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Definitions of fascism
Varieties and derivatives of fascism
Italian fascism
Left-wing fascism
Clerical fascism
Iron Guard
Arrow Cross
Greek fascism
Lebanese Phalange
Japanese fascism
Estado Novo (Portugal)
Estado Novo (Brazil)
Brazilian Integralism
Fascist political parties and movements
Fascism as an international phenomenon
List of fascist movements by country
Fascism in history
March on Rome
Fascist Italy
Italian Social Republic
4th of August Regime

Related subjects
Actual Idealism
Benito Mussolini
Black Brigades
Class collaboration
Economics of fascism
Fascism and ideology
Fascist symbolism
Fascist unification rhetoric
Giovanni Gentile
Grand Council of Fascism
Roman salute
National syndicalism
Social fascism
Third Position

     [ e] 

Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the interests of the state. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, or racial attributes. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism, collectivism, and opposition to economic and political liberalism.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Some of the governments and parties most often considered to have been fascist include Fascist Italy under Mussolini; Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler, Spain's Falange, Portugal's Estado Novo, Hungary's Arrow Cross Party and Romania's Iron Guard. Some authors reject broad usage of the term or exclude certain of these parties and regimes.[7] Following the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II, there have been few self-proclaimed fascist groups and individuals. In contemporary political discourse, fascist has become a slur, used by adherents of some ideologies to describe their opponents.

Fascism attracted political support from diverse sectors of the population. In countries such as Romania and Hungary, fascism had a strong base of support among the working classes and extremely poor peasants. Other supporters have included representatives of big business, farmers, landowners, disaffected World War I veterans, small business owners, nationalists, reactionaries and extreme conservatives. Intellectuals who have supported fascism include: Giovanni Gentile (who ghostwrote the Doctrine of Fascism), Gabriele D'Annunzio, Curzio Malaparte, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Carl Schmitt and Martin Heidegger.

The term fascism

The term fascismo was first coined by the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Hegelian philosopher Giovanni Gentile. It is derived from the Italian word fascio, which means "union" or "league", and from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods tied around an axe, were an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrates, and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. Originally, the term "fascism" (fascismo) was used by the political movement that ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Later, fascism became a broader term used to cover a whole class of authoritarian political ideologies, parties and political systems, although no consensus was ever achieved on a precise definition of what it means to be "fascist". Various scholars have sought to define fascism, and a list of definitions can be found in the article Definitions of fascism.

Definitions and scope of the word

Many diverse regimes have identified themselves as fascist, and many regimes have been labeled as fascist even though they did not self-identify as such. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets. Since the 1990s, there has been a growing move toward some rough consensus reflected in the work of Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin, and Robert O. Paxton.

Mussolini defined fascism as being a right-wing collectivistic ideology in opposition to socialism, liberalism, democracy and individualism. He wrote in The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism:
Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.[8]

Since Mussolini, there have been many conflicting definitions of the term fascism. Former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton has written that:

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."[9]
Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:
...a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign `contamination."[10]

Stanley Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector; fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism; anti-conservatism.[11] Semiotician Umberto Eco attempts to identify the characteristics of proto-fascism as the cult of tradition, rejection of modernism, cult of action for action's sake, life is lived for struggle, fear of difference, rejection of disagreement, contempt for the weak, cult of masculinity and machismo, qualitative populism, appeal to a frustrated majority, obsession with a plot, illicitly wealthy enemies, education to become a hero, and speaking Newspeak, in his popular essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt.[12] More recently, an emphasis has been placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.[13]

Most scholars hold that fascism as a social movement employs elements from the political left, but many conclude that fascism eventually allies with the political right, especially after attaining state power. For example, Nazism began as a socio-political movement that promoted a radical form of National Socialism, but altered its character once Adolf Hitler was handed state power in Germany. Economists like Ludwig Von Mises argue that fascism is a form of socialist dictatorship similar to that of the Soviet Union.[14]

Authoritarian and totalitarian state

Although the broadest descriptions of fascism may include every authoritarian state that has ever existed, most theorists see important distinctions to be made. Fascism in Italy arose in the 1920s as a mixture of syndicalist notions with an anti-materialist theory of the state; the latter had already been linked to an extreme nationalism. Fascists accused parliamentary democracy of producing division and decline, and wished to renew the nation from decadence. They viewed the state as an organic entity in a positive light rather than as an institution designed to protect individual rights, or as one that should be held in check. Fascism universally dismissed the Marxist concept of "class struggle", replacing it instead with the concept of "class collaboration". Fascists embraced nationalism and mysticism, advancing ideals of strength and power as means of legitimacy. These ideas are in direct opposition to the liberal ideals of humanism and rationalism characteristic of the Age of Enlightenment.

Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic, by way of a strong, single-party government for enacting laws and a strong, sometimes brutal militia or police force for enforcing them.[15] Fascism exalts the nation, state, or group of people as superior to the individuals composing it. Fascism uses explicit populist rhetoric; calls for a heroic mass effort to restore past greatness; and demands loyalty to a single leader, leading to a cult of personality and unquestioned obedience to orders (Führerprinzip). Fascism is also considered to be a form of collectivism.[16][17][18]

Fascist as epithet

Main article: Fascist (epithet)
The word fascist has become a slur throughout the political spectrum following World War II (WWII), and it has been uncommon for political groups to call themselves fascist. In contemporary political discourse, adherents of some political ideologies tend to associate fascism with their enemies, or define it as the opposite of their own views. In the strict sense of the word, Fascism covers movements before WWII, and later movements are described as Neo-fascist.

Some have argued that the term fascist has become hopelessly vague over the years and that it has become little more than a pejorative epithet. George Orwell wrote in 1944:
...the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else... almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’.[19]

Italian Fascism

See also:  and
Fascio (plural: fasci) is an Italian word used in the late nineteenth century to refer to radical political groups of many different (and sometimes opposing) orientations. A number of nationalist fasci later evolved into the twentieth century movement known as fascism. Benito Mussolini claimed to have founded fascism, and Italian fascism (in Italian, fascismo) was the authoritarian political movement that ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under Mussolini's leadership. Fascism in Italy combined elements of corporatism, totalitarianism, nationalism, militarism and anti-Communism. Fascism won support as an alternative to the unpopular liberalism of the time. It also won the support of anti-socialist Italians.

Differences and similarities with Nazism

Further information: Nazism
Enlarge picture
Benito Mussolini giving the Roman salute standing next to Adolf Hitler

Enlarge picture
Cover of a September 1938 Italian magazine, titled La difesa della razza ("The Defence of the Race").

Although the modern consensus sees Nazism as a type or offshoot of fascism, some scholars, such as Gilbert Allardyce and A.F.K. Organski, argue that Nazism is not fascism — either because the differences are too great, or because they believe fascism cannot be generic.[20][21] A synthesis of these two opinions, states that German Nazism was a form of racially-oriented fascism, while Italian fascism was state-oriented.

Nazism differed from Italian fascism in that it had a stronger emphasis on race, in terms of social and economic policies. Though both ideologies denied the significance of the individual, Italian fascism saw the individual as subservient to the state, whereas Nazism saw the individual, as well as the state, as ultimately subservient to the race.[22] Mussolini's Fascism held that cultural factors existed to serve the state, and that it was not necessarily in the state's interest to interfere in cultural aspects of society. The only purpose of government in Mussolini's fascism was to uphold the state as supreme above all else, a concept which can be described as statolatry. Where fascism talked of state, Nazism spoke of the Volk and of the Volksgemeinschaft.

The Nazi movement, at least in its overt ideology, spoke of class-based society as the enemy, and wanted to unify the racial element above established classes; however, the Italian fascist movement sought to preserve the class system and uphold it as the foundation of established and desirable culture. Nevertheless, the Italian fascists did not reject the concept of social mobility, and a central tenet of the fascist state was meritocracy. Yet, fascism also heavily based itself on corporatism, which was supposed to supersede class conflicts. Despite these differences, Kevin Passmore (2002 p.62) observes:

There are sufficient similarities between Fascism and Nazism to make it worthwhile applying the concept of fascism to both. In Italy and Germany a movement came to power that sought to create national unity through the repression of national enemies and the incorporation of all classes and both genders into a permanently mobilized nation.[23]

Mussolini and Hitler were not always allies, and France under Pierre Laval tried to ally itself with Italy against Germany, leading to the 1935 Stresa Front. The United Kingdom also moved closer to Italy and France when they negotiated on the fate of Ethiopia in spite of the League of Nations. Nazi Germany and fascist Italy came close to blows when in 1934, Engelbert Dollfuss, the Austrofascist leader of Austria and ally of Italy, was assassinated by Nazi Brown shirts on Hitler's orders in preparation for a planned Anschluss, which prompted Mussolini to move troops to the Austrian-Italian border in readiness for war against Hitler. Nevertheless, Dollfuss's successor, Kurt Schuschnigg, was not as favorable to the Italians as Dollfuss was. When Hitler and Mussolini first met, Mussolini referred to Hitler as "a silly little monkey" before the Western Allies forced Mussolini into an agreement with Hitler. Mussolini also reportedly asked the Pope to excommunicate Hitler. [1]

Hitler and Mussolini recognized commonalities in their politics, and the second part of Hitler's Mein Kampf — "The National Socialist Movement" — (1926) contains this passage:

I conceived the profoundest admiration for the great man south of the Alps, who, full of ardent love for his people, made no pacts with the enemies of Italy, but strove for their annihilation by all ways and means. What will rank Mussolini among the great men of this earth is his determination not to share Italy with the Marxists, but to destroy internationalism and save the fatherland from it. (p. 622)

In Soviet usage (which has translated into modern Russian usage), the epithet fascist is synonymous with Nazi Germans. This came to be only after Hitler's invasion of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Several historians, such as Valery Senderov, have claimed that Stalin created the "fascist" epithet for Nazi Germans, because he did not want to use the term Nazi, fearing it would cast a negative spin on the word socialism (National Socialism).

