What is Fascism?
The tendency of politicians to label their opponents “fascists” and the overuse of the term in pop culture clearly distorts the original meaning of the word. But what exactly is fascism and does it still exist in the world today? Historians have been debating this very question since the 1960s. Some scholars like Gilbert Allardyce have argued that fascism only existed in interwar Italy. He claims it cannot be considered an ideology, and particularly not a generic ideology shared by many movements, because its nationalism makes each movement too distinct to be categorized under a single label and there is no one founding thinker or doctrine. Others, like Ernst Nolte, Stanley Payne, and Roger Griffin have proposed the existence of a generic form of fascism that can, with continued study, be categorized, defined, and identified in diverse times and places just as other ideologies like communism have been. Nolte defined fascism as anti-Marxism, anti-liberalism, and anti-conservatism with a cult of the leader, an army devoted to the political party, and the goal of totalitarianism. Payne expanded this definition to include a series of additional characteristics based on organization, style, and ideology. And Griffin crafted a concise definition of what he called the ideal type or model of fascism as a “genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultranationalism.”[footnoteRef:1] Another highly regarded historian of fascism, Robert Paxton, defined fascism in his 2004 book The Anatomy of Fascism 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.”[footnoteRef:2] While these historians all disagree over the phrasing and characteristics of the definition, they agree on the importance of understanding fascist movements as a category of political ideology that can include not only Italian Fascism but also German Nazism and other similar movements in countries like France, England, Hungary, and Belgium. More recently, scholars have tried to move beyond the debate about the existence of a generic or international fascist ideology by considering the transnational experience and exchange of fascist ideas and practices instead. These scholars often ask whether fascism could have been exported from Italy to become a European-wide political ideology or if a key component of fascism, ultrantionalism, prevented such a transnational exchange in practice. The voices of fascists in the 1930s including Mussolini, Hitler, and French fascists can give some insight into the question as well since all of them struggled to put the political ideas and goals of the movements they led into words. As active citizens of the global community, we today have a responsibility to be aware and informed about political movements around the world. Studying the past helps us to understand the historical context and meanings of the labels we use to describe leaders and organizations in our present. [1: Roger Griffin, The Nature of Fascism (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1991) 26. ] [2: Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Knopf, 2004) 218. ]
Benito Mussolini, What is Fascism (1932)
In 1932 Mussolini wrote, with the help of Giovanni Gentile, an entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism. Gentile was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Rome who became a strong proponent of Fascism and eventually Minister of Education under Mussolini.
Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism — born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. …Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied – the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society…. After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage…. For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism and hence the century of the State…. The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State….The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone…. …For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. Peoples which are rising, or rising again after a period of decadence, are always imperialist; and renunciation is a sign of decay and of death. …never before has the nation stood more in need of authority, of direction and order. If every age has its own characteristic doctrine, there are a thousand signs which point to Fascism as the characteristic doctrine of our time.
1. What doctrines does Mussolini say Fascism rejects?
b. Marxian socialism
c. democratic ideology and individualism
d. All of the above ms
2. If it is not individualist then what does it promote instead?
a. Collectivism and the State
b. Democracy and peace
c. Law and political participation
3. What will the individual be deprived of and who makes the decision about this?
a. They are deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom and the decision about which freedoms are useless is made by the state.
b. They are deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom and the decision about which freedoms are useless is made by the people themselves.
c. They are deprived of nothing since they retain their essential freedoms which they alone have decided to protect.
4. What does the nation need to be healthy?
a. Growth and expansion
c. Direction and order
d. All of the above ms
The 25 Points of Hitler’s Nazi Party (1920)
Hitler composed the 25 points of the Nazi party platform and presented it in a speech at the first mass meeting of the NSDAP in February 1920 in Munich.
1. We demand the union of all Germans in a Great Germany on the basis of the principle of self-determination of all peoples.
3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the maintenance of our people and the settlement of our surplus population.
4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.
8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.
20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.
21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.
22. We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army.
23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. …Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.
24. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the pinciple: COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD
25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.
1. Who are allowed to be citizens of Germany?
a. Those who have German blood
b. All those who have applied to become naturalized citizens of Germany
c. Anyone who moves to Germany and agrees to join the military
2. What does point 20 allow the State to control and why is this important?
a. The state controls the curricula of all educational establishments which teaches the youth what they Nazis want them to think
b. The state will provide maternity welfare centers to raise more German babies
c. The state will control immigration in order to prevent non-Germans from entering the country
3. Why is the Nazi state interested in maternity?
a. Strong and healthy mothers will produce strong healthy babies to be citizens and soldiers
b. Nazis are concerned about offering equal rights and opportunities for women
c. The Nazi state wanted to conduct research on reproduction
4. What does point 23 allow?
a. A campaign of censorship and persecution of the press if it challenges what the Nazis want people to believe.
b. Protection of public morality
c. Protection and patronage of the arts and cultural centers
5. How do points 24 and 25 show a similarity between Hitler’s and Mussolini’s definition of fascism?
a. For both Hitler and Mussolini the individual is less important than the collective good as defined by the centralized state.
b. Both Hitler and Mussolini are strongly anti-Semitic and oppose the Jewish presence in their country
c. Both Hitler and Mussolini want to expand their territories and grow their military presence
Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Socialisme Fasciste (Paris: Gallimard, 1934) 102, 126-129. (trans S. Shurts)
Drieu la Rochelle was a highly regarded writer and editor before his public infatuation with fascism led him to support collaboration with the Nazis during the German occupation of France. After his first visit to Germany in 1934, Drieu wrote the articles that would become his book Socialisme fasciste, and publicly announced his sympathy for the fascist ideology. In his search for a French version of the fascist alternative, Drieu was drawn to the Parti Populaire Français (French Popular Party). From 1936 to 1938 he was the ideological voice of the PPF and formed strong bonds with fellow PPF intellectual Ramon Fernandez.
