An Analysis of 20th Century Fascism
The previous chapter examined the cultural roots of fascism, how the ideology was a re-awakening of pagan ideas reinforced by Darwinism. These facts are most important for understanding the roots of the fascism and fascist movements which sprung up in the 20th century. However, we must also consider how these movements were able to come to power in so many countries in the 20th century, what methods they employed once they had done so, and the nightmare that resulted.
Right after the end of the First World War, the first fascist regime of the 20th century was established in Italy by Benito Mussolini. Hitler's Germany and Franco's Spain followed. In the 1930s, fascism became a popular political ideology, fascist parties both great and small were set up in many countries, and fascists came to power in Austria and Poland, thus the whole of Europe was affected by it.
There are numerous similarities between fascism in Europe, where the clearest examples of fascism were seen, and Latin America and Japan, where the movement also took root and flourished. Generally speaking, fascism made use of chaos and instability within a country to impose itself on its inhabitants, by presenting itself as an ideology of salvation. Once fascist governments were established, the people were kept under control by a mixture of fear, oppression, and brainwashing techniques.
Social Crises: Fertile Ground for Fascism
There were great similarities in the social and psychological backgrounds of those countries where fascist states came to be established. Most of the countries concerned had been defeated and heavily damaged in the First World War, and thus its people were worn-out and weary, having lost their husbands, wives, children, and loved ones in the war. As well, these countries suffered from a shattered economy, political instability, and a general feeling that the nation was in a state of collapse. People were suffering materially; the various political parties were incapable of rectifying the nations' problems, in addition to fighting amongst themselves.
Essentially, the poverty Italy was faced with as a result of the First World War was the most important factor in the rise to power of Italian fascism. More than 600,000 Italians had died as a result of the war, and up to half a million people were crippled. The greater part of the population was made up of widows and orphans. The country was beleaguered by an economic recession and high unemployment. Although the Italians had suffered great losses in the war, they had achieved very few of their aims. Like many other nations exhausted by the war, the Italian people longed to recapture their honor and former glory.
Actually, this was a feeling that had been gathering increasing strength since the end of the 19th century. Modern Italy looked back with nostalgia at the greatness of the Roman Empire, and felt it had a right to former Roman territory. Furthermore, there was a feeling of rivalry with the major powers of the world, and Italy hoped to raise itself to their rank, or, to rise to "the position it deserved." Affected by these aspirations, the Italians hoped to become as powerful as Great Britain, France and Germany.
Social, political and economic crises also played the major role in the establishment of Nazism in Germany, which had been defeated in the First World War. Unemployment and a financial crisis added to the disappointment of defeat. Inflation rose to levels that had seldom been equaled. Small children played with banknotes worth millions of marks, because money, which lost value by the hour, had come to be worth no more than pieces of paper. The Germans wanted to restore their lost honor and return to a better standard of living. It was with the promise of fulfilling such wishes that Nazism would emerge and win support.
Pre-fascist Spain also demonstrated close similarities to these counties. The loss of its colonies on both sides of the American continent at the beginning of the 19th century had led to a serious diminishment of self-esteem. By the beginning of the 20th century, Spain was in a state of semi-collapse. Its economy was failing, and the privileges accorded to the aristocracy opened the way to great injustices. The Spanish looked back to the days of a great and powerful Spain with great longing.
Another country where fascism came to have enormous influence was Japan. In pre-fascist Japan, the higher strata of society were very concerned about the spread of Marxist ideas among the young. But they were unable to determine how to rid themselves from that pernicious ideology. In addition, such social changes were very disconcerting for a society so tightly bound to its traditions. Family bonds loosened, the divorce rate rose, respect for the elderly diminished, customs and traditions were abandoned, an individualist tendency began to emerge, degeneracy among the young reached grievous proportions and there was an alarming increase in the suicide rate. In these conditions, the future stability of the Japanese society was regarded as in jeopardy. All of the above led to a backward-gazing nostalgia. Longing for the glory days of the past, and attempts to revive them, was the first trap the people fell into leading to their becoming fully ensnared by a fascist regime.
Neither must we ignore the menace of communism, which at that time was threatening to overtake the whole world. It may be that a number of nations submitted themselves to fascist regimes in order not to fall victim to that brutal, ruthless and oppressive ideology, escaping one evil only to be trapped by another, believing fascism to be the "lesser of two evils."
The Uneducated: Fascism’s Hapless Prey
Another factor that opened the way to fascism was the ignorance and lack of education of many communities. Education had suffered heavily during the chaos of the First World War. A great number of young educated people had lost their lives on the battlefield. In general, this led to a lowering of the level of culture in society. It was largely the ignorant who supported fascism, fought in its name, and became pawns of its chauvinistic policies. Because the fundamental ideas on which fascism were based (in other words, racism, romantic nationalism, chauvinism and fantasy) could only be widely accepted by the uneducated, susceptible as they were to crude, facile slogans.
Such people, seeing themselves as trapped, looked for easy way out. They embraced fascist leaders, as if they were a kind of lifebelt, as Eric Hoffer says in his book The True Believer:
For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking.34
An examination of the societal conditions that preceded fascism makes light of the fact that many people had just such a psychology.
The Methods by Which Fascism Came to Power
Fascism had its first successes in Italy. Mussolini took advantage of the social tensions and longing for change among the Italians, and after the war, mobilized former soldiers, the unemployed and university students, with slogans calling for a return of the glory days of ancient Rome. Mussolini organized his supporters, known as "Black Shirts," in a quasi-military format, and whose methods were founded on violence. They began to carry out attacks in the streets against groups they identified as their rivals. With their Roman greetings, songs, uniforms and official parades, they aroused the emotions of the uneducated and the disenfranchised.
