Italy witnessed the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini who founded the ideology of Fascism. Germany saw the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Joseph Stalin took over the USSR advocating Communism. In 1936 Civil war broke out in Spain led by the fascist forces of General Franco who received support from the fascist dictatorships in Italy and Germany. This article contains the definition of Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Militarism together with comparisons and examples of the regimes and the dictators who assumed absolute power.
Fascism, Nazism and Communism: Events leading up to WW2
FDR and the people of the United States saw the emergence of European dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini and Franco and the rise of ideologies of Fascism and Nazism. Meanwhile, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) adhered to Communism led by Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator. These powerful dictators, and the aggressive, expansionist and totalitarian governments in Germany, Italy, Spain and the USSR all played a major role in the events leading up to WW2. Japan sought to establish a colonial empire led by Militarists, for additional facts refer to Japanese Militarism.
Summary and Definition of Fascism: WW1 - WW2
Definition of Fascism: Fascism combined the ideologies of nationalism, imperialism and and militarism. The key traits and characteristics of Fascism were based on authoritarian principles with complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom and the denial of individual rights. The ideology of Fascism was founded by the Spanish dictator Mussolini and was supported by the military and secret police Fascism was favored by Industrialists and the Middle Classes with economic functions controlled by the state, Fascism included the widespread use of indoctrination and censorship.
Summary and Definition of Nazism: WW1 - WW2
Definition of Nazism: Nazism was the Fascist movement that evolved in Germany under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler and included the belief in the racial superiority of the German people and that other races, especially those in Eastern Europe, were inferior. Adolf Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf' meaning "My struggle" which detailed his goals and beliefs which formed the basis of Nazism. Hatred of Jews, or anti-Semitism, was a key part of Nazism.
Fascism, Nazism and Communism: Totalitarian Governments
The ideologies of Fascism and Nazism and the rise of the dictatorships in Germany, Italy and Spain threatened the democratic countries of Europe such as Britain, France and the Netherlands. Communism posed another threat to democracy as did the rise of Militarism in Japan. All of the these countries adhered to Totalitarianism asserting absolute control over the public and private lives of its people.
Comparisons between Fascism, Nazism and Communism
The following descriptions and examples of Fascism, Nazism and Communism provide comparisons and contrasts between the aggressive and anti-democratic countries who followed expansionist polices in the period between WW1 and WW2.
Examples of Fascism: Italy, Mussolini and Fascism
Italy, Mussolini and Fascism - Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) rose to power in Italy following World War I. Mussolini sought to re-create the glory of the Ancient Roman Empire, increasing the power and the prestige of Italy. It was Benito Mussolini who founded the ideology of Fascism, the anti-communist political movement.
Fascism: Fascism is a highly aggressive form of nationalism by which the nation is more important than the individual. Individualism is seen to make countries weak and that a strong anti-democratic government, led by a dictator, is needed to impose order. Anti-Communism is central to the ideology of Fascism holding the belief that the aim of Communists, allied with labor unions, is to bring down their governments.
Fascism: The term fascism (or fascismo) derives from the word 'fascio' for "group, association" literally meaning "bundle". In Ancient Rome a 'fasces' was bundle of sticks featuring an axe that were carried by bodyguards to symbolize authority the power over life and death
Fascist symbols were highly significant. Mussolini used the eagle and the 'fasces' as a symbol for fascists in Italy. Italian Fascism utilized the color black as a symbol of their movement and Mussolini was supported by uniformed militia known as the 'Blackshirts'.
Benito Mussolini was first appointed Premier (Prime Minister) of Italy but quickly established himself as dictator. He took the title of "Il Duce" meaning "The Leader" and established an aggressive and expansionist government. Mussolini and his expansionist government led Italy's invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 (then commonly known as "Abyssinia" in Europe)
Example of Nazism: Germany, Hitler and Nazism
Germany, Hitler and Nazism - Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) was a great admirer of Mussolini and a fervent nationalist and anti-communist. He rose to power when the president of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg, stepped down. Hitler assumed the role of dictator and took the title of "Fuhrer" meaning "Leader".
