Fascism as System vs. Fascism as Individual

Alison Miller

What I found very interesting about the readings was the interaction of the individual and the fascist system itself. By addressing the complexities of how people interacted with and were interacted with by the state, we get a much more multi-faceted idea of how the state operated.

The concept of comrade-ship versus friendship, and Kuhne’s entire address of masculinity as flexible even under the Nazi party complicates our understanding of how fascist governments worked, and at the same time, the Marheofer reading reveals that the state’s interaction with the individual is just as pliable. There are certain fence posts that stand within Nazi law, but the degree to which the Gestapo used those laws or bothered with them was dependent on who you were, which laws you broke, and who you know.

The two articles on the Spanish Civil War also address the individual’s interaction with the state, although in a different method than the articles concerning Nazi Germany. I would say that the biggest question that arises in the Destination Dictatorship article is the time that Crumbaugh takes to speak on freedom within the Francoist dictatorship. How freedom operates in the dictatorship, even as it shifts to a different method of interacting with the world at large (i.e. Through tourism). We might also address how the Spanish dictatorship wined and dined individual members of the US government in order to gain the economic and political clout they needed to transform their economy and their international image.

The Lopez and Sanchez article, like the Marheofer article, looks to shine a light on a group mostly ignored by academia, and while doing so highlights how perceptions of women ensured that Nationalist women could operate basically unseen during the Civil War, and how after the Franco victory these women looked to simply return to their houses, with the state also ignoring certain dimensions of female action during the war.

2 Replies to “Fascism as System vs. Fascism as Individual”

  1. Alison,
    First off, great response (I that title, it perfectly summarizes the hypocrisy of Fascist ideals. I’m going to make a Star Trek reference to explore that further: The Fascist collective system would resemble Star Trek TNG’s Borg, whereas the fascists as individuals would resemble the Romulans’ loyalty to and distrust of each other.). The fascist state is indeed complex.
    Kuhne’s argument of comrade-ship versus friendship and gender roles being flexible shows the selectiveness regarding the Nazi’s actually applying their policies towards each other. Exactly the Marheofer reading really shows the old saying about Tyranny’s whims as the Gestapo of the ultimate decision in how their investigations would end (whether being released or being sent to a concentration camp, or just disappearing).
    The two articles on the Spanish Civil War were intriguing. I completely agree that the Crumbaugh readings focus on freedom from within Francoist Spain are fascinating, seeing the limits of freedom and how they were able to circumvent state authority to a degree.
    The alliance between Fracoist-Spain and the U.S. is such a great discussion topic in terms of pragmatism in wartime.
    The Lopez and Sanchez article that discusses Nationalist women during the Spanish Civil War and their subsequent role after with returning to domesticity actually reflects the role of women during that time period in any war that attended. I agree with you it is unfortunate their achievements were ignored at the time but at least are getting recognition now by scholars.
    Wesley M.

  2. Hi Alison, I think the description of the Nazi and Francoist state as pliable is a really keen observation. Just to add from the Marheofer was the ways in which individuals equally influenced the Gestapo and thus the state. In denunciation, individual citizens were able to wield power over other neighbours and in a way police them. In this way, things that weren’t illegal became illegal depending on social standing and ideological buy-in.

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