Geography of Europe 2017 – Blog #2 Posted on September 4, 2017 by saorsa2014 Discuss the history of fascism in the Mediterranean. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
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In this collage of images relating to the history of fascism in the Mediterranean, we see a portion of a New York Times article in the lower right-hand corner titled “Historic Basque Town Wiped Out; Rebel Fliers Machine-Gun Civilians” written by G.L. Steer. The incident in question, the Bombing of Guernica, was one of the most horrific and controversial events of the Spanish Civil War. Carried out by the authoritarian government of Francisco Franco with the assistance of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, it involved the bombing of civilians by a military air force. Following their mutual cooperation in the Spanish Civil War, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler would go on to sign a treaty of cooperation in foreign policy between their two fascist regimes.
George Steer goes on in the April 28th 1937 article to explain that “Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques and the centre of their cultural tradition, was completely destroyed yesterday afternoon by insurgent air raiders. The bombardment of this open town far behind the lines occupied precisely three hours and a quarter, during which a powerful fleet of aeroplanes consisting of three types of German types… did not cease unloading on the town bombs… The fighters, meanwhile, plunged low from above the centre of the town to machinegun those of the civilian population who had taken refuge in the fields.” The Basques along with the Catalans bore the brunt of force from Francisco Franco’s regime, which largely pushed the languages, and cultures of the groups underground.
When Francisco Franco was made the head of the military Nationalist government, he quickly unified a base of support from the previous fascist party (the Falange) as well as the monarchist political party and the Catholic Church. He also quickly dissolved all other political parties often with the force of his fascist militias. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of members of the Republican party were gunned down by Franco’s forces and many other political prisoners would be executed. Franco smashed trade unions in favor of fascist corporations while repressing the workers to keep them in line. Franco’s regime favored the land-owning class, not unlike the fascist regime in neighboring Portugal. Portuguese fascism, led by Antonio Salazar, called for a Portugal based on the purity of the rural class with Catholic, anti-modern, and isolated morals.
The image in the lower left of the collage is a political criticism of the military party that seized control of Greece in 1967. In order to forestall political elections in the country, a junta led by Colonel George Papadopoulos seized power over the country and immediately suspended human rights, banned political parties and strikes, proclaimed martial law, and sent thousands into internal exile (Gowland 173).
Good summary of the images.
Fascism is categorized as a radical (right) authoritarian nationalism with a dictator head of state and is recognized by features of suppression and oppression. This political movement came into prominence during the early-mid twentieth century, during World War I, however, this is not the total origin of Fascism. During the 1880s, there was a social movement across western Europe which rejected ideas of rationalism and materialism. In their stead, ideas such as Social Darwinism and Wagnerian Aesthetics began to gain popularity. There was influence from the teachings of Darwin, the philosophies of Nietzsche, the publications of Wagner, and various other intellectual minds. These ideas focused more on race and heredity which assisted in legitimizing widespread nationalism. The rejection of rationalism fostered the people to abandon traditional methods of human governance. Instead, the people advocated for emotion to trump rationalism in their daily lives as well as their political structures.
During World War I, while initially neutral, Italy shifted in support of the allied powers. Regardless of their support, they still failed to gain any territory for their efforts. It is also important to note that during the war, Italy was strongly opposed to internationalism, liberalism, and communism. Again, the ideas of Social Darwinism (eugenics) strongly fueled societal values. The idea was to create a strong sense of national unity which resulted in propaganda indoctrination, social intervention to create national cohesion, and shifts in economic policies to a corporatist and private enterprise. In the top left image, we see a proud and stern Mussolini saluting his people. Mussolini, while initially having tremendous amounts of support, proved to be a rather unpopular individual among the people for various reasons such as allying as an axis power in World War II, the loss in the war, and his authoritarian and oppressive policies. When trying to flee to Switzerland, he was captured and shot by Italian communists on April 25, 1945 and was hung in Milan so that his corpse could be on display to be publicly disrespected. We see this date in the middle left image which indicates “the end of Fascism.” Mussolini was so closely associated with the movement, that it was considered to have died with him.
