Fascism, especially in its early stages, is obliged to be antitheoretical and frankly opportunistic in order to appeal to many diverse groups. Nevertheless, a few key concepts are basic to it. First and most important is the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual to it. The state is defined as an organic whole into which individuals must be absorbed for their own and the state's benefit. This "total state" is absolute in its methods and unlimited by law in its control and direction of its citizens.
A second ruling concept of fascism is embodied in the theory of social Darwinism. The doctrine of survival of the fittest and the necessity of struggle for life is applied by fascists to the life of a nation-state. Peaceful, complacent nations are seen as doomed to fall before more dynamic ones, making struggle and aggressive militarism a leading characteristic of the fascist state. Imperialism is the logical outcome of this dogma.
Another element of fascism is its elitism. Salvation from rule by the mob and the destruction of the existing social order can be effected only by an authoritarian leader who embodies the highest ideals of the nation. This concept of the leader as hero or superman, borrowed in part from the romanticism of Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Carlyle, and Richard Wagner, is closely linked with fascism's rejection of reason and intelligence and its emphasis on vision, creativeness, and "the will."
Fascism has found adherents in all countries. Its essentially vague and emotional nature facilitates the development of unique national varieties, whose leaders often deny indignantly that they are fascists at all. In its dictatorial methods and in its use of brutal intimidation of the opposition by the militia and the secret police, fascism does not greatly distinguish itself from other despotic and totalitarian regimes. There are particular similarities with the Communist regime in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. However, unlike Communism, fascism abhors the idea of a classless society and sees desirable order only in a state in which each class has its distinct place and function. Representation by classes (i.e., capital, labor, farmers, and professionals) is substituted for representation by parties, and the corporative state is a part of fascist dogma.
Although Mussolini's and Hitler's governments tended to interfere considerably in economic life and to regulate its process, there can be no doubt that despite all restrictions imposed on them, the capitalist and landowning classes were protected by the fascist system, and many favored it as an obstacle to socialization. On the other hand, the state adopted a paternalistic attitude toward labor, improving its conditions in some respects, reducing unemployment through large-scale public works and armament programs, and controlling its leisure time through organized activities.
Many of these features were adopted by the Franco regime in Spain and by quasi-fascist dictators in Latin America (e.g., Juan Perón) and elsewhere. A variation of fascism was the so-called clerico-fascist system set up in Austria under Engelbert Dollfuss. This purported to be based on the social and economic doctrines enunciated by Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XI, which, however, were never put into operation.
While socialism (particularly Marxism) came into existence as a clearly formulated theory or program based on a specific interpretation of history, fascism introduced no systematic exposition of its ideology or purpose other than a negative reaction against socialist and democratic egalitarianism. The growth of democratic ideology and popular participation in politics in the 19th cent. was terrifying to some conservative elements in European society, and fascism grew out of the attempt to counter it by forming mass parties based largely on the middle classes and the petty bourgeoisie, exploiting their fear of political domination by the lower classes. Forerunners of fascism, such as Georges Boulanger in France and Adolf Stöker and Karl Lueger in Germany and Austria, in their efforts to gain political power played on people's fears of revolution with its subsequent chaos, anarchy, and general insecurity. They appealed to nationalist sentiments and prejudices, exploited anti-Semitism, and portrayed themselves as champions of law, order, Christian morality, and the sanctity of private property.Emergence after World War I
The Russian Revolution (1917), the collapse of the Central Powers in 1918, and the disorders caused by Communist attempts to seize power in Germany, Italy, Hungary, and other countries greatly strengthened fascism's appeal to many sections of the European populace. In Italy, particularly, social unrest was combined with nationalist dissatisfaction over the government's failure to reap the promised fruits of victory after World War I. The action of Gabriele D'Annunzio in seizing Fiume (Rijeka) was one manifestation of the discontent existing in Italy. Appealing to the masses and especially to the lower middle class through demagogic promises of order and social justice, the fascists could depend upon support, financial and otherwise, from vested interests, who could not muster such popularity themselves.
Governmental paralysis enabled Mussolini in 1922 to obtain the premiership by a show of force. As leader of his National Fascist party, he presented himself as the strong-armed savior of Italy from anarchy and Communism. Borrowing from Russian Communism a system of party organization based on a strict hierarchy and cells, which became typical of fascism everywhere, he made use of an elite party militia—the Black Shirts—to crush opposition and to maintain his power.
