Fascism is a form of counter-revolutionary politics that first arose in the early part of the twentieth-century in Europe. It was a response to the rapid social upheaval, the devastation of World War I, and the Bolshevik Revolution. Fascism is a philosophy or a system of government the advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of aggressive nationalism. Celebrating the nation or the race as an organic community surpassing all other loyalties. This right-wing philosophy will even advocate violent action to maintain this loyalty which is held in such high regards. Fascism approaches politics in two central areas, populist and elitist. Populist in that it seeks to activate "the people" as a whole against perceived oppressors or enemies and to create a nation of unity. The elitist approach treats as putting the people's will on one select group, or most often one supreme leader called El Duce, from whom all power proceeds downward. The two most recognized names that go along with Fascism are Italy's Benito Mussolini and Germany's Adolf Hitler.
The philosophy of Fascism can be traced to the philosophers who argue that the will is prior to and superior to the intellect or reason. George Sorel, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Georg Hegal are main philosophers who's beliefs and ideologies greatly influenced the shaping of Fascist theory. Sorel (1847-1922) was a French social philosopher who had a major influence on Mussolini. Sorel believed that societies naturally became decadent and disorganized. This decay could only be slowed by the leadership of idealists who were willing to use violence to obtain power. Nietzsche (1844-1900) theorized that there were two moral codes: the ruling class ( master morality) and the oppressed class (slave morality). Nietzsche believed the ancient empires were developed from the master majority and the religious ideas and views grew out the slave majority. The idea of the "overman" or superman which symbolized man at his most creative and highest intellectual capacity was brought about by Nietzsche as well. Hegal believed people should sacrifice for the community. He thought war was also necessary to unify the state, with peace bring nothing but a weak society. Hegal also sustained that laws should be made by the corporate organization of the state.
Fascism values human nature in a group for the benefit of the community. The group as a whole is called the human will, which is ruled by a select group or one leader, with the power being passed down from top to bottom. Fascism seeks to organize an organization led mass movement in an effort to capture the state power. When the power is in the firm grip of the ruler, or IL Duce, the government will be used to control the population and everything in it so the community will be benefited.
Fascism's ideal government would be fashioned around the good of the community or nation. Everyone would work for the benefit of the nation and that is all. Regularly this would take place with the merging of the state and business leadership, with concern only of the nation. In this the nation will also take care of its members if the need should arise. This could be money ,shelter, food, or any other need that might come about.
The ideology of Fascism has been identified with totalitarianism, state terror, fanaticism, arranged violence, and blind obedience. Adolf Hitler established his own personal ideology, Mein Kampf, which means My Struggle. The book was written while Hitler was in prison and not yet in power. Mussolini fashioned his ideology after he took control of Italy. Despite their two different angles on the use of Fascism Hitler and Mussolini both worked similarly on how they established their principles in the same basic manner. Their principles came from basic responses to various issues the leaders faced.
Fascism is an authoritarian political movement that developed in Italy and other European countries after 1919 as a reaction against the profound political and social changes brought about from inflation, and declining social, economic, and political conditions. Italy, which was ready for a new political aspect, was the birthplace of fascist ideology. Benito Mussolini was the man who brought this ideology to Italy. Mussolini had been looking for the perfect opportunity to take complete control of the country and now was the time to do so. Mussolini said "Fascism, which was not afraid to call itself reactionary.does not hesitate to call itself illiberal and anti-liberal" (Nazi Fascism and the Modern Totalitarian State) this statement can be easily recognized in the steps that Mussolini took to gain control of Italy. In 1919 Mussolini and his followers, mostly war veterans, were organized along paramilitary lines and wore black shirts as uniforms. After defeats at the polls Mussolini used his new financial backing friends to clothe a gang of thugs who would attack other street gangs supporting other ideologies that Mussolini disliked. These black shirts also vandalized, terrorized, bullied, and on occasion took control of self-governing governments by force. Paralyzed by these violent occurrences, the government did little to combat the fascists. Mussolini furthered his popularity by supporting eight hour days, elimination of class privileges, universal suffrage, and tax advantages.
Adolf Hitler's Nazi (National Socialist German Worker's Party) party is the most recognized example of fascism. Nazism is the ideology and policies of Hitler and his party from 1921 to 1945. Nazism also stressed the superiority of the Aryan race, calling for the unification of all German-speaking peoples into one single empire. Unlike fascism, the state was second in importance, behind only racial purity for the nation. Hitler used his book Mein Kampf to establish a plan of action for creating this racially pure state. In January of 1933 Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg. By the end of the year Hitler had concentrated his power as a fascist dictator and began a campaign for a racially pure nation that eventually led to the Holocaust. In order for Hitler to maintain his ability to control the German people he had to organize several militia groups. Hitler even wrote down important points of the Nazi party that had to be followed. These Twenty Five points of Hitler's party were enforced by these militia groups.
