Fascism’s Appeal – Collectivization Resistance and Pragmatic Acceptance.

By Wesley M.

The appeal of fascism towards the citizens of a fascist country beyond the ideological aspects was that fascism attempts to brand itself as a positive way for people to connect with each other, in such a way that it would form bond that would be good for the collective society rather than individualism being encouraged. The other way fascists look to brand themselves positively is to be seen as an improvement to whatever ‘flawed’ system the country had dealt with before their rise to power with the professed goal of fixing whatever problems the country is facing currently through revitalization.

Somewhat ironically, the fascist goal of collectivization can be resisted by maintaining the very individualism that fascism is against through citizens resistance to the collectivization process. As Thomas Kühne points out in his article (discussing gender roles within the Nazi German military), the full collectivization that was encouraged (as comradeship) within the military conversely allowed for maintenance of self-identity.[1] The goal Nazi collectivization was to create ideal soldiers did not succeed wholeheartedly but was never the less very effective at creating loyal soldiers through the fascist idea of comradeship.[2]

Fascist collectivization could in fact be resisted through a citizen’s personal agency; however, the resistor would have to be careful about what issues they were resisting the regime on. For example, the collective bonds that some Nazi German soldiers created, actually allowed them a limited amount of agency, which could be used for slight resistance to Nazi regime’s more heinous policies (such as the mass executions of civilians or ethnic groups) as long as the resisting soldier’s were not seen to be blatantly going outside of his established side of gender role as a German male soldier.[3] Juxtaposing this military example of resistance with a civilian example, shown in article by Laurie Marhoefer, about how various lesbian women were able to resist Nazi-German gendered societal norms through a certain amount of discretion, probable lack of evidence (denouncements not holding up to scrutiny) or potentially even the lack of Gestapo interest.[4]

Fascism could be accepted or resisted, as Justin Crumbaugh explores in his article about the advent of tourism within Francoist Spain, incorporating tourism within the dictatorship actually allowed for the revitalization of both Franco’s image on the international stage as well as save Francoist Spain’s previously floundering economy, while not actually implementing the democratization that various world powers had previously demanded.[5] While the populace was pleased about the prosperous economy the tourism industry helped create, it also allowed for the citizens to see democratic ideals through the filtration of tourists ideas and worldviews from various democracies.[6]


[1] Thomas Kühne, “Protean Masculinity, Hegemonic Masculinity: Soldiers in the Third Reich.” Central European History 51, no. 3 (September 2018): 402-403, 409. doi:10.1017/S0008938918000596.

Kühne. “Protean” 390–418.

[2] Kühne, “Protean” 402-403, 409.

[3] Kühne, “Protean” 414.: A number of soldiers refused to execute civilians and while locked as being weak by the more fanatical Nazis, they were not formally punished.

[4] Laurie Marhoefer, “Lesbianism, Transvestitism, and the Nazi State: A Microhistory of a Gestapo Investigation, 1939–1943,” The American Historical Review 121, no. 4 (October 1, 2016): 1167–1195, https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/121.4.1167.; Lesbianism is not a legal crime in Nazi Germany, as Marhoefer explains in the article: Frequently accusations of gender norms being violated were compounded with assumptions of other criminal behaviours such as possible espionage.

[5] Justin Crumbaugh. Destination Dictatorship: The Spectacle of Spain’s Tourist Boom and the Reinvention of Difference. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009). Accessed September 25, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central. 26.

[6] Crumbaugh. Destination Dictatorship, 31, 33-34

Bibliography:

Crumbaugh, Justin. Destination Dictatorship : The Spectacle of Spain’s Tourist Boom and the Reinvention of Difference. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009. Accessed September 25, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Kühne, Thomas. “Protean Masculinity, Hegemonic Masculinity: Soldiers in the Third Reich.” Central European History 51, no. 3 (September 2018): 390–418. doi:10.1017/S0008938918000596.

Marhoefer, Laurie. “Lesbianism, Transvestitism, and the Nazi State: A Microhistory of a Gestapo Investigation, 1939–1943.” The American Historical Review 121, no. 4 (October 1, 2016): 1167–95. https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/121.4.1167.

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