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Differences between Fascism and regular ol' Dictatorships?

  1. Mar 31, 2005 #1
    What are the distinguishing characteristics of Fascism that make it different from any other Dictatorship out there? I mean, I hear "Hitler and Moussolini were Fascist", but being that nearly everything I know about those two comes from the American Public School system and the History Channel (both very Pro-American/Anti-Hitler/Moussolini sources), I've never got a real pindown on why Hitler's and Moussolini's policies denoted them as anything but common Dictators. In my experience, Fascist has been used more as a derrogotory term than a term to denote a specific political ideology or method, and if someone is describing a policy or politician as Fascist, it's generally just when they're infringing on people's rights or something simmilar, but limiting people's rights is hardly something unique to the Fascist movement...
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  3. Mar 31, 2005 #2


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    This is an excellent question, and it has a definite answer.

    Fascism was first of all an ideology; it had three principles:

    - Glorification of the race. The sentiments previously inspired by religion were to be replaced by admiration of the people's race, its history and its achievements.

    - Leadership principle. The single leader embodies the ideals of the race and all loyalty should be given to him. In German the word for leader is Fuehrer, which was Hitler's title. In Italian it is Duce, which was Mussolini's.

    - The Party. The leader's party is the way he interacts with the people. The people must obey and respect the party.

    Now you may have heard of the Ba'athist party in Iraq. It was in Egypt and Syria too, although history has treated it differently in those countries. Ba'athism was a deliberate copy of European Fascism; it tried to replace Islam in the people's minds with Arabism, a fascistic glorification af Arab history and achievements. Certainly Saddam Hussain, who had seized power from the original Ba'athist leaders, tried to embody the leadership principle.
  4. Mar 31, 2005 #3
    Ok, so they're working the angle of inspiring ethnocentrism and making themselves out to be Gods on Earth, that somehow doesn't seem too different than what most dictators did throughout history...

    And what about governing policy? Besides these vague notions, are there any specific Fascist attitudes toward real governance, besides Party allegience? Is there any sort of "Fascist Manifesto", or anything of the like, or was it more just an evolution of effective Dictatorship?
  5. Mar 31, 2005 #4
    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." That quote is commonly atributed to Mussolini, but from what I understand he actually nicked it of someone else. Regardless, I find it a fitting description which ilustrates the difference between facism and a your average dictatorship.
  6. Mar 31, 2005 #5
    Fascism just means any regime that resembles Mussolini's, hitler wasn't strictly fascist, he's just called such for convenience. A Fascism regime usually has to meet 5 criteria
    -exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual,
    -uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition,
    -engages in severe economic and social regimentation.
    -engages in corporatism
    -implements or is a totalitarian regime.
  7. Mar 31, 2005 #6
    from www.m-w.com : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
  8. Mar 31, 2005 #7


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    Well, I think most relaively modern dictators are (were) fascists - they go with what works. But Stalin and the other Soviet dictators, for example, didn't base his rule on ethnocentrism - it was all party loyalty. I think Mao, though a Communist dictator, had some of the ethnocentrism.

    You could also separate a dictator and a monarch - though they often have a lot in common, a monarch doesn't (generally) need to sieze power.
  9. Apr 1, 2005 #8


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    Fascism was said to be heavily influenced by Leninist and early Stalinist rule in the USSR. The corporate state in Fascism or Naziism was really mostly talk though. They interfered with the market no more than, and maybe less than Franklin D. Roosevelt.
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