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Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist ideology. Fascists advocate the creation of a single-party state. Fascists believe that nations and races are in perpetual conflict whereby only the strong can survive by being healthy, vital, and by asserting themselves in combat against the weak. Fascist governments forbid and suppress all criticism and opposition to the government and the fascist movement.
Following the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II and the publicity surrounding the atrocities committed during the period of fascist governments, the term fascist has been used as a pejorative word.
The term fascismo is derived from the Italian word fascio, which means "bundle", group, or "union", and from the Latin word fasces.  The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe, were an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrates; they were carried by his Lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command. Furthermore, the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. This is a familiar theme throughout different forms of fascism; for example the Falange symbol is a bunch of arrows joined together by a yoke.
Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism. Since the 1990s, scholars like Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin and Robert O. Paxton have begun to gather a rough consensus on the system's core tenets. Each form of fascism is distinct, leaving many definitions as too wide or too narrow.
[Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence.
According to Paxton, fascism is
a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
 Position in the political spectrum
Historians do not place all fascists in the same position on the political spectrum - groups have been placed "left, right and center," or not even in the spectrum at all. Benito Mussolini promoted ambiguity about fascism's positions in order to rally as many people to it as possible, saying fascists can be "aristocrats or democrats, revolutionaries and reactionaries, proletarians and anti-proletarians, pacifists and anti-pacifists". Mussolini claimed that fascism could be both revolutionary and conservative.
One perspective is that fascism is associated with right-wing politics. Fascism has been seen by some as a reactionary response to progressive internationalism, as fascism sought to restore traditional national identity and values while rejecting modern progressive internationalist politics in the world. Eugen Weber places fascism on the right: "...their most common allies lay on the right, particularly on the radical authoritarian right, and Italian Fascism as a semi-coherent entity was partly defined by its merger with one of the most radical of all right authoritarian movements in Europe, the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI)." Walter Laqueur says that historical fascism "did not belong to the extreme Left, yet defining it as part of the extreme Right is not very illuminating either", but that it "was always a coalition between radical, populist ('fascist') elements and others gravitating toward the extreme Right". Roger Griffin argues that since the end of World War II, fascist movements have become intertwined with the radical right, describing certain groups as part of a "fascist radical right". Stanley Payne notes the alliances and sometimes fusion between fascists and right-wing authoritarians, but stresses the important differences between the two.
Fascists reject ideas of class conflict and internationalism which are commonly held by Marxists and international socialists in favor of class collaboration and statist nationalism. While fascists oppose conservatism that does not adhere to nationalist values or restricts fascist principles for the sake of preserving tradition, there have been national conservatives, such as Edgar Jung of the German Conservative Revolutionary movement in the 1920s and 1930s who were proponents of fascist versions of national conservatism.
A number of fascist movements described themselves a "third force" that was outside the traditional political spectrum altogether. Many scholars accept fascism as a search for a third way between capitalism and communism. Roger Griffin argued, "Not only does the location of fascism within the right pose taxonomic problems, there are good ground for cutting this particular Gordian knot altogether by placing it in a category of its own "beyond left and right." Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, described his position as "hard centre" in the political spectrum. Spanish Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera was critical of both left-wing and right-wing politics, once saying that "basically the Right stands for the maintenance of an economic structure, albeit an unjust one, while the Left stands for the attempt to subvert that economic structure, even though the subversion thereof would entail the destruction of much that was worthwhile". Seymour Martin Lipset sees fascism as "extremism of the center". In some two dimensional political models, such as the Political Compass (where left and right are described in purely economic terms), fascism is ascribed to the economic centre with its extremism expressing itself on the authoritarianism axis instead.
 Fascist as epithet
Following World War II, the word fascist has become a slur throughout the political spectrum. In contemporary political discourse, some adherents of political ideologies on both the left and right wings of the political spectrum associate fascism with their political enemies, or define it as the opposite of their own views. Some argue that the term fascist has become hopelessly vague over the years and that it is now little more than a pejorative epithet. George Orwell wrote in 1944:
The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else... almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. – George Orwell, What is Fascism?. 1944.
Richard Griffiths argued in 2005 that the term fascism is the "most misused, and over-used word of our times".
 Historical causes of the rise of fascism
A variety of views exist on what led to the rise of fascism as an ideology. Common views include that fascism was a response to events during World War I that led to perceived failings of democracy, liberalism, and Marxism for each having favoured either individualism or internationalism at the expense of nations and nationalism. In Italy, the perceptions of failures of democratic government in Italy, Italian liberalism, and the fears of Italian society been torn apart by Marxism stimulated the creation and popularity of Italian Fascism. Fascism presented itself as a radical nationalist alternative to rising Bolshevism that came in the Russian October Revolution of 1917 but it did incorporate government infrastructure aspects of Bolshevism into the ideology, such as the single-party state, the concept of rule by an elite group to represent the masses, and appeals to proletarian workers. With economic problems and unemployment facing recently returned veterans of World War I, fascism appealed to collectivism and honouring soldiers and the military by calling for the end of bourgeois individualism while calling for war on Marxism for its anti-nationalist and perceived anti-patriotic ways. The creation of the League of Nations after World War I aggravated nationalists in the world, as the League was seen as the imposition of an internationalist political order upon nations. Fascists saw the League of Nations as only benefiting the wealthy, capitalist democracies. Disillusionment with liberalism deepened with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression and also created nationalist sentiment in opposition to internationalism.
 Core tenets
Fascists sees the struggle of nation and race as fundamental in society, in opposition to communism's perception of class struggle and in opposition to capitalism's focus on the value of productivity and individualism. The nation is seen in fascism as a single organic entity which binds people together by their ancestry and is seen as a natural unifying force of people. Fascists promote the unification and expansion of influence, power, and/or territory of and for their nation. Fascism seeks to solve existing economic, political, and social problems by achieving a millenarian national rebirth, exalting the nation or race above all else, and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity. Benito Mussolini stated in 1922, "For us the nation is not just territory but something spiritual... A nation is great when it translates into reality the force of its spirit."
Eoin O'Duffy, an Irish national corporatist, stated in 1934,
We must lead the people always; nationally, socially and economically. We must clear up the economic mess and right the glaring social injustices of to-day by the corporative organization of Irish life; but before everything we must give a national lead to our people...The first essential is national unity. We can only have that when the Corporative system is accepted. We shall put our National programme to the people, and it is a programme in which even the most advanced Nationalist can find nothing to disturb him.
