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2 Jan 2011
1. Fascism Æ Nazism, Italian fascism
fascism is a radical and totalitarian nationalist political ideology
fascists seek to organize a nation on corporatist perspectives; values; and systems such as the political system and the economy
fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit
violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong
claim that culture is created by collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus rejects individualism
in viewing the nation as an integrated collective community, they claim that pluralism is a dysfunctional aspect of society, and justify a totalitarian state as
a means to represent the nation in its entirety
they advocate the creation of a single-party state
fascist governments forbid and suppress openness and opposition to the fascist state and the fascist movement
fascists reject and resist autonomy of cultural or ethnic groups who are not considered part of the fascists’ nation and who refuse to assimilate or are
unable to be assimilated
they consider attempts to create such autonomy as an affront and threat to the nation
they identify violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit, and vitality
they present their ideology as that of an economically trans-class movement that promotes ending economic class conflict to secure national solidarity
they believe that economic classes are not capable of properly running a nation, and that a merit-based aristocracy of experienced military persons must
rule through regimenting a nation’s forces of production and securing the nation’s independence
fascists saw the struggle of nation and race as fundamental in society, in opposition to communism’s perception of class struggle
fascist view of nation is as a single organic entity which binds people together by their ancestry and is a natural unifying force of people
fascism seeks to solve economic, political, and social problems by achieving a millenarian national rebirth, exalting the nation or race above all else, and
promoting cults of unity, strength and purity
Foreign Policy
Italian fascists described expansionist imperialism as a necessity
similarly, the Nazis promoted territorial expansionism to provide living space to the German nation
fascists opposed pacifism and believed that a nation must have a warrior mentality
many fascist movements support the creation of a totalitarian state
some have argued that in spite of Italian fascisms attempt at totalitarianism fascism in Italy became an authoritarian cult of personality around Mussolini
a key authoritarian element of fascism is its endorsement of a prime national leader, who is often known simply as the “Leader or a similar title
fascist leaders who ruled countries were not always heads to states, but heads of government, such as Benito Mussolini, who held power under the King
of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III
Social Darwinism
fascist movements have commonly held social Darwinist views of nations, races and societies
they argue that in order for nations and races to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict, nations and races must purge
themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people
in Germany, the Nazis utilized social Darwinism to promote their racialist concept of the German nation as being part of the Aryan race and the need for
the Aryan race to be strong in order to be victorious in what the Nazis believed was ongoing competition and conflict between races
they attempted to strengthen the Aryan race in Germany by killing those they regarded as weaker
to this end, the T4 project was introduced in the late 1930s and organized the killing of around roughly 275 000 handicapped and elderly German civilians
using carbon monoxide gas
Social Interventionism
generally, fascist movements endorsed social interventionism dedicated to influencing society to promote the state’s interests
fascists spoke of creating a “new man and a “new civilization” as part of their intention to transform society
Mussolini promised a “social revolution” for “remaking” the Italian people
Hitler promised to purge Germany of non-Aryan influences on society and create a pure Aryan race through eugenics
fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination, through propaganda in education and the media, and through regulation of the production of
education and media material
education was designed to glorify the fascist movement and inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation
it attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement, and taught students to be obedient to the state
thus fascism tends to be anti-intellectual
Economic Policies
fascists promoted their ideology as a Third Position” between capitalism and communism
Italian Fascism involved corporatism, a political system in which the economy is collectively managed by employer, workers, and state officials by
formal mechanisms at national level
fascists advocated a new national class-based economic system, variously termed “national corporatism,national socialism, or “national syndicalism
the common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism
fascist governments exercised control over private property but did not nationalize it
they pursued economic policies to strengthen state power and spread ideology, such as consolidating trade unions to be state or party-controlled
born during period of social and political unrest following WWI as it had seen Italy begin to feel sense of nationalism, rather than its historic regionalism
despite being an Allied Power, Italy was given what nationalists considered an unfair deal at the Treaty of Versailles
when the other allies told Italy to hand over the city of Fiume at the Paris Peace Conference, war veteran Gabriele d’Annunzio declared the independent
state there, the Italian Regency of Carnaro
he named himself Duce of the nation and declared a constitution, the Charter of Carnaro, which was highly influential to early Fascism, though he
himself never became a fascist
Benito Mussolini founded Italian fascism as the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento after he returned from WWI, and published a Fascist manifesto
the birth of the Fascist movement can be traced to a meeting he held in the Piazza San Sepolcro in Milan on March 23, 1919, which declared the original
principles of the Fascists through a series of declarations
