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Fascism:Its rise and its downfall
Fascism means autocracy or dictatorship where the whole power of the state is vested in one person only and it is obligatory for all countrymen to carry out his orders. Nobody can dare or has the right to criticize or oppose his policy. In this article focus is paid on what is fascism, its features, impact and its downfall with the death of Mussolini.
The term fascism is derived from the word "fascio" which means a bundle of rods, symbolizing discipline, unity and strength of the dictatorial authority of the state and the emperor. Fascism means autocracy or dictatorship where the whole power of the state is vested in one person only and it is obligatory for all countrymen to carry out his orders. Nobody can dare or has the right to criticize or oppose his policy. According to Laski- Fascism is a counter-revolutionary movement of the capitalist class to resolve the contradiction between the political democracy and an economic oligarchy by overthrowing the former in the interest of the latter. According to Mussolini-Fascism is based on resolution. Objectives and works of the state. It promotes state as complete and individual and associations as incomplete. Hence fascism emerged as an impulse moving towards law and order which ought to safeguard the existing institution of Italy against ruinous impact and influence of Bolshevism.
Rise of Fascism in Italy
Fascism rose in Italy due to discontentment after the Treaty of Versailles. Under secret treaty of London, England agreed to give Italy sufficient money and a large territory. But it denied after gaining victory. There was a great economic crisis caused due to war. Hence the great economic crisis and the existence of weak government could not control the situation. In such a situation Mussolini being a leader organized the fascist party into a strong party and set up dictatorship in Italy by taking power in his own hand in 1922.
Impact of Fascism on Italy
fascism impact on Italy was noteworthy, it have effect whole country and its people. The principle of fascist party known as fascism. This party gained great power till 1929. Mussolini signed the treaty with the pope to establish cordial relationship with him. Under fascism law and order was established, economic condition of the people improved and reduced the unemployment. It favored equal control on the capitalists and the poor. It supported imperialistic and aggressive policy. School, colleges and libraries was opened to spread the principle of fascism. Military training was made compulsory and military force was increased. The follower of fascism prescribed with a particular uniform-black shirts. People led a strict life deprived of rights. The main aim of Mussolini was to increase the prestige and glory of Italy in the international sphere after the failure from treaty of Versailles. Fascism met its end in Italy after Mussolini's death in 1943.
Principles(features) of Fascism
Fascism was a spiritual movement aiming at reviving Italian soul in terms of duty of the state. The various features of fascism are as follows-
- Omnipotent state-The authority of the state is absolute, unlimited and indivisible.It advocates a state with vigorous action. State is powerful to become a deity at whose attar all interest of individuals can be sacrificed. It's an unlimited sovereignty of state overall phase of national activity.
- Against individualism-fascism was against the individual. It preferred the state to the man or the individual as he gets all rights from the state. Individuals did exists only for shake of individuals. It laid more emphasis on duties of individual and rights of state.
- Believes in Elitism-Sovereignty is said to be vested in the nation, its exercise is in the hands of the elite(small section of the ruling party) formed around the personality of the charismatic leader. He is above law and always right. He is having all military and civil rights and nobody can criticize him.
- Antithesis of democracy-fascism was anti-thesis of democracy. In place of majorities and quantities it sought to substitute the leader. It assumes that the masses are not interest in politics and they are even incapable of governing themselves.
- No place for opposition-According to fascism dictatorship was the best form of the government. There was no place for opposition in it and it favored bringing an end to all forces. Freedom of thought and expression is banned. Press and other mass media have to work under strict censorship of the state supporting one party and only one leader.
- Pro-capitalist ideology-Fascism is certainly a pro-capitalist ideology. It favored right to property. The capitalist features is determined by four points-
- Community decides what the national interest requires.
- Corporation operating under the public control
- Strikes and lock-outs have to be forbidden.
- the segment of politics have to be eliminated by the unity of expertise.
- Empirical and practical-Fascism has no doctrinal basis, it is essentially empirical and practical. As movement based on the pragmatic appraisal of conditions necessary to retain power, it never preoccupies with the task of consistent theoretical interpretation in respect of its growth and its origin.
- Believes in racialism and imperialism-Fascism promotes racialism and imperialism. It denies the equality of people. It accepts man's inequality and even raises it to the status of an ideal.
- Advocate violence and falsehood-It rejects the moral conduct and advocated violence and falsehood. It regards the state as an end in its self and individuals as means to it. It advocated authority and totalitarian uniformity in all sphere of social activity. It places reliance upon military training and indoctrination.
- Aggressive nationalism-fascism was the supporter of an imperialist and aggressive policy so that the country should become strong and might gain power and prestige in the international sphere. Nationalism was of narrow, chauvinistic, openly advocating aggressive warfare and imperialistic expansion.
- Enemy of Internationalism-Fascism was against internationalism. "Internationalism peace it proclaims is a coward's dream. Military and imperialism is the external and immutable laws of life. Though imperialism it wanted Italy to regain its power back.
Achievements of fascism
The various achievements of fascism are as follows-
- End to unrest and lawlessness-Under fascism all opposition was crushed and law and order was established in the state. Fascists was the only political party which encouraged nationalist feeling through "fascios".
- Brought prosperity to Italy-Various reforms introduced to improve the economic condition of the people-reduced the government expenditure, improve trade and commerce, agricultural and transportation development etc. along with this many scheme was introduced to reduce the unemployment.
- Promotion of common interest-fascism promoted national production and promotion of common interest. It has brought together the interest of workers, employers and the whole state and community.
Criticism of fascism
The various criticism of fascism are as follows-
- Lack of coherence in ideology-It is a revolution without doctrine, action for the sake of action alone. Idea being used but not being a guiding principle.
- Emergence of destructive nationalism-nationalism is very constructive force, but fascist misused it. They suppress all kind of opposition at home and entered into the war abroad just for imperialistic ends. It promoted military expansion of Italy as a superpower.
- Suffering to mankind-The way fascist worked it brought suffering to mankind. War and strict militarization produced unrest all over Italy. Naturally, this part of the fascist ideology deserves condemnation in strong possible term.
- Brought wrong notion for internationalism-Instead of advocating friendship and co-operation among the nations and pacific settlement of international disputes, it encouraged the course of confrontation and war by sticking to the policy of blood and iron. Hence propagated wrong notion of internationalism.
- Conservative and narrow political system-Political system was conservative and narrow. It centered around few elitist and its leader. Democracy was reduced in the political system, truth and right was only determined by the dictator. People's rights and presentation was merely incompetent to political system.
- Promotes corporatism-since 1926, fascist promoted corporatism. They proclaimed that in each branch should establish corporation of production. In the first phase it included corporatism of trade union concerning production. Latter it promoted corporatism in field of private property under the head of state.
- Wrong rationalization of the society-Fascist teaching and ideologies were completely irrational. All acts executed was single headed and lack mass representation. Freedom of speech, press and basic rights of the people was curtailed. Even in schools and colleges the lecture delivered on the fascist culture. Hence it provided a wrong notion to society.
- totalitarianism-The greatest drawback of fascism was totalitarianism. The public was deprived from all their rights. The assembly was not dissolved bit it was existing in name of only one man Mussolini.
- Anti-socialism-Fascist was against Marx's socialism. They say that capitalist and labourer should give up their self- interest and should work in the interest of nation.
But despite of all these various criticism, fascism played a great role in attainment of progress in different sphere of life in Italy and provided it prestige and power at international level. But it came to an end with Mussolini's death in 1943. Fascism provided Italy an international reputation, ended the war between labour and capital.
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