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Making of the Modern World
Lecture
Fascism: Between Nationalism
and Total War
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
“Fascism” - Etymology
from fasces (rods bundled
around an axe) – In ancient
Rome a symbol of the authority
of the magistrate, lictors
carried them in front of the
magistrates
Symbolism: strength through
unity
Fascism : difficult to define
• Not a coherent ideology
• Big differences between Nazism, Italian Fascism
and other “fascist” states and movements
• Some characteristics in common with other
authoritarian regimes
• Extreme left, extremism of the centre or extreme
right?
• Inflationary use of the term to slander political
enemy, has become a term of political conflicts
Fascism
A collectivistic, nationalistic, authoritarian ideology
based on
• Anti-communism (socialism, -Marxism)
• Anti-liberalism (democracy, individualism)
• Anti-capitalism (only until
in power)
• Anti-semitism (only in
Germany)
(Anti-egalitarian, antiintellectual, anti-pacifist)
• The idea of regeneration,
rebirth and youth
• The nation (as the eternal
embodiment of the
collective spirit)
• Corporatism (Italy):
organic organisation of
society, harmonised by
state
• Community (in Nazi
Germany
Volksgemeinschaft)
• Racism (more in Nazism)
• Leadership cult
• Imperialism and
expansionism
Syndicalism: a set of ideas, movements with the aim
of transforming capitalist society through action by the
working class. For syndicalists, trade unions are the
potential means both of overcoming capitalism and of
running society in the interests of the majority.
Industry and government in a syndicalist society
would be run by trade union federations.
National syndicalists imagined that the liberal
democratic political system would be destroyed in a
massive general strike, at which point the nation’s
economy would be transformed into a corporatist
model based on class cooperation, contrasted with
Marxist class struggle.
Corporatism or corporativism (Italian corporativismo): a
political or economic system in which power is given to
unelected civic assemblies that represent economic,
industrial, agrarian, and professional groups to exert control
over their respective areas of social or economic life.
In Fascism: corporations represent the interests of their
members in relation to the state and are at the same time
instruments of control of the state
Alternative to class struggle
“Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of
state and corporate power.”
Benito Mussolini
“The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the
State… For Fascism the state is absolute, individuals and
groups are relative… The State, as conceived and realised by
Fascism, is a spiritual and ethical entity for securing the
political, juridical, and economic organisation of the nation…
The State is not only the present; it is also the past and above
all the future. Transcending the individual’s brief spell of life,
the State stands for the immanent conscience of the nation.”
Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism (1932)
“For the Fascist, everything is within the State… For Fascism,
the State is an absolute.”
Giovanni Gentile (1932)
“In the state it [the völkisch idea) sees on principle
only a means to an end and construes its end as the
preservation of the racial existence of man. Thus, it
by no means believes in an equality of the races, but
along with their difference it recognises their higher
or lesser value and feels itself obligated, through this
knowledge, to promote the victory of the better and
stronger, and demand the subordination of the
inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal
will that dominates this universe.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925)
Fascism & Modernisation
• Fascism as backward-looking force (Lipsett)
• Social protection of middle classes against rise of
organised capital & organised labour, but de facto
support of big business (rearmament)
• Means & ends: modern means to archaic ends
• Multiple paths to modernity: technological, economic,
political
• Horkheimer & Adorno’s Auschwitz paradox: height of
barbarism achieved with factory-like precision; scientists
of death working for ‘perfectibility of man’: a perverted
Enlightenment project
• Nazism as “reactionary modernism” (Jeffrey Herf)
• Mass media: tomorrow will highlight use of film & radio
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
Fascist regimes
Fascist movements
• Italy (Benito Mussolini) 19221943/45
• Germany
Nationalsozialistische
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Adolf
Hitler) 1933-1945
• Austria
(Dollfuß/Schuschnigg) –
1933/34-1938
• Spain (Franco) – 1939-1975
• Portugal (Salazar and
Caetano) – 1932-1974
Some examples
• Britain British Union of
Fascists (Oswald Mosley)
• Norway Nasjonal
Samling (Vidkun Quisling)
• Romania Iron Guard
• Hungary Arrow Cross
Italy
• Fascist regime 19221943 (1945)
• Benito Mussolini (Il Duce)
• March on Rome, October
1922
• Socialist leader Giacomo
Matteotti murdered by
fascists, June 1924
• Mussolini deposed
August 1943
• Saló Republic 1943-1945
Benito Mussolini
(1883-1945)
March on Rome, 1922
Germany
• NSDAP formed 1920
• Failed “beer hall coup”, Nov. 1923
• Played no important role in 1920s
• After Great Depression fast growth
of influence, 1932 strongest party
• Hitler becomes chancellor in Jan.
1933
• Night of the Long Knives, June
1934: against SA-leaders who
wanted to continue NationalSocialist “revolution” and criticised
Hitler’s alliance with the
conservatives and the traditional
elites
Anti-communist
Fight for Germany
Booklet on German politics before 1933
Munich, 1933
DHM, Berlin
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
Alliance with the
traditional elites – no
social revolution
Potsdam, March 12, 1933,
Hitler meets Reich
President Paul von
Hindenburg
“I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render
unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer
[leader] of the German nation and people, Supreme
Commander of the armed forces, and will be ready as
a true soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath”.
Oath sworn by German soldiers after 1934
Führer principle
“The Führer is supreme judge of the nation…The
Führer is not backed by constitutional clauses, but by
outstanding achievements which are based on the
combination of a calling and of his devotion to the
people. The Führer does not put into effect a
constitution according to legal guidelines laid before
him but by historic achievements which serve the
future of his people… Constitutional law in the Third
Reich is the legal formulation of the historical will of
the Führer.”
Justice Minister Hans Frank in a speech in 1938
Racism and Antisemitism
“The Scourge of God,
Polish Jews"
From A Brochure
issued by Der
Stuermer. 1939
Creating the German
Master Race
Measuring the facial
features of young
Germans
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
A Nazi war song: Es zittern die morschen Knochen
Und liegt vom Kampfe in Trümmern
Die ganze Welt zuhauf,
Das soll uns den Teufel kümmern,
Wir bauen sie wieder auf.
And lies due to the battle
The whole world in ruins,
What the devil do we care?
We build it up again
Wir werden weiter marschieren
Wenn alles in Scherben fällt,
Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland
Und morgen die ganze Welt.
If all the world lies in ruins,
We still will go marching on,
For today Germany is ours
And tomorrow the whole world.
Fascism, War & Empire
• Mussolini’s hopes to
recreate Roman Empire
& Mediterranean ‘Mare
Nostrum’
• 1935 invasion of
Abyssinia (Ethiopia);
1940 stalling of Greek &
Egyptian campaigns
Nazism, War & Empire
• Hitler’s admiration of American & Russian
continental powers with natural resources
• Mein Kampf (1925): criticises Kaiser’s Weltpolitik
• Lebensraum: Germany ‘crowded’ people
seeking continental empire in E. Europe/Ukraine
• Volksdeutsche: mission to reunite ‘lost’ territories
of Greater Germany; Aryanisation schemes
• World ambitions: future confrontation with USA?
“The foreign policy of a völkisch state is charged with
guaranteeing the existence on this planet of the race
embraced by the State, by establishing between the
number and growth of the population, on the one hand,
and the size and value of the soil and territory, on the
other hand, a viable, natural relationship … Only a
sufficiently extensive area on this globe guarantees a
nation freedom of existence.”
B. 1924, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. 8th Edition (New
York: Houghton Mifflin, 1939), p. 935.
Auschwitz II – Birkenau 1945
Holocaust: the genocide
against the Jews
The enslavement of the slavic
peoples
“The Slavs are to work for us. In so far as we don’t
need them, they may die. Therefore compulsory
vaccination and German health services are
unnecessary. The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable.
