Question: What is Fascism? Discuss how emergence of fascism in an unstable Europe, not only caused further instability but virtually destroying the continent in its wake. (8 Marks 120 words)
|Understanding of question: Define Fascism & Nazism briefly. Discuss how its growth in Europe was related to the prevailing instability in Europe. Mention how it caused further instability & destruction in Europe.
|Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries.
Opposed to liberalism, Marxism and anarchism, fascism is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum. Nazism was just an extreme & violent form of Fascism in Germany with extreme hate towards Jews.
|One of the main reasons for the growth of Fascism in Italy & Nazism in Germany is attributed to the prevailing instability in Europe i.e.
a. Political instability: The emergence of weak, unstable & indecisive coalition governments in many of the European countries including Italy & Germany, after World War I, led to a decline in the credibility of the Parliamentary form of government.
b. Economic instability: WW1 led to high war expenditure for the participating countries. Italy came under a huge debt, while Germany had to pay the war reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Further compounded by the Great Depression, this led to economic instability which further aided the growth of Fascism & Nazism in Europe.
c. Social instability: The Germans & Italians started resorting to Fascists leaders to end their humiliation caused by the war guilt, treaty of Versailles and betrayal by Allied partners & bring the past glory back.
d. Fear of Communism: The political instability, communist violence & strikes in the European countries aggravated fears of Russia-like Communist revolution & takeover. So, the elites, landowners, industrialists, armies etc lent their support to the Fascist/Nazi parties.
e. Other factors: Due to the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations, a global stabilizing force was missing to arrest the growth of Fascism.
f. The leadership vacuum in Europe, after people had lost confidence in the WW1 leaders, pushed Hitler & Mussolini to be seen as new leaders
However, the growth of Fascism & Nazism only led to more instability manifested through:
1. Coup d ‘etat or Putsch by the fascists against the ruling government.
2. Violence against the socialists & the communists.
3. Ban on all the parties except the Fascist/Nazi party.
4. Establishment of a Totalitarian state.
5. War militarization needed more debt, which led to further economic instability.
6. Creating conditions ripe for Civil war in other countries to gain allies e.g. Spanish Civil war
7. Hostile takeovers of other countries e.g. Czechoslovakia by Germany. Policy of Appeasement only aided the evil designs of the Fascists/Nazis.
|It finally led to destruction in Europe in the form of Second World War where millions perished & many more got displaced & injured.
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