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The prevalence of fascism in early 20th century in europe

It was a brutalization that brought with it the dehumanization of the enemy, the acceptance of any type of violence as something normal or acceptable, and the outburst of racism. Recently, authors such as John Horne and Benjamin Ziemann have warned against over-stretching the term brutalization, introduced by George Mosse 1918-1999 in analysing the German case, [1] asserting that it cannot be used as a general explanation for the complexity of post-war politics and culture.

The experience of war undoubtedly left deep marks. One can reflect on the consequences and lessons that were derived from the First World War as regards economic policy, and on the exasperation that underlay nationalismwhich U.

  1. It is absurd to imagine that in a conflict the socially progressive forces are bound to win. However, while it was being built, it was readapted as an ante-mural of the Italian character on the northern border, in a clear anti-German interpretation.
  2. The disappointments and losses of world war i paved the way for fascism in italy italy in the 20th century as a founding member of the european union and a. The circle was completed and a kind of triumph for the fallen of Langemarck was thus accomplished.
  3. It is a feeling, not a reality.

President Woodrow Wilson 1856-1924tried to remedy by proposing the principle of national self-determination. Furthermore, one can think of the politicization of vast numbers of ex-servicemen who, throughout the world, tried to organize themselves, convinced that after the sacrifices in the trenches, their moment had finally arrived, when they would become part of the ruling class. Huge numbers of ex-servicemen throughout Europe did not simply return their arms: They were also driven by political reasons, even though these were complex and varied: Thus, a complex trend of paramilitary formations spread through most of Europe, and functioned as causes of disorder until at least 1923.

Rise of Fascism in Europe: Fascist Ideology and Movements in Europe

But this cannot mean that war was the only cause of the success of these movements. Other elements such as the frailty of democratic and representative institutions, as well as in later years the dramatic consequences of the economic crisis have to be taken into consideration. The two movements were founded as a reaction to this outcome, created by two young people who had personally lived through the war experience.

  • Mussolini dismissed the German leader, thinking him unstable Knox 125;
  • The German SS, the spearhead of terror and execution in the conquered lands, received, and relied upon volunteers from almost every conquered nation, although not from Poland;
  • In Italy this manifested as steadfast confirmation of the rank of great power assumed during the conflict; in Germany it aimed to vindicate the heroism and victories achieved while, at the same time, demanded the revision of the peace treaty and the restitution to Germany of the rank of great power;
  • The desire to be and to appear youthful was a characterizing aspect in many variants of European fascism, in the profile of both the composition of those who adhered to it and the ideologies, and it had a remarkable influence also in the case of Italy;
  • The desire to be and to appear youthful was a characterizing aspect in many variants of European fascism, in the profile of both the composition of those who adhered to it and the ideologies, and it had a remarkable influence also in the case of Italy.

Adolf Hitler 1889-1945in particular, would go on to exalt it as a turning point in his life which, until then, had been inconclusive. However, he showed that he was not only able to act, but to successfully launch a political message in all directions. If we draw a comparison with the greatest movement of German veterans, the Stahlhelm, the political superiority of National Socialism clearly emerges.

The latter was able to look at the whole society of servicemen and non-servicemen, whereas in the Stahlhelm as in other similar associations the perspective was limited to those who had personally lived through the war experience.

Besides, on this basis, Hitler was able to strengthen the alliance with the ruling groups of the imperial era the armed forces, the state bureaucracy, the vested interests of industry, the banks and the great landowners. One has only to think of how his speech of 3 February 1933 was positively welcomed by the Reichswehr elite, just a few days after he had assumed the role of chancellor. He stated in the concise notes of one of those present: Adjustment of youth and of the whole people to the idea that only a struggle can save us and that everything else must be subordinated to this idea.

Armed forces most important and most Socialist institution of the State. However, there are also negative references: The grounds on which the German extreme right drew lessons from the war are numerous. This article shall try to summarize them: On the economic level, the awareness that the internal resources available, even though exploited in the most rational way, were not enough.

The memorandum on the four-year plan drafted by Hitler himself in the summer of 1936 is very clear; there it was stated that a hastened preparation of the war would form only the precondition for creating a vital space of great size, from which Germany could draw in full. However, this was not enough: However, National Socialism distanced itself from them by radicalizing these reasons and taking them to the extreme.

