List of fascist movements
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This article discusses regimes and movements that have described themselves as fascist, or are alleged to have been fascist or sympathetic to fascism.
It is often a matter of dispute whether a certain government is to be characterized as fascist (radical authoritarian nationalism), authoritarian, totalitarian, or a police state. The term "fascism" itself is controversial, and has been defined in various ways by different authors. Many of the regimes and movements discussed in this article can be considered fascist according to some definitions but not according to others. See definitions of fascism for more information on that subject.
The Axis (1922-1945)
The first fascist country, Italy, was ruled by Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) until he was dismissed and arrested on 25 July 1943. Mussolini was then rescued from prison by the Wehrmacht, and set up a short-lived puppet state named "Repubblica di Salò" in northern Italy under the protection of the Wehrmacht.
The National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis) came to power in Germany as a minority party when its leader, Adolf Hitler, was named chancellor following the elections of 1933. Hitler moved swiftly to consolidate power, first through passage of the Enabling Act of 1933. After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, the entire power of the German state was concentrated in Hitler's hands.
The German National socialists were known for their use of thuggery and intimidation of political opponents and dissenters, including outright persecution of the country's Jewish citizenry, resulting in the Holocaust. Nonetheless, they were widely popular among many segments of the German population, particularly the working class, for their perceived success in reversing the nation's economic decline. One of Hitler's cornerstone policies was known as Lebensraum, which served as the rationale for Germany's expansionist foreign policy and ultimately led to the Second World War.
Right-wing elements in Japan, including industrialists, military officers, and the nobility, had long opposed democracy as an anathema to national unity. Military cliques began to dominate the national government starting in the 1930s. A major militarist nationalist movement in Japan from the 1920s to the 1930s was the Imperial Way Faction "Kodoha" of which future wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō was a part. In 1936, Japan and Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, aimed at countering the Soviet Union and the Communist International. In 1940, Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye established the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, or Taisei Yokusankai, to consolidate all political parties under a single umbrella group. That same year, Japan joined Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact.
Engelbert Dollfuß's idea of a "Ständestaat" was borrowed from Mussolini. Dollfuß dissolved parliament and established a clerical-fascist dictatorship which lasted until Austria was incorporated into Nazi Germany through the Anschluss of 1938.
Many historians have argued that Brazil's Estado Novo under Getúlio Vargas was a Brazilian variant of the continental fascist regimes. Briefly, Vargas' regime was aligned with Plínio Salgado's Integralist Party, Brazil's fascist movement. For example, Brazil's tradition of Carnaval parades only appeared during Vargas' government, being rather similar to fascist military parades of the time and Vargas launched a cult of personality that endures to this day, on top of the "Worker's Rights" (such as the rights to vacations and minimal wage) being extremely similar to Mussonili's own "Worker's Rights". Criticism on whether the government was fascist or not derives from the fact that Vargas followed the Castilhismo ideology, which is strongly Positivist, incompatible with Fascism's metaphysical, traditionalist, almost occultist ideas.
In Chile, during the 1930s, there was a fascist-nazi party named National Socialist Movement of Chile (MNS), ruled by Jorge González von Marées, an Adolf Hitler sympathizer. However, the MNS was dissolved in 1938.
Republic of China (1932–1938; 1941-1945)
In the 1930s, an elitist group around Chiang Kai-shek looked to fascism as a "quick" solution to the modernization of China. The Blue Shirts Society (藍衣社 in Chinese, hereinafter referred to as the BSS), was a secret clique in the Kuomintang (KMT, or the Chinese Nationalist Party). Under the direction of Chiang Kai-shek it sought to lead the KMT and China by following the ideology of Fascism and was a secret police or para-military force.
Chiang Kai-shek was confident in his goal to modernize China through an essentially Western method (fascism) and his ability to use it as an instrument while molding it into a Confucianist philosophy. His ideas were given shape by the Blueshirts – in effect an elitist organization within the Kuomintang government structure. This organization practiced the ancient Chinese theory of "knowledge and action" in order to inspire the Chinese people.
Likewise, the more left-wing though politically syncretic faction of the Kuomintang led by Wang Jingwei, which split from the mainline right-wing faction of the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek, gradually embraced and espoused increasingly fascist oriented positions, including anti-communist doctrine. This eventually led to their recognition by members of the Axis Powers, including Germany and Italy, when Wang Jingwei's faction of the Kuomintang gained prominence and assumed control of a puppet regime based in Nanjing established in 1941 by forces of the invading Japanese military.
