Fascism can be described as a political movement that was created by Benito Mussolini, the eventual dictator of Italy. Shubert & Goldstein (2012) write that his “ideology was a rather vague blend of anticommunism, Italian nationalism, promises of social reform, and appeals to the revival of Italy’s past role from the Roman Empire as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Sea.” The reason that many people were drawn to fascism is because they felt the need to follow someone they thought of as a hero that saved their nation from protests and riots. His use of the squads militarily was efficient in controlling the chaos at that time. Those who agreed with his movement thought he brought peace to Italy. In reality, his dictatorship became a reign of terror. An interesting article that I have come across is written by Assoudeh (2015) where he associates fascism with religion. He uses a comparative study between three religious movements during the Interwar period. The Protestants of Germany, the Catholics supported by the Pope, and the French who opposed the Pope were the three religious movements. The reason and results of the study were “to demonstrate that fascist movements, which utilized the religious sentiments of the nations and entrusted religious entities with some socio-political roles, fulfilled their political ends more successfully” (p. 26). He gives us an example. Spain was a country full of Catholics, and Francisco Franco used religion to persuade people to get behind him in his political agenda as a Fascist dictator. This is similar to Nazism of Germany and Fascism of Italy. Assoudeh concludes his research with the idea that religion does not necessarily mean someone became a Fascist but that religious movements can certainly play a role in the impulses leading to Fascism. The characteristics that separated Fascism and mere authoritative regimes were patriotism and nationalism. The Fascist dictator used his methods to make people believe that everything he did, he did for the nation state’s benefit only. Authoritative regimes do not usually care about those notions, only their gain.
Assoudeh, E. (2015). Between Political Religion and Politicized Religion: Interwar Fascism and Religion Revisited. Religion Compass, 9(1), 13–33. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1111/rec3.12141
Shubert, A. & Goldstein, R.J. (2012). Twentieth-century Europe [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/