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Once in power Adolf Hitler turned Germany into a fascist state. Fascist was originally used to describe the government of Benito Mussolini in Italy. Mussolini's fascist one-party state emphasized patriotism, national unity, hatred of communism, admiration of military values and unquestioning obedience. Hitler was deeply influenced by Mussolini's Italy and his Germany shared many of the same characteristics.
The German economic system remained capitalistic but the state played a more prominent role in managing the economy. Industrialists were sometimes told what to produce and what price they should charge for the goods that they made. The government also had the power to order workers to move to where they were required.
By taking these powers Hitler's government was able to control factors such as inflation and unemployment that had caused considerable distress in previous years. As the government generally allowed companies to maintain their profit margins, industrialists tended to accept the loss of some of their freedoms.
Under fascism, most potential sources of opposition were removed. This included political parties and the trade union movement. However, Adolf Hitler never felt strong enough to take complete control of the German Army, and before taking important decisions he always had to take into consideration how the armed forces would react.
By the time Hitler gained power he had ceased to be a practising Christian. He did not have the confidence to abolish Christianity in Germany. In 1934 Hitler signed an agreement with Pope Pius XI in which he promised not to interfere in religion if the Catholic Church agreed not to become involved in politics in Germany.
The individual had no freedom to protest in Hitler's Germany. All political organizations were either banned or under the control of the Nazis. Except for the occasional referendum, all elections, local and national, were abolished.
All information that people in Germany received was selected and organized to support fascist beliefs. As Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels kept a close check on the information provided by newspapers, magazines, books, radio broadcasts, plays and films.
Adolf Hitler, who had been deeply influenced by his own history teacher, was fully aware that schools posed a potential threat to the dominant fascist ideology. Teachers who were critical of Hitler's Germany were sacked and the rest were sent away to be trained to become good fascists. Members of the Nazi youth organizations such as the Hitler Youth, were also asked to report teachers who questioned fascism.
As a further precaution against young people coming into contact with information and the government disapproved of, textbooks were withdrawn and rewritten by Nazis.
Fascism: History and Theory
It becomes an exemplary book, and well worth reading.
Fascism is extreme. This shouldn’t need stating, but the term has gained such wide applicability that reminding ourselves, occasionally, as David Renton does, of this fact is a useful corrective.
Fascists think, say and, ultimately, do murderous things. And, where other forms of political movement have started violently before moderating their positions, fascism - in its Italian and Nazi forms - didn’t. It became more and more destructive.
This was not a destructiveness or an extremity that mostly took place in the realm of ideas or signs, either.
It was not Mussolini's willingness to taunt and threaten his opponents - for which we could find plenty of comparisons in politics - that matters, but his willingness to actually kill them. And keep killing them, once he had power.
It is unique destructiveness - in its two main types, Italian fascism and Nazism - that David Renton's book Fascism is most focused on explaining.
Extremity is not a position from which one can readily start.
Many within the Nazi party and the Italian fascists were no doubt 'fanatical' - in the terms that Victor Klemperer noted became an endlessly invoked term of praise in the Third Reich.
But a focus on the intentions and ideas of a relatively small group of fascists and Nazis doesn't explain how fascism became, in both its major examples, so utterly destructive.
The question then is, 'How did fascism, which was vicious and destructive as a movement, stay vicious and destructive when it was in power?'
But even this question is not quite enough. For Nazism, in particular, did not just stay as destructive as it had been as a movement when it attained power, but actually became more so.
How might a repeated self-radicalisation have taken place within fascism in its state form?
Renton's answer is a compelling one. Fascism was not, in the terms of the 'left theory’ that Renton details, an instrument of the bourgeoisie which did its bidding in crushing the organised power of the working class.
Nor was it a mass movement, a society-wide form of viciousness, in the terms given by the 'right theory'.
It was, Renton argues, both. This, he names the ‘dialectical’ theory.
And it was this combination of - or the tension between - the 'top-down' and the 'bottom-up' that leant fascism its capacity for repeated violent radicalisation.
However, the story cannot begin or end there.
Daniel Guérin returned to Germany in April 1933, to discover that trade union offices were already bedecked in swastikas.
We might ask - before the self-radicalisation process that Renton describes - how did fascism come to saturate life?