Fascism presents itself as the new intermediary party between the old right and the old left, and when it is in power, its method is not that of radicalism, it is the opposite method- it is not the politics of equilibrium, it is a politics of fusion. The men of the left do know understand what it involves. They say ‘fascism is the last defense of capitalism.’ But no, as in Moscow, so in Berlin and Rome, it concerns a purer reaction. It is a pure theocracy where the spiritual and the temporal finally confound themselves. ,,, Reason tells us that a leader is not morally superior to the masses because he comes from the same time and the same conditions as the masses. But it is not about reason, it is about faith…Fascism does not come from the leader, the leader comes from fascism. Fascism did not leap from the head of Mussolini like Athena from Zeus. There was in Italy a movement, an effort of a generation which had searched and found fascism and at the same time had searched and found it in Mussolini. An individual is not able to begin anything, he is not able to create a political machine; he is only able to take into his hands a collective spirit, guide it, and project it.
1. How does Pierre Drieu la Rochelle describe fascism?
a. An intermediary party between the old left and the old right.
b. A merger of the spiritual and the temporal.
c. A German and Italian idea that is foreign to France
d. A and B are correct ms
2. What is fascism’s relationship to its leader in any country?
a. Fascism does not come from the leader, the leader comes from fascism therefore it is a grassroots movement where a people discover and install their leader.
b. The country’s most powerful individual will decide to lead and impose fascism on the people.
c. Fascists see their leader as chosen for them by God and his policies as divinely inspired
Ramon Fernandez, “Incapable of Using Reason Against Doriot on Concrete Political Problems, the Intellectuals Console Themselves by Representing Him as a Fascist Boogeyman” Emancipation Nationale (July 24, 1937) (trans S. Shurts)
Ramon Fernandez was a French university professor who became a writer, journalist, and literary critic. He was originally a member of the French socialist party and supported the antifascist CVIA but became disillusioned and in 1935 joined the fascist sympathizing Parti Populaire Français and advocated French fascism.
Henri Polles published a large work, Opera Politique, consecrated to the critique of fascism, or rather fascisms. Everyone knows that this word is a veritable “Jeannot’s Knife” where one changes all the realities that it represents but keeps the word and the trick is played. So well played that one can call “fascist” any political doctrine, no matter how different it is from true fascism. In fact, an intellectual can today call fascist all the political programs that are opposed to the one he has concocted in the silence of his room, between his dreams and his books. This confusion is one of the deplorable fruits of the moral anarchy where we live. Polles’ book, however, is a relatively serious book because he alone takes fascism seriously. He thus avoids the sad confusion which curses the mental sterility of the majority of his peers. Having identified our movement (the PPF) among the fascisms, Polles tries to adjust it to match his theories. Given his prejudices, his incomprehension of the spirit of our party was inevitable…These intellectuals have invented, in order to justify their antifascism, a prefascism with which they categorize all the political writers of other times who have written things they reject. This makes a pretty vaudeville, but a vaudeville which confuses our unfortunate contemporaries. Since the years before WWI, a vigorous effort was pursued to align political thought to political reality by breaking the rigid ideas that masked and deformed this reality. This effort was expressed differently in different nations—in some, it has taken a fascist form, in others, it has taken a form better adapted to national conditions. To reduce this effort to some fascist conspiracy is to refuse thought by accusing others of renouncing thought. I sense, behind the creation of antifascism, a great fear of thinking, a great fear of creating, a great fear of letting go of the last branch that attaches us to an obsolete past.
1. What does Fernandez say about how the term fascism is used in France?
a. It is currently used to describe any political program one is opposed to
b. It is a term that inspires admiration and respect in France
c. It is a term that denotes power, authority, and rule of law
2. What does he say Polles tries to do with the PPF?
a. He labels it fascism and then tried to make the movement match his theory about fascism
b. He tries to claim it is under the influence of a foreign political power
c. He tries to use the party to rise to power himself
3. How does he say French authors are using the new label “prefascism”?
a. As a way to discredit any writers they reject
b. As a way to suggest writers are seeing stability and structure in their society
c. As a way to label those who borrow from Italian and German literary styles
4. What does he say is behind the creation of antifascism?
a. A fear of thinking, creating, and letting go of an obsolete past
b. A fear of German or Italian domination over the politics of France
c. A soviet attempt to bring communist parties to power in France
Paul Rivet, Alain, Paul Langevin, “Aux Travailleurs” Comité de Vigilance des intellectuels antifascistes (1934) (trans S. Shurts)
Rivet was a socialist ethnologist, Alain was a poet who was seen to speak for both the Radical socialists and the anarchists, and Langevin was a supporter of the French communist party. Their union in the CVIA (Vigilance committee of the anti-fascist intellectuals) indicated the belief on the French left that there were strong native fascist organizations in France. It also indicated the power that anti-fascism had for uniting the diverse left-wing organizations. The following statement was written after a street riot on February 6, 1934 by anti-republican organizations on the monarchist and nationalist right.
United, beyond any differences, by the spectacle of the fascist riots in Paris and the popular resistance which faced it alone, we have come to declare to all the workers, our comrades, our resolution to struggle with them to save from a fascist dictatorship those popular rights and liberties that the people have earned. We are ready to sacrifice all to prevent France from submitting to a regime of oppression and bellicose misery…. We will not allow the financial oligarchy to exploit, as it has in Germany, the discontent of the masses that are hindered or ruined by it. Comrades, under the flag of National Revolution they prepare a new Middle Ages for us… Our first act has been to form a Committee of Vigilance [of anti-fascist intellectuals] who support the will of the workers organizations.
