By Daniel Williams (See what I did there?)
There is often an assumption, propagated in part by modern media, that fascist ideologies and nations are homogeneous. That the individual at the bottom level often buys into the ideology of the top level in full, and that this ideology is taken as the primary identity of all regardless of social divisions. And while this may be the end goal of fascist ideologies, to have a single unifying set of values, it is also a very basic, face-value assumption. It takes for granted that fascist regimes (and further, totalitarian regimes as a whole) are fully successful in convincing their citizens to this goal, despite individual groups already having their deep rivalries set.
Strength Through Joy takes a particularly interesting approach in attempting to disprove parts of this, by looking directly at the attempts made by the Nazi regime in particular to use vacations to try and spread ideology. This is particularly interesting in contrast and comparison to the previous week’s discussions, addressing whether fascism is imperialist or international, rather than national.
One of the most interesting components of Strength Through Joy is how it addresses that regional differences *within* the nation were significant enough to cause conflicts aboard vacation cruises, or that social status would lead to discomfort. It’s somewhat interesting that while Prussian militarism was often seen as dominant in the national image, that individual regions still maintained rivalries and less-than-pleasant thoughts within the nation.
Perhaps more interesting is the choice of destinations, how the Nazi regime was not afraid to expose its tourists to non-fascist nations and cultures. The Nazi regime seemed to be making it clear that it was willing and ready to compete on the main stage for a place as a potential successor to democratic liberalism.
With populism on the rise, and the sense that right-wing populism is itself an illiberal entity, it would interesting trying to evaluate how populist groups are attempting to transcend national identity over regional differences, in contrast to fascist activities.