Discussion response needed:
Through reading and analysis of our
class learning resources and instructor lecture the term fascism has
taken new meaning for me. I have always heard the term fascist thrown
around towards any hyper-conservative political figure making radical
statements but there are certain requirements to truly classify the
fascist ideology. Italy brought fascist ideas into practice following
World War I for many reasons but to have a better understanding of
Italian fascism it is important to look at the tenants of fascism and
the global climate in which it took hold.
The whole idea of fascism can really be found in its etymologic root, the Etruscan then Roman fasces. The fasces,
a symbol of an axe surrounded by a bundle of rods, were a symbol of the
magistrate’s power and authority to maintain order through authorized
use of violence. This was at the core of Italian fascism. Following
World War I Italy had to deal with many of the issues present in post
war Europe. Keegan points out that after the war when the Western Great
Powers divided up the spoils of war Italy was left with very little for
its sacrifice of 600,000 soldiers and this placed much strain on Italy
as it was relegated to secondary status in Europe.
This dissatisfaction left a power void threatened in 1919 and 1920 by
socialist and communist revolutionary attempts much as the issue was
growing in most of Europe but the Italian response, led by Mussolini,
was one which grasped the idea of the fasces and used violence
to seize political power. Further issues included the crash of the
global economy following the Wall Street crash of 1929 which caused
economic upheaval in Italy which still maintained a primarily
agricultural economy simply because of its lack of other marketable
The core principles of fascism really focus on the violence inherent in the fasces
symbol and the attitude of its central proponent and national leader,
Benito Mussolini. Our class lecture and the readings support the notion
that under fascism power belongs to the strong that forcibly take and
keep the political power rather than those who use oral arguments. In
order to support this however the fascists needed a strong popular base
leading to another core principle of Italian fascism, devotion to the
state. Our learning resource points out that fascism relied upon
“individual subordination to the ethnic community” as a means to improve
the status of the nation.
Similar to socialism it places the individual in support of the state
instead of themselves, however, now we are including the motivation of
violence in support of national progress. Unique to Italian fascism was
where to focus that violence after Mussolini solidified power in Italy.
While Nazi fascism focused on ethnic purity and direction of violence
against any non-Aryans, Italian fascism was not focused on an ethnic
group but towards building an Italian empire rivaling those established
by its European rivals who had established colonies in Africa.
Stokesbury relates that Mussolini started this process by snubbing the
League of Nation’s objections and conquering Ethiopia in the name of the
new Italian empire thus reinforcing the Italian nationalist fervor and
strengthening the fascist idea of militant violence in support of state
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