L.K. Samuels: Was Adolf Hitler the Son of Karl Marx?

In an age where Karl Marx is increasingly immortalized as a saint for trying to end all inequalities, it becomes vital to understand his political theories, activism, and temperament. And when one begins to research Marx and his utopian ideas, it turns out that his more human qualities do not match up with his supposedly divine image. In fact, Marx was no profound world-class thinker; but a racist, nationalistic socialist warmonger who hated Jews, Slavs and sought to create a powerful German empire. When one looks around to locate other prominent leaders who echo Marx’s ideology and ambitions, one character rises to the forefront. Another well-known and militant German socialist with a funny mustache also envisioned a powerful empire ruled by a superior German race. And that other socialist authoritarian was Adolf Hitler

Without a doubt, ideologically, economically, and politically, Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler were almost indistinguishable. They were two social justice warriors, determined to weaponize intolerance, socialism, racism, and nationalism for the greater good like father and son. Marx and Hitler seamlessly fit a similar political profile as both fraternal comrades and combative siblings in significant ways. They were two sides of the same coin.

Don’t let the squabbling between the National Socialists and the communist thugs fool anyone. Socialists are always killing other socialists or communists on a grand scale. These violent duels for power and egos are innate in militant collectivists’ DNA. Stalin killed millions of his Russian comrades, including Trotskyites, old Bolshevik diehards, Soviet military leaders and soldiers, and even German communists. Many communist nations have invaded and laid waste to other communist countries over petty ideological differences. Collectives do not get along well together. Just examine Marx’s erratic behavior towards his own comrades, viciously insulting and vilifying his socialist colleagues across Europe. Marx always had to be the center of attention; when one of his devotees outshined him, he would verbally abuse them with racist insults, level patently false accusations, or accuse them of having syphilis. Often ridiculing friend or foe in public gatherings, Marx spewed out a barrage of hate against these dedicated comrades, branding them as “toads,” or “the rabble,” or the “European emigrant mob,” or “the rotten emigrant swine who wallow in the filth of newspapers.”

Due to Marx’s toxic personality, Marxian culture fostered a penchant for power struggles, both exteriorly and interiorly, as evidenced by Stalin’s order to assassinate Leon Trotsky in Mexico and the execution of almost every old Bolshevik who founded Soviet Russia in 1917. Political backstabbing and skullduggery were an integral part of the communist psyche, as it was with their National Socialist cousins in Germany.

Marx and his ideological successors represented a reactionary counterforce to defeat the feared menaces of industrial capitalism, Lockean liberalism, and individualism. And not only did many anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, and Pan-German compatriots swarm Marxist ranks, but so did a World War I corporal and admirer of Marx—Adolf Hitler. In many ways, Hitler was enormously influenced by Marxism and its effort to destroy the bourgeoisie middle class, unearned income, and Jewish capitalism.

When he was stationed in Munich, Hitler dabbled in the politics of revolutionary socialism and hard-core Marxism, first under the People’s State of Bavaria and then the violence-prone Bavarian Soviet Republic. Hitler was attracted to the authoritarian socialism of Marx. Hitler admired the Prussians and their aggressive and dictatorial obsessions, especially Prussia’s King Frederick the Great. Marx was a Prussian German who demanded authoritarian rule and discipline. Hitler and Marx were angry, corrupt, and ambitious and preferred dictatorship over individual self-determination.

So, why would Hitler be drawn to Marx’s theories? He was impressed with Marx’s “revolutionary nationalism” and his support for the unification of Germany in 1848. In one screed, Marx wrote: “The only possible solution which will preserve Germany’s honor and Germany’s interest is, we repeat, a war with Russia.” Both nationalism and socialism were companions of Marx’s ideology. Despite his advocacy of an international proletarian movement, Marx’s enthusiastic embracement of German nationalism and socialism seems to place him within close proximity to Nazism. Some scholars had argued that when Marx founded his nationalistic communism, he also laid the groundwork for a version of German nationalistic socialism. Therefore, there could have never been a Mussolini or Hitler without Marx. With Marx’s blatant advocacy of a racist-nationalist-war agenda, some speculate that Hitler could have quickly become one of his communist sidekicks or disciples.

In an 1851 letter to Marx, Engels exhibited this nationalistic Pan-Germanism, writing that there is “no more reason for Poland to exist,” and that what should be done is to take “from the western part of Poland anything that can be taken, to let the Germans occupy their fortresses under the pretext of ‘protection,’ use the people for cannon fodder and devour their country.” Marx seemed to agree.

Marx often displayed his chauvinistic and racial-nationalist sentiments in his disparagement of Slavic Russians. He wrote that “I do not trust any Russian” and that “as soon as a Russian worms his way in, all hell breaks loose.” Hitler also had nothing but scorn for Russia’s “inferior” Slavic race.

According to Leopold Schwarzschild in Karl Marx: The Red Prussian, Marx was a vocal warmonger, agitating “more violently than anyone for a war which would further the creation of the German Empire.” British university teacher and politician Christopher Hollis wrote that Marx had no faith in the equality of nations and was instead a “through and through… pan-German nationalist and language about the higher and the lower races was language that came most naturally to his pen.” Instead of standing up for internationalism, both Marx and Engels in 1848 campaigned for the unification of Germany, publishing a short Communist Party of Germany pamphlet demanding that the “whole of Germany shall be declared a united, indivisible republic.”

