Three New Deals

In the early 1930s, Germany, Italy, and the United States endured a period of economic downturn known as the Great Depression.  These three countries took separate roads toward recovery.  However, in the book, Three New Deals, Wolfgang Busch argues that the United States may have had more in common with the National Socialists in Germany and the Fascists in Italy.

In Chapter One of his book, Wolfgang Schivelbush gives a detailed narrative about Nazi Germanys’ and Fascist Italy’s perspective on Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.  Schivelbush notes that in the first half of the 1930s, Germany and Italy held a positive position on Roosevelt and his new deal.  Nazi Germany, according to Schivelbush, believed the beginnings of the new deal echoed their “Revolutionary Program”.(Schivelbush 18).   Though FDR did adapt some socialist ideas in his policies, FDR made sure that these ideas were in line with American values and to help quell any concerns over the direction of American democracy.  While intrigued occurred in Germany over FDRs policies, Facists in Italy took interest in FDR and his policies.  Benito Mussolini stated in his book that “The Appeal to the decisiveness and masculine sobriety of the nation’s youth, with which Roosevelt here calls his readers to battle, is reminicent of the ways and means by which Fascism awakened the Italian people”.(Mussolini quote in Schivelbush’s Three New Deals, 23).  Mussolini praised FDR as a strong man who was able to take grasp of power in the United States and move it in a fascist friendly direction.

At home, the National Socialist and Fascist comparisons helped give FDR negative attention, particularly from his political opponents.  Political and civilian opponents believed  that FDR attempted to not only destroy civil liberties and gain more constitutional power, but also establish friendships with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.  Though Constitutional powers were never completely destroyed and an alliance with Italy and Germany never happened, FDR did push against these boundaries so that he could attempt to get the United States get back on its feet.


3 thoughts on “Three New Deals

  1. While you mention FDR’s plan for recovery did have some fascists elements,he made sure the base of these ideas/policies reflected American values. Despite this attempt, his plan was still negatively compared to Fascism. Do you think that there was anyway FDR could have avoided such negative comparisons made by his counterparts?

    • I do not believe he could have avoided it if he had altered any of his decisions in anyway. I believe that criticism always exists because there will always be people who will disagree with one another, since there are people who think differently and believed in different ideologies. Could he have minimized the negative comparisons? Possibly. If he had chosen other paths for the “New Deal”, he might have avoided it. However, if he went down that road, who knows what the end result of those decisions would be. We can’t be certain of the end results of paths that were not taken. He may have been more successful or he may have done more harm than good had he chosen another path.

  2. I do not think so. FDR ushered in a radically new American government. I think the fact that he made these changes with American values in mind only generates a stronger link to fascist regimes. Hitler and Mussolini both generated new governments under the guise of reclaiming true national values and lives. While I do not think that FDR was a fascist, I often think about how he might have laid the groundworks for a more radical leader to transform the United States into a veritable fascist state. If some of his administrations that imposed on personal liberties and court packing plans succeeded could that have given another leader precedent to escalate state control?

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