They may use contraceptives or practise abortion, the
more the better. Education is dangerous. It is enough if
they can count up to one hundred. Every educated
person is a future enemy… As for food, they won’t get
any more than is absolutely necessary. We are the
masters. We come first.”
Letter from Martin Bormann, 1941
Mobilising for
Total War
Berlin, 1943
DHM, Berlin
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
Some American historians (strange revival
10 years ago by Daniel Goldhagen)
• Nazism as culmination of centuries of German
history
• From Luther – Fredrick the Great of Prussia –
Bismarck and William II –
Ludendorff/Hindenburg – Hitler
Conservative German historians after 1945
(Gerhard Ritter, Friedrich Meinecke)
• State oriented historians
• Aim: to save the German past
• Nazism as a complete break with the
German past
• Nazism as part of an European trend of
the collapse of moral and religious values
in and after the Great War
• Demonizing of Hitler who is held
responsible for the German catastrophe
Revisionist view
• German territorial war aims in the Great War
similar to those of Hitler (Fritz Fischer in 1960s)
• Tradition of German expansionism
• Continuity of social structures and power of
traditional elites
• In another step: Germany’s special path (+ late
industrialisation, no successful bourgeois
revolution)
• Some historians see Nazism as unique (antiSemitism and racial theory and Holocaust) and
fundamentally different from Italian fascism
THE DEBATE ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE THIRD REICH
1.Hitler's
role
2.Structure
of the state
Intentionalist Interpretation
Functionalist Interpretation
Strong dictator; can implement
his will
Weak dictator; depends on
competing organisations
Obedience to the dictator
Rivalry of offices in spite of the
dictator
Four competing and relatively
independent power blocks: economy,
army, Nazi party/SS, state
administration
Hitler's will
3.ImplemenLong-term planning
tation of
Realisation of long-term goals
policies
Primacy of ideology
Spontaneous initiatives of
organisations, improvisation, primacy
of opportunism
Too personalistic, focuses too
much on Hitler, too rational,
too apologetic of Germans in
general
Ignores deliberate policies and the
popularity of Hitler, overestimates
independence of single organisations
and apparatuses, focuses too much
on anonymous structures
4.Critique
http://www.colby.edu/personal/r/rmscheck/GermanyE5.html
Synthesis (according to Bracher and Jäckel): Hitler
derived much of his strength from the rivalry and the
overlapping responsibilities of state and party
institutions. He thus could assume the role of a
mediator. Single offices competed to win him over to
their policies. Often they tried to implement what was
considered to be his wish ...
http://www.colby.edu/personal/r/rmscheck/GermanyE5.html
Fascism theory
• Stresses the similarities between Italy &
Germany
• Imperial expansion as inherent
• War as overall goal
• Close relationship with capitalism
• Fascism as ‘faith-based’ political religion, placing
willpower over material constraints
“Fascism is the open terroristic
dictatorship of the most reactionary,
most chauvinistic, and most
imperialist elements of finance
capital”.
Comintern leader Georgi Dimitrov on the occasion of
the VIIth Congress of the Communist International
1935
Totalitarianism theory
• Mussolini, 1925: ‘our totalitarian fascist will’
• Theory in 1950s with Cold War comparison to Soviet
Russia
• Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951
• Carl Friedrich’s six points:
– An official ideology
– A single mass party
– Terroristic police control
– Monopoly control over the media
– A monopoly of arms
– Central control of the economy
• Criticisms: static; does not take account of radical, selfdestructive tendencies of Italian Fascism and German
National Socialism
Schedule
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction
What is Fascism?
Fascist Movements
Fascist States
Fascism and War
Interpretations
Conclusion
Fascism vs. Totalitarianism
• Fascism is a useful category to compare the
origin and nature of right wing, authoritarian
regimes with mass support in the historical
context of post-World War I Europe
• Totalitarianism is useful to compare how power
was exercised in Nazi-Germany and Stalinist
Soviet Union, but should not be applied to the
post-Stalin Soviet Union
• All theorizing and comparison should not blur
differences, especially the unique and radical
character of the Nazi extermination policy
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