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The word was originally an abbreviation of the German pronunciation of "Nationalsozialist" (in part from the earlier German "sozi", popular abbreviation of "socialist"), from the "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" or the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP). The earlier nickname "Nazi" or "Naczi" has been argued to "Nazi" being used by opponents.
Related words include Nazism and Neo-Nazism.
The term is claimed by some to have been invented by Konrad Heiden, a founding member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (KPD), as a political epithet during the 1920s as a means of denigrating the NSDAP and National Socialism more generally. However, these claims have been heavily disputed. Furthermore, it has been noted that the term "Nazism" was allegedly used in a letter by Confederate States Army general Albert Pike to Italian nationalist politician Giuseppe Mazzini from 1871, in which he purportedly predicted both World Wars, but the letter in turn has generally been seen as a forgery.
The NSDAP briefly adopted the word, in attempt to give it a more positive sense, but soon gave up this effort and generally avoided it while in power. A rare example of its usage is a 1931 work by Joseph Goebbels titled The Nazi-Sozi: Questions and Answers for National Socialists.
American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell was a rare example of a supporter who used the word. The term was used by Rockwell for shock value and to counter the mainstream media's "silent treatment" on his fledgling organization. Another example of a supporter who uses the term is the Rhodesian-born South African white supremacist Jan Lamprecht.
In the Soviet Union, the terms National Socialist and Nazi have been stated to have been forbidden after 1932, presumably to avoid any taint to the word "socialist". Soviet literature instead referred to fascists.
Despite this, using "Nazi" or "Nazism" instead of "National Socialist" or "National Socialism" is extremely common. An example of this is on Wikipedia, a self-described anti-Nazi, anti-fascist and "anti-racist" website, which routinely uses the terms "Nazi" and "neo-Nazi", despite not using "Commie", which its editors (many of whom are supportive of the militant ideology of communism) consider pejorative. Notably, it also refers to some nationalist parties, such as the British National Party and Britain First in the United Kingdom, as "fascist" or "neo-fascist", despite such organizations not describing themselves as such and generally supporting very few, if any, aspects of the ideologies associated with the fascist movements that arose during the interwar period.
Present-day pejorative usage of the term
Today, the term "Nazi" and its derivatives, as well as the word fascist and similar terms such as white supremacist, are commonly used as pejoratives against a wide variety of conservative individuals and organizations who may merely support views such as immigration reduction or even a form of civic nationalism, despite such individuals not always being white people. It has also been used as a reclaimed word by some conservatives against proponents of cancel culture, mostly in association with the ongoing cultural revolution otherwise described by its critics as the "Great Awokening".
- Nazi. Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Nazi&allowed_in_frame=0