Homosexuality and Fascism

Megan MacRae

This week, I specifically enjoyed the reading from Laurie Moarhoefer. Typically, when I am asked to study the Nazi regime or other fascist dictators, there is rarely a focus on what these authorities meant for those in the LGBTQ2S+ community. Moarhoefer’s focus on such an issue brings to light yet another outlook on fascism and the attitudes of fascists. 

Moarhoefer makes it clear that although Hitler and his Nazi regime were quite homophobic in the sense that they disagreed with intimate relations between men, there seemed to have been a lack of regulation surrounding intimate relations between women. Moarhoefer approaches the issue by ensuring that the reader is aware of how the term “persecution” was used by the Nazi regime. Specifically, they make it clear that gay men were the subjects of persecution by being the targets of a police program which worked to eradicate male homosexuality. Historians argue that this program did not subject lesbians to the same treatment. Although Nazi Germany did see lesbianism as an issue that plagued society, there was no legal or physical action taken against it. Moarhoefer does touch on the fact that those in the community did use the local police force, the Gestapo, to report lesbianism, but what I find more interesting is the regime’s official neglect of queer women. 

I suppose this may be because I do not have extensive knowledge on the treatment of those in the LGBTQ2S+ community during the Nazi regime, but it does quite suprise me that even though lesbianism was a social issue, it was not one of the regime’s priorities. I had just assumed that Nazi authorities worked to eradicate anyone who did not fit in with their “vision”. This motivates me to learn more about fascist views of homosexuality during the Nazi regime.

Fascism is not as Opposed to Internationalism as it Thinks

Megan MacRae

As defined in previous readings, it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact meaning of fascism due to the various interpretations of the term. I found that this theme was echoed throughout this week’s conversations surrounding the relationship between fascism and internationalism. Such theme alluded to the fact that the far-right does not have a strict stance on whether or not they are in agreement with internationalism as it can be used to aid fascists in their battle against a common enemy. 

In David Motadel’s piece, he examines Hitler’s strategy to partner with countries from outside of Europe in an effort to fight against Britain and their colonial agenda. This theme is demonstrated as ‘anticolonial’ and shows that in an effort to work against a common enemy, fascists will utilize internationalism. However, Motadel’s article in the New York Times does make a point that not all right-wing group members agree with internationalism and therefore, the use of such remains a sensitive topic. Again, this echoes the theme that fascism does not have a single definition and therefore, one should not be attempting to define how fascism perceives particular issues.

Such complexity surrounding fascism and its relationship with internationalism is also depicted in Paul Hanebrink’s piece as they connect Judeo-Bolshevism sentiment within Europe and the United States. Hanebrink makes it clear that right-wing groups in the United States have connected racist histories from Europe, specifically Germany, Poland, and Hungary, to those of their local lands. For instance, in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazis claimed that Jewish citizens were ‘ruining’ their ‘pure’ communities. Here, such neo-Nazis are adopting the racist sentiment towards Jews from Poland, and applying it to their own lands. Therefore, we are again seeing various countries ‘unite’ in an effort to battle against a common enemy.

Although fascism is complex and loosely defined, it can be seen that fascists are not totally against internationalism, even if they believe that it is a ‘dirty’ word. 

Works Cited:

Hanebrink, Paul. A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism. Harvard University Press, 2018: 1-10, 11-45.

Motadel, David. “The Far Right Says There’s Nothing Dirtier Than Internationalism — But They Depend on It” in The New York Times. July 2019.

Motadel, David. “The Global Authoritarian Moment: The Revolt Against Empire” American Historical Review Vol. 124, Issue 3, July 2019: 843-877

A Look at the Complexities of Populism, Fascism, and Authoritarianism

I found the readings for this week quite unique. At times, in an attempt to emphasize the intricate aspects of fascism and populism, some arguments would be overly complex and unfortunately, I often found that this distracted me from the original argument that the author was trying to make. However, I still appreciated the approaches that both Finchelstein and Mudde took in an effort to emphasize the ever changing perspectives surrounding fascism and populism.

For one, Finchelstein classifies populism as a category of “authoritarian democracy”. I found this approach to populism quite unorthodox considering that Finchelstein is essentially referring to a democratic society which is blindly being ruled by an authoritative figure. Personally, I would consider this perspective to lightly tread on the boundary between democracy and dictatorship. However, since populism renounces anti-democratic institutions, I am not completely in agreement with Finchelstein’s decision to classify populism as a form of “authoritarian democracy”. Even if populism does promote majoritarian extremism, as emphasized in Mudde’s piece,  the political approach also believes in compromise and equal power, which are both vehemently renounced by authoritarian and totalitarian societies. 

When it comes to fascism, I found that Finchelstein continued to overly complex the issue, but I did find the argument surrounding fascism to be more appealing. Specifically, Finchelstein’s contention that society today is misusing the term ‘fascism’. Finchelstein makes reference to the fact that there were major figures referring to Donald Trump as a fascist during his time in office, however, just because he was prejudiced, racist, intolerant etc. that is not enough to classify Trump as a fascist. Rather, what truly makes a person a fascist is their intense desire to create an entire new nation with a new order. Instead, Trump merely wanted to reform America, or in his words, ‘Make America Great Again’, but his objective was not to create a whole new America. 

I must also note that my main takeaway from what was reviewed this week, is that fascism and populism both seem to be used as a societal tool to justify or oppose controversial decisions and actions against various groups of people.

Introduction

Hi everyone! My name is Megan MacRae and I am a fourth-year History and Law student. Even though I am coming to the end of my degree, I have yet to technically ‘narrow down’ my specific interest in History. However, I do particularly enjoy the history of brewing (beer), pre-colonial African history, and Indigenous history.

When I am not studying, running various clubs at Carleton, or working at the Beer Store, I choose to spend my time reading, finding new coffee shops to try, and hanging out with my boyfriend’s cats, Peter and Nico! I am also a Residence Fellow here at Carleton this year so I am predicting quite a busy, but exciting, final year of my Undergraduate Degree!

I am looking forward to informative conversations and exciting interactions with you all over the semester!

Cheers!