In Germany at about the same time a fascist movement similar to that in Italy steadily gathered strength; it called itself the National Socialist German Workers' party (Nazi party). Its leader, Adolf Hitler, won support from a middle class ruined by inflation, from certain elements of the working class, especially the unemployed, and from discontented war veterans; he also gained the backing of powerful financial interests, to whom he symbolized stability and order. However, it was not until 1933 that Hitler could carry through his plans for making Germany a fascist state and the National Socialists the sole legal party in the country.
The military aggression so inherent in fascist philosophy exploded in the Italian invasion (1935) of Ethiopia, the attack (1936) of the Spanish fascists (Falangists) on their republican government (see Spanish civil war), and Nazi Germany's systematic aggression in Central and Eastern Europe, which finally precipitated (1939) World War II.Fascism since World War II
The Italian Social Movement (MSI), a minor neofascist party, was formed in Italy in 1946. It won wider support when the pervasive corruption of the governing parties was exposed in the early 1990s, and it became a partner in the conservative government formed after the 1994 elections. In 1995, however, the MSI dissolved itself as it was transformed into a new party headed by former MSI leader Gianfranco Fini and including the majority of former MSI members. Fini's right-wing National Alliance rejected fascist ideology, including anti-Semitism, and embraced democracy as one of its principles and has participated in center-right governing coalitions.
In postwar West Germany, neofascism appeared in the form of the temporary growth of the nationalistic National Democratic party in the mid-1960s. Following German reunification, neo-Nazi groups in the country gained increased prominence, with new members being drawn to the organization as a result of social upheaval and economic dislocation, and the nation experienced an increase in related violence, especially attacks on immigrants and foreigners. Neo-Nazi groups also exist on a small scale in the United States, and right-wing nationalistic movements and parties in countries such as France, Russia, and some republics of the former Yugoslavia have political groups with elements of fascism. For many of these parties, however, ethnic and racial animosity is often more significant than fascist philosophy.
See H. Finer, Mussolini's Italy (1935, repr. 1965); R. Albrecht-Carrié, Italy from Napoleon to Mussolini (1961); H. Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism (rev. ed. 1966); W. Laqueur and G. Mosse, ed., International Fascism (1966); W. Ebenstein, Today's Isms (7th ed. 1973); H. Lubasz, ed., Fascism: Three Major Regimes (1973); O. E. Schuddekopf, Fascism (1973); S. Larsen, ed., Who Were the Fascists? (1981); D. Muhlberger, ed., The Social Basis of European Fascist Movements (1987); G. L. Mosse, The Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism (1999).
Philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state's authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal and democratic values are disparaged. Fascism arose during the 1920s and '30s partly out of fear of the rising power of the working classes; it differed from contemporary communism (as practiced under Joseph Stalin) by its protection of business and landowning elites and its preservation of class systems. The leaders of the fascist governments of Italy (1922–43), Germany (1933–45), and Spain (1939–75)—Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Francisco Franco—were portrayed to their publics as embodiments of the strength and resolve necessary to rescue their nations from political and economic chaos. Japanese fascists (1936–45) fostered belief in the uniqueness of the Japanese spirit and taught subordination to the state and personal sacrifice. Seealso totalitarianism; neofascism.
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Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism (including national socialism, national syndicalism, economic nationalism, along with collectivism, mysticism and populism based on the nationalist values); corporatism (including class collaboration, economic planning, mixed economy, and third way); totalitarianism (including dictatorship, holism, major social interventionism, and statism); and militarism. Fascism opposes communism, conservatism, liberalism, and international socialism.
Some authors reject broad usage of the term or exclude certain parties and regimes. Following the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II, there have been few self-proclaimed fascist groups and individuals. In contemporary political discourse, the term fascist is often used by adherents of some ideologies as a pejorative description of their opponents.
The popular presentation of Fascism in the publications of the Anglosphere have been radically different in the period during and after World War II than in the period 1919—1939, when Mussolini and the Italian Fascists were widely acclaimed. As fascism was associated with the Axis powers who fought and lost the war, and the Anglosphere were mostly among the victorious Allied powers, it was difficult for many years to provide a neutral view of the topic. English-speaking (and other) historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism. However since the 1990s scholars have begun to gather a rough consensus on the system's core tenets. Noted proponents include Stanley Payne, Hamish MacDonald, Roger Griffin, Nicholas Farrell and Robert O. Paxton.
