Fascism In Italy

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Beginning in Italy in the interwar period of the early 20th century, fascist movements were to spread across the continent, and the ideology to date marks for most the extreme right of the political spectrum. A form of radical authoritarianism, fascism was characterized by extreme nationalism, economic syndicalism and public military agency. Fascists identify World War I as a revolution that transformed fascism into a viable political ideology, and the essay will analyse each cause independently to trace the movement of political thought towards the extreme right. This essay will show you that the intellectual roots of fascist theory were closely linked with nationalism and the themes of the fin de siècle political culture, as well as the rise…show more content…
Fascism borrowed theory from socialism, but focused on interracial and international conflict as opposed to class conflict . Fear of socialism among the property owning class was a common theme across Europe at this time, and in Italy and Germany fascist movements gained the support of the industrialist elite. It was this fear that manifested an anti-left ideology, and from much before the advent of the post-war fasci, Italy had been dealing with a dissatisfied land owning gentry. The environment, therefore, was there for an anti socialist ideology that would seek any means necessary to avoid socialism. In the years following the war, and with the Bolshevik Revolution having taken place in Russia, fear of socialism exacerbated and galvanised the emergence of Fascism under Mussolini. Social Darwinism played an important part in this switch from inter-class conflict to interracial conflict. It stressed the basic human instinct to be the survival of the fittest , and challenged positivism’s claims for rationality as the determining behaviour of humans, instead focusing on heredity and race . A widely accepted theory in the fin de siècle political culture, its emphasis on a biological in-group identity fostered…show more content…
Fascists identified the Great War as being a revolution that accelerated this conversion, but the arguments for violent politics preceded the war. Military citizenship was the final factor that brought about Fascism, and we have already seen how liberals and pacifists were discredited during the war. Much before the war itself, fascists adopted the anarchist concept of ‘the theory of the deed,’ which stressed the use of direct action, including revolutionary violence, as the primary instrument of politics . During his time as a leftist, Sorel had already promoted the legitimacy of political violence in his book Reflections On Violence . Fillipo Marinetti in the Futurist Manifesto (1908) also championed the use of action and political violence as necessary instruments of politics, going as far as to suggest that boys’ education curriculum be altered to prioritise physical education over books. It was this urge for action that persuaded nationalists to take to the streets to defy the republicans’ and socialists’ strikes in 1914, where they forced shops to reopen and offered protection to those defying the strike. This earned the admiration of the middle classes of Italy, those most affected by the strikes, as well as the land owning elite. After years of fiery rhetoric encouraging action over talk, the action undertaken by the nationalists, backed by political violence, allowed them to defy the
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