The 'massness' of the movement - one side of Renton's dialectical intertwinement - itself need explaining.
Renton brings in various theories: Klaus Theweleit, Erich Fromm and arguments about the pull of militarism all make an appearance, but the decision between them is left up to the reader. There is thus an 'open-ended' beginning to the theory.
It is also somewhat open-ended at its extreme, later, end.
When it comes to the most destructive manifestation of fascism - the Holocaust - Renton suggests that fascism, unable to transform society in the way that it had claimed it could, offered what it could - war, violence, and conquest.
It is here that taking fascism as a single type starts to seem a little peculiar. This is perhaps a consequence of the book's central analytic conceit: that it is mostly the work of Marxists in the 1920s and 30s which provide the best handholds on fascism.
Although we find out that Leon Trotsky, a leader in the Russian revolution of 1917, grasped - sooner than perhaps anyone else - the capacity that Nazism had for this new level of killing, we don't find out why it was that the Nazis perpetrated the Holocaust and the Italian fascists didn't.
The Holocaust, despite involving a dizzying array of personnel, was not quite an act of the masses. Nor was it an act of a group of people with anything like a unified class position.
The book outlines a sophisticated theory of extremity without an entirely satisfying explanation of the specific content of that extremity.
Renton's book then forms a highly sophisticated account of the middle chunk of the path from the First World War to Auschwitz.
This is no small achievement. But it is less decisive on its outer edges. Part of this is that Renton’s engagement with theories that fall outside of the domain of class-analysis is brought less into the debate, and sometimes juxtaposed rather than integrated.
It's a shame that we rarely find out how they might relate to the central thrust of the book, because the dialogue, left implicit here, between the various theories - psychological, sociological, class-based, and otherwise - would be fascinating.
The highly compelling core argument - and Renton's skill in making it - doesn’t quite come into contact with its - dare I say, dialectical - others.
However, this ambiguity also makes for one of the book's strongest elements. Renton's subtly in highlighting and condensing those other theories allows it to shine in its other, implicit, function as an introduction to theories of fascism.
It is here that it becomes an exemplary book, and well worth reading.
Fascism is also exacting in its attention to the necessity of a critical stance towards fascism. However, this is not the naive opposition of someone who believes fascism to be easy to spot, or historically stable, or around every corner.
Instead, fascism places itself inside one of the most enduring, but also most dynamic, features of capitalism: class conflict.
Renton's account here thus achieves the exact analytic balance required for what he calls 'the anti-fascist wager'. It is neither inflationary, not complacent. It forms an essential part of the collective investigation in this most pronounced enemy of humankind.
Sam Moore is one half of '12 Rules for WHAT', a podcast about the far right from the perspective of the left. Their first book, Post-Internet Far Right, will be published in early 2021 and their second, The Rise of Ecofascism, later that year. @12rulesforwhat
Definition and Beliefs
Fascism is an ultranationalist, authoritarian political philosophy. It combines elements of nationalism, militarism, economic self-sufficiency, and totalitarianism. It opposes communism, socialism, pluralism, individual rights and equality, and democratic government.
Fascism places the importance of the nation above all else. The unity of the national community is prioritized above the rights of individuals. This leads to an intense interest in defining which groups belong or do not belong to the national body. Fascism is characterized by:
- strident, often exclusionary nationalism
- fixation with national decline (real or perceived) and threats to the existence of the national community
- embrace of paramilitarism
In fascist states, violence is accepted—even celebrated—if it serves or advances the national community. For fascists, violence often has a redemptive or purifying quality.
Fascism rejects the practices of representative or liberal democratic government. It holds that these practices interfere with the expression of the national will. Instead, fascist governments are one-party states led by an authoritarian leader who claims to embody the national will. Fascists define the national will as advancing the interests of the national community. This usually means:
- protecting or elevating the rights of the national community above the rights of those seen as alien
- removing obstacles to national unity and suppressing those seen as challenging it
- expanding the size and influence of the national state
- often, also seeking to expand territory through armed conflict
Columbia Subscription Databases
Selected from the PRO Class FO 371 files in the National Archives, London, Conditions and Politics in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1945 features full-text documents received in the British Foreign Office from all European states under Nazi occupation during World War II. This unique collection includes a range of primary sources related to wartime conditions in France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Vatican, in addition to those from Spain and Germany itself. Subjects covered include: the German attempt to win over important groups within the territories the psychological warfare of rival propaganda campaigns resistance units and the repercussions of such events as Germany's invasion of Russia.
