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Our first discussion focused on nationalism. A description of fascism would include nationalism because once again the citizens would be taught that nothing matters as much as total allegiance to their country/state. Fascism would be rooted in a totalitarian regime because as our text tells us, “Totalitarian regimes effectively require their citizens not only to refrain from dissent but to express their support actively,” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012. P. 92). Both Hitler and Mussolini were dictators who terrorized their enemies as well as those citizens in their own country whom they deemed a threat to their power. Fascism was at the core of their ideology. Some of the characteristics of fascism are a powerful nationalism, disdain for the recognition of human rights, and supremacy of the military (Lawrence Britt, 2003).
The birth of fascism is credited to Mussolini who established a dictatorship after becoming Prime Minister in Italy during the interwar period. The institutions that Mussolini created for children, students and working people were merely to build his fascist Italy. Another characteristic of fascism is male-dominated government. Mussolini followed this edict while keeping women in traditional roles. He was continually building toward expansion during this period. History remembers him as a brutal dictator. Italy had been a country of much unrest before Mussolini appeared as their saving grace. The working-class was staging protests and general discontent (2012). These were driving forces that paved the way for Mussolini. He quieted the unrest by whatever means needed but his actions still convinced many Italians that he saved their country. Fascism could take root. Like Hitler, Mussolini used the pervasive political and economic depression within his country to implement fascism.
Authoritarian regimes are still dictatorships. However, they leave well enough alone as long as they are not forcefully challenged. Fascists want total and complete control by whatever methods necessary. The characteristics held by fascism are: a terrorizing brutality toward their enemies, an anticommunist stance, and a brute territorial expansionism (2012).
We have discussed the reasons the average person allowed fascism to take hold. The political and economical status in Italy and Germany begged relief for their citizens. They bought into the lies that Mussolini and Hitler held before them like carrots on a stick. I realize an ingrained prejudice contributed to the cooperation of many. However, I envision it like a slow gas leak for others. They desperately wanted to believe the vision and the promises (so) they held on. It was too late when the horror took a stand. Apathy does that.
Shubert, A. & Goldstein, R. J. (2012). Twentieth-century Europe. San Diego, CA. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. p. 92
Britt, L. (2003). The 14 characteristics of fascism. Free Inquiry Magazine.