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The Appeal of Fascism

Thundercrack85

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As a kid studying European history, I never understood why entire nations moved to fascistic governments. Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, and of course, Hitler in Germany.

But fascist attitudes do seem to be making a return. Unprecedented corporatism, mass surveillance, censorship, nationalism, etc. I suppose the only thing we are missing is a charismatic demagogue. Then it's all downhill.

Obviously no one likes being called a fascist or a Nazi, but why do its tenants seem to appeal to so many people?

Do people just like saluting a flag and marching in unison?

Or is it really just human cowardice? Security > freedoms.
 
Human cowardice and honestly...laziness. We don't want to deal with problems...we want government to sweep them under the rug so we don't have to deal with them.
 
You have to take into account that the totalitarian governments that arose during the 1930's were able to because their previous governments were complete and total failures, especially during the Great Depression. The Wiemar Republic never had any legitimacy among the German people due to the Treaty of Versailles. Italy was screwed over by the other powers in the aftermath of World War I and managed the war inefficiently thus people lost their trust in the liberal government there. And Spain's government was continually unstable for decades while the left was fractured while the extreme right was united.

What fascism offered to Germany, Italy, and Spain was stability that the previous governments could never offer. That nationalistic message and security promises were pluses, but it really comes down to stability.
 
People get scared enough to give up freedoms in exchange for security, and put their faith in someone or a party that projects a strong image.
 
People get scared enough to give up freedoms in exchange for security, and put their faith in someone or a party that projects a strong image.


Pfft, not me.

Although I do have faith in Gary Johnson. And the LP.
 
Pfft, not me.

Although I do have faith in Gary Johnson. And the LP.
Until you've lived in a country that's been beaten down and ravaged after a civil or World War, you'll never know. People will believe in some of the (in hindsight) stupidest things when their situations are desperate if it makes them feel like it'll get them on their feet again.
 
Human cowardice and honestly...laziness. We don't want to deal with problems...we want government to sweep them under the rug so we don't have to deal with them.

I don't think it was laziness that made Germans turn to Nazism and really the extreme nationalism that fascism represents often states that democracies are lazy and decadent. I think the Treaty of Versailles, the "Stab in the Back" Myth and the ruined post WWI economy helped the Nazis get into power rather then laziness. Heck the Nazis got into power through a coalition government with various conservative parties, who were later shut out of power.
 
As far as Germany, you have a pissed off citizenry, a country in turmoil financially, a scapegoat, a charismatic voice with smart people around him, great propaganda machine and you have......the US?
 
As far as Germany, you have a pissed off citizenry, a country in turmoil financially, a scapegoat, a charismatic voice with smart people around him, great propaganda machine and you have......the US?

I think that is a leap, you don't have the shame of defeat that the Treaty of Versailles or the Stab in the Legend in America. Any comparisons between America and Nazi Germany are very belabored, not borne out by the facts. There never would have been a Nazi Germany without WWI, many countries in the 30s had a bad economy and antisemitism, not very every country had the "Stab in the Back Legend". it took more then a bad economy for Hitler to get into power and any comparison to any US politician to Hitler is silly.
 
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I actually wasn't comparing the two, I simply started describing one, and realized I was sounding like us today. That's all...no comparison really. And, I don't think I stated that it was only a bad economy that lead to Hitler.
 
I actually wasn't comparing the two, I simply started describing one, and realized I was sounding like us today. That's all...no comparison really. And, I don't think I stated that it was only a bad economy that lead to Hitler.

Describing one and then stating that it sounds like us today is implying a comparison.

You can say there are some similarities between the US today and Weimar Republic, but there a many differences as well. You can say there were similarities between the Weimar Republic and the US in the 30s, but the US did not become a fascist country in the 30s.
 
I think America's size is a big factor in that. Not to mention its disunity, which has long been a serious problem, but also something of a blessing.

It's not hard to imagine the Confederacy, if it had somehow survived the Civil War, turning into a fascist state. I mean with more than a third of the population literally enslaved, it was already a totalitarian state.

But even then, you had entire chunks of states like western Virginia (now still West Virginia) splitting off, based largely on religious / ethnic / socioeconomic differences.

America has become more unified since, though. But you don't go from a liberal democracy to a totalitarian state overnight. That doesn't mean it can't happen over time though.
 
Spain spent 40 years under Fascism under Franco. Franco was probably happy he was neutral during World War II, because he would have ended up like Hitler or Mussolini and many of his associates would have scattered to South America and would have evaded capture for decades.

It's interesting that a lot of Nazis ended up in North and South America. It took 15 years after the war for Adolf Eichmann to be captured. Josef Mengele was never captured and drowned in a beach in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1969 and Klaus Barbie wasn't captured until 1983 after living in Bolivia for nearly two decades (and he had claimed to have played a role in the death of Che Guevara, although there was no solid proof that he even had a role).

I read somewhere that we have revoked the US citizenship of several foreigners due to their Nazi past, but that no country has been willing to take them back to Europe.
 
Describing one and then stating that it sounds like us today is implying a comparison.