Poglavnik Ante Pavelić, leader of the infamous Ustaše movement, came to power in 1941 as the Croatian puppet leader under the control of Nazi Germany. Under the indirect control of Germany, the Ustaše regime was based heavily upon both upon clerical fascism and the Italian model of fascism, with elements of racial integrity and organic nationalism drawn from Nazism.
The Lapua Movement, established in 1929, originally a nationalist movement that opposed Sweden and Russia, turned into a fascist movement in the early 1930s. However, the party's origins could date back to the early 1920s, in anti-communist forces during the Finnish Civil War. They attempted a coup d'état in 1932, after which the movement was banned. The Lapua Movement, however, affected the selection of Pehr Evind Svinhufvud as the president and the passing of extensive anti-communist laws. Finland stayed a democracy throughout World War II, despite co-operating with Nazi Germany.
The Vichy regime of Philippe Pétain, established following France's defeat by Germany, collaborated with the Nazis. However, the minimal importance of fascists in the government until its direct occupation by Germany makes it appear to seem more similar to the regime of Franco or Salazar than the model fascist powers. While it has been argued that anti-Semitic raids performed by the Vichy regime were more in the interests of pleasing Germany than in service of ideology, anti-semitism was a full component of the "National Revolution" ideology of Vichy.
As early as October 1940 the Vichy regime introduced the infamous statut des Juifs, that produced a new legal definition of Jewishness and which barred Jews from certain public offices. They interned Liberals, Communists, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, in concentration camps as soon as 1940.
Also, in May 1941 the Parisian police force had collaborated in the internment of foreign Jews. As a means of identifying Jews, the German authorities required all Jews in the occupied zone to wear a yellow badge. On the 11 June, they demanded that 100,000 Jews be handed over for deportation.
The most infamous of these mass arrests was the so-called Vel' d'Hiv Roundup (Rafle du Vel' d'Hiv) which took place in Paris on the 16 and 17 July 1942. The Vélodrome d'Hiver was a large cycle track situated on the rue Nélaton near the Quai de Grenelle in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. In a vast operation codenamed "Spring Breeze" (Vent printanier), the French police rounded up 13,152 Jews from Paris and its surrounding suburbs. These were mostly adult men and women however approximately 4,000 children were among them. Identifications for the arrests were made easier by the large number of files on Jews complied and held by Vichy authorities since 1940. The French police, headed by René Bousquet, were entirely responsible for this operation and no German soldiers assisted. Pierre Laval, head of Vichy, included the children in the deportations to Auschwitz against general German orders. Most of the deportees sealed in the transports died en route due to lack of food or water. The few survivors were sent to the gas chambers. A few months later, a police operation took place in Marseille, known as the Battle of Marseille, and led to massive raids in the so-called "free zone", administrated by Vichy.
Ioannis Metaxas' 1936 to 1941 dictatorship was partly fascist in its ideological nature, and might hence be characterized as quasi-fascist or authoritarian. It had a National Youth Organisation based on the Hitlerjugend, developed an armamentistic-centered economy, established a police-state akin to that of Nazi Germany (Greece received tactical and material support from Himmler, who exchanged correspondence with the Greek Minister of State Security Konstantinos Maniadakis) and brutality against communists in big cities such as Athens(communism was not known at small towns and villages of Greece yet). The Colonel George Papadopoulos' 1967 to 1974 military dictatorship, which was supported by the United States, however, was less ideological and lacked a clear fascist element other than militarism.
