A2 Government & Politics Unit:3b, Topic:4 (Fascism)

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Origins

  • Fascism is a child of the 20C 
  • Emerged in the period between the two world wars 
  • Revolt against modernity
  • Phrases include Italy: "Believe, Obey, Fight" and "Order, Authority, Justice" 
  • Fascism came not only as a "bolt from the blue" - O'Sullivan 20C, but also as an attempt to destroy genuine political thought 
  • Fascism emerged most dramatically in Italy and Germany with parties being formed in 1919. 
  • Hitler took the National Socialist German Workers' Party, the Nazis, and turned Germany into a Nazi dictatorship in 1934
  • Other fascist developments were seen in Imperial Japan (1930s) and Argentina (1945-55) 
  • Lipset - "extremism of the centre" 
  • Fascist regimes were not overthrown by popular revolt or protest but by defeat in WWII 
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Core themes: Strength through unity

  • Fascism can be considered in some sense be doubted as a political ideology as it is an "ill-assorted hodge-podge of ideas" - Trevor-Roper 
  • Hitler described his ideas as a Weltanschauug (world view on how people understand and engage with the world) 
  • Therefore, may be better described as a political movement than an ideology? 
  • Core themes : 
    • ANTI-RATIONALISM 
    • STRUGGLE 
    • LEADERSHIP AND ELITISM 
    • SOCIALISM 
    • ULTRANATIONALISM 
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Anti-rationalism

  • Counter-Enlightenment thinking 
  • Highlights the limits of human reason 
  • Nietzsche - human beings are motivated by powerful emotions not reason 
  • Henri Bergson - "vitalism" - instinct and impulse > intellect and reason 
  • Anti-intellectualism 
  • "Action not talk" and "inactivity is Death" - Mussolini
  • Fascism practices the "politics of the will" 
  • It is an anti-philosophy 
  • "Creative destruction" - eugenics 
  • Natonal community - the Volksgemeinshaft (German term) - viewed as an indivisible whole - UNITY 
  • Nazi slogan "strength through unity" 
  • Individuals - "revolution of the spirit" - men should be the 'new man' or the 'fascist man' - motivated by duty, honour and self-sacrifice - prepared to dissolve their personality 
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Struggle

  • Darwin - "natural selection" 1859 
  • Human existence is based on competition or struggle 
  • Fascists regarded struggle as the natural and inevitable condition of both social and international life 
  • "Victory is to the strong and the weak must go to the wall" -Hitler 
  • Mussolini - "War isto men what maternity is to women" 
  • Association of goodness with strength and evil with weakness 
  • Replacement of caring values, sympathy and compassion with loyalty,duty and obedience 
  • Eugenics - huge significance 
  • Germany - mentally and physically disabled peopel forcibly sterilised and then between 1939 and 1941 systematically murdered
  • Extermination of Jewish people from 1941 +
  • Hitler wanted lebensraum in the East (living space) 
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Leadership and elitism

  • Radical rejection of equality 
  • Belief that leadership and elitism are natural and desirable 
  • Need a supreme, all-seeing leader - the Ubermensch - Nietzsche 
  • Rises above the 'herd of instinct' 
  • Hitler adopted the title 'Der fuhrer' 
  • Other examples - "Adolf Hitler is Germany, Germany is Adolf Hitler" and "Mussolini is always right" 
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Socialism

  • Portrayed their ideas as forms of 'socialism' 
  • Nazi Party espoused a philosophy called 'national socialism' 
  • Lower-middle class fascists had a profound distaste for large-scale capitalism 
  • Before Hitler 'leftist' ideas were seen in the SA / Brownshirts,- "Common Good before Private Good"
  • Oswald Mosley - leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 30s said that capitalidm allows capital to use the nation, fascism allows the nation to use capital 
  • Yet, severe limitations, Night of the Long Knives lead to the murder of the SA's leader Ernst Rohm in 1934
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Ultranationalism

  • Aryanism was seen as ideal to many fascists 
  • More than mere patriotism 
  • Militant sense of national identity 
  • Charles Muarras - 'integral nationalism' 
  • Nations should only rely on their own resources - therefore nationalisation is preferred, and privatisation is detested 
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Fascism and the state

  • Different versions of fascism 
  • Two major traditions adopted by Italy and Germany 
  • Italy - all-powerful or totalitarian state, extreme statism (state is more appropriate means of resolving problems) 
  • Giovanni Gentile - "everything for the state" 
  • Whereas Germany stressed the importance of race and racialism 
  • Hitler described the state as a mere "vessel" 
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Corporatism

