Ideological Influence On Fascism

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In this paper, I will discuss the ideological influences of fascism, a major political doctrine that gave rise to totalitarian dictatorships throughout the world from the early- to mid-20th century. This paper’s discussion of fascism will be limited to Italian Fascism (hereafter, “Fascism”), the original and perhaps definitive form of fascism, during and between the World Wars. Italian Fascism arose from and was defined by its opposition to other political doctrines, particularly liberalism and socialism. Thus, Fascism was not as much an independent political ideology as it was anti-liberalism and anti-communism. At the same time, however, Fascism shared key characteristics in common with the ideologies it claimed to oppose. Fascism was a mixture …show more content…

First, Mussolini and his adherents needed a revolution. They were absolutely opposed only to liberal democracy. Willing to use any means for their purpose, they borrowed from contradictory political doctrines to form a new, sufficiently revolutionary ideology. Thus, Fascism was somehow able to simultaneously appeal to two groups located at opposite ends of the political spectrum, the conservatives and the syndicalists. Mussolini tried to downplay the ideological ambiguity of Fascism, arguing that labels like “conservative” and “liberal” were mere empty terminologies. For Mussolini, who was likely aware of his own opportunism, a political doctrine did not have any value in and of itself, but only in its usefulness in practice. It didn’t matter which means were used for the fulfillment of important ends: “The machine first of all must run!” In early-20th century Italy, Rightist methods happened to be the most useful, in Mussolini’s view, for effecting the political change he desired. It just so happened that the 20th century was “a century of authority, a century tending to the Right”—a century in which people preferred order. Mussolini accepted that Fascism may be replaced by another doctrine more useful in the next century. As it happened, however, such a natural replacement did not occur, since Fascism was not a doctrine that had arisen naturally. Like all other artificial doctrines, it eventually provided unable to stand against the natural force of

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