“Pah, all this discussion of what is or isn’t “Socialism” is really boring. I use one definition; you use a different one.”
You don’t seem to use any definition at all. You seem to just call whatever you think is good, “socialist.” My definition is the same as the definition used by the architects of socialist theory, IE state ownership. You do not get to make up your own definition. You do not get to change the meanings of words so they mean whatever you want them to.
“But virtually all the countries of Europe have a “Socialist” party and none of them advocate the platform you gave;”
Yes. Most European countries have socialist parties. Most western countries have are also beginning to lean dangerously in a socialist direction which is one of the reasons western civilisation is in decline.
“Are you really going to insist on a definition of “Socialism” which excludes virtually every major “Socialist” party in the world?”
No: I gave a definition of socialism which includes every major socialist party. Show me a socialist party which does not call for more state control. Show me a socialist party that does not call for higher taxes and more regulation of pretty much everything. Show me a socialist party that does not call for the imposition of all kinds of penalties and taxes on everything and all kind of controls on how people can live and do business. Show me a socialist party which does not push for statism and collectivism and I will show you a purple unicorn who can sing the Russian national anthem backwards in ancient Greek.
“Additionally, we already have a much better word for the platform you described: “Totalitarianism”.
That word does not describe the same thing. Socialism leads to totalitarianism but not all totalitarianism is socialist.
“Why we would need to press-gang another word which is still a common political label for people who believe something completely different, you’ll have to explain to me.”
We know what socialism is. I already did explain it. So did Kady. The only one trying to change the meaning of the word is you.
“Okay. If you and I can agree on anything about “Socialism”, it’s that Nazism is a type of Socialism.”
Yes Nazism, and fascism in general was a form of socialism because it involved state ownership and control of pretty much everything and that is what socialism is.
Are you seeing a pattern yet?
“Nazi economic organization did exactly what it was supposed to do — prepare Germany materially and psychologically for total war.”
It did not. It failed miserably. One of the aims of Nazism was to prepare Germany to be capable of winning that war and expanding its socialist state from the English Channel to the Ural Mountains. Nazi Germany failed to win that war. In fact Germany and its allies lost that war very quickly and in spectacular fashion. If the Nazis had not committed such horrendous crimes, they would have gone down as the biggest joke in modern history. The Nazis were a bunch of twisted sadistic clowns who proved to be grossly incompetent at pretty much everything they did.
“Germany lost because it was fighting against absurd odds.”
Germany did not face absurd odds. At the beginning of the war Germany had the biggest and best equipped armed forces in the world, mostly because other countries had not been updating their militaries and most countries were not trying to shore up the weaknesses in their economies by putting their entire nation on a war footing.
The smoke and mirrors of Nazi economic success was built on borrowed money which would require the plunder of Europe to pay for. That is a perfect example of a failed system. German industrialists did not understand that once the other nations began to re-arm, Germany would not be able to keep up. German military leaders failed to grasp that their advantages would be very temporary because their enemies would rapidly update. They managed to knock out France with some difficulty because the French had no way to buy time. The British had the English Channel. The Americans had the Atlantic and the Russians had thousands of miles of open steppe.
The Germans and their allies managed to score some impressive victories in their early encounters with Russian and later American forces too, because neither the Russians nor Americans were prepared. But both Russia and the USA updated and enlarged their armed forces with incredible speed and were soon out producing Germany with ease. They were also generally producing military equipment in greater quantity and of better quality that the over-hyped junk the Germans thought would win them the war.
“That it came within a few battles of winning the war is crazy.”
It didn’t. Hitler’s chief strategist Eric von Manstein predicted as early as the beginning of 1942 that Germany had already lost the war. In fact the architects of the “Blitzkrieg” like Manstein and Guderian had warned Hitler not to overestimate the power of his military to win a major war. They warned that Germany could win a very short war only but that they would lose a prolonged one against a prepared enemy badly. They were right. Germany was basically engaged in a fighting retreat on all fronts from 1942 onwards.
The German military, like its equipment, was the best in the world, on the parade ground in nice weather. When it began to encounter well organised and determined opposition, it collapsed into chaos very easily.
“In that passage that I quoted in that other post, Orwell is making precisely this point, and I really don’t think you can argue that he was wrong.”
I am arguing that he was wrong.
“Britain and France had been the winners of WWI. There was no reason they should have fallen so badly behind the Germans,”
From a military point of view there were lots of reasons. They were building sustainable economies, not militarised dictatorships built on borrowed money. They failed to see the warning signs early enough and they should have. But their militaries were under-developed in 1940 because they did not expect a war. But their economies were far better developed and in a far more stable position than Germany, Italy, Russia, or any of the other socialist states. They were also not murdering and terrorising their own people in order to enforce their systems of government because they were not socialist. Your definition of success is very strange.
The thinking in France and Britain during the thirties is very complicated, especially in France: France did not see Germany as a threat until far too late precisely because the French had defeated Germany so recently. The French believed they had the world’s most formidable army. They may have had in 1918, but they certainly didn’t have that anymore. But WWI had taken a lot out of the French people and they were not interested in another one so soon. Military men like De Gaulle and Tassigny warned frantically of the growing threat. They understood that Germany would need to neutralise France first if it was going to invade Russia, and Hitler had made no secret of his intention to invade Russia. The French public dismissed them as “crying wolf” as generals have a tendency to do. The general consensus in France was that Hitler was an impotent little upstart.
He might take back the Rhur but let him. That was German territory anyway. The Germans can play conqueror in Poland if they want to but they had better keep their hands of Alscase or we might need to send our boys in to give them another spanking. We might need that railway carriage in Compiègne again after all. Anyway our army is the best in the world. We more than proved that last time, and our Maginot line is virtually impenetrable. It stretches all the way to the forests on the Belgian border and everyone knows you cannot drive tanks through a forest. Hitler will probably come to Paris, cap in hand, ready to eat humble pie, when the sanctions begin to bite.
“But in a scant seven years, German “Socialism” had thoroughly out-performed British and French “Capitalism”.
No it had not. It had outperformed British and French militarism only because the British and French had not been competing on that field. You cannot build a successful society by borrowing money and herding half the population into the army and murdering and terrorising anyone who questions your methods. You can build the illusion of successes for a while by doing that, but the bill has to be paid sooner or later. Berlin in flames was Germany’s bill.
Hitler arrived in the early thirties promising work, prosperity and pride for the German worker. In other words he sold them the usual socialist snake oil.
Nobody else in Europe wanted war which is why they were not prepared for it. This was all down to the Nazis. The National Socialists began building their “thousand year Reich” in 1933. By 1943 Germany was in a state of utter collapse, its armies in ruins, its cities burning and millions of its people dead. Hitler’s socialist Reich had lasted ten years and had brought nothing but death, destruction, terror and misery to the German people and to the rest of Europe too.
If that is your definition of successful then I must repeat that your idea of successes is very strange.