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Fascism Essay

1930 words - 8 pages

What is Fascism?

Fascism is a 20th century form of nationalistic, militaristic, totalitarian dictatorship that seeks to create a feasible society through strict regimentation of national and individual lives. Total subordination to the service of the state and unquestioning loyalty to its leader would adjust conflicting interests. It is a modern political ideology that looks to regenerate the social, economic, and cultural life of a country by basing it on a heightened sense of national belonging of ethnic identity. Fascism rejects liberal ideas of freedom and individual rights, it often presses for the destruction of elections, legislatures and other elements of democracy. Despite fascism’s idealistic goals, attempts to build fascist societies have led to wars and persecutions that have caused millions of deaths (notably WWII and the Holocaust). As a result, fascism is strongly associated with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism and violence. Fascist movements oppose such doctrines as liberalism, individualism, materialism, communism and conservatism. In general, fascists stand against all scientific, economic, religious, academic, cultural and leisure activities that do not serve their vision of a national political life. Fascism emphasised nationalism, but its appeal was international. Fascist political parties and movements capitalised on the intense patriotism that emerged as a response to widespread social and political uncertainty after World War I (1914-1918) and the Russian Revolution of 1917. It flourished between the so called fascist era of 1919 and 1945 in many countries mainly Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan. Even such liberal democracies as France and England had important fascist movements.

Scholars disagree over how to define the basic elements of fascism, some even insist it was limited to Italy under Mussolini. When the term is capitalised as Fascism, it refers to the Italian movement. Beginning in the 1970’s, some scholars began to develop a broad definition of fascism and by the 1990’s many had embraced the new approach. This new approach emphasises the way in which fascist movements attempt revolutionary change and their central focus on popularising myths of ethnic or national renewal. Seen from this prospective, all forms of fascism have three common features: anticonservatism, a myth of national or ethnic renewal and a conception of a nation in crisis. Fascist movements usually try to retain some supposedly healthy parts of the nations existing political and social life, but they place more emphasis on creating a new society. 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 community. In this way fascism is directly opposed to consevatism. The fascist movements in Italy and Germany also represented attempts to create revolutionary new modern states. Even though fascist movements try to bring...

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