Totalitarianism and Fascism

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Totalitarianism and Fascism

I. “Totalitarianism” and “fascism:”

A. “Totalitarianism”:

1. A totalitarian governmental regime is a __________________ that aspires, with a great degree of success, to control the __________________, values, and behavior of __________________; and all phases of political, social, and __________________ life and __________________.

2. Totalitarianism requires both

a. a highly developed __________________, as well as

b. __________________ (e.g., radio and film media for __________________, efficient transportation for mobilization, and giant __________________ for easy control by the __________________). There have therefore been totalitarian governments only in the __________________ Century. These were Nazi __________________ and the __________________.

3. These totalitarian regimes provided a total __________________. Like traditional __________________, this ideology offered:

a. a complete story of __________________: past glories and defeats, present __________________, and future __________________;

b. a clear set of absolute __________________ (good vs. evil in Nietzsche’s terms);


c. a sense of belonging to a great __________________; this was especially appealing to the isolated and alienated individuals of __________________ societies.

In short, totalitarianism eases people’s __________________ of weakness and the __________________.
B. “Fascism”:

There are 2 senses of “fascism”: one narrow and one broad:

1. “Fascism” in the narrow sense refers to the rightist political movement that governed __________________ as a dictatorship during the period 1922-1943. It gets its name from the fact that in 1919 their leader, Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) began using the fasces – a bundle of __________________ bound with a red cord that had been used in ancient __________________ as a symbol of authority – as a symbol of his movement.

2. “Fascism” in a broad sense also includes Nazi __________________ (1933-1945), since in both cases power was wielded exclusively by a single, popular, and charismatic __________________ (= “Duce” in Italian; “Führer” in German).

C. Totalitarianism and fascism compared and contrasted:

1. Totalitarianism and fascism:

a. Both are authoritarian, since the dictator’s or Party’s __________________ are what rule, instead of free and rational __________________ (e.g., through parliament or __________________).

b. Both are also absolutist, since they allow no limits on the __________________ of the dictator or the Party.

c. Both are against liberal __________________ (e.g., civil rights) and __________________ (e.g., effective parliaments or voting).

2. Unlike Soviet totalitarianism, German and Italian fascism was also opposed to __________________. Whereas Marxism was an __________________ movement, based on an economic class (the proletariat); fascism was a __________________ movement, based on the notion of a people (linked by race or culture).

II. The rise of fascism in Italy:

Italy immediately after WWI:

  • After WWI, Italy was ruled by a weak __________________ government.

  • Italy’s __________________ was in shambles: food shortages, inflation, and __________________.

  • Italian landowners and industrialists feared a __________________ revolution, as had happened in __________________ in 1917.

  • Italians felt that they had __________________ much during WWI, but gained little in return from the Peace of __________________.

1919: Mussolini, a WWI veteran, organizes the Fascist party, with its own militia of “__________________ Shirts” to combat the socialist “__________________ Shirts”.

Mussolini’s Fascist party was supported by:

  • Italian landowners and industrialists, who supplied __________________;

  • military __________________, who thought Mussolini would increase Italy’s military power;

  • the lower-middle class, who feared the power the __________________ promised to factory workers;

  • intellectuals and university students, who were attracted to Mussolini’s promise of __________________.

October 1922: Mussolini’s Fascists march on __________________, demanding power, even though they had only 35 of 535 seats in parliament. The weak liberal King Victor Emmanuel III appoints Mussolini __________________ to __________________ them.

1925-6: Mussolini eliminates non-Fascists from his __________________, dissolves opposition __________________ and trade unions, censors the __________________, puts Fascists in local government, and organizes a __________________ secret police.

- Once firmly in power, Mussolini used the __________________ to convey an image of himself as a macho leader who would restore the glory of the __________________ Empire to Italy.

- In order to make Italy self-sufficient (in case of war), Mussolini

- launched the “battle of __________________” to increase the wheat crop;

- limited the import of __________________ goods, which increased the profits for Italian industrialists.

1929: the Lateran Accords recognize the independence of __________________ City, and made __________________ instruction mandatory in all secondary schools. This was Mussolini’s attempt to secure the support of the ultra__________________ Pope Pius XI (r. 1922-29), and thus to improve Mussolini’s image among __________________.

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