Fascism and Nazism both emerged in an unstable Europe

QuestionFascism and Nazism both emerged in an unstable Europe, which not only created more instability, but also almost destroyed the continent. Explain. – 22 November 2021


Fascism is a political ideology that was born with Mussolini’s hunger to make Italy as great as the ancient Roman Empire. Fascism is primarily based on ultranationalism, whose focus is on the use of military power to control the people. It is based on military ideals which include courage, obedience, discipline and physical prowess.

Several reasons can be cited for the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Italy and Germany after 1919. For example, Mussolini’s personal ambitions and his charismatic personality, lack of proper representation of the demands of both countries in the Paris peace talks, etc. But Italian-German conditions played an important role in making possible the rise of contemporary European and fascist powers.

In contrast to is generally placed in the far-right under the traditional right-wing and left-wing category. Nazism was an extreme and violent form of fascism in Germany with great hatred for Jews.

One of the main reasons for the growth of Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany was the instability in Europe. As if-

  • Political instability: After World War I, the rise of weak, unstable and uncertain coalition governments in many European countries, including Italy and Germany, eroded the credibility of the parliamentary form of government.
  • Economic instability: There was additional expenditure by the countries participating in the First World War. The debt burden on Italy was enormous, while Germany had to pay for war compensation imposed under the Treaty of Versailles. In addition, the Great Depression caused severe economic instability, which contributed to the growth of Fascism and Nazism in Europe.
  • Fear of Communism: Political instability, communist violence and strikes in European countries greatly increased the fear of communist revolution and takeover, as in Russia. Thus the nobility, landowners, industrialists, army, etc. extended their support to the fascist/Nazi parties.
  • Social instability: The citizens of Germany and Italy resorted to fascist leaders to end their humiliation and restore their former prestige caused by war crimes, the Treaty of Versailles and the betrayal of the participating Allies.

Due to the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations, there was a lack of a strong global power to stop the growth of fascism. The lack of public confidence in the leaders of World War I led to a void in leadership in Europe and Hitler and Mussolini were seen as the new leaders.

However, the development of Fascism and Nazism only created more instability. This instability was expressed in the following forms:

  • A coup by the fascists against the ruling government.
  • Violence against socialists and communists.
  • Complete ban on all parties except Fascist/Nazi parties.
  • Establishment of a totalitarian state.
  • War militarization required more credit, leading to more economic instability.
  • To create conditions for civil war in other countries to gain cooperation, for example the Spanish Civil War.

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