https://fee.org/articles/socialist-academics-contributed-to-the-rise-of-the-third-reich/?utm_source=zapier&utm_medium=facebook "Socialist Academics Contributed to the Rise of the Third Reich Nazism did not simply appear out of thin air and infect the minds of docile German people. Throughout the last three chapters of F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, I have found myself questioning whether I am still reading the same book. In chapters 1-11, Hayek went from being an economist to a philosopher, to a historian. But in chapter twelve, “The Socialist Roots of Nazism,” he takes on the role of biographer. Hayek highlights the very important connection between the socialist and Nazi intellectuals by profiling a handful of prominent German Marxist supporters whose philosophical beliefs would radicalize during WWI. While their academic careers were centered on spreading socialist philosophy, many would later come to the conclusion that nothing short of Nazism would help bring about the necessary revolutionary change they each wanted. But most importantly, Hayek points out that contrary to what many think, Nazism did not simply appear out of thin air and infect the minds of docile German people. There were academic roots that, while grown in the soil of socialist thought, grew into a philosophy that praised German superiority, ultimate war, and the degradation of the individual. As Hayek writes: It is a common mistake to regard National Socialism as a mere revolt against reason, an irrational movement without intellectual background. If that were so, the movement would be much less dangerous than it is. But nothing could be further from the truth or more misleading.” Speaking of socialism’s intellectual leaders who later helped lay the intellectual foundation for the rise of the Third Reich, Hayek says: ...It cannot be denied that the men who produced the new doctrines were powerful writers who left the impress of their ideas on the whole of European thought. Their system was developed with ruthless consistency. Once one accepts the premises from which it starts, there is no escape from its logic.” While touching on each of Hayek’s examples would be just as long as Hayek’s own twelfth chapter, I will touch specifically on Werner Sombart, Johann Plenge, and Oswald Spengler. Werner Sombart Hayek writes: From 1914 onward there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hardworking laborer and idealist youth into the National Socialist fold. It was only thereafter that the tide of nationalist socialism attained major importance and rapidly grew into the Hitlerian doctrine.” Beginning his list of influential thinkers prior to WWII, Hayek begins with the dedicated Marxist who later embraced nationalism and dictatorship, Werner Sombart (1863-1941). Hayek says of Sombart: Sombart had begun as a Marxian socialist and, as late as 1909, could assert with pride that he had devoted the greater part of his life to fighting for the ideas of Karl Marx. He had done as much as any man to spread socialist ideas and anticapitalist resentment of varying shades throughout Germany; and if German thought became penetrated with Marxian elements in a way that was true of no other country until the Russian revolution, this was in a large measure due to Sombart. Sombart was no stranger to radicalized thought. In fact, he would never be allowed to rise to the ranks of university chair in the course of his career because of his ties to Marxism.[...]"