On October 29, 1922, 50,000 fascist militants under the command of six generals marched on Rome. Because the king knew what the force that opposed him was capable of, and that there was no way he could oppose them, he called on Mussolini to form a government. As a result of the developments that followed, the Italian fascists finally came to power. A while later, Mussolini banned all other political parties. Some of the opposition leaders were sent into exile abroad, and others were imprisoned.
Hitler came to power by similar methods. The Nazi movement was born in the early 1920s, and carried out its first violent act in the Munich Beer Hall putsch. On November 8, 1923, Hitler raided a meeting at the Munich City Beer hall where Bavarian State Commissioner Gustav von Kahr was speaking with military units, no different from an organized gang, and 600 SA troopers. Hitler entered the meeting in a great rage and occupied the premises. Firing at the ceiling, he said that he was announcing a national revolution. But this coup was a failure. Hitler was arrested and lived as an exile for nine months. Nonetheless, in later years, the Nazis grew stronger by terrorizing their opponents and inciting anti-Semitic hatreds. Eventually, the Nazi Party became an important party in parliament. Throughout all this, of course, the Nazis frequently resorted to illegal methods, much like the Italian Fascist party. On January 30, 1933, Hitler was made chancellor. The post was conferred upon him by the elderly President Hindenburg, who was aware that the growing power of the national Socialist Movement was increasingly menacing, and therefore, made Hitler chancellor in order to avert a civil war. When Hitler again ran for election in March, like all fascist administrations, the Nazis employed terror, intimidation, and deception. After the elections, the German parliament immediately passed the Enabling Act, which made Hitler dictator of Germany for four years.
In this manner, the administrative and law-making power came into Hitler's hands. But, shortly thereafter, the extent of his powers was increased still further. In August 1934, at the death of Hindenburg, the offices of president and chancellor were joined together, with Hitler assuming them both. Hitler followed policies much like those of Mussolini. In addition to brute force, Hitler also made use of various types of anti-democratic methods. For instance, he banned all opposition parties, and outlawed trade unions, thereby completely eliminating personal freedoms. Nazi influence was felt in all walks of life. Even university professors were required to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler.
In Spain, Franco came to power in the aftermath of a bloody civil war. Supported by Hitler and Mussolini, Franco's army defeated the communists after a long and fierce war, and took power over the entire country. Franco then set up a particularly oppressive regime, and ruled the country with an "iron fist" until 1975.
Brainwashing Techniques of Fascism
There was one particularly egregious feature of Italian fascism and Nazi Germany: its attempt to brainwash its citizens. This program was founded on two basic components, education and propaganda.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote, "Propaganda is a means and must therefore be judged with regard to its end... Propaganda in the War was a means to an end, and the end was the struggle for the existence of the German people; consequently, propaganda could only be considered in accordance with the principles that were valid for this struggle. In this case the cruelest weapons were humane if they brought about a quicker victory... All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower is purely intellectual level will have to be."35
Hitler was certainly effective in his use of propaganda. For instance, the well-known director Leni Riefenstahl was requested to produce a Nazi propaganda film, Olympia. In Triumph of Will, another film by Riefenstahl, Hitler was shown as an almost divine being. Pagan Nazi ideology was praised in all these films, and ultimately imposed upon society. Olympia was one of the old centers of ancient Greek pagan culture. The city, with its famous statue of the Greek god Zeus, was a fitting symbol of the pagan ideology of Nazism.
All fascist regimes, not just Hitler's, used propaganda in a most effective way in order to impose their will on the public. Mussolini openly stated this:
For me the masses are nothing but a herd of sheep as long as they are unorganized... The Roman greeting, songs and formulas...all are essential to fan the flames of the enthusiasm that keeps a movement in being...Everything turns upon one's ability to control the masses like an artist.36
The Use of Pressure To Eliminate Opposed Ideas
One interesting example of fascism's efforts to brainwash society were the book burning ceremonies in Nazi Germany.
The first of these took place on May 10, 1933. Students from German universities, which had previously been recognized as the best in the world, gathered in Berlin and other German cities, and burned books which contained "un-German" ideas. Thousands of books were burned, to the accompaniment of Nazi salutes, songs and military music.
In Berlin, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels gave a speech to the students stating:
The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on the German path... The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death—this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong. great and symbolic deed—a deed which should document the following for a world to know—Here the intellectual foundation of the November (Democratic) Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of a new spirit will triumphantly rise...37
The fascist state permits only its own ideology to be taught. Outside of that, nobody must be allowed to think anything else, or else, he will be punished, have his books burned, or be silenced in some other way. Each individual is seen as a tool at the service of the ideology of the state. Those who do not agree with the ideology are intimidated into doing so.
Therefore, the educational system was rendered to the complete service of the fascist state. The complete transformation of the educational system was outlined in the 20th article of the basic principles of National Socialism. Right from primary school, children were raised without any ethical values or human feeling, and in a way devoid of affection or compassion. They were educated under the principle that the strong are most right, and that it is essential to employ force to achieve one's aims. The organization created for German children between the ages of 10-18 was known as the Hitlerjugend, or Hitler Youth. All those who joined the Hitler Youth were warned that they must be highly vigilant in their daily lives, and should spy on all those opposed to the Nazis. Some of them even denounced their own parents. The Hitler Youth grew steadily, and by 1935, 60 percent of youth were enrolled in it.
