Today we categorize the regimes of the Nazis and Mussolini as both being a Fascist state. In the early years of their regimes however if one looks closely would find that there is a stark difference in ideals of the two Dictators. One’s early ideals were to create the genetically perfect populace. While the second’s focused on empowering the individual and expanding to create a vast territorial empire.
Reading the Fordham university article The 25 Points 1920: An Early Nazi Program It could be understood that the Nazis viewed the well fair and purification of Germany as their main objective. Within these 25 points there is no mention of territorial expansion. At an early glance of these points and the lack of any territorial policies one could not categorize the early Nazi party with the regime of Mussolini.
In 1932 in order to put a defining definition of fascism Mussolini sat down with Giovanni Gentile and wrote Bento Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932. Mussolini argues that Fascism believes in that the support of the individual takes priority over that of the state. However it is also mentioned within his article that the growth of an empire where during this expansion the people can be invigorated.
While today it is easy to say that these two leaders were similar it is not completely true. Mussolini believed that Fascism is the system to invigorate a people and expand to become an empire. The early Nazi belief was much different in that they only believed in a genetically pure country. It can be argued that the two eventually merged into one and the same but the early parts of the regimes had a different idea of what it meant to be a Fascist.
As the 1930’s began the governments of Italy and Germany descended into Fascism. Many saw this as the answer to the world’s economic crisis however despite this the U.S. did not go into a fascist state. It did although initiate several programs that many of the population and the media compared to the fascist governments of Europe.
Wolfgang Schivelbusch explores these comparisons in the book Three New Deals. In the early 1930’s when the Roosevelt administration had just taken office they looked toward the Italian government to model their economic reforms. Many did not appreciate the similarities of FDR and the Fascist dictators of Europe. However most of his polices were a mixture of Democratic and Fascist ideals. After FDR had initiated the NRA or National Recovery Administration Mussolini wrote in a book review of Roosevelt’s Looking Forward “The appeal to the decisiveness and masculine sobriety of the nations youth, with which Roosevelt here calls his readers to battle, is reminiscent of the ways and means by which Fascism awakened the Italian People.” Here we have one of the most infamous Dictators of the world comparing the process that FDR had began to that of Fascist uprising in Italy. When this review was published the Press department was ordered not to compare the new deal as fascist because it would have given Roosevelt’s political enemies welcomed ammunition. Even that fact that there was potential to label the new deal and the president himself to fascism grants one to imagine that there may have been fascist ideals in Roosevelt’s policies. Within Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address there is fascist qualities. However it is more of wartime propaganda comparing the economic crisis as an enemy that the country must rise up in arms to fight against the foe. French and English commentators also compared Roosevelt to a strong leader and in most cases they depicted him as commander in chief similar to the roman Dictator called into service in times of Crisis, another way that they usually depicted him, as was a plebiscitary autocrat a la Mussolini. The comparisons of FDR to the fascist regimes of Europe were not confined to the political enemies and the fascist regimes themselves; many out side of the expected drew comparisons. Personally I would like to know how despite the recovery that was clearly happening after FDR’s polices were put into effect, that some people still feared that his programs where to fascist and would in the long term destroy the liberties of the American people.
Within David L. Hoffman’s article about European Modernity and Soviet Socialism he explores the many ways that the European governments viewed their populations. He further explores the many different policies and regulations that they put upon their populations. To view the history of Russia and its take on its population one must understand that while England and France were transforming into liberal, democratic, and a industrial capitalistic state, Russia did not follow suit. Russia remained a absolute monarchy under the tzars . It was not until the october revolution of 1917 that Russia’s government shifted into a socialist state. As different as the governments and economic systems of the west and the Soviet government where the leaders of each system had a similar view on their population. As modern Soviet and Western powers entered the modern age they began to see not only the opportunities but also the resource of having a large and healthy population. The governments understood that in order to maintain power a government must have its people healthy and educated this in turn would benefit the society and the country as a whole. Each country began to initiate well fair programs for the benefit of the population and with the aim to increase the population size and safety. In 1936 the Commissar of health in the Soviet Union justified the ban on abortion as curtail to increasing the population of the country which would lead to an increase of nationalism. In other countries the government took a darker approach to maintaining their population. In Nazi Germany the regime began a eugenics program aimed at sterilizing the members of the population with disabilities both physically and mentally. As most people think only of the Nazi regime committing this crime it is also true that the Stain regime also committed this crime. However unlike the Nazis Stalin sent his political enemies and minorities to Siberian work camps. Zygmunt Bauman has argued that the reason why Hitler and Stalins victims were killed was because they didn’t fit into the scheme of a perfect society. It is impossible to put all the blame of these crimes on modernity it is true that modernity enabled the industrialization of nations which led to governments taking an increased concern with their populations.