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National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), more commonly known as Nazism (/ˈnɑːtsɪzəm, ˈnæ-/[1]), is the ideology and practice associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party and Nazi state, as well as other far-right groups. Usually characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and antisemitism, Nazism developed out of the influences of Pan-Germanism, the Völkisch German nationalist movement and the anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged during the Weimar Republic after German defeat in World War I.

Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying Germans as part of what Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race.[2] It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a homogeneous society, unified on the basis of "racial purity" (Volksgemeinschaft). The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum, while excluding those deemed either to be community aliens or belonging to an "inferior" race. The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of "socialism", as an alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of class struggle, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, and sought to convince all parts of a new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the "common good" and to accept the priority of political interests in economic organisation.[3]

The Nazi Party was founded as the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers' Party on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s, Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP) to broaden its appeal. The National Socialist Program, adopted in 1920, called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while also supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf, written in 1924, Hitler outlined the antisemitism and anti-communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for parliamentary democracy and his belief in Germany’s right to territorial expansion.

In 1933, with the support of traditional conservative nationalists, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis gradually established a one-party state, under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalized, with several millions eventually imprisoned and killed. Hitler purged the party’s more socially and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives and, after the death of President Hindenburg, political power was concentrated in his hands, as Führer or "leader". Following the Holocaust and German defeat in World War II, only a few fringe racist groups, usually referred to as neo-Nazis, still describe themselves as following National Socialism.

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