B theoretical origins all fascist movements are

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B. Theoretical Origins All fascist movements are rooted in two major historical trends. First, in late 19th-century Europe mass political movements developed as a challenge to the control of government and politics by small groups of social elites or ruling classes. For the first time, many countries saw the growth of political organizations with membership numbering in the thousands or even millions. Second, fascism gained popularity because growing groups of intellectuals, artists, and political thinkers in the late 19th century began to reject the philosophical emphasis on the inevitable rationality and progress that had emerged from the 18th-century intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. These two trends had many effects. For example, new forms of popular racism and nationalism arose that openly celebrated the idea that human life is self-directed and not subject to predictable rules and laws. This line of thinking led to calls for a new type of nation that would overcome class divisions and create a sense of historical belonging for its people. Here we have the underpinning of a new philosophy – a new movement. WWI became the catalyst for the growth of fascism. C. Rise of Fascism For many people, the death and brutality of World War I showed that rationality and progress were not inherent in humanity, and that a radically new direction had to be taken by Western civilization if it was to survive. World War I also aroused intense patriotism that continued after the war. These sentiments became the basis of mass support for national socialist movements that promised to confront the disorder in the world. Popular enthusiasm for such movements was especially strong in Germany and Italy, which had 10
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Power, Authority, and Exchange – ISS 225 Ideology only become nation-states in the 19th century and whose parliamentary traditions were weak. Despite having fought on opposite sides, both countries emerged from the World War I to face political instability and a widespread feeling that the nation had been humiliated in the war and by the settlement terms of the Treaty of Versailles. They felt that they had been screwed by the Treaty of Versailles. In addition, many countries felt threatened by Communism because of the success of the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. D. Characteristics of Fascist Philosophy 1. Common Characteristics (Different authors have given different variations on the characteristics of fascism. See for example, http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm . 1) Anticonservatism Fascist movements usually try to retain some supposedly healthy parts of the nation's existing political and social life, but they place more emphasis on creating a new society. In this way fascism is directly opposed to conservatism—the idea that it is best to avoid dramatic social and political change. Instead, fascist movements set out to create a new type of total culture in which values, politics, art, social norms, and economic activity are all part of a single organic national community. In Nazi Germany, for example, the fascist government in the 1930s tried to create a new Volksgemeinschaft
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