  • Authoritarian corporatism 
  • Closely associated with fascist Italy 
  • Alternative to capitalism 
  • Liberal coroporatism - Germany, organised interests to be granted privilege 
  • Mussolini portrayed this as the 'third-way' 
  • Embraced by Mosley in the UK and Peron in Argentina 
  • Traditional Catholic social thought - social classes are bound together by duty and mutual obligations 
  • Not Griffin's response currently in the BNP - "let the banks fail" 
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Modernisation

  • Fascists seen fascism as an agent of modernisation 
  • Fascism tends to be backward-looking, highlighting the glories of a lost era of national greatness e.g. To Mussolini this was Imperial Rome 
  • Yet it can be forward-looking, and has a bit of an interest in futurism (glorified movements in art, factories, machinery and industrial life) led by Marinetti - who became absorbed by fascism 
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Fascism and racialism

  • Mainly Nazis
  • Voluntaristic form of facism under Mussolini in theory, he only passed anti-Semitic laws after 1937 to follow Hitler not for any particular ideological purposes 
  • Hitler supported militant nationalism 
  • Generally, all forms of fascism are either hospitable to racialism, or harbour implicit or explicit racialist doctrines, e.g. Griffin 1993 
  • Enoch Powell in the UK in 1960s and Jean-Marie le Pen in France in the 1980s both argued against 'non-white' immigration into their countries - on the grounds of there being a damage to their culture, and that the community would be threatened 
  • Nazi ideology was fashioned out of a combination of racial anti-Semitism and social Darwinism 
  • Anti-Semitism intensified in the late 19C 
  • Growth of a 'science of race' - shown in eugenics in Germany 
  • Hitler divided the world into three races in his Manichaean view of the world (terms of conflict between good and evil) - 1. Aryans, 2. 'bearers of culture' 3. the Jews - 'destroyers of culture' 
  • Led to genocide and racial extermination in 1941 
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Tensions

FASCISM..........................................................................Nazism 

state worship.....................................................................state as a vessel

chauvinist nationalism........................................................extreme radicalism 

voluntarism.......................................................................essentialism 

national greatness.............................................................biological superiority

organic unity.....................................................................racial purity/eugenics 

pragmatic anti-Semitism....................................................genocidal anti-Semitism 

futurism/modernism...........................................................peasant ideology 

corporatism......................................................................war economy

colonial expansion............................................................world domination 

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Modern fascism

  • Commentators have argued that fascism, properly understood, did not survive into the second half of the 20C 
  • Rise of religious fundamentalism though - seen in a form of 'Islamo-fascism' 
  • French Front National 
  • Freedom Party in Austria 
  • Their acceptrance of political pluralism and electoral democracy "democratic fascism" deems them not fully classic fascists 
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Key Figures / Examples

  • J. A. Gobineau - Architect of the modern racial theory, Aryans > others 19C
  • F. Nietzsche - "Will to power 19C 
  • H. S. Chamberlain - Populised racial theories 20C
  • G. Gentile - Importance of the state stressed 20C 
  • A. Rosenberg - "race-soul", 'sub-human' Slavs, Poles and Czechs 20C 
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Other examples

  • BNP - office of PM should have full executive powers 
  • Tyndall - 'stamp out' feminism 1992 - "our women folk to regard home and family-making as the highest vocation of their sex" 
  • Tyndall - "lie of social equality" - promoted by "dark-skinned sub-racials" 
  • 1970s - BNP - forced repatriation of all non-whites Tyndall 
  • Enoch Powell - "Rivers of Blood" speech in 1968 
  • British Union of Fascists 1930s under Oswald Mosley modelled on Mussolini 
  • Tyndall - "Mein Kampf is my bible" 
  • English Defence League 2005+ more a fascist movement than Party. Anti-Islamism. Fascist concerning race and nationalism, not democracy 
  • Rebranding of the BNP under Griffin -Identity not race 
  • Griffin - Holocaust denial 
  • Combat 18 - 1992, violence against immigrants, nasty group, modelled on Hitler, published a "Redwatch" magazine listing names, photos and addresses of political opponents 
  • Jean Marie le Pen - Front National 1972 Anti-immigration and downplayer of the Holocaust 
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