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Day 5 – Q 1.What are the most striking features of fascist ideology? Why did fascism spread in Europe in the first half of the 20th century? Examine.

1. What are the most striking features of fascist ideology? Why did fascism spread in Europe in the first half of the 20th century? Examine.  

फासीवादी विचारधारा की सबसे खास बातें क्या हैं? 20 वीं शताब्दी के पूर्वार्ध में यूरोप में फासीवाद क्यों फैल गया? जांच करें।


Fascism is a political ideology that developed after World War I in Italy and Germany. It is characterized by strong nationalism, an extreme level of authoritarianism, corporatism, militarization and hostility towards both liberalism and Marxism.


Features of fascist ideology:

  • Nationalism– A strong feeling of patriotism to your state and its people. In fact, the nationalism of fascism is so strong that it often involves feelings of national and racial superiority over others. The darkest example of this is the Jewish Holocaust brought about by Nazi fascism during World War II.
  • Authoritarianism– power concentrated in one small group of people or even one person. Citizens often are not permitted to form opposition parties, and free elections are often not held. Authoritarian leaders usually are not subject to the rule of law – the laws don’t apply to them.
  • Militarism– It involves the participation of military officers in the civilian government, foreign policy based on projection of power, military values and norms are persuasive within the society’s culture and there is focus on war preparation in cultural, political and economic institutions.
  • Corporatism– Government brings certain privileged business, labour and social groups into government to directly participate in policy formulation.
  • One party system– There is a single party to decide the political, economic and social policies for a nation. Democracy has no role to play.
  • Autarchy– Having economic independence as a national policy to eliminate unemployment and make country economically self-sufficient.
  • Anti-communist, anti- capitalist– By its basic tenets, it strongly opposed communism and even capitalism.

The rise of fascism in Europe began during World War I in Italy, when Benito Mussolini and other radicals formed a political group (called a fasci) supporting the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy, Francisco Franco in Spain and Juan Perón in Argentina were well-known fascist leaders of the 20th century. 

Rise and spread:

  • Discontentment with the peace treaties: Italy joined the Allies in the First World War to gain territories of Turkey and Germany. But she received nothing from the Paris peace treaties. Germany suffered due to Treaty of Versailles.
  • Economic Crisis: Italy suffered heavy losses in terms of life and property in the First World War. After the War, many soldiers became unemployed. Trade and commerce were ruined leading to large – scale unemployment. There was a shortage of food grains.
  • Political Instability: Italy was governed by a series of coalition governments and there was no continuity in their policies. Governments were unable to deal with problems of unemployment, strikes and riots.
  • Class Conflicts: The common man had been promised, during the war, that he would be rewarded greater attention to his economic needs, these promises were ignored and the common man was embittered. Thus, people wanted the control of the government to be in the hands of the common man.
  • Rise of middle classRise of salaried middle class as the largest segment of the population, who felt unrepresented by traditional liberal parties and longed for a new way between organized big business and organized labor.  Economic insecurity and cultural uneasiness with the feeling of decadence.
  • Threat of Socialism or Communism: Inspired by Communism, the peasants took away the land from the landlords and workmen organized strikes and took hold of factories. The industrialists were worried about the strength of the labour unions and wanted a powerful government who could establish peace they therefore provided financial support for fascism.
  • Failure of the League of Nations: The League of Nations proved to be weak and failed to check the rise of dictatorship.
  • Leadership: Mussolini and Hitler had a charismatic personality. Their speeches praised the past glories of their respective nations and won the faith of their countrymen.


Several factors together worked towards the rise and spread of Fascism in Europe, which ultimately resulted in laying the foundation for World War II.

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