Another tactic used by all fascist regimes has been to conceal the true history from society, and in its place, to teach a fictitious version, written by themselves. The purpose to this has been to build a culture in which the fascists' ideals could thrive, enabling them to become both more popular and more firmly rooted in society. The understanding of history, as well as philosophy, throughout the educational process were entirely monitored by the fascist state. As they were educated by the system, people were entirely unaware that they were being brainwashed in fascist ideology, and that all other ideas were completely censored.
The Idols of Fascism: The Sacred Leader
The most important element of fascism is the leader, whose name is given prominence in every aspect of society. The Hitler, Mussolini and Franco regimes were clear examples of this. The titles used by these dictators, "Der Führer," "Il Duce" or "El Caudillo" all signify the same thing— "The all-knowing leader." And, indeed, the three ran their respective states totally according to their own desires, while their closest colleagues and most senior officers were left out of the decision-making process.
Fascism ascribes an almost sacred power to the leader, in order that he can maintain his appeal and increase his acceptance among the people. The leader is the ruler of the whole country and of its people, portrayed as being part of him. A Nationalist Socialist leader, Herr Spaniol, speaking at Saarbruecken in January, 1935, said:
I do not believe that the Churches will continue to exist in their present form. In the future religion will be called National Socialism. Its prophet, its pope, its Jesus Christ, will be called Adolf Hitler.38
In a similar way, Mussolini was seen in Italy as someone with special abilities, a superior being, chosen and formed especially for the task in hand. The commandments and pronouncements issued by Mussolini were called the "Fascist Decalogue," and the eighth of these, "The Duce is always right," became a slogan that was heard all over Italy in the 1920s and 30s.39 By 1935, membership of the fascist youth organization, the Opera Nationale Balilla, became compulsory for all Italian youth. Young Italians who became a member of Balilla swore to "...believe in Rome the eternal... in the genius of Mussolini, in our Holy Father Fascism."40
Another method employed to portray the fascist leader as sacred was the putting up of his picture and statues all over the country. This had a profound psychological effect on the public, who constantly felt themselves within the leader's power and under his control, and even, that he was always watching them. Mussolini's official propaganda service used to advise the press how, when and which of his pictures was to be printed, on which page, in what arrangement, and in what size. In these photographs, "Il Duce" appeared before his people in pompous poses: brandishing a sword, stressing economic development in a harvest area, addressing young fascists, as a tireless worker or sportsman.
In each case, Mussolini was presented as the hero of the people. Newspaper pages were adorned with pictures of him flying planes, jumping hurdles on horseback, swimming, skiing in the Alps, fencing, in parachutist costume etc.
So effective was this propaganda that even his oldest friends used to stand to attention whenever they saw him. Thus Mussolini was able to satisfy his enormous ego, not even allowing his oldest friends to sit down, but keeping them on their feet for hours.
The methods employed to portray the fascist leader as superhuman, during the eras of Hitler and Mussolini, are also used by modern fascists in our own time. The fascist dictator in Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is such an example. For years, the streets of fascist Iraq have been covered with huge pictures of him. And, in them, he is shown in different roles as leader of the people: as a farmer in the country, a worker in a factory, as a soldier in the barracks. He makes his presence felt everywhere, in an attempt to give the impression of being "one who sees and knows all," in other words, a sacred being.
However, fascism certainly does not consist merely of the leader and the fascist party around him. In both Nazi Germany and Italy, there was tremendous popular support for the regime. This was produced in a number of ways. Fascist regimes are not simply "authoritarian," crushing their people into silence; they are also "totalitarian."
The particular feature that attracts people to a fascist ideology in a totalitarian system is "extreme romanticism." People who have irrational and romantic or emotional attachments to ideals and movements in their own time or in history are easily led and manipulated, and can even be provoked to commit crimes. If such people can be convinced that the cruelties required of them are carried out for a sacred cause, such as the "superiority of their own race," there is no limit to the injustices they can be deluded into committing. Fascist regimes recognize this, and do their utmost to keep their people in a state of irrational emotional exuberance and agitation. They present what appear to be sacred values to the people and encourage them in self-sacrifice for the sake of the state, to despise other nations or races, and even to torture and kill.
For this reason, fascist regimes have always tended to attach great importance to mass rallies, marches, meetings and ceremonies. Their aim is to form a sheep-like sense of unity in the people. The people are first diverted from religion with symbols, statues, days of remembrance, flags, torches, and uniforms. Grand moving ceremonies are designed to replace the experience of religious ones. These indoctrinated crowds conform to the fascist ideals, in false joy and excitement, as if carrying out an act of divine worship. The frequent repetition of written and shouted slogans, cries, martial music and salutes are a vital part of fascist ceremonies.
These fascist crowds are devoid of any kind of intelligent thought or behavior. All that remains is a group of people whipped up by slogans, songs and poems, but deaf to all reason. These masses, who identify themselves and their leaders with heroes from mythology or legends from the past, carry out their atrocities with an artificially induced sense of "heroism." If the day comes when they are called to account for their actions, they say they did it for the nation, and that they are actually its heroes. Those who followed Hitler and Mussolini did so under the effects of such hypnosis, perpetrating their atrocities in this state of false excitement.