While various attempts to define Fascism have been made, the problem scholars often run into is that each form of fascism is different from any other, leaving many definitions as too wide or too narrow. Below are two examples of attempts to define Fascism, in a concise, to the point form;
The original founders of Fascism in Italy were made up of people who were previously socialists, syndicalists, military men and anarchists but had become angered at the international left's opposition to patriotism and decided to form a new movement; Benito Mussolini, Michele Bianchi and Dino Grandi were all previously socialists. The biggest difference between the movements, is that fascism rejects the idea of class war in favor of class collaboration, while also rejecting socialist internationalism in favor of statist nationalism. Over time however, the Italian Fascists' more leftist social policies and some leftist economic policies were conceded by pressure of elites (of economic, cultural, and political background) and replaced them by more right-leaning policies, such as abandoning the Fascist Manifesto's initial promise of granting the right to vote for women, abandoning early promises to nationalize all property, and abandoning earlier overt militancy against political, cultural, and economic elites, such as the monarchy, aristocracy, clergy, businessmen, and landowners, and adopted a strategy of cooperation with them.
Fascism sees the struggle of nation and race as fundamental in society, in opposition to communism's perception of class struggle and in opposition to capitalism's focus on the value of productivity, materialism, and individualism. The nation is seen in fascism as a single organic entity which bounds people together by their ancestry and is seen as a natural unifying force of people. Fascists promote the unification and expansion of influence, power, and/or territory of and for their nation.
In the case of Italy, Fascism arose in the 1920s as a mixture of national syndicalist notions with an anti-materialist theory of the state. Many Italian Fascists were former international socialists who abandoned international socialism due to its perceived unpatriotic nature for being unwilling to support Italy's war against Austria-Hungary in World War I as international socialists condemned the conflict as being a "bourgeois war". While others with nationalist sympathies saw the war as necessary to reunite Italian territories in Austria to Italy to end what they perceived as national oppression of Italians in Austria-Hungary. Mussolini and other ex-socialists formed the Fascist movement in 1919 with a left-wing platform combined with nationalism in the Fascist Manifesto of 1919. Over time the Italian Fascists would drift rightward on social and economic policies, such as abandoning previous hostility to the monarchy, the Roman Catholic Church, and businesses in order to attract more support for the Fascist regime while retaining its nationalist agenda. Upon being ousted in 1943 and a new Fascist regime being created in the German puppet state of the Italian Social Republic, Mussolini briefly returned to earlier left-wing promises to attempt to regain support for the Fascist movement, such as advocating major nationalization of property and promoting the Fascist movement as a left-wing movement.
Fascists accused parliamentary democracy of producing division and decline, and wished to renew the nation from decadence. Fascists dismissed the Marxist concept of "class struggle" and oppose international socialists' promotion of internationalism instead of nationalism, by advocating "class collaboration" devoted to unifying the nation.
Other than nationalization of certain industries, private property was allowed, but property rights and private initiative were contingent upon service to the state. For example, "an owner of agricultural land may be compelled to raise wheat instead of sheep and employ more labor than he would find profitable." According to historian Tibor Ivan Berend, dirigisme was an inherent aspect of fascist economies. The Labour Charter of 1927, promulgated by the Grand Council of Fascism, stated in article 7:
Fascists thought that private property should be regulated to ensure that "benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual. They also introduced price controls and other types of economic planning measures.
Fascism also operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. Their aim was to promote "superior" individuals and weed out the weak. In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class. Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.
Fascists were most vocal in their opposition to finance capitalism, interest charging, and profiteering. Some fascists, particularly Nazis, considered finance capitalism a "parasitic" "Jewish conspiracy". Nevertheless, fascists also opposed Marxism and independent trade unions.
According to sociologist Stanislav Andreski, fascist economics "foreshadowed most of the fundamental features of the economic system of Western European countries today: the radical extension of government control over the economy without a wholesale expropriation of the capitalists but with a good dose of nationalisation, price control, incomes policy, managed currency, massive state investment, attempts at overall planning (less effectual than the Fascist because of the weakness of authority)." Politics professor Stephen Haseler credits fascism with providing a model of economic planning for social democracy.
