Historians Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest argue that in post-World War I Germany, the Nazis were one of many nationalist and fascist political parties contending for the leadership of Germany's anti-communist movement. The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve private property, its support of class conflict, its aggression against the middle class, its hostility to small businessmen, and its atheism. Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism and economic egalitarianism, favouring instead a stratified economy with social classes based on merit and talent, retaining private property, and the creation of national solidarity that transcends class distinction.
During the 1920s, Hitler urged disparate Nazi factions to unite in opposition to "Jewish Marxism." Hitler asserted that the "three vices" of "Jewish Marxism" were democracy, pacifism and internationalism.
In 1930, Hitler said: "Our adopted term ‘Socialist' has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not." In 1931, during a confidential interview with influential editor Richard Breiting of the Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, a pro-business newspaper, Hitler said: "I want everyone to keep what he has earned, subject to the principle that the good of the community takes priority over that of the individual. But the State should retain control; every owner should feel himself to be an agent of the State ... The Third Reich will always retain the right to control property owners." In 1942, Hitler privately said: "I absolutely insist on protecting private property ... we must encourage private initiative".