1. Who does the CVIA statement claim to address?
a. The workers
b. The soldiers
c. The middle class
2. What will its members combat?
a. Fascist dictatorships that will take the rights and liberties earned by the people
b. The rise of communist and socialist parties
c. Anti-fascist intellectuals
3. What do the fascists, under the auspices of a National Revolution, intend for France to do?
a. Live in the equivalent of a new Middle Ages
b. Revise the constitution to allow more popular participation in government
c. Conquer the lands of its neighbors to create a new Europe
Robert O. Paxton, “The Five Stages of Fascism,” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 70, No. 1 (March 1998), 1-23.
Robert Paxton is an American historian of France and professor at Columbia University most recognized for his groundbreaking work Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944 published in 1972. This book exploded the French view of their nation-wide resistance to German occupation by revealing a large number of French supported and collaborated with the Nazis. His 1998 article on the stages of Fascism defines it as not only an ideology but also a set of political behaviors.
At first sight, nothing seems easier to understand than fascism. It presents itself to us in crude, primary images: a chauvinist demagogue haranguing an ecstatic crowd; disciplined ranks of marching youths; uniform-shirted militants beating up members of some demonized minority… Yet great difficulties arise as soon as one sets out to define fascism… Even if we limit ourselves to our own century and its two most notorious cases, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, we find that they display profound differences. How can we lump together Mussolini and Hitler, the one surrounded by Jewish henchmen and a Jewish mistress, the other an obsessed antisemite? How can we equate the militarized regimentation of Nazi Party rule with the laxity of Mussolinian Italy?
…Five major difficulties stand in the way of any effort to define fascism. First, a problem of timing. The fascist phenomenon was poorly understood at the beginning in part because it was unexpected… A second difficulty in defining fascism is created by mimicry. In fascism’s heyday, in the 1930s, many regimes that were not functionally fascist borrowed elements of fascist decor in order to lend themselves an aura of force, vitality, and mass mobilization… But one cannot identify a fascist regime by its plumage. …Focusing on external symbols, which are subject to superficial imitation, adds to confusion about what may legitimately be considered fascist. This leads to the third problem with defining fascism: each national variant of fascism draws its legitimacy, as we shall see, not from some universal scripture but from what it considers the most authentic elements of its own community identity. …A fourth and even more redoutable difficulty stems from the ambiguous relationship between doctrine and action in fascism. The great “isms” of nineteenth-century Europe—conservativism, liberalism, socialism—were …characterized by deference to educated leaders, learned debates… Unlike them, fascism does not rest on formal philosophical positions with claims to universal validity. There was no “Fascist Manifesto,” no founding fascist thinker…The fifth and final difficulty with defining fascism is caused by overuse: the word “fascist” has become the most banal of epithets. Everyone is someone’s fascist….Nevertheless, we cannot give up in the face of these difficulties. …We must be able to examine this phenomenon as a system. It is not enough to treat each national case individually, as if each one constitutes a category in itself. If we cannot examine fascism synthetically, we risk being unable to understand this century, or the next.
1. What major differences exist between German Nazism and Italian Fascism?
a. Nazism was strongly militarist and anti-Semitic while Italian Fascism was not
b. Italian Fascism was not expansionist and had no vision of an Italian empire
c. Nazism did not have a sense of racial hierarchy the way Italian Fascism did
2. What is the problem with categorizing fascism that is created by mimicry?
a. Many movements borrowed elements of fascist style but these are external symbols not real ideals that indicate a shared ideology
b. Other fascist movements get overlooked because they are assumed to be copycats or mimics rather than truly fascist parties
c. Fascist mimics often display all of the essential characteristics of fascism but they don’t borrow its style and therefore go undetected
3. What does Paxton say is the third problem with a single category of fascism?
a. National variants of fascism all draw their legitimacy from authentic elements of its own community thus making each variant different and unique to that nation
b. Fascism does not have a founding ideological thinker shared by all regimes the way communism does with Marx
c. Fascism is well defined therefore it is easy to have a single category but hard to include movements in it beyond the original regimes of Germany and Italy
4. Does he think a definition of generic fascism is important?
a. Yes despite the difficulty in defining fascism, it is important to be able to look at the phenomenon as a system in order to understand it
b. No the idea of generic fascism is fundamentally flawed because there are too many national variations to have one single definition
c. No because the age of fascism is over so there is no need to try to create a definition to identify new movements
Gilbert Allardyce, “What Fascism is Not: Thoughts on the Deflation of a Concept” The American Historical Review 84:2 (April 1979) 367-398.
Gilbert Allardyce is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He is the author of or contributor to numerous books on fascism including his edited collection The Place of Fascism in European History (1971).
Although some scholars attempted from the start to restrict the use of the term fascism to Mussolini’s movement in Italy, most have joined in a process of proliferation that began as early as the 1920s. After Mussolini’s success, observers thought they recognized men and organizations of the same time arising in other nations. From this beginning emerged a popular image of fascism as an international movement, a phenomenon that found purest expression in Italy and Germany, but also appeared in a wide number of other countries. When stripped of national trappings, it is commonly believed, all of these movements had a common characteristic that was the essence of fascism itself. Although that essence is difficult to define, the prevailing hope is that continuing research will eventually reveal the nature of fascism more clearly… Unfortunately the diversity of these personalities and organizations is such that general theories formed from the study of certain samples are often contradicted by the study of others… Few historians, however, have lost confidence that further research will unearth the “missing link” that unites the different individuals and parties in a generic fascism. Somewhat like the search for the black cat in the dark room, this search presumes that there is something to be found in the dark void…Only individual things are real; everything abstracted from them, whether concepts or universals, exists solely in the mind. There is no such thing as fascism. There are only the men and movements we call by that name. … The premise of this article is that our understanding of the real men and movements that we call fascist has not been increased by generic concepts. Instead, general definitions have probably obscured their individual identities. … First of all, Fascism is not a generic concept. The word fascismo has no meaning beyond Italy. …The definition of fascism was established from Italian and German experiences and transferred wholesale to movements in other locations. Many who have studied these other movements, however, sense that something is not quite right; the models do not fit precisely. Indeed, the unique and ‘native’ features of such movements are easy to discover; the difficulty lies in finding the common ‘fascist’ substance that connects them… scholars will want to continue the effort to catalogue more effectively a ‘fascist minimum’ a certified cluster of shared traits…such traits are largely descriptive accessories, features too limited and external to provide a compelling generic classification.