Clearly, not everyone in Europe advocated for Fascism. Spain in particular was detrimentally against Fascism. This can be seen in almost every image, but more specifically the top right and bottom right images. The propaganda poster says “Our common objective; Crush Fascism.” Now why was Spain so against Fascism? As Jake above points out, the bottom right image is discussing a German bombing on the Basque city of Guernica. It was not only the Germans that were responsible, however. They also had assistance from Fascist Italy, as well as from the authoritarian regime of Francisco Franco. Spain was not the only country that was unhappy with the political structures emerging during this era. In the bottom left image, we see a critique of the majority party in Greece in the 1970s. Ultimately, during and post World War II, democratic countries began to band together to scourge communism, fascism, and any form of authoritarianism from modern political structures.
Fascism is an extreme right wing, radical, nationalistic ideology that originated in World War I Italy through Gabriele d’Annunzio, who was an Italian Nationalist that wanted to show that Italy was a first-rate power alongside his European counterparts. His ideas heavily influenced the actions of Mussolini, and fascism became a left/right merger, that continued to spread like wildfire around the Mediterranean up into the 1970’s, when the Spanish fascist leader, Francisco Franco, fell to a constitutional democracy. In its beginnings, it served as an opposition to internationalism, middle class liberalism, and communism and was influenced heavily by the thoughts gathered from Plato, Julius Caesar, and Pareto. Fascism rejected the immediate past in favor of a constructed “historical glory” based off of the times in the past these places had been truly thriving and the cultural epicenters, such as the “New Roman Empire”.
Fascism was really built up around the idea of the unity of a nation- which was carried out through the ideals of social Darwinism (“we are the fittest nation”), Social Intervention (such as the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro in Italy, which created a national culture through state funded events and cultural activities), Indoctrination (lots and lots of propaganda), and many economic policies that were corporatist in nature that supported private enterprises with government money. These regimes aimed to centralize languages, education… everything. Before this, almost every region in Italy spoke a different dialect of the Italian language. Mussolini required schools to begin teaching one dialect- and one dialect only. A similar thing happened in Spain, where the Basques and Catalans faced the brundt of the authoritarian dictator’s wrath.
Fascism sprouted in the Mediterranean especially because many of the states were in a very unstable place when the dictators came around. Italy, Greece, and Spain were all in a place of political instability where the people did not know what to do anymore. This, in turn, lead them to see hope in any of the options that came around. Similar to Germany when Hitler came around, many people did not know what to expect with these leaders that seemed to come from out of the cracks. They did not know of the oppression or repression that would occur through these people. Spain was in the middle of a Civil War between the Nationalists and the Republicans, which the Fascists-Franco at the head of it all- won.
The fascist regimes all eventually fell. In Italy, Mussolini tried to run and hide from the people when he realized he was going to be kicked out of power and was caught in Northern Italy, killed, and hung upside down (after which the people completely battered his body). Franco stepped down from his position as Prime Minister in Spain after the incident of Guernica, which the people were not happy about. In Greece, there was a military coup in the 60’s which lead to a king being in power who was soon after taken over by the Junta. However, recently, there has been a slight resurgence of fascist thoughts and ideas in Europe. It will be interesting to keep an eye on how a lot of anti-immigration sentiments may affect the growth of fascist beliefs again.
Mediterranean fascism, despite its profound effects on the latter half of the 20th century, is deeply rooted in the ideas and attitudes of early modern Europe. Across the Mediterranean, from Franco’s Spain in the west to Greek fascists and generals in the east, nationalism and economic turmoil fueled the region’s authoritarian shift. While the character, duration, and motivations of the three regimes were far from identical, each regime was borne of the difficulties created by the post-World War I political system.