First, the war would have to be utterly unreserved in order to be won. Second, the forms of exploitation of the resources to be attained from food products to manpower would need to have no limits. Finally, the next war — in order to end in a different way from the previous one — would have to include the elimination of the main reason for the weakness of the German Volk: Today I will once more be a prophet: Nitti 1868-1953 and defined the ongoing political conflict in the following terms: On one side of the barricade and on the other, the bourgeois and the working class are mingled.

What joins them, or divides them, is something that is above the interests of the classes or of the ideologies of the old parties. It is the war. However, after the war had begun, they definitely passed into the background since, at that time, there were clearly other triumphs to celebrate. This is the distinctive feature in the few references Hitler made in his speeches to the topic of the war, [16] culminating in the above-quoted threat declared on 30 January 1939.

The focus the prevalence of fascism in early 20th century in europe be on Italy and Germany, in which the link between war experience and the rise of the extreme right-wing movements is more direct.

In many other cases, in both Western and Central Eastern Europe, the different semi-fascist movements emerged a decade later and their connection with the war is more tenuous, overshadowed by the consequences of the economic crisis and by other factors, among them the imitation of the successful Italian and German examples.

It is a structural link, because at the end of the conflict there was a movement of men from these special units to the fascist militias. It is also because there were ideological reasons, models of behaviour and ideals that were the prevalence of fascism in early 20th century in europe from the units of arditi or Sturmtruppen, which would go on to condition the first movement-like phase of the European fascisms.

Additionally, in Austria the first militias, founded at the end of the war in order to defend the new state body from the attacks by Bolshevism and by the ethnic minorities such as Slovenes at the Carinthian borderwere formed by officials and members of the k.

They would become the forerunners of the Heimwehren, whose character at least partially leaned towards fascism.

  1. Emphasis was now moved from the voluntary students to a mixture of students, workmen and farmers, almost prefiguring the Volksgemeinschaft, of which National Socialism declared itself the incorporation.
  2. Will the rights of the individual, subject to his duties to the State, be maintained and asserted and exalted?
  3. The myth intensified after the war. The Minority Rights Treaty of the League of Nations would protect those who came within the new national borders, but who did not share the language or origins or religion of those who made up the majority of the nation.
  4. La guerra in tempo di pace. One can reflect on the consequences and lessons that were derived from the First World War as regards economic policy, and on the exasperation that underlay nationalism , which U.

Armed lightly with hand grenadesknives and pistols for ordinary soldiers, in order to facilitate mobilitytheir task was to storm the enemy trenches, exploiting the surprise factor. The idea was immediately extended to the whole army. These were special units, made up of volunteers. They underwent special training, but, since they were able to enjoy better treatment than the other troops, the arditi were conceived as units which were capable of rapid and astute attacks on the enemy positions.

They had to attack bravely and audaciously. There was considerable friction between Sturmtruppen or arditi, on the one hand, and the normal troops, on the other, precisely because of the privileges they enjoyed and their self-confidence. Their achievements were surrounded by a legendary aura. A man who has achieved the highest intensification of all human qualities and blended them so harmoniously and yet so violently that one can only describe him with one word: Added to the frustration for the defeat, there was also the fear of a communist revolution.

Moreover, in the German case, there was the problem of eastern territories that were supposed to become part of the newborn Polish state. Nationalist and class reasons incited the phenomenon of the so-called Freikorps Freecorps which acted with great determination on different internal and external front lines: The political-militant activism of the arditi was noteworthy, but less intensive than that of the Sturmtruppen.

When the war ended, most of the arditi units were disbanded. On the one hand, the legend continued to blossom. On the other hand, many of the ex-arditi, frustrated because of the lack of acknowledgement of their merits and unable to reintegrate in post-war life, continued to support, even in civilian clothes, the values and virtues of the war the prevalence of fascism in early 20th century in europe ended. The extreme right wing regarded the arditi as the possible saviours of the homeland from the post-war crisis.

There were particularly close connections with the futurists, many of whom joined the National Association of arditi, founded in Rome on 1 January 1919. Indeed, at the founding San Sepolcro meeting many Arditi joined the fasci and, in the subsequent months, it was the arditi who started the first fasci in various towns.

  • This may well happen in other countries too;
  • Both Fascism and Nazism promote nationalism and focus more on unity as a nation;
  • Movimento e milizia, Roma-Bari 1989, p;
  • The totalitarian regimes of Europe eliminated democracy and crushed dissent;
  • The motto was widely circulated in photographic reproductions and schoolbooks;
  • Alas, one of the most pronounced features of twentieth-century Fascism in Europe was not only its racism, but the fact that the racist aspects of Fascism were promulgated and upheld by the educated as well as ignorant people.

