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Fascism is an authoritarian form of political organization which aims at total involvement of all citizens in the goals and interests of the State. The goal of making the State the overriding interest in society is achieved by appealing with populist rhetoric, including racism, to create nationalistic fervor. Fascism controls, but does not disintegrate the capitalist structure, and is thus associated with corporatism.
The truest form of Fascism is exclusively the Fascist movement in Italy, which Mussolini ruled as 'Il Duce', the supreme leader. The Italian fascist movement shared enough in common with the German Nazi movement that they considered themselves natural allies, but there were differences, which caused friction between the two. The Nationalists under Francisco Franco in Spain grew, after WWII, to be more dissimilar from the other Fascist government systems than they were from each other, but during the Spanish Civil War, Hitler sent fighter and bomber planes to aid Franco's forces against the coalition of Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists fighting for the Wikipedia:Second Spanish Republic
The racist policies of both Italy (propaganda against Haile Salassi's Ethiopia prior to invasion) and Germany subverted completely any virtues that might have been found in the Eugenics movement, and were doubtless influenced by Social Darwinism as well. It is worth pointing out that these two movements were innocuous in comparison with Fascist and in particular Nazi racism, and that Darwin's theories were used by Social Darwinists to advance theories that Darwin himself criticised during his lifetime. Social Darwinists (SDs) took the reality of "survival of the fittest", and made a virtue of Nature's fait accompli; a "destiny of the fittest". To SDs, it was somehow inherently right for the more-capable individuals and groups to kill off the less-capable individuals and groups, although of course they did not use those terms. The more altruistic social arrangements are, the pride or pack in animals or the family, tribe, or commune in humans, the more successful they are. Although scholars discount any direct involvement by Darwin in Social Darwinism, they routinely blame the victim by counting the subversion of Social Darwinism and Fascism as the fault of Darwin's theories themselves.
The sheer volume of work applied to scholarly unification of the disparate elements of these countries' actions into a coherent definition of Fascism has yielded considerable results. On the other hand, it is questionable whether this amounts in the end to more than an intellectual exercise; less is gained from coalescing the policies of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy than is lost from the definitions of either one separately. The definition of Franco's Spain suffers even more, as it is common to see right-wing pundits declare that regime to have not been Fascist at all, with there being no default definition to fill the gap.
- Nazi Germany (and satellite regimes)
- Italy under Benito Mussolini
- Spain under Francisco Franco
- Portugal under AntÃ³nio de Oliveira Salazar
- Military Dictatorship
- Robert C. Bannister. Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought.