Causes/Factors responsible for rise of fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany and their impact Fascism
Fascism is a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. Fascism is a form of nationalistic and authoritarian government and was initially emerged in Italy under Benito Mussolini in 1919. The rise of fascism in Italy and Germany can be tied to social unrest, economic strain and general frustration with the rest of the world following World War I.
Factors responsible for rise of fascism
Economic factors -Major economic instability weakened European political life -Uncontrollable inflation wiped out savings and created mass unemployment. Treaty of Versailles -Dissatisfaction with terms of WW1 peace treaties contributed to the rise of fascism. -Italy didn’t receive territory it was promised. -Germany was subjected to harsh reparation terms and lost territory. -New states established with the break-up of empires caused friction over borders. Fear of Communism -The upper and middle classes feared the spread of communism following the Russian Revolution. -Communist revolts in Germany, Austria and Hungary in 1919 contributed to this fear. -Fascism was seen as a better barrier to communism than democracy. Weak democracies -Weak multi-party governments -Economic crisis -Political instability -Weakness of parliamentary democracy – large number of parties leading to unstable government. Support of Middle Classes -The Middle Classes (mainly in rural areas) felt trapped between unionised workers and the wealthy elites. -Fascism claimed to represent their interests Social Unrest – strikes for higher wages, land seizures by peasants in the South.
Nazism, commonly known as National Socialism refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler and the policies adopted by the government of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. In 1928 Hitler’s Nazi Party was a small, insignificant party. They enjoyed little success in elections and were viewed as little more than thugs by the political elite. By 1933 however Hitler was the chancellor of Germany. The Nazi’s had risen from obscurity to power, total power.
Factors responsible for rise of Nazism
1- Economic instability, The Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s. It was the longest, most widespread, and deepest depression of the 20th century. The depression originated in the U.S., starting with the fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). From there, it quickly spread to almost every country in the world. This in turn led to economic instability in Germany. Germany was worst hit by this economic downturn, almost every city was affected and 6 million people got unemployed. 2- Failure of Wiemar Republic Germany's Weimar Republic was hit hard by the depression, as American loans to help rebuild the German economy now stopped. Unemployment soared, especially in larger cities, and the political system veered toward extremism. The unemployment rate reached nearly 30% in 1932, bolstering support for the anti-capitalist Nazi and Communist parties, which both rose in the years following the crash to altogether possess a Reichstag majority following the general election in July 1932.Repayment of the war reparations due by Germany were suspended in 1932 following the Lausanne Conference of 1932. By that time, Germany had repaid one eighth of the reparations. 3- Treaty of Versailles and impositions on Germany The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. Legal Restrictions -Article 227 charges former German Emperor, Wilhelm II with supreme offense against international morality. He is to be tried as a war criminal. -Articles 228–230 tried many other Germans as war criminals. -Article 231 (the "War Guilt Clause") lays sole responsibility for the war on Germany and her allies, which is to be accountable for all damage to civilian populations of the Allies. Military restrictions
-German naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men, six battleships, six cruisers, 12 destroyers and 12 torpedo boats. No submarines are to be included -The import and export of weapons is prohibited. -Poison gas, armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited. -Blockades on ships are prohibited. -Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns and rifles. Territorial Clauses Land was taken away from Germany and given to other countries. Anschluss (union with Austria) was forbidden.
The German people were very unhappy about the treaty and thought that it was too harsh. Germany could not afford to pay the money and during the 1920s the people in Germany were very poor. There were not many jobs and the price of food and basic goods was high. People were dissatisfied with the government and voted to power a man who promised to rip up the Treaty of Versailles. His name was Adolf Hitler. 4- Hitler's Promise for the Revival of Old Glory. The humiliating treatment meted out to Germany under the Treaty of Versailles was greatly resented by the German people and army and they wanted to see Germany rise to the glory which it once enjoyed. Hitler's great ability as an orator, politician and organizer influenced the people of Germany and he was elected as chancellor of Germany. 5- Growing Danger of Communism. The growing strength of the Communists in Germany was also exploited by the Nazis to strengthen their position. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Communist influence in Germany considerably increased. 6- Anti-Semitic Propaganda. The anti-Semitic propaganda carried on by the Nazi Party also contributed to its popularity. The Nazi Party described the Jews as traitors who conspired with the Allies during the war and could again commit treason against Germany. 7- Absence of unity among Opposition Parties. The rise of Nazi Party in German was also facilitated due to lack of any strong opposition party or unity among the opposition parties. As a result the Nazi Party did not encounter any effective resistance and gained smooth popularity. 8- Establishment of Volunteer Corps. Finally, the development of Nazism in Germany was greatly facilitated by the establishment of the volunteer corps. Under the peace settlement the number of forces of Germany was considerably curtailed and a large number of German soldiers were thrown out of employment.
The Nazi Party roped in all these soldiers and organized volunteer corps, which served as party army. The party army was divided into two wings. One wing wore brown shirts and red batch on the left arm with swastika sign. The other wing which consisted of the chosen members of the party wore black shirts. These party army members propagated the programme of the Nazi Party and worked for safeguarding its interests. These cops rendered great service to the popularization of the Nazi Party.