The story

Summary - The Rise of Fascism and Nazism


The period of the interwar (1919-1939) was the time of discredit and crisis of liberal society. This now discredited society had been forged in the nineteenth century, with the affirmation of capitalism as the "perfect" economic system. In the second half of this century, the world was absorbing the progress of the second phase of the Industrial Revolution, which peaked between 1870 and 1914. European imperialism and colonialism gave the main countries of this continent the hegemony of the world and, therefore, an approach to face the future enthusiastically and optimistically.

After World War I (1914-1918), poles of power ended (Germany, England, France, Russia, etc.). In America, the United States, with its economy intact, has become the "bankers of the world." In Asia, after the Meiji Revolution (1868), Japan had become industrialized and imperialist and seized the world conflict to extend its power in the region.

In the disbelief of this postwar society, liberal values ​​(individual freedom), political, religious, economic, etc. They began to come under suspicion because of the powerlessness of governments to cope with the capitalist economic crisis that increasingly impoverished the social sector that most defended liberal values: the middle class.

At the same time, the various crises sparked a resurgence of social conflict, and the world immediately witnesses after the war a series of leftist movements and a strengthening of trade unions. The labor movement had already split into socialists or social democrats (Marxists who had abandoned the theme of armed struggle and adhered to the partisan political practice of liberalism) and communists (formed by factions that stood out from the labor movement following the victorious Bolshevik methods). in Russia (1917) These two groups were antagonistic.

All the euphoria and optimism was replaced by a pessimism that bordered on uncontrolled post war. This pessimism was felt among middle-class intellectuals, and manifested itself mainly in anti-Westernism, irrationalism, aggressive nationalism, and the proposal of violent and dictatorial solutions to solve the problems arising from the crisis.

The countries most affected by social democratic politics were Germany (defeated), Italy (even victorious, dissatisfied with the outcome of the war) where the crisis manifested itself most violently. In these countries liberalism had failed to take root. Both had latent national problems, so the formation of far-right groups, composed of former military personnel, liberal professionals, students, the unemployed, ex-combatants, etc., belonged to a socially disqualified middle class. they were more sensitive to anti-liberal, nationalist, racist, etc.

In Italy, Mussolini and Germany, Hitler formed paramilitary organizations that used violence to dissolve workers and socialist rallies and demonstrations, with the connivance of the authorities, who saw in discreet support for fascism a means of crushing the "red danger" represented by far left organizations, even moderate ones like the socialists.

At first, these groups that were more or less marginalized used coup attempts to seize power, as was the case with the Munich Putsh by the Nazi Party in Germany.

As the crisis deepened and the state did not eradicate it as it was unable to stifle labor unrest, these fascist and Nazi organizations saw their party membership increase. Capital holders began to finance these right-wing organizations, seeing in their rise a means of crushing leftist claims and the possibility of an imperialist policy to open new markets. By this attitude of the capitalists is meant why both Mussolini and Hitler came to power by legal means.