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In the mid-1890s, the left-leaning Christian socialist Friedrich Naumann was the first German public figure to develop national socialism as a systematic world view. Under the influence of Max Weber, Naumann abandoned his Christian-ethical conception of social reform in favour of a national existentialism that overrides any ethical imperative; and he abandoned the pre-modern, Christian foundations of his productivism in favour of modern and nationalist foundations. The outcome was a national socialism underpinned by the synthesis of national existentialism and national productivism; a form of socialism driven by a concern for national order rather than by a vision of social justice or emancipation. This interpretation makes it difficult to maintain a clear demarcation of Naumann's national socialism from its right-wing counterparts and to retain Naumann's image as a progressive reformer.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 210 Barrows Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-1950, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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