Fascism in Italy found success in appealing to a public which felt cheated by its government’s inability to win over territories in the Adriatic and betrayed by the Entente’s major powers for not rewarding their limited participation in the war. However, its ideas have roots in earlier Modern philosophies like Marinetti’s Futurist movement. Futurism coalesced in the prewar years and espoused a bellicose, hostile, and fundamentally othering ideology that inspired the most severe elements of eventual dictator Benito Mussolini’s Fascist party. Mussolini legally took power in 1922 as the vanguard of Mediterranean fascism with a doctrine designed to reinforce Italian national glory through force. With liberalism of any sort as a target, Mussolini consolidated his power through the early 1940s. When his warlike rhetoric fell flat in the Balkans and was bulldozed by the Allies, his regime fell at the hands of his own people, spelling the end of the movement.
Greek fascism was inspired by Mussolini’s movement, yet ironically it was often at odds with the peninsula. The 4th of August regime, endorsed by the monarchy and led by the military, lasted from 1936-41. The regime was not highly effective and was internally divided between the Allies and the Axis at the start of World War II. Mussolini’s Italy ended up unsuccessfully invading Greece, which held off the Italians until Germany could swoop in and establish a friendly puppet government. Greece would once again be an authoritarian state in the later half of the century, and while the regime was fundamentally right wing, it was not inherently fascist.
Spanish fascism is rooted in the Spanish Civil War. The conflict, fought in the 1930s, was a conflict between hardline conservatives and their liberal opposition. Francisco Franco’s organized movement, backed by the German Condor Legion, soundly defeated the loosely organized and poorly supported opposition. Before 1940, Franco had the state consolidated into a single-party, authoritarian government. Unlike Italy and Greece, Franco used the damages of the Civil War to stay out of the war, and as a result, his regime survived fascism’s defeat elsewhere on the continent. After the war, his government became a consistent ally of the United States and NATO in their crusade against Soviet and communist influence. Like US backed dictatorships in Latin America, Franco’s brutally oppressive state was extraordinarily long-lived. Alongside a similar government in Portugal, Franco’s government lasted well into the 1970s. Following Franco’s death, the Iberian Peninsula quickly reverted to a representative democracy. Spain has since caught up with most of Western Europe despite developmental and economic challenges, and the state is an active European Union member.
Though the idea of fascism originated in the 19th century, it did not begin to gain ground until the early 20th century. There are many factors that can prompt the switch to a fascist government as noted in class, most notably is the period of depression experienced by much of Europe following the First World War. Demand was high and not everyone was willing, or capable, of paying it. For some, modernity posed an issue as well as failure, a quest to return a state to its past in order to maintain its own glory. With the increased interest, socialist parties began to emerge promoting radical change and opposition to communism, gaining favor with those under the threat. Focusing on Italy in particular, fascism gained favor through these platforms. Political unrest and economic hardships had only fastened its pace.
Before Mussolini’s rise to power, Italy experienced significant difficulties following the end of WWI. Prior to Italy’s entry, territory had been promised to them from the Adriatic Sea in trade for partnership in the war. Unfortunately, though the war ended with a Triple Entente win, the Italians suffered much humiliation with the loss of their men in battle, i.e. the Battle of Caporetto. By the time the war was over, Italy had lost much with the investment of both their men and money into the war. Similar to other countries, Italy had been experiencing difficulties meeting demands of industry and the effort to produce more and consume less had begun. Unfortunately, this did not appease the public and unrest over the current political government began shortly afterwards in 1919. In the next three years, Italy would experience collapses in both their industrial and economic sectors. For individuals like Mussolini, something had to be done. Having been against the war in the beginning, Mussolini’s power began with the March on Rome in 1922 and entry into the government as prime minister through an alliance with the King. This rise in power creates what he terms, the New Roman Empire.
