In fact, these groups — Nazis, Bolsheviks, Fascists, Japanese imperialists and the like — were all essentially the same. Today is the 75th anniversary when Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan signed the “Anti-comintern Pact,” which was purported to be the foundation of the Axis Powers: hostility against Bolshevism. The purpose of this pact was to intellectually and morally disarm Americans, Britons, and others living in relatively free nations with significant percentages of the population who were religiously serious Christians and Jews.
Those who grasped the true nature of these ideologies also understood that the Nazis (National Socialists), Fascists, Bolsheviks, and Japanese Imperialists all had the same beliefs. The Anti-comintern Pact was simply a shifting of alliances between gangs.
James Waterman Wise, writing within months of when Hitler took power, observed: “Contemporary youth has a new conception of the nature of the States which is more strict and severe and disciplined. It tends in the direction of the collectivist ideal. These youths accept Communism or Fascism — which have much more in common than one might suspect at a hasty glance.”
Herbert Hoover, in his 1934 book, The Challenge to Liberty, observed in the chapter on Alternative Philosophies that the three systems running Germany, Russia, and Italy were simply collectivists, whatever names were used. Michael Freund wrote in 1935: “It is interesting to observe how various organizations of this kind, which began by favoring Fascism, are now more and more attracted by the language and ideas of National Socialism..... A natural consequence of Hitler’s National Socialism is that it approaches Communism both on the spiritual side and the economic side, as well as its educational policy.” Emil Lengyel, writing in 1936, stated: “No matter how loudly bolshevism and fascism proclaim a complete break with the past, they are heirs of yesterday.”
William Wythe in his 1937 book, Dusk of Empire, describes this religion of violent irreligion by calling Mussolini and Stalin faculty members in the “International Institute of Mumbo-Jumbo” who, for the time being, were concentrating on their own “national religions” (i.e., Fascism and Communism). Winston Churchill, in a January 25 speech the same year in Leeds, described Bolshevism and Nazism thus:
There are those non-God religions, Nazism and Communism. We are urged from the Continent and from different quarters that we must choose which side we are on. I repudiate both, and will have nothing to do with either. As a matter of fact, they are like two peas. Tweedledum and Tweedledee were violently contrasted compared with them.
Henry Bamford Parkes, two years later, observed: “If we accept the familiar Marxist doctrine that Communism and Fascism are the only alternatives before us, and that if we reject one we must accept the other, it is difficult not to feel that mankind must, in either case, enter a new Dark Age.”
Erica Mann, in her 1938 book, School for Barbarians, noted the common war of Bolsheviks and Nazis on God and family, and then declared, “Again, all we have to do is replace ‘Bolshevism’ with ‘National Socialism’ to get a fairly exact picture.” The same year, Fitz Marx, in his book Government in Fascist Italy, observed that the political institutions in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union made use of identical governing mechanisms and tactics. And also the same year, Dorothy Thompson, in a short book entitled Dorothy Thompson’s Political Guide, described the situation about as well as anyone. As many others had done, Thompson pointed out that Fascism, Nazism, and Communism are all forms of collectivism, and that although a great many people believed that there was a war going on between Fascism and Communism, “This theory of a war between the two was invented by Fascists and Communists.”
In his 1939 book, European Government and Politics, Frederic Ogg observed that the Italian Fascists, the German National Socialists, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were all ruled by compact groups set far enough off from ordinary citizens that rigid party discipline could be imposed. Hermann Rauschning, prescient in so many areas, wrote in 1939: “It is in the nature of things that the planning and methods of work of the Soviet State and the Fascist and the National Socialist States should be growing more and more similar.” In Introduction to Socialism and Communism, written before WWII began, the brilliant Christian apologist Arnold Lunn observed that the authority of socialist regimes can be maintained only by repression at home and adventure abroad, and that it does not matter whether the particular socialist regime calls itself “fascist” or “socialist” in applying this principle.
The imperial Japanese had the same beliefs and were typically defined by non-Marxist writers as adopting socialism and opposing Bolshevism in Russia simply for geopolitical opportunistic reasons (i.e., the Japanese lusted after the Siberian territory). Interestingly, the Japanese had opposed Fascists in Ethiopia, which was the antithesis of what mainstream history suggests.
Japanese imperialism was sometimes a close ally of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and sometimes it was not. Fascist Italy and imperial Japan clashed over Ethiopia, with the Fascists bitterly opposed to the Japanese economic and military penetration of Ethiopia prior to the Fascist conquest of that African empire. One of the harshest critics of imperial Japan in the 1930s was the Fascist writer Amleto Vespa, whose 1938 book, Secret Agent of Japan, described the Japanese militarists as the worst people in the world. Carter in his 1935 book wrote of Japanese support to the Ethiopians to resist the Fascists: “Japanese arms and munitions are being supplied in profuse quantities to Ras Tafari’s soldiers.... The Japanese have not forgiven Mussolini for his references to color.... It is to their obvious advantage to be friendly to Ethiopia.”