Joseph Goebbels described the Nazis as being affiliated with authoritarian nationalism:
It enables us to see at once why democracy and Bolshevism, which in the eyes of the world are irrevocably opposed to one another, meet again and again on common ground in their joint hatred of and attacks on authoritarian nationalist concepts of State and State systems. For the authoritarian nationalist conception of the State represents something essentially new. In it the French Revolution is superseded.
Plínio Salgado, leader of the Brazilian Integralist Action party emphasized the role of the nation:
The best governments in the world cannot succeed in pulling a country out of the quagmire, out of apathy, if they do not express themselves as national energies...Strong governments cannot result either from conspiracies of from military coups, just as they cannot come out of the machinations of parties or the Machiavellian game of political lobbying. They can only be born from the actual roots of the Nation.
 Foreign policy
Italian fascists described expansionist imperialism as a necessity. The 1932 Italian Encyclopedia stated: "For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence." Similarly the Nazis promoted territorial expansionism to in their words provide "living space" to the German nation. Fascists oppose pacifism and believe that a nation must have a warrior mentality. Benito Mussolini spoke of war idealistically as a source of masculine pride, and spoke of pacifism in negative terms:
War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to meet it. Fascism carries this anti-pacifist struggle into the lives of individuals. It is education for combat...war is to man what maternity is to the woman. I do not believe in perpetual peace; not only do I not believe in it but I find it depressing and a negation of all the fundamental virtues of a man.
Every birth brings pain. But amid the pain there is already the joy of a new life. It is a sign of sterility to shy away from new life on the account of pain[...] Our age too is an act of historical birth, whose pangs carry with them the joy of richer life to come. The significance of the war has grown as its scale has increased. It is relentlessly at work, shattering old forms and ideas, and directing the eyes of human beings to new, greater objectives.
All fascist movements advocate the creation of an authoritarian government that is an autocratic single-party state led by a charismatic leader with the powers of a dictator. Many fascist movements support the creation of a totalitarian state. The Italian Doctrine of Fascism states: "The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people." Political theorist Carl Schmitt, as a Nazi party member, published The Legal Basis of the Total State in 1935, describing the Nazi regime's intention to form a totalitarian state:
The recognition of the plurality of autonomous life would, however, immediately lead back to a disasterous pluralism tearing the German people apart into discrete classes and religious, ethnic, social, and interest groups if it were not for a strong state which guarantees a totality of political unity transcending all diversity. Every political unity needs a coherant inner logic underlying its institutions and norms. It needs a unified concept which gives shape to every sphere of public life. In this sense there is no normal State which is not a total State.
Japanese fascist Nakano Seigo described the need for Japan to follow the Italian Fascist and Nazi regimes as a model for Japanese government and declared that a totalitarian society was more democratic than democracies, saying:
Both Fascism and Nazism are clearly different from the despotism of the old period. They do not represent the conservatism which lags behind democracy, but are a form of more democratic government going beyond democracy. Democracy has lost its spirit and decayed into a mechanism which insists only on numerical superiority without considering the essence of human beings. It says the majority is all good. I do not agree, because it is the majority which is the precise cause of contemporary decadence. Totalitarianism must be based on essentials, superseding the rule of numbers.
Some have argued that in spite of Italian fascism's attempt to form a totalitarian state, fascism in Italy devolved to a cult of personality around Mussolini. However, both proponents and opponents of fascism in Italy claimed that it had a clear intention to establish a totalitarian state. Hungarian fascist leader Gyula Gömbös and his Hungarian National Defence Association attempted to form a totalitarian state in Hungary, but that attempt failed after Gömbös' death in 1936. The Nazi regime in Germany has been described as totalitarian by most scholars and critics.
A key element of fascism is its endorsement of a prime national leader, who is often known simply as the "Leader" or a similar title, such as: Duce in Italian, Führer in German, Caudillo in Spanish, or Conducător in Romanian. The fascist movement demands obedience to the leader, and may exhort people worship the leader as an infallible saviour of the people. Fascist leaders who ruled countries were not always heads of state, but heads of government, such as Benito Mussolini, who held power under the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III.
 Social Darwinism
Fascist movements have commonly held social darwinist views of nations, races, and societies. Italian Fascist Alfredo Rocco shortly after World War I claimed that conflict was inevitable in society:
Conflict is in fact the basic law of life in all social organisms, as it is of all biological ones; societies are formed, gain strength, and move forwards through conflict; the healthiest and most vital of them assert themselves against the weakest and less well adapted through conflict; the natural evolution of nations and races takes place through conflict. Alfredo Rocco
Italian Fascist philosopher Giovanni Gentile in The Origins and Doctrine of Fascism promoted the concept of conflict being an act of progress by stating that "mankind only progresses through division, and progress is achieved through the clash and victory of one side over another".
Fascist movements commonly follow the social Darwinist view that in order for nations and races to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict, nations and races must purge themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people.
In Germany, the Nazis utilized social Darwinism to promote their racialist concept of the German nation as being part of the Aryan race and the need for the Aryan race to be strong in order to be victorious in what the Nazis believed was ongoing competition and conflict between different races.
 Social interventionism
Generally fascist movements endorse social interventionism dedicated to influencing society to promote the state's interests. Some scholars say that one cannot speak of “fascist social policy” as a single concept with logical and internally consistent ideas and common identifiable goals.
Different fascist movements have spoken of creating a "new man" and a "new civilization" as part of their intention to transform society. Mussolini promised a “social revolution” for “remaking” the Italian people. Hitler promised to purge Germany of non-Aryan influences on society and create a pure Aryan race through eugenics.
Fascist states have pursued policies of indoctrination of society to their fascist movements such as through propaganda deliberately spread through education and media through regulation of the production of education and media material. Education was designed to glorify the fascist movement, inform students of it being of major historical and political importance to the nation, attempted to purge education of ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement, and taught students to be obedient to the fascist movement.
Thus fascism tends to be anti-intellectual. The Nazis in particular despised intellectuals and university professors. Hitler declared them unreliable, useless and even dangerous. Still, Hitler has been quoted as saying "When I take a look at the intellectual classes we have - unfortunately, I suppose, they are necessary; otherwise one could one day, I don't know, exterminate them or something - but unfortunately they're necessary."
 Abortion, eugenics and euthanasia
Different fascist groups had differing positions on abortion as a whole but agreed that abortion amongst healthy members of their nation or race should be forbidden, while other cases of abortion were viewed differently by some fascists. The fascist government in Italy banned abortion and literature on birth control in 1926, declaring them both crimes against the state. The Nazis decriminalized abortion in cases in which fetuses had racial or hereditary defects, while the abortion of healthy "pure" German, "Aryan" unborn remained strictly forbidden. For non-Aryans, abortion was not only allowed, but often compelled. Their eugenics program stemmed also from the "progressive biomedical model" of Weimar Germany. The security chief of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations expressed similar views, stating: "I’m just against abortion for the pure white race. For blacks and other mongrelized races, abortion is a good idea."
