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phoebusg's avatar

What are in your opinion some of the influences behind the rise of fascism?

Asked by phoebusg (5241points) September 24th, 2013

Thinking about Germany and the current situation in Greece. Give examples if you can, or bring in sources.

(Cross posted from fb group Philosophy cafe)

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12 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Definitely poverty, and the search for an easy scapegoat.
Plus the fact that Germany was quite conservative at the time, and was yearning for the old monarchic order, with an emperor at the top, so this leader figure was quite attractive.
Then of course there was this hatred against the countries of the Entente for giving germany the sole blame for WW1, having to pay massive reparations, and being banned to amass a military.

tups's avatar

When a country is in disorder, fascism can appear as the ideal solution. As @ragingloli already said, Germany was in a bad situation after WW1 and Adolf Hitler appeared as a strong leader who could get them out of the crisis and give them back their pride as a country. Adolf Hitler was inspired by the old Greeks and their ideal human being, see this German sculpture: http://www.chgs.umn.edu/images/sculpt_breker_wehrmacht.jpg. It shows the strong, arian figure that Hitler was obsessed with.

This is my guess, but I don’t claim any knowledge.

elbanditoroso's avatar

As the others have said, this isn’t a simple question – each fascist regime over the last couple of hundred years has been a little different.

But there are two essential pieces for any fascistic government. The details vary, but two essentials:

1) A powerful leader. Charisma helps, too. The person doesn’t need to be intelligent (Hitler) or strategic or even particularly conniving. The person just needs to be a leader in the sense that he can get people to do what he says. If there is a philosophy (religious or otherwise) it lends legitimacy (or at least rationale) to what he is doing, but that’s not essential. The key point is that there’s a leader who is the focal point.

2) A docile, non-questioning population – this is why Hitler, among others, was so successful. If Germany hadn’t been so worn out from losing WWI and the subsequent depression in Germany, they might have been less docile and less willing to follow Hitler. Same with Italy and Mussolini. And same in a number of states in Africa, although there the issue is not losing WWI or WW2, but being docile because of poverty and low standards of living.

Again, each instance of fascism has its own peculiarities, but the two elements above are essential.

mattbrowne's avatar

I think lack of self respect is an even more important factor than poverty. The feeling of humiliation is one of the root causes of fascism, which includes modern forms of fascism such as Islamism. People have the need to feel proud of themselves. Hitler exploited this in a very evil way. And so do Islamist hate preachers. In group/out group. Good/bad. A simple black and white world.

zander101's avatar

I agree with all the above responses, I just want to add in that the leaders who decide to appoint themselves in these positions understand that the population in these situations so to speak have their back against the wall in so many different aspects within themselves and so in response they take advantage. I feel that there’s no physical war, I feel it’s a manifestation of the war that human beings have against themselves. It’s unfortunate…........

zenvelo's avatar

Also include the idea of a common enemy. In Spain it was the Loyalists, in Italy the Communists, in Germany it was one after another.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@zenvelo – agreed, with the proviso that the common enemy can be invented for the purpose of enabling fascism.

antimatter's avatar

Like South African politics the president defrauds the state of 7 billion dollars in a arms deal and get to serve two more terms as president. 1 @elbanditoroso is right on his two points.
2. Zimbabwean leader Robert (Mad Man) Mogabue used the same tactics what Hitler used and the “Imperialist” that’s the Western Nations is still the enemy of Africa like @ragingloli pointed out that they used the Western Nations as scapegoats for African stupidity.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

What about Argentina? Juan Peron was a card-carrying social-fascist. He became President 3 times, during a period of time that spanned the 1940s – 1970s.

I know very little about South American history or culture. Given what had happened to Europe during WWII, what conditions in Argentina would give rise to a fascist leader immediately after the war (and to let war criminals enter the country and live freely)? What continued for the next 30 years, causing Peron to regain power during the mid-70s?

Mr_Paradox's avatar

The desire for security and swift action are two good reasons.

DWW25921's avatar

People are so foolishly loyal to political parties they can see no wrong until it’s too late. I mean, the same thing is happening here in the USA.

phoebusg's avatar

Thank you all for great replies so far. @SadieMartinPaul you bring up an interesting point. The only thing I know about the situation is from the book imagining Argentina. I have a friend there though, if he has time I’ll see what he knows. Or other sources, if you find any feel free to post :)

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