Portal:Fascism

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Introduction

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, the fascist leaders of Italy and Nazi Germany

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries. Opposed to liberalism, Marxism and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes to the nature of war, society, the state and technology. The advent of total war and the total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilians and combatants. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence, war and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky (national economic self-sufficiency) through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far-right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.

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Mussolini biografia.jpg
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician, journalist and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943—constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship. Known as Il Duce ("The Leader"), Mussolini was the founder of Italian Fascism. In 1912, Mussolini was a leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on nationalism instead of socialism and later founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism and class conflict, instead advocating revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines. Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes, Mussolini and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years, Mussolini had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. Mussolini remained in power until he was deposed by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1943, but a few months later he became the leader of the Italian Social Republic, a German client regime in northern Italy – Mussolini held this post until his death in 1945.

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Hitler and Mussolini
Credit: Eva Braun

Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany and Benito Mussolini of Fascist Italy, two of the Axis leaders of World War II, ride together in the back of an open-top automobile in June 1940.

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Benito Mussolini
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  • 7 July 2009: Scotland Yard voices fears of a terrorist attack from the far right.[1]
  • 3 July 2009: A German court declares 89-year-old John Demjanjuk fit to stand trial.[2]
  • 28 June 2009: On Croatia's national anti-fascism day, President Stjepan Mesić delivers a warning about the rise in sympathy for the Ustasha state.[3]
  • 27 June 2009: Nine former Nazi SS officers are sentenced to life imprisonment for a World War II massacre in Italy.[4]
  • 17 June 2009: Michela Vittoria Brambilla, the tourism minister of Italy, is accused of delivering a Roman salute.[5]
  • 15 June 2009: The Italian National Guard, a vigilante group set to begin foot patrols in Northern Italy, causes controversy when it unveils its uniform in Milan, which is seen as similar to that of the blackshirts.[6]

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Bottecchia in the 1920s.

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