A few of the points made by Hitler are as follows: immigration of non-Germans must be prevented, no individual shall do any work that would I any way hurt the interest of the community for the benefit of all, a creation of a national (folk) army, all editors and their assistants on newspapers published in German must be a citizen, and all material to be published must go through the government for approval. To keep control of the population and maintain the law, Hitler setup he set up militia groups to see that everything was in order. Hitler began to organize the SA, his Nazi storm troopers, which in Mein Kampf he referred to as ".an instrument for the conduct and reinforcement of the movement's struggle for its philosophy of life." (The Rise of Hitler: A New Beginning) Realizing the liking of uniforms by the German man the SA adopted a brown-shirt outfit, with boots, swastika armband, badges and caps. The accessories on the outfit would become important because of the visual tools providing easy recognition and visibility, allowing for an increase of notoriety in and out of the Nazi party. Hitler then created a special unit that would only answer to him and be his personal body guards. The elite groups was known as Schutzstaffel, the staff guard or SS for short. The SS took a black uniform , modeled after the Italian Fascists. Josef Berchtold, a former stationary salesman, was the groups first leader. The Gestapo, established in 1933, was a secret state police. All these groups were used to carry out mass murders of anyone or any groups that posed a threat to Hitler and the party's beliefs. They would also create, destroy, and falsify any record that would benefit the party and the nation.
Hitler, using modern technology, furthered his power. He used the microphone, radio, and newspaper to create any appearance that fascism will be the new political power in the twentieth century. Hitler once said that "The great masses of people. will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." (Nazi Fascism and the Modern Totalitarian State) He accomplished this feat by use of the microphone, speaking to thousands at one time he was able to rally support for his cause. He used the power of the airwaves and print to setup a vial hatred of Jews, blacks, and the physical handicaps, calling them all imperfections of society and they must be destroyed. With the Jews being the main scapegoat of the Nazi party. Hitler could have held to his belief that the dehumanization and scapegoating of the enemy as an inferior race could have aided in the plot to justify genocide. Hitler used the media in the sense that he and his leaders had to approve anything that was being published. Allowing for selective material to be let about the party and other world events.
Mussolini's Brown Shirts and Hitler's Nazi's are not the only right wing element to have an influence in today's society. There are numerous other groups who have their own agenda to deal with. Even though these groups have differences generally they do agree on certain main issues. With their core administration dealing with issues centering on anti-government. The issues are gun control, taxes, Constitution liberties, and federal regulations. These militia groups believe that the government is tyrannical, and there is a secret elite conspiracy on controlling the government, the economy, the culture, or all three.
Just as Hitler used the Jews as his scapegoat these militia groups have there own victims that the use. Federal officials and law enforcement officers, minority groups, gay and lesbian right activists, and people of color or immigrants are just a few of the escape whole the right-wing militia use. One of the most famous right wing militia movements in the United States is the Ku Klux Klan, or KKK as it is even better known as. The KKK is a militia group that got started during the disorder of the Reconstruction era. Now the Klan's political agenda are a number of things. They believe the United States government should protect the jobs and welfare of American's first, not just anyone in the third world countries. The Klan does not want to continue seeing America sell itself to foreigners such as the Japanese, America should be owned by Americans. Closing American borders to immigrants also is a project that the KKK thinks should handled by putting American troops at the border of Mexico.
The idea that the end of the world is coming is rapidly growing in right wing religious groups. Leading the way is Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition. Robertson and his Christian Coalition is credited in helping many of the Republican Senators and Congressmen attain their current standings. Robertson even believes by reading Revelation 13 that if America were to change its money by putting codes on it that it have in it the mark of the beast. Some of the states even have their own militia groups. The Michigan Militia is just one of the many individual groups. The Michigan Militia believes that the American government is undermining the individual freedoms that American's posses, and even selling out to international organizations. The drug problem is one of the major areas the group centralizes on. Even though the CIA has taken Noriega out of the drug cartel in Panama the business is still running just as strong due to other members of drug families were put back into power.
Most of the people who choose to become part of these groups have several factors influencing their decision. Desperation generally is the main reason. They are people who barley are hanging on to their finical and social status. Wanting to protect themselves and their children from a life of poverty and hardship they join a group that will offer a family atmosphere of love and support.
One idea shared by all fascist movements is the evident lack of a consistent political standard behind the ideology. Each individual leader would handle every situation a little differently with no sense of tradition or law. However, one very commonplace aspect about fascism would be its unsympathetic drive to achieve and maintain state power and sovereignty. On that road to conquest though fascists are willing to abandon any principle to adopt an issue more in acceptance and more likely to gain converts.
Fascism and its right wing counterparts have been influencing twentieth century politics in every area. Hitler and Mussolini are perhaps the two most noted people to bring fascism to the forefront of government. Regardless of the power and force fascism has established in the past the same conclusion happens every time, it fails. Leading a person to question the vitality of this type of government.
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- Berlet, Chip. Armed Wing Populism, and Scapegoating. http://paul.spu.edu/~sinnfein/berlet.html.
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- Nazi Fascism and the Modern Totalitarian State.
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- Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Http://members.iglou.com/kkk/belief.html
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