Nature Of Fascism Essay, Research Paper
Information on Roger Griffin was minimal and not enough to convey the attitudes of his ideas. The book was presented in a strict factual way with emphasis on the true occurrences in history. It can be implied that Griffin s writing shows no personality in writing style except that the facts are the true basis of input.
Fascism contains a political attitude that pushed to dominate political life in central, southern, and eastern-central Europe from 1919 and 1944. All fascist movements had an emphasis on the nation as the center of all history and life, and on the authority of the leader behind whom the people were expected to form a trust for. The word fascism was first used in 1919 by Benito Mussolini in Italy. In the following years the fascism was known in countries as far away as Japan, Argentina, Brazil, and the Union of South Africa, its specific type varys according to the country s traditions, its social structure, and leader. The Italian word fascio according to the book symbolized both aspects: the power of many united and obeying one will and the authority of the state, which was the supreme source of law and order and all national life.
Fascism rejected the common governments of that era, the American and French revolutions looked at individual liberty and on the equality of men and races. Enlightenment, had the individual and openness in a secularized society. On the other hand, fascism set the sovereignty of the nation as an absolute monarch. Griffin states, It demanded the revival of the spirit of the ancient city-state, above all of Sparta with its discipline and total devotion to duty, and of the complete coordination of all intellectual and political thought and activities against modern individualism and scientific skepticism. The combination of an faith and combativeness was to change the nation into a permanently mobilized armed force to conquer, maintain, and expand power.
Fascism was not a doctrine and had no preset course. It was a way to gain and retaining power by violence, and focused on this one aim. It was always about the fighting spirit, military discipline, and action and rejected ethics as weakness of will. Fascism said that the strong will always prevail over the weak. Ultimately everything depended upon the decisions of the leader, decisions to be blindly obeyed and immediately executed. Fascism returned to an authoritarian order, based upon the subordination of the individual.
Fascism relied on power. Power is an element in all political life. As Machiavelli thought, his deep feelings about the corruption of Italy at his time led him to put his hope into the violence of a man who would use power ruthlessly. Power, Machiavelli apparently believed, created a good government, if used right, by a man able to manipulate the people and use the army for his own purposes. In Machiavelli s quest for a new prince and a new type of government he knew that he was creating it by himself, an absolute sovereign state.
Jean Bodin stressed the importance of the sovereign, but not unlimited, power of the state in effective government. Thomas Hobbes saw sovereign power as more absolute, unlimited and responsible only to God. For Bodin and Hobbes the state was a to have central authority above religious disputes. The peace treaty of Westphalia gave the secular sovereign, a hereditary absolutist monarch, the right to determine the religious beliefs of his subjects. The law and order became principle, but the state was not absolute.
The government according to Griffin, came after the French Revolution, the teachings of German philosophers, such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Fichte’s utopian view was authoritarian and economically self-sufficient. An absolute power state that acts in its own self-interest without consideration rights of individuals or of other states was the stereotype. Only as a subject of the state does the individual gain objective reality and an ethical life, said Hegel. The state s sovereignty is war.
Hitler was more ready in German Reich than Mussolini did Italy. The Italian unity for Mussolini wasn t effective. Hitler had never been a Socialist. He was entirely unknown even in 1919 he attacked the Western and German democrats, moderate Socialism, and Russian Bolshevism. He was the man of the idea, which he assumed demonic ideas, but he was in tune with old German thought.
Hitler grew up under the Catholic Habsburg monarchy. He hated the Habsburgs, the “inferior” Slavs, Catholicism is un-German he said, and above all for Jews and Judaism as non-perfect. Hitler s propaganda methods were influenced by Karl Lueger opposed capitalistic liberalism and Marxian Socialism and appealed to the lower middle class that felt threatened by both. Griffin says that in the restless years after 1918, Hitler took up this appeal of anti-Semitism which went beyond Lueger’s. It became an obsession with him. The Jewish problem was no longer political, religious, or economic but the all-explaining theme of history . Hitler regarded the Nordic Aryans as the, only creative race on earth, the only source of human greatness and progress. He believed that its end would be the end of all civilization. Since he saw the German Reich as the Aryans, he proclaimed not only for Germany, but for the salvation of mankind, to secure Germany by maintaining the purity of German “blood” against contamination by inferior races.
The total rejection of all races was one of the two main points in Hitler’s two-volume Mein Kampf, which became the bible of the new faith. The other was the absolute necessity of conquering a vast land base in eastern Europe, which was to become German by the ejection and enslavement of the “inferior” white Slavs. Germans would settle the immense and fertile plains and thus create a geopolitically indestructable Reich. The existing Slav leadership class was to be killed to secure German domination. To these two ideas Hitler remained faithful from the very beginning of his agitation until his death. When Hitler dictated his last will shortly before his suicide, he repeated once more his fundamental interpretation of history: “Above all, I demand of the nation’s leaders and followers scrupulous adherence to the race laws and to ruthless resistance against the world poisoners of all peoples, international Jewry,” which was the liberalism of Western capitalism and the socialism of Russian Marxism. His last words in 1945 expressed the same ideas that had guided him in 1919.
From the beginning, Hitler served the fascist movement by his understanding of the mind of his people. His appeal to the Germans as the most exalted race in the world: counteracted the inferiority complex of a people believing itself surrounded by a hostile world. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that all propaganda must hold its intellectual level at the capacity of the least intelligent of those at whom it is directed and that its truth is less important than its success. “The slighter its scientific ballast, and the more exclusively it considers mass emotions, the more complete will be its success.” Hitler declared that “Germany has experienced the greatest revolution in the national and racial hygiene which was undertaken for the first time on an organized basis in the country. The consequences of this German race policy will be more decisive for the future of our people than the effects of any other laws. For they are creating the new man.”
Many Germans believed in the reality and the superiority of this new man. Thus the racial interpretation of history and the fascist contempt for democracy lured Germany into war against Communism and democracy at the same time. By 1942 Germany had challenged the whole world and seemed at that point to have a good chance of emerging victorious from this total ideological war. Three years later it collapsed.
The author s purpose of writing this book in my opinion was to warn of the sign of fascism and other such governments. With a small range of years from 1919 to around the end of World War II, the information was not chronological. Analytical and scholarly with emphasis on Germany and Italy, he took the approach of a professor analyzing the information and presenting evidence to back up his views. His attempt created a well-rounded book. The sources of Griffins writing contained a progressive list of three pages, of primary sources mixed with secondary sources. All the material to my past knowledge was valid and exhaustive. The use of pictures and other visuals were minimal.