By 1932, support for right-wing ideology, embodied by Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös, had reached the point where Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy could not postpone appointing a fascist prime minister. Horthy also showed signs of admiring the efficiency and conservative leanings of the Italian fascist state under Mussolini and was not too reluctant to appoint a fascist government (with terms for the extent of Horthy's power). Horthy would keep control over the mainstream fascist movement in Hungary until near the end of the Second World War. However, Gömbös never had a truly powerful fascist base of support. Instead, the radical Arrow Cross Party, which gained support in Budapest as well as the countryside, became a powerful political movement, gaining nearly 800,000 votes in the election of 1939. Horthy became paranoid due to his new rival, and imprisoned the Arrow Cross Party's leader, Ferenc Szálasi. However, this action only increased popular support for the fascist movement. In another attempt to challenge the Arrow Cross, Horthy's government began to imitate the Arrow Cross Party's ideology. Starting in 1938, several racial laws, mostly against Jews, were passed by the regime, but the extremist Arrow Cross Party, led by Ferenc Szálasi, was banned until German pressure lifted the law, and until Germany occupied Hungary during Operation Margarethe on March 19, 1944, no Jews were in direct danger of being annihilated. In July 1944, armor-colonel Ferenc Koszorús and the First Armour Division, under Horthy's orders, resisted the Arrow Cross militia and prevented the deportation of the Jews of Budapest, thus saved over 200,000 lives. This act impressed upon the German occupying forces, including Adolf Eichmann, that as long as Hungary continued to be governed by Horthy, no real Endlösung could begin. Following Horthy's attempt to have Hungary change sides on October 13, Szálasi, with German military support, launched Operation Panzerfaust and replaced Admiral Horthy as Head of State. The regime changed to a system more in line with Nazism and would remain this way until the capture of Budapest by Soviet troops. Over 400,000 Jews were sent by Hungary to German death camps from 1944 to 1945.
Vidkun Quisling had staged a coup d'état during the German invasion on April 9, 1940. This first government was replaced by a Nazi puppet government under his leadership from February 1, 1943. His party never had any substantial support in Norway, undermining his attempts to emulate the Italian fascist state.
The Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar borrowed many of the ideas towards military and governance from Mussolini's Fascist regime and adapted to the Spanish example of paternal iconography for authoritarianism. Even though the regime was supportive of Mussolini and Hitler's efforts, it kept on the political sidelines throughout the war and instead offered only aid and business with both Italy and Germany during this period.
During the 1930s, the rise of fascist-inspired organizations occurred in Poland. Fascist organizations like Association of Polish Fascists (Związek Faszystów Polskich) were however marginal and ephemeral. Fascists-inspired organizations were however stronger, than parties with clearly fascist program. National Radical Camp Falanga was most prominent of them. It was created by radical youth members with National Democratic origins. Falanga was nonetheless quickly banned by the authoritarian ruling Sanacja regime and continued to operate clandestinely. It was also involved in frequent street violence and anti-Semitic riots.
The Iron Guard turned more and more into a pro-Nazi and pro-German movement and took power in September 1940 when Ion Antonescu forced King Carol II to abdicate. However, the cohabitation between the Iron Guard and Ion Antonescu was short-lived.
During the 1930s, the group combined a mix of Christian faith, antisemitism, and calls for land reform for farmers, who still lived in a quasi-feudal society. However, the extremely violent nature of the movement made it difficult for the Iron Guard to attract conservatives and middle class people, and as a result, the movement could never be as successful as the Nazi Party.
The Antonescu regime that followed had elements of fascism, but it lacked a clear political program or party. It was more a military dictatorship. The regime was characterized by nationalism, antisemitism, and anti-communism, but had no social program. Despite the Iaşi pogrom and a near-liquidation of the Jews of many parts of Moldavia, the regime ultimately refused to send the Romanian Jews to German death camps. The regime was overthrown on 23 August 1944 in a coup led by the king Mihai of Romania.
The Slovak People's Party was a quasi-fascist nationalist movement. It was associated with the Roman Catholic Church and founded by Father Andrej Hlinka. His successor Monsignor Jozef Tiso was a president of nominally independent Slovakia in 1939–1945. His government colleagues like Vojtech Tuka or Alexander Mach collaborate with fascism. The clerical element lends comparison with Austrofascism or the clerical fascism of Croatia, though not to the excesses of either model. The market system was run on principles agreeing with the standard Italian fascist model of industrial regulation.
After the 1936 arrest and execution of its founder, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, during the Spanish Civil War, the fascist Falange Española Party was allied to and ultimately came to be dominated by Generalísimo Francisco Franco, who became known as El Caudillo, the undisputed leader of the Nationalist side in the war and, after victory, head of state until his death over 35 years later. However, it was best described as an autocracy based on the Falangist fascist principles in its early years. By the mid-1950s, the Spanish Miracle and the rise of Opus Dei in the Franco regime led to Falangist fascism being discarded and fascists minimized in importance.
There have been three waves of fascism in South Africa. Beginning with D F Malan's support of Hitler's brown shirts and the activities of Robey Leibbrandt in the 1930s and 1940s, the second wave during the 1970s and 1980s which created fringe right-wing groups such as the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging.