1. What does Allardyce say about generic fascist ideology?
a. There is no such thing. It does not exist.
b. It is a difficult concept to define but there is a generic definition if we look for it
c. It is easily identifiable by the shared style and appearance of its members in every nation
2. What is the “missing link” and how does Allardyce feel about searching for it?
a. The missing link is a pointless search for a fascist minimum or cluster of shared traits that all fascist movements share.
b. The missing link is a black cat in a dark room but it is important to keep looking for it
c. The missing link is what brings historians of fascism together
3. What arguments does he use to support this claim?
a. The word has no real meaning outside Italy
b. Those who study movements outside Italy and Germany recognize that the label fascism does not fit precisely
c. Historians cannot find any common fascist substance to connect the diverse movements beyond traits that are accessories rather than central to the ideology.
d. All of the above ms
Stanley Payne, Fascism: Comparison and Definitions (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1980) 1-13.
Stanley Payne is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a historian of Spain, particularly Franco’s regime and the Spanish Civil War, but he is also recognized for his contributions to the debate on European fascism.
Fascism is probably the vaguest of contemporary political terms…The problems of definition and categoriazation that arise are so severe it is not surprising that some scholars prefer to call putative fascist movements by their specific individual names alone without applying the categorical adjective. Still others deny that any such general phenomenon as fascism or European fascism- as distinct from Mussolini’s Italian Fascism- ever existed. If fascism is to be studied, it has first to be identified, and it is doubtful that can be done without some sort of working definition. … Such a hypothetical definition [would not] be intended at all to imply that the individual goals and characteristics identified were necessarily in every item unique to fascist movements, for most items might be found in one or more other species o political movement. The contention would be rather that taken as a whole the definition would describe what all fascist movements had in common without trying to describe the unique characteristics of each group.
Typological Description of Fascism
A. The Fascist Negations:
Anticonservatism (though with the understanding that fascist groups were willing to undertake temorary alliances with groups from any other sector, most commonly with the right)
B. Ideology and Goals:
Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state based not merely on traditional principles or models
Organization of some new kind of regulated, multiclass, integrated national economic structure, whether called national corporatist, national socialist, or national syndicalist
The goal of Empire or a radical change in the nation’s relationships with other powers
Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed, normally involving the attempt to realize a new form of modern, self-determined, secular culture
C. Style and Organization:
Emphasis on esthetic structure of meetings, symbols, and political choreography, stressing romantic and mystical aspects
Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style and with the goal of a mass party militia
Positive evaluation and use of, or willingness to use, violence
Extreme stress on the masculine principle and male dominance while espousing the organic view of society
Exaltation of youth above all other phases of life, emphasizing the conflict of generations, at least in effecting the initial political transformation
Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command, whetiehr or not the command is to some degree initially elective
1. Does Payne think it is important to have a definition? Why?
a. Yes. If fascism is to be studied it requires a definition.
b. No. Fascism is long dead and only existed in the 1930s therefore it does not need categorization.
c. No. The difficulties in establishing a definition are too great to overcome
2. What are the negations in his ideal type/model of fascism?
d. All of the above ms
3. What does fascism require other than rejection of other political ideologies?
a. An authoritarian state and the cult of a leader
b. A nationalist economy, a goal of empire, and mass mobilization
c. A fascination with masculinity and youth and the use of violence.
d. All of the above ms
Samuel Huston Goodfellow, “Fascism as a Transnational movement: The case of interwar Alsace” Contemporary European History v22 n1 (Feb 2013) 87-106.
Samuel Huston Goodfellow is Associate Professor of History at Westminster College. He is the author of Between the Swastika and the Cross of Lorraine: Fascisms in Interwar Alsace published in 1998.
Fascism is commonly imagined either as a series of independent hyper-nationalist movements or as an international movement defined by a fairly rigid set of criteria. If it is viewed as a collection of separate national movements, then the connections between these become obscure. Yet the concept of an international movement, also known as ‘generic’ fascism, ‘universal’ fascism or ‘ideal’ fascism, makes it hard to explain the differences. Both of these approaches project a static vision of fascism that does not adequately account for changes over time or across borders. Fascism might, however, be better understood as a fundamentally transnational phenomenon that has evolved through different national circumstances. Fascism was, and is, obviously transnational; militants around the world expressed solidarity. Equally clear is that the manifestations of fascism have varied considerably. The Romanian Corneliu Codreanu, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Oswald Moseley had little in common. Fascists in different countries shaped the idea of fascism to their own purposes. The process of transnationally interpreting other fascist movements altered the collective meaning of fascism, opening up new ways to organize, implement and understand fascism. Conceptualizing fascism as a transnational movement means embracing a degree of definitional fluidity and has the benefit of helping us to understand the connections and similarities across a wide range of movements. The study of transnational trends tends not to take a global, all-encompassing view. Instead, it dwells on specific cases in which ideas, populations and events cross borders. Transnational is different from international, because it does not assume a global organization, or even ideological unanimity, in the way the term international does. Transnational instead examines an accumulation of specific relationships across borders that can vary from relatively localized to global. Thus a transnational approach would focus more locally on the international flow of fascist ideas and practices and look for direct connections between fascist groups, remaining sensitive to the changes that take place in the process of transmission. Transnationalism would neither emphasize a single global fascism nor simply compare fascisms in different countries. The concept of transnational enables us to look at the diverse and specific ways that ideas, organizations and actors crossed borders and influenced each other without necessarily trying to create a procrustean bed into which all fascist movements must fit. It allows us to understand the differences within the context of shared ideas and practices. Transnationalism provides a means of explaining the mechanisms for the dispersion of the fascist idea and how the connecting ideas change.
