The readings for this week, as they related to each other, all reminded me of Paxton’s article from last week, specifically where he argues that fascism is different from the other -isms. He says that fascism is not based on a consistent framework or philosophical tradition, but will instead believe in and do anything it deems necessary to achieve the stated ‘destiny’ of the in-group and, presumably, to defeat the out-group. While I don’t believe this is a complete definition, I do believe that it has a lot of truth to it, as we have seen fascist movements being incredibly inconsistent.
The best examples I saw were Motadel’s articles, which focus on the collaboration between anti-colonialist nationalists and the Nazis. The Nazis made it no secret that they viewed non-aryans as racially inferior, and yet they were happy to work with them simply because it helped them fight the Allies and achieve their supposed destiny. It was also convenient because Germany no longer had a traditional colonial empire, something that Italy did have. This is why Italy took a different path, opting to work towards their own supposed destiny through their colonial empire. And yet, as Ben-Ghiat discusses, Italy (rather abruptly) ended up bowing to Germany, accepting institutionalized anti-semitism and a less colonial approach because this had suddenly become more feasible for achieving Italian national ‘destiny.’
This understanding gives an interesting perspective on the Judeo-Bolshevism conspiracy theory analyzed by Hanebrink. An alliance between communists and Jewish capitalist bankers (which sounds ridiculous because it is) can only make sense from a fascist perspective where any alliance is ok so long as it moves you towards ‘destiny.’
One Reply to “German Fascism, Italian Fascism, and Fascist Inconsistency”
Great points! I think you make a very interesting point when you mention “destiny”. When we look at fascism or any form of extremist ideology for that matter, I find that in the end they all seek some form of destiny in one way or another. Everything they do leading up to their perceived “destiny” is simply a means to an end whether it is logical or something as silly as the example you mentioned about an alliance between communists and Jewish capitalist bankers.