The July 12 letter “Trump a problem-solver” argued that as a “socialist,” Hitler was a “left-wing demagogue.” While the letter-writer’s claims are understandable in the context of American politics, the matter is less clear when talking about the political situation in other countries.
In international politics, “liberals” espouse viewpoints that differ from their country’s political orthodoxy. “Conservatives,” on the other hand, hold viewpoints more aligned with the traditional belief systems of their country.
Take Russia’s political spectrum, for example. Russian “liberals” are free-market homophobes (think Putin), and the Russian “conservatives” are communist.
Any leader who calls for “taking their country back” or “the glory of the past” is espousing conservative sentiments. The Third Reich was a reference to Germany’s “glory days” as the Holy Roman Empire of AD 962-1806 (First Reich) and the German Empire of 1871-1918 (Second Reich).
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The terms “left wing” and “right wing,” while easily applicable to specific ideologies in America, are based on the seating chart of Congress and thus do not always work when applied to other countries.
On a sidenote, party names and ideologies are notoriously unaligned. Take Britain’s Liberal Democrats, the ideologically centrist party that often forms coalitions with the Labour or Conservative parties.
Steven C. Williams