If anything, fascism presented a front against the ideas of modernism. Under Mussolini, such ideas include the removal of shorter work hours and voter discrimination rights on gender were suggested. Even supporting controversial issues such as eugenics. Despite the restriction on rights and speech, the government attempted to amend this by providing some lee way in terms of leisure activities. Their attempt at stabilizing economic and social life had been feeble at best, though somewhat successful for a 20 year reign, more due to the strict adherence to policies. However, despite this seemingly easy entry into government, fascism would soon lead Italy to their own corner. Having been allies with the Triple Entente during the First World War, Italy would align with Germany this time around in WWII. This new alliance did not aid Italy’s endeavors and by 1943, with increased hardship and the arrival of the Allied forces, trust in Mussolini would fail with a vote of no confidence. Italy would surrender to the Allied forces and the fascist regime would finally fall after 21 years. By April of 1946, the New Roman Empire was no more and a new constitution promoting anti-fascism was initiated just two years later.
During the early twentieth century, many new governments rose to power along the Mediterranean coast. These new governments were characterized by far-right reactionary conservatism and were led by a single head of state, known as a dictator. While the most famous example of this form of government known as fascism existed in Germany with Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party, fascism gripped the Mediterranean more-so than it did northern or central Europe. Spain, Italy, and Greece were all at some point controlled by fascist governments and while none of these governments exist today, their legacy continues to educate.
The bottom right image appears to be a New York Times article written about the tragic bombing of Guernica, Spain by the German Luftwaffe. By the second year of the Spanish Civil War, 1937, Nationalist advances through northern Spain had managed to make headway into Basque lands, who had allied themselves with the Republicans. On market day, hundreds of civilians were bombed in an open targeting of civilian population by a foreign air force. Moved by the event, world famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso crafted a massive 11x25ft oil painting depicting civilian pain and suffering in his signature cubist style. This painting shifted popular sentiment amongst western witnesses against Francisco Franco (pictured in the top left image) and more in favor of the Republican side. Franco’s nationalists would go on to win the war, while Francisco Franco himself he would go on to rule Spain single handedly until his death in November, 1975. The top right image is a republican anti-fascism poster referring to the Barcelona military uprising of July 19, 1936, which is seen as the start of the civil war.
Following the end of German occupation at the end of WWII, Greece descended into civil war as the Greek government (supported by the UK and USA) was combatting insurgents (supported by Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union) that saw a good opportunity to establish a communist state. This is considered by some the first proxy war of the Cold War and resulted in the establishment strong anti-communist sentiment within the country, especially within the military. The government was never quite stable following the civil war and in 1967 a group of influential military generals took control of power within the state. The bottom left image is a critique of the Greek government that was in control between 1967 and 1974 by comparing Georgios Papadopoulos, who was Prime Minister between 1967-1973, to other fascist leaders such as Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Greece was and still is known for its tourism which has consistently made up a large portion of the country’s GDP. The flyer shown was attempting to juxtapose the feeling of liberty that vacation entails to the lack of liberty championed by the military junta.
Perhaps the most well-known of the Mediterranean fascist governments due to their allegiance to the Axis in World War II, the Italians were gripped by fascism before both Greece and Spain. Despite being on the victorious side of WWI, Italy was not granted as much land, money, and power following the war as other allied powers were. This facilitated a growth of nationalistic fervor that rebuked liberal democracy as a strong modern ideology, allowing Mussolini to spread propaganda that blamed the ideology for Italy’s lack of reparations. Following paramilitary political violence, Mussolini’s fascist party gained control of the Italian government in 1922.
Very good discussion.
The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a shift in European politics unlike any time before. With changing state boundaries and the emergence of new ones, culture and national pride became of the utmost importance. Nationalism was the name of the game, and in the Mediterranean it was no different. Mediterranean fascism would grow to affect the whole of the Mediterranean over the course of the first fifty years of the 1900s. This would effectively begin in Italy. As one of the newest European countries to form in the late 1800s, Italy, determined not be left behind by its larger European counterparts, would quickly engage in its own form of colonialism. A result of Italy’s newly formed Nationalist Association the country would soon take Libya as its first colony with its expansionist hunger only growing. World War I would not play as favorably for Italy as it had hoped. After siding with Britain and France it was promised some future former German colonial holdings, but in the end it would receive little. Italy, upset with its then-current situation and new leader Benito Mussolini, soon began a long campaign to expand its holdings in the Mediterranean taking both Greek and African lands, even going as far to take Abyssinia. At this time Italian fascism would begin to grow exponentially. It is important to note that Italian fascism focused on the superior culture of Italy rather than the race of its people, contrary to the racial beliefs of rising German fascist Adolf Hitler. Bolstered by anti-communist rhetoric, fascism blossomed. Hoping to rekindle Italy as the new Roman Empire of old, Mussolini sought to expand Italy’s power and influence as wide as possible. To the Italian fascists, joining with Nazi Germany would be a good bet if they wanted to continue expanding their empire.
