when the Nazis finally did invade the Soviet Union, and the volte-face and about-face and utter confusion caused by the reversal of the alliance, but despite everyone’s collective amnesia since let no-one forget that they were so allied, and that – whatever the writers of The Standard blog might think now – and whatever the cartoonists of The Standard newspaper might have wanted us to think back then – it was not unusual at all for the world’s socialists to get in behind Hitler’s Germany.

In fact, for a time there, it was far more unusual if they didn’t.


  1. Elijah Lineberry10 Jul 2009, 14:13:00

    The Labour party - enslaving an entire nation, imprisoning those who disagree with it, engaging in propaganda and a 'thought police' on what will and will not be accepted maxims, bumping off/sending abroad the 'intelligent' people, enforcing its will with the might of thugish gangster trade unionists (etc)

    Hmmmmmmm...yes, the mind boggles how anyone can see any similarities between the Labour party and the Nazis.

  2. Nah...Psycho Milt over at No Minister insists the Nazis were righties, therefore it must be so.
    He's a librarian, after all. :-)

  3. Unfortunately both major party are happy to use a Nazi tactic of getting child to report on their parents with the anti-smacking law

  4. damned if you do and damned if you dont. When was the last time ANY gov't had a positive aspect on its respective country. Yes Labour are Nazi's......but National are bankers/hedge fund managers......greens are stoners.....Maori party are a bunch of white people making money via some black people........Shihad said it best - sport and religion.

  5. Business woman11 Jul 2009, 18:55:00

    Avgas said : "National are bankers/hedge fund managers".

    Av, but bankers & hedge-fund managers don't come with a gun & stick it to your forehead to force you to put your hard-earned dollar in their funds, do they?

    However, on the other hand, all leftist political parties do use the law to force taxpayers for some huge taxes every year to paid to the IRD, and this is not voluntary, is it?

  6. The National Socialist Party crushed the unions, drove women back into the kitchen, focused the entire county's efforts on building and supporting a war machine to back a hyper-aggressive foriegn policy and ended up committing genocide against almost every minority in Europe.

    These being hallmarks of Labour Governments, I can understand why you would find it difficult to seperate them idealogically.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.