Economic planning

Further information: Economy of Italy under Fascism
Fascists opposed what they believe to be laissez-faire or quasi-laissez-faire economic policies dominant in the era prior to the Great Depression.[24] People of many different political stripes blamed laissez-faire capitalism for the Great Depression, and fascists promoted their ideology as a "third way" between capitalism and Marxian socialism.[25] Their policies manifested as a radical extension of government control over the economy without wholesale expropriation of the means of production. Fascist governments nationalized some key industries, managed their currencies and made some massive state investments. They also introduced price controls, wage controls and other types of economic planning measures.[26] Fascist governments instituted state-regulated allocation of resources, especially in the financial and raw materials sectors.

Other than nationalization of certain industries, private property was allowed, but property rights and private initiative were contingent upon service to the state.[27] For example, "an owner of agricultural land may be compelled to raise wheat instead of sheep and employ more labor than he would find profitable."[28][29] According to historian Tibor Ivan Berend, dirigisme was an inherent aspect of fascist economies.[30] Nevertheless, other historians have argued exactly the reverse. For instance, the Labour Charter of 1927, promulgated by the Grand Council of Fascism, stated in article 7:
"The corporative State considers private initiative, in the field of production, as the most efficient and useful instrument of the Nation."

Its article 9 stated that:

"State intervention in economic production may take place only where private initiative is lacking or is insufficient, or when are at stakes the political interest of the State. This intervention may take the form of control, encouragement or direct management."

Fascism also operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. Their aim was to promote "superior" individuals and weed out the weak.[31] In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class.[32] Lawrence Britt suggests that protection of corporate power is an essential part of fascism.[33] Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social."[34]

Economic policy in the first few years of Italian fascism was largely liberal, with the Ministry of Finance controlled by the old liberal Alberto De Stefani. The government undertook a low-key laissez-faire program - the tax system was restructured (February 1925 law, 23 June 1927 decree-law, etc.), there were attempts to attract foreign investment and establish trade agreements, efforts were made to balance the budget and cut subsidies. The 10% tax on capital invested in banking and industrial sectors was repealed[35], while the tax on directors and administrators of anonymous companies (SA) was cut down by half [35]. All foreign capital was exonerated of taxes, while the luxury tax was also repealed [35]. Mussolini also opposed municipalization of enterprises [35].

The 19 April 1923 law abandoned life insurance to private companies, repealing the 1912 law which had created a State Institute for insurances and which had envisioned to give a state monopoly ten years later [37]. Furthermore, a 19 November 1922 decree suppressed the Commission on War Profits, while the 20 August 1923 law suppressed the inheritance tax inside the family circle [35].

There was a general emphasis on what has been called productivism - national economic growth as a means of social regeneration and wider assertion of national importance. Up until 1925, the country enjoyed modest growth but structural weaknesses increased inflation and the currency slowly fell (1922 L90 to £1, 1925 L145 to £1). In 1925 there was a great increase in speculation and short runs against the lira. The levels of capital movement became so great the government attempted to intervene. De Stefani was sacked, his program side-tracked, and the Fascist government became more involved in the economy in step with the increased security of their power.

In 1925, the Italian state abandoned its monopoly on telephones' infrastructure, while the state production of matches was handed over to a private "Consortium of matches' productors. [37]" In some sectors, the state did intervene. Thus, following the deflation crisis which started in 1926, banks such as the Banco di Roma, the Banco di Napoli or the Banco di Sicilia were assisted by the state [39].

Fascists were most vocal in their opposition to finance capitalism, interest charging, and profiteering.[40] Some fascists, particularly Nazis, considered finance capitalism a "parasitic" "Jewish conspiracy".[41] Nevertheless, fascists also opposed Marxian socialism and independent trade unions.

According to sociologist Stanislav Andreski, fascist economics "foreshadowed most of the fundamental features of the economic system of Western European countries today: the radical extension of government control over the economy without a wholesale expropriation of the capitalists but with a good dose of nationalisation, price control, incomes policy, managed currency, massive state investment, attempts at overall planning (less effectual than the Fascist because of the weakness of authority)."[42] Politics professor Stephen Haseler credits fascism with providing a model of economic planning for social democracy.[43]


Main article: Anti-Communism
Fascism and Communism are political systems that rose to prominence after World War I. Historians of the period between World War I and World War II such as E.H. Carr and Eric Hobsbawm point out that liberalism was under serious stress in this period and seemed to be a doomed philosophy. The success of the Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in a revolutionary wave across Europe. The socialist movement worldwide split into separate social democratic and Leninist wings. The subsequent formation of the Third International prompted serious debates within social democratic parties, resulting in supporters of the Russian Revolution splitting to form Communist Parties in most industrialized (and many non-industrialized) countries.

At the end of World War I, attempted socialist uprisings or threats of socialist uprisings occurred throughout Europe, most notably in Germany, where the Spartacist uprising, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in January 1919, was eventually crushed. In Bavaria, Communists successfully overthrew the government and established the Bavarian Soviet Republic that lasted from 1918 to 1919. A short lived Hungarian Soviet Republic was also established under Béla Kun in 1919.