In Nazi economic planning, in place of ordinary profit incentive to guide the economy, investment was guided through regulation to accord to the needs of the State. The profit incentive for business owners was retained, though greatly modified through various profit-fixing schemes: "Fixing of profits, not their suppression, was the official policy of the Nazi party." However the function of profit in automatically guiding allocation of investment and unconsciously directing the course of the economy was replaced with economic planning by Nazi government agencies.
Hitler was personally opposed to the idea of social welfare because, in his view, it encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and feeble. However, once in power the Nazis created welfare programs to deal with the large numbers of unemployment. Nevertheless, unlike social welfare programs in other countries, Nazi social welfare programs were residual, as they excluded certain people from the system whom they felt were incapable of helping themselves and would only pose a threat to the future health of the German people.
Nazi eugenics placed the improvement of the race through eugenics at the center of their concerns and targeted those humans they identified as "life unworthy of life" (German Lebensunwertes Leben), including but not limited to mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, feeble-minded, insane, and the weak. Adolf Hitler personally decriminalized abortion in case of fetuses having racial or hereditary defects, while the abortion of healthy "pure" German, "Aryan" unborn remained strictly forbidden. In fact, for non-Aryans abortion was not only allowed but often compelled. Like their forbears, the Neo-nazi position on abortion is not about preservation of life but propagation of the race; the Aryan Nation security chief stated: “I’m just against abortion for the pure white race. For blacks and other mongrelized races, abortion is a good idea.” The Nazis based their eugenics program on the United States' programs of forced sterilization. Their eugenics program stemmed also from the “progressive biomedical model” of Weimar Germany.
The Italian Fascist government during the "Battle for Births" gave financial incentives to women who raised large families as well as policies designed to reduce the number of women employed to allow women to give birth to larger numbers of children.
Nazi propaganda sometimes promoted pre- and extramarital sexual relations, unwed motherhood, and divorce and at other times opposed such behaviour. The growth of Nazi power, however, was accompanied by a breakdown of traditional sexual morals with regard to extramarital sex and licentiousness.
The Italian Fascist government declared homosexuality illegal in Italy in 1931.
The Nazis opposition to homosexuality was based on the Nazis view that homosexuality was degenerate, effeminate, and perverted and undermined the masculinity which they promoted and because they did not produce children for the master race. Nevertheless the Nazis considered homosexuality curable through therapy. They explained it though modern scientism and the study of sexology which said that homosexuality could be felt by "normal" people and not just an abnormal minority. Critics have claimed that the Nazis' claim of scientific reasons for their promotion of racism, and hostility to homosexuals is pseudoscience, in that scientific findings were selectively picked that promoted their pre-existing views, while scientific findings opposing those views were rejected and not taken into account.
The Romanian Iron Guard opposed homosexuality as undermining society.
According to a biographer of Mussolini, "Initially, fascism was fiercely anti-Catholic" - the Church being a competitor for dominion of the people's hearts. Mussolini, originally a socialist internationalist and atheist, published anti-Catholic writings and planned for the confiscation of Church property, but eventually moved to accommodation. Hitler was born a Roman Catholic but renounced his faith at the age of twelve and largely used religious references to attract religious support to the Nazi political agenda. Mussolini largely endorsed the Roman Catholic Church for political legitimacy, as during the Lateran Treaty talks, Fascist officials engaged in bitter arguments with Vatican officials and put pressure on them to accept the terms that the regime deemed acceptable. Nazis arrested and killed thousands of Catholic clergy (18% of the priests in Poland were killed), eventually consigning thousands of them to concentration camps (2600 died in Dachau alone). Although Jews were obviously the greatest and primary target, Hitler also sent Roman Catholics to concentration camps along with the Jews and killed 3 million Catholic Poles along with three million Jewish Poles. The Nazi party had decidedly pagan elements. Although both Hitler and Mussolini were anticlerical, some believe they both understood that it would be rash to begin their Kulturkampfs prematurely, such a clash, possibly inevitable in the future, being put off while they dealt with other enemies.
Relations were close in the likes of the Belgian Rexists (which was eventually denounced by the Church). In addition, many Fascists were anti-clerical in both private and public life. In Mexico the fascist Red Shirts not only renounced religion but were vehemently atheist, killing priests, and on one occasion gunned down Catholics as they left Mass.
