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.


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 one-party state.

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 action.

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.

Criticism :

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.

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