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The similarities and differences between fascism in Nazi Germany and in Russia Essay Sample

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The similarities and differences between fascism in Nazi Germany and in Russia Essay Sample

Introduction

In trying to find the similarities and differences between Fascism as practiced by Nazi Germany and the Communist system of Russia under Joseph Stalin, it is important to first understand the term ‘fascism’; what does it mean?

            Fascism has been described variably and has sometimes generated very interesting and controversial definitions from scholars depending on who defines the term. However, to be able to understand clearly this term its origin has to be established.

Fascism is a term that was derived from an ancient Roman symbol of authority; the symbol consisted of an ax and a bundle of rods and was called “fasces”. (Gilbert Allardyce, 367)

Benito Mussolini in Milan first used the word on 23rd March 1919 when the Italian Fascism was founded in Italy. (Payne, Stanley G, 244). After this it was always associated with the authoritarian political movement that was in existent both in Italy and some other European nations. These nations came up to react against the tide of political and social changes that were taking place in the world because of first the effects of World War 1 and also because of the socialism and communism ideologies that were prevalent then. (Frank Bealey & others, 24)

Fascism can therefore be defined as “the philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right…through the merging of state and business leadership together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism”(www.remember.org/guide/facts.root.nazi.html)

Similarities

Some form of totalitarianism characterized both Fascism as practiced by Nazi Germany and the Communist System under Stalin. Unlike dictatorship very charismatic leaders who were Hitler and Stalin respectively headed both. Totalitarianism regimes espoused the ideologies of establishing complete and political, social and cultural control over the masses that they led. (Britt, Lawrence, 26)

In both cases any form of dissent or opposition, was met with brutal force. Dissenters were dealt with extreme severity and to ensure this happened, private paramilitary organizations were exhaustively utilized. (Britt, Lawrence, 26)

Also in both systems the decision making process was very centralized with the leader obligating himself the mandate to make all decisions. Loyalty to this leader was nothing to discuss about and any form of disloyalty; perceived or real was met with great force. Both regimes were also characterized in such cases with the recruitment of mass supporters who could be mobilized at will for any political participation by the leaders. (Peter Fritzsche, 57)

Differences

Despite the similarities, there were certain contrasts between the two regimes. Nazi Fascism on one hand evolved from the ‘right –wing’ extremism which drew popular support from mostly the middle class whose main wish was to maintain the economic and social status quo. Communist Fascism on the other hand was more inclined or evolved from the ‘left-wing’ extremism. The ‘left wing’ evolved mostly from the working class movements seeking to eliminate any form of class distinctions; the major driving force was freedom and equality for the common man.( David Baker, 227)

Nazi Fascism unlike Communist Fascism stressed and held on to the ideology of racial segregation, which denigrated ‘non-Aryans’. It espoused the belief of the ‘Aryan superiority’ where the Aryans were defined as the ‘Master race’; In fact they had a particular hatred for the Jews, which would eventually lead to the Holocaust massacres. They also advocated for a form of extremism of nationalism that called for the unification of all the German-speaking nations to unite as a single empire.

Works Cited

Britt, Lawrence, (2003) The 14 characteristics of fascism’, Free Inquiry,

David Baker,( 2006) The political economy of fascism: Myth or reality, or myth and reality?      New Political Economy, Volume 11, Issue 2

Frank Bealey & others (1999). Elements of Political Science. Edinburgh University        Press,   p. 202

Gilbert Allardyce (1979). “What Fascism Is Not: Thoughts on the Deflation of a Concept”. American Historical Review 84 (2):

Peter Fritzsche (1990). Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in   Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press.

Payne, Stanley G. 1995. A History of Fascism, 1914–45.Madison, WI: University of      Wisconsin Press.

www.remember.org/guide/facts.root.nazi.html: Accessed on 21st February 2008

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