Yugoslav National Movement ZBOR (Serbo-Croatian: Jugoslovenski Narodni pokret), also known as the United Militant Labour Organization (Združena borbena organizacija rada, or Zbor) were a Yugoslav fascist organization, founded in 1935. Another clearly Fascist movement was the Organization of Yugoslav Nationalists and the Yugoslav Radical Union.
Fascism in democratic nations
Prior to World War II, fascist or quasi-fascist movements also appeared in democratic nations, often taking their inspiration from the regimes established by Mussolini and Hitler.
Australia (1931 – late 1930s)
In the 1930s, Canada had fascist fringe groups within it. One stronger group was the Parti national social chrétien of Adrien Arcand which had significant support. Arcand believed in the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler and called himself the "Canadian Führer". In 1934, his Quebec-based party merged with the western-based fascist Nationalist Party of Canada. In 1938, the English Canadian and French Canadian fascist movements united into the National Unity Party. The only fascist politician ever to be elected in Canada was a man by the name of P. M. Campbell who ran and won under the fascist Unity Party of Alberta for Lethbridge in a 1937 Alberta Provincial By-Election. In 1940, all fascist parties were banned under Canada's War Measures Act.
The Rexist movement and the Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond party achieved some electoral success in the 1930s. The party could be label as clerical fascist with its roots in Catholic Conservatism. The party gained rapid support for a brief period, focusing on the secularism, corruption, and ineffectiveness on parliamentary democracy in Belgium. Many of its members assisted the Nazi occupation during World War II. The Verdinaso movement, too, can be considered fascist. Its leader, Joris Van Severen, was killed before the Nazi occupation. Some of its adepts collaborated, but others joined the resistance. These collaborationist movements are generally classified as belonging to the National Socialist model or the German fascist model because of its brand of racial nationalism and the close relation with the occupational authorities.
Fascist sympathizers led by General Eoin O'Duffy established the Army Comrades Association, or "Blueshirts" in 1932 as a veterans organization. Renamed the National Guard, it eventually became the paramilitary wing of the United Ireland Party. The Blueshirts wanted to establish a corporate state in Ireland and frequently clashed with Republican supporters of the ruling Fianna Fáil, who were using force to disrupt that party's meetings. O’Duffy planned a parade in Dublin in 1933, and the government, fearing a coup, banned the organization. The organization began to decline soon after. Blueshirts under O’Duffy's leadership later fought for Franco during the Nationalist uprising in Spain.
A reactionary nationalist movement called Acción Revolucionaria Mexicana (Mexican Revolutionary Action), founded by former Villista general Nicolas Rodriguez Carrasco, agitated for right-wing causes, such as the deportation of Jews and Chinese-Mexicans, throughout the 1930s. ARM maintained a paramilitary force called the Goldshirts, which clashed frequently with Communist activists, and supported the presidential faction of Plutarco Calles against the liberal reformist president Lázaro Cárdenas. The paramilitary group was banned in 1936 and the ARM officially disbanded in 1942, when Mexico declared war against the Axis.
The Netherlands (1923–1945)
The Verbond van Actualisten (Union of Actualists) was the oldest fascist movement in the Netherlands. It was established on 22 January 1923 and its ideology was based on Mussolini's Italian fascist movement. It ceased all activities in November 1928 after having had no success at all. It was succeeded by the Vereeniging De Bezem (Association 'The Broom') which was founded on 15 December 1928 by some men who previously were active in the Verbond van Actualisten. Its aim was to clean Dutch politics – hence the name. Its downfall in 1932 was caused by continuous discord between its leaders. On 14 December 1931 Anton Mussert and Cornelis van Geelkerken founded the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland (NSB), the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands. It started as a fascist movement, Italian style, but at the same time its ideology was based on Hitlers NSDAP. In the years 1935–1936 the party embraced antisemitism. Its best pre-war election result was 7,9% of the voters (1935). The maximum number of member of the NSB was 100,000 (around 1,25% of the Dutch population). Soon after the German occupation in May 1940 the NSB became the only allowed political party. Never once during the years of WW II the NSB was giving any real power, instead, the Germans used the NSB for their own purposes. After the German defeat, the NSB disappeared. On 29 June 1932 Jan Baars (previously active in the Vereeniging 'De Bezem') founded the Algemeene Nederlandsche Fascisten Bond (General Dutch Fascist Federation). It was the first Dutch fascist political party to gain significant election results and it had a considerable number of members. Its political views were quite moderate and it disapproved German Nazi racism and antisemitism. It ended its existence in 1934. Its main successful successor was Zwart Front (Black Front), 1934–1941. Its leaders were of a Catholic origin and the party was strongly based on Italian fascism. During the pre-war period, it never established a prominent position like Mussert's NSB. After the German invasion in May 1940, the number of members rose from 4,000 to 12,000. The Germans prohibited Zwart Front in December 1941.
