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.
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.
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.
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—
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
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
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
But the most successful fascist regime has been that of Nazi Germany.
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.