GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Fascism as an ideology
emerged in between the two World Wars when the capitalist system was engulfed in
deep crisis . Discuss.
Q. Fascism as an ideology emerged in between the two
World Wars when the capitalist system was engulfed in deep crisis . Discuss. (12.5 Marks)
(General Studies Mains Paper I- History of the world : political
philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc)
Model Answer :
Fascism as an ideology and as a form of political rule emerged in between the
two World Wars in the 20th century. When the capitalist system was engulfed in
deep crisis and faced with the threat from a revolutionary movement of the
working class, the ruling classes in Germany opted for an extreme form of rule
that abolished bourgeois democracy. Mussolini’s Italy and Japan were also
fascist regimes. The conditions of economic hardship caused by the Great
Depression brought about an international surge of social unrest. The classic
definition of fascism leaves no room for ambiguity: Fascism in power is “the
open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most
imperialist elements of finance capital.”
In Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, both Mussolini and Hitler pursued
territorial expansionist and interventionist foreign policy agendas from the
1930s through the 1940s culminating in World War II.
The victory of the Allies over the Axis powers in World War II led to the
collapse of many fascist regimes in Europe. The Nuremberg Trialsconvicted
several Nazi leaders of crimes against humanity involving the Holocaust.
Tenets of Fascism :
Nationalism : Nationalism is the main foundation of fascism. The
fascist view of a nation is of a single organic entity that binds people
together by their ancestry, and is a natural unifying force of people.
Totalitarianism: Fascism promotes the establishment of a totalitarian
state. It opposes liberal democracy, rejects multi-party systems, and supports a
Economy: While fascism opposed mainstream socialism, it sometimes
regarded itself as a type of nationalist "socialism", to highlight their
commitment to national solidarity and unity. Fascists opposed international free
market capitalism, but supported a type of productive capitalism.
Action: Fascism emphasizes direct action, including supporting the
legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics.
Age and gender roles: Fascism emphasizes youth both in a physical
sense of age and in a spiritual sense as related to virility and commitment to
Palingenesis and modernism: Fascism emphasizes both palingenesis and
modernism. In particular, fascism's nationalism has been identified as having a
palingenetic character. Fascism promotes the regeneration of the nation and
purging it of decadence.
1. Fascism is deliberately and entirely non-democratic and anti-democratic.
2. The ideology was merely a by-product of unprincipled opportunism
3. Fascism has been criticized for being ideologically dishonest.