Fascism’s Facelift

Fascism in Europe has been associated with the tyranny of Mussolini, Hitler and Franco. Indeed, Fascism in these context’s as George Moose has argued “satisfied a deep need” in the public consciences “fostering a sense of belonging”. However, the need that gave rise to the WWII -era fascist regimes emerged as a product of “the crisis of the 1920s and 30s,” as Roger Griffin has termed it. A crisis that emerged under the loss of trust in the states institutional capacity to deliver for its base. Of course, the base favoured by the Third Reich, the Aryan race, is most distinct in memories of the past but each fascist regime has appealed to a similar base to drive its message.

Following the second World War, the appeal for a ‘new order’ did not bring the sense of belonging that George Moose referred to. As Griffin noted “The generalised sense of imminent socio-cultural breakdown and the prospects of renewal in a ‘new order’ had evaporated.” In a post-WWII era the crisis that had motivated thousands to the Fascist cause had disappeared leaving Fascism in a new theoretical space and in need of a new face – or facelift.

The Nouvelle Droite that originated in France in 1968 reinforces the thoughts of French art critic and journalist Maurice Bardèche who stated, “that neither fascism nor racism will do us the favour of returning in such a way that we can recognise them easily.” The state needed a way to engage in the international space once the fascist dream, that I have previously written about here, was achieved. Projecting the ideals of the state’s ‘new order’ to the world gave way for Fascism post – fascist formation: ultra-nationalism. However not the “‘palingenetic ultranationalism’ which results is profoundly anti-rational and mythic in its thrust, seeking to inspire revolutionary action rather than static contemplation,” that Griffin referred but one protecting the state against all else. The stance of protectionism allowed ultra-nationalist states to engage in a post-WWII international space while remaining unbroken from the historical lineage tied to the interwar – fascist regimes.

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