Finding Fascism: Fascism Defined In The Context Of Mussolini’s Italy And Nazi Germany

1510 words - 7 pages

Because fascism has been practiced in a variety of locations, at differing points in history, with no specific guidelines, every seemingly practical definition of fascism is simply too limiting to serve as a proper definition. Furthermore, to speak of fascism in generalizations prohibits one from truly understanding the completely confused concept. To avoid such generalizations, one must look at fascism as it was found in specific examples. Such examples include, Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. Although these two instances are not all encompassing of the ideology, they exhibit fascism to the greatest proportions. Additionally, these instances allow one to get a vivid and practical notion to what fascism truly is.
At the end of World War One, the Central Powers (which included Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary) were forced to submit to the Treaty of Versailles, which left the Central Powers with citizens who had a mounting disdain for government and organized power. In this chaos, Italy struggled to find a definitive government. As a result, from the end of WWI in 1919 to 1922 Italy, struggling in the ruins of WWI, found itself under the rule of five different governments. Following the infamous ‘March on Rome’, Benito Mussolini was chosen to be Italy’s head of government; however, Mussolini’s nascent fascist party (which was officially founded in 1919) toiled to rally around a set ideology. Though Mussolini had founded the Fascist party in 1919, the party had no set platform or ideology to organize itself around. James Whisker, a professor of Political Science at West Virginia University states, “Italian fascism had at least four principal phases.” Through these phases Italian fascism would come to fruition. The first of these phases occurred between 1925 and 1938. Theoretician Alfredo Rocco headed this primitive stage of the fascist ideology by envisioning a new state system that encouraged a unique combination of capitalism and a union/faction led economy. Rocco supported the formation of monopolies and cartels, which encouraged the evolution of state powers. A new national elite was created through the introduction of labor unions and factions. While this elite group had significant power during this time in Italy, they were ultimately superseded by the authoritarian state. Rocco’s other main implementation during this period was a system in which the masses became involved with the party hierarchy. Recognizing that the support of the people was a vital condition of this new order, Rocco placed a heavy demand on businesses to guarantee that the masses would have higher wages and no unemployment. Through the combination of establishing communication between the classes, and the implementation of economic stability, Rocco hoped to create a system that would strengthen Italy from the inside out. The second period of Italian fascism primarily saw the party seize 400 seats in the legislature with the support of the people. Subsequent...

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