30,506 digitized pages from German publications of the period that illustrate a number of major topics, including: the importance of German trade with Eastern Europe effect of new trade treaties with Southeastern European states concluded in 1934 and 1935 Germany's economic offensive beginning in1934 growth of a "command economy" and the requirements of the Rearmament Program balance of payments problem and the defeat of "the traditionalists" with the dismissal of Schacht and Neurath and the appointment of Ribbentrop. Sondernachweis der Aussenhandel Deutschlands is particularly important as it provides a thorough breakdown of German foreign trade by commodity, volume and value on a monthly basis. The December issue of each year gives a final listing of annual figures.
Providing perspectives from both the Vichy government and the resistance movement, this unique collection constitutes the sum of the French press that actually reached Britain during the Occupation of 1940-44. It is the record of what was known by the British about the hearts and minds of the French people throughout the war. Reproductions were made from materials held in the British Library.
This collection comprises, in its entirety, the Primary Source Media microfilm collection entitled Records of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, 1938-1947. In July 1944, 37 governments participated in the work of the Committee. Of these, representatives of nine countries, including the United States, served on its Executive Committee. The primary responsibility for determining the policy of the United States with regard to the Committee was that of the Department of State. It ceased to exist in 1947, and its functions and records were transferred to the International Refugee Organization of the United Nations.
This collection comprises, in their entirety, the Scholarly Resources microfilm collections entitled Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs, Japan, 1930-1939 Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs, Japan, 1940-1944 and, Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs, Japan, 1945-1949, all reproduced from materials in the U.S. National Archives.
This collection of films from the communist world reveals war, history, current affairs, culture and society as seen through the socialist lens. It spans most of the twentieth century and covers countries such as the USSR, Vietnam, China, Korea, much of Eastern Europe, the GDR, Britain and Cuba.
Contains nearly 52,000 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust taped in 56 countries and in 32 languages between 1994 and 1999. Most testimonies have been indexed for keywords at one-minute segments.
Documents from 1932-1957 include: newspapers, press clippings, press releases, telegrams, correspondence, minutes, manuscripts and personal notes. The collection includes correspondence and personal letters of such notable individuals as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, George Bell, Hans Schönfeld, Karl Barth, James McDonald, Georges Casalis, Adolf Freudenberg, Martin Niemöller, Otto Dibelius, Gerhart Riegner, Marc Boegner, and Willem Adolf Visser 't Hooft.
Fascist parties and movements came to power in several countries between 1922 and 1945: the National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista) in Italy, led by Mussolini the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), or Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler and representing his National Socialism movement the Fatherland Front (Vaterländische Front) in Austria, led by Engelbert Dollfuss and supported by the Heimwehr (Home Defense Force), a major right-wing paramilitary organization the National Union (União Nacional) in Portugal, led by António de Oliveira Salazar (which became fascist after 1936) the Party of Free Believers (Elefterofronoi) in Greece, led by Ioannis Metaxas the Ustaša (“Insurgence”) in Croatia, led by Ante Pavelić the National Union (Nasjonal Samling) in Norway, which was in power for only a week—though its leader, Vidkun Quisling, was later made minister president under the German occupation and the military dictatorship of Admiral Tojo Hideki in Japan.
Spain’s fascist movement, the Falange (“Phalanx”), founded in 1933 by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, never came to power, but many of its members were absorbed into the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which itself displayed many fascist characteristics. In Poland the anti-Semitic Falanga, led by Boleslaw Piasecki, was influential but was unable to overthrow the conservative regime of Józef Piłsudski. Vihtori Kosola’s Lapua Movement in Finland nearly staged a coup in 1932 but was checked by conservatives backed by the army. The Arrow Cross Party (Nyilaskeresztes Párt) in Hungary, led by Ferenc Szálasi, was suppressed by the conservative regime of Miklós Horthy until 1944, when Szálasi was made a puppet ruler under the German occupation. In Romania the Iron Guard (Garda de Fier)—also called the League of Christian Defense, the Legion of the Archangel Michael, and All for the Fatherland—led by Corneliu Codreanu, was dissolved by the dictatorial regime of King Carol II in 1938. In 1939 Codreanu and several of his legionaries were arrested and “shot while trying to escape.” In 1940 remnants of the Iron Guard reemerged to share power but were finally crushed by Romanian conservatives in February 1941.