Under fascism, a person's natural love for his people and country is turned into a dangerous sentimentality and a mindless loss of self-control, whereby whole societies are driven to kill by exploiting these emotions. (see Romanticism: A Weapon of Satan, Harun Yahya)
Fascism's False Sacred Values
Fascism is a faulted creed which sets out to do away with divine religions and to replace them with pagan beliefs. And, it is to be expected that, if false, those values which it holds as sacred must also be false. For instance, the Nazis repeatedly used the slogan "Blut and Boden" (Blood and Soil), and made symbols out of both concepts. For instance, during Hitler's unsuccessful putsch in 1923, one of the swastika flags, wet from the blood of wounded Nazis, was turned into a sacred relic. Called "Blutfahne," (Blood Flag) it was conserved just as it was, and was the most sacred symbol at all Nazi ceremonies. Other, new flags were touched to it, so that it might transmit something of its own "sacred" quality.41
War and violence, two more fundamental elements of fascism, are pagan concepts that it attempts to portray as sacred values. In divine religions, the aim is to create a society and world free of violence and war, whereas under fascism, war is a virtue by itself. Fascism believes that a people gain honor and strength from the wars it wages and from its slain. Naturally, this belief leads to further wars and the shedding of more blood. Fascism continually prepares new atrocities and a river of bloodshed.
The Imaginary Enemies of the Fascist State
Fascism is a completely hollow ideology, and needs to be in a constant state of agitation in order to survive. The factor that most strengthens the fascist state in the eyes of its people is the myth of "internal and external enemies." All fascist states create imaginary enemies, and declare all out war on them. The dictatorship seeks to strengthen by repeated daily media coverage of glorious victories over the enemy. And this inspires the belief that, "in order to protect the people from these great dangers, it is necessary to be harsh and ruthless to the opposition." The fascist regime clings to power with the ever-prevalent idea of "us and them," and of imaginary enemies of the people. A justification is thus provided for the erosion of the force of law, violations of human rights, and state terrorism. Those who criticize fascism are automatically accused of cooperating with the imaginary enemy.
Hitler chose the Jews and communists, Mussolini the communists, and in our own time, fascists such as Saddam Hussein the United States, and Slobodan Milosevic the Muslims, as enemies, and all creating an artificial unity with this imagined threat. This fictitious danger is fascism's most important propaganda weapon, by which a grievous menace is said to exist, and the fascist leader is portrayed as a "hero" who will save his people from it. In this illusory scenario, the artificial enemy is always brought under attack, and the fascist leader heroically repels him and defends his people. That is why the people of Iraq are still so attached to Saddam Hussein, despite all his oppression. Saddam has expertly managed to use his own ruthlessness in the media to denounce other countries as enemies.
One of the most blatant features of the fascist state is its distrust of its own people, and the way by which it attempts to eliminate everybody it has doubts about through ruthless methods, even to the extent of murder. Nearly all fascist regimes institute "secret police" forces to keep their own populations under control and weed out the opposition. The infamous Gestapo is a proof of the scale of the torture and savagery that the paranoia of fascist regimes leads to. In his book The True Believer, Eric Hoffer describes the policy of fear implemented by the Nazis to keep the public under control.
The ran-and-file within the Nazi party were made to feel that they were continually under observation and were kept in a permanent state of uneasy conscience and fear. Fear of one's neighbors, one's friends and even one's relatives seems to be the rule within all mass movements. Now and then innocent people are deliberately accused and sacrificed in order to keep suspicion alive.42
Fascism believes that if people are left to their own devices they will both betray the regime and become decadent. The way to bring the people to heel is by the use of repression. The French philosopher George Sorel (1847-1922), one of the ideologues of fascism, and who was a particular influence on Mussolini, heads the list of those who believed in the idea. Sorel maintained that societies naturally became decadent and disordered. In his view, this decay had to be prevented by the use of force, through the establishment of a totalitarian order.
Fascist paranoia still continues today. It is this suspiciousness that lies behind Saddam Hussein's having his closest relatives killed on possibility of "betrayal." After ousting President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr in 1979, Saddam had more than half the Baath Party, of which he was a member, killed. The criteria for eliminating people were their intentions, he said, to avoid the harm they might cause the family in the future. His son Uday is in charge of the terror machine of liquidating the "traitors" in the family. Saddam's gang of assassins—all thugs, psychopaths and killers from his own clan—became the core of a special security apparatus that he moulded in 1960's on the Nazi SS style. It is known that Saddam showed them the video of the Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceausescu's fall and execution reminding them that they could meet an end similar to that of the securitate if the regime was to fall.43
The Fascist Love of Violence
In a report titled "British in Africa Lack Killer Urge" published in The New York Times of June 24, 1942, James Aldridge describes the Nazi view of war and killing in these words:
The German commanders are scientists, who are continually experimenting with and improving the hard, mathematical formula of killing. They are trained as mathematicians, engineers and chemists facing complicated problems. There is no art in it, there is no imagination. War is pure physics to them. The German soldier is trained with a psychology of the daredevil track rider. He is a professional killer, with no distractions. He believes he is the toughest man on earth.44
This model of "professional killer" employed by the Nazis is a common feature of fascism. Fascists regard the use of force and violence as an end in itself. The influence of Darwinism plays a major role here. The Darwinist superstitions that human beings are nothing but developed animals, and that only the strong can survive, did away with the ethical values. Love and compassion were replaced by feelings of aggression, revenge and struggle, sentiments that were presented to people as a scientific necessity.