The Russian Revolution also inspired attempted revolutionary movements in Italy with a wave of factory occupations. Most historians view fascism as a response to these developments, as a movement that both tried to appeal to the working class and divert them from Marxism. It also appealed to capitalists as a bulwark against Bolshevism. Italian Fascism took power with the blessing of Italy's king after years of leftist-led unrest led many conservatives to fear that a communist revolution was inevitable (Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci popularized the conception that fascism was the Capital's response to the organized workers' movement). Mussolini took power during the 1922 March on Rome.

Throughout Europe, numerous aristocrats, conservative intellectuals, capitalists and industrialists lent their support to fascist movements in their countries that emulated Italian Fascism. In Germany, numerous right-wing nationalist groups arose, particularly out of the post-war Freikorps used to crush both the Spartacist uprising and the Bavarian Soviet Republic.

With the worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s, liberalism and the liberal form of capitalism seemed doomed, and Communist and fascist movements swelled. These movements were bitterly opposed to each other and fought frequently, the most notable example of this conflict being the Spanish Civil War. This war became a proxy war between the fascist countries and their international supporters — who backed Francisco Franco — and the worldwide Communist movement allied uneasily with anarchists and Trotskyists — who backed the Popular Front — and were aided chiefly by the Soviet Union.

Initially, the Soviet Union supported a coalition with the western powers against Nazi Germany and popular fronts in various countries against domestic fascism. This policy largely failed due to distrust shown by the western powers (especially Britain) towards the Soviet Union. The Munich Agreement between Germany, France and Britain heightened Soviet fears that the western powers endeavored to force them to bear the brunt of a war against Nazism. The lack of eagerness on the part of the British during diplomatic negotiations with the Soviets served to make the situation even worse. The Soviets changed their policy and negotiated a non-aggression pact known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939. Vyacheslav Molotov claims in his memoirs that the Soviets believed this agreement was necessary to buy them time to prepare for an expected war with Germany. Stalin expected the Germans not to attack until 1942, but the pact ended in 1941 when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Fascism and communism reverted to being deadly enemies. The war, in the eyes of both sides, was a war between ideologies.

Even within socialist and communist circles, theoreticians debated the nature of fascism. Communist theoretician Rajani Palme Dutt crafted one view that stressed the crisis of capitalism.[44] Leon Trotsky, an early leader in the Russian Revolution, believed that fascism occurs when "the workers' organizations are annihilated; that the proletariat is reduced to an amorphous state; and that a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses and which serves to frustrate the independent crystallization of the proletariat."[45]

Fascism and religion

Some expressions of fascism have been closely linked with religious political movements. This combination is referred to as clerical fascism, a prime example of which is the Ustaše in Croatia.

Fascism and the Roman Catholic Church

A controversial topic is the relationship between fascist movements and the Roman Catholic Church. Fascism became a powerful political movement primarily in Roman Catholic countries (Italy, Spain, Hungary, South America) and even in National Socialist Germany many of the most important political leaders were from Roman Catholic Bavaria and Austria. As mentioned above, Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum included doctrines that fascists used or admired. Forty years later, the corporatist tendencies of Rerum Novarum were underscored by Pope Pius XI's May 25, 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno[46] restated the hostility of Rerum Novarum to both unbridled competition and class struggle. Defenders of Pope Leo XIII argue the criticism of both socialism and capitalism in these encyclicals was not fascist but rather closer to Christian Democracy or distributism.

In the early 1920s, the Catholic party in Italy (Partito Popolare) was in the process of forming a coalition with the Reform Party that could have stabilized Italian politics and thwarted Mussolini's projected coup. On October 2, 1922, Pope Pius XI circulated a letter ordering clergy not to identify themselves with the Partito Popolare, but to remain neutral, an act that undercut the party and its alliance against Mussolini. Following Mussolini's rise to power, the Vatican's Secretary of State met Il Duce in early 1923 and agreed to dissolve the Partito Popolare, which Mussolini saw as an obstacle to fascist rule. In exchange, the fascists made guarantees regarding Catholic education and institutions.

In 1924, following the murder of the leader of the Socialist Party by fascists, the Partito Popolare joined with the Socialist Party in demanding that the King dismiss Mussolini as Prime Minister, and stated their willingness to form a coalition government. Pius XI responded by warning against any coalition between Catholics and socialists. The Vatican ordered all priests to resign from the Partito Popolare and from any positions they held in it. This action led to the party's disintegration in rural areas where it relied on clerical assistance.

The Vatican subsequently established Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action) as a non-political lay organization under the direct control of bishops. The Vatican forbid the organization to participate in politics, and thus it was not permitted to oppose the fascist regime. Pius XI ordered all Catholics to join Catholic Action. This order resulted in hundreds of thousands of Catholics withdrawing from the Partito Popolare, and joining the apolitical Catholic Action, which in turn caused the Catholic Party's final collapse.[47]

When Mussolini ordered the closure of Catholic Action in May 1931, Pius XI issued an encyclical, . This document stated the Catholic Church's opposition to the dissolution, and argued that the order "unmasked the pagan intentions of the Fascist state". Under international pressure, Mussolini decided to compromise, and Catholic Action was saved. For Catholics, the encyclical's disapproval of any system that puts the nation above God or humanity remains doctrine.