 Culture and gender roles
Initially Italian Fascism officially stood in favour of expanding voting rights to women. In 1920 Mussolini declared that "Fascists do not belong to the crowd of the vain and skeptical who undervalue women's social and political importance. Who cares about voting? You will vote!". Women were briefly given the right to vote until 1925 when the Italian Fascist government abolished elections.
Benito Mussolini perceived women's primary role as childbearers while men should be warriors, once saying "war is to man what maternity is to the woman". The Italian Fascist government during the "Battle for Births" gave financial incentives to women who raised large families as well as policies designed to reduce the number of women employed to allow women to give birth to larger numbers of children. In 1934, Benito Mussolini declared that employment of women was a "major aspect of the thorny problem of unemployment" which Italy was facing at the time and said that women having a habit of working was "incompatible with childbearing". Mussolini went on to say that the solution to unemployment for men was the "exodus of women from the work force". Italian Fascism called for women to be honoured as "reproducers of the nation" and the Italian Fascist government held ritual ceremonies to honour women's role within the Italian nation.
In the 1920s, the Italian Fascist goverment's Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (OND) allowed working women to attend various entertainment and recreation events including sports that in the past had traditionally been played by men. The Italian Fascist regime was criticized by the Roman Catholic Church that claimed that these activities were causing "masculinization" of women. The Italian Fascist regime responded to such criticism by restricting women to only being allowed to take part "feminine" and "womanly" sports, while forbidding them to be part of sports that were played mostly by men.
The British Union of Fascists believed that it was unnatural for women to have more influence in a relationship with a man. After Oswald Mosley was arrested in 1940, during interrogation he declared that the British Fascists were committed to equality of the sexes and commended women's role in the British Fascist movement, claiming that the movement had "been largely built up by the fanaticism of women...Without the women I could not have got a quarter of the way...". It is believed that women accounted for 20 per cent to one-third of the British Union of Fascists' membership.
Nazi propaganda sometimes promoted premarital and extramarital sexual relations, unwed motherhood, and divorce. At other times the Nazis opposed such behaviour. The growth of Nazi power, however, was accompanied by a breakdown of traditional sexual morals with regard to extramarital sex and licentiousness.
Fascist movements and governments oppose homosexuality. The Italian Fascist government declared homosexuality illegal in Italy in 1931. The British Union of Fascists opposed homosexuality and pejoratively questioned their opponents' sexual orientation, especially of male anti-fascists. The Romanian Iron Guard opposed homosexuality as undermining society. The Nazis thought homosexuality was degenerate, effeminate, perverted and undermined the masculinity which they promoted; and because it did not produce children. Nevertheless the Nazis considered homosexuality curable through therapy. They explained it though modern scientism and the study of sexology which said that homosexuality could be felt by "normal" people and not just an abnormal minority. Critics have claimed that the Nazis' claim of scientific reasons for their promotion of racism, and hostility to homosexuals is pseudoscience, in that scientific findings were selectively picked that promoted their pre-existing views, while scientific findings opposing those views were rejected and not taken into account.
 Economic policies
The difficulty of characterizing the economic aspects of fascism is its fluctuating, changing nature, and no specific set of economic principles is particularly associated with all fascist states. Economic policies of Fascist Italy strongly varied, being quite liberal at its beginning (suppression of inheritance tax, privatization of telephone companies, etc.), during Alberto De Stefani's ministry (1922-1925), and then more corporatist. Fascists explicitly promoted their ideology as a "third position" between capitalism and communism. Italian Fascism often involved corporatism, a political system in which economy is collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at national level.  However, German Nazism officially rejected it. Fascists advocated a new national multi-class economic system that is labeled as either national corporatism, national socialism or national syndicalism. Common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism.
Fascist governments exercised less influence over the economy than that of communist-led states, in that individual private property remained largely free from government interference. Nevertheless, like the Soviet Union, fascist states pursued economic policies to strengthen state power and spread ideology, such as consolidating trade unions to be state or party-controlled. Attempts were made by both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to establish "autarchy" (self-sufficiency) through significant economic planning, but both failed to make the two countries self-sufficient.
 National corporatism, national socialism and national syndicalism
While fascists support the unifying of proletariat workers to their cause along corporatistic, socialistic, or syndicalistic lines, fascists specify that they advocate a nationalized form of such economic systems such as national corporatism, national socialism, or national syndicalism which promotes the creation of a strong proletarian nation, but not a proletarian class. Fascists also make clear that they have no hostility to the petite bourgeoisie (lower middle-class) or to small businesses and promise these groups protection alongside the proletariat from the upper-class bourgeoisie, big business, and Marxism. The promotion of these groups is the source of the term 'extremism of the centre' to describe fascism. Fascism blames capitalist liberal democracies for creating class conflict and in turn blames communists for exploiting class conflict. In Italy, the Fascist period presided over the creation of the largest number of state-owned enterprises in Western Europe such as the nationalization of petroleum companies in Italy into a single state enterprise called the Italian General Agency for Petroleum (Azienda Generale Italiani Petroli, AGIP).
Fascists made populist appeals to the middle class (especially the lower middle class) by promising to protect small business and small property owners from communism, and by promising an economy based on competition and profit while pledging to oppose big business.
The Nazis initially attempted to form a corporatist economic system like that in Fascist Italy, and created the National Socialist Institute for Corporatism in May 1933, which included many major economists who argued that corporatism was consistent with National Socialism. However, the Nazis later believed that corporatism was not beneficial to Germany because they deemed that it institutionalized and legitimized social differences within the German nation and instead the Nazis went on to promote economic organizations that emphasized the biological unity of the German national community.
 Economic planning
Fascists opposed laissez-faire economic policies dominant in the era prior to the Great Depression. After the Great Depression began, many people from across the political spectrum blamed laissez-faire capitalism for the Great Depression, and fascists promoted their ideology as a "third way" between capitalism and communism. Fascists declared their opposition to finance capitalism, interest charging, and profiteering. Nazis and other anti-Semitic fascists, considered finance capitalism a "parasitic" "Jewish conspiracy". Fascist governments nationalized some key industries, managed their currencies and made some massive state investments. Fascist governments introduced price controls, wage controls and other types of economic interventionist measures.
