Fascism is a form of government that is ruled by an authoritarian leader. They work for a totalitarian one-party state. This aim is to prepare the nation for armed conflict, and to respond to economic difficulties. Fascism stands for a centralized government headed by a charismatic leader in which the governments purpose is to serve the interests of the people. Historically, fascist governments tend to be autocratic and militaristic. In the Third Reich, the national socialist party, ethnic German society was pictured as a racially unified society, the Volksgemeinschaft.
Fascism appeared in Italy in the early 1920s and developed fully in the 1930s. The fascist party in Italy was ruled by a "grand council" from 1922 until the end of World War II. However, in practice it became ruled by the first of the fascist leaders, Benito Mussolini.
Hitler in Germany, Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal took control in the 1930s in their countries. After World War II, fascism continued in the form of military dictatorships in Portugal, Spain, in some parts of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Fascism brought national unity and solidarity instead of the divisions of class struggle and party politics. Fascism is generally considered to be a facet of totalitarianism; although with majority support of its population (e.g. in Germany and Italy in WW2).
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 government the individual citizen doesn’t always have the option to vote, nor do they have the option to live a lifestyle which may be seen as immoral, useless, and unproductive towards society. If you act against nature (homosexuality, cross dressing, changing genders, etc.) you can be arrested and put on 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 and corporate representatives (CEOs, company presidents, etc.) to negotiate - through a system called corporatism. Fascists usually work closely with corporations and economic elites, and use the resources to build up the military, other parts of the fascist state, or to help improve the lives of their citizens. Fascist states typically fund, help, and observe schools and other parts of civil society in order to promote and encourage nationalism. Most adults are encouraged to either join the fascist party or support it as the government.
Communism, on the other hand is viewed as totalitarian in the sense that it calls for complete economic control and ownership of the economy by the people, in common.
It is always a big crime in Communist countries to speak against the leader or ruling party. In most cases you could be killed or sent to a labor camp. Communist leaders often give themselves a high military rank, or appear in public in an army or navy uniform, because communist countries generally want to inspire fear into their citizens to cease revolts and uprisings.
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 iconic examples of fascism. 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.
Fascism is named after the fasces, which is an old Roman 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 and nationalist ideas makes the country strong the same way the sticks are.
In countries led by fascist governments, the government tries to control certain areas of life, such as the military, economy, and the educational system. Fascist ideas were most common around the time of World War II. Some people were put on trial and executed by Fascist governments because they proved to be a threat to the public or they committed treason along with acts of violence. Even more were killed in wars started by allied and communist 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 is still around today, although there are no current Fascist governments, movements and politicians inspired by fascism have had success in several countries, such as Hungary.
References[change | change source]
- Payne, Stanley G. 2005. A history of fascism, 1914 through 1945. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-14874-2
- Blamires, Cyprian 2006. World Fascism: a historical encyclopedia. Volume 1, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO.
- "the definition of fascism". www.dictionary.com.
- Roger Griffin. 1995. Fascism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 8, 307.
- "Fascist Grand Council". Oxford Reference. 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.