Aside from certain ideological similarities, the relationship between the Church and fascist movements in various countries has often been close. An early example is Austria, which developed a quasi-fascist authoritarian Catholic regime some call the "Austro-fascist" Ständestaat between 1934 and 1938. There is little debate over Slovakia, where the fascist dictator was a Catholic monsignor; and the Independent State of Croatia, where the fascist Ustashe identified itself as a Catholic movement. The Iron Guard in Romania identified itself as an Eastern Orthodox movement (with no connection to Roman Catholicism), and had particularly strong leanings toward clerical fascism. (See also Involvement of Croatian Catholic clergy with the Ustaša regime.) In Slovenia collaboration with Nazi Germany was based on Catholic propaganda, which perceived nazis as lesser evil than communists.

The reactionary Catholic-influenced ideology of the Action Française also deeply influenced The Vichy regime in France. This group had actually been led by an agnostic and condemned by the Catholic Church in 1926. Many of its members were reactionary Catholics so this condemnation damaged the group, but then in 1938 the condemnation was lifted. Conversely, many Catholic priests were persecuted under the Nazi regime, and many Catholic laypeople and clergy played notable roles in sheltering Jews during the Holocaust.[48]

While some historians wrote that the Catholic organization Opus Dei and its founder Josemaría Escrivá supported the fascist regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, some recent historians state that Escrivá was staunchly non-political, and the connection between Opus Dei and Franco's fascist regime was a black legend propagated by the Falange and by some clerical sectors.[49]

Fascist movements like Rexism in Belgium and the Christian Social Party also combined fascist and conservative populist Roman Catholic elements.

Fascism and the Protestant churches

Protestantism in Italy and Spain was not as significant as Catholicism and the Protestant minority was persecuted. Mussolini's sub-secretary of Interior, Bufferini-Guidi issued a memo closing all houses of worship of the Italian Pentecostals and Jehovah Witnesses, and imprisoned their leader. In some instances, people were killed because of their faith.[50]

The connection between the German form of Fascism, Nazism, and Protestantism has long been debated, with some saying that the Protestant denominations, especially the German Lutheran Church, was close. According to some scholars, especially Richard Steigman-Gall (The Holy Reich: Protestantism and the Nazi Movement, 1920-1945) the relationship was collaborationist. Hitler, in his manifesto, Mein Kampf, listed Martin Luther as one of Germany's great historic reformers. In Luther's 1543 book On the Jews and Their Lies, Luther advocated the burning of synagogues and schools, the deportation of Jews, and many other measures that resemble the actions later taken by the Nazis.

The overwhelming majority of Protestant church leaders in Germany made no comment on the Nazis' growing anti-Jewish activities. Many Protestants opposed the governments of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s, which they saw as coalitions between the Socialists and the Catholic Centre party. In 1932, many German Protestants joined together to form the German Christian Movement which enthusiastically supported Nazism, and sought to join Church and State. 3,000 of the 17,000 Protestant pastors in Germany were to join the movement. Hitler wished to unite a Protestant church of twenty-eight different federations into one nationalist body. Pastor Ludwig Müller, the leader of the German Christian Movement, was soon appointed Hitler's adviser on religious affairs. He was elected Reich's Bishop in charge of the German Protestant churches in 1933. Many churches and ministers attempted to purge Christianity of "Jewish influences" and tried to institute the Nazis' Positive Christianity viewpoint on religion.

An "Aryan Paragraph" was introduced to the constitution, which stated that no one of non-Aryan background, or married to anyone of non-Aryan background, could serve as either a pastor or church official. Pastors and officials who had married a non-Aryan were to be dismissed. Much of the Lutheran establishment and most of the Reformed churches in Germany had welcomed Hitler's promise to oppose Bolshevism and social instability.

The new measures began to raise some opposition to the German Christians from a minority of Protestants who had become increasingly disillusioned with unethical practices of the Nazis and disliked state interference in church affairs. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and theological liberal, strongly opposed the Nazis. Although some debate his actual involvement in planning the assassination attempt of Hitler, he was found guilty and executed for his alleged part in the conspiracy. A small group of Protestant clergy under Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer separated from the main churches to form the Confessing Church. The group had limited effect, however, as it was forced to meet secretly and was largely dispersed by the Nazis by 1939 at the latest, and the effect of Protestantism on inhibiting Nazism in Germany was limited at best.

Fascism, sexuality, and gender roles

Further information: Gender role
There has been a revival of interest in recent times, among many academic historians, with regard to the so-called "cult of masculinity" that permeated fascism, the attempts to systematically control female sexuality and reproductive behavior for the ends of the State. Italian fascists viewed increasing the birthrate of Italy as a major goal of their regime, with Mussolini launching a program, called the 'Battle For Births', to almost double the country's population. The exclusive role assigned to women within the State was to be mothers and not workers or soldiers;[51] however, Mussolini did not practice what some of his supporters preached. From an early stage, he gave women high positions within Fascism, and in Germany, the leader of one of the major feminist organizations pleaded with Hitler to be incorporated into the Nazi Party as early as 1928. Fascists have generally been opposed to the concept of women's rights per se, preferring the traditions of chivalry to guide male-female relations.

