Fascism – Definition, Historical, Ideology & Features

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FASCISM | Benito Mussolini

Fascism in Italy - Benito Mussolini
Fascism in Italy – Benito Mussolini

Definition of Fascism

Fascism is a form of government which concentrates all power in a single party headed by a dictator. It is a dictatorial system of government. But as Ernest Nolte (1965) pointed out, any good definition of fascism cannot afford to fail to emphasize it’s anti-communism posture. Indeed the greatest enemy of fascism is communism. The first fascist regime was established by Benito Mussolini in Italy in 1925. The word fascism comes from “fasci ,” an Italian term for “bundle of sticks” that was a symbol for strength in unity. Fascists believe in one-party, totalitarian control of a nation and its economy.

Historical Development Of Fascism & The Rise of Benito Mussolini

Historically, fascism is a reaction of communism. Thus, in this context, fascism vis a doctrine, which seeks to destroy the enemy by the development of a radically opposed and yet related ideology, and by the use of almost identical and yet typically modified methods, always, however, within the unyielding framework of national self-assertion and autonomy (Ernst Nolte, 1965). Fascism, as a political movement, emerged in 1917 and swept through parts of Western Europe immediately after the First World War. It was a middle class movement. The most important personality often associated with the development of the fascist movement was Benito Mussolini, the leader of the National Fascism of Italy, who led a famous protest March in Rome and came to power in Italy in 1922. Other political figures associated with fascism are Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party of Germany who became the Chancellor in 1933 and Charles Maurras, the leader of Action Francaise of France. Also in this group are people like Salazzer who led fascism in Portugal and General Franco of Spain who ruled the country with iron hand for several decades. In Africa, the Nationalist Party of South Africa was the most notable example of a fascist party. It was a white supremacists party that invented the apartheid system of institutional racism.

Benito Mussolini’s Quotes

  1. The truth is that men are tired of liberty.
  2. Every anarchist is a baffled dictator.
  3. Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.
  4. It’s good to trust others but, not to do so is much better.
  5. Fascism is a religious concept.
  6. Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail.
  7. The League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out.
  8. Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands, and an infinite scorn in our hearts.
  9. War is to man what maternity is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace.
  10. War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.

Features Of Fascism

Fascism is characterized by the following:

  • Fascism is a conservative political movement, which seeks to undo the achievements of the revolutionary socialist struggle. bit does not believe in change.
  • The elements of fascism bare derived primarily from idealism, nationalism, socialism, syndicalism and republicanism.
  • Fascism is anti-clericalism. That is, it stands against religion and rejects what can be referred to as the laws of God.
  • Fascism advocates anti-parliamentarianism and anti-semitism. That is, it rejects parliament and hates Jews
  • It stands for an extreme form of nationalism.
  • Fascism represents a fear of what is traditional and familiar.
  • It is a racist doctrine. It represents racial superiority. For example, Hitler believed that the Aryan (white) race was superior to any other race and it should, therefore, dominate the world. His deep hatred for black people and killing of millions of Jews was borne out of racism. In South Africa, the National Party enthroned and nurtured racial segregation, and particularly hatred for black people.
  • Fascism is anti-democracy. It holds the view that democracy is a sham as it gives neither genuine representation or security to the people. In this regard, fascism is both authoritarian and totalitarian.
  • Fascism exalts the state over and above the individual. In other words, the will of the state is different from and greater than the will of the people who compose it. In running the affairs of the state, the discretion of the ruler is very important while the role of the people is obedience and subjection to discipline.
  • The government of the state may control all aspects of human endeavour including the art, culture, religion, the mass media, etc.
  • Fascism regards the following as it’s enemies who should be eliminated. (a) Democracy (b) Top military officers (c) The landed gentry – an element of aristocracy (d) The clergyman (e) Socialists and communists (f) The pacifists (i.e. those whose believe that war is morally wrong)
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