Other than nationalization of certain industries, private property was allowed, but property rights and private initiative were contingent upon service to the state. For example, "an owner of agricultural land may be compelled to raise wheat instead of sheep and employ more labor than he would find profitable." According to historian Tibor Ivan Berend, dirigisme was an inherent aspect of fascist economies. The Labour Charter of 1927, promulgated by the Grand Council of Fascism, stated in article 7: "The corporative State considers private initiative, in the field of production, as the most efficient and useful instrument of the Nation", then goes on to say in article 9: "State intervention in economic production may take place only where private initiative is lacking or is insufficient, or when are at stakes the political interest of the State. This intervention may take the form of control, encouragement or direct management."
Fascists thought that private property should be regulated to ensure that "benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual." They also introduced price controls and other types of economic planning measures.
Fascism had Social Darwinist views of human relations and promoted "superior" individuals and saw people who were weak as being inferior. In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businesses while banning trade unions and other workers' organizations. Benito Mussolini in his English autobiography in one section focused on the economy of the United States where he stated that he agreed with the capitalist notion held by Americans that profit should not be taken away from those who produced it from their own labour for any purpose, saying "I do not respect—I even hate—those men that leech a tenth of the riches produced by others".
 Social welfare
Benito Mussolini promised a "social revolution" that would "remake" the Italian people, which was only achieved in part. The people who primarily benefited from Italian fascist social policies were members of the middle and lower-middle classes, who filled jobs in the vastly expanding government workforce, which grew from about 500,000 to a million jobs in 1930. Health and welfare spending grew dramatically under Italian fascism, with welfare rising from 7% of the budget in 1930 to 20% in 1940. A major success in social welfare policy in Fascist Italy was the creation of the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (OND) or "National After-work Program" in 1925. The OND was the state's largest recreational organizations for adults. The Dopolavoro was responsible for establishing and maintaining 11,000 sports grounds, over 6,400 libraries, 800 movie houses, 1,200 theatres, and over 2,000 orchestras. Membership in the Dopolavoro was voluntary but had high participation because of its nonpolitical nature. It is estimated that by 1936 the OND had organized 80% of salaried workers. Nearly 40% of the industrial workforce had been recruited into the Dopolavoro by 1939 and the sports activities proved popular with large numbers of workers. The OND had the largest membership of any of the mass Fascist organizations in Italy. The enormous success of the Dopolavoro in Fascist Italy was the key factor in Nazi Germany creating its own version of the Dopolavoro, the Kraft durch Freude (KdF) or "Strength through Joy" program of the Nazi government's German Labour Front, which was even more successful than the Dopolavoro. KdF provided government-subsidized holidays for German workers. KdF was also responsible for the creation of the original Volkswagen ("People's Car") that was a state-made automobile that was meant to be cheap enough to allow all German citizens to be able to own one.
While fascists promote social welfare for ameliorating negative economic conditions that are affecting their nation or race as whole, they do not not support social welfare for egalitarian reasons. Fascists abhor egalitarianism for preserving the weak; they promote social Darwinist views and claim that nations and races must preserve and promote their strengths to ensure survival in a world that is in a perpetual state of national and/or racial conflict and competition. Adolf Hitler was opposed to egalitarian and universal social welfare because, in his view, it encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and feeble. While in power, the Nazis created social welfare programs to deal with the large numbers of unemployed. However, those programs were neither egalitarian nor universal, but instead residual, as they excluded multiple minority groups and certain other people whom they felt were incapable of helping themselves, and who would pose a threat to the future health of the German people.
 Non-universal characteristics
 Racism and racialism
Fascists are not unified on the issues of racism and racialism. In the 1920s, Italian fascists recognized the existance of races and Benito Mussolini declared that the white race in Europe was threatened by coloured races, in terms of social decline in cities and the rapid birthrate of coloured people. In Mussolini's autobiography produced in the 1920s, he affirmed the importance of race, saying, "Race and soil are strong influences upon us all" and spoke of World War I from a racialist perspective, saying: "There were seers who saw in the European conflict not only national advantages but the possibility of a supremacy of race". In a 1921 speech in Bologna, Mussolini stated that "Fascism was born...out of a profound, perennial need of this our Aryan and Mediterranean race". Mussolini said in 1928:
[When the] city dies, the nation—deprived of the young life—blood of new generations—is now made up of people who are old and degenerate and cannot defend itself against a younger people which launches an attack on the now unguarded frontiers[...] This will happen, and not just to cities and nations, but on an infinitely greater scale: the whole White race, the Western race can be submerged by other coloured races which are multiplying at a rate unknown in our race.
The Italian Fascists had strong hostility towards Slavs, especially the neighbouring Yugoslav (South Slav) nations whom the Italian Fascists saw Italians as being in competition with and had territorial claims on territories of Yugoslavia, particularly Dalmatia. Mussolini spoke of the threat he perceived as being posed by Yugoslavs after Italy did not receive the territory along the Adriatic coast at the end of World War I as promised by the Treaty of London in 1915, saying: "The danger of seeing the Jugo-Slavians settle along the whole Adriatic shore had caused a bringing together in Rome of the cream of our unhappy regions. Students, professors, workmen, citizens—representative men—were entreating the ministers and the professional politicians.
Italian Fascist anti-Slavism and xenophobic views associated with anti-Slavism were present amongst various Italian Fascists in the 1920s, who accused Serbs of having "atavistic impulses", that Yugoslavs were conspiring together on behalf of "Grand Orient masonry and its funds" and one anti-Semitic claim that Serbs were part of a "social-democratic, masonic Jewish internationalist plot". Mussolini himself once utilized anti-Semitism in a 1919 speech to denounce Soviet Russia, claiming that Jewish bankers in London and New York were bound by the chains of race to Moscow, and claimed that 80 percent of the Soviet leaders were Jews.
In 1933, Mussolini contradicted his earlier statements on the important role of races in society and instead dismissed the role of races in society, and said: "Race! It is a feeling, not a reality: ninety-five percent, at least, is a feeling. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today. [...] National pride has no need of the delirium of race."
The attitude of fascism toward religion has run the gamut from persecution, to denunciation, to cooperation, to embrace. Stanley Payne notes that fundamental to fascism was the foundation of a purely materialistic "civic religion" that would "displace preceding structures of belief and relegate supernatural religion to a secondary role, or to none at all", and that "though there were specific examples of religious or would-be 'Christian fascists,' fascism presupposed a post-Christian, post-religious, secular, and immanent frame of reference." According to Payne, such "would be" religious fascists only gain hold where traditional belief is weakened or absent, as fascism seeks to create new non-rationalist myth structures for those who no longer hold a traditional view. The rise of modern secularism in Europe and Latin America, and the incursion and large-scale adoption of western secular culture in the mid-east leave a void where this modern secular ideology, sometimes under a religious veneer, can take hold.