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you.[52]

But Sylvia Plath's angry metaphor may simply be a repetition of the old 'woman as masochist' claim. As this came in a poem about her German father, Plath may have been associating all Germans with fascism [something that was common in Britain until fairly recently].

According to Anson Rabinbach and Jessica Benjamin, "The crucial element of fascism is its explicit sexual language, what Theweleit calls 'the conscious coding' or the 'over-explicitness of the fascist language of symbol.' This fascist symbolization creates a particular kind of psychic economy which places sexuality in the service of destruction. According to this intellectual theory, despite its sexually-charged politics, fascism is an anti-eros, 'the core of all fascist propaganda is a battle against everything that constitutes enjoyment and pleasure'… He shows that in this world of war the repudiation of one's own body, of femininity, becomes a psychic compulsion which associates masculinity with hardness, destruction, and self-denial."[53]

See also



1. ^ Eatwell, Roger. 1996. Fascism: A History. New York: Allen Lane.
2. ^ Griffin, Roger. 1991. The Nature of Fascism. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
3. ^ Nolte, Ernst The Three Faces Of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism National Socialism, translated from the German by Leila Vennewitz, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.
4. ^ Paxton, Robert O. 2004. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 1-4000-4094-9
5. ^ Payne, Stanley G. 1995. A History of Fascism, 1914-45. Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press ISBN 0-299-14874-2
6. ^ "collectivism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 12 January 2007 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9024764> "Collectivism has found varying degrees of expression in the 20th century in such movements as socialism, communism, and fascism."; Grant, Moyra. Key Ideas in Politics. Nelson Thomas 2003. p. 21; De Grand, Alexander. Italian Fascism: Its Origins and Development. U of Nebraska Press. p. 147 "Nationalism, statism, and authoritarianism culminated in the cult of the Duce. Finally, collectivism was important...Despite general agreement on these four themes, it was hard to formulate a definition of fascism..."
7. ^ Griffiths, Richard Fascism. (Continuum, 2005), 91-136. ISBN 0-8264-8281-3
8. ^ Benito Mussolini "The Doctrine of Fascism"
9. ^ Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. (Knopf Publishing Group, 2005), 218. ISBN 1-4000-4094-9
10. ^ Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. (Knopf Publishing Group, 2005), 218. ISBN 1-4000-4094-9
11. ^ Payne, Stanley (1980). Fascism: Comparison and Definition. University of Wisconsin Press, 7. 
12. ^ Umberto Eco (1995). "Eternal Fascism Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt". New York Review of Books (June 22): 12–15. 
13. ^ Griffin, Roger (1995). Fascism. Oxford University Press. 
14. ^ Ludwig von Mises, [2] , Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc.. 1981
15. ^ David Baker, The political economy of fascism: Myth or reality, or myth and reality? New Political Economy, Volume 11, Issue 2 June 2006 , pages 227 – 250
16. ^ Triandis, Harry C.; Gelfand, Michele J. (1998). "Converging Measurement of Horizontal and Vertical Individualism and Collectivism". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74 (1): 119. ; Collectivism. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 14 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: [3]
17. ^ Calvin B. Hoover, "The Paths of Economic Change: Contrasting Tendencies in the Modern World," The American Economic Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, Supplement, Papers and Proceedings of the Forty-seventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association. (Mar., 1935), pp. 13-20; Philip Morgan, Fascism in Europe, 1919-1945, New York Tayolor & Francis 2003, p. 168
18. ^ Friedrich A. Hayek. 1944.
The Road to Serfdom''. Routledge Press
19. ^ George Orwell: ‘What is Fascism?’