Fascists see conflict as a law of nature, and believe that peace, security and comfort impede the progress of mankind. Mussolini's words, when opening the Fascist Culture and Propaganda School in Milan in 1921, are an indication of this, where he identified action as the force that would lead fascism to victory.45
Acts of violence, destruction, assaults and fighting are what keep fascists' morale at a high level. These are the exact opposite of peace, brotherhood, peace and tranquility.
The ignorance of the fascists also plays a pivotal role in their tendency towards violence. That is why Hitler felt the need for fighters in his racist regime, not intellectuals.
The Nazis' acts of violence were carried to that end by specially formed organizations. The first of these, the SA (Sturmabteilung, or Storm Troopers) were formed in 1920, and in 1921 they took on a paramilitary quality. There were a great many street thugs in the ranks of the SA. The group was also known as the "Brown Shirts," and was led by Ernst Röhm, known for his psychopathic nature (and his homosexual tendencies). The SA carried out countless acts of terrorism throughout the 1920s in order to strengthen the Nazi Party. SA units carried out sudden attacks on opponents of the Nazis, spilt blood in street fights, and tortured those opponents they took as "prisoners of war." Hitler took pride in the violence of the SA. In Mein Kampf, he described one "successful" attack that was carried out on opponents of the Nazis:
When I entered the vestibule of the Hofbräuhaus [beer hall] at a quarter of eight, there could indeed be no doubt with regard to the existing intention. The room was overcrowded and had therefore been closed by the police... The small S.A. awaited me in the vestibule. I had the doors to the large hall closed and then ordered the forty-five or forty-six men to line up... My storm troopers – for so they were called from this day on – attacked. Like wolves they flung themselves in packs of eight or ten again and again on their enemies, and little by little actually begun to thrash them out of the hall. After only five minutes I hardly saw a one of them who was not covered with blood.46
The SA began to fall from grace when the Nazis came to power, and the star of the more professional SS (Schutzstaffel, or Guard Detachments), with their military discipline, began to rise. This corp wore black shirts. Young people were selected according to "racial criteria" for membership in the SS. They had to possess Aryan racial features. The Waffen-SS was the military wing of the SS. The Totenkopf, or Deaths Head, Division within the Waffen-SS was particularly renowned for its cruelty, and was brought in to man the concentration camps.
Similar camps had also been set up by Mussolini, and 18,000 of the 35,000 placed in these "extermination camps" were killed. There were a great many other deaths, murders, and unsolved killings throughout the fascist period in Italy. Mussolini admitted to the cruelty of fascism in one of his speeches: "Fascism is no longer liberation but tyranny, no longer the safeguard of the nation but the defense of private interests."47
It was also possible to see such examples of violence in Franco's Spain. Even at the very outset of the civil war, Franco's ruthless methods had attracted attention. For instance, in a small mountain village north of Madrid, 18 people were arrested for voting for the Popular Front. After questioning, 13 of these were taken out of the village by lorry and killed by the side of the road. When the fascists entered the small town of Loro del Rio with its population of 11,000 near Seville, they killed more than 300 people. Oppression took on a particularly violent form in the cities. To such an extent that the number of those killed is even today not known for certain.48 Franco had hundreds of thousands of his own people killed, even including the elderly, women and children. The words of a member of the anti-Franco resistance in June 1936 describe the situation:
Thousands of people have been tortured, women who refused to turn in their loved ones have been hung upside down, children have been shot, and the mothers who witnessed the torture of their children have gone mad…49
Franco dragged Spain into a terrible civil war. Brother fought against brother, and father against son. An average of 500 people died every day. Acts of violence, slaughter, mass torture, and killings went on without end. The Spanish Civil War left some 600,000 dead in its wake.
Hitler and Mussolini used Spain as a laboratory, a testing-ground for new troops and weapons.50 The most terrible example of this was a village that Franco presented to Hitler as a gift in return for his assistance. On the morning of May 5, 1937, the people of the village of Guernica were wiped out by the huge bomber planes manufactured by Nazi technology. Franco had left the little village as an experiment for Nazi planes.51
Fascism's Policy of Conquest
Another feature without which fascism cannot survive is its policy of expansion by conquering other countries. The basis of this policy of conquest is racism, and the concept of "the struggle for survival between the races," a legacy of Darwinism. Fascist states believe that in order to develop as a nation, they have to conquer weaker nations, and grow by absorbing them.
According to fascist thinking, man can only progress by engaging in war. Therefore, "militarism" is fascism's most defining characteristic. In order to encourage this martial spirit, fascist parties attempt to impress their citizens with their uniforms and pompous ceremonies. In Mussolini's words, "Fascism... believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it."52
Mussolini expressed his opposition to peace in another speech, saying, "I do not believe in peace, but I find it depressing and a negation of all human virtues of man."53
Mussolini inflicted great suffering, both on his own people and on those in the countries he occupied, in the name of his ideology. He occupied Ethiopia(Abyssinia) in 1935, and 15,000 innocent Muslims were killed towards his dreams of "reviving the Roman Empire." He had no compunction about ordering civilians who tried to fight the occupation to be shot. He was also responsible for terrible atrocities through the use of poison gas against civilians.
The most grievous example of fascism's politics of occupation is, of course, Nazi Germany. The Nazis claimed that the Germans, "the master race," needed "room to live" beyond the frontiers of Germany, and for that reason sparked World War II. Within a very short time, the German Army had occupied Poland, Belgium, the Baltic countries, France, the Balkan Peninsula and Northern Africa, invaded Russia as far as Moscow, and headed from there to the Caspian Sea. This murder, which ultimately culminated in a disaster for the German people as well as for those of other countries, left 55 million dead, and was the bloodiest legacy of fascism in the 20th century.
