The Complexity of Fascism

D. Khaznadji

One of the things we mentioned last week was the complexity of fascism, that it is not black and white. I think the readings from this week exemplified this idea once again. We talked about the internationalism of fascism, that despite its emphasis on nationalism, it still needed to maintain foreign relations in order to survive. Reading the adaptation efforts made by the Francoist regime reminded me of just that. In this post World War II world, Franco was surrounded by liberal democracies. In order to maintain his grip on power, he had to make his country look more progressive. In the words of Crumbaugh, “Spain was now the nation chosen not only by God but also by millions of foreign consumers” (Crumbaugh 19). I think that the Foucauldian framework enables us to paint a much more complex picture of fascism, a more subtle one. For power is not centred around one individual anymore, but is being dispersed through many institutions.

It is in this context of fascist refinement that Spain and the United States made an alliance. In their struggle against communism, the Americans saw Spain as a necessary ally. This shows the pragmatism that reigns in political alliances, as here we do not have two fascist states flirting with each other anymore, but an official relationship between a fascist state and a liberal one. I think it is an additional good example of what we discussed last week. 

This is the sort thing that we can notice once we shift our attention from how we see fascists to how they see themselves. The other articles discussed how people in Nazi Germany protected their identity, thereby showing a sense of agency. Whether it is soldiers being able to incorporate feminine attributes to their “hard” personalities, or women covering up their homosexuality, it shows once again that fascism is not black or white. It is a complex system that was the theatre of many different citizen-state interactions, and thus must be carefully studied. 

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