National Socialism refers to the political philosophy of the National Socialist (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei also called the NSDAP or Nazi) Party, and is often (but incorrectly) used to mean the same thing as Fascism. Fascism is a broader abstraction which subsumes not only the specific ideology of the Nazi party, but also the ideologies of, for example, Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco.
National Socialism combines several elements in order to justify a Totalitarian political agenda. These include:
- Organic nationalism
- Expression of a leader principle, a key element of fascist ideology in which the ruler is supposed to embody the nation.
The most prominent National Socialist was Adolf Hitler, who ruled Germany from 1933 until 1945, led Germany into World War II, oversaw the murder of over 20 million people and who is held responsible for the Holocaust. Under Hitler, nationalism and racism were joined together through an ideology of Militarism to serve his goals.
see also NSDAP