1. How does Goodfellow argue that historians should look at fascist movements?
a. As transnational phenomena that evolved through different national circumstances over time.
b. As a nationally unique ideology that cannot be understood or appreciated outside of its own country
c. As belonging to a single global, generic fascism that shared common characteristics no matter what nation it was in.
2. How does a transnational approach differ from the idea of an international, generic fascism?
a. It does not assume a global organization, or even ideological unanimity, in the way the term international does.
b. It does not believe that fascist movements shared any ideas, policies, or styles with one another across borders.
c. It argues that there is no fascist movement beyond the 1930s
3. What does it allow us to do?
a. Look at diverse ways that ideas and individuals crossed borders and influenced one another
b. Create a concept of fascism beyond one country without trying to make one definition that fits all movements.
c. Create one definition that can categorize all fascist movements of all nations and time periods
d. A and B are correct ms
Gary Love, “What’s the Big Idea?’: Oswald Mosley, the British Union of Fascists and Generic Fascism” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Jul., 2007), 447-468.
Gary Love is Associate Professor of Modern British history in the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The question of how we define fascism has been present ever since the emergence of the first fascist movements after the First World War. The search for a generic concept of fascism intensified in the 1960s, but still the debate shows little sign of producing a conclusion upon which all scholars can agree. However, as this article will attempt to show, Roger Griffin’s concept of fascism as ‘palingenetic populist ultra-nationalism’ represents a powerful heuristic tool for understanding fascist movements, even if, as will be argued, only more detailed case studies can demonstrate how failed fascist movements like the BUF struggled to sustain a plausible vernacular fascist politics in the shadow of “actually existing fascism’ on the continent. At the heart of Griffin’s definition is the recognition of a core myth: one of national rebirth or regeneration, working in partnership with an extreme brand of nationalism. Individual fascist movements shared the concept of a national myth, but each had its own fully independent mythology, specifically suited to its own historical development. As a result, it was possible, if not probable, for the character of one fascist movement to differ substantially from that of another. There are, of course, numerous other generic definitions of fascism awaiting adoption in comparative fascist studies. Stanley Payne’s longer checklist-concept and Roger Eatwell’s ‘fascist matrix’ are worthy additions to Griffin’s succinct definition; even though both scholars are happy to be part of Griffin’s self-styled ‘new consensus’ in fascist studies. Payne and Eatwell share Griffin’s desire for a fascist minimum that is able to accommodate German nazism, but they differ significantly on the exact terminology.…this article examines the BUF’s vision of a corporate state, its funding arrangements; its antisemitism; the effect of continental philosophy on the movement’s leader, Oswald Mosley; and its attitudes toward women, war, and empire. It argues that despite some genuine imitation of the Italian and German models, the BUF was essentially a home-grown fascist movement. However, forced to operate alongside the two existing fascist states, the BUF was not able to convince a suspicious British public of the dominant vernacular elements of its own fascist ideology. In addition, as Griffin himself reveals, the BUF advocated a distinctively ‘universalist’ form of fascism, which was as important to its formation as its own national agenda. It believed it was part of something much larger, a European-wide phenomenon… destined to rescue Europe from moral decline and decadence.
1. What does Love say is at the heart of Griffin’s definition?
a. A myth of rebirth and regeneration for the nation paired with extreme nationalism.
b. A desire to find a common thread for all fascist movements
c. A strong military leader and a centralized state
2. How does he say Griffin’s idea of a national myth at the core of each fascist movement helps explain differences within the generic model?
a. Each nation’s founding myth may have made it unique to that nation, but it still shared the generic ideal of a nationalist myth
b. Nationalist myths are all the same at their core with only a few minor variations so it is easy to find a generic model aligning all fascist movements
c. Each nation’s myth was different, therefore there is no way to develop a generic concept of fascism that incorporates nationalism
3. What does Love say the BUF was despite its imitation of the Germans and Italians?
a. A home-grown fascist movement for Britain
b. A pale imitation of the Italian Fascists
c. Directly borrowed from and supported by the German Nazis
4. What did the BUF believe it was part of?
a. A European-wide phenomenon of fascism
b. The German Nazi movement
c. A democratic tradition within Britain
Arnd Bauerkämper, “Ambiguities of Transnationalism: Fascism in Europe Between Pan-Europeanism and Ultra-Nationalism, 1919-1939” German Historical Institute London Bulletin 29:2 (2007) 43-67.
Bauerkämper is Professor of History in the Department of History and Cultural Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. He has written numerous books on Nazism, nationalism, and Germany during the wartime era.
Benito Mussolini claimed to represent the new universal civilization of the twentieth century…on 28 October 1932… the Duce declared: ‘In ten years Europe will be fascist or fascisized.’… the investigation of initiatives to set up a Fascist International clearly indicates that pan-European concepts are ambivalent, if not ambiguous in normative terms. In modern history, ‘Europe’ has repeatedly been a referential framework used to legitimize the pre-eminence of specific states… This exploitation reached unprecedented proportions in the interwar period, when the Italian Fascists and the German National Socialists referred to Europe in order to justify their hegemonic claims. However, fascist Europeanism cannot easily be dismissed as a mere propaganda manoeuvre… Previous historical research on transnational connections and exchange between fascists in Europe has largely been restricted to historical comparisons, whereas research on entanglements and relations between fascists has received less attention. Moreover, published studies of this cross-border exchange have concentrated on top-level cooperation between fascist leaders… Yet the collapse of the Comitati in the mid-1930s has led historians to conclude that fascist internationalism was merely a pretense, if not a camouflage for nationalist aspirations. Wartime collaboration, which has largely been equated with unqualified submission to German and…Italian demands, seems to provide further evidence in support of this proposition. Undeniably, hyper-nationalism was deeply ingrained in fascist ideology and continuously impeded the cross-border interchange between European fascists. Yet it did not prevent continual top-level cooperation. Even more importantly, nationalism did not impede contacts between lower functionaries and activists at grass-roots level, which have been neglected in historical scholarship. The common view that ‘international fascism is unthinkable, a contradiction in terms’, therefore needs differentiation. Despite all due recognition of the fascists’ failure to institutionalize cooperation between themselves, I will present some evidence that Italian Fascism and German Nazism were genuinely attractive throughout Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. Cross-border ties emanating from the ‘magnetic field’ of these two major regimes cannot be reduced to a camouflage of quests for predominance. Far beyond high politics, interchange between fascists extended to fields such as the organization of leisure and public relations. There was a sense of community between fascists in different European states in the 1920s and 1930s…Interchange between fascists in Europe was not limited to overtly political issues such as mutual assistance in war and propaganda, but also concerned the seemingly non-political fields of cultural and aesthetic representations.
1. What does Mussolini claim will happen within ten years?
a. Fascism will have spread and taken over Europe within ten years
b. Fascism will be recognized as an Italian ideology that is not for export
c. Fascism will have overtaken German Nazism in popularity in Germany
2. What does Bauerkämper say the collapse of the Comitati led historians to conclude?
a. That fascist internationalism was merely a pretense, if not a camouflage for nationalist aspirations
b. That fascists did have internationalist tendencies and were successfully cooperating together to create a European wide network of fascists
c. That Italy was not capable of leading a European fascist movement but Germany could
3. What do some historians believe about hypernationalism in fascist movements?
a. Hypernationalism was deeply engrained in fascist movements and prevented cross-border exchange
b. Hypernationalism was just a pretense rather than a truly held fascist value
c. Hypernationalism was a shared element of all fascist movements and actually served as common ground between them.
4. Does Bauerkämper believe cross-border exchange was a pretense or camouflage?
a. No because there was a sense of community between fascists in different states
b. No because hypernationalism did not prevent cooperation at the top levels of government.
c. Yes because all of the efforts that Mussolini and the Fascists made to create cross-border exchange failed.
d. A and B are correct ms
History Through Literature
George Orwell: ‘What is Fascism?’ Tribune. London: 1944.
George Orwell was an English novelist and journalist whose work provided social commentary on injustice and oppressive governments around the world. Although his novels Animal Farm and 1984 are the most famous examples of his use of literature to provide political commentary, his non-fiction accounts of his experience of his times including Homage to Catalonia (1938) on his participation in the Spanish Civil War and his essays on the dangers of fascism were equally instructive.
It will be seen that, as used, 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.Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come. But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.
1. What does Orwell say about the use of the term fascism?
a. It is almost meaningless because it is applied to everyone
b. It has clearly defined meaning for the people who use it and those it is used against
c. It is only used when someone wants to indicate a sympathy for Hitler
2. What does he say people mean when they use the term fascist?
a. Something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist
b. Something anti-liberal and anti-working-class.
c. Something clearly aligned with the values and policies of Mussolini or Hitler
d. A and B are correct ms
3. What would he like to see happen concerning the term?
a. The creation of a generally accepted definition of it
b. The agreement that it should no longer be used
c. The limitation of its meaning to Hitler and Mussolini’s movements
Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist and playwright who was the first American author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. His novel It Can’t Happen Here imagined a politician, Buzz Windrip, who used fear and manipulation to defeat FDR for the presidency and then imposed an authoritarian, traditionalist, and ultranationalist government on the country, supported by paramilitary forces. The original cover of the novel showed a fasces, symbol of Mussolini’s Fascist party but also used throughout the US as a symbol of republican government, to emphasize the message that fascist governments are not limited to Italy and Germany. The opening scene below takes place at the Vermont Ladies’ Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club.
Mrs. Gimmitch: “I tell you, my friends, the trouble with this whole country is that so many are SELFISH! Here’s a hundred and twenty million people, with ninety-five per cent of ’em only thinking of SELF, instead of turning to and helping the responsible business men to bring back prosperity! All these corrupt and self-seeking labor unions! Money grubbers! Thinking only of how much wages they can extort out of their unfortunate employer, with all the responsibilities he has to bear! “What this country needs is Discipline! Peace is a great dream, but maybe sometimes it’s only a pipe dream! I’m not so sure—now this will shock you…I’m not sure but that we need to be in a real war again, in order to learn Discipline! We don’t want all this highbrow intellectuality, all this book-learning. That’s good enough in its way, but isn’t it, after all, just a nice toy for grownups? No, what we all of us must have, if this great land is going to go on maintaining its high position among the Congress of Nations, is Discipline—Will Power—Character!”
General Edgeways: “About the United States only wanting peace, and freedom from all foreign entanglements. No! What I’d really like us to do would be to come out and tell the whole world: ‘Now you boys never mind about the moral side of this. We have power, and power is its own excuse!'”I don’t altogether admire everything Germany and Italy have done, but you’ve got to hand it to ’em, they’ve been honest enough and realistic enough to say to the other nations, ‘Just tend to your own business, will you? We’ve got strength and will, and for whomever has those divine qualities it’s not only a right, it’s a DUTY, to use ’em!’ Nobody in God’s world ever loved a weakling— including that weakling himself! “Why, here, as recently as three years ago, a sickeningly big percentage of students were blatant pacifists, wanting to knife their own native land in the dark. But now, when the shameless fools and the advocates of Communism try to hold pacifist meetings… no less than fifty-nine disloyal Red students have received their just deserts by being beaten up so severely that never again will they raise in this free country the bloodstained banner of anarchism!
1. What themes and ideas does Sinclair Lewis emphasize in the speeches of Edgeways and Gimmitch?
a. That discipline is better than education
b. That unions are taking money from hard working business owners
c. That those with power have the right to use it and a war might be a good thing.
d. All of the above ms
2. Do any of Edgeways’ and Gimmitch’s themes align with fascist ideals?
a. All of them align
b. None of them align
c. The idea of starting a war aligns with fascist goals
3. What might he think about the debate over the generic nature of Fascist ideology?
a. Sinclair Lewis would agree fascism could exist in similar form in many different countries
b. Sinclair Lewis would say that fascism could only happen in Germany and Italy
c. Sinclair Lewis would say that fascism did not exist outside of Mussolini’s movement
4. What does his title suggest?
a. Fascism can actually happen anywhere
b. Fascism isn’t possible in America
c. Fascism can’t happen in democratic countries
Visual Source Materials
Mussolini and Hitler Speaking to Crowds
The first photo is of Mussolini speaking before a crowd at Palazzo Venezia in Rome in 1940 and the second is of Hitler speaking before a crowd at Nuremberg in 1934.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Dichiarazione_di_guerra_a_Piazza_Venezia_%2810_giugno_1940%29.jpg File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-04062A, Nürnberg, Reichsparteitag, SA- und SS-Appell.jpg
1. What do the photos show was a common tool of both Mussolini and Hitler?
a. Speeches to mass crowds
b. Anti-Semitic propaganda
c. Military expansion and territorial gain
2. Why might images of crowds have been helpful for Mussolini and Hitler as they solidified their power?
a. It gave them an appearance of mass popularity so that people who didn’t support them felt like they were a minority
b. It made them seem distant from the people
c. It created the image of mass riots to overthrow the government
A postage stamp
A postage stamp showing the supposedly tight tie between the Nazi and Fascist parties—the statement reads “two people, one fight”.
Stamp Germany Mi 763 Sc B189 WWII Nazi Hitler Mussolini
1. What does the stamp suggest about the relationship between the Nazi and Fascist parties?
a. They are two different people involved in the same fascist struggle
b. They could be military allies but share nothing beyond that
c. They have movements that are unique due to their nationalism
2. What was the Italian Fascist symbol? The Nazi symbols?
a. The Italians use the fasces and the Nazis use the eagle and swastika.
b. The Italian Fascists and German Nazis both use the swastika
c. Both Italy and Germany use the fasces and the swastika
3. How does the dress of Hitler and Mussolini in the stamp reflect the values of fascist movements?
a. Both are dressed in military uniforms since militarism and expansion are part of their values
b. Both are dressed like politicians to indicate they are reforming the government
c. Both are dressed like businessmen to indicate they are correcting their nation’s damaged economy
Blackshirts and Brownshirts Marching
The first photo shows the Italian Blackshirts march on Rome in 1922 with Mussolini in the center. The next photo shows a similar march by the Nazi brownshirts in 1927 in Nuremberg at the first Reichsparteitag (Reich Party Day).
Mussd.jpg A young Heinrich Himmler gives the Nazi salute as he marches in the first Nazi Reichsparteitag (Reich Party Day) rally in Nuremberg.
1. How are the Nazi and Italian Fascist marches similar?
a. Both are marching in lines, wearing party uniforms like a military parade
b. Both are marches to take over the municipal government
c. Both have huge crowds cheering for them
2. What values do their marches both imply?
a. Both marches remind observers that the fascists supported militarism, discipline, and order.
b. Both marches promote traditional family and religious values
c. Both marches reveal the movements are anti-Semitic
Anti-Socialist and Anti-Communist Propaganda
The postcard from the 1924 election shows the people no longer supporting socialist revolution after the Fascist party restores the value of the Italian currency. The first shows the Italian Lira weak against the Franc in 1919 with the label “Bolshevism” while the second scene shows the Lira strong against the Franc with the label “Fascism.” The second poster shows the fascist sympathizing Parti Populaire Français (PPF) strangling the wolf of Soviet communism with the phrase “Communism: the Enemy of France.”
1. What does the postcard from the 1924 election claim about the fascist party’s accomplishments?
a. That the Fascists had restored the value of Italian currency.
b. That the Fascists’s financial contributions from its supporters was more than that of their opponents
c. That the Fascists had wealthy supporters on their side
2. Against whom does the Italian Fascist propaganda poster oppose its fiscal policy?
a. Against the socialists and bolsheviks
b. Against the capitalists
c. Against the Americans
3. What is the message of the French fascist sympathizing Parti Populaire Français poster?
a. The PPF shows its members strangling a wolf representing communism
b. The PPF shows that it will combat the wolves of wall street by supporting communism
c. The PPF shows it is opposed to capitalism and Americans
4. What does this say about the commonality between the two?
a. Both define their movements in part as anti-socialist and anti-communist
b. Both posters celebrate violence in promotion of their economic policy
c. Both posters are expressly concerned with the value of currency
Expansionist Propaganda Posters
The Italian Ministry of National Education pamphlet shows Italian imperial claims including Ethiopia. The Nazi propaganda poster encourages readers to see German colonial possessions in Africa taken by the Allies after WWI as German territory to be regained. It reads “Here too is our living space” with a quote from Hitler in 1933 saying there is a large amount of German land in the colonies and that Germany needs colonies as much as anyone else does.