One theory is that religion and fascism could never have a lasting connection because both are a "holistic weltanschauung" claiming the whole of the person. Yale political scientist Juan Linz and others have noted that secularization had created a void that could be filled by a total ideology, making totalitarianism possible. Roger Griffin has characterized fascism as a type of anti-religious political religion. Such political religions vie with existing religions, and try, if possible, to replace or eradicate them.
Some have argued that there has been a strong connection between some versions of fascism and religion, particularly the Catholic Church. However, many fascists were anti-clerical in both private and public life. Although both Hitler and Mussolini were anti-clerical, some believe they both understood that it would be rash to begin their Kulturkampfs prematurely, such a clash, possibly inevitable in the future, being put off while they dealt with other enemies. In Mexico, the Red Shirts were vehemently atheist, renounced religion, killed priests, and on one occasion gunned down Catholics as they left Mass.
According to a biographer of Mussolini, "Initially, fascism was fiercely anti-Catholic" - the Church being a competitor for dominion of the people's hearts. Mussolini, originally an atheist, published anti-Catholic writings and planned for the confiscation of Church property, but eventually moved to accommodation. Mussolini endorsed the Roman Catholic Church for political legitimacy, as during the Lateran Treaty talks, Fascist Party officials engaged in bitter arguments with Vatican officials and put pressure on them to accept the terms that the regime deemed acceptable. Protestantism in Italy and Spain was not as significant as Catholicism, and the Protestant minority was persecuted. Mussolini's sub-secretary of Interior, Bufferini-Guidi issued a memo closing all houses of worship of the Italian Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses, and imprisoned their leaders. In some instances, people were killed because of their faith.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime attempted to found their own version of Christianity called Positive Christianity, which made major changes in its interpretation of the Bible. Positive Christianity claimed that Jesus Christ was the son of God, but was not a Jew, and claimed that Christ despised Jews, and that the Jews were the ones solely responsible for Christ's death. By 1940, it was public knowledge that Hitler had abandoned the syncretist idea of a positive Christianty. The Nazi party also had pagan elements. Jews were the Nazis' greatest and primary target, but Hitler also sent some Roman Catholics to concentration camps.
The Ustaše in Croatia had strong Catholic overtones, with some clerics in positions of power. The fascist movement in Romania, known as the Iron Guard or the Legion of Archangel Michael, preceded its meetings with a church service, and their demonstrations were usually led by priests carrying icons and religious flags. The Romanian fascist movement promoted a cult of "suffering, sacrifice and martyrdom."
In Latin America, the most notable fascist movement was Plinio Salgado's Brazilian Integralism. Built on a network of lay religious associations, its vision was of an integral state that "comes from Christ, is inspired in Christ, acts for Christ, and goes toward Christ." Salgado criticised the "dangerous pagan tendencies of Hitlerism".
 Variations and subforms
Movements identified by scholars as fascist hold a variety of views, and what qualifies as fascism is often a hotly contested subject. The original movement which self-identified as Fascist was that of Benito Mussolini and his National Fascist Party. Intellectuals such as Giovanni Gentile produced The Doctrine of Fascism and founded the ideology. The majority of strains which emerged after the original fascism, but are sometimes placed under the wider usage of the term, self-identified their parties with different names. Major examples include; Falangism, Integralism, Iron Guard and Nazism as well as various other designations.
 Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism was the first form of fascism to emerge and the originator of the name. Founded by Benito Mussolini, it is considered to be the model for later fascist movements.
Fascism was born during a period of social and political unrest following World War I. The war had seen Italy, born from the Italian unification less than a century earlier begin to appreciate a sense of nationalism, rather than the historic regionalism. Despite the Kingdom of Italy being a fully fledged Allied Power during the war against the Central Powers, Italy was given what nationalists considered an unfair deal at the Treaty of Versailles; which they saw as the other allies "blocking" Italy from progressing to a major power. A significant example of this was when the other allies told Italy to hand over the city of Fiume at the Paris Peace Conference, this saw war veteran Gabriele d'Annunzio declaring the independent state Italian Regency of Carnaro. He positioned himself as Duce of the nation and declared a constitution, the Charter of Carnaro which was highly influential to early Fascism, though he himself never became a fascist.
Benito Mussolini founded Italian fascism as the Fasci italiani di combattimento after he returned from World War I and published a Fascist manifesto. The birth of the Fascist movement can be traced to a meeting he held in the Piazza San Sepolcho in Milan Italy on March 23, 1919. This meeting declared the original principles of the Fascists through a series of declarations.
The first declaration was a dedication to Italian war veterans. The second declaration spoke of the fascist movement's loyalty to Italy and its opposition to foreign aggressors, and stated that the fascist movement was "opposed to the imperialism of other peoples at the expense of Italy....." The third declaration announced that the fascists would fight against other political factions, saying that the fascists would "sabotage in every way the candidates of neturalists in all the various parties...."
After declaring their first three declarations, the fascists declared their opposition to bolshevism and socialism, particlarly the socialism of the Italian Socialist Party, for their anti-nationalism, saying:
"...We don't need to place ourselves programmatically on a revolutionary footing because, in a historic sense, we already did so in 1915. It isn't too necessary to set forth too analytical a program.....it has now been demonstrated beyond a doubt that Bolshevism has ruined the economic life of Russia.... We declare war against Socialism, not because it is socialist but because it has opposed nationalism...We who have led the attack on political life in these past few years are going to expose the responsibiities of the official Socialist party."
It is inevitable that majorities become static, whereas minorities are dynamic. We intend to be an active minority, to attract the proletariat away from the official Socialist party. But if the middle class thinks we are going to be their lightning rods, they are mistaken. We must go halfway towards meeting the workers...(comments on Worker rights)...We shall support these demands, partly because we want workers to get accustomed to the responsibilities of management and to learn as a result that it isn't easy to operate a business successfully."
The fascists made a moderate stance on the economy, effectively declaring that they favoured class collaboration while opposing excessive state intervention into the economy, and calling for pressure on industrialists and workers to be cooperative and constructive, saying:
As for economic democracy, we favor national syndicalism and reject State intervention whenever it aims at throttling the creation of wealth.
We shall fight against technological and moral backwardness. There are industrialists who shun both technological and moral innovations. If they don't find the strength to transform themselves they will be swept aside. We must impress upon the workers, however, that it is one thing to destroy, and quite another to build. Destruction can be the work of an hour, but construction may require years or centuries.
The fascists on that day declared their intention to seize power and their opposition to the multiparty representative democracy in Italy.
