Why do you support fascism

(Anti) fascism

At the height of its power in late 1941, National Socialism ruled over an area that stretched from the North Cape to North Africa and from the Atlantic coast of France to near Moscow - in size and population larger than the USA and economically more productive than any other land mass. The American historian Mark Mazower deduced from this fact the need to examine the specifically imperial strategies of domination and collaboration of the Nazi regime. [1] For several years there has been a direction in fascism research that has taken up this finding and explored the imperial form of fascisms in Germany, Italy and Japan. [2] These demanded as latecomer On the political stage - in comparison to Great Britain and France, for example - not only did the liberal world order and communist internationalism geopolitically emerge, but also radicalized the logic of imperialism and forms of colonial warfare. Through this long-term perspective on imperialism, the procedural character of fascism emerges more clearly. [3] The first part of this presentation on trends in fascism research will therefore clarify the developmental steps of fascism.

A second characteristic of recent research is that it goes beyond comparative perspectives. With the rise of global history, the interdependencies between the fascisms are increasingly in focus: Cooperation and competitive relationships, their often precarious mediation and coordination over the most varied, often informal and extra-diplomatic forms are now being examined. The second part of this essay outlines these aspects.

On the one hand, the new research on fascism achieves more than the cultural-scientific investigation of self-images, symbolic representations and aesthetics, which prevailed in the comparative research of fascist culture in the 1990s. It now turns to political practice in all its breadth and, on the other hand, goes beyond approaches that focus on fascism as an ideology.

Processualization of fascism

As is well known, fascism hardly brought any original ideas into the world. But he represented the conglomerate of his nationalist, racist, anti-socialist, right-wing authoritarian, anti-feminist-chauvinist and imperialist ideas with a radical unconditionality, determined violence and a dynamic-revolutionary movement character that is otherwise only known from communism. This radical potential of fascism cannot be thought of without the First World War - which shook the world not only militarily, but also economically, socially and culturally - nor without the worldwide rise of its great adversary, communism. Both promoted the rise and social acceptance of the violent fascist communities.

Fascism radicalized the following four social constellations of the 1920s and 1930s: First the widespread eugenic schemes of social welfare; Secondly the fantasies of a total and state-led society that arose during World War I; third radical nationalism based on community and camaraderie as well as fourth a broad acceptance of violence as a means of domestic as well as expansionist foreign policy. All these attitudes and approaches were widespread in the various political camps and played into the hands of fascism: It by no means invented these tendencies, but knew how to radicalize them and use them for himself. [4]

The fascist cult of the acceleration, aestheticization and brutalization of the political combined populist mass enthusiasm with repressive subordination, conservative persistence with dynamic and youthful mobility and ideological fanaticism with tactical opportunism. The rejection of liberal society as well as the socialist movements was expressed in the radical exercise of violence by an authoritarian structured state that was geared towards racist "purification" and thus the alleged securing of the livelihood of the "national body" through foreign policy expansion. The fascists presented themselves as administrators of the life and survival of their own people and conjured up the ideas of national purity and national community, which they could not think of without racial exclusion and extermination. The lack of regulated conflict resolution mechanisms led to a radicalization tendency of the fascisms - on the national and international stage they tried to outdo each other in their radical unconditionality. [5]

Stages of Fascism Development

A total of seven tipping points can be identified in the history of fascism. in the first At the first stage, there were smaller intellectual circles that arose almost everywhere in the world and were mostly based on Italian fascism. The supporters, who were idealistic and revolutionary in their self-image, were often embedded in fluid and unstable organizational structures and loosely connected to one another in divided networks. They were divided over variants of radical nationalist, volkish and racist concepts for a hierarchical form of government that was vaguely provided with syndicalist or corporatist elements.

Often these precarious political groups and small groups quickly disbanded and did not manage to get into the second To transform the stage of a violent movement. Even at this stage, which was based on assassinations and militant actions against the respective governments, no clear program was developed. It was less the ideological combination of racism, nationalism and anti-communism than the strategy of violence as a mode of struggle and communalization that determined these groups, which appeared in unbureaucratic organizational or party structures and with the glorification of daring, youthful masculinity.

in the third At the 3rd stage, the events in Italy and Germany set the tone globally - mass movements that championed violence and elections in a double strategy without bringing the two elements into a balanced and stable relationship to one another. Contradicting conflict between movement and party, stabilized by charismatic political leadership, indulging in the cult of the will, national purity and the community of violence, nationalist paramilitaries had built up mass associations and connected the parties to sections of the traditional elite, who at the same time challenged them with their cultural revolutionary ideas.

As a regime, fascism initially characterized a short phase of conquest of power with a brutal elimination of political opponents and a dictatorial harmonization of social institutions. Fascism in the beginning of the regime, so that fourth Stadium, was above all a police state, coupled with unregulated repression and terror.

in the fifth Fascist "mediation dictatorships" (Wolfgang Schieder) developed. They sought a balance with the conservative elites such as the military, church, industry and - where still present - the crown and at the same time contained the radical fascist violent factions of the second and third stages. Only now was the cult around the charismatic leader fully established in the media. In terms of political culture, the fascist regimes aestheticized the sacralized grandeur of their leaders, the terrifying eeriness of their repressive apparatus and the popular carnival-like spectacle of their popular mass organizations. In addition, there were racially bound social welfare promises and the rapid development of an imperialist expansion policy. Internally, the system of repression was transferred to new groups and oriented towards racism, the state structure was partially nonpartisan, and the coverage of the mass organizations was expanded to include many sections of the population. Especially in dealing with (male) youth and in the staging of youthfulness, an educational dictatorship was consolidated that combined vitality with national willingness to make sacrifices and a revolutionary spirit with the evocation of athleticism, discipline and bravery.