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these included dedication to Italian war veterans, declaration of fascists’ loyalty to Italy and its opposition to foreign aggressors, pronouncement that
fascists would fight against other political factions and declaration of opposition to Bolshevism and socialism, particularly socialism of Italian Socialist
they also declared their intention to seize power and their opposition to the multi-party representative democracy in Italy
fascists took a moderate stance on the economy, effectively declaring that they favoured class collaboration while opposing excessive state intervention
into the economy, and calling for pressure on industrialist and workers to be cooperative and constructive
Mussolini and the fascists were simultaneously revolutionary and traditionalist
because this was vastly different from anything else in the political climate of the time, it is sometimes described as “The Third Way”
the Fascisti formed armed squads of war veterans called Blackshirts with the goal of restoring order
the Blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists and anarchists at parades and demonstrations
the government rarely interfered with the Blackshirts’ actions, due in part to a widespread fear of a Communist revolution
the Fascisti grew so rapidly that within 2 years, it transformed itself into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome
also in 1921, Mussolini was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time and was later appointed as PM by the King in 1922
he then went on to install a dictatorship after 10 June 1924 assassination after an anti-fascist writer by agents of Mussolini’s secret police
Mussolini’s colonialism reached further into Africa in an attempt to compete with British and French colonial empires
Mussolini spoke of making Italy a nation that was great, respected, and feared throughout Europe, and indeed the world
the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party) ruled Germany from 1933 until 1945
the party was originally formed as the German Workers Party under the leadership of Anton Drexler, and espoused a combination of racialist nationalism
and socialism that rejected the conditions imposed on Germany after WWI
the party accused international capitalism of being Jewish-dominated, and denounced capitalists for war profiteering in WWI
to ease concerns among potential middle-class nationalist supporters, Drexler made clear that unlike Marxists, the party supported middle-class citizens,
and that the party’s socialist policy was meant to give social welfare to all German citizens who are deemed part of the Aryan race
Drexler’s insistence on the inclusion of the term “socialist” in the partys name had caused tension amongst members of the party including then-member
Hitler, who preferred that it be named the “Social Revolutionary Party, until persuaded to support the nameNational Socialist German Workers’ Party”
Drexler was ousted from the leadership in 1921 by Hitler, who secured himself the position of undisputed and permanent leader of the party
Hitler endorsed Italian Fascism and admired Mussolini and the Italian Fascists, and after Mussolini’s successful March on Rome in 1922, presented the
Nazis a German version of Italian Fascism
Hitler’s chief propagandist credited Italian Fascism with starting a conflict against liberal democracy
following the Italians’ example, the Nazis attempted a March on Berlin to topple the Weimar Republic, which they characterised as Marxist
a month after Mussolini had risen to power, amid claims by the Nazis that they were equivalent to the Italian fascists, Hitler’s popularity in Germany
began to grow, and large crowds began to attend Nazi rallies
Hitler remained impressed by Mussolini and Fascist Italy for many years in spite of resentment towards Italy by other Nazis
Hitler declared that he held no antagonism towards Italy for having waged war against Germany and Austria-Hungary in WWI, saying that it Italy only
became at war with Germany because of Germanys alliance with Austria Hungary which Italy had territorial claims on
Hitler declared his sympathy to the Italians for desiring to regain Italian-populated lands held by Austria-Hungary, claiming it was naturally in Italians
national interest to wage war to regain those lands
Hitler made controversial concessions to gain Fascist Italy’s approval and alliance, such as abandoning territorial claims on the Tyrol region of Italy that
had a dense population of hundreds of thousands of Germans
the Nazis gained political power in Germanys government through a democratic election in 1932
Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany following the 1933 election, subsequently putting into place the Enabling Act of 1933, which effectively
gave him the power of a dictator, except over the German Roman Catholic Church, which was under the Vatican
Nazism differed from Italian fascism in that it had a stronger emphasis on race, religion, and ethnicity, especially exhibited as anti-Semitism
2. Imperialism (racism)
there were a number of racist ideas widely believed by Europeans
whites were superior to non-whites Æ one variation was Rudyard Kipling’s idea of the White Man’s Burden; the white man had the burden and
responsibility of bringing the blessing of their superior civilization to the savages of the non-European world
another was a variation of Social Darwinism in which white Europeans were considered more fit in the struggle for survival
another variation was that Christianity was the only true religion
3. Socialism Æ Marxism, Stalinism
Marxism is a particular philosophy, economic, and sociological worldview based upon a materialist interpretation of history, a Marxist analysis of
capitalism, a theory of social change, and an atheist view of human liberation derived from the work of Karl Marx and Fredreich Engels
the three primary aspects of Marxism are:
1) The dialectical and materialist concept of history—Humankind’s history is fundamentally that of the struggle between social classes. The
productive capacity of society is the foundation of society, and as this capacity increases over time the social relations of production, class
relations, evolve through this struggle of the classes and pass through definitive stages (primitive, communism, slavery, feudalism, and
capitalism). The legal, political, ideological, and other aspects (e.g. art) of society are derived from these production relations as is the
consciousness of the individuals of which the society is composed.