In France the Cross of Fire (Croix de Feu), later renamed the French Social Party (Parti Social Français), led by Colonel François de La Rocque, was the largest and fastest-growing party on the French right between 1936 and 1938. In 1937 it was larger than the French communist and socialist parties combined (one scholar estimated its membership between 700,000 and 1.2 million), and by 1939 it included some 3,000 mayors, about 1,000 municipal councilmen, and 12 parliamentary deputies. Other fascist movements in France included the short-lived Faisceau (1925–28), led by Georges Valois the Young Patriots (Jeunesses Patriotes), led by Pierre Taittinger French Solidarity (Solidarité Française), founded and financed by François Coty and led by Jean Renaud the Franks (Francistes), led by Marcel Bucard the French Popular Party ( Parti Populaire Français), led by Jacques Doriot and French Action (Action Française), led by Charles Maurras. After the German invasion in 1940, a number of French fascists served in the Vichy regime of Marshal Philippe Pétain.
The British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley, had some 50,000 members. In Belgium the Rexist Party, led by Léon Degrelle, won about 10 percent of the seats in the parliament in 1936. Russian fascist organizations were founded by exiles in Manchuria, the United States, and elsewhere the largest of these groups were the Russian Fascist Party (VFP), led by Konstantin Rodzaevsky, and the All Russian Fascist Organization (VFO), led by Anastasy Vonsiatsky.
Outside Europe, popular support for fascism was greatest in South Africa and the Middle East. Several fascist groups were founded in South Africa after 1932, including the Gentile National Socialist Movement and its splinter group, the South African Fascists the South African National Democratic Party, known as the Blackshirts and the pro-German Ox-Wagon Sentinel (Ossewabrandwag). By 1939 there were at least seven Arab “shirt” movements, including the Syrian People’s Party, also called the Syrian National Socialist Party the Iraqi Futuwa movement and the Young Egypt movement, also called the Green Shirts.
Several rival protofascist and fascist movements operated in Japan after 1918, and their activities helped to increase the influence of the military on the Japanese government. Among the most important of these groups were the Taisho Sincerity League (Taisho Nesshin’kai), the Imperial Way Faction (Kodo-ha), the Greater Japan National Essence Association (Dai Nippon Kokusui-kai), the Anti-Red Corps (Bokyo Gokoku-Dan), the Great Japan Political Justice Corps (Dai Nippon Seigi-Dan), the Blood Brotherhood League (Ketsumei-Dan), the Jimmu Association (Jimmu-Kai), the New Japan League (Shin-Nihon Domei), the Eastern Way Society (Towo Seishin-Kai), and the Great Japan Youth Party (Da-nihon Seinen-dan).
Following the Mukden Incident and the wider invasion of Manchuria by Japanese troops in 1931, several fascist-oriented patriotic societies were formed in China the largest of these groups, the Blue Shirts, formed an alliance with the Kuomintang (National People’s Party) under Chiang Kai-shek. At Chiang’s order in 1934, the Blue Shirts were temporarily put in charge of political indoctrination in the army and given limited control of its educational system.
European fascism had a number of imitators in Latin America, including the Nacis, founded in Chile by Jorge González von Mareés the Gold Shirts, founded in Mexico by Nicolás Rodríguez and the Revolutionary Union (Unión Revolucionaria) of Peruvian dictator Luis Sánchez Cerro. The Brazilian Integralist Action party (Ação Integralista Brasileira), which had some 200,000 members in the mid-1930s, was suppressed by the Brazilian government in 1938 after a failed coup attempt.
The National Fascist Party of Italy (1921–1943)
Out of the ashes of his first political party, Mussolini built himself a new party that would eventually come to dominate Italy. The National Fascist Party would scrap many of the syndicalist ideals that were espoused by the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento but kept the fascist naming scheme. In place of the syndicalist rhetoric that many of his cohorts had believed in, he enacted a party focused around tradition, return to Italian/Roman greatness and the new idea of totalitarianism in which everyone and everything in the nation should be subservient to the state.
The platform worked and Mussolini would take power in 1922.
