Given the media’s attempt to portray fascism and Nazism on the right, here are ten books that provide a deep understanding of the two ideologies.
They provide the intellectual foundation for my claim in The Big Lie that fascism and Nazism belong on the left and that the contemporary Left is, both in ideology and tactics, the party of fascism and Nazism.
1. James Gregor, The Ideology of Fascism. The preeminent historian of fascism shows how fascism arose on the left and how fascism is the ideology of centralized state control over the private economy and over the private lives of citizens.
2. Stanley Payne, A History of Fascism. Payne traces the origins of fascism in Italy and shows how it migrated to Germany where it became National Socialism. Fascism, he argues, is not reactionary but progressive; it is a product of the Enlightenment.
3. Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology. A magnificent history of how fascism grew out of Marxism and how all the founders of fascism in Italy, France, Germany, and England were men of the left.
4. F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. Hayek was one of the first—if not the first—scholar to show the close relationship between fascism and socialism, and to warn Britain and America that, after defeating National Socialism, they were themselves headed down the socialist path.
5. Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism. An indispensable guide showing how contemporary liberalism is imbued with fascist ideas and assumptions, and also how American progressives in the 1920s and 1930s were fascinated and deeply attracted to Italian fascism, with the fascists returning the compliment.
6. Götz Aly, Why the Germans? Why the Jews? The German historian makes the provocative case that Nazi anti-Semitism was rooted not in a perception of Jewish inferiority but in envy resulting from Jewish success. Aly shows a startling parallel between Hitler’s fulminations against Jews and the modern left’s railing against greedy bankers and the “top 1 percent.”
7. Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself. The Columbia University historian exposes how FDR made a Faustian bargain with Democratic Party racists in which he agreed to block anti-lynching laws and exclude blacks from most New Deal programs and goes beyond Goldberg in exposing how New Dealers dabbled in—and, in some cases, embraced—fascist ideology.
8. Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands. Snyder chillingly bestseller shows Hitler’s larger genocide which encompassed Jews but wasn’t limited to Jews. In the process, he reveals how Hitler got his murderous scheme for dispossessing Slavs, Poles, Central Europeans, and Russians, resettling their land, and then enslaving the natives who remained, from the Jacksonian Democrats of the nineteenth century.
9. James Whitman, Hitler’s American Model. Whitman stunningly shows how the Nazis who drafted the notorious Nuremberg laws—laws that forbade intermarriage between Jews and Germans, segregated Jews into ghettos, confiscated Jewish property, and made Jews second class citizens—directly based those laws on the Democratic laws of the Jim Crow South.
10. Edwin Black, War Against the Weak. Black exposes how Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and her community of progressive eugenicists proposed forced sterilization schemes and even “lethal chambers” to wipe out the old, the weak, the sick, and the disabled, and how the Nazis adopted these blueprints for their forced-sterilization laws of 1933 and subsequent euthanasia laws using lethal chambers and carbon monoxide gas—the very killing scheme that was later expanded into Hitler’s Final Solution.
Dinesh D’Souza’s new book The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left is published by Regnery.