...We must act fast...we must be ready to take its place. For that reason we must be ready to rush into the piazzas and cry out 'The right of political succession belongs to us, because we were the ones who pushed the country to war and led it to victory!"...The existing system of political representation cannot satisfy us; we want every distinct interest group to be represented directly.
An important factor in fascism gaining support in its earliest stages was the fact that it opposed discrimination based on social class and was strongly opposed to all forms of class war. Fascism instead supported nationalist sentiments such as a strong unity, regardless of class, in the hopes of raising Italy up to the levels of its great Roman past. Mussolini did not ignore the plight of the working class, however, and he gained their support with stances such as those in The Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle, published in June 1919. The Manifesto demanded the end of the Italian monarchy and the creation of a republic, restricting the power of the Roman Catholic clergy, the creation of a minimum wage, large-scale nationalization of property, showing the same confidence in labor unions as was given to industry executives or public servants, voting rights for women, and the systemisation of public transport such as railways. Much of the Manifesto was moderated or cancelled, moving the Fascists away from republicanism to a pro-monarchy stance, from anti-clericalism to support of the Roman Catholic Church, and moving away from advocating large nationalization of property to advocating protection of private property while allowing nationalization when private enterprise was failing.
Mussolini and the fascists managed to be simultaneously revolutionary and traditionalist; because this was vastly different from anything else in the political climate of the time, it is sometimes described as "The Third Way". The Fascisti, led by one of Mussolini's close confidants, Dino Grandi, formed armed squads of war veterans called Blackshirts (or squadristi) with the goal of restoring order to the streets of Italy with a strong hand. The blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashes against each other. The government rarely interfered with the blackshirts' actions, due in part to a looming threat and widespread fear of a communist revolution. The Fascisti grew so rapidly that within two years, it transformed itself into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome. Also in 1921, Mussolini was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time and was later appointed as Prime Minister by the King in 1922. He then went on to install a dictatorship after the 10 June 1924 assassination of Giacomo Matteotti, who had finished writing The Fascist Exposed: A Year of Fascist Domination, by Amerigo Dumini and others agents of the Ceka secret police created by Mussolini.
Influenced by the concepts of the Roman Empire, with Mussolini viewing himself as a modern day Roman Emperor, Italy set out to build the Italian Empire whose colonialism would reach further into Africa in an attempt to compete with British and French colonial empires. Mussolini dreamt of making Italy a nation that was "great, respected and feared" throughout Europe, and indeed the world. An early example was his bombardment of Corfu in 1923. Soon after he succeeded in setting up a puppet regime in Albania and forcibly ended a rebellion in Libya, which had been a colony (loosely) since 1912. It was his dream to make the Mediterranean mare nostrum ("our sea" in Latin), and he established a large naval base on the Greek island of Leros to enforce a strategic hold on the eastern Mediterranean.
 Nazism (National Socialism, Germany)
Nazism, short for National Socialism, is the political ideology of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party that ruled Germany from 1933 until 1945. The term national socialist is also a descriptive term used to refer to the Austrian National Socialism of a similar ideology, as well as several puppet states under Nazi control, including; the Arrow Cross of Hungary, the Ustaše of Croatia (also heavily influenced by Italian Fascism), and Rexism of Belgium. The Nazis came to prominence in Germany's Weimar Republic through democratic elections in 1932; their leader Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany the following year, subsequently putting into place the Enabling Act, which effectively gave him the power of a dictator. Hitler's book detailing the national socialist ideology Mein Kampf, was authored during the mid-1920s. The NSDAP announced a national rebirth, in the form of the Third Reich nicknamed the Thousand Years Empire, promoted as a successor to the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire.
After Mussolini's successful March on Rome in 1922, Hitler gained profound admiration of Mussolini and shortly after Mussolini gained power, the Nazis presented themselves as a German version of Italian Fascism and through their media outlets constantly compared their movement with Italian Fascism and compared Hitler to Mussolini. Nazi member Hermann Esser proclaimed, "In Bavaria too we have Italy's Mussolini [sic]. His name is Adolf Hitler."
In addition, the Nazis attempted to copy the Italian Fascists' March on Rome with a "March on Berlin" to topple what they saw as a "Marxist" government leading Germany (in reality a non-Marxist, social democratic government was in government at the time) and during their march, they would overthrow "red" governments in the German states. A month after Mussolini had risen to power and amid claims by Hitler and the Nazis that they were equivelant to Mussolini the Italian Fascists, Hitler's personal popularity in Germany began to grow and large crowds beginning to attend the Nazi rallies, German media began to pay attention to Hitler's activities with the newspaper Berlin Lokal-Anzeiger featuring a front page article about Hitler, saying "There are a lot of people who believe him to be the German Mussolini".
In private, Mussolini himself did not appreciate Hitler or the Nazis as he saw them as merely imitators of Italian Fascism and when Mussolini met with the Italian Consul in Munich prior to the failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, he stated that he thought the Nazis were "buffoons".
The march on Rome was a signal, a sign of storm for liberal-democracy. It is the first attempt to destroy the world of the liberal-democratic spirit[...] which started in 1789 with the storm on the Bastille and conquered one country after another in violent revolutionary upheavals, to let... the nations go under in Marxism, democracy, anarchy and class warfare..."
Although the modern consensus sees Nazism as a type of generic fascism, some scholars, such as Gilbert Allardyce, Zeev Sternhell and A.F.K. Organski, argue that Nazism is not fascism – either because the differences are too great, or because they believe fascism cannot be generic. A synthesis of these two opinions, states that German Nazism was a form of racially oriented fascism, while Italian fascism was state-oriented. Nazism differed from Italian fascism in that it had a stronger emphasis on race, especially exhibited as antisemitism, in terms of social and economic policies. Though both ideologies denied the significance of the individual, Italian fascism saw the individual as subservient to the state, whereas Nazism saw the individual, as well as the state, as ultimately subservient to the race. Mussolini's fascism held that cultural factors existed to serve the state, and that it was not necessarily in the state's interest to interfere in cultural aspects of society. The only purpose of government in Mussolini's fascism was to uphold the state as supreme above all else, a concept which can be described as statolatry. Where fascism talked of state, Nazism spoke of the Volk and of the Volksgemeinschaft
Roger Griffin, who is a leading exponent of the generic fascism theory wrote:
It might well be claimed that Nazism and Italian fascism were separate species within the same genus, without any implicit assumption that the two species ought to be well-nigh identical. Ernst Nolte has stated that the differences could be easily reconciled by employing a term such as 'radical fascism' for Nazism.56 [...]