As for his hatred of Jews, Marx penned a poisonous brew of anti-Semitism. In his 1844 letter “On the Jewish Question,” he wrote:  “What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money… Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist.”

Although the atheist Karl Marx was half-Jewish by birth, he accused the Jews of belonging to a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, a charge that Hitler, also an atheist, repeatedly mouthed many decades later. Marx wrote: “Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew, as is every pope by a Jesuit. In truth, the cravings of oppressors would be hopeless, and the practicability of war out of the question, if there were not an army of Jesuits to smother thought and a handful of Jews to ransack pockets.”

Marx was not timid in spewing forth hateful and racist rants.  Not to be outdone by the racist rhetoric of other socialist doctrinaires, Marx once launched a barrage of insults towards a German-Jew socialist colleague, Ferdinand Lassalle. He wrote a letter that accused Lassalle of being of mixed race, writing: “the Jewish Nigger, Lassalle… it is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother had not interbred with a nigger. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product. The obtrusiveness of the fellow is also nigger-like.”

Not only was Marx a bigot and anti-Semitic, but he exhibited a bizarre social Darwinian attitude regarding black slavery in North America. Hitler could not have been more pleased, considering that forced labor in Nazi Germany was conducted on an unprecedented scale by abducting and enslaving approximately 12 million foreigners. Marx bluntly stated in 1846: “Without slavery there would be no cotton, without cotton there would be no modern industry. It is slavery which has given value to the colonies,… Without slavery, North America, the most progressive nation, would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Only wipe North America off the map and you will get anarchy, the complete decay of trade and modern civilisation. But to do away with slavery would be to wipe America off the map.” However, Marx did argue that his pro-slavery statements were simply an example of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s dialectics. Nonetheless, Marx opposed the concept of “self-ownership.” He wanted to create an enslaved humanity under an unelected and authoritarian collective. He fought against democracy and public elections. His push for thralldom was an effort to create a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Moreover, Marx believed that only after the creation of a mature and “modern industry” by industrial capitalists could communism nationalize-socialize the entire economy of a nation.

Marx was not afraid to display his anti-democratic ideology, often encouraging Marxian socialists to declare war on open, consensual government that governs on behalf of the citizenry. In an 1851 letter to Engels, Marx explained that his objective “was at bottom nothing but a plan of war against democracy.” Engels enthusiastically agreed, referring to Marx’s strategy as the “Plan of Campaign against Democracy.” Hitler could have been more delighted; he also agreed with Marx’s anti-democratic sentiments for a single-party dictatorship for Germany.

Karl Marx had few redeeming qualities, if any. He was neither progressive nor enlightened; he was a racist, anti-Semite, a German nationalist, a warmonger, autocratic, anti-freedom, Machiavellian, pro-Black slavery, petty, homophobic, megalomaniac, a bully, and slanderer, anti-choice, and held reactionary values against liberalism and industrial capitalism. Pretty well, the same can be said of Hitler. In almost every sense, Marx fits the quintessential image of Hitler like a tight glove. One could easily confuse Marx with Hitler. But Marx’s collectivist-based racism aided him in fomenting conflict, pitting people against people, a sort of identity politics that aroused politicization, deep divisions, and hate that was so useful to the German National Socialists.

The racism of Marx and Engels knew no bounds. But the reasons why Marx, Hitler, and a profusion of socialists held similar hostility towards the ethnicity and culture of Jews can be attributed to their hatred of the capitalist bourgeois. Marx wrote: “Bourgeois society continuously brings forth the Jew from its own entrails.” However, historians have speculated that some socialists might have employed anti-Semitism simply as a means to advance their anti-capitalist doctrine. This was an easy sell. For centuries, the Europeans saw the capitalism of the Jews, especially usury, as a moral evil.

But the attacks were not just against Jewish-inspired capitalism. Liberalism was also a key target. For instance, the socialist reformers in Germany, like the Christian Social Party in the late 19th century, “attacked laissez-faire economics and the Jews as part of the same liberal plague.” This all boiled down to an anti-Semitic attack fueled by the hatred of capitalism. And this was what closely tied together Hitler’s National Socialists with Marx’s Communist utopia. They both hated liberal-Jewish capitalism and required a community of men to push the common good before the individual interest.

Marxism is closely aligned with socialistic nationalism, as was noted when Stalin adopted his “Socialism in One County” policies in 1926. Soviet Russia had turned towards national communism, and in doing so, as UC Berkeley political scientist A. James Gregor opined, “Marxist theory reveals itself as a variant of generic fascism,” which made “the Soviet Union unmistakenly ‘a cousin to the German National Socialism.’”

Marx and Hitler were so alike in so many ways that Soviet Russian leaders had to distance themselves from their former socialist-fascist partner. But history can be unforgiving. Despite mountains of old Soviet propaganda with false narratives, Marx and Hitler are viewed as two racist authoritarians cut from the same red star stone. In so many ways, considering their almost identical political and social makeup, metaphorically speaking, Hitler could easily be regarded as the son of Marx.

PHOTO: Adolf Hitler examines a map with Heinrich Himmler and Martin Bormann. Photo by Segunda Guerra Mundial. Public Domain Mark 1.0. 

L.K. Samuels