What is Fascism?
Fascism is an authoritarian nationalist governmental system. Fascist governments are rooted in the same central values of anti-communism, anti-liberalism, and anti-conservatism. Its politics often gain widespread support by proposing the idea of the need for national rebirth. This idea suggests that the current society within the country has reached moral decay, has lost its greatness, and must now be cleansed. It is rooted in nationalism. The leader of the government and its proponents push for single party rule, suggesting that this allows for efficiency and effectiveness which makes it possible to respond quickly to military threats and economic problems. The leader of a fascist government is typically a dictator and its administration is often made up of military members.
History of Fascism
The ideas and theories that led to the development of fascism began in the 1880’s. The end of the century brought around a widely shared that society was in crisis and needed to be saved. This movement was against the materialism, democracy, and rationalism. These ideas continued to develop over the next three decades. World War I was the final event that ultimately lead to the foundation of the Fascist party.
In Italy, members of the Socialist party disagreed on the approach to the war, with some members supporting it and others opposing it and questioning its necessity. Benito Mussolini joined an anti-German movement and founded the Fasci of Revolutionary Action group. By 1915, the ideology of the group became known as fascism. The group gained support and popularity and in 1922, the King of Italy requested that Mussolini create a new government. He was first the Prime Minister before becoming a fascist dictator and declaring a fascist state in 1925. The political movement grew in popularity and Italy began international military attacks and ethnic cleansing campaigns. This caught the attention of the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
As the Nazi movement grew, fascism became more popular throughout Europe. Fascist protests and revoIts spread, and the system was adopted by several governments. It was adopted by Hungary in 1932 and Romania in 1933. Fascist political parties caused turmoil in France in 1934. And semi-fascist governments were established in Greece, Lithuania, Yugoslavia, and Poland. It even made its way across the ocean to Brazil and Chile in South America. After World War II, fascism gave way to neo-fascism, which can still be found on a small scale in some countries.
Despite its negative connotations, fascism does have some benefits. Because this type of government is centered around military efforts and protection, by investing the majority of national resources into defense, nations are sometimes more secure when under fascist rule. In addition, its focus on nationalism increases patriotic attitudes. This helps to unite a country’s citizens.
DisadvantagesThe disadvantages of fascism as a system of government are many. The biggest problem with this political party is its reliance on dictatorship. As seen with the Nazi party leading up to and during World War II, having only one governmental leader with absolute control can result in heinous crimes and abuses of power. Corruption is more
prone to occur under fascism as well, given the lack of governmental checks and balances. The nationalistic attitudes also result in ideas of genetic purity which has, more times than not, ended in ethnic cleansing campaigns that claim the lives of millions.