Other, smaller, fascist and Nazi parties were: Verbond van Nationalisten (Union of Nationalists, 1928–1934), the Nationaal-Socialistische Nederlandsche Arbeiders Partij (National Socialist Dutch Workers Party, 1931–1941), Nationaal-Socialistische Partij (National Socialist Party, 1932–1941), Nederlandsche Fascisten Unie (Dutch Fascist Union, 1933), Unie van Nederlandsche Fascisten (Union of Dutch Fascists, 1933), Oranje-Fascisten (Orange Fascists, 1933), Frysk Fascisten Front (Frisian Fascist Front, 1933), Corporatieve Concentratie (Corporative Concentration, 1933–1934), Verbond voor Nationaal Herstel (Union for National Restoration, 1933–1941), Nederlandsche Nationaal-Socialistische Partij (Dutch National Socialist Party, 1935) and the Nederlandsche Volkspartij (Dutch People's Party, 1938–1940).
Dutch fascism and Nazism is known for its lack of coherence and it was dominated by the egos of its leaders. An important fact for its marginal position in pre-war Dutch politics was the absence of a 'lost generation' of combatants of WW I.
In Lebanon, the Kataeb Party (Phalange) was formed in 1936, with inspiration of the Spanish Falange and Italian Fascism. The founder of the party, Pierre Gemayel, founded the party after returning from a visit at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The party is still active today, although it has abandoned the Falangist and Fascist ideology in place of Phoenicianism, social Conservatism, Republicanism, and anti-Islam.
The Sveriges Fascistiska Folkparti (SFF; "Fascist People's Party of Sweden") was founded in 1926. Major figures of the party included its founding leader, Konrad Hallgren, a former German officer, and Swedish soldiers Sven Olov Lindholm and Sven Hedengren.
In 1929 a delegation of the party, led by Hallgren and Lindholm, attended a major rally of the German Nazi party, at Nuremberg. Afterwards, the SFF was more strongly influenced by Nazism and changed its name to Sveriges Nationalsocialistiska Folkparti (SNF; Swedish National Socialist People's Party). The SNF was one of several Swedish Nazi parties.
United Kingdom (1932–1940)
Sir Oswald Mosley, an admirer of Mussolini, established the British Union of Fascists in 1932 as a nationalist alternative to the three mainstream political parties in Britain. Though the BUF achieved only limited success in some local elections, their existence caused frequent riots, usually instigated by Communist movements. Alarmed at the violence caused by the BUF, the government passed the Public Order Act in 1936 to restrict its activity. During the latter years of the decade, the party experienced a revival in popularity on the back of its anti-war campaign. The BUF was banned in 1940 and Mosley was interned for the duration of the war. The relative stability of democratic institutions, the long-time assimilation of Jews, and the lack of a strong, threatening Communist movement, had made it difficult for fascism to succeed in Britain.
United States of America (1933-1941)
The Silver Legion of America (1933-1941), claiming around 15,000 members, managed to run a candidate for President on a third-party ticket, but was outlawed after Nazi Germany's declaration of war on the United States in late 1941.
Differences among fascist movements
Despite the arousal of fascist movements across Europe and the world, many were different in their nature in ideology. Some like the Iron Guard and Arrow Cross Party had strong support among the proletariat, unlike Nazism and Italian Fascism, which relied more on the support of the middle class. Meanwhile, some regimes, especially those appointed by Hitler like Vichy France, was made up of the conservative and aristocratic elite. Others also had different degrees of Catholic elements. Some groups, like the ones in Croatia, Austria, Belgium, and Slovakia, had its roots in reactionary and populist Catholicism. The Iron Guard also had strong religious influences and was defined, by its leaders, as more of a religious order than a political party. Fascist leaders like Francisco Franco and Vidkun Quisling tried to stage direct military coups, while other fascist groups formed political parties and tried to take power through the existing democratic process, such as Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists.
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