The establishment of fundamental generic characteristics linking Nazism to movements in other parts of Europe allows further consideration on a comparative basis of the reasons why such movements were able to become a real politicial danger and gain power in Italy and Germany, whereas in other European countries they remained an unpleasant, but transitory irritant...
Sternhell views National Socialism as separate from fascism:
Fascism can in no way be identified with Nazism. Undoubtedly the two ideologies, the two movements, and the two regimes had common characteristics. They often ran parallel to one another or overlapped, but they differed on one fundamental point: the criterion of German national socialism was biological determination. The basis of Nazism was a racism in its most extreme sense, and the fight against Jews, against 'inferior' races, played a more preponderant role in it than the struggle against communism.
During Hitler's rise to power, he was seen by the media and by himself as associated with fascism, and being the "Mussolini of Germany".
 Iron Guard (Romania)
The Iron Guard was an antisemitic fascist movement and political party in Romania from 1927 to 1941. It was briefly in power from September 14, 1940 until January 21, 1941. The Iron Guard was founded by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu on 24 July 1927 as the "Legion of the Archangel Michael" (Legiunea Arhanghelul Mihail), and it was led by him until his death in 1938. Adherents to the movement continued to be widely referred to as "legionnaires" (sometimes "legionaries"; Romanian: legionari) and the organization as the "Legion" or the "Legionary Movement" (Mişcarea Legionară), despite various changes of the (intermittently banned) organization's name.
It was strongly anti-Semitic, promoting the idea that "Rabbinical aggression against the Christian world" in "unexpected 'protean forms': Freemasonry, Freudianism, homosexuality, atheism, Marxism, Bolshevism, the civil war in Spain, and social democracy" were undermining society.
The Iron Guard "willingly inserted strong elements of Orthodox Christianity into its political doctrine to the point of becoming one of the rare modern European political movements with a religious ideological structure."
 Revisionist Maximalism (British Mandate of Palestine)
Prior to Italian Fascism allying itself with Nazi Germany and adopting anti-Semitic policies, an influential but short-lived Jewish fascist ideology called Revisionist Maximalism with a fascist faction within the nationalist Revisionist Zionist Movement (ZRM) called Brit HaBirionim (The Strongmen Alliance), which existed in the British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian National Authority). The ideology was formed alongside the Brit HaBirionim movement in 1930 with the intention to take over the ZRM to turn it into a fascist movement and then create a Jewish state governed by fascist government based on that of Benito Mussolini's regime in Italy. The founder of Revisionist Maximalism was Abba Ahimeir who adopted the fascist principles to create an integralist "pure nationalism" amongst Jews. Revisionist Maximalism rejects communism, humanism, internationalism, liberalism, pacifism and socialism; condemned liberal Zionists for only working for middle-class Jews rather than the Jewish nation as a whole. Ahimeir's Revisionist Maximalists quickly became the largest faction in the ZRM in 1930 and pressured moderate ZRM members to submit to agree to agree to align the ZRM with fascism, with Ahimeir declaring at one conference in 1930:
"It is not the masses whom we need ... but the minorities ... We want to educate people for the 'Great Day of God' (war or world revolution), so that they will be ready to follow the leader blindly into the greatest danger ... Not a party but an Orden, a group of private [people], devoting themselves and sacrificing themselves for the great goal. They are united in all, but their private lives and their livelihood are the matter of the Orden. Iron discipline; cult of the leader (on the model of the fascists); dictatorship." Abba Achimeir, 1930.
In 1932, the Revisionist Maximalists again pressured the ZRM to adopt their polices which were titled the "Ten Commandments of Maximalism" which were made "in the spirit of complete fascism". In 1932, Ahimeir officially called for the leadership of the Zionist Revisionist Movement to be redesigned into the form of a dictatorship, called for the creation of an indepenent Zionist federation, called for a "war on funds" to end corruption in the Zionist movement, and called for a war on anti-Semitism. Moderate ZRM members refused to accept this and moderate ZRM member Yaacov Kahan pressured the Revisionist Maximalists to accept the democratic nature of the ZRM and not push for the movement to adopt fascist dictatorial policies.
In spite of the Revisionist Maximalists' opposition to the anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party, Achemeir was initially controversially supportive of the Nazi Party in early 1933, believing that the Nazis' rise to power was positive because it recognized that previous attempts by Germany to assimilate Jews had finally been proven to be a failure. In March 1933, Achemeir wrote about the Nazi party, stating that: "The anti-Semitic wrapping should be discarded but not its anti-Marxist core...". Ahimeir personally believed that the Nazis' anti-Semitism was just a nationalist ploy that did not have substance. After Ahimeir supported the Nazis, other Zionists within the ZRM quickly condemned Ahimeir and the Revisionist Maximalists for their support of Hitler. Ahimeir, in response to the outrage, in May 1933 reversed his position and opposed Nazi Germany and Revisionist Maximalists began to burn down German consolates and tore down German flags. However in 1933, Revisionist Maximalist' support quickly deteriorated and fell apart, support for Ahimeir did not recover and the Revisionist Maximalists collapsed until they were recreated in 1938 under new leadership, but did not regain significant influence.
Brazilian Integralism is a form of fascism originating in Brazil with Plínio Salgado, he was the movement's figurehead and philosophical leader. The movement was founded in 1932 and was known in its native tongue as Ação Integralista Brasileira; rather than a reaction against the far-left which was not strong in Brazil at the time, the Integralists were initially founded to combat national disunity and the perceived weakness of the liberal state, hoping for national rebirth via a fascist form. Many of the ideas were similar to Italian fascism; it was militarised and favoured the creation of a strong centralised state with a corporatist, government directed economic policy. The party's nationalist element was influenced by the thought of Alberto Torres and was inclusionist, looking to create a strong national unity. While many of the members were Catholics, the group supported freedom of religion so as not to isolate Protestants in Brazil. As an ethnically diverse country due to its colonial history, the Integralists held a non-divisionist and anti-racist stance with the phrase, union of all races and all people; the members were mostly of European background such as Italian and Portuguese but there were also some people of Amerindian and African background. As Brazil was already territorially endowed, the Integralists had no need for an expansionist outlook.
 Falangism (Spain)
Falangism is a form of fascism founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1933, emerging during the Second Spanish Republic. Primo de Rivera was the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera who was appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain by Bourbon monarch Alfonso XIII of Spain; José's father served as military dictator from 1923—1930. In the Spanish general election, 1931 the winners were socialists and radical republican parties; Alfonso XIII "suspend(ed) the exercise of royal power" and went into exile in Rome. Spain went from a kingdom into a far-left republic overnight. A liberal Republican Constitution was written, giving the right of autonomy to regions, stripping the nobility of juristic status and stripping from the Catholic Church its schools.