The Fascist System's Attack on Art
Another disturbing aspect of fascism is that people living under such a regime are unable to develop their artistic talents, and that their scientific research fails to produce any productive results.
In order to determine the reason for this, we must first define what art is. Art is found in people taking pleasure in beauty and wanting to express it. Therefore, it first of all requires a soul capable of appreciating beauty. For instance, an artist who possesses feelings such as love and affection can see beauty in an animal, a landscape, or a plant. He experiences a feeling of joy, which he then tries to depict. A composer, in the presence of such beauty produces beautiful music, because his soul, feeling that beauty, longs to express it. The same applies to every other type of art, from literature to music.
However, it is impossible for those with a dark and cold soul, who are used to oppression and cruelty, and who have lost all semblance of humanity, to produce art. It is impossible for a person who believes in aggression and the superiority of force, who considers that bloodshed is necessary, who sees the world as a battleground, a kind of arena where only the strong have the right to live, to be affected by the beauties of nature or human beings, and influenced by their intricacies.
Those are the characteristics of fascists, and therefore, it is impossible for a fascist to possess any artistic feeling. The fascist soul is utterly debilitated and ignorant, and lacks all understanding, and considers art "unnecessary."
Actually, the fascists' hostility to art goes back to ancient Sparta, that ancient city which they took as a model. At a period when art was greatly prized in Athens, Sparta saw art as unnecessary, and raised its citizens instead to become warriors from an early age. It was virtually forbidden for Spartan children to take an interest in subjects such as reading and writing or art in their education.
In 20th century fascist states, works of art, if any, were prepared and controlled by the state to serve as propaganda. These were the products of a soulless and mechanical "art to order." No real works of art emerged. For instance, only those subjects that the state allowed could be painted, such as war. Subjects disliked by the state were forbidden. The same applied to the written word, only those things the fascist state permitted could be written about, and nothing else. As a result, art totally unrelated to true art emerged, that, aesthetically, rendered art, architecture and literature rigid, soulless and dull.
The most obvious examples of this were seen in Hitler's Germany. Because of his racist views, Hitler boycotted certain art forms. For example, because he looked on Africans as an "inferior race," the playing of jazz was forbidden in Germany, for it was regarded as "black man's music." In 1935, Eugen Hadamowski, the head of German radio, announced that by order of Hitler, he prohibited the playing of Negro jazz on German radio.
At the beginning of the 1940s, at the height of Hitler's power, jazz began to be used as a propaganda tool in radio broadcasts directed at Great Britain and America. At that time, and in most countries, jazz was one of the most popular forms of music. Europe's greatest jazz musicians were brought together. The first thing done was to translate all the English names of the famous jazz songs into German. The lyrics of these songs were altered to conform with Nazi propaganda, and was played only on programs aimed at the West, and completely forbidden on domestic German radio.
The lyrics of the songs were entirely fascist in content. Here is one example.
You're the greatest… You're a German pilot… You're machine gun fire… You're a heroic submariner… You're the greatest… You're a German bomber…54
That was the Nazis' idea of art and music. Paintings, song lyrics, music and literature were all expected to include subjects approved of by the state. Painters could only paint subjects that encouraged the spirit of war. For instance, when the above-mentioned "state controlled jazz group" produced a record that did not consist of Nazi propaganda, they were immediately accused of being "degenerate" and warned never to try such a thing again.
And, that was not the end of Hitler's measures against artists. After the race laws of 1933, the Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Music Chamber) required a registry of all German musicians. As a result, hundreds of talented composers had their work deliberately suppressed and careers ended simply because their race or style of music offended the Third Reich. Famous works by Mendelssohn, Mahler and Schoenberg were used as examples of unacceptable music.55
According to Hitler, the role of art was to carry political messages in order to shape the mind of the public. What to Hitler was true art was that which portrayed life in the countryside, the healthy, and the Aryan race. In one speech, he offered his views on art and artists:
We shall discover and encourage the artists who are able to impress upon the State of the German people the cultural stamp of the Germanic race... in their origin and in the picture which they present they are the expressions of the soul and the ideals of the community.56
As can be discerned from all that has been mentioned, the artistic talents and scientific endeavor of people living under fascist regimes are ultimately fruitless. On the other hand, however, a society which lives by true religion sees great progress and development in the arts. Since religious people know that the universe and all living things in it were created by God, they look at everything around them with the intention of recognizing their beauty. They see the art in God's creation and are in awe of it. They see people, animals, plants and everything in nature as God's creations, and both love and appreciate them, realizing their beauty and detail. In fact, the greatest works of art in history arose out of inspiration artists have found in religious subjects.
Fascism's Hatred of Women
There is another little known but exceedingly important aspect of fascism. It has an inimical attitude towards women, and sees them as inferior to men.
