Making of the Modern World. Lecture Fascism: Between Nationalism and Total War. Schedule. Introduction What is Fascism? Fascist Movements Fascist States Fascism and War Interpretations Conclusion. Schedule. Introduction What is Fascism? Fascist Movements Fascist States
Fascism: Between Nationalism and Total War
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
Anti-liberalism (-democracy, individualism)
Anti-capitalism (only until in power)
Anti-semitism (only in Germany)
(Anti-egalitarian, anti-intellectual, 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)
Imperialism and expansionismFascismA collectivistic, nationalistic, authoritarian ideology based on
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.”
“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)
Italy (Benito Mussolini) 1922-1943/45
Germany Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Adolf Hitler) 1933-1945
Austria (Dollfuß) - 1938
Spain (Franco) -
Portugal (Salazar and Caetano)
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
March on Rome, 1922
Fight for Germany
Booklet on German politics before 1933
Munich, 1933DHM, Berlin
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
“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
“The Scourge of God, Polish Jews"
From A Brochure issued by Der Stuermer. 1939
Measuring the facial features of young Germans
Und liegt vom Kampfe in Trümmern
Die ganze Welt zuhauf,
Das soll uns den Teufel kümmern,
Wir bauen sie wieder auf.
Wir werden weiter marschieren
Wenn alles in Scherben fällt,
Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland
Und morgen die ganze Welt.
And lies due to the battle
The whole world in ruins,
What the devil do we care?
We build it up again
If all the world lies in ruins,We still will go marching on,For today Germany is oursAnd tomorrow the whole world.
“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
“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
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 ...
“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