The Crumbling of Fascism

Clark’s article “Fascist diplomacy and Fascist war” delineates the weakening and ultimate collapse of the fascist state during the Second World War.  The place of South Tyrol in this argument emphasized the divisions inside Italy that limited the unification of the country.  South Tyrol held a german-speaking population which influenced Italy in favor of the League of Nations.1  The region became an issue with the rise of the Reich.  Although Hitler never included the population of South Tyrol in his plans for the Aryan race, the region nonetheless strongly favored repatriation when it was offered by Mussolini.… Read the rest here

Italian resistance to “Everyday Mussolinism”

The unification of Italy, or lack thereof consistently occupies a central space in the academic dialogue around Fascism.  R.J.B Bosworth in “Everyday Mussolinism” through archival sources created a picture of the complexities and contradictions of life under fascism in Italy.  One aspect of “Everday Mussolinism,” the prevalence of the client-patron relationship emphasized the difference between the ideology presented by Mussolini’s regime and the reality of life for the Italian public.  Moreover, the system undermined the push towards unification and encouraged loyalty to provincial, not national, state power.… Read the rest here

Genes vs. Ideas: The quest for the modern population

 

What is more important in a child’s value to the state, their genes or their ideas?  During the interwar period Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union would have answered that question in contradictory ways even though both countries were attempting a massive increase in reproduction.  Hoffman and Timmin in “Utopian Biopolitics” from Beyond Totalitarianism  argued that the summation of a child’s value to the state depended on the ideology propounded by the governing party.1  In Germany under the National Socialst party racial hygiene was the most important aspect of the population increase.  … Read the rest here

New Man the Hero?

The composition and fate of the hero has been the subject of culture and literature since antiquity.  The idea of one individual, surpassing common constraints and achieving greatness has long held an important place in the human psyche.  The creation of the New Man, by both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, transformed the concept of a new , modern human being into their own unique ideal.  Peter Fritzsche and Jochen Hellbeck argued in Beyond Totalitarianism that the Nazi hero exemplified the optimal Aryan purity and perfection, while Soviet Russia allowed every individual to achieve greatness through self-reformation into the proletarian socialist.… Read the rest here

Mussolini: Master Propagandist or Savior of Italy?

Mussolini ha sempre ragione, loosely translated to Mussolini is always right, in many ways perfectly embodies the complicated identity of the Italian fascist dictator.1  As B.J.B Bosworth explored the various biographies put forth about Mussolini in “Mussolini The Duce: Sawdust Caesar, Roman Statesman or Dictator Minor?” several key themes emerged in his analysis.  The local and international idolization of Mussolini coupled with the external pressure of several wars partially explained the downfall of the Italian Fascist regime and Italy after the Second World War.… Read the rest here

The Importance of Totalitarianism

Friedrich and Brzezinski utilized the term totalitarian dictatorship to separate the governments of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia from other autocracies in “Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy.”  In the words of Friedrich and Brzezinski the totalitarian dictatorship “emerges as a system of rule for realizing totalist intentions under modern political and technical conditions”, or put more simply, a system of complete control using modern technology and infrastructure (17).  Published in the 1950s “Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy” lost credibility with its false prophecy that the only way to neutralize a totalitarian state was from an external conflict with the destabilization of the Soviet state in the 1980s.… Read the rest here

The Holocaust: A product of modern society?

Is the Holocaust a failure or product of modern society?  Bauman in the first chapter of his book Modernity and the Holocaust argued the Holocaust represented the darker possibilities of modern civilized life.  Using the bureaucracy and social engineering utilized by the Nazis to create a judenfrei Europe as evidence to support his claims, Bauman stipulated that the Holocaust existed as an extension of modern civilization. This thesis contradicts a mainstream theory of sociology, i.e. the prevailing notion that the Holocaust was a failure, not a product, of modern society.  … Read the rest here

Peter the Great and Progress

In an attempt to create a more progressive and modern Russia, Peter the Great consolidated his own power by successfully subjugating the aristocracy and Russian Orthodox Church.  A group of perpetual troublemakers, the gentry were given official duties and rank according to the Table of Ranks.  Futhermore the rank of the noble was directly related to that individuals relationship with the Emperor, completely discounting the traditional hereditary mestnichestvo.  By establishing a meritocracy the best and brightest would in theory have the highest ranks in the government.  … Read the rest here