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McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Tuesday March 19, 2013 Fascism Question: What was fascism and how did it compare to other totalitarian regimes like Stalinist Russia? I. The Post-War Context A. The Paris Peace Conference (1919) 1. Weimar Republic a) Negotiate and armistice (Nov 11, 1918) moving toward end of WWI 2. Delegates from 27 nations and 4 British dominions gather for the conference a) Dominion: Self-governing polity still nominally under control of the British Crown b) Negotiations are lead by the Big Four (1) Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Woodrow Wilson, Vittorio Orlando (2) Only point of commonality: Germany was responsible for the war so has to pay up c) French (1) Revenge for devastating French lands d) British (1) Punish Germany, but make sure it’s stable e) Italy (1) Obtain lands from the dissolved Austrian Empire f) USA (1) Stand for National self-determination 3. Succeeded in forming the League of Nations a) Collective security b) Has no standing army c) US and Russia at first refuse to join (1) Undermines the league’s power and prestige B. The Treaty of Versailles (28 June 1919) 1. Brought Negotiations to a close 2. Forced Germany to pay for the loss and damage suffered by the allies a) Land (1) Germany loses Alsace-Loraine (2) Loses Rhineland (3) Cedes territory to Belgium and Poland (4) Stripped of its colonies (a) Then placed under a mandate system (b) Allied powers would administer theses colonies on behalf of the LoN b) Germany can never unite with Austria c) Army reduced to 100,000 volunteers d) Forced to pay 130 Billion Marks (1) Build ships for allies for free (2) give up 1/4 of its coal 3. Britain given Iraq 4. Balkans are carved up a) Austria and Hungary divided up b) People don’t live tidally in arbitrarily defined borders (1) 3 Million Hungarians outside of Hungary 5. The Big Four are the ones who carve up the globe 6. The creation of Yugoslavia a) Made of lands composed of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes b) Division b/w federalist and great Croat view 7. Issue of colonized people a) Only Zionists let into conference 8. British Dominions admitted to a new Commonwealth (1926) a) They get sovereignty proper, but they’re still tied to the monarchy C. The Great Depression 1. Although the roaring 20s seemed full of promise, conservative forces tended to dominate the post-war scene 2. The global economy that reflected the modern world was extremely fragile a) Financial speculation and overproduction starting to take their tole 3. The US was the new financial centre of the world a) October 1929, US stock market crashed b) Economies floundered on a global scale c) Moratorium put on war debts and reparations d) UK and US went off the gold standard 4. Cancellation of all remaining reparations in 1932 allowed for a slow recovery a) Very slow recovery b) The war was over, but there were deep problems II. Italian Fascism A. Definition of Fascism 1. Hierarchical movement a) Overall structure was to be overseen by a dictator 2. Manifestation of the extreme right of government 3. Blames the weakness of democracy a) Robbed society of strong figureheads b) Doesn’t provide order 4. Privileged nation of class a) Stood in stark contrast to communism b) realize nationalism 5. Central to fascism were demobilized soldiers a) Returned home with weapons and violent tendencies 6. Took on religious symbolism a) Struggle for the nation’s greatness b) Christianity to unite the nation and people B. Benito Mussolini (1883-1945, in power 1922-1943) 1. Always dressed in Military uniform 2. Son of a blacksmith a) introvert with few close friends b) Started off as a socialist (1) His militaristic tendencies changed him (2) When social unrest broke out in Italy following the war (b/c it was very poor), black-shirted fascist squads on behalf of property owners, attacked groups of socialists and communists 3. In 1921, Mussolini and Fascists were elected to parliament a) Named himself Il Duce b) In 1925, convinced people to let him rule by decree to restore the nation (1) Lasted more than a year C. Fascist Italy 1. Encouraged the phrase “Mussolini is always right” 2. Emphasized the natural struggle 3. Reveled in his own power 4. Insisted that the media capitalized 5. Subsidized films about his accomplishments a) Oversaw various autobiographies of his life 6. Media tended to make fun of his self-importance a) Had many international followers 7. Emphasized the military
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