GLENN: We've always been told that genocidal dictators of the world, oh, they're just manifestations of the hateful right. But the left-wing icons like Che, Mao, Stalin, need to be understood in context.
But we live in a time that seems to move faster than time, a place that seems to have no place for truth, a reality that seems to have no connection to reality.
So to get our feet on solid ground for the future, we must first walk through the past with our eyes wide open.
VOICE: Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.
GLENN: That is modern conservatism in a nutshell. Yet we're always told that Nazi Germany, who controlled every aspect of citizen's lives is somehow conservative or right-wing.
Is it true, or is it an attempt to distract us from other much more inconvenient similarities?
VOICE: Author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, explains.
VOICE: They say, you know, Hitler was a right-winger because of X, Y and Z. I say, well, what was Stalin's position on X, Y, and Z? The common assumption is that the Nazis were a right-wing phenomena, they were a right-wing party, that Hitler was a man of the right and all of the rest. And there were a lot of problems with this. His social agenda was for expanding universal access to health care. It was for expanding access to education. It for cradle to grave welfare state. It was for attacking big business and high finance.
People say, "Well, Hitler abolished labor unions. He was right-wing then."
Well, how did labor unions do under Stalin, under Fidel Castro? Almost anything you can find on a checklist that allegedly proves Hitler was a right-winger, you can apply to almost any one of the major Communist dictators of the 20th century. And the similarities are almost identical.
GLENN: Today this idea may seem controversial. But as the Nazis were rising to power, it wasn't controversial. It was common knowledge. November 28th, 1995, a tiny article printed in the New York Times describing the early internal struggle for the identity of the Nazis.
A riot broke out after a Nazi speaker claimed that Lenin was the greatest man, second only to Hitler. And the difference between communism and the Hitler faith was very slight.
VOICE: The communists in the Reichstag voted almost uniformly with the Nazis. They voted in lockstep. The slogan for the communists and the Reichstag was, first brown, then red. The general understanding among the communists, among socialists back then was that Naziism was a steppingstone towards the ultimate victory of socialism and communism.
GLENN: While Hitler certainly opposed communism outwardly, he did so mainly because he disagreed with its internationalism.
VOICE: He was a proud German. A German nationalist, a German jingoist. Not a patriot. But a nationalist. And he rejected that element of Marxism. But he embraced socialism entirely. He embraced the idea of racial solidarity, of socialism of one race.
GLENN: Even in Mein Kampf, he acknowledged that the movements were so close, that if not for the focus on race, his nationalist socialist movement would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground. But Nazi Germany had no corner on the market with racism and anti-Semitism.
VOICE: Marx, you need to remember, was Jewish. He was a self-hating Jew. He rejected Judaism and all of the rest, but he was Jewish. And Hitler hated Jews. I mean, this is not a news flash. Hitler was a passionate anti-Semite. And he saw Marxism as corrupted with a deep-seated Jewish nature. The irony here is that so did Marx. Marx was a real anti-Semite. He wrote about the Jewish problem, a generation before the Nazis started talking about the Jewish problem. He said how we had to purge the Jewish spirit from western civilization, from global civilization. He had horrible racist things to say about Jews and of blacks. And Hitler, very much, inherited that Marxist analysis when it came to things like Jews and other races.
GLENN: Sometimes it's hard to tell Hitler and Marx apart. Who wrote that Germany's neighbors should accept the physical and intellectual power of the German nation to subdue, absorb, and assimilate its ancient eastern neighbors? That's Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of the Communist Manifesto, almost a century before the Holocaust. Hitler's underlying admiration for Marxism was obvious.
VOICE: In Mein Kampf, Hitler writes about the Nazi party flag, which is this big red flag with a white disk in the middle and the Swastika in the center. Hitler explains quite clearly in Mein Kampf that the red, the big sea of red that the swastika was in, was intended to attract socialists to his movement. The red flag was the emblem of the communists. It's the reason why we call them the reds.
GLENN: But it went deeper than similar ideology and imagery. Until Germany launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, the Nazis and the Soviets worked together. They even put it in writing, signing what was originally sold as a nonaggression pact. But just weeks later, they would invade Poland from opposite sides. But is this just a story of brutal iron-fisted dictators or something inherent in the philosophy?
The fathers of communism, Marx and Engels, believed that society would evolve from capitalism to socialism. But they acknowledged that there were, still, what they called, primitive societies that hadn't even evolved into capitalist yet. They called them racial trash.
As the revolution happens, the classes and the -- the races too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way.
There was only one thing left for those too far behind in the process of societal evolution. The chief mission of all other races and peoples large and small is to perish in the revolutionary holocaust. All of these systems are based on the idea that we know better, that the little people are getting in the way of our plan. And, well, we'll just go around them. And then we have to destroy them.
This arrogance always ends exactly the same way. One of history's worst examples, the genocide you've never heard of. We share that, in the next episode.