So, what is fascism? It is a far-right authoritarian or totalitarian ideology. The focal point is a strong sense of nationalism. Besides, it is closely related to nazism. In fact, nazism is a form of fascism. On the other hand, communism, socialism, or anarchism are opposites. Democracy is, essentially, another contradiction.
The origin of the word is Fasces. That was a symbol of law in Ancient Rome. It was a bundle of twelve sticks with an ax in the middle. Further, Fascis means group.
Fascists believe that their state and nationality are superior to others. The group – the nation – is more important than the individual. Hence, everything must obey the state. They acknowledge private ownership, but in return except it to serve them. A mighty leader must be in charge. Thus, it creates a cult of personality. Another feature is the opposition to liberalism. Yet, these are only some features. There is no explicit definition of fascism.
Rise and Fall of Fascism
The reason why there is no explicit definition is simple. Most fascist regimes differed considerably. For example, In Italy, the dominant force was nationality, and in Nazi Germany, it was race.
The most common is Italy under Benito Mussolini. The story began in 1919. Then, he founded “Fasci di Combattimento” – The Italian fighting band. Two years later, he transformed it into the first fascist party.
He gained power over Italy after the 1921 March on Rome. Mussolini used threats and violence to gain the support of the Italian public. Besides, he forced king Victor Emannuel II. to name him prime minister. In the following months, he acquired powers and became a dictator. Soon, Mussolini introduced censorship and banned all other parties.
In the coming years, fascism spread around Europe. For example, it seized Germany and Spain. Strong parties also emerged in Czechslovakia, Portugal, or Croatia. Besides, Japan was also fascist. One of the reasons to why it rose was the economic situation following the Great Depression. Fascism fell after the defeat of the Axis in 1945.
Fascism is a dangerous ideology and a threat to democracy. The spread and support of the theory is banned in many countries. While today there is no true mass fascist movement, some groups and parties still function and have the support of citizens.