Others have argued that there has been a strong connection between some versions of fascism and religion, particularly the Catholic Church. Religion did play a real part in the Ustasha in Croatia which had strong religious (Catholic) overtones and clerics in positions of power. Spain's Falangists emphasized the struggle against the atheism of the left. The nationalist authoritarian movement in the Slovak Republic (the People's Party) was established by a catholic priest (Father Hlinka) and presided over by another (Father Tiso). The fascist movement in Romania known as the Iron Guard or the Legion of Archangel Michael invariably preceded its meetings with a church service and "their demonstrations were usually led by priests carrying icons and religious flags." Similar to Ayatollah Khomeini's Shi'a Islamist movement in Iran, it promoted a cult of "suffering, sacrifice and martyrdom. In Latin America the most important Fascist movement was Plinio Salgado's Brazilian "Integralism." Built on a network of lay religious associations, its vision was of an "integral state," that `comes from Christ, is inspired in Christ, acts for Christ, and goes toward Christ.` Salgado, however, criticised the "dangerous pagan tendencies of Hitlerism" and maintained that his movement differed from European fascism in that it respected the "rights of the human person". According to Payne, such "would be" religious fascist only gain hold where traditional belief is weakened or absent, as fascism seeks to create new nonrationalist myth structures for those who no longer hold a traditional view. Hence, the rise of modern secularism in Europe and Latin America and the incursion and large scale adoption of western secular culture in the mideast leave a void where this modern secular ideology, sometimes under a religious veneer, can take hold.
One theory is that religion and fascism could never have a lasting connection because both are a "holistic wetanshauungen" claiming the whole of the person. Along these lines, Yale political scientist, Juan Linz and others have noted that secularization had created a void which could be filled by a total ideology, making totalitarianism possible, and Roger Griffin has characterized fascism as a type of anti-religious political religion. Such political religions vie with existing religions, and try, if possible, to replace or eradicate them. Hitler and the Nazi regime attempted to found their own version of Christianity called Positive Christianity which made major changes in its interpretation of the Bible which said that Jesus Christ was the son of God, but was not a Jew and claimed that Christ despised Jews, and that the Jews were the ones solely responsible for Christ's death.
Movements identified by scholars as fascist hold a variety of views, and what qualifies as fascism is often a hotly contested subject. The original movement which self-identified as Fascist was that of Benito Mussolini and his National Fascist Party. Intellectuals such as Giovanni Gentile produced The Doctrine of Fascism and founded the ideology. The majority of strains which emerged after the original fascism, but are sometimes placed under the wider usage of the term, self-identified their parties with different names. Major examples include; Falangism, Integralism, Iron Guard and Nazism as well as various other designations.
Fascism was born during a period of social and political unrest following the First World War. The war had seen Italy, born from the Italian unification less than a century earlier begin to appreciate a sense of nationalism, rather than the historic regionalism. Despite the Kingdom of Italy being a fully fledged Allied Power during the war against the Central Powers, Italy was given what nationalists considered an unfair deal at the Treaty of Versailles; which they saw as the other allies "blocking" Italy from progressing to a major power. A significant example of this was when the other allies told Italy to hand over the city of Fiume at the Paris Peace Conference, this saw war veteran Gabriele d'Annunzio declaring the independent state Italian Regency of Carnaro. He positioned himself as Duce of the nation and declared a constitution, the Charter of Carnaro which was highly influential to early Fascism, though he himself never became a fascist.
An important factor in fascism gaining support in its earliest stages was the fact that it opposed discrimination based on social class and was strongly opposed to all forms of class war. Fascism instead supported nationalist sentiments such as a strong unity, regardless of class, in the hopes of raising Italy up to the levels of its great Roman past. This side of fascism endeared itself to the aristocracy and the bourgeois, as it promised to protect their existence; after the Russian Revolution, they had greatly feared the prospect of a bloody class war coming to Italy by the hand of the communists and the socialists. Mussolini did not ignore the plight of the working class, however, and he gained their support with stances such as those in The Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle, published in June 1919. In the manifesto he demanded, amongst other things, creation of a minimum wage, showing the same confidence in labor unions (which prove to be technically and morally worthy) as was given to industry executives or public servants, voting rights for women, and the systemisation of public transport such as railways.
