Hitler wrote of his admiration for Mussolini, but when it came to naming his party something they did not call it fascist (according to Konrad Heiden, Hitler did not want the party to be called National Socialist but that's another story).

Did the Nazis' opponents use the word fascists to refer to them? If so, did any of them object to being called this in speeches, articles, etc? Or viz their modus operandi, did the Nazis go out of their way to beat people up who called them fascist?

Edit: per my comment about the Nazis beating people up, I'm asking whether their opponents in Germany called them fascists. The Allies justifiably called them every name under the sun once the war had started.

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    did the Nazis go out of their way to beat people up who called them fascist? Why would they? "Fascist" was not a kind of insult at that time.
    – Matt
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:04
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    This is an anachronistic question. Fascist at that time referred to a party, rather different from the Nazis, in another language. At best, if may have been a swearword among communists, but thats it. Would a UK prime care if someone would call his party to Republicans or Democrats? Being called a Democrat is a swearword in a Tea Party meeting, but a foreign political leader would care less about it.
    – Greg
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:25
  • I don't really understand. Are you saying no one called him Fascist? It has been established that they did. It may not have been strictly correct to call the Nazis fascist, the point is whether they considered it damaging. Ramsay McDonald was called a Bolshevik, which though it was inaccurate, he correctly perceived as immensely damaging.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


The answer to your question is: Yes. The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) referred to the Nazis as "Faschisten" long before the Nazis came to power. Their struggle against the regime (once the latter was in place) was called "antifaschistischer Widerstand" (anti-fascist resistance).

  • And did the Nazis object to this appellation, or not?
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:30
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    I am not aware that they did, but they had so many bad things to say about the KPD that this was probably not an issue.
    – fdb
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 15:22

Strictly speaking, Hitler modeled his party on Mussolini's principles, and his regime and Mussolini's are often lumped together under the umbrella of fascism. Fascism is a pseudo-religion, a.k.a. an ideology of sorts. The philosophical wing of Hitler's propaganda machine linked fascism to Nietzsche's writings in which Nietzsche submitted that all hopes for the betterment of humanity lay with the arrival of a Superman who would use force to make us peons into a better race. Mercy and sympathy were not supposed to factor in the equation.

The competing propaganda machines (British, American, and Soviet) branded Hitler's party as fascist. Hitler himself had no objections.

The term fascism comes from the Italian fascismo, which in turn is derived from the Latin word fasces (a bundle of rods carried by Roman law enforcement people). The Roman Empire allusion was used by Mussolini, and also by Hitler: the Nazis' "Third Reich" was supposed to be the successor of Constantinople (which would have been the second "reich," the first being Rome itself. (Long before Hitler, Ivan the Terrible of Rus called Moscow "the Third Rome": there's nothing new under the sun).

The answer to your question, then, is this: officially, no; unofficially, yes.

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    Generally good; but in Nazi idealogy the Second Reich was that empire formed through unification of Germany following the defeat of France at Sedan in 1870; and the First Reich was that of Barbarossa in the 12th century, itself a reincarnation of Charlemagne's empire. These were seen as German empires, not contaminated by other ethnic groups. Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:12
  • @PieterGeerkens: I stand corrected. The Holy Roman Empire, of course.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:17
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    Yes the HRE. but very specifically Barbarossa's HRE (Germany) and not Charlemagne's (as much French and Italian as German). Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:18
  • Pieter Geerkens: Well, Charlemagne wasn't exactly French-French, but okay, good old Friedrich rocks, yay. I can see how a German would appreciate the distinction. Even though if it wasn't for Charlemagne's granddad's knockout win at Poitier, we'd be using a different calendar now, to say the least.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:25
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    The important point about the fasces was that although each of the rods could be easily broken, when they were bundled together they formed a strength in unity which could not easily be split.
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 3:14

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