With their first wars in the early 1930s, the fascist regimes radicalized internally and externally. It came about in the wake of this sixth This stage not only leads to a tendency to disempower conservative allies and a corresponding independence of fascist apparatuses within, but also to radical colonial wars of annihilation externally. Extensive social mobilization, the expansion and radicalization of the close connection between national welfare with repression and racist "extermination" as well as the connection between the politics of violence and subject formation were strengthened: Populism and violence were two sides of the same coin.

Basically, one can only speak of Japanese fascism since the military interventions in Manchuria and China in 1931/32 and 1937, respectively. A radicalized imperialism developed there through the interplay of the war of annihilation, modern spatial planning, technocratic industrialization programs and ethnic homogenizing settlement policy. [6]

in the seventh Finally, at the 2nd stage, a total delimitation of genocidal politics can be observed, which basically only characterized National Socialist radical fascism. The Repubblica Sociale Italiana, which was proclaimed by radical fascists in September 1943 and existed de facto by Hitler's grace, worked closely with the unleashed Nazi regime, but it did not systematically develop its own system of extermination. The Croatian Ustaša state was also linked to the National Socialist concentration camp system and the SS. Vjekoslav Luburić, the head of the Ustaša concentration camp system, was so impressed after visiting Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg in September 1941 that he built the new Jasenovac concentration camp almost like a copy; a total of 83,000 people died here, including 13,000 Jews. Nevertheless, the anti-Semitic policy of the Independent State of Croatia with its around 40 concentration camps did not develop the eliminatory consequences of National Socialism. Its system of extermination basically only unfolded in the areas occupied by the Germans, such as in Hungary in March 1944, when 437,000 Hungarian Jews were suddenly deported from there. [7]

Global moments of fascism

Phases of development of the interwoven fascisms can also be identified on a global level. For these processes of radicalization and their respective critical fork in the road, the expression global moment established. [8] The Swiss historian Daniel Hedinger has the conquest of Manchuria, located in China, by the Japanese in 1931/32, together with its effects, as one first explores the global moment of fascism. [9] Mussolini saw Italian fascism in the period from 1929 to 1935/36 as an export product. This was reflected, among other things, in 1933 in the Comitati d’Azione per l’Universalità di Roma (CAUR) founded by fascist Italy, the short-lived attempt at an international unification of the fascist parties.

Italy was deeply impressed by Japan's courageous aggression and its withdrawal from the League of Nations in 1933. Conversely, a real Mussolini and fascism boom arose in Japan around 1932. After the outbreak of the global economic crisis in 1929, people in Japan were enthusiastic about fascist corporatism, which contained the conflicts between economic and social interest groups under duress. In Manchukuo, the Japanese tried this model with extensive technological planning and an industrialization program through the so-called zaibatsu implement, a government-organized industrial and banking conglomerate. [10]

Mutual study trips of the fascist youth organizations and party branches shaped one between 1935 and 1939 second global moment of fascism. Police and judiciary as well as settlement experts and military observers exchanged ideas during this time. Conferences, congresses and working meetings were just as important as informal political meetings. In addition to the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936/37 concluded between Germany and Japan - and soon afterwards also Italy - an informal network of exchange relationships that had to be examined in more detail emerged.

The decisive factor in this phase, however, was the development of a new type of national war of extermination, which, according to the Spanish historian Javier Rodrigo, was known fascist warfare can be summarized. [12] What is meant are ultra-nationalist wars with an eliminatory and genocidal tendency, which are characterized by a fast and particularly brutal form of warfare. They are also directed comprehensively against the civilian population and stylize aerial warfare as a necessary and clean military tactic.

The beginning and breakthrough of this type was marked by the Abyssinia campaign of 1935/36, in which the Italian army burned entire villages and cities in what is now Ethiopia and killed en masse civilians and cattle with the extensive use of forbidden poisonous gases. Mussolini had expressly called for this "extermination". In the end, one eighth of the Abyssinian population perished. [13] Subsequent radical colonial looting of agricultural products, raw materials and labor, "purges" and mass killings as well as forced deportations and concentration camp systems characterized the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, the Japanese war against China from 1937 and the Nazi regime’s Eastern campaign from 1939 and June 1941, respectively. The latter, according to the Freiburg historian Ulrich Herbert, aimed "at the establishment of a German colonial rule in Eastern Europe". [14]

In all these wars, anti-communism was almost racist. In the Eastern campaign, Bolshevism and Judaism were almost equated. In the Spanish Civil War, too, the fascists found that the nation had to be comprehensively "cleansed" of communism through "extermination". Franco's press attaché Count von Alba y Yeltes, for example, stated that a third of the male population in Spain should be eliminated for the aim of removing the "cancerous growth" of Marxism from the "people's body". [15]

Annihilation of human life corresponded to im fascist warfare with reorganization programs and relocation plans. Rapid surprise attacks with large territorial gains and kettle battles, systematic and comprehensive hunger policy, economic plundering and a racist campaign of extermination were the most important features of these wars.

A third The global moment of fascism began in 1940/41 and ended with the German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad at the beginning of 1943: the realization of the desired fascist world order reached its climax with this caesura at the latest. Germany, Italy and Japan deepened their cooperation through the fascist three-power pact of September 1940, organized themselves into huge, spatially contiguous continental empires and recognized each other in their settlement-oriented greater area claims. Fascist geopoliticians provided this imperialism with a population-political and biologistic basis of legitimation and at the same time delimited it from "plutocratic" British trade imperialism. [16]