This is a more recognizable brand of fascism and one that would influence other fascist movements around the globe for decades to come. It was this brand of fascism that influenced Adolf Hitler, especially the ideas surrounding totalitarianism.
While the National Fascist Party did not have an easily digestible manifesto, there is a long essay written by Mussolini that breakdown and explain his ideology in detail. The essay, titled The Doctrine of Fascism, was written in 1932, a full decade after Mussolini took power in Italy. The document reasserts Mussolini’s views of the movement he created and even touches on its evolution from the aforementioned manifesto that he attached his name to in 1919.
You can read the full text of the essay here. These are some interesting positions and quotes from the essay itself. Now quoting directly in the bullets below.
- In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of social life. Outside history man is a nonentity.
- Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity. It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual.
- When in the now distant March of 1919, speaking through the columns of the Popolo d’Italia I summoned to Milan the surviving interventionists who had intervened, and who had followed me ever since the foundation of the Fasci of revolutionary action in January 1915, I had in mind no specific doctrinal program. The only doctrine of which I had practical experience was that of socialism, from until the winter of 1914 — nearly a decade. My experience was that both of a follower and a leader but it was not doctrinal experience.
- Fascism also denies the immutable and irreparable character of the class struggle which is the natural outcome of this economic conception of history above all it denies that the class struggle is the preponderating agent in social transformations. Having thus struck a blow at socialism in the two main points of its doctrine, all that remains of it is the sentimental aspiration, old as humanity itself-toward social relations in which the sufferings and sorrows of the humbler folk will be alleviated.
- In rejecting democracy, Fascism rejects the absurd conventional lie of political equalitarianism, the habit of collective irresponsibility, the myth of felicity and indefinite progress.
- Never before have the peoples thirsted for authority, direction, order, as they do now. If each age has its doctrine, then innumerable symptoms indicate that the doctrine of our age is the Fascist. That it is vital is shown by the fact that it has aroused a faith that this faith has conquered souls is shown by the fact that Fascism can point to its fallen heroes and its martyrs.
Interestingly, Mussolini acknowledges fascism’s evolution out of socialist and syndicalist thought but then summarily rejects it. He ties the movement of humanity through history as a spiritual endeavor that can only be actualized through the power of a totalitarian fascist state.
The last lines of his essay remind us what the world was like in the time following the end of The Great War. It was an absolute mess and the true depth of the mess of the interwar period is often glossed over.
Germans slaughter Italian civilians
German occupiers shoot more than 300 Italian civilians as a reprisal for an Italian partisan attack on an SS unit.
Since the Italian surrender in the summer of 1943, German troops had occupied wider swaths of the peninsula to prevent the Allies from using Italy as a base of operations against German strongholds elsewhere, such as the Balkans. An Allied occupation of Italy would also put into their hands Italian airbases, further threatening German air power.
Italian partisans (antifascist guerrilla fighters) aided the Allied battle against the Germans. The Italian Resistance had been fighting underground against the fascist government of Mussolini long before its surrender, and now it fought against German fascism. The main weapon of a guerrilla, defined roughly as a member of a small-scale “irregular” fighting force that relies on limited and quick engagements of a conventional fighting force, is sabotage. Aside from killing enemy soldiers, the destruction of communication lines, transportation centers, and supply lines are essential guerrilla tactics.
On March 23, 1944, Italian partisans operating in Rome threw a bomb at an SS unit, killing 33 soldiers. The very next day, the Germans rounded up 335 Italian civilians and took them to the Adeatine caves. They were all shot dead as revenge for the SS soldiers. Of the civilian victims, 253 were Catholic, 70 were Jewish and the remaining 12 were unidentified.
Despite such setbacks, the partisans proved extremely effective in aiding the Allies by the summer of 1944, resistance fighters had immobilized eight of the 26 German divisions in northern Italy. By war’s end, Italian guerrillas controlled Venice, Milan, and Genoa, but at considerable cost. All told, the Resistance lost some 50,000 fighters𠅋ut won its republic.
Race mixing, eugenics, and Fascism: What inspired differences of opinion between German, Spanish, Italian Fascists? [closed]
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I have been reading about Fascism from various expert sources, presently Professor Roger Griffin's Oxford Readers book Fascism. From this, and other sources (Robert Paxton, Stanley Payne, etc) we can identify commonality in belief and practices between Italian, German, and Spanish Fascists. This is not the same as saying merely a member of the regime, which is not the subject of this question.
