National Socialist German Workers' Party?
Why Socialist? How were the Nazis socialists? They hated the communists. And didn't German's own their own businesses? Yes they did. So how then were the Nazis socialists?
It is important to understand that there is more than one kind of socialism.
"...practically no one thinks of Nazi Germany as a socialist state. It is far more common to believe that it represented a form of capitalism, which is what the Communists and all other Marxists have claimed." (From the book Why Nazism was Socialism and Why Socialism is Totalitarian by George Reisman).
Many of the policies of the Nazi party were certainly socialist in nature. Hitler was all for government education, government health care, and heavy regulation of industry. (National Socialism is not the same as Democratic Socialism, but it too has it's dangers. Only a fool believes that governments won't become corrupt or that the state won't attempt to use such power to advance its own ideology.)
This is how the Reisman's book starts:
"My purpose today is to make just two main points: (1) To show why Nazi Germany was a socialist state, not a capitalist one. And (2) to show why socialism, understood as an economic system based on government ownership of the means of production, positively requires a totalitarian dictatorship.... [emphasis added]
The basis of the claim that Nazi Germany was capitalist was the fact that most industries in Nazi Germany appeared to be left in private hands.
What Mises identified was that private ownership of the means of production existed in name only under the Nazis and that the actual substance of ownership of the means of production resided in the German government. For it was the German government and not the nominal private owners that exercised all of the substantive powers of ownership: it, not the nominal private owners, decided what was to be produced, in what quantity, by what methods, and to whom it was to be distributed, as well as what prices would be charged and what wages would be paid, and what dividends or other income the nominal private owners would be permitted to receive. The position of the alleged private owners, Mises showed, was reduced essentially to that of government pensioners."
The book, Why Nazism was Socialism and Why Socialism is Totalitarian, is based on a lecture by the same name. And is part of a series of lectures entitled The Economics of Fascism. (Before reading that little book I thought communism was a great idea, which had failed in practice because of brutal dictators. I believed that a communist state could work without the state oppressing the people, if it was led by a benevolent leader. I was naïve. (Even if power did not corrupt, and the leader sincerely tried to implement the wishes of the people, communism still would not work. It's just such a bad system.) I mention this because if we really care about people we will desire that they live under a system of government that gives them more freedom and justice than any other.)
Few people know this, but America had socialist origins.