Transmitting Fascism

 

In thinking about the culture of fascism either in Spain, Germany or Italy it is important to consider the political motivations of the state. In the case of these three fascist regimes it was in the interest of the state to engage the international community to gain a sense of legitimacy. The legitimizing power of international community is rooted in the 1933 Montevideo Convention that outlines the defining language for statehood. The ability for state to operate outside its borders was granted under the assumption the government was de jure and not simply de facto, the importance being that the latter simply governed the state, but the prior was expected to do so by the International community. For leaders like Franco Hitler, or Mussolini whose rise to power undermined the image of a new ‘more stable’ nation that they aimed to convey, it was crucial to receive support for the Fascist regimes. By recognizing the governments as legitimate governing bodies leaders like Franco were able to solidify the narrative that they were the best choice for constructing a new nation and that they had the political buy in to do so.

To appeal to the International community and demonstrate on a global stage that a fascist government was indeed the legitimate government of their respective states and that Fascism could be a legitimate governance model states opted to use tourism as a legitimizing tool for the Fascist state. In thinking about tourism, it was not uncommon in the early 20th century for other democratic states to use tourism as a form of cultural diplomacy. See more on the diplomacy in the interwar period here: https://www.age-of-the-sage.org/history/diplomacy_world_war_one.html

For Germany, the state-run tourism organization Strength through Joy (kdf) sent German’s into the what we now call the Global south in an effort to formulate a cultural exchange. German’s entering the region would transmit an image of Germany mush like Umbach has argued the photographs have done. Baranowski points out that German’s were sent to curated destinations in order to ensure that Nazi regime was seen as building a new and better life. The ‘cultural exchange’ of German’s to other places gave Germany two faces: one that faced out and was humanized by everyday German’s and one that faced inward towards the German’s of the ‘new Germany’.

Franco’s regime in Spain and Mussolini’s in Italy were not exempt from the use of touristic diplomacy. Spain brought the world to its doorstep once again showing the outward face of the Fascist state but this time it was interestingly done within Spanish boarders. Crumbaugh wrote that the development of Spain involved the “active participation of the entire Spanish population.” For Spain the culture of the ‘new nation’ was solidified against what it was and artificially created a sense of uniformity among Spaniards, particularly when juxtaposed against tourists. In Italy the OND, as De Grazia wrote, focused on the internal tourism of the ‘new Italy’. Connecting rural and urban communities across Italy to bring about a sense of collective comradeship.

Across borders and across times, what we have seen is the ability for Fascists state to enter the international community under the vail of tourism only deliver an image of the ‘new nation’ is and what the return what the ‘new nation’ ought to be to their home countries.

 

One Reply to “Transmitting Fascism”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s