We are explicitly discussing Fascists, as defined by world experts and not laypersons.
We are also discussing the history of eugenics, and what ideas inspired those differences in terms of the history of science (which contains many ideas, few of which turned out to be scientific.)
I discovered that Falangism, at least, the explicitly Fascist elements instead of the merely Francoist members, were racist but believed in creating a "Hispanic supercaste" via race mixing that is "ethically improved, morally robust, spiritually vigorous".
In comparison, one BBC documentary The Nazis: A Warning From History (episode 4 The Wild East), mentions one argument between senior Nazis over the question of racial purity.
Albert Forster, who was responsible for Danzig West Prussia, though a committed Nazi did not believe in Nazi racial ideas. He decided that the fastest way to "Germanise" his part of Poland was to grant German citizenship to as many Poles as he could, without checking their ancestry. This infuriated his neighbouring governor: Arthur Greiser, a fanatical racist. Greiser wrote a letter of complaint to Heinrich Himmler, who then sent an irate letter to Forster:
"You as a National Socialist know that just one drop of false blood that comes into an individual's veins can never be removed."
Forster however ignored the letter, joking that someone who looked like Himmler shouldn't talk about race so much. And Hitler, having a hands-off approach to government, never intervened: allowing governors to handle their domains as they liked.
As far as I understand it, the Nazi establishment practised negative eugenics (removing undesirable traits). This contrasts sharply with what I understand of Falangist eugenics, which was mostly positive (promoting desirable traits).
Most Spanish Fascists regarded race mixing as part of a civilising mission, to spread good genes, while most German Fascists regarded race mixing as a threat, which would damage good genes.
Why were German Fascist so obsessed with keeping the master race pure? While their Spanish peers were confident that the Spanish race could produce superior hybrids? And where did Italian Fascists stand on the issue?
It seems like German Fascists adopted a theory of race inspired by the Scientific Racism of Francis Galton, which appears to have been focused on negative eugenics. But I don't understand where the Spanish Fascists were getting ideas which led to the opposite conclusions about race mixing.
Early History of Fascism
The historian Zeev Sternhell has traced the ideological roots of fascism back to the 1880s, and in particular to the fin-de-siècle (French for “end of the century”) theme of that time. This ideology was based on a revolt against materialism, rationalism, positivism, bourgeois society, and democracy. The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalism, irrationalism, subjectivism, and vitalism. The fin-de-siècle mindset saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution. Its intellectual school considered the individual only one part of the larger collectivity, which should not be viewed as an atomized numerical sum of individuals. They condemned the rationalistic individualism of liberal society and the dissolution of social links in bourgeois society.
Social Darwinism, which gained widespread acceptance, made no distinction between physical and social life, and viewed the human condition as being an unceasing struggle to achieve the survival of the fittest. Social Darwinism challenged positivism’s claim of deliberate and rational choice as the determining behavior of humans, focusing on heredity, race, and environment. Its emphasis on biogroup identity and the role of organic relations within societies fostered legitimacy and appeal for nationalism. New theories of social and political psychology also rejected the notion of human behavior being governed by rational choice, and instead claimed that emotion was more influential in political issues than reason.
At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Italian political left became severely split over its position on the war. The Italian Socialist Party (PSI) opposed the war but a number of Italian revolutionary syndicalists supported war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on the grounds that their reactionary regimes had to be defeated to ensure the success of socialism. Angelo Oliviero Olivetti formed a pro-interventionist fascio called the Fasci of International Action in October 1914. Benito Mussolini, upon expulsion from his position as chief editor of the PSI’s newspaper Avanti! for his anti-German stance, joined the interventionist cause in a separate fascio. The term “Fascism” was first used in 1915 by members of Mussolini’s movement, the Fasci of Revolutionary Action.
The first meeting of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action was held in January 1915 when Mussolini declared that it was necessary for Europe to resolve its national problems—including national borders—of Italy and elsewhere “for the ideals of justice and liberty for which oppressed peoples must acquire the right to belong to those national communities from which they descended.” Attempts to hold mass meetings were ineffective, and the organization was regularly harassed by government authorities and socialists.