At this point it should be mentioned that as fascist powers such as Italy and Germany rose, other movements began as well. Pro-fascist movements in Greece arose in the interwar period, though they never panned out. The Spanish Civil War in the 1930s would see an international fascist effort take place. As Franco’s nationalist party gained support he would soon ask for the aid of both Hitler and Mussolini. Spanish nationalism, strongly supported by Catholic and anti-communist beliefs, would eventually triumph the Republican forces with the help of Franco’s fascist allies. Franco’s victory would lead him to rule Spain until his death and operate as a sort of fascist protectorate with Germany and Italy in the years of the Second World War.
Even in the areas where the local governments did not become inherently fascist, the drums of war would see Nazi Germany and Italy invade and operate control over much of the Mediterranean. Sometimes met with support, fascism would sit over the governments of places like Greece and northern African states until Allied powers could liberate them. However, this would not last. Allied victory in Europe would wipe these fascist governments from the map and reinstall liberal democracies. Though the threat of fascism was eliminated, fascism in Mediterranean Europe still exists to this day. Groups such as Greece’s Golden Dawn ultra-nationalist group fed off the instability of the recent financial collapse to the point of temporarily gaining seats in parliament. Just because a large part of the Mediterranean has had enough of fascism doesn’t mean its completely gone.
Fascism was an ideology and a political movement that surged in Europe, it was created by Benito Mussolini its roots were from Marxism and syndicalism. Fascism was not seen as a threat as first, on the other hand it was seen as moderate and respected until the later 1930’s that it became racist and aggressive. The First World War was a revolution that brought massive changes to society, war and technology. A military city was formed, where citizens would support the war one way or another. Fascist began as a nationalist unity, going against socialism and communism showing pride of your country believe in, one thing that they did have in common was the sense of expansion, that is how Spain and Portugal who remained neutral in WWII.
Francoist Spain is referred to a period in Spain when Francisco Franco was controlling the government, during his time of reign he was well supported by the Italians. As seen on the image on the top right it talks about the coup that Spain had in July 1936, the military was going against the government (the second republic) which had led to a civil war, and the aim of the rebels was to destroy the left-wing organizations. On July 18, 1938 the Spanish rose a revolt in which workers fought even though they were denied weapons which immediately gave control to the nationalist. In some parts of the city there was blood shed such as in Bilbao but in other places they took control with no problem. Franco brought his army from Africa and asked for support from Italy and Germany whom provided him with planes and weapons. By the end of March 1938 the republicans surrendered and it was the end of the civil war.
Salazar was the President in Portugal whom began with fascism in the 1930’s, they called it “Estado Novo” whom also supported Franco during the civil war. 25 de Abril Sempre was the end of Fascism in Portugal, that morning the military spoke around Portugal telling them their plan of wanting their country to ones more be free and have the liberty to make their own elections. The military and the citizens were against Marcelo Caetano the successor of Salazar to become a dictator. By the end of the day Caetano gave himself in and a year later for the first time in decades Portugal was allowed to vote liberally.
Fascism in the Mediterranean began as being very popular, having risen from the first world war and being “post-liberal” it was seen as a new hope to make a difference because it had the aim of defending those who couldn’t and provide the best for their own country. Benito Mussolini was very successful in expanding his ideas to other countries and creating nationalistic views. Not all the citizens supported this idea, Fascism ended very badly in Spain and Portugal, countries who did not believe in the same ideologies as their president or Dictator. Fascism underwent through different stages throughout the years since it rose up in 3 different stages.
