Nazi Socialism Vs. Spartan Ethos Essay

1104 words - 4 pages

National Socialism is a deeply conservative political ideology that stresses racial superiority, the subordination of the individual to the state and the right of the strong to rule the weak . Besides being associated with militarism, totalitarianism and dictatorial rule, National Socialist governments rely heavily on intense nationalism, mass appeal and other forms of propaganda to indoctrinate their people into giving up all personal rights in the name of the state . Moreover, National Socialist governments often initiate expansionism as well as a state obsession in eugenics, which results the purging of undesirables . However, throughout history there have been few states worthy of being deemed “National Socialist”. Some may even argue that Nazi Germany was the only true National Socialist state, while Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain could be better described as supplementary forms of fascism. Nevertheless, it is extremely important not to overlook the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta on the Peloponnese (the height of its history lasting from 700 BCE to 371 BCE) , which in some respects can be considered the first National Socialist state, though its society and political system does not entirely conform to the ideal model of National Socialism.


First and foremost, Sparta was a truly militaristic state. The Spartans’ need for a strong military and secret police force stemmed from their fear of a possible helot (the serf class that served Spartan citizens) revolt and the implications that it would have on their society . Spartan leaders focused strongly on maintaining a large and well-trained army by implementing mandatory military enrolment for all Spartan men between the ages of 20 and 60 . Though even before enrolling in the state army, Spartan males had to undergo a grueling physical training program during much of their youth, to develop them into strong fighters . The Nazi equivalent of the Spartan’s youth training system was the Hitler Youth. Apart from indoctrinating children with party propaganda, the Hitler Youth trained boys to use weapons, built up their physical strength and taught them new war strategies . The Spartan government’s emphasis on the military is evident in the roles of the two hereditary kings, as one of these kings was specifically in charge of the military . The Spartan’s strong sense of militarism initiated expansionism in the years 725 BCE to 550 BCE, just like it had in Nazi Germany in the years preceding World War II, but Sparta never developed into an imperialist state . Clearly militarism is an essential element in any National Socialist state and is one of the most obvious elements of the Spartan state.


On the other hand, Sparta’s system of government did not fit the National Socialist model. Though it may have been totalitarian (in the sense that the state controlled virtually all aspects of a citizen’s life), Sparta’s government was nothing near dictatorial. The Spartan...

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