Fascism

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Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler (right), two Fascist leaders. Hitler's Nazism, however, is sometimes considered independent of Fascism.
A fasces

Fascism is a form of government, in which the country is considered more important than any one person, group, liberty, or provision.

A country under this kind of government is usually run by a person called a leader, who has the right of total control over the government and people.[1]

Fascist leadership might also be similar to an oligarchy, such as in Italy where the fascist party was ruled by its "grand council" from 1922 until the end of World War Two.[2]

Fascism appeared in Europe before World War II because many people thought that democracy was weak and full of moral perversions, that capitalism was too materialistic and unfair to the people, while communism, although unifying and fair, did not care about the needs of the nation and hampered business initiative.

Fascism was supposed to be the answer for that need, with national unity and solidarity instead of the divisions of class struggle and party politics. Liberals and believers in democracy generally considers fascism and communism as two facets of totalitarianism, and that they are unified by the urge to control everything and allow no freedom. But, believers in Marxism-Leninism think that capitalism either creates or uses fascism as a tool to destroy the workers' movements and secure rule by the upper classes if it is challenged. It does so by appealing to the people and to their most primitive needs, while actually pursuing the interests of the already rich.

Opposition[change | change source]

There is more than one reason why people living in democratic states oppose fascism, but the main reason is that in a fascist dictatorship the individual citizen has no guaranteed rights. If you say the wrong thing or oppose the wrong person, you can be arrested or killed without a fair trial. You have to be careful to avoid becoming popular with the people.

Many people believe that Fascism would not be a terrible system if you always do your duty and you never oppose the government. However, the problem is that people can be corrupt. Everything looks good in theory, but in real life innocent people can get into serious trouble with the government when there is no guaranteed right to a fair trial.

Fascism versus communism[change | change source]

Fascist governments are different from communist ones in that fascists, in theory, support the right of labor representatives (labor unions) and corporate representatives (CEOs, company presidents, etc.) to negotiate - through a system called corporatism- while communism, in theory, calls for complete economic control and ownership of the economy. They usually work closely with people who already manage these things but use the resources to build up the army or other parts of the fascist state. It is very important to fascists that all schools in the country teach children that the state is the most important thing in the world. All adults are expected to either join the fascist party or support it as the government. Some governments considered to be fascist, similar to the Nazis in Germany, pursued racist policies of segregation and/or extermination in opposition to cultural and ethnic pluralism.

It is always a big crime in fascist countries to speak against the leader or ruling party. Fascist leaders often give themselves a high military rank, or appear in public in an army or navy uniform, because fascist countries consider the army and warfare the most important part of the struggle for survival.

The first fascist government was run by Benito Mussolini in Italy from 1922 until 1943. The governments of Engelbert Dollfuss in Austria and Adolf Hitler in Germany are also referred to as fascist, but this is not completely accurate. Other examples are Greece under Ioannis Metaxas, Spain under the rule of Francisco Franco, and Portugal when António de Oliveira Salazar was the head of the government. All of these governments were much like Italian fascism, especially before and during World War II. Others have pointed out they had numerous differences from Italian fascism and was more of a traditional dictatorship.

Fascism is named after the fasces, which is an old Roman Empire name for a group of sticks tied together. It is easy to break one stick in half. It is very hard to break many sticks tied together in half. Fascists think that everyone following the same leader makes the country strong the same way the sticks are.

In countries led by fascist governments, the government tries to control all areas of life, including work, school, and family life. In modern democracies, like Britain, freedom is paramount, amounting to cameras on every street corner. Fascist ideas were most common around the time of World War II. Many people were killed by fascist governments because the government did not like them or because they opposed fascism. Even more were killed in wars started by fascist governments. However, the fascist governments of Portugal and Spain did not take part in World War II, and stayed in power until the 1970s. Many scholars consider these governments to have been or evolved into traditionalist and conservative rather than fascist. Fascism, while supporting order and stability as conservatism does, wants to transform society in new ways.

After World War II, Fascism lost much of its influence, although movements and politicians inspired by Fascism have had success in several countries, such as Italy.

References[change | change source]