Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - a major element of Fascism



After the Treaty of Versailles was completed, Germany was in a state of complete political and economic desolation. Due to the huge war debts that the agreement had set upon them, the Weimar Republic continued to print out mounds of money, leading to their dwindle in worth. Unemployment levels were also at an all-time high, with starvation beginning to tug threateningly at the lives of the demoralized German citizens. Many began to feel like they could not depend on their current government for refuge, and desperately looked for any potential savior to their woes.
Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' Party came to the rescue for many needy citizens, laying out grand plans for them promising to bring back the might of Germany. Hitler utilized the emotions running high in the crowds by blaming certain groups of people for Germany's problems, such as the Jews, the Allies (for enforcing the Dawes Act and the Versaille Treaty), and the Communists. He then starkly contrasted his own proposals for Germany's future with his set-out enemies, such as the supreme Aryans (Germans) vs. the "dirty Jews" and Socialism vs. Communism. This allowed him to unite the spirited German people in such a strong nationalistic fervor against the enemies so that he could easily exterminate them.
Hitler and the Nazi Party were able to manipulate propaganda proficiently so as to being able to completely brainwash any common German citizen . Much of it targeted the Jews as the ultimate adversary, claiming feverishly of their diabolical and evil nature. The Mein Kampf, a volume written by Hitler accentuated the Aryans' supposed dominance over all of the races in a similar fashion to The White Man's Burden. It exclaimed that since Aryans were the superior race to all other existing ones, they must subjugate such inferior peoples s
Adolph Hitler
Adolph Hitler
uch as Jews and Slavics (who would obviously benefit greatly from interacting with the supreme race). It is also speculated (along with countless other propagandic materials) that Jews prevented the Aryans from justly becoming supreme dictators of the globe by "tainting" their bloodline, that they were secretly conspiring to take over the world themselves, and that they were ""parasites, liars, dirty, crafty, sly, wily, clever, without any true culture, a sponger, a middleman, a maggot, eternal blood suckers, repulsive, unscrupulous, monsters, foreign, menace, bloodthirsty, avaricious, the destroyer of Aryan humanity, and the mortal enemy of Aryan humanity..."
Through immersive propaganda (including speeches, posters, flyers, pamphlets, booklets, etc.) and destructive nationalistic methods like these, the German citizens were swept up in feverish tornadoes against the scapegoats with Hitler. The race between Germans and Jews for world supremacy was instructed to German children in schools, and adult Germans willingly encouraged and participated in Jewish isolation and extermination. The citizens were also rallied against the Allies by Hitler's persuasive skills, who claimed that the way to conquest Russian territories (which the Aryans were obviously entitled to) was through revenge against France and claiming their western border. Hitler also utilized Communism as a useful enemy by recruiting rich businessmen (for money during campaigning) to support him with the fight against Marxism, and uniting the citizens under the equal means of Socialism against the evil bourgeoise and unfeasible utopian ways of the Marxists.

Now, how did Hitler get into his extremely powerful dictator seat in the first place? Well, President Paul von Hindenburg named Hitler Chancellor because the other officials and those in power believed that he was the only one who could stand up to the Communist party. Once he stabilized his position in power, he called for new elections, hoping to win a parliamentary majority. 6 days before election, a fire destroyed the Reichstag building where Parliamentary met: Hitler and the Nazis blamed the Communists. With them out of the way, they gained the popularity of the majority of the population's votes. Now, with this power, Hitler demanded absolute power for 4 years and no one was confident enough to speak against him. He formed a secret police, the Gestapo, while the SS ( Schutzestaffel, or protection squad) was created and was only loyal to Hitler.


Break the Dawes Chains!

A poster encouraging its citizens to rebel against the Dawes Act
(the agreement that set the heavy war debts upon Germany)

Free Germany from Marxist Trash!

A poster trying to rally the citizens against Marxism.

German Christmas

A poster caricaturing the 'German angel' and the 'heinous Jew'
selling beauty products and pornographic materials.

Sucked Dry

A poster symbolizing the spider as the Jew who sucks Germany
into economic turmoil.

The Horst Wessel song, the national anthem for the Nazis.


Flag high, ranks closed,
The S.A. marches with silent solid steps.
Comrades shot by the red front and reaction
March in spirit with us in our ranks.

The street free for the brown battalions,
The street free for the Storm Troopers.
Millions, full of hope, look up at the swastika;
The day breaks for freedom and for bread.

For the last time the call will now be blown;
For the struggle now we all stand ready.
Soon will fly Hitler-flags over every street;
Slavery will last only a short time longer.