You can say there are some similarities between the US today and Weimar Republic, but there a many differences as well. You can say there were similarities between the Weimar Republic and the US in the 30s, but the US did not become a fascist country in the 30s.
The biggest difference between the United States and Weimar Germany is that the United States is grounded in over two centuries of solid democratic traditions that was built by another two centuries of democratic ideals through the colonies, while the Weimar Republic was Germany's first attempt at democracy and it had no legitimacy to begin with. Nations that have long standing traditions with democracy have a much better shot at surviving during various crises than nations without longstanding democratic institutions.
 
It is also important to remember that democracy in Europe was a relatively recent development for the large part in its modern inception, and was fledgling at this point. Even to people within democratic nations, it really did seem like democracy had failed and that only a 'strong' centralised structure could work.

Moreover, much of fascism was in response to the fear of communism: Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, all saw the Soviet Union as the biggest threat.
 
I think America's size is a big factor in that. Not to mention its disunity, which has long been a serious problem, but also something of a blessing.

It's not hard to imagine the Confederacy, if it had somehow survived the Civil War, turning into a fascist state. I mean with more than a third of the population literally enslaved, it was already a totalitarian state.

But even then, you had entire chunks of states like western Virginia (now still West Virginia) splitting off, based largely on religious / ethnic / socioeconomic differences.

America has become more unified since, though. But you don't go from a liberal democracy to a totalitarian state overnight. That doesn't mean it can't happen over time though.

A fascist Confederacy type state would crumble quick. You've got to consider that the oppressed peoples' situation is going to be known about worldwide thanks to modern communications. Help from the outside could start an uprising that overthrows the hypothetical facist state. If anyone cared, of course. The potential for such a state to crumble is there.
 
Oh I agree, but fascist states are by nature unstable.

Slave revolts would have destroyed the South, much like Haiti.

If it wasn't for the Great Migration the South today would be predominately black. Even people in the 19th century realized that.
 
I do history too, and you'll learn on your course Hitler rise to power because of many reasons. The Great Depression made the conditions possible, but there were many other reasons, including the legitimacy of the Weimar Republic being challenged from its inception by the judiciary, which was comprised of the Wilhelmine Prussian elite which dominated the Second Reich as they gave quasi-legal status to right wing extremists and revolutionaries. Not to mention the political machinations of Papen and Schleicher.

Following the reorganisation of the NSDAP, Hitler pursued the policy of legality, in essence that being, he will come to power but he must do everything with the sheen of being legal. Thus, once the Great Depression was hitting, and unemployment was rising again, less than 10 years after Germany's previous unemployment crisis and hyperfinlation Hitler siezed his chance. The NSDAP launched their election campaign, promising only two things, the only two things all Germans needed: work and bread. All his other policy could afford to wait until later.

The NSDAP was the only political party in Germany that was not acting as a special interest group, their party manifesto obviously contained nationalist and socialist policy, and as such enjoyed widespread support. Hindenburg resisted appointing Hitler as Chancellor, feeling his popularity had peaked, and would soon diminish, but with the Nazis commanding a huge proportion of the Reichstag, no government could function. Because of Papen's persuasion of Hindenburg, Hitler was appointed Chancellor. A position mainly of ceremony, Cabinet decisions are approved by majoirty, which the NSDAP did not have.

The truth is, although everyone knew Hitler was an anti-semitic lunatic, nobody thought he would gain the power he did. This all began with the Reichstag fire which demonstrated Hitler's superb pragmatism as a politician, he worked it all to his advantage.
 
I do history too, and you'll learn on your course Hitler rise to power because of many reasons. The Great Depression made the conditions possible, but there were many other reasons, including the legitimacy of the Weimar Republic being challenged from its inception by the judiciary, which was comprised of the Wilhelmine Prussian elite which dominated the Second Reich as they gave quasi-legal status to right wing extremists and revolutionaries. Not to mention the political machinations of Papen and Schleicher.

Following the reorganisation of the NSDAP, Hitler pursued the policy of legality, in essence that being, he will come to power but he must do everything with the sheen of being legal. Thus, once the Great Depression was hitting, and unemployment was rising again, less than 10 years after Germany's previous unemployment crisis and hyperfinlation Hitler siezed his chance. The NSDAP launched their election campaign, promising only two things, the only two things all Germans needed: work and bread. All his other policy could afford to wait until later.

The NSDAP was the only political party in Germany that was not acting as a special interest group, their party manifesto obviously contained nationalist and socialist policy, and as such enjoyed widespread support. Hindenburg resisted appointing Hitler as Chancellor, feeling his popularity had peaked, and would soon diminish, but with the Nazis commanding a huge proportion of the Reichstag, no government could function. Because of Papen's persuasion of Hindenburg, Hitler was appointed Chancellor. A position mainly of ceremony, Cabinet decisions are approved by majoirty, which the NSDAP did not have.

The truth is, although everyone knew Hitler was an anti-semitic lunatic, nobody thought he would gain the power he did. This all began with the Reichstag fire which demonstrated Hitler's superb pragmatism as a politician, he worked it all to his advantage.

And the Volkswagen..... :cwink:
 

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