2) The critique of capitalismIn capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisie) dominate and exploit the working class (proletariat)
majority. Marx uncovered the interworkings of capitalist exploitation, the specific way in which unpaid labour (surplus value) is extracted from
the working lass (the labour theory of value), extending and critiquing the work of earlier political economists on value. Although the production
process is socialized, ownership remains in the hand of the bourgeoisie. This forms the fundamental contradiction of capitalist society. Without
the elimination of the fetter of the private ownership of the means of production, human society is unable to achieve further development.
3) Advocacy of proletarian revolution—In order to overcome the fetters of private property the working class must seize political power
internationally through a social revolution and expropriate the capitalist classes around the world and place the productive capacities of society
into collective ownership. Upon this, material foundation classes would be abolished and the material basis for all forms of inequality between
humankind would dissolve.
different types of thinkers influenced the development of Classical Marxism
the primary influences derive from: German philosophers, British political economists, and French social theorists
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4. Communism
communism is a social structure in which classes are abolished and property is commonly controlled, as well as a political philosophy and social
movement that advocates and aims to create such a society
Karl Marx posited that communism would be the final stage in society, which would be achieved through a proletarian revolution and only possible after
a socialist stage develops the productive forces, leading to a superabundance of goods and services
“pure communism” in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies
to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision-making process in both the political and economic
spheres of life
as a political ideology, communism is usually considered to be a branch of socialism, a broad group of economic and political philosophies that draw on
various political and intellectual movements with origins in the work of theorists of the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution
communism attempts to offer an alternative to the problems with the capitalist market economy and the legacy of imperialism and nationalism
Marx states that the only way to solve these problems is for the working class (proletariat), who according to Marx are the main producers of wealth in
society and are exploited by the capitalist-class (bourgeoisie), to replace the bourgeoisie as the ruling class in order to establish a free society, without
class or racial divisions
5. Western Front WWI
German army opened Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France
the tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne
both sides then dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France
this line remained essentially unchanged for most of the war and between 1915 and 1917 there were several major offensives along this front
attacks employed massive artillery bombardments and massive infantry advances; however, a combination of entrenchments, machine gun nests, barbed
wire, and artillery repeatedly inflicted severe casualties on the attackers and counter attacking defenders; as a result, no significant advances were made
in an effort to break the deadlock, this front saw the introduction of new military technology, including poison gas, aircraft, and tanks
but it was only after the adoption of improved tactics that some degree of mobility was restored
militarily the war in the west began on August 4, 1914, when German troops from 7 Armies swept into Luxembourg and Belgium as part of the Schlieffen
Plan, which required a sweeping move through neutral Belgium and down to Paris from the North
fortunately for Allies, plan did not work as expected, due both to its own limitations and German High Command’s weakening of crucial right attack wing
the result was a partial German success which failed in its ultimate goal of knocking the French army out of the war early
the German Armies swept into Belgium as planned, but the Belgian Army did not oblige by quickly losing, instead putting up a stiff fight, which delayed
the rigid German campaign schedule
after overcoming the Belgians, the northern German armies marched into northern France, where they were again stiffly rebuffed in several places, both
by the newly arrived British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French 3rd and 4th Armies in the Ardennes region
the 5th Army under French General Lanrezac was caught outnumbered and nearly outflanked, thanks to French high command’s refusal to acknowledge a
German thrust from the north; however, only at the last moment did Lanrezac receive permission to reposition part of his army to face the oncoming army
his freshly repositioned troops were hit with the full force of the German 2nd Army, and sent reeling back to the south
soon after, as BEF also withdrew south after their own travails, entire front broke open as troops on both sides raced southward to the Marne, and to Paris
