The Defining Characteristics of Fascism Danielle Downey & Julie McMurray
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism Nazi Germany Hitler used the Nazi symbol and the phrase ‘Heil Hitler’ to continue nationalism. The symbols were all over the place and the people of Germany constantly had to repeat ‘Heil Hitler’ while saluting.
Italy Benito Mussolini hoped to make Italy an empire. He believed that classic antiquity (the influence of classic era figures on modern Italy) was vital to Italy’s expansion. From classic antiquity came the development of “Romanità or “Romanness” of the Italian people. As Italian fascism grew, so did this connection to Romanità, which became a cult like belief of Mussolini.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights Nazi Germany Hitler suppressed human rights when he murdered people and passed laws to take away rights from Jewish people. Germans looked the other way as Hitler slaughtered Jews, claiming they were inferior. He used the saying, “Every man is master in his own house. You have no right to know what I am doing with my own citizens.” Document showing how some bloodlines were better than others.
Indonesia Mohamed Suharto is linked directly to the deaths of over half a million people around the period when he first came to power in the1960s. The number of citizens killed during the period of Indonesian occupation has been estimated at around 200 000, which is about a third of the total population of the country. Major human rights abuses by sections of the Indonesian military also continued in many parts of the country. These abuses occurred most notably in West Papua.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause Nazi Germany Hitler used people of the Jewish faith as scapegoats. He believed that they all had to be exterminated to purify the ‘master race.’ Concentration camps were created to contain all Jewish people.
Spain In the case of Spain and Franco’s rule, there wasn’t one strong scapegoat that served the role of unifying the country. There were several enemies of the fascist groups and its ideologies. In the Spanish Civil War, fascists fought along with the Nationalists against the Liberal-led Republic. With their conservative ideas, Liberal leftists always came to clashes.
4. Supremacy of the Military Nazi Germany The Third Reich formed an army. This army flourished while other parts of the country were neglected. Funding not only came from Germany’s government, but also from Italy and Japan.
Indonesia Instead of simply building up an army, Suharto formed a government which was military dominated. This was under his ‘New Order’ administration. Suharto greatly increased military funding and ignored widespread problems throughout Indonesia.
5. Rampant Sexism Nazi Germany Women were considered inferior while Hitler reigned. During the Third Reich, Hitler promoted the idea that women of the Aryan race should have as many children as possible. This was in order to build good bloodlines. Death was the consequence for Aryan women who had an abortion.
Italy Under fascist regimes women were urged to perform their traditional gender role as wives and mothers and to bear many children for the nation. Mussolini instituted policies severely restricting women’s access to jobs outside the home and he distributed gold medals to mothers who produced the most children.
6. Controlled Mass Media Nazi Germany Many forms of propaganda were implemented while Germany was under Hitler’s dictatorship. Much of the propaganda was brought about through the recently invented radio, as well as through speeches from the main Nazi leaders. Posters were also widely circulated. Much other material, such as books and leaflets, were only circulated to Nazi party members or soldiers.
Italy While introducing economic policies to strengthen Italy's various industries, Mussolini also introduced strict censorship. Eventually he took control of all mass media. His control of the media became so strong that he personally approved almost every newspaper editor in the entire nation, and made all school teachers swear an oath to the Fascist Party. Press, radio, education and films were all carefully supervised to manufacture the illusion that fascism was the doctrine of the 20th century, replacing liberalism and democracy. With this control of the media, he built up the legend of Il Duce. On the political front, he took control of all Italy. He became the absolute ruler of Italy.
7. Obsession with National Security Nazi Germany Hitler’s reign of terror included a strong importance placed on national security. Informers and force were used to bring the country under total control. Laws were constantly changing in regard to what kind of people were acceptable. This fear was utilised to keep everyone in line. However, the church opposed the Nazis. One important segment of the Protestant Church (the Confessing Church) refused to pray for military victory, and by the war's end many hundreds of clergymen had died in concentration camps.
Italy Mussolini was able to exploit fears regarding the survival of capitalism in an era in which postwar depression was an issue. Also, the rise of a more militant government and a feeling of national shame and humiliation because of their loss in WWI caused fear in citizens.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined Nazi Germany Hitler and the Nazis promoted a Christian nationalism, anti-communism, anti-Semitism, and return to traditional values which most Christians appreciated. The Nazi party platform specifically endorsed 'positive' Christianity. Hitler commonly used religion in his speeches and believed his actions were divinely mandated.
Spain Francisco Franco highly favoured the Catholic Church and he eventually restored it back to the official religion of Spain. The church regained its dominate position in education and laws conformed to the Catholic dogma. The regime also abolished regional governmental bodies and enacted measures against the use of the Basque and the Catalan languages.
