Fascism: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, 2014 - History - 162 pages
What is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? Can it be both? Fascism is notoriously hard to define. How do we make sense of an ideology that appeals to streetfighters and intellectuals alike? That is overtly macho in style, yet attracts many women? That calls for a return to tradition while maintaining a fascination with technology? And that preaches violence in the name of an ordered society? In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Kevin Passmore brilliantly unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world—tracing its origins in the intellectual, political, and social crises of the late nineteenth century, the rise of fascism following World War I, including fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of 'failed' fascist movements in Eastern Europe, Spain, and the Americas. He also considers fascism in culture, the new interest in transnational research, and the progress of the far right since 2002. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
 

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Fascism and Communism are the two major evil political systems that dominated the twentieth century politics. They both have their roots in the nineteenth century European ideas and circumstances, but have managed to have an unprecedented global impact. Unlike Communism, though, Fascism has been comparatively much less studied and even less understood. This primarily stems from the fact that there are no “canonical texts” of Fascism. It seems like a much more ad-hoc and opportunistic movement, and it embraced a vast variety of political regimes and institutions.
This very short introduction tries to present as a comprehensive of a view of Fascism as it’s possible in a book of such a short length. Instead of trying to give a single overarching definition, the book presents several different definitions and schools of thought on what Fascism is. This approach is probably the most intellectually honest for such a heterogeneous topic. The book gives the case studies of several important Fascist regimes, starting, of course, with the ur-Fascist regime in Italy. The Italian Fascism was also one of the longest lasting Fascist regimes, and one that most other such regimes tried to emulate. However, even within the context of Italian Fascism there have been many significant changes and developments over the years, the most notorious one being the embrace of anti-Semitism in the late 1930s in an attempt to more closely align itself with German Nazism. In fact, it is still an open question of Nazism and Fascism are indeed two manifestations of the same phenomenon, or if they are sufficiently different to be treated separately by political scientists and historian.
This is a very well written and an immensely informative book. The author manages to present his very clear mastery of this topic in a manner that is accessible to the widest imaginable audience. He manages to give a very coherent account of a pretty heterogeneous and difficult subject. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in political history, or history and politics in general.
 

Contents

A and not A what is fascism?
1
Fascism before fascism?
22
Italy making history with the fist
44
Germany the racial state
56
The diffusion of fascism
68
Phoenix from the ashes?
92
Fascism nation and race
108
Fascism women and gender
124
Fascism and us
149
References
157
Index
159
A Very Short Introduction
163
A Very Short Introduction
164
A Very Short Introduction
165
Very Short Introduction
166
Copyright

Fascism and class
135

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About the author (2014)


Dr Kevin Passmore is a Reader in History at Cardiff University. His The Right in the Third Republic was published by OUP in November 2012. He has continued to publish widely on fascism since publication of the VSI in 2002, but has also written on the history of the social sciences and historical writing.

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