German offensive was blunted when German General Alexander von Kluck re-faced his 1st Army in order to turn flank of now exhausted French 5th Army
French General Joseph Gallieni swiftly assembled newly formed 6th Army and, coordinating with 5th Armys commander, battered Kluck’s exposed flank
in the process of defending himself, Kluck redirected his corps westward, allowing another dangerous gap to open between him and Bulow
these errors (which were sanctioned by General Headquarters) cost the Germans any further progress and they withdrew back to safe positions north of
the Marne River, where they resisted attempts by the French to dislodge them
the fault lay not only with Kluck, but with the German Commander-in-Chief, Count Helmut von Molkte, and probably with the Schlieffen Plan itself,
which failed to account for the limitations of infantry formations operating at such rapid tempos
for months after the failure of the German offensive, both sides made various local attempts at achieving breakthroughs
most of these attempts failed miserably in the face of the unexpected effects of modern weapons
as each side attempts to outflank the other, the front expanded
troops spontaneously began to dig in for better protection, and within a few months, a solid front stretched from the Swiss border to the English Channel
in November 1914, the Kaiser personally ordered the commitment of the Imperial Foot Guards in order to guarantee a breakthrough
they attacked at Ypres and conducted a close-order frontal assault on new British trenches, losing hundreds of men and officers without securing an inch
the failure of the Guards at the 1st Battle of Ypres marked the beginning of a major reassessment of battlefield tactics by the Germans
despite this however, they began another series of offensives in February 1915 in the Soissons region north of Paris, which secured little ground
the British then attacked in the Artois region and broke through at Neuve Chapelle, but were unable to exploit their fleeting advantage
the Germans quickly closed the gap and in April, successfully used gas for the first time on the Western Front at Ypres
this gas attack was not accompanied by any major breakthrough attempt, so its element of surprise was partially wasted
it did disrupt the plans for the second Allied campaign at Artois, which was a joint British/French operation
these assaults also failed at a cost of 300 000 Allied casualties
the French made one more attempt against the German lines in the Champagne region preceded by a lengthy artillery bombardment and a simultaneous
British attack at Artois; however, these assaults were called off by French commander Joffre after 250 000 casualties
in one year of fighting, the lines changed very little, and neither side was yet learning how to fight in this new, dangerous environment
by early 1916, German units in the field had accumulated enough experience with position warfare to allow a few aggressive young officers to begin
asserting their new ideas
by the time that offensive at Verdun was begun, many units in field had spontaneously formed assault units which specialized in squad-level operations
the early proponents of these nascent combined arms tactics eventually ran a series of training centers immediately behind the lines
these centers assured that draftees arriving from Germany were trained in the methods of real war instead of the methods still being taught by people in
Germany who had no idea of the changes occurring at the front
the German Commander-in-Chief, Erich von Falkenhayn, now put into action his plan to “bleed white” the French Army
his plan to bleed white the French Army intended to isolate a section of the front-line which the French would not allow to fall, and then assure that the
area was ringed by the heaviest artillery coverage available
his target was the ancient French fortress of Verdun, which his troops first assaulted on February 21 after the most concentrated bombardment of the war
Falkenhayn, however, correctly divined that his subordinates would not likely agree with such a “bleeding white” plan, and so he did not share with them
his intent to purposefully avoid capturing Verdun itself
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Document Summary

Italian fascists described expansionist imperialism as a necessity similarly, the nazis promoted territorial expansionism to provide living space to the german nation fascists opposed pacifism and believed that a nation must have a warrior mentality. Economic policies fascists spoke of creating a new man and a new civilization as part of their intention to transform society. Social interventionism generally, fascist movements endorsed social interventionism dedicated to influencing society to promote the state"s interests. Mussolini promised a social revolution for remaking the italian people. Hitler promised to purge germany of non-aryan influences on society and create a pure aryan race through eugenics. Mussolini"s colonialism reached further into africa in an attempt to compete with british and french colonial empires. Mussolini spoke of making italy a nation that was great, respected, and feared throughout europe, and indeed the world. Drexler"s insistence on the inclusion of the term socialist in the party"s name had caused tension amongst members of the party including then-member.

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