This fact is recognizable in words and statements of 20th century fascist leaders. For instance, Mussolini's statement to Maurice de Valeffe, a reporter for the French publication Journal, on Nov. 12, 1922, openly belittled women:
There are those who say that I intend to limit the right to vote. No! Every citizen will keep his right to vote for the Rome Parliament… Let me also admit to you that I am not thinking of extending the vote to women. There would be no point. My blood opposes all kinds of feminism when it comes to women participating in state affairs. Naturally a woman shouldn't be a slave, but if I conceded her the vote, I'd be laughed at. In our state, she must not count.57
During the serious economic crisis beginning in 1930, Mussolini ordered that women should leave their places of work. Because he saw women as "thieves who reach out to steal men's bread, and responsible for men's unproductiveness."58
The Duce's views on women are strikingly apparent in an interview he granted the French journalist Hélène Gosset in 1932:
Women must submit… Even if they have an analytical power, they have no synthetic one. Have they ever put up an architectural structure? I am not talking about a temple: a woman could do no better than erecting a hut. Women are strangers to architecture, the synthesis of all the arts: and their destiny ends at this point.59
Through various measures, restrictions on women in the workplace were also imposed in education. For instance, a decree of Jan. 30, 1927 forbade women in high school from taking classes in literature and philosophy. A decree passed in 1928 resorted to legal measures to oppose women's education, and women were prevented from becoming directors of middle schools. Female students were required to pay double the fees in schools and universities.
A decree which Mussolini put before Parliament on Nov. 28, 1933 declared, "State bodies are empowered to impose conditions excluding women in advertisements for exams to take on new employees.. They must impose limits against a rise in the number of female workers in public offices…"60 According to a decree instituted by force of law on Sept. 1, 1938, women could only make up 10 percent of the workforce in public offices.
In Nazi Germany the status of women as "second class citizens" was even more pronounced. The German Education Ministry decided that women should make up no more than 10 percent of high school graduates. In 1934, only 1,500 out of every 10,000 female high school graduates were allowed to proceed to higher education. In 1929, there were 39 National Socialist education bodies. Only two of these were for women. Laws were passed banning women from taking Latin classes in middle school: before having even finished high school, they were prevented from going on to university.61
These decrees did not just represent a social ideology or merely imposed regulations to foster a division of labor, they were actually the implementation of the biological dogma of Nazism. Maria A. Macciocchi, author of Eléments pour une Analyse du Fascisme comments that in the eyes of the Nazis, women were a kind of animal.62 According to such a philosophy, women were a primitive race, at a lower level in biological terms.63
The Darwinist Roots of the Hostility to Women
The root of this prejudice among fascists towards women was, as in so many other matters, Darwinism. Fascists did not merely appropriate the idea of the inequality between the races from Darwinism, they also adopted the idea that men were superior to women.
In The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote that women some of whose "powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation are characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilisation."64 According to Darwin, evolution meant "a struggle of individuals of one sex, generally males, for the possession of the other sex."65
In the Descent, Darwin also wrote, "Man is more powerful in body and mind than woman, and in the savage state he keeps her in a far more abject state of bondage than does the male of any other animal; therefore it is not surprising that he should have gained the power of selection."66 Evolution was in the hands of men, and women were basically passive. As a result, women had evolved less and were more primitive, for which reason women were dominated by instinct and emotions, which was their "greatest weakness."67
Darwin maintained his views on the superiority of men and its importance for evolution throughout his life. He had this to say about this issue also by referring to his cousin Francis Galton's theories:
The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive both of composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half-a-dozen names under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on Hereditary Genius, that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.68
Darwin's views could also be recognized in his personal outlook towards women. He described a woman's role in marriage as "constant companion, (friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, object to be beloved and played with—better than a dog anyhow—Home, and someone to take care of house ..."69 It is evident that Darwin looked at women and the institution of the family from a materialistic standpoint. There was not a trace of love, respect, loyalty, affection or compassion in his outlook.
The evolutionist and materialist Carl Vogt, a contemporary of Darwin and a Geneva scholar of the mid nineteenth century, also held disparaging views regarding women. "We may be sure that wherever we perceive an approach to the animal type the female is nearer to it than the male" he wrote. "Hence we should discover a greater [apelike] resemblance if we were to take a female as our standard."70
Many evolutionists, following Darwin, have continued to maintain that women are inferior to men, both biologically and intellectually. Some evolutionists have even classified men and women as two distinct psychological species: males were homo frontalis, females homo parietalis.71 One evolutionist, Elaine Morgan, noted that Darwin had motivated men into researching the reasons why women were "manifestly inferior and irreversibly subordinant".72
Paul Broca (1824-1880), an evolutionist physicist and anthropologist, was particularly interested in the differences in intelligence and brain size between men and women, ascribing their inferior intelligence to the smaller size of their brains.
Another follower of Darwin, the evolutionist social psychologist Gustave Le Bon, wrote;
In the most intelligent races ... are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. ... Women ... represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and ... are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man. They excel in fickleness, inconsistency, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason. Without a doubt there exist some distinguished women ... but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as, for example, of a gorilla with two heads; consequently, we may neglect them entirely.73
Therefore, at the basis of fascism's disparagement of and contempt for women lies the theory of Darwinism. Mussolini's taking away of women's social rights, and Hitler's building of "breeding farms" to reproduce the superior race and obliging young girls to sleep with SS officers, are all reflections of fascists' attitudes to women. Both Darwinists and fascists are enemies of women. They see them as an inferior and backward species, and both despise them, as well as employing discriminatory and oppressive methods against them.
This fascist perspective is completely at odds with the ethics of the Koran. God has commanded in the Koran that women should be cherished, respected, and protected. In addition, He has shown examples of women with superior morals, such as Mary and the wife of Pharaoh. In the eyes of God, superiority does not lie in race, sex or rank, but in closeness to Him and strength of belief. In a number of verses of the Koran, God has revealed that all believers will receive their reward without discrimination between men and women.