Fascism is defined as political system where the state, that is run by a dictator or another powerful being, has all the power, and where all the citizens must work for the government and the country. The citizens are put to work in areas that are needed to help the county in its ability to expand. So, for example people could be put to work to build more roads, more hospitals, and/ or to build more industries.
The dictator also uses a strong army and police force, as well as instilling fear in the citizens to make sure all citizens abide by the law. A Fascist Government controls the way people live; they were not allowed to criticize their own government and if the did, they could have been sent to prison or put to death. Fascist leaders wanted to make their state the strongest and most powerful, claiming that only the strongest and fittest can survive, (ideals stemming from social Darwinism). The goal was to be able to use their strong army to go to war and expand their territory.
Fascism emerged as a strong political movement after World War I, during the first part of the 20th century. The Italians were not happy with the way they were treated after World War I (getting very little from the Treaty of Versailles, not getting what they felt was promised to them at the Treaty of London and basically being seen as secondary). So, in 1921, when Benito Mussolini came to power and promised to restore the pride Italy once had and to make sure Italy was well- respected once again, his followers became excited and even started becoming aggressive towards other citizens that weren’t completely on board, he even built his own private army. Finally, in 1922, Mussolini became the dictator of Italy and brought along with him the start of his National Fascism Party.
Mussolini started his focus on the monarchy of Abyssinia, which was on Africa’s east coast. Italy already had a small colony in Eritrea, which was adjacent to Abyssinia. On October 3, 1935 the Italians invaded Abyssinia and within four short months, Abyssinia had fallen to the Italians. Mussolini eventually was able to merge, Abyssinia, Eritrea, and the Italian Somaliland into one state.
Greece and Spain also became fascist governments in Europe and the Mediterranean for the same reasons. In 1922, Spain was going through considerable political and social conflicts as was Greece. The countries were unstable, so for Spain, when the Spanish Foreign Minister saw that Italy’s government was strong under Mussolini it was praised. Fascism’s immediate impact was greater in Barcelona than in any other area in the state. The proclamation of Miguel Prion de Rivera in 1923 created the first formal dictatorship in Spanish history. Rivera even claimed that Spain would follow in Italy’s footsteps of Italian Fascism, saying that Spanish Fascism would help to liberate the country. Fascism became an inspiration and was soon imitated throughout the state, until General Franco became the leader of the movement during the Spanish civil war. General Franco also got help from countries like Germany and Italy. After winning the war, Franco ruled as a dictator until he died in 1975.
Fascism in the Mediterranean played a key role in events surrounding the early 1900s and World War II. In 1921, Benito Mussolini formed the National Fascist Party in Italy. Fascism began to find success as a result of nationalism. During the 1900s and especially after World War I, nationalism began to grow quickly. Fascism is rooted deeply in nationalism, among other things. Mussolini gathered a following as he promised law and order in Italy, trains that ran on time, and employment and food, as well as placing blame on certain enemies. Propaganda played a huge role in the rise of Fascism in Italy. Between the rhetoric of Mussolini and items such as posters and films, Fascism was everywhere. And, Mussolini was always at the center of it. In 1922, around 30,000 fascists gathered in Rome, demanding that the current Prime Minister resign. Mussolini was then appointed the new Prime Minister. By 1925, he had set up a legal dictatorship and made himself the dictator of Italy. One aspect of Fascism was the idea that force had a legitimate place in politics. Mussolini created a group called the Black Shirts which functioned as the forceful hand of the government.
The success of Fascism in the Mediterranean was also greatly helped by the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, and vice versa. Mussolini developed a working relationship with Hitler with the creation of a military alliance. Hitler was a great admirer of Mussolini, and particularly his rise to power. However, Mussolini did not quite reciprocate this admiration. Throughout the 1930s, their relationship grew to be stronger as they formed their alliance. However, Germany and Hitler began to amass more power, which left Mussolini as a second hand power. Italy did not have the power or force to achieve the same expansion and effect that Germany had. Throughout this time, as Mussolini was failing again and again in Italian military engagements, the people began to lose their faith in their ruler. In 1943, he was voted out of power by his own Grand Council. Mussolini was later killed by firing squad, and Fascism had officially fallen in Italy.