Arditi, futurists and fascists took part together in the political elections of 1919, in the constituency in Milan, with disastrous results. The young peoplewho grew up in the passion of the war, had to destroy at their roots the political and mental structures in force, which were an outcome of the past.

The desire to be and to appear youthful was a characterizing aspect in many variants of European fascism, in the profile of both the composition of those who adhered to it and the ideologies, and it had a remarkable influence also in the case of Italy.

The relations between the arditi and fascism soon became hostile. It should be noted that the arditismo, how the movement and the mood of the arditi is collectively called, was a political organization that had very little ideological coherence and swayed between extremism and conservatism. In 1920-1921, there was even an affiliation with class undertones in the so-called Arditi del Popolo.

The more Mussolini and fascism compromised with Giovanni Giolitti 1842-1928 and the liberal forces, the more difficult the relations became with the political arditismo. Yet, there was arditismo, which supported a vague political and social rebelliousness; but on the other side there was Mussolini and fascism, launched towards the conquest of power by interacting with the old ruling classes.

Unlike the Freikorps, which, after 1920 left the political scene, the arditi tried to develop a vague programme of social and political renewal.

  • Small states were considered expendable;
  • These three aggressions were made without European military challenge.

They flowed into the vast riverbed of combattentismo the national movement founded by ex-servicemen after the First World Warof which the regime took control. Instead, it is obvious that the Freikorps never had a real political programme; their culture itself was steeped in nihilism. Rather than being political militants, they were driven by a predominating desire to act, even though in vague and contradictory directions.

The claim of the regime to celebrate the Freikorps as the forerunners of its instinctive anticommunism is not very plausible either.

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Indeed, if it is true that many subscribed to National The prevalence of fascism in early 20th century in europe, it is also true that others were influenced by a confused subversion — similar to that of the Italian arditi. In fact, they were enemies of liberalism, of the status quo, and of the democratic republic.

The Sturmtruppen are part of the mythology created by the regime to strengthen popular consent, just like the arditi in Italy: This was a result of the war that had just ended, in which many of the founding members of these paramilitary organizations were involved. The fascist squadrismo, which would soon pervade in the country, would be an exceedingly political phenomenon, with precise ideological and class connotations, but it would also witness the resurfacing of the widespread custom of violence, obscenity, and the collapsing of rules of protection from contagion.

Hence, the rules of decency and good taste seemed to be superfluous. A classic example of simplifying virulence in the language was the writing, handwritten probably by arditi on the walls of the tumbledown houses on the front in the period following the defeat of Caporetto: The motto was widely circulated in photographic reproductions and schoolbooks.

The paramilitary action of these squads had an offensive character in order to strike and weaken the organizations regarded as the most dangerous: The amount of violence was higher in Italy, partly due to the availability of a much greater arsenal than that which the SA had at their disposal a decade later.

The time difference from the war contributes to explain this clear-cut difference. The organizational form of the occupations of the towns by the squadristi in 1921-1922 had a decidedly military imprint; the most blatant example was the occupation of Ferrara in 1922. Manoeuvres were organized in fine detail and put the weak state apparatus in crisis. The so-called Landpropaganda realized by the SA in 1931-1933 had a more symbolic character; however, even in this case nothing was left to chance.

These actions followed the typical model of military parades. Roll calls, torchlight processions, assemblies in central places in the towns, ceremonies of honour to the monuments of the fallen often present in the Italian caseattest the military character of the actions of the fascist militia.

Though they took inspiration from models of political action which were already common in the pre-war socialist and trade union movement, the actions of the squads in Italy and Germany are characterized by a more accentuated military and nationalistic form.

After the war, the bourgeois were those who did not share the patriotism, the commitment of the youth and ex-fighters to the greatness of Italy and its rebirth. In the genesis of the movements, 1919-1922 in Italy and 1930-1933 in Germany, the militancy of the squads was often of a spontaneous and anarchic nature that was difficult to control even for those who established the political line of the movement. Hence, tensions rose between the militia and the heads of the party; in Italy it culminated in decisional conflicts between the militaristic and the political wings of the Partito Nazionale Fascista PNF as a result of the crisis provoked by the assassination of Giacomo Matteotti.

The tensions were overcome by militarizing the militia and establishing a strong hierarchy within it. In the words of Mussolini: The result was complete submission to the leadership of the party, and particularly to the charismatic leader.

This result was reached with less effort in Germany, where Hitler had had ten years longer than Mussolini to impose his guiding role.