20. ^ Gilbert Allardyce (1979). "What Fascism Is Not: Thoughts on the Deflation of a Concept". American Historical Review 84 (2): 367-388. DOI:10.2307/1855138. 
21. ^ Paul H. Lewis (2000). Latin Fascist Elites. Praeger/Greenwood, 9. ISBN 0-275-97880-X. 
22. ^ Grant, Moyra. Key Ideas in Politics. Nelson Thomas 2003. p. 21
23. ^ http://www.cf.ac.uk/hisar/people/kp/
24. ^ David Baker, The political economy of fascism: Myth or reality, or myth and reality? New Political Economy, Volume 11, Issue 2 June 2006 , pages 227 – 250
25. ^ Philip Morgan, ''Fascism in Europe, 1919-1945, New York Tayolor & Francis 2003, p. 168
26. ^ Stanislav Andreski, Wars, Revolutions, Dictatorships, Routledge 1992, page 64
27. ^ James A. Gregor, The Search for Neofascism: The Use and Abuse of Social Science, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 7
28. ^ Herbert Kitschelt, Anthony J. McGann. The Radical Right in Western Europe: a comparative analysis. 1996 University of Michigan Press. p. 30
29. ^ Herbert Kitschelt, Anthony J. McGann. The Radical Right in Western Europe: a comparative analysis. 1996 University of Michigan Press. p. 30
30. ^ Tibor Ivan Berend, An Economic History of Twentieth-Century Europe, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 93
31. ^ Alexander J. De Grand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Routledge, 1995. pp. 47
32. ^ Alexander J. De Grand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Routledge, 1995. pp. 48-51
33. ^ Britt, Lawrence, 'The 14 characteristics of fascism', Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, p. 20.
34. ^ Salvemini, Gaetano. Under the Axe of Fascism 1936.
35. ^ Daniel Guérin, Fascism and Big Business, Chapter IX, Second section, p.193 in the 1999 Syllepse Editions
36. ^ Daniel Guérin, Fascism and Big Business, Chapter IX, Second section, p.193 in the 1999 Syllepse Editions
37. ^ Daniel Guérin, Fascism and Big Business, Chapter IX, First section, p.191 in the 1999 Syllepse Editions
38. ^ Daniel Guérin, Fascism and Big Business, Chapter IX, Second section, p.193 in the 1999 Syllepse Editions
39. ^ Daniel Guérin, Fascism and Big Business, Chapter IX, Fifth section, p.197 in the 1999 Syllepse Editions
40. ^ Frank Bealey & others. Elements of Political Science. Edinburgh University Press, 1999, p. 202
41. ^ Postone, Moishe. 1986. "Anti-Semitism and National Socialism." Germans & Jews Since the Holocaust: The Changing Situation in West Germany, ed. Anson Rabinbach and Jack Zipes. New York: Homes & Meier.
42. ^ Stanislav Andreski, Wars, Revolutions, Dictatorships, Routledge 1992, page 64
43. ^ Stephen Haseler. The Death of British Democracy: Study of Britain's Political Present and Future. Prometheus Books 1976. p. 153
44. ^ Rajani Palme Dutt: Fascism. Fascism and Social Revolution: A Study of the economics and Politics of the Extreme Stages of Capitalism in Decay (1934). Retrieved on November 5, 2006.
45. ^ LEON TROTSKY: Fascism. Fascism: What It Is and How to Fight It. Retrieved on November 6, 2006.
46. ^ Rerum Novarum. papalencyclicals.net. Retrieved on November 17, 2005.
47. ^ Italy, the Vatican and Fascism. The Vatican in World Politics. Retrieved on November 17, 2005.
48. ^ See List of people who helped Jews during the Holocaust#Religious figures for some examples
49. ^ See Allen, John (2005). Opus Dei: an Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church. Random House Double. See also Preston, Paul. (1993). Franco. A Biography, London: HarperCollins, p. 669, and Crozier, Brian (1967) Franco, A Biographical History, Little, Brown and Company.
50. ^ ROCHAT Giorgio, Regime fascista e chiese evangeliche, Torino, Claudiana, 1990
51. ^ Durham, Martin: Women and Fascism, Routledge 1998, ISBN 0-415-12280-5
52. ^ The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-090900-5. 
53. ^ Theweleit, Klaus; Erica Carter, Anson Rabinbach, Chris Turner (Translator), Anson Rabinbach (1989). Male Fantasies, Volume 2: Male Bodies—Psychoanalyzing the White Terror (Theory and History of Literature, Volume 23). United States: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1451-2. 