Their Lord responds to them: "I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female—you are both the same in that respect…" (Koran, 3:195)
Anyone, male or female, who does right actions and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will not be wronged by so much as the tiniest speck. (Koran, 4:124))
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Koran, 16:97)
However, as religion was abandoned, these truths were abandoned with it, and in their place were provided superstitions such as fascism and Darwinism, in which all forms of discrimination based on sex or race are seen as justified.
Fascism's Sexual Deviations
The hostility to women that we have so far examined is actually the manifestation of a dark subconscious tendency. Fascism equated feelings such as love, compassion and affection with womanhood, and thus regarded it as despicable. On the other hand, tendencies such as the love of war, bloodlust and ruthlessness were seen as typically "male," and for that reason "manliness" was elevated to the point of being sacred.
When fascism's myth of "manliness" is examined a bit closer, however, there we find homosexuality hidden within it. This little known but important connection between fascism and homosexuality dates back as far as ancient Sparta.
In earlier chapters of this book, we saw that fascism was founded on pagan culture, and that it emerged together with claim of re-awakening paganism. The most defining characteristic of paganism is that it lacks the moral criteria and laws revealed by God. In the pagan world, therefore, sexual deviance of all kinds was able to flourish. It was the city-states of ancient Greece that brought these to their highest point. In Athens and Sparta, homosexuality was seen as quite normal, an acceptable relationship, and even a virtue.
In Sparta especially, the ancestor of fascism, a special importance was attributed to the concept of "manliness," and under the name of "love of man," homosexuality was widely accepted. Spartan soldiers believed that they increased their strength by having sexual relations with each other. The historian Plutarch of Chaeronea, who lived around 50-120 A.D., wrote of "the sacred battalion" of Thebans made up of 150 male homosexual pairs.74 In Sparta, all healthy male children were taken into the army at the age of 12, and were immediately raped by experienced soldiers. It was believed that these perverted relations were the greatest source of strength for the Spartan army, with its "warrior" culture and passion for bloodshed.
Such a debased and deviant culture raised its head again with the neo-pagan movement of the 19th century. And, the major center of this deviancy was Germany. The leader of the movement, Adolf Brand, founded the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (Community of the Elite) in 1902, together with Wilheml Jansen and Benedict Friedlander, both of whom were known for their deviant sexual tendencies. Friedlander published a book called Renaissance des Eros Uranios (Renaissance of Uranian Erotica) in 1904. On the cover was a picture of a naked Greek youth. Friedlander explained the aim of the book in these words:
The positive goal...is the revival of Hellenic chivalry and its recognition by society. By chivalric love we mean in particular close friendships between youths and even more particularly the bonds between men of unequal ages.75
The aim of the community was to transform Germany from a Judeo-Christian society to a Greco-Uranian one.76 This deviant organization was also known for its racism. Referring to the ideas of the Community of the Elite, Kurt Hildebrandt, the leader of the Society for Human Rights established in 1923, wrote in his book Norm Entartung Verfall (Ideal, Degeneration, Ruin) that the superior race was that composed of homosexuals. In his view, relations with women were only necessary for "reproductive reasons," but that in order to achieve an "ultramasculine" race, sexual "love" between men was essential.
These ideas were none other than those of the Nazi Party, which was basically a "homosexual club."
This fact was set out by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams in their book The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, a wide-ranging study. The book examines both pre-Nazi movements and organizations, as well as the Nazi Party leadership, and reveals that there was a large number of homosexuals within it. It explains, with historical documentation, how the Nazis' policy of rounding up homosexuals and sending them to concentration camps was all for show, and that by doing so, senior Nazi leaders were trying to cover up their own practices. Among the known Nazi homosexuals were SA chief Ernst Röhm, Gestapo chief Reinhard Heydrich, Luftwaffe chief Herman Goering, Rudolf Hess, leader of the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) organization Baldur von Schirach, Nazi Germany's Finance Minister Walther Funk, and Hitler's land Forces commander Freiherr Werner von Fritsch. There is also evidence to suggest that SS chief Himmler and Hitler himself also had homosexual tendencies.77
The Pink Swastika also demonstrates that this tendency was not restricted to Nazis in Germany, and that there are many homosexuals in neo-Nazi movements and racist organizations active in the United States, and shows that such deviance is a regular feature of fascism. Fascist pagans indulge in the sin as related in the Koran, that of the people to whom the prophet Lot was sent.
However, those who engage in these practices must not forget what happened to the people of Lot. The disaster visited on them is described in the Koran in this way:
And Lot, when he said to his people, "Do you commit an obscenity not perpetrated before you by anyone in all the worlds? You come with lust to men instead of women. You are indeed a depraved people." The only answer of his people was to say, "Expel them from your city! They are people who keep themselves pure!" So We rescued him and his family—except for his wife. She was one of those who stayed behind. We rained down a rain upon them. See the final fate of the evildoers! (Koran, 7:80-84)
71.Rosaleen Love, "Darwinism and Feminism: The 'Women Question' in the Life and Work of Olive Schreiner and Charlotte Perkins Gilman" in David Oldroyd and Ian Langham (Eds.), The Wider Domain of Evolutionary Thought, D. Reidel, Holland, 1983, pp. 113-131.
75. Benedict Friedlander, "Memoirs for the Friends and Contributors of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in the Name of the Succession of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee", Journal of Homosexuality, January-February 1991, p. 259.