Flag high, ranks closed,
The S.A. marches with silent solid steps.
Comrades shot by the red front and reaction
March in spirit with us in our ranks.


In 1919 Facist party made and the main cause was the disappointment in the government in its failure in winning territory at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Because of the Great Depression, inflation and unemployment rates began to rise while the people became restless. The people feared a Communist revolution like the one in Russia while they were also disappointed with the democratic government which seemed helpless when it came to the problems their country faced. Benito Mussolini was a newspaper editor and politician who made the Fascist Party. He promised greater economy and
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
rebuilding in the armed forces. At first, he failed to win support, however as economic conditions worsened, the popularity of the party increased. He finally was able to publicly criticize Italy's government. His power grew to the point where Fascists wearing black shirts attacked Communists and Socialists on the streets.
To the Italians, the Communists and Socialists were the scapegoats. They were the ones that threatened the the population and the media made sure that the public felt that way constantly. Without the communists, the Fascists would have nearly all of the popularity in the nation. They were a obstacle in their journey for total power. In October 1922: 30,000 Facists marched to Rome demanded that Mussolini become in charge of the government. "After widespread violence and a threat of armed uprising, Mussolini took power 'legally'" from the government. Mussolini was known for his speaking skills and using the Roman Empire in his speeches to gain support for an overseas empire in Africa. A "foreign diplomat described him as an "actor", "dangerous rascal", and "possibly slightly off his head." Mussolini becomes Il Duce and he uses all means to control the population. "He abolished democracy and outlawed all political parties except the Fascists." (Modern World History, Patterns of Interaction) He used propaganda in radio stations and publications to have only Fascist ideals in the public. He controlled the economy, working life, almost every possible aspect. However, it is said that he never achieved full control such as Stalin or Hitler.


Promising further colonialism and showing the "brutal" africans

This poster was used to get support for an oversea empire in Africa. By degrading Africans to people that would kill so immorally, it shows the "Caucasian superiority." At the bottom left corner there is a picture of a Roman. The Roman Empire was used to get support as the Roman Empire was the "Golden Age" of Italy.

A poster showing a woman from the Italian Social Republic (one of Nazi's puppet-states) kissing the Fascist flag

A piece of propaganda cinema from Italy called 'March on Rome'.


Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco

In 1936, there was a Civil War in Spain, which had been a monarchy until 1931. The government, however, was run by liberals and socialists, who were in the middle of many crises. In July 1936, the military leaders joined General Francisco Franco in a revolt for a Fascist government. Hitler and Mussolini provided and helped Franco with troops, tanks, and airplanes to help Franco's forces, called the Nationalists. Spain got rid of all the Communists and the Anarchists also posed a threat. The anarchists, the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labor: CNT), did have a party and left a mark on the government. Franco was not able to control the people's lives as much as Mussolini or Hitler, but it was a Fascist government, nonetheless. Franco also got rid of any strikes and political meetings as he became a more experienced dictator. The communist party's power began to grow, however, towards the end of the Fascist Spain.

Works Cited

Beck, Roger B., Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, and Dahia I. Shabaka. Modern World History, Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2003. 426-435.
Brooman, Josh. Hitler's Germany, Germany 1933-45. 2nd ed. New York, New York: Longman Inc., 1985.
"Italian Fascism." 20 Apr. 2008 <>. Rosemont, Franklin. "Spanish Revolution of 1936." 20 Apr. 2008 <>.
"The Rise of Fascism in Europe (Overview)." World History: The Modern Era. 2008. ABC-CLIO. 20 Apr. 2008 <>.
"Germany 1919-1933." John D Clare. 19 Apr. 2008 <>.
"Mein Kampf." The History Place. 1996. 19 Apr. 2008 <>.
Simkin, John. "Adolf Hitler." Spartacus Educational. National Archives. 19 Apr. 2008 <>

Veenstra, Rob. "Pre-1933 Nazi Propaganda." German Propaganda Archive. 25 Mar. 2008. 19 Apr. 2008 <>. (German propaganda pictures)
Italian Social Republic. 1923. Wikipedia. 19 Apr. 2008 <>. (Italian propaganda picture)
Adolph Hitler. WordPress. 19 Apr. 2008 <>. (Hitler picture)
Benito Mussolin. Philadelphia Reflections. 19 Apr. 2008 <>. (Mussolini picture)
Francisco Franco. Britannica. 19 Apr. 2008 <>. (Franco picture)