In both cases of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the world war had created high unemployment and dissatisfied veterans. Fascism grew in Italy just as swiftly as Nazism in Germany out of extreme rightist preoccupations with nationalism and, in the case of Germany, racism.
In both cases of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the world war had created high unemployment and dissatisfied veterans. Fascism grew in Italy just as swiftly as Nazism in Germany out of extreme rightist preoccupations with nationalism and, in the case of Germany, racism. One aspect that differed between Fascism and Nazism was the extreme terror put forth by the Nazis against the Jews, however not so much lacking in Fascist Italy. In any case, the condition of the governments at the time made them easy targets for takeover, therefore allowing a new party to emerge that consisted of violent groups, thus ending in superior races that would wreak havoc on society.
The newly elected parliament in Italy was hardly capable of ruling the government considering the existence of three major parties including the Socialists, Liberals, and Popolari. There was no effective coalition, therefore parties squabbled on the need for a revolution, thus alarming the conservatives. Classes were not, in a sense, being represented, which led to class warfare and violence. Mussolini recognized the need to represent the middle class industrialists, and he switched from leftist to rightist politics to represent the industrialists. Mussolini believed that anticommunist activity using force might bring him what he initially sought during the free elections.
On the other hand, parliamentary democracy in the form of the Weimer Republic was already failing in Germany; therefore it was a smooth transition for Hitler into power. The Weimer Republic had no outstanding political leaders, however in 1925, Paul von Hindenburg was elected president. The republic was plagued with problems including the issue of inflation which was causing social repercussions. Economically, the losses due to the depression paved the way for social discontent and extremist parties.
In Fascist Italy, the squadristi was let loose to attack the Socialist offices and newspapers. Prime Minister Giovanni Gioletti had initially believed that the fascists could crush socialism temporarily and then be dismissed. However, the prime minister underestimated Mussolini. With the support of the government coalition, he gained respect and a free hand with his violent squadristi. Since his party was made up of veterans and students that sought unrestrained violence, as this was what they were used to after World War I, they took great pride in administering terrorist acts upon non-fascists. In 1926, all anti-fascist parties were outlawed, which mimicked Nazi Germany under Hitler.
The Nazis used brute force and ruthless acts to gain total control over Germany. Although violence was on the rise, Nazism started to take shape and become more appealing to the masses during party rallies that embraced a more religious nationalism and a mutual respect for the decision maker, Adolf Hitler. The ideal was that the means of production, citizenships, marriage, and extramarital relationships were accepted, so long as the individuals recognized their master. This form of racism was lacking in Fascist Italy, in fact, the Fascists were not all violent towards small businesses or the petty bourgeois, even offering protection from the upper-class bourgeoisie. Both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany initially had instruments of terror and repression in the form of violent groups including the SS in Germany and the OVRA in Italy. However, the Fascists were never as repressive or as savage as the Nazis.
Mussolini groomed his young students for militarization, thus forming the Youth Fascists. Their day included marching drills and calisthenics, summer camps, and competitions. The activities were meant to teach discipline and training for war, however many of the young teenagers detested the training and simply refused to attend on a regular basis. Mussolini believed he was creating a better Italian that respected traditional social attitudes. The training of these young Italians was more so for national pride, and therefore, this differed significantly from Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend) who were treated as a superior race. This race of anti-Semitic soldiers was secretly being trained for the annihilation of all individuals that didn’t support the Fuhrer, therefore all of their energies and strength they owed to the Fuhrer.
In the case of 20th century Fascism and Nazism, the outlook on the status of the state is what really set them apart slightly. Fascism stressed a collective outlook on the success of the nation and the devotion of the citizens towards their countrymen. Nazi Germany, although during that time the economy was hoisted after the impact of the Great Depression, became a nation that stressed a superior race that excluded all those not in favor of the Fuhrer. Thus, this separation of the citizens, and their loss of rights as human beings, led to one of the most notorious blood baths in history.
More Related Articles from Lauren Axelrod
Lauren Axelrod is a full time student working towards a Ph.D. in Medieval European Archaeology and History, with an emphasis on the Templars, Free Masons, Crusades, and the time period spanning 500-1565.