- A nebulous phenomenon, National Bolshe-vism surfaced in 1919 among members of Hamburg's KPD and recurred at intervals (e.g., 1923 and 1930) throughout the Weimar era. Associated chiefly with the preindustrial Mittelstand,* it was marked by implacable hostility toward the bourgeoisie and enchantment with Russia. Linked variously to the radical Right and Left, it aimed to bridge the gap between political extremes, thus forming a national front against the Republic and the Western Allies. Karl Ra-dek, Lenin's agent in Berlin,* was enthralled when the concept was introduced to him during his 1919 imprisonment (Lenin dubbed it a heresy). Ernst Nie-kisch,* the erstwhile socialist most associated with it, later recalled that he sought to attract middle-class youth to an antibourgeois stance that celebrated the old military caste and appealed to national idealism.In a 1932 Weltbuhne* article Kurt Hiller* coined the term linke Leute von Rechts ("leftists of the Right"), an expression of the ideological affinity certain leftists felt for the Right. Hiller's concept is useful, for although National Bol-sheviks might identify themselves with one of several Communist groups, their ideology was less Marxist than anti-Western and less tied to the Soviet Union* than bent on annulling Versailles. Arthur Moeller* van den Bruck, deemed its key theorist, wrote of uniting Germany in "an alliance with Russia and of playing the revolutionary East against the capitalist West." While such rhetoric mirrored Nazi slogans, National Bolshevism was more a state of mind than a movement.REFERENCES:Angress, Stillborn Revolution; Ascher and Lewy, "National Bolshevism"; Lebovics, Social Conservatism; Fritz Stern, Politics of Cultural Despair; Von Klemperer, Germany's New Conservatism; Wurgaft, Activists.
A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. C. Paul Vincent.
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