Italy was not the only country in the Mediterranean that faced a Fascist government. From 1939 until his death in 1975, Spain was under the control of Fascist Francisco Franco. With the help of other Fascist powers, such as Mussolini and Hitler, he rose to power amidst the Spanish Civil War. Franco kept Spain out of World War II for the most part as it fought its own war within the country. Franco had declared that he would be succeeded by Prince Juan Carlos after his death. However, upon his rise to power, Carlos immediately pressed for change and began to create a democracy in Spain. Today, the country still identifies as democratic.
In the early to mid 20th century, fascism played a huge part in the political scene in the Mediterranean. Fascism held a lot of power in both Italy and Spain for an extended period of time. However, both countries slowly moved away from fascism as they moved towards a more democratic approach.
The formal implementation of fascism was initially seen in Italy as Mussolini and his political associates but spread to other nations in the region including Spain and Greece where there where differing levels of success. Fascism is a radical form of authoritarian nationalism that does not differ far from the far left as to the idea of the role of the state as an extraordinary powerful and overreaching actor. This idea was very appealing to the three nations mentioned as they were all coming out of hard times and were willing to concede individual liberty and freedom if that sacrifice meant the rise of their nation again to a top tier spot. The first ideas of fascism were seen in Spain following the nation’s Civil War and rise to power by Franco in accordance with mass political instability across the country. Similar to the National Socialist party in Germany (also fascist) Franco and his party used their power and push to nationalism to suppress groups like the Catalans and Basque people, pretty much seeing them as inferior and not beneficial to the advancement of Spain and its true citizens. While this government does not continue to exist today in Spain, Franco and his rule outlasted any other fascist regime in Europe. Italy, while short-lived, is probably one of the most well-known and recognized fascist regimes to come to power in the Mediterranean because of its association and co-existence with Hitler and the Third Reich. This rose to popularity in Italy through the promise to restore economic viability to the country and as a remedy to other hardships Mussolini had preached to his followers about. Like Germany, Italy suffered post World War I and people like Mussolini found it politically advantageous to use what was happening as a platform to rise to power and use it to gain the trust of many to be placed under an authoritarian rule. Italian fascism, however, came to a crashing end following defeat in World War II and massive unpopularity that had grown towards Mussolini and his fascist party as the war drug on. One of the lesser known fascists regimes in the Mediterranean was that in Greece. Greece became occupied by the Nazi’s during World War II. Following this occupation, the country fell into civil war with the Greek government fighting a growing group of Soviet backed Communist trying to expand the nation as a communist safe haven and power. The defeat of the communist resulted in the rise of a fascist government to implement strong anti-communist parties in hope that they would not have to deal with that threat anymore. This government, however, never became fully stable and was deposed by a coup of military generals in the late 1960’s. While this new government was unnecessarily “fascists” they implemented heavily authoritarian and restrictive policies on the populist in the name of recovering from the previous political instability and bringing Greece and the Greek people back to greatness. Because these areas of the Mediterranean had fallen from great wealth to being poor and had a history of strong national pride, they served as havens for fascism to thrive.
After World War I had officially ended, Europe was in a mixed state of social, political, and economical turmoil. The line between the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ was a grey and blurry one. The funny thing about World Wars is that involves everyone, not just two sides of an obvious Good, and Evil. Unfortunately, the spoils of war that used to go to the victorious now takes the form of the most powerful Allied countries like England, France, and even the United States, strategically reconstructing borders for their national agendas and not too much else. The less powerful countries on the Allies winning side did not reap rewards for their service, instead were ignored or sometimes, in Russia’s case, lost land to the creation of new independent countries like Poland, Estonia, Latvia.. etc. Italy was among these sore winners, who did not acquire territories which had been promised to them, and were left out of anything more than the Peace Agreements. This caused a massive amount of resentