This narrative need not be accurate or reasonable. Once a group has identified a problem, they must identify a way to fix it. And this, says Dumm, is a key moment in the emergence of fascism.
Minority groups are easy to cast as enemies, because their lack of political power makes it difficult for them to push back against state-sanctioned oppression. The links between economic anxiety, fantastical nostalgia, and chosen scapegoat are not rational. Scapegoating enables people to duck their collective responsibility to solve hard problems, or to even think about what causes foundational economic shifts in the first place. It is easier, for example, to blame immigrants and refugees for disappearing jobs than it is to grapple with the intertwined complexities of globalization, climate change, and the steady accumulation of corporate power.
In places succumbing to fascism, people come to see their situation as so perilous that the usual procedures for dealing with existential threats are no longer sufficient. Instead, fascism relies on a strong, charismatic authoritarian figure, uniquely equipped to do what must be done to solve the problem without allowing pesky institutions to stand in the way. The leader becomes the vessel for the authentic will of the people, and any dissenters become enemies of the state. Egomaniacal, almost messianic declarations are common among fascist strongmen.
After his appointment as chancellor of Germany, Hitler consolidated power by suspending civil liberties and cutting the legislature out of the lawmaking process. Most scholars place fascism on the far right of the political spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be". Fascism's origins, however, are complex and include many seemingly contradictory viewpoints, ultimately centered around a myth of national rebirth from decadence.
Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early s. In the s, the Italian Fascists described their ideology as right-wing in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism , stating: "We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right,' a fascist century". These words in any case do not have a fixed and unchanged meaning: they do have a variable subject to location, time and spirit. We don't give a damn about these empty terminologies and we despise those who are terrorized by these words".
Major Italian groups politically on the right, especially rich landowners and big business, feared an uprising by groups on the left such as sharecroppers and labour unions. The "Fascist left" included Michele Bianchi , Giuseppe Bottai , Angelo Oliviero Olivetti , Sergio Panunzio , and Edmondo Rossoni , who were committed to advancing national syndicalism as a replacement for parliamentary liberalism in order to modernize the economy and advance the interests of workers and common people. While continuing to rely on Germany for support, Mussolini and the remaining loyal Fascists founded the Italian Social Republic with Mussolini as head of state.
Mussolini sought to re-radicalize Italian Fascism, declaring that the Fascist state had been overthrown because Italian Fascism had been subverted by Italian conservatives and the bourgeoisie. A number of post-World War II fascist movements described themselves as a " third position " outside the traditional political spectrum. The term "fascist" has been used as a pejorative ,  regarding varying movements across the far right of the political spectrum. Communist states have sometimes been referred to as "fascist", typically as an insult.
Should we say that she is Fascist? Historian Peter Amann states that, "Undeniably, the Klan had some traits in common with European fascism—chauvinism, racism, a mystique of violence, an affirmation of a certain kind of archaic traditionalism—yet their differences were fundamental Professor Richard Griffiths of the University of Wales  wrote in that "fascism" is the "most misused, and over-used word, of our times". Georges Valois , founder of the first non-Italian fascist party Faisceau ,  claimed the roots of fascism stemmed from the late 18th century Jacobin movement, seeing in its totalitarian nature a foreshadowing of the fascist state.
Historian George Mosse similarly analyzed fascism as an inheritor of the mass ideology and civil religion of the French Revolution , as well as a result of the brutalization of societies in — Gaetano Mosca in his work The Ruling Class developed the theory that claims that in all societies an "organized minority" will dominate and rule over the "disorganized majority".
French nationalist and reactionary monarchist Charles Maurras influenced fascism. Maurras distrusted what he considered the democratic mystification of the popular will that created an impersonal collective subject. French revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel promoted the legitimacy of political violence in his work Reflections on Violence and other works in which he advocated radical syndicalist action to achieve a revolution to overthrow capitalism and the bourgeoisie through a general strike.
The fusion of Maurrassian nationalism and Sorelian syndicalism influenced radical Italian nationalist Enrico Corradini. Futurism was both an artistic-cultural movement and initially a political movement in Italy led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who founded the Futurist Manifesto , that championed the causes of modernism, action, and political violence as necessary elements of politics while denouncing liberalism and parliamentary politics. Marinetti rejected conventional democracy based on majority rule and egalitarianism, for a new form of democracy, promoting what he described in his work "The Futurist Conception of Democracy" as the following: "We are therefore able to give the directions to create and to dismantle to numbers, to quantity, to the mass, for with us number, quantity and mass will never be—as they are in Germany and Russia—the number, quantity and mass of mediocre men, incapable and indecisive".
Futurism influenced fascism in its emphasis on recognizing the virile nature of violent action and war as being necessities of modern civilization.
At the outbreak of World War I in August , the Italian political left became severely split over its position on the war. The Italian Socialist Party PSI opposed the war but a number of Italian revolutionary syndicalists supported war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on the grounds that their reactionary regimes had to be defeated to ensure the success of socialism. The first meeting of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action was held on 24 January  when Mussolini declared that it was necessary for Europe to resolve its national problems—including national borders—of Italy and elsewhere "for the ideals of justice and liberty for which oppressed peoples must acquire the right to belong to those national communities from which they descended".
Similar political ideas arose in Germany after the outbreak of the war. German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a "National Socialism" in Germany within what he termed the "ideas of " that were a declaration of war against the "ideas of " the French Revolution. Fascists viewed World War I as bringing revolutionary changes in the nature of war, society, the state and technology, as the advent of total war and mass mobilization had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant, as civilians had become a critical part in economic production for the war effort and thus arose a "military citizenship" in which all citizens were involved to the military in some manner during the war.
The October Revolution of —in which Bolshevik communists led by Vladimir Lenin seized power in Russia—greatly influenced the development of fascism. Liberal opponents of both fascism and the Bolsheviks argue that there are various similarities between the two, including that they believed in the necessity of a vanguard leadership, had disdain for bourgeois values and it is argued had totalitarian ambitions. With the antagonism between anti-interventionist Marxists and pro-interventionist Fascists complete by the end of the war, the two sides became irreconcilable.
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The Fascists presented themselves as anti-Marxists and as opposed to the Marxists. The Manifesto supported the creation of universal suffrage for both men and women the latter being realized only partly in late , with all opposition parties banned or disbanded ;  proportional representation on a regional basis; government representation through a corporatist system of "National Councils" of experts, selected from professionals and tradespeople, elected to represent and hold legislative power over their respective areas, including labour, industry, transportation, public health, communications, etc.
The next events that influenced the Fascists in Italy was the raid of Fiume by Italian nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio and the founding of the Charter of Carnaro in In , militant strike activity by industrial workers reached its peak in Italy and and were known as the "Red Years". Fascists identified their primary opponents as the majority of socialists on the left who had opposed intervention in World War I. Fascism sought to accommodate Italian conservatives by making major alterations to its political agenda—abandoning its previous populism , republicanism and anticlericalism , adopting policies in support of free enterprise and accepting the Catholic Church and the monarchy as institutions in Italy.
The fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in , declaring both crimes against the state. Though Fascism adopted a number of anti-modern positions designed to appeal to people upset with the new trends in sexuality and women's rights—especially those with a reactionary point of view—the Fascists sought to maintain Fascism's revolutionary character, with Angelo Oliviero Olivetti saying: "Fascism would like to be conservative, but it will [be] by being revolutionary".
Prior to Fascism's accommodations to the political right, Fascism was a small, urban, northern Italian movement that had about a thousand members.
Beginning in , Fascist paramilitaries escalated their strategy from one of attacking socialist offices and homes of socialist leadership figures to one of violent occupation of cities. The Fascists met little serious resistance from authorities and proceeded to take over several northern Italian cities. On 24 October , the Fascist party held its annual congress in Naples , where Mussolini ordered Blackshirts to take control of public buildings and trains and to converge on three points around Rome.
Historian Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in Italy was:. A primarily political dictatorship The Fascist Party itself had become almost completely bureaucratized and subservient to, not dominant over, the state itself. Big business, industry, and finance retained extensive autonomy, particularly in the early years. The armed forces also enjoyed considerable autonomy The Fascist militia was placed under military control The judicial system was left largely intact and relatively autonomous as well.
The police continued to be directed by state officials and were not taken over by party leaders There was never any question of bringing the Church under overall subservience Sizable sectors of Italian cultural life retained extensive autonomy, and no major state propaganda-and-culture ministry existed The Mussolini regime was neither especially sanguinary nor particularly repressive.
Upon being appointed Prime Minister of Italy, Mussolini had to form a coalition government because the Fascists did not have control over the Italian parliament. Mussolini proclaimed himself dictator of Italy, assuming full responsibility over the government and announcing the dismissal of parliament. In , the Fascist regime briefly gained what was in effect a blessing of the Catholic Church after the regime signed a concordat with the Church, known as the Lateran Treaty , which gave the papacy state sovereignty and financial compensation for the seizure of Church lands by the liberal state in the nineteenth century, but within two years the Church had renounced Fascism in the Encyclical Non Abbiamo Bisogno as a "pagan idolotry of the state" which teaches "hatred, violence and irreverence".
The National Socialists of Germany employed similar anti-clerical policies. The Gestapo confiscated hundreds of monasteries in Austria and Germany, evicted clergymen and laymen alike and often replaced crosses with swastikas.
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The Fascist regime created a corporatist economic system in with creation of the Palazzo Vidioni Pact, in which the Italian employers' association Confindustria and Fascist trade unions agreed to recognize each other as the sole representatives of Italy's employers and employees, excluding non-Fascist trade unions. In the s, Fascist Italy pursued an aggressive foreign policy that included an attack on the Greek island of Corfu , aims to expand Italian territory in the Balkans , plans to wage war against Turkey and Yugoslavia , attempts to bring Yugoslavia into civil war by supporting Croat and Macedonian separatists to legitimize Italian intervention and making Albania a de facto protectorate of Italy, which was achieved through diplomatic means by Instead, claiming that Italians were a superior race to African races and thereby had the right to colonize the "inferior" Africans, it sought to settle 10 to 15 million Italians in Libya.
The March on Rome brought Fascism international attention. One early admirer of the Italian Fascists was Adolf Hitler , who less than a month after the March had begun to model himself and the Nazi Party upon Mussolini and the Fascists. The conditions of economic hardship caused by the Great Depression brought about an international surge of social unrest. According to historian Philip Morgan, "the onset of the Great Depression In Germany, it contributed to the rise of the National Socialist German Workers' Party , which resulted in the demise of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of the fascist regime, Nazi Germany , under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.
With the rise of Hitler and the Nazis to power in , liberal democracy was dissolved in Germany and the Nazis mobilized the country for war, with expansionist territorial aims against several countries. In the s, the Nazis implemented racial laws that deliberately discriminated against, disenfranchised and persecuted Jews and other racial and minority groups.
Fascist movements grew in strength elsewhere in Europe. He created an eight-hour work day, a forty-eight-hour work week in industry and sought to entrench a corporatist economy; and pursued irredentist claims on Hungary's neighbors. During the Great Depression, Mussolini promoted active state intervention in the economy. He denounced the contemporary " supercapitalism " that he claimed began in as a failure because of its alleged decadence , its support for unlimited consumerism and its intention to create the "standardization of humankind".
In Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, both Mussolini and Hitler pursued territorial expansionist and interventionist foreign policy agendas from the s through the s culminating in World War II.
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Mussolini called for irredentist Italian claims to be reclaimed, establishing Italian domination of the Mediterranean Sea and securing Italian access to the Atlantic Ocean and the creation of Italian spazio vitale "vital space" in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions. From to , Germany and Italy escalated their demands for territorial claims and greater influence in world affairs. Italy invaded Ethiopia in resulting in its condemnation by the League of Nations and its widespread diplomatic isolation.
In , Germany remilitarized the industrial Rhineland , a region that had been ordered demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles. In , Germany annexed Austria and Italy assisted Germany in resolving the diplomatic crisis between Germany versus Britain and France over claims on Czechoslovakia by arranging the Munich Agreement that gave Germany the Sudetenland and was perceived at the time to have averted a European war.
These hopes faded when Hitler violated the Munich Agreement by ordering the invasion and partition of Czechoslovakia between Germany and a client state of Slovakia in At the same time from to , Italy was demanding territorial and colonial concessions from France and Britain. The invasion of Poland by Germany was deemed unacceptable by Britain, France and their allies, resulting in their mutual declaration of war against Germany that was deemed the aggressor in the war in Poland, resulting in the outbreak of World War II.