Even the non-aggression pact between Hitler and Stalin in August 1939, which was reiterated in subsequent pacts between these regimes, was considered a “surprise” to many in Western nations. In March 1939, six months before the “surprise” of the Nazi-Bolshevik non-aggression pact, Dorothy Thompson wrote that the Nazis were not saying anything threatening toward the Bolsheviks about German designs on the Ukraine. Two months later Thompson noted that the attitudes of the “two revolutionaries,” Hitler and Stalin, were the same: Both hoped for the collapse of the international economy, the breakdown of democracy, the hopelessness of the unemployed, the confusion of the educated, the yearning for peace, and the shortsightedness of politicians. Also in March 1939, Life magazine reported that “He [Joseph Goebbels] belongs to the left-wing radical group of the Party.... He is aided in holding down the left side of the political see-saw by Himmler, who, like him, dreams of a rapprochement between Germany and Soviet Russia.”
Writers in early 1939 were warning readers to expect that “Russia and Germany could come to terms — either on some basis as the eight Generals favoured, or at the expense of Poland ... every Pole has at the back of his mind ... the thought that, as in the past, Germany and Russia might exploit Polish dissensions and come to terms over Poland’s dead body.” Freund wrote that the Nazis were training the German people in collectivism which was very similar to Soviet collectivism. He also noted that possibility of a Nazi-Soviet alliance. In 1938, one year before the non-aggression pact and the partition of Eastern Europe, Whittaker Chambers wrote that Soviet Russia was “Hitler’s only real ally.” Similarly, that same year Hendrik Willem Van Loon, in his book Our Battle, noted that Russia might make common cause with the Third Reich. So the nonaggression pact came as no surprise to a number of people who were writing about the logic of it long before it was announced.
Many commentators, during the years between the ascension to power of Hitler and the signing of the non-aggression pact, noted that Nazism was very much like Bolshevism. Calvin Hoover wrote that Nazism resembled Russian Bolshevism much more than it did Italian Fascism. He quoted a Russian émigré prince who told him that the German dictatorship was more like that of the Soviets than that of the Fascists in its appeal to radicalism and that the National Socialists were not Communists but they certainly were Bolsheviks.
A. W. Zlomek, in his 1940 book, This Peculiar War, noted: “It is literally only within the past few months that we have heard the German nationalist philosophy spoken of as National Bolshevism. Farsighted observers have predicted for several years that this would be the ultimate outcome and apparently that day has come.” Lindal, in his 1940 book written while Germany was fighting in Norway, said: “Only those who understood the fundamental unity in thought and action between Hitler and Stalin, were unshaken when a non-aggression pact, signed before the outbreak of hostilities, was announced. To others, more credulous, it was startling to find the National Socialist party, anathema to the teachings of Karl Marx and Lenin, overnight welcomed as an ally by Russia. Equally startling was the revelation that the vituperations of Hitler against Stalin had been but shadow-boxing.” The Baltic people, caught between Nazis and Bolsheviks, regarded the public hostility between Brown and Red dictatorships as phony, as Henry C. Wolfe noted in The Imperial Soviets.
Eduard Heiman, in his chapter on Nazism from the 1941 book Democracy is Different, notes that not only was the non-aggression pact no surprise to the serious observer, but that the Soviets had been working to bring Hitler to power since at least 1932:
The world was stunned by the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939, which led to the fall of French democracy. The world is so short of memory that it had entirely forgotten the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1932, which lead to the fall of German democracy. Stalin himself gave out the cue that one had to "take into the bargain a few years of Hitler rule in order to rid the worst enemies of labor, the Social Democrats and the Catholic trade unions."
Accordingly the Communist papers flamed day by day with headlines to the effect that [Carl] Severing — a Social Democrats minister and the head of the republican police — "is worse than Hitler." This was meant literally, difficult as it now is to realize that the Communists preferred the Gestapo to the lenient republican police … It [the collaboration of Nazis and Communists] culminated, after several mutual enterprises, in the big traffic strike in Berlin, in November, 1932, three months before Hitler seized power and a few days before the last free parliamentary election. The purpose was to discredit the Republic and the trade unions, which opposed the strike. To this end the two parties, Nazis and Communist, appointed a strike committee of twelve members, six delegates from either side.
Nazism, Bolshevism, Fascism, and Japanese imperialism were all part of the same grand system, hateful of individual liberty in whatever form it existed, contemptuous of Christianity and Judaism and the adherents of those religions, and bound to attempt to destroy belief in God and the rights of man which our Founding Fathers understood flowed from that belief.
That, really, is all that the 1936 Anti-comintern Pact represented.