“We said to ourselves that to be ‘national’ means above everything to act with a boundless and all-embracing love for the [German] people and, if necessary, even to die for it.” – Adolf Hitler
That’s a perfect definition of a nationalist. Another one is “a person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests – real and/or perceived”. This definition also fits Adolf Hitler (and just about all other Nazis) to a “T”. Which, indeed, makes him a nationalist.
And a patriot. Adolf Hitler was a genuine, committed and sincere patriot of Greater Germany. Which for him include Austria and all other territories with a sizable German population. Ein Volk – Ein Reich was his fundamental principle (and a key objective of his foreign policy).
He was also undoubtedly a socialist because he engineered (and built) an egalitarian society, created a comprehensive system of social lifts and ensured that (1) for every German the common good comes first and individual aspirations the second; (2) the national income is distributed in a way that guarantees a decent life for everyone; and (3) the elites serve the “common folk”, not the other way around – as it was in Imperial Germany and to a significant extent in the Weimar Republic.
Consequently, Adolf Hitler and his Nazis were, indeed, national-socialists. However, national-socialists were more than just that. They were national-sociopaths. And thus were driven by two very different kinds of emotions – genuine, deep and passionate patriotic love for Germany and German people and by virulent fear of, and hatred for some other nations (first and foremost, the Jews). And for their political opponents in Germany as well.
Two very deadly sins (as it turned out). Sins multiplied by two other deadly sins – pride and greed (albeit the latter was of a somewhat unusual kind). And this is the only paradigm that can adequately explain decisions and actions of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis both before and after they came to power.
In other words, you can understand the Nazis and the Nazi Germany only if you understand, acknowledge and accept this dual ‘black-and-while’ (‘good-and-evil’, if you will) drive that guided, led and motivated them.
A classic sociopath (by definition) is an individual who loves only himself (or herself for that matter) and cares only about himself/herself. He/she considers all other individuals as tools that he/she uses to satisfy one’s needs, wants and desires. Often with devastating consequences for the tool in question.
The ‘morals’ and ‘ethics’ of a sociopath are short and simple: What is good for me is good; what is not good for me is bad. What is good for me is Good; what is not good for me is Evil. Thus, a sociopath does not give a rat’s ass about needs, wants, desires, well-being and happiness of other individuals.
A national-sociopath, again by definition, is the one who is a genuine patriot of his/her nation, loves it dearly, has an irresistible desire to serve it to make his nation happy – and even is consent to die for his/her Fatherland, if necessary. But he or she sees all other nations only as tools that he/she uses to satisfy needs, wants and desires of his/her nation.
Thus, a national-sociopath does not give a rat’s ass about needs, wants, desires, well-being and happiness of other nations. He/she views some nations as partners (to be used and exploited nevertheless), others as servants or even slaves (ditto) and some others as mortal enemies (to be ruthlessly exterminated).
This mental disorder (and national-sociopathy, like any sociopathy, is a mental disorder) prevented Nazis (like all sociopaths) from building the proper relationships with their stakeholders, including their allies and because of that ultimately led to their downfall.
The key deficiency of national-sociopathy that ultimately led to Nazi defeat in World War II, demise of the Third Reich, suicides of its Führer (and other prominent Nazis) and the (in)famous Nuremberg trials was its deep (and totally erroneous) belief that politics was a zero-sum game.
It wasn’t. Actually, the three keys to success in politics are to (1) make as many friends and partners as possible; (2) pursue win-win situations wherever possible – in most cases it is; and (3) do not make new enemies unless absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately for the Nazis, these principles were totally incompatible with their national-sociopathy (i.e., national-socialism). So instead of making new friends (or at least guaranteeing their neutrality they created very powerful enemies.
Which ultimately cost them their war, their civilization, their country, a significant portion of their land, just about all their infrastructure (which took many years to rebuild), and for many – their very lives.
As genuine national-sociopath, Adolf Hitler deeply and passionately loved the Greater Germany and his fundamental and overwhelming objective in life was to faithfully and efficiently serve his nation.
Serve by becoming its Führer and by leading it to prosperity, security and genuine happiness. By making Greater Germany the best it can possibly be – and the best and the happiest country in the world. The best of the best. The indisputable global leader. And by making its capital Berlin (that he wanted to rename ‘Germania’) the Mittelpunkt der Welt. The Center of the World.
Unfortunately, while he deeply and sincerely desired prosperity, security and genuine happiness for his country, he did not care a damn thing about prosperity and security (let alone genuine happiness) of any other nation.
For him all other nations (whether ‘allies’, ‘adversaries’ or ‘neutral’) were only tools to be used to achieve prosperity, security and genuine happiness for his beloved Greater Germany. Which often led to disastrous consequences for these ‘tools’.
Because Adolf Hitler was a racist. He sincerely believed in the inherent superiority of an ‘Aryan race’ and the inherent inferiority of all other races – even of a number of nations (Jews, Slavs, etc.) that belonged to the white (Caucasian) race.
Actually, he was not alone – at that time the overwhelming majority of Western elites (and the common folks as well) were openly or covertly racist. Even a lot of reputable scientists considered racism to be scientifically sound.
In addition to being a racist, Adolf Hitler was a radical Social Darwinist (another widespread belief during his times). He applied Charles Darwin’s biological doctrine of the ‘survival of the fitness’ to human nations and races. Taking this doctrine to the extreme and significantly perverting it in the process.
Which led him to a deep, sincere and intense belief in the reality of so-called ‘existential race wars’. In other words, he believed that the ‘superior’ German nation is engaged (whether it wanted it or not, whether it liked or not) in the existential war with the ‘inferior’ races (led, obviously, by Jews). He believed that either the Germans exterminate their adversaries – or these adversaries will inevitably exterminate the German nation.
As it turned out, he was right about the existential war… only the Jews as a nation (there is no such thing as a “Jewish race”) had nothing to do with it.
As the war was truly existential, Adolf Hitler considered every tool and weapon acceptable if it does the job – no matter how criminal it was. Which automatically made him a criminal (by definition, the latter is the one who believes criminal activities to be acceptable for achieving one’s objectives).
But he was obviously no ordinary criminal. Adolf Hitler was a war criminal and mass murderer (arguably the most horrible murderer in human history). Nazi Germany was a Führerstaat – the “Führer’s State” – so none of the major war crimes and crimes against humanity could have been committed without Hitler’s consent.
And although he never gave direct written orders (he seldom did) to commit any of these crimes (including The Holocaust), there is plenty of irrefutable evidence which proves beyond the reasonable doubt that such orders (explicit or implicit) have been given.
Adolf Hitler was neither a ‘thug’ nor a ‘crook’ (these are the definitions of ordinary criminals). He was a mobster. The Nazi version of Capo di Tutti Cappi. The criminal boss of all criminal bosses.
He was the Capo di Tutti Cappi of the Third Reich because he created essentially a criminal system that from the very beginning was committing horrendous crimes (on a daily if not hourly basis) against humanity and subsequently even more horrendous war crimes.
As any classic mobster, he (incorrectly) believed that brutal force and violence were by far the most efficient tools to reach just about any objective. Although these methods did result in truly spectacular victories on a number of occasions, this belief made Hitler too inflexible and ultimately contributed significantly to his downfall.