Mussolini and the fascists managed to be simultaneously revolutionary and traditionalist; because this was vastly different to anything else in the political climate of the time, it is sometimes described as "The Third Way". The Fascisti, led by one of Mussolini's close confidants, Dino Grandi, formed armed squads of war veterans called Blackshirts (or squadristi) with the goal of restoring order to the streets of Italy with a strong hand. The blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashes against each other. The government rarely interfered with the blackshirts' actions, due in part to a looming threat and widespread fear of a communist revolution. The Fascisti grew so rapidly that within two years, it transformed itself into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome. Also in 1921, Mussolini was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time and was later appointed as Prime Minister by the King in 1922. He then went on to install a dictatorship after the 10 June 1924 assassination of Giacomo Matteotti, who had finished writing The Fascist Exposed: A Year of Fascist Domination, by Amerigo Dumini and others agents of the Ceka secret police created by Mussolini.
Influenced by the concepts of the Roman Empire, with Mussolini viewing himself as a modern day Roman Emperor, Italy set out to build the Italian Empire whose colonialism would reach further into Africa in an attempt to compete with British and French colonial empires. Mussolini dreamt of making Italy a nation that was "great, respected and feared" throughout Europe, and indeed the world. An early example was his bombardment of Corfu in 1923. Soon after he succeeded in setting up a puppet regime in Albania and ruthlessly consolidated Italian power in Libya, which had been a colony (loosely) since 1912. It was his dream to make the Mediterranean mare nostrum ("our sea" in Latin), and he established a large naval base on the Greek island of Leros to enforce a strategic hold on the eastern Mediterranean.
Falangism is a form of fascism founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1933, emerging during a complex political time during the Second Spanish Republic. Primo de Rivera was the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera who was appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain by Bourbon monarch Alfonso XIII of Spain; José's father would serve as military dictator from 1923—1930. In the Spanish general election, 1931 the winners were socialists and radical republican parties; this saw Alfonso XIII "suspending the exercise of royal power" and going into exile in Rome. Spain had turned from a kingdom into a far-left republic overnight. A liberal Republican Constitution was instated, giving the right of autonomy to regions, stripping the nobility of juristic status and stripping from the Catholic Church its schools.
It was in this environment that José Antonio Primo de Rivera looked at Mussolini's Italy and found inspiration. Primo de Rivera founded the Falange Española party; the name is a reference to the formidable Ancient Greek military formation phalanx. Just a year after foundation Falange Española merged with the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista party of Ramiro Ledesma and Onésimo Redondo. The party and Primo de Rivera revealed the Falange Manifesto in November 1934; it promoted nationalism, unity, glorification of the Spanish Empire and dedication to the national syndicalism economic policy, inspired by integralism in which there is class collaboration. The manifesto supported agrarianism, looking to improve the standard of living for the peasants of the rural areas. It supported anti-capitalism, anti-Marxism, repudiating the latter's divisive class war philosophy, and was directly opposed to the ruling Republican regime. The Falange participated in the Spanish general election, 1936 with low results compared to the far-left Popular Front, but soon after increased in membership rapidly, with a membership of 40,000.
"We reject the capitalist system, which disregards the needs of the people, dehumanizes private property, and transforms the workers into shapeless masses that are prone to misery and despair. Our spiritual and national awareness likewise repudiates Marxism. We shall channel the drive of the working classes, that are nowadays led astray by Marxism, by demanding their direct participation in the formidable task of the national State."|20px|20px|José Antonio Primo de Rivera, Falange Manifesto. 1934.
Primo de Rivera was captured by Republicans on 6 July 1936 and held in captivity at Alicante. The Spanish Civil War broke out on 17 July 1936 between the Republicans and the Nationalists, with the Falangistas fighting for Nationalist cause. Despite his incarceration Primo de Rivera was a strong symbol of the cause, referred to as El Ausente, meaning "the Absent One"; he was summarily executed on 20 November after a trial by socialists. After this, Francisco Franco, who was not as ideological as his predecessor, became leader of the Falangists and continued the nationalist fight, with aid from Italy and Germany against the republicans who were supported by the Soviet Union. A merger between the Falange and the Carlist traditionalists who support a different line of the monarchy to that of exiled Alfonso XIII took place in 1937, creating the FET y de las JONS, essentially a move away from fascism. This is somewhat controversial in Falangist circles because some elements argue that it was a move away from "authentic Falangism". Regardless nationalists won the Civil War, inserting the Spanish State in 1939 and under a single-party system Franco ruled. Franco managed to balance several different interests of elements in his party, in an effort to keep them united, especially in regards to the question of monarchy. The Francoist state was strongly nationalist, anti-communist and anti-separatist throughout with his Movimiento Nacional; he supported traditional values such as Christianity, in contrast to the anti-clerical violence of the republicans. Whether or not Francoist Spain itself constituted a genuine form of fascism is debates, for example scholar Stanley Payne, has asserted: "scarcely any of the serious historians and analysts of Franco consider the generalissimo to be a core fascist".
