POS210_fascism_Fall2011 - POS210 Fall 2011 Wheatley...

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1 POS210 Fall 2011 Wheatley FASCISM/NAZISM Fascism is the totalitarian organization of society by a single-party dictatorship, intensely nationalistic, militaristic, and imperialistic. Each of these qualities—nationalism, militarism, and imperialism—are used to bring glory to the state. A totalitarian organization is, in the context of political ideologies, a political system that seeks to control all aspects of the people's lives—a system that politicizes all aspects of life and controls those aspects from cradle to grave. Fascism develops typically in wealthier and industrially advanced societies. Countries must be wealthy and industrially advanced, because fascism requires unending propaganda to prop up the regime and to smear enemies. That propaganda requires sophisticated technology and large resources—that is, lots of money. Also, as a system built on a permanent readiness for war, fascism requires considerable industrial output and resources. Unlike most Latin American military dictatorships, such as Pinochet’s in Chile, fascists do not rely upon the established forces of bureaucracy and the army. They pursue mass support . To garner mass support fascists make extensive use of propaganda to create and perpetuate the superiority, if not the invincibility and the infallibility, of the leader— Il Duce , El Caudillo , der Fuehrer . They use terror and violence against their enemies, but make certain that propaganda emphasizes the formidable traits and strengths of the leader without whom the people, the masses, would be under threat. It is propaganda that engenders what we might call “the architectonic myth” of the great leader—not unlike the “cult of personality” found among communists or the inspirational political myths described by Georges Sorel (See Ball and Dagger on this point). This architectonic myth rests on emotional force, not reasoned arguments. Not surprisingly the fascist regimes of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany had tremendous support and popularity not only in their own countries but also throughout Europe. Fascism has no authoritative statement of principles as other ideologies have, but its two most infamous leaders have left us guides to fascist thought: Hitler's Mein Kampf and Mussolini's The Doctrine of Fascism . The model for fascism has been Mussolini's brand, used, for example, in Argentina during the regime led by Peron and popular for reasons that will become apparent as we proceed. But the most successful fascist regime has been that of Nazi Germany. Here Hitler's life is a better guide to understanding the ideology than is his philosophy, for his regime has no set political content, no real underlying philosophy. Rather it is based on Hitler's loose, half-formed, lunatic, and often naive ideas.
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2 Thus we shall focus first on the life of this man, for many fascist dreams are shaped by his life and rise to power. ADOLF HITLER
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POS210_fascism_Fall2011 - POS210 Fall 2011 Wheatley...

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