- Adolf Hitler was the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, better known as the Nazi Party. Hitler was supported by Nazi paramilitary units called 'Stormtroopers' or Brownshirts. Racism, and particularly anti-Semitism, was central to the ideology of Nazism.
- Nazism: Nazism was a form of national socialism featuring racism and territory expansion with obedience to a strong leader. Nazism shared many features of Fascism rejecting democracy and communism.
- Adolf Hitler made significant use of Nazi symbols in his propaganda campaigns and pageantry. The swastika is synonymous with the Nazis and the eagle atop of the swastika was the formal symbol of the Nazi Party. Gargantuan red banners with the distinctive black swastika on a white field dominated Nazi parades, rallies and events and was reminiscent of Germany’s imperial past.
- The Nazi's used the term the "Third Reich" as they sought to re-create the power and glory of the German Empire. The Holy Roman Empire, or First Reich, was from 962 to 1806; the German Empire, or Second Reich, was from 1871 to 1919, the Weimar Republic was from 1919 to 1933 and the Third Reich was from 1933 to 1945.
- On 15 March 1939 Adolf Hitler ordered German troops to invade Czechoslovakia. The Germans also took over Bohemia, and established a protectorate over Slovakia. On September 1, 1939, German forces invaded Poland.
- Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany. World War II had begun
- In the Spring of 1940, Hitler turned his attentions towards Western Europe, conquering Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Norway, and France.
Examples of Fascism: Spain, Franco and Fascism
The general and dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975) rose to power when his Nationalist forces, consisting of the Falangists (Spanish Fascists) and the military, provided by arms sent by Germany and Italy, overthrew the democratically elected government, deposed King Alfonso XIII and ushered in the 'Second Republic'.
- In 1936 the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939) erupted led by the fascist forces of General Francisco Franco who received support from the fascist dictatorships in Italy and Germany
- In a matter of months Franco was named head of the Nationalist government and commander-in-chief (generalísimo) of the armed forces
- Francisco Franco assumed the role of dictator and adopted the title of "El Caudillo" meaning "The Leader" exerting absolute control over the country
- General Franco persecuted political opponents and repressed the culture and language of Spain’s Basque and Catalan regions
- Franco and the Spanish Fascists used the yoke and arrows as their symbol, representing a united Spain and the "symbol of the heroic virtues of the race". They wore uniforms of blue shirts and red berets
- General Franco largely kept out of World War II but he eventually sent nearly 50,000 volunteers to fight alongside the Germans on the Soviet front
Example of Communism: USSR, Joseph Stalin and Communism
USSR, Communism and Joseph Stalin - Following the Russian Revolution in 1917 the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, established Communism in the Russian Empire. Russia was renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922 and in 1926 Joseph Stalin became the Soviet Dictator.
- Communism: Communism is a social system based on collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members. The term is taken from the French word 'communisme' meaning a communal society.
- Under the dictator Stalin, the USSR was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower
- Stalin steadily increased his power and ruled using terror tactics eliminating anyone who opposed him, establishing the Gulag system of forced labor camps
- Between 1934 and 1939, the paranoid Joseph Stalin instituted the Great Purge, or the Great Terror, a series of campaigns against anyone suspected of disloyalty including members of the Communist leadership, the armed forces and the Communist Party. It is estimated that over 1 million people were killed in the Great Purge
- On August 23, 1939 Stalin and Hitler authorized a Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact that divided Eastern Europe among the two powers. Both leaders promised not to attack each other. The pact was broken when Nazi Germany attacked the USSR less than two years later, on June 22, 1941.
Fascism, Nazism and Communism
The above descriptions and examples of Fascism, Nazism and Communism provides comparisons between the aggressive and anti-democratic countries whose ideologies played a major role in the events leading up to WW2 and The Cold War that followed..