Outline and Discuss the Main Concepts of Political Fascist Thought.

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Outline and Discuss the Main Features of Fascist Political Thought

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Within this assignment I’m going to show that Italy and Germany shared a common set of features which in turn suggests that fascism has a common set of features that are present in the political thought of almost all fascist states. I’m going to do this by first looking at defining what fascism is in terms of the debate over its definition as well as its Marxist roots. The origins of fascism within both Italy and Germany will then be discussed before moving onto the main features of fascist political thought such as nationalism, totalitarianism and scape goats as well as the role of the government in the economy. I will then look at the differences between these states before concluding that there are a strong set of features of which are clearly present within the fascist states looked at which define the idea of fascism as we know it.

Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as being “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization”, the word “fascism” was first used to describe Mussolini in Italy from around 1922. The word itself originates from Italian “fascismo” meaning a “bundle” or “political group” and although the meaning itself does not immediately lend itself to its definition as being an “authoritarian and nationalistic” organisation, it was soon taken to represent an ideology of which is frowned upon by all but the most right-wing activists such as those in right-wing political parties including the British National Party and Austrian Freedom Party.

A Marx definition of fascism said “Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism” highlighting the Marxist opposition to fascism. Many of the first fascist initiators including Mussolini, were previously Marxists which had since positioned themselves as being opposed to materialism which was seen as being a strong side of Marxist ideology.

Although Pierre Drieu La Rochelle claimed that “certain elements of a fascist atmosphere came together in France around 1913, before they did elsewhere” it is generally accepted that the first true state of fascism occurred because of Mussolini in Italy. By 1919 Austria-Hungary has collapsed and Italy’s “greatest enemy” the Hapsburg Empire was no more and from 1922 the emergence of the Italian fascist party “Partito Nazionale Fascista” was providing the strong foundations for what was to become the world’s first truly fascist state. At the beginning of this fascist uprising over Italy, Mussolini was described as being an “insane individualistic” in that he his main concern whilst leading was personal power. This has initially led to concern amongst his core Fascist deputies such as Dino Grandi and Farinacci who were now concerned that Mussolini may desert them in search of greater power after having realised that he had gained almost unilateral cross party support from the Popular Party, the Vatican and the General Confederation of Labour. Once Mussolini had asserted his power and once he had assigned his ministries, he started to work upon the countries’ population’s nationalism and progression.

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In Germany, fascism began in a different way. Hitler learnt from Karl Leuger, an orator who had supported the Christian Social Party in Vienna, that nationalist and anti-Semitic propaganda were essential in the dismissal of the current trend of socialism. In 1920 Hitler encouraged the German Worker’s Party to change its name to “the National Socialist German Workers’ Party” (often referred to as the “Nazi Party”). With this change came the new swastika logo which later became the most recognised symbol of the holocaust. As the Great Depression took hold after the 1929 Wall Street Crash the German economy had collapsed ...

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