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Fascism is a political and economic philosophy that is based on a Totalitarian state, extreme Nationalism, and the mass mobilization of the national community and military. The population of the country exists to serve the State, but at the same time, an attempt is made to remove class conflict. One of its greatest examples are Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini. Fascism can be considered the political opposite of Socialism.
The ideological roots of Fascism can be traced back to the 1880’s. Some of the reasons for the creation of Fascism were similar to the reasons for the creation of Socialism and Communism, despite their extreme differences. Fascism was created in response to Materialism, Bourgeoisie society, and class conflict, among other social problems of the time.
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Fascism began to become popular during the early 1900’s in Italy, where it was originally created. Because of political strife and economic disparity, more extreme forms of government became more and more popular, eventually leading to the rise of Benito Mussolini, a former member of the Socialist Party, as a Fascist leader. After the march on Rome in 1922, he took the power in Italy, slowly transforming it into a fascist state and arresting thousands of people in the process.
Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, was largely inspired by Benito Mussolini and Fascism as a whole. Many of his policies were inspired by Fascism, and were mixed with Socialist policies as well as his social darwinist race policy, portraying the so-called “Aryans” as the “master race”, bound to rule the sub-humans (mostly Jews, Slavs, Blacks and so on).
Both dictators managed to accomplish the political overthrow in their respective countries by instrumentalizing the parlamental system to their advantage – Mussolini by “restoring order” after the oppositional parties left the parliament, which meant wiping out all political enemies and Hitler by making the Reichstag sign the “Enabling act”, enabling him to pass laws without the involvement of the parliament. Over time, fascist movements arose in several countries – Great Britain, France, the United States and much more. Several prominent persons were fascinated by the fascist ideology, especially by the national socialist movement, among them Henry Ford or the short-term king Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. However, except for in Spain, those groups disappeared as quickly as they surfaced when Germany invaded Poland. During WWII, the greatest conflict in human history, new dreadful methods of warfare were developed, aiming on organizing the entire economy of a state only for war, exterminating the entire population or the major part of an occupied country and specifically targeting civilian structures to demoralize the people. In the end, roughly 60 million people fell victim to the inhuman system of fascism.
Do not be fooled into thinking fascism might not surface again today – With enough dissatisfaction about the current political situation, a drastic change in the country’s politics is anything but impossible.
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