Similar political ideas arose in Germany after the outbreak of the war. German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a “National Socialism” in Germany within what he termed the “ideas of 1914” that were a declaration of war against the “ideas of 1789” (the French Revolution). According to Plenge, the “ideas of 1789” that included rights of man, democracy, individualism and liberalism were being rejected in favor of “the ideas of 1914” that included “German values” of duty, discipline, law, and order. Plenge believed that racial solidarity (Volksgemeinschaft) would replace class division and that “racial comrades” would unite to create a socialist society in the struggle of “proletarian” Germany against “capitalist” Britain. He believed that the “Spirit of 1914” manifested itself in the concept of the “People’s League of National Socialism.”
After the end of the World War I, fascism rose out of relative obscurity into international prominence, with fascist regimes forming most notably in Italy, Germany, and Japan, the three of which would be allied in World War II. Fascist Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy in 1922 and Adolf Hitler had successfully consolidated his power in Germany by 1933.
Hitler and Mussolini: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were the two most prominent fascist dictators, rising to power in the decades after World War I.
The Rise of Fascism in Germany
Throughout 1922-1939 there was a rise of fascism which only resulted in hardship for the German people. Hitler started the rise in fascism in Germany because of his need for dictatorship. He also affected fascism because he had the idea of a perfect race. The Nazi army had a great effect on the rise of fascism because of the way they treated the people, the Nazi army are a good example of the hardship suffered by the German people. After World war l, there was great destruction to Germany to the point where it was destroyed beyond repair. But then Hitler came along and told the people of Germany what they wanted to hear, that if he was dictator he would be able to help Germany regain its power and authority over the other countries. I just over a year, Hitler managed to completely manipulate the entire German government and legal system to form a one-party government. Hitler put the picture into the heads of heart broken German people that they were the greatest country and were superior to all other countries, and that their country will be rebuilt if he is made dictator. Because this was a hard time for the people of Germany because their country had just been destroyed, they believed what Hitler had to say and supported him in becoming the dictator of Germany in hope for a better future. Hitler had great connections with Mussolini, the fascist of Italy, which helped him gain control over his country and affect other countries. Because of this, Hitler was so powerful that what he said went the people of Germany were unable to stop Hitler from making Germany a fascist country which resulted in great hardship for them. Hitler gained a position in the government and legal system through manipulation. Hitler was able to gain full control over the German government and legal system, but this wasn’t enough for him because not only did he want control over the German government, but he wanted control over the race of people that lived in Germany. Hitler had the idea of a perfect race which he gradually moulded into the German lifestyle, his ideal perfect race were blonde haired Germans, with broad shoulders and broad bodies and blue eyes. Hitler was against the other races, in particular the Jews and Polish calling them ‘useless eaters’, literally meaning that they were eating the food that was meant for the German people not the Jewish. Hitler’s solution to this problem was to exterminate all Jewish people, he then went around and rounded up Jewish people for different households, men, women and children, and placed them in concentration camps of used them as sex slaves. In these concentration camps the Jewish people were used for hard labour and were tortured, if they were used as sex slaves the Nazi soldiers would use the women for prostitution and rape. In these concentration camps the Jews were forced to follow all orders and do as they were told, if they were unable to be used a labours, they were shot or starved to death. If the Jews were caught trying to escape they would either be shot or tortured back at camp, If the Jews were useless they would be gassed in large numbers in gas chambers. The Nazi army as a great example of the hardship suffered by German people and the rise of fascism in Germany. The Nazi army was Hitler’s army they were powerful and cruel people who followed direct orders from Hitler. The Nazi soldiers worked in the camps torturing the Jews and on the streets searching for Jews, there was also a Nazi Youth Group with young Germans who would be forced to encourage Hitler and follow orders much like soldiers. The Nazi army would teach children in schools and in the Nazi Youth Group correct discipline and behaviour. This would include classes about how to act and what to say, they would be ordered to do things and would have to do them or face severe consequences. The Nazi Soldiers victimized the Jewish people and dehumanized them resulting hardship for not only the German people, but also the Jewish people. In conclusion, the rise of fascism resulted in hardship for the German people ranging from minimal hardship to extreme hardship. Many factors contributed to the rise of fascism and the extent of the hardship suffered by the German people.