In this environment José Antonio Primo de Rivera was inspired by Mussolini and Italy. Primo de Rivera founded the Falange Española party; referring to Ancient Greek military formation phalanx. A year later Falange Española merged with the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista party of Ramiro Ledesma and Onésimo Redondo. The party and Primo de Rivera presented the Falange Manifesto in November 1934; it promoted nationalism, unity, glorification of the Spanish Empire and dedication to the national syndicalism economic policy, inspired by integralism in which there is class collaboration. The manifesto supported agrarianism, to improve the standard of living for the peasants of the rural areas. It supported anti-capitalism, anti-Marxism, repudiated the latter's divisive class war philosophy, and was directly opposed to the ruling Republican regime. The Falange participated in the Spanish general election, 1936 with low results compared to the far-left Popular Front, but soon after increased in membership rapidly, with a membership of 40,000. José Antonio Primo de Rivera wrote in the Falange Manifesto:
We reject the capitalist system, which disregards the needs of the people, dehumanizes private property, and transforms the workers into shapeless masses that are prone to misery and despair. Our spiritual and national awareness likewise repudiates Marxism. We shall channel the drive of the working classes, that are nowadays led astray by Marxism, by demanding their direct participation in the formidable task of the national State.
Primo de Rivera was captured by Republicans on 6 July 1936 and held in captivity at Alicante. The Spanish Civil War broke out on 17 July 1936 between the Republicans and the Nationalists, with the Falangistas fighting for Nationalist cause. Despite his incarceration Primo de Rivera was a strong symbol of the cause, referred to as El Ausente, meaning "the Absent One"; he was summarily executed on 20 November after a trial by socialists. General Francisco Franco, already the leader of the rebel Nationalists took over the leadership of the Falangists, even though he was less ideological than his predecessor. Franco's focus at this time was the push for victory in the war, and important flows of material came from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
A merger between the Falange and the Carlist traditionalists who support a different line of the monarchy to that of exiled Alfonso XIII took place in 1937, creating the FET y de las JONS, a more traditionalist, conservative party than the original Falagnists, and one which is desribed by some "authentic" Falangists as a move away from the party's original fascist principles. Franco balanced several different interests of elements in his party, in an effort to keep them united, especially in regard to the question of monarchy.
The ideas of Falangism were also exported, mainly to parts of the Hispanosphere, especially in South America. In some countries these movements were obscure, in others they had some impact. The Bolivian Socialist Falange under Óscar Únzaga provided significant competition to the ruling government during the 1950s until the 1970s. Falangism was significant in Lebanon through the Kataeb Party and its founder Pierre Gemayel. The Lebanese Falange fought for national independence which was won in 1943; they became significant during the complex and multifaceted Lebanese Civil War which was largely fought between Christians and Muslims.
Some states and movements have certain characteristics of fascism, but scholars generally agree they are not fascist. Such near-fascist groups are generally anti-liberal, anti-communist and use similar political or paramilitary methods to fascists, but lack fascism's revolutionary goal to create a new national character. Para-fascism is a term used to describe authoritarian regimes with aspects that differentiate them from true fascist states or movements. Para-fascists typically eschewed radical change and some viewed genuine fascists as a threat. Para-fascist states were often the home of genuine fascist movements, which were sometimes suppressed or co-opted, sometimes collaborated with.
 Austrian Fatherland Front
"Austrofascism" is a controversial category encompassing various para-fascist and semi-fascist movements in Austria in the 1930s. In particular it refers to the Fatherland Front which became Austria's sole legal political party in 1934. The Fatherland Front's ideology was partly based on a fusion of Italian fascism, as expounded by Gentile, and Austria's Political Catholicism. It had an ideology of the "community of the people" (Volksgemeinschaft) that was different from that of the Nazis. They were similar in that both served to attack the idea of a class struggle by accusing leftism of destroying individuality, and thus help usher in a totalitarian state. Engelbert Dollfuß claimed he wanted to "over-Hitler" (überhitlern) Nazism.
Unlike the ethnic nationalism promoted by Italian Fascists and Nazis, the Fatherland Front focused entirely on cultural nationalism such as Austrian identity and distinction from Germany, such as extolling Austria's ties to the Roman Catholic Church. According to this philosophy, Austrians were "better Germans" as the German population was mostly Protestant. The monarchy was elevated to the ideal of a powerful and far-reaching state, a status which Austria lost after the Treaty of Saint-Germain. The notion of the Fatherland Front being fascist was claimed due to the regime's support and similar ideology of Fascist Italy, but its intensely conservative nationalism is distinct from revolutionary fascism.
 Imperial Rule Assistance Association (Japan)
The Imperial Rule Assistance Association (大政翼賛会, Taisei Yokusankai) was an coalition of multiple fascist and nationalist political movements of Japan such as the Imperial Way Faction (皇道派, Kōdōha) and the Society of the East (東方会, Tōhōkai) which were previously competing for power.
The IRAA was formed under the guidance of Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe who was seeking to politically unify the various Japanese fascist and nationalist groups together to reduce political friction and strengthen relations with the fascist regimes in Germany and Italy. Prior to creation of the IRAA, Konoe had already passed the National Mobilization Law, which effectively nationalized strategic industries, the news media, and labor unions, in preparation for total war with China. After Konoe was replaced by Hideki Tōjō (a former member of the Imperial Way Faction), Tōjō entrenched the IRAA as the country's ruling political movement. Tōjō during this period attempted to establish himself as the absolute leader of Japan's government, called by his supporters as a Shogun (an ancient title given to supreme military commanders).
The IRAA held one fundamental difference from fascism in Europe, which was that the cult of personality for the movement did not focus on the head of government but instead focused on the Emperor of Japan who is regarded in Japanese society as being associated with the divine.
The IRAA pursued a totalitarian course to take control of Japanese society beginning by creating the mandatory Tonarigumi (Neighbourhood Association) system consisting of 10 to 15 households whereby each unit was responsible for allocating rationed goods, distributing government bonds, fire fighting, public health, civil defense and assisting the IRAA's National Spiritual Mobilization Movement, by distribution of government propaganda, and organizing participation in patriotic rallies. All Japanese youth and women were forced to be part of organizations of the IRAA in 1942. All youth organizations were merged into the Great Japan Imperial Rule Assistance Youth Corps (翼賛青年団 ,Yokusan Shonendan), based on the model of the Nazi Sturmabteilung. After the 1942 general election, all members of the Japanese parliament were forced to become members of the IRAA, making Japan a single-party state.
The IRAA government promoted Japanese expansionism and imperialism, declaring that Japan would form and lead a "Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere".