Fascism and its Political Ideas
Fascism is a form of counter-revolutionary politics that first
arose in the early part of the twentieth-century in Europe. It was a
response to the rapid social upheaval, the devastation of World War I,
and the Bolshevik Revolution. Fascism is a philosophy or a system of
government the advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme
right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership,
together with an ideology of aggressive nationalism. Celebrating the
nation or the race as an organic community surpassing all other
loyalties. This right-wing philosophy will even advocate violent
action to maintain this loyalty which is held in such high regards.
Fascism approaches politics in two central areas, populist and
elitist. Populist in that it seeks to activate "the people" as a whole
against perceived oppressors or enemies and to create a nation of
unity. The elitist approach treats as putting the people's will on one
select group, or most often one supreme leader called El Duce, from
whom all power proceeds downward. The two most recognized names that
go along with Fascism are Italy's Benito Mussolini and Germany's Adolf
The philosophy of Fascism can be traced to the philosophers
who argue that the will is prior to and superior to the intellect or
reason. George Sorel, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Georg Hegal are main
philosophers who's beliefs and ideologies greatly influenced the
shaping of Fascist theory. Sorel (1847-1922) was a French social
philosopher who had a major influence on Mussolini. Sorel believed
that societies naturally became decadent and disorganized. This decay
could only be slowed by the leadership of idealists who were willing
to use violence to obtain power. Nietzsche (1844-1900) theorized that
there were two moral codes: the ruling class ( master morality) and
the oppressed class (slave morality). Nietzsche believed the ancient
empires were developed from the master majority and the religious
ideas and views grew out the slave majority. The idea of the "overman"
or superman which symbolized man at his most creative and highest
intellectual capacity was brought about by Nietzsche as well. Hegal
believed people should sacrifice for the community. He thought war was
also necessary to unify the state, with peace bring nothing but a weak
society. Hegal also sustained that laws should be made by the
corporate organization of the state.
Fascism values human nature in a group for the benefit of the
community. The group as a whole is called the human will, which is
ruled by a select group or one leader, with the power being passed
down from top to bottom. Fascism seeks to organize an organization led
mass movement in an effort to capture the state power. When the power
is in the firm grip of the ruler, or IL Duce, the government will be
used to control the population and everything in it so the community
will be benefited.
Fascism's ideal government would be fashioned around the good
of the community or nation. Everyone would work for the benefit of the
nation and that is all. Regularly this would take place with the
merging of the state and business leadership, with concern only of the
nation. In this the nation will also take care of its members if the
need should arise. This could be money ,shelter, food, or any other
need that might come about.
The ideology of Fascism has been identified with
totalitarianism, state terror, fanaticism, arranged violence, and
blind obedience. Adolf Hitler established his own personal ideology,
Mein Kampf, which means My Struggle. The book was written while Hitler
was in prison and not yet in power. Mussolini fashioned his ideology
after he took control of Italy. Despite their two different angles on
the use of Fascism Hitler and Mussolini both worked similarly on how
they established their principles in the same basic manner. Their
principles came from basic responses to various issues the leaders
Fascism is an authoritarian political movement that developed
in Italy and other European countries after 1919 as a reaction against
the profound political and social changes brought about from
inflation, and declining social, economic, and political conditions.
Italy, which was ready for a new political aspect, was the birthplace
of fascist ideology. Benito Mussolini was the man who brought this
ideology to Italy. Mussolini had been looking for the perfect
opportunity to take complete control of the country and now was the
time to do so. Mussolini said "Fascism, which was not afraid to call
itself reactionary.does not hesitate to call itself illiberal and
anti-liberal" (Nazi Fascism and the Modern Totalitarian State) this
statement can be easily recognized in the steps that Mussolini took to
gain control of Italy. In 1919 Mussolini and his followers, mostly war
veterans, were organized along paramilitary lines and wore black
shirts as uniforms. After defeats at the polls Mussolini used his new
financial backing friends to clothe a gang of thugs who would attack
other street gangs supporting other ideologies that Mussolini
disliked. These black shirts also vandalized, terrorized, bullied, and
on occasion took control of self-governing governments by force.
Paralyzed by these violent occurrences, the government did little to
combat the fascists. Mussolini furthered his popularity by supporting
eight hour days, elimination of class privileges, universal suffrage,
and tax advantages.
Adolf Hitler's Nazi (National Socialist German Worker's Party)
party is the most recognized example of fascism. Nazism is the
ideology and policies of Hitler and his party from 1921 to 1945.
Nazism also stressed the superiority of the Aryan race, calling for
the unification of all German-speaking peoples into one single empire.
Unlike fascism, the state was second in importance, behind only racial
purity for the nation. Hitler used his book Mein Kampf to establish a
plan of action for creating this racially pure state.
In January of 1933 Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany by
Hindenburg. By the end of the year Hitler had concentrated his power
as a fascist dictator and began a campaign for a racially pure nation
that eventually led to the Holocaust. In order for Hitler to maintain
his ability to control the German people he had to organize several
militia groups. Hitler even wrote down important points of the Nazi
party that had to be followed. These Twenty Five points of Hitler's
party were enforced by these militia groups.
A few of the points made by Hitler are as follows: immigration
of non-Germans must be prevented, no individual shall do any work that
would I any way hurt the interest of the community for the benefit of
all, a creation of a national (folk) army, all editors and their
assistants on newspapers published in German must be a citizen, and
all material to be published must go through the government for
approval. To keep control of the population and maintain the law,
Hitler setup he set up militia groups to see that everything was in
order. Hitler began to organize the SA, his Nazi storm troopers, which
in Mein Kampf he referred to as ".an instrument for the conduct and
reinforcement of the movement's struggle for its philosophy of life."
(The Rise of Hitler: A New Beginning) Realizing the liking of uniforms
by the German man the SA adopted a brown-shirt outfit, with boots,
swastika armband, badges and caps. The accessories on the outfit would
become important because of the visual tools providing easy
recognition and visibility, allowing for an increase of notoriety in
and out of the Nazi party. Hitler then created a special unit that
would only answer to him and be his personal body guards. The elite
groups was known as Schutzstaffel, the staff guard or SS for short.
The SS took a black uniform , modeled after the Italian Fascists.
Josef Berchtold, a former stationary salesman, was the groups first
leader. The Gestapo, established in 1933, was a secret state police.
All these groups were used to carry out mass murders of anyone or any
groups that posed a threat to Hitler and the party's beliefs. They
would also create, destroy, and falsify any record that would benefit
the party and the nation.
Hitler, using modern technology, furthered his power. He used
the microphone, radio, and newspaper to create any appearance that
fascism will be the new political power in the twentieth century.
Hitler once said that "The great masses of people. will more easily
fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." (Nazi Fascism and the
Modern Totalitarian State) He accomplished this feat by use of the
microphone, speaking to thousands at one time he was able to rally
support for his cause. He used the power of the airwaves and print to
setup a vial hatred of Jews, blacks, and the physical handicaps,
calling them all imperfections of society and they must be destroyed.
With the Jews being the main scapegoat of the Nazi party. Hitler could
have held to his belief that the dehumanization and scapegoating of
the enemy as an inferior race could have aided in the plot to justify
genocide. Hitler used the media in the sense that he and his leaders
had to approve anything that was being published. Allowing for
selective material to be let about the party and other world events.
Mussolini's Brown Shirts and Hitler's Nazi's are not the only
right wing element to have an influence in today's society. There are
numerous other groups who have their own agenda to deal with. Even
though these groups have differences generally they do agree on
certain main issues. With their core administration dealing with
issues centering on anti-government. The issues are gun control,
taxes, Constitution liberties, and federal regulations. These militia
groups believe that the government is tyrannical, and there is a
secret elite conspiracy on controlling the government, the economy,
the culture, or all three.
Just as Hitler used the Jews as his scapegoat these militia
groups have there own victims that the use. Federal officials and law
enforcement officers, minority groups, gay and lesbian right
activists, and people of color or immigrants are just a few of the
escape whole the right-wing militia use. One of the most famous right
wing militia movements in the United States is the Ku Klux Klan, or
KKK as it is even better known as. The KKK is a militia group that got
started during the disorder of the Reconstruction era. Now the Klan's
political agenda are a number of things. They believe the United
States government should protect the jobs and welfare of American's
first, not just anyone in the third world countries. The Klan does not
want to continue seeing America sell itself to foreigners such as the
Japanese, America should be owned by Americans. Closing American
borders to immigrants also is a project that the KKK thinks should
handled by putting American troops at the border of Mexico.
The idea that the end of the world is coming is rapidly
growing in right wing religious groups. Leading the way is Pat
Robertson and the Christian Coalition. Robertson and his Christian
Coalition is credited in helping many of the Republican Senators and
Congressmen attain their current standings. Robertson even believes by
reading Revelation 13 that if America were to change its money by
putting codes on it that it have in it the mark of the beast. Some of
the states even have their own militia groups. The Michigan Militia is
just one of the many individual groups. The Michigan Militia believes
that the American government is undermining the individual freedoms
that American's posses, and even selling out to international
organizations. The drug problem is one of the major areas the group
centralizes on. Even though the CIA has taken Noriega out of the drug
cartel in Panama the business is still running just as strong due to
other members of drug families were put back into power.
Most of the people who choose to become part of these groups
have several factors influencing their decision. Desperation generally
is the main reason. They are people who barley are hanging on to their
finical and social status. Wanting to protect themselves and their
children from a life of poverty and hardship they join a group that
will offer a family atmosphere of love and support.
One idea shared by all fascist movements is the evident lack
of a consistent political standard behind the ideology. Each
individual leader would handle every situation a little differently
with no sense of tradition or law. However, one very commonplace
aspect about fascism would be its unsympathetic drive to achieve and
maintain state power and sovereignty. On that road to conquest though
fascists are willing to abandon any principle to adopt an issue more
in acceptance and more likely to gain converts.
Fascism and its right wing counterparts have been influencing
twentieth century politics in every area. Hitler and Mussolini are
perhaps the two most noted people to bring fascism to the forefront of
government. Regardless of the power and force fascism has established
in the past the same conclusion happens every time, it fails. Leading
a person to question the vitality of this type of government.
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Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1994.
Berlet, Chip. Armed Wing Populism, and Scapegoating.
Merkel, Peter. The Making of a Stormtrooper. New Jersey:
Princeton University Press, 1980.
Nazi Fascism and the Modern Totalitarian State.
Payne, Stanley. Fascism. Wisconsin:
The University of Wisconsin Press, 1980.
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The History Place: The 25 Points of Hitler's Nazi Party.
The History Place: The Rise of Hitler, A New Beginning.
The History Place: The Rise of Adolf Hitler, Nazi Party is Formed.