Further reading


  • Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (1992). London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-5254-X
  • "Labor Charter" (1927-1934)
  • Mussolini, Benito. Doctrine of Fascism which was published as part of the entry for fascismo in the Enciclopedia Italiana 1932.
  • Paxton, Robert O. 2004. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 1-4000-4094-9
  • Sorel, Georges. Reflections on Violence.
  • De Felice, Renzo Interpretations of Fascism, translated by Brenda Huff Everett, Cambridge; London: Harvard University Press, 1977 ISBN 0-674-45962-8.
  • Eatwell, Roger. 1996. Fascism: A History. New York: Allen Lane.
  • Hughes, H. Stuart. 1953. The United States and Italy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Nolte, Ernst The Three Faces Of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, translated from the German by Leila Vennewitz, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.
  • Payne, Stanley G. 1995. A History of Fascism, 1914-45. Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press ISBN 0-299-14874-2
  • Reich, Wilhelm. 1970. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  • Seldes, George. 1935. Sawdust Caesar: The Untold History of Mussolini and Fascism. New York and London: Harper and Brothers.
  • Alfred Sohn-Rethel Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism,London, CSE Bks, 1978 ISBN 0906336007

Fascist ideology

  • De Felice, Renzo Fascism : an informal introduction to its theory and practice, an interview with Michael Ledeen, New Brunswick, N.J. : Transaction Books, 1976 ISBN 0-87855-190-5.
  • Fritzsche, Peter. 1990. Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505780-5
  • Griffin, Roger. 2000. "Revolution from the Right: Fascism," chapter in David Parker (ed.) Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West 1560-1991, Routledge, London.
  • Laqueur, Walter. 1966. Fascism: Past, Present, Future, New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-19-511793-X
  • Schapiro, J. Salwyn. 1949. Liberalism and The Challenge of Fascism, Social Forces in England and France (1815-1870). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press.
  • Sternhell, Zeev with Mario Sznajder and Maia Asheri. [1989] 1994. The Birth of Fascist Ideology, From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution., Trans. David Maisei. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Baker, David "The political economy of fascism: Myth or reality, or myth and reality?" New Political Economy, Volume 11, Issue 2 June 2006 , pages 227 – 250
  • A. James Gregor. 2001. Giovanni Gentile:Philosopher of Fascism

International fascism

External links



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Autocratic: Despotism | Dictatorship | Tyranny | Absolute monarchy | Caliphate | Despotate | Emirate | Empire | Khanate | Sultanate | Other monarchical titles) | Enlightened absolutism Other Authoritarian: Military dictatorship (often a Junta) | Oligarchy | Single-party state (Communist state | Fascist(oid) state) | de facto: Illiberal democracy
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, politics is observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious
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What constitutes a definition of fascism and fascist governments is a highly disputed subject that has proved complicated and contentious. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its
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Italian Fascism (in Italian, fascismo) was the authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. German Nazism, under Adolf Hitler, was inspired by Italian Fascism but only came to power ten years later in 1933.
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''This page specifically pertains to fascism after World War II. For Nazi movements after World War II, see Neo-Nazism.

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Islamofascism is a controversial neologism suggesting an association of the ideological or operational characteristics of certain modern Islamist movements with European fascist movements of the early 20th century, neofascist movements, or totalitarianism.
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Left-wing fascism is a pejorative term used to assert a connection between modern strains of leftism and Fascism as represented by Benito Mussolini in Italy.

Juergen Habermas first used the term during the 1960s to distance the neo-Marxist perspectives of the Frankfurt
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Rexism was a fascist political movement in the first half of the twentieth century in Belgium.

It was the ideology of the Rexist Party (Parti Rexiste), officially called Christus Rex, founded in 1930 by Léon Degrelle, a Walloon.
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Falange (or Phalange) is the name assigned to several political movements and parties dating from the 1930s, most particularly the original movement in Spain. The word Falange is derived from the Greek word phalangos, meaning finger.
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Clerical fascism is an ideological construct that combines the political and economic doctrines of fascism with theology or religious tradition. The term has been used to describe organisations and movements that combine religious elements with fascism, support by religious
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Austrofascism is a term which is frequently used by left-wing historians to describe the authoritarian rule installed in Austria between 1934 and 1938. It was based on a ruling party, the Fatherland Front (Vaterländische Front
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Iron Guard is the name most commonly given in English to an ultra-nationalist anti-Semitic, anti-Hungarian, fascist movement and political party in Romania in the period from 1927 into the early part of World War II.
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Arrow Cross Party (Hungarian: Nyilaskeresztes Párt – Hungarista Mozgalom, literally "Arrow Cross Party-Hungarianist Movement") was a pro-German anti-Semitic national socialist party led by Ferenc Szálasi which ruled Hungary from October 15, 1944 to January 1945.
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From 1936 to 1941, Greece was ruled by an authoritarian regime under the leadership of General Ioannis Metaxas akin to that of Franco's Spain. Historians of this period in Greek history, such as Richard Clogg, John Hondros, William McNeill, C. M.
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Crypto-fascism is when a party or group secretly adheres to the doctrines of fascism while attempting to disguise it as another political movement. It can also refer to an individual who admires or desires fascism, but keeps this admiration hidden to avoid social persecution or
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Politics of Lebanon

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The general term Japanese fascism has been used to refer to Japanese nationalist thinking, its ideological foundation and the outlines of its political implementation. Another possible use of the term is to refer to Japanese right-wing (far right) thinking in general.
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Estado Novo (Portuguese for "New State"; pron. IPA: [(ɨ)ʃ'tadu 'novu]) is the name of the Portuguese authoritarian regime installed in 1933, following the army-led coup d'état
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Estado Novo (Portuguese for "New State") was the name of the authoritarian government installed in Brazil by President Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, which lasted from 1937 to 1945. It was modeled on the Estado Novo regime in Brazil's mother country of Portugal.
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Brazilian Integralism (Portuguese: Integralismo brasileiro) was a Brazilian political movement created in October 1932. Founded and led by Plínio Salgado, a literary figure who was relatively famous during the 1922 Modern Art Week, the movement had adopted some
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Few people in the United States ever identified themselves as "fascists" or openly supported fascism.
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or using modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition.
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  • advocating corporatism.
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  • Fascio (plural: fasci) is an Italian word that was used in the late 19th century to refer to extremist political groups of many different (and sometimes opposing) orientations.
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    For the movie by Dino Risi, see March on Rome (film)

    The March on Rome was a pseudo-coup d'état by which Mussolini's National Fascist Party came to power in Italy. It took place from October 27 to October 29, 1922.
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    This articles covers the history of Italy as a monarchy and in the World Wars.

    Italian unification (1861-1870)

    Main article: Unification of Italy

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