Fascism in the Twentieth Century

2348 Words May 4th, 2015 10 Pages
Fascism in the Twentieth Century; Hitler and Nazism
‘Fascism’ is one of the most controversial political terms in modern history. The lack of a universally accepted definition for the term has meant that it can and has been applied to a wide variety of political contexts. Fascism developed from the destruction caused by the First World War. Its origins can be traced, however, to the intellectual revolt against liberalism in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. While there was a revolutionary reaction against the ideals of the French Revolution before 1914, it was the First World War which acted as a real catalyst for the emergence of fascism. The war swept away the Hohenzellern, Halsburg and Romanov dynasties in Germany,
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Although it was a complex procedure, Hitler proved himself to be both a skilled political manipulator and an original military strategist. But above all, Hitler was a rabid ideologist. As a result of his actions, the Hitler state destroyed the legacy of imperial and Weinmar Germany and undermined the humane values of German culture.

Unlike in Italy, the rise of fascism in Germany occurred in one of the world’s most advanced economies, for the German modernisation and industrialisation process during the nineteenth century had helped to create a powerful state. Political extremism in Germany developed further from the failure of the state and society to manage the complex problems arising from the country’s sudden defeat at the end of the First World War in 1918.
Although the First World War created the necessary conditions to enable the rise of Nazism,
Nazi ideology was derived from the intellectual and political underworld of pre-1914 Germany. Before 1914, this far-right ideology which was heavily focused on anti-Semitism, remained on the political fringe and had little influence on domestic policies. Hitler himself, for example, although later greatly influenced by the Austrian anti-Semitism of Karl Leuger (1844-1910), was a failed art student and architect whose personal apathy prevented him from enjoying the bourgeois (upper class) lifestyle that he craved. He, like other failures in the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, found in anti-Semitism a
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