Dabin Lee-Fascism



After the World War 1, the whole world but especially Europe had to pay the immense cost both economically and politically. Bankruptcy of major European countries, Great Depression, and unstable democratic governments made millions of people to lose faith in the idea of democracy leading several small and big revolutions throughout the whole continent. Although United States, France, Britain, and other certain nations sustained their democratic strength through the difficulties, other parts of Europe started to turn themselves into new system of government called fascism. Initially started by Benito Mussolini—a ruler who will be more specifically explained in Youn Suk’s section—of Italy, fascism gained large number of supporters.

external image mussolini_main.jpg
Benito Mussolini
Policy and Belief

Originated from an Italian word “Fascio”, meaning a union or a group, the term “Fascism” was created. Fascism is a political system based on a belief that the chosen supremacy or a dictator should rule over all others with absolute obedience. No clearly defined theory or program exists in this system; yet several common ideas are shared by most fascists. Extreme nationalism or loyalty to one’s country with authoritarian leader is basis of ideology of fascism. Moreover fascism required unity among individuals, forcing certain color of uniforms, use of special salute, and performing specific practices directed by government. Violence by armed officers and severe oppression from government often took place creating even harsher daily life for majority of the people.

external image it_pm39.gif
Personal flag of Mussolini with the fasces
Characteristics of policy

① Based on irrationalism, it was often fanatical and dogmatic.
② Inequality and violence were led by government.
③ It was not just a simple political system, yet closer to a set of rules for mode of life.
④ Government relied on small number of elite group, creating conflicts with labor class.
⑤ Economy was utterly controlled by government.

Italian Fascism

Liberalism and democratic government lost their popularity in Italy in early 1900s. Offering a new political system, as the founder of fascism, Benito Mussolini ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under several ideologies: corporatism (idea of working together as a united group), totalitarianism (a system of government by a single party), nationalism, and militarism (an aggressive army system being ready for warfare engagement). In 1937, with forming alliance with Germany and Japan, Italy started its movement towards the World War II.

external image p19520100004.jpg external image p19520100003.jpg
Italian students under Fascist education Italian soldiers and officers
Comparison with other political ideologies

Fascism and communism share a number of similarities in their basic ideas. Both systems authorize a dictator with absolute power to control the state using one-party rule. One-party rule is when a government is consisted of only one political party, which is of the dictator. Neither of fascism nor communism accepted democratic ideas; no individual was valued, yet majority or group of individuals only. Despite some analogies, they do have apparent differences. Unlike communism, Fascist had society with strict structure in which specific role is played by certain class. Aristocrats, industrialists, soldiers, and lower middle class built up the fascist community. In addition, communists were internationalists desiring worldwide unity, while fascists focused on their own country as nationalists.
Some historians assume Nazism as a part of fascism; however differences between Nazism and fascism are considerable, separating them into two different branches with their bottoms being attached. Strong racism in policies of Nazi showed dissimilarity with fascism, since fascism considered individuals as part of state, while Nazism proclaimed that individuals are classified under race. The system of Nazi emphasized racial element on top of class structure.