“The New Man” The use of gender in creating ideology and nation.

By Alex Wittmann

The article Facsism and its Quest for the New Man: The Case of the Romainan legionary Movement, discusses the principle ideology of Facsism and how the idea of gender specifically in the case of the Romainian “The New Man” was interwoven in creating the ideal citizen and the “Perfect” state against a common opponent. The first half of the article argues that Facsism is in fact an ideology, going against the traditional Marxist interpretation of Facsism as a reactionary movement. I would say that I belong to the camp that believes that Facsism, just like Marxism and Communism is an ideology. I think that in order for a school of thought to meet the criteria of an ideology, it has to have certain uniform characteristics that are consistent across its various movements. What we can see throughout Facist movements in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, was that there was a consistent theme of nationalist and empire revival. Along with the supremacy of a certain race being the “ideal citizen” along with marginalizing and vilifying other races into scapegoats responsible for a nation’s problems. This was extremely clear in Germany and Italy. Hitler wanted to make Germany strong again by tearing up the Treaty of Versailles, reviving the German Empire, and blaming the Jewish population for Germany’s defeat in World War I. Italy saw a desire to recreate Roman- Italian domination in the Mediterranean by rebuilding the Roman empire. Romania comes into play in Facist ideology as the author mentioned, was in blaming the Jews for Romania’s economic ills, and raising the fear of a “Jewish Empire” threatening to swallow Romania, and connecting Romania’s eastern territory to a “new Palestine.” As insidious as all these themes are, they are all consistent. I believe the themes of nationalistic empire revival, racial superiority complex, and racial scape goating are the bread and butter of Facsism, its thematic consistency across movements in history convince me that it is an ideology. Finally, on the theme of gender and ideal citizen, facist movements have used this concept to advance their movements, Romania serves as an excellent example with the “New Man” prophecy. Facsism usually comes out of economic and political turmoil. Romania’s “New Man” was the ideal citizen created out of the Facist Romanian legion. The “New Man” created out of adherence to and following of the legion would be the ideal citizen that could save Romania from its economic and social turmoil. It would make Romania strong again (consistent facist themes). “The New Man” was also an example of legionary youths that had joined the Facist party and would be leaders in achieving Romanian greatness by possessing superhuman qualities resulting in a national “spiritual rebirth.” This was the Romanian example of the racial superiority complex, to Romanian Fascists, the ideal citizen or “new man” would be best equipped to handle Romania’s invented enemies (the jewish population) because under the Facist ideology they are superior. This is an example of the consistent theme of Facist racial superiority, Racial scapegoating, tied into the theme of the ideal citizen. The Romanian concept of the “New Man” firms up the boundary between ideal citizen and opponent in the facist ideology.  

Work Citied:

Valentin Sandulescu, “Fascism and Its Quest for the ‘New Man’: The Case of the
Romanian Legionary Movement.” Studia Hebraica 4 (2004): 349-61.

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