This week, the readings explore ideas of masculinity, femininity and sexuality under Fascist regimes. It is perhaps Thomas Kühne and Valentin Săndulescu works that gave most credence to my assertion that the ideology and physicality of men were used as symbols of Fascist regimes. The need to both see and identify the Fascist state is a tool of transmittance of the Fascist ideology that validates the legitimacy of the state and indoctrinates others under its guiding hand; a motivator for Mussolini among other leaders and a sentiment I have previously explored here: https://hate2point0.com/2019/10/01/transmitting-fascism/ ).
The man and the state in the fascist dream are one, they are an inseparable unit where one gives living breathing life to the next. The idealist Fascist cause that George L. Moose argued satisfies “a deep need for activism combined with identification, it [Fascism] seemed to embody their vision of a classless society.” If we consider Fascism as a revolutionary form of systemic revolt there is no need to depart from the arguments of Gilbert Allardyce’s “What Fascism Is Not” and Federico Finchelstein, “Introduction: Thinking Fascism and Populism in terms of the Past”, which was read and discussed in week two. Both authors asserted a form of Fascism that is obsessed with newness, a breaking of the past and as Roger Griffin (quoted by Finchelstein) pointed out “a longing for a new order, a new nation, not just a reformed old nation”. This week’s article by Săndulescu gives us an illustrative historical example in Codreanu’s Legion of Archangel Michael in Romania where a ‘new nation’ is constructed through a ‘new man’.
The ‘man’ of the Fascist cause was one already under the command of the regime – the solider. The favourability of Fascists regimes towards the militarization of the state positioned the solider to serve as an ambassador to its brand and transmit the very essence of the state within and outside its boarders, with the assurance of loyalty and service to the Fascist cause. “The ideal man” wrote Kühne,” embodied by the soldier, was tough and aggressive, in control of his body, mind, and psyche.” The soldiers of a militarized state had passed what Kühne referred to as “school of manliness that transformed ‘weak’ (i.e., feminine) boys into ‘hard,’ real men.” The trope of the hardened man gave the state a body that could interact with the world and demonstrate the strength of the nation. When Hitler’s Nazi’s marched, the state marched, when they were struck down the state was struck down, and when they ‘progressed’ towards an Aryan race the nation ‘progressed’ by virtue of their action.
It is here that the physicality of the solider meet the ideology of the state which served as a unifying force for the collective cause. Kühne explained that the “army served as the “school of the nation,” merging men of different civilian identities, classes, religions, and regions into a homogenous body of citizens able to replace or even dismiss their particularist civilian identities on behalf of a communal, soldierly one. ” Whichever difference may have emerged among men in Aryan Germany or the ‘new’ Romania would surely be connected by the Fascist dream.