The ideas of Falangism were also exported, mainly to parts of the Hispanosphere, especially in South America. In some countries these movements were obscure, in others they had some impact. The Bolivian Socialist Falange under Óscar Únzaga provided significant competition to the ruling government during the 1950s until the 1970s. Falangism was significant in Lebanon through the Kataeb Party and its founder Pierre Gemayel. The Lebanese Falange fought for the countries independence which was won in 1943; they became significant during the complex and multifaceted Lebanese Civil War which was largely fought between Christians and Muslims.
Nazism, short for National Socialism, is the political ideology of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party that ruled Germany from 1933 until 1945. The term national socialist is also a descriptive term used to refer to the Austrian National Socialism of a similar ideology, as well as several puppet states under Nazi control, including; the Arrow Cross of Hungary, the Ustaše of Croatia (also heavily influenced by Italian Fascism), and Rexism of Belgium. The Nazis came to prominence in Germany's Weimar Republic through democratic elections in 1932; their leader Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany the following year, subsequently putting into place the Enabling Act, which effectively gave him the power of a dictator. Hitler's book detailing the national socialist ideology Mein Kampf, was authored during the mid-1920s. The NSDAP announced a national rebirth, in the form of the Third Reich nicknamed the Thousand Years Empire, promoted as a successor to the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire.
Although the modern consensus sees Nazism as a type of generic fascism, some scholars, such as Gilbert Allardyce, Zeev Sternhell and A.F.K. Organski, argue that Nazism is not fascism either because the differences are too great, or because they believe fascism cannot be generic. A synthesis of these two opinions, states that German Nazism was a form of racially-oriented fascism, while Italian fascism was state-oriented. Nazism differed from Italian fascism in that it had a stronger emphasis on race, especially exhibited as antisemitism, in terms of social and economic policies. Though both ideologies denied the significance of the individual, Italian fascism saw the individual as subservient to the state, whereas Nazism saw the individual, as well as the state, as ultimately subservient to the race. Mussolini's Fascism held that cultural factors existed to serve the state, and that it was not necessarily in the state's interest to interfere in cultural aspects of society. The only purpose of government in Mussolini's fascism was to uphold the state as supreme above all else, a concept which can be described as statolatry. Where fascism talked of state, Nazism spoke of the Volk and of the Volksgemeinschaft Below is a presentation of opposing scholary view on the topic, Griffin is a leading exponent of the "generic fascism" theory, while Sternhell views national socialism as separate to fascism;
Brazilian Integralism is a form of fascism originating in Brazil with Plínio Salgado, he was the movement's figurehead and philosophical leader. The movement was founded in 1932 and was known in its native tongue as Ação Integralista Brasileira; rather than a reaction against the far-left which was not strong in Brazil at the time, the Integralists were initially founded to combat national disunity and the percieved weakness of the liberal state, hoping for national rebirth via a fascist form. Many of the ideas were similar to Italian fascism; it was militarised and favoured the creation of a strong centralised state with a corporatist, government directed economic policy. The party's nationalist element was influenced by the thought of Alberto Torres and was inclusionist, looking to create a strong national unity. While many of the members were Catholics, the group supported freedom of religion so as not to isolate Protestants in Brazil. As an ethnically diverse country due to its colonial history, the Integralists held a non-divisionist and anti-racist stance with the phrase, union of all races and all people; the members were mostly of European background such as Italian and Portuguese but there were also some people of Amerindian and African background. As Brazil was already territorially endowed, the Integralists had no need for an expansionist outlook.
The Iron Guard was an ultra-nationalist, antisemitic movement and political party in Romania from 1927 to 1941. It was briefly in power from September 14, 1940 until January 21, 1941. The Iron Guard was founded by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu on 24 July 1927 as the "Legion of the Archangel Michael" (Legiunea Arhanghelul Mihail), and it was led by him until his death in 1938. Adherents to the movement continued to be widely referred to as "legionnaires" (sometimes "legionaries"; Romanian: legionarii) and the organization as the "Legion" or the "Legionary Movement" (Mişcarea Legionară), despite various changes of the (intermittently banned) organization's name.
