I’m reading Martin Jay’s The Dialectical Imagination right now, and I’m surprised how much work the Frankfurt School did on analyzing Nazism. I had figured they had written about it, but not to the extent and with the nuances they actually used. Within the Institut itself, there were divergent approaches to their analysis. Here’s an excerpt of Jay’s book that gives you some idea of such divergence:
Still, the major burden of Neumann’s argument was that, contrary to Pollock, Nazism was a continuation of monopoly capitalism, albeit by other means. Behemoth, however, had a secondary thesis as well, which corresponded somewhat more closely to some of the notions of the Institut’s inner circle. This argument was reflected in the book’s title, which referred to Hobbes’s study of the chaos of the English civil war of the seventeenth century. To Neumann, “National Socialism is—or [is] tending to become—a non-state, a chaos, a rule of lawlessness and anarchy.” Not only was “state capitalism” a misnomer, but the existence of a state in any traditional sense was itself questionable. Instead, a domination was becoming more nakedly unmediated without the buffer, however imperfect, provided by the liberal state.
In other words, Neumann, like Horkheimer and the others, felt that the semi-humane mediations of the past were rapidly being eroded in the authoritarian states. Where they disagreed was in their descriptions of the nature of the unmediated domination (165).