Italian WW2: Auch hier liegt unser Lebensraum! – New Page
1. How do the Fascist Party and the Nazis view imperialism?
a. Imperialism and territorial expansion is essential to fascism
b. Imperialism is an old capitalist crime against free and independent people
c. Imperialism in Africa is no longer necessary since Germany and Italy will conquer Europe instead.
2. What does Fascist Italy’s domain include according to the map?
a. The Italian domain includes Albania, Libya and, Ethiopia
b. Italy is the only land needed for the Fascist movement to grow
c. Italy envisions its domain expanding into European lands
3. What does Hitler argue should be done in the second poster?
a. German colonies lost after World War I to the Allies should be regained by Germany for living space
b. Areas in Africa that are currently held by Germany should become Nazi
c. Areas in Africa that are currently held by Germany should become independent
History and the other Disciplines: Religion
The relationship between Fascism and Religion is complex and falls under the heading of what historians who believe in generic fascism would consider the national differences that make the movements unique. Although anti-Semitism had always been a core tenet of Nazism, the Nazi leadership was initially ambiguous about Christianity’s place in the new Reich. Although Hitler initially signed a concordant with the Catholic Church and attempted to unite Protestant churches under a new Nazi structure, the autonomy of religious institutions and their ability to educate and influence public opinion eventually made them targets of the State. Smaller religious organizations like the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses were also banned and persecuted in Germany. Several scholars have explored Hitler’s views of Islam and argue that although Hitler believed the Arab people were biologically inferior to the Aryan Germans, the Islamic faith glorified conquering warriors and was therefore preferable for the German spirit over Christianity. Unlike the Nazis, Mussolini and the Italian fascists had to work very closely with Catholic Church since it was a powerful institution, strongly entrenched in Italian culture. Many of the Fascist Party’s proposed reforms, such as the introduction of contraception and equal rights for women, were reversed in order to maintain a strong relationship with the Church. Mussolini also signed the 1929 Lateran treaties with the Church that created the Vatican as an autonomous territory of the Church and gave it financial compensation for the loss of the Papal Territories during the unification of Italy in 1870. The Italian Fascist treatment of Jews has attracted a great deal of scholarship since the Fascist Party was originally welcoming to Jews and Mussolini had a Jewish mistress. In 1938, however, under pressure from their Nazi allies, Mussolini introduced racial legislation that denied Jews Italian citizenship and party membership. Although many Italian Jews were held in internment camps, they were not sent to German concentration camps in high numbers and of the 45,000 Jews in Italy, 37,000 were able to flee or remain hidden by their Italian neighbors. Other European Fascist organizations were equally divided on their approach to religion. The French Action Française, which was supportive of Italian Fascism but not German Nazism, was strongly Catholic and anti-Semitic as were the Hungarian Arrow Cross and the Belgian Rexists. Perhaps the only true common ground on religion for a generic fascist ideology was that the people’s faith in the fascist state and devotion to its leaders was required to supersede any faith in organized religion. A novel, Goliath, The March of Fascism by Giuseppe Antonio Borgese in 1937 gives a glimpse into that view of the fascist State as the new civil religion. What relationship does he see with religion? Where does authority reside and where does this authority get its legitimacy?
Giuseppe Antonio Borgese , Goliath, The March of Fascism (1937)
NOW having conquered the monarchy and the Church and the benevolence of the spiritual and political potentates of the world, he could set to shape that thing of Fascism which H. G. Wells calls a “doctrine of its own.” …It is the Newest Testament of mankind, an authoritative document the knowledge of which is a prerequisite for all who are plodding through this era… An adequate summary of its content would be contained in as few words as Declaration of the Dependence of Man or Of Human Bondage.
Holy is the State and the State alone. Religion, in the particular case “that particular positive religion that is Italian Catholicism,” is a valuable asset of the State and must be protected and fostered as such. The State, in its turn, is not at all the embodiment of a natural necessity, nor does it coincide with the natural facts of race and nation; in which case its expanding power would be limited within the narrowness of objective bounds. The State is a creation of the Spirit, or of the Will of History. But where and how does this Spirit or Will visibly appear? Not in the God of the believer, since God, the God of Italian Catholicism, is merely an asset of the State, which definitely “has no theology.” Nor does it appear in the Nature of the anthropologist or geographer. Nor, finally, in the demos of the democrat or in the mass of Marx. The Spirit or Will, otherwise called State, embodies itself “in the few, nay, in the One.” In other words it is the despot, and the despot alone, who is the Holy… If the social system on which his omnipotence reposes is neither the Church nor the plebiscite nor the lineage of dynastic or aristocratic blood which Fascism ignores, what is that system unless it be the daggers of a Praetorian Guard, which are no system at all?…
Historical Thinking Prompts
1. Compare Allardyce to Payne and Paxton. What are their central arguments and how are they opposed to one another? Which position seems more convincing or do neither convince? What evidence from other sources supports or refutes their arguments?
2. Payne lists a large number of characteristics found in fascism. What elements of his typology are supported by the primary sources in this collection? What elements are not included in the definitions written by the fascists themselves? What other sources suggest the possibility of a shared fascist ideology beyond Italy?
3. How does the transnational approach change the way historians think about fascism? How does Bauerkämper say about transnational exchange and how does his article reflect this new approach? What does Love say about transnational fascism and how it affected Moseley’s movement?