The Iron Guard presented itself as an alternative to corrupt, clientelist political parties, using marches, religious processions and patriotic hymns and anthems, along with volunteer work and charitable campaigns in rural areas. It was strongly anti-Semitic, promoting the idea that "Rabbinical aggression against the Christian world" in "unexpected 'protean forms': Freemasonry, Freudianism, homosexuality, atheism, Marxism, Bolshevism, the civil war in Spain, and social democracy" were undermining society..
The Iron Guard "willingly inserted strong elements of Orthodox Christianity into its political doctrine to the point of becoming one of the rare modern European political movements with a religious ideological structure. The Guard differed from other fascist movements in that it had its mass base among the peasantry and students. However, it shared the fascist penchant for violence, up to and including political assassinations.
Para-fascism is a term sometimes used to describe authoritarian regimes which appear like fascism on the surface but some scholars claim differ substantially from true fascism when a more than superficial examination is done. Roger Griffin uses the term whereas Stanley Payne uses the term Radical Right. The consensus among scholars rejects these many anti-liberal, anti-communist inter-war movements which lacked fascism's revolutionary goal to create a new national character as fascist. Para-fascists typically eschewed radical change and viewed genuine fascists as a threat. Parafascist states were often unwillingly the home of genuine fascist movements which they eventually suppressed or co-opted.
Besides Parafascism there are also other (not nescessary inter-war) regimes and movements that have had simliaries to fascism.
"Austrofascism" is a controversial category encompassing various para-fascist and semi-fascist movements in Austria in the 1930s. Especially referring to the Fatherland Front which became Austria's sole legal political party in 1934. The Fatherland Front's ideology was partly based on a fusion of Italian fascism, as expounded by Gentile, and Austria's Political Catholicism. It had an ideology of the "community of the people" (Volksgemeinschaft) that was different from that of the Nazis. They were similar in that both served to attack the idea of a class struggle by accusing leftism of destroying individuality, and thus help usher in a totalitarian state. Engelbert Dollfuß claimed he wanted to "over-Hitler" (überhitlern) Nazism.
Unlike the ethnic nationalism promoted by Italian Fascists and Nazis, the Fatherland Front focused entirely on cultural nationalism such as Austrian identity and distinctness from Germany, such as extolling Austria's ties to the Roman Catholic Church. According to this philosophy, Austrians were "better Germans" (by this time, the majority of the German population was Protestant). The monarchy was elevated to the ideal of a powerful and far-reaching state, a status which Austria lost after the Treaty of Saint-Germain. The notion of the Fatherland Front being fascist was claimed due to the regime's support and similar ideology of Fascist Italy.
Another authoritarian government, installed in Brazil by President Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, lasted from 1937 to 1945. It was modelled on the Portuguese Estado Novo regime and even took its name.
The rule of Mobutu Sese Seko and the ideology of Mobutism within the Popular Movement of the Revolution (Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution, MPR) political party in the former Zaire has been accused by opponents and critics as being fascist such as former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba who was deposed by Mobutu, said "...Mobutu is an imperialist, a fascist..." Rosa Coutino who called Mobutu a "black fascist" , United States left-wing black nationalist Huey P. Newton who referred to Mobutu as "Fascist Mobutu of Zaire" and historian Robert Carr who considers Mobutu a "fascist dictator" Mobutism had a totalitaran and revolutionary nationalist nature, radically altering Zairian society, promoting Zairian culture while purging culture of white colonial and western influences such as intiating censorship on western culture , banning Christian names while promoting the use of local names and local language. Mobutism like fascism promoted a single-party state with Mobutu as the country's dictator and the MPR and Mobutist ideology was officially enshrined in the constitution of Zaire; developed a personality cult around Mobutu as the "Father of the Nation" and promoted the indoctrination of society to support the MPR such as creating by youth organizations in the MPR; was militarist; officially opposed both capitalism and communism;supported economic planning and nationalized certain corporations along with attempting to garner support from workers for his regime by solidifying all trade unions into a single trade union loyal to the regime called the National Union of Zairian Workers while banning independent trade unions. Others have claimed that Mobutu's rule of Zaire was largely just a kleptocracy, serving to allow him to amass enormous wealth.