Fascism seems to have an element of belonging and finding people who are emotionally linked in wanting to save a “culture” and create a sense of purpose. (Cynthia Miller-Idris, “The Extreme Gone Mainstream” IIITMedia lecture, May 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYcakSDUCE) There is an element of heroism that comes with far-right extremists that people are drawn to, as Cynthia Miller-Idris points out, there is often references to solidarity with veterans. It seems also that people want something to fight for and fascism plays on some issues that people already display such as homophobia. Many fascist regimes, like the Hitler regime or Franco in Spain, had overt elements of homophobia. (Inside Spain’s Fascism Fandom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqKSXPiGe7U).
These elements also seem to present in the past with those that supported the fascist regimes that they were in. In the case of Walter Hauck, for example, he was an ideal figure of a Nazi. He supported the regime and its idealism and created the image that people wanted to see of masculinity. However, that ideal was an ideal and when Huack was pictured with a baby carriage it was explained away to maintain his image. (Thomas Kühne, “Protean masculinity, Hegemonic Masculinity: Soldiers in the Third Reich”. 393) This shows, that there have to be exceptions to the rules that were set for the regime, and then the narrative has to change to include things that it originally rejected. So if enough of the people play a role things can slowly change- there is some agency but arguably it has to be done with the right circumstances. An example of this can be the women fascists of the Spanish Civil War. Women were supposed to have traditional roles but a group managed to rise and support the regime through ways that were much more non-traditional. (Sofía Rodríguez López and Antonio Cazorla Sánchez. “Blue Angels: Female Fascist Resisters, Spies and Intelligence Officials in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–9.” 692 and 693). So although these women supported the regime they undermined its traditionally based standards.
To conclude more or less, people support fascist regimes because they feel close to something or a connection to others with the same beliefs or feelings. However, in many cases, their own ideals are undermined by those within the regimes and are accepted because the regimes cannot apply standards that are so idealistic without eventually having to accept some exceptions. So that in and of itself is part of the undermining of fascism.
Thomas Kühne, “Protean masculinity, Hegemonic Masculinity: Soldiers in the Third Reich” Central European History Vol 51, Issue 3 (September 2018): 390-418.
Sofía Rodríguez López and Antonio Cazorla Sánchez. “Blue Angels: Female Fascist Resisters, Spies and Intelligence Officials in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–9.” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 53, no. 4, (Oct. 2018), pp. 692–713.
Cynthia Miller-Idris, “The Extreme Gone Mainstream” IIITMedia lecture, May 2018 youtube.com/watch?v=QHYcakSDUCE.
Inside Spain’s Fascism Fandom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqKSXPiGe7U.