9. Corporate Power is Protected Nazi Germany After WWI, Germany had a recession which led to a decline in manufacturing. Hunger was widespread. The economy continued to slide. Hitler, meanwhile, was looking good to many Germans because he seemed to be a man who believed in something and wanted radical change. It was in this way that the industrial segment of Germany put Hitler in power.
Italy In Italy fascism allowed private property and business ownership. However, a government-business relationship existed, where the government had an advantage that allowed them to control business. Mussolini's concept of fascism resulted in a corporate state that was organized by groups. The government would deal with corporate groups of workers and industrialists together. These groups secured collaboration between government and businesses. This system allowed government-controlled collaboration between the various categories of producers in each industry which was needed for a successful industrial-political policy.
10. Labour Power is Suppressed Nazi Germany Labour unions were outlawed in the Third Reich, as were all non-Nazi organizations. Church youth groups, farmers’ unions and labour unions were all made into affiliates of the Nazi Party.
Italy Mussolini failed to provide economic prosperity and an improvement of living standards for workers and peasants in Italy. The corporations benefited only the employers. The workers were not allowed to go on strikes. If they had a problem with their wage they could only appeal to the Labour Courts of the Corporations, which were dominated by the employers and state officials who always sided with the employers. Workers had to work without protest.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts Nazi Germany Censorship was a large part of Hitler’s control. Libraries were systematically destroyed; public book pyres were common. In order to cleanse the minds of people and society, any book written by a Jewish author, or a communist or humanist, was fed to the flames.
Spain The church under Franco’s regime, with royal cooperation, censored books, and students were prohibited from studying abroad to prevent Protestant ideas coming into Spain. These practices eventually cut the country off from intellectual developments in Europe and turned Spanish universities into academic backwaters. This isolation made it more difficult for Spain to modernize in later centuries.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment Nazi Germany In Nazi Germany the police were allowed to arrest people on suspicion that they were about to do wrong. This gave the police a lot of power. The Nazi Police State was to ensure that everybody did as they were told - or paid the price. The Nazi Police were controlled by Heinrich Himmler and his feared secret police - the Gestapo - did as it pleased.
Spain There was no freedom of religion, no voting rights and limited freedom of speech in Franco’s regime. Franco became known as a brutal and cruel leader. He abused his political prisoners and many ended up dying because of starvation and overwork. He went to great lengths to keep his political opponents suppressed, and later he ordered for there to be a constant military police presence in every town. This police force was called la Guardia Civil. They carried guns and patrolled around the city. Franco used them as his main way of controlling the people.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption Nazi Germany People all over Germany worshipped Hitler as they were caught up in the emotions of the Nazi campaign. This devotion continued throughout the elections. That was when the Nazis began a systematic takeover of the state governments throughout Germany, which ended a centuries old tradition of local and political independence. Armed militaries barged into local government offices using the state of emergency decree as a pretext to throw out legitimate office holders and replace them with Nazi Reich commissioners. Next, the Nazi controlled Reichstag passed the "Enabling Act." This act finally established Adolf Hitler as the total dictator of Germany.
Spain Franco’s Army was supported by the Nazis under Condor Legislation. The German forces also helped Franco's army with maintenance, personnel and trainers. A lot of the Italian and German soldiers actually helped so much that they stayed in Spain the entire war. Throughout the war they continued to keep helping Franco. The Falange Española political party also joined with Franco. The Catholic Church also supported Franco.
14. Fraudulent Elections Nazi Germany In order to become ‘Führer’ of Germany, Hitler felt that speeches and propaganda were not enough to win him the election. His own private army, the SA, helped him; they beat Communists up, interrupted their meetings and deterred their campaigning. Next, Hitler had about 4000 Communists arrested and imprisoned. The newspapers were shut down. SA were waiting in the streets to beat anti-Nazis up. Meanwhile, Goebbels worked hard with propaganda distribution. Giant swastikas, torchlight parades, mass rallies and radio flashes all hammered home the message to vote Nazi.
Spain On 16 February 1936, under Francisco Franco’s rule, the Popular Front won the election by a narrow margin. It was later found out that the Popular Front had illegally obtained 200 seats. After the loss of 200 seats, the opposition parties claimed the government represented only a small minority, also adding that the Popular Front's parliamentary majority was the result of an electoral fraud, government sponsored terror and intimidation. According to the right wing opposition, the enemies of the Republic were on the Left, Spain was in danger of falling under a Communist dictatorship, and by fighting the Popular Front they were defending law and order and the freedom of the Spanish people.
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