Re “Socialism is next step to Nazism” (Letters, March 13): The letter grossly misrepresents the historic and current relationships among Nazis, communists and socialists. They are not “all the same and want the same thing.” Though the Nazis named themselves the National Socialist Party, they were never closely tied to socialist thought or policies, nor were they sympathetic to German socialist political groups. They are more correctly identified as Fascist, akin to Franco’s Spain and Mussolini’s Italy.
Nazis came to power in Germany after a decade of bloody street fights with German Communists. During Hitler’s time as the Nazi political leader, openly Communist Germans were sent to prisons and work camps, and sometimes murdered by Nazi sympathizers, police or para-military groups. The overwhelming majority of military and civilian deaths in WWII were the result of a grinding war in Eastern Europe between Communists and Nazis, and a deliberate extermination of Jews, socialists and ethnic minorities by both.
Neither the Nazis nor communists tolerated socialists after taking power, and many of the Western European governments joining the U.S. in NATO to oppose Communist expansion were (and some today are) socialist. Anyone is free to dislike any or all of these groups, but it is a reversal of fact to consider them the same.
Jeff Sanders, Merced