ROOTS OF NATIONALIST/FASCIST THOUGHT AND PARALLELS TO FASCISM FROM 1920-1945
If one were to examine Benito Mussilini’s The Doctrine of Fascism, many of the themes already treated of in this paper concerning the American Revolution become the evident cornerstones of Fascism as seen in the 20th century.(1) The will of the individual being subordinate to the Will of the State, Anti-Democracy, and the embodiment of all in the State, as well as Acceptance of the Individual only in as much as the individual conforms to the State have been seen to be vitally important to both Fascism and the American Revolution.
The Will of the State, as explained by Mussolini, is specifically stated as not being the Will of the Majority of citizens. “Fascism is… opposed to that form of Democracy which equates a nation to the Majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number; but it is the purest form of democracy… from the point of view of Quality rather than Quantity…”(1) The implication thereof is that the ruling class, the few, are those who rule in a fascist state. Similar to the American Revolution, wherein the few, those whose interests were threatened by Imperial Power and Law Enforcement, took it upon themselves to form militias and mobs to impose the Will of the State they wished to create.
As seen in the lead up to and during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, Mob Violence and Political Militias were used to enforce the Will of the State.(2) Similar systems were used in Italy and Germany during each country’s Fascist Revolutions, and each of these countries also developed Secret Police Forces to enforce the “Will of the State.” This is, as seen previously, Identical to the Separatists during the American Revolution.
As can be seen by a cursory examination of German Propaganda efforts under the Nazi Regime, or the rhetoric used in the speeches of fascist leaders, there was little difference between themselves and the Separatists in the American Revolution.(3) A reliance on a State of Fear, Internal Enemies and other such devices are principal parts of the programs used in all three Fascist States to convince the populace to side with the Fascist parties. Emotional Pleas to preserve the Heritage and purity of the State and Nation were routinely used, at the least implying the existence of those who supported the downfall thereof. These persons were, by default, enemies to the State such as Communists, Socialists, Trade Unionists, and anyone else who did not tread the party line.
Further Encouragement to side with the Fascist parties was of course Political Violence. Used extensively by all States under Consideration in this paper, we have already seen the practices of the American Separatists explained in detail. The Fascist States of the 20th Century were no different. The Requetes and Falange Espanola in Spain, the Blackshirts in Italy and the SS and SA in Germany filled the same role as the Sons of Liberty and Mob Violence had during the American Revolution.(4)
Obsession with roots and heritage also defines Fascism. While Mussolini was talking about the Italians and Romans, Hitler talked of the Germans and the Teutonic Peoples. The Americans in the Revolution talked of the Ancient Rights of Englishmen, their English roots, and their continuation of English Traditions. This obsession with heritage and Identity is used to establish who is truly one of those included in the great plan, and defines those who are “Outsiders” and thus enemies to the great Fascist power.
As during the American Revolution, the Fascist States needed to maintain control of the political and ideological aspects of their populations. Both instances resulted in the same approach to this problem: Disenfranchisement, Disarmament, Expulsion and Extermination.(5) These four elements are not only common to all the situations, but they are indicative of an anti-democratic system. As stated earlier, the removal of opposition parties from the ballot is extremely effective in maintaining the power of the official party. These efforts were all aided by the other two elements mentioned above, namely Propaganda and Political Violence, which would continue and encourage the marginalization and destruction of the “Feared Others” or Enemies of the State.
Further, Development of Socialism gave Fascism the bigger cause to define itself against and use as Internal Enemies in the place of the British Empire and Loyalists. This being the case, there were little changes made due to the unique Historical Circumstances of each episode, however the greater driving forces of the two movements were essentially Identical.
With these parallels in place, it becomes more and more clear the American Revolution was the Earliest form of Fascism. With the American Revolution coming first chronologically the only answer to the question at hand is that the American Revolution and the ideas it launched with such force were to quickly gain hold across the Western World. After 150 years of rumination on the subject, and slight evolutions, these same thoughts, plans and actions were centralized, consolidated and streamlined. Due to the significant helps of Scientific advances such as the theory of evolution and its later application in Social Darwinism, applied to the Ideas of the State and the techniques developed in the American Revolution created the perfect storm of Fascism.
- Somerville, J. and Santoni, R. Social and Political Philosophy (New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1963) pp 424-440
- Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War: An illustrated Chronicle 1936-39 (New York, NY: Grove Press, 1986)
- A very good exhibit on Nazi propaganda was on display in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010-2011. The primary sources included in this exhibit were quite enlightening on the subject and reviled the techniques quite well.
- The extent and nature of Fascist use of Political Violence should need no more documentation than the mention of Kristalnacht, the March on Rome, and the Coup d’Etat which sparked the Spanish Civil War. Should anything more be needed for a particularly ignorant reader, These events should be looked up in the nearest encyclopedia, alongside the respective organizations mentioned herein.
- All 4 situations involved in this paper resulted in at least three of four of these options. While not all of the programs were entirely thorough, they were sufficient to silence the others who may have been amicable to the opposition. The German “Final Solution,” Massacres of dissenters in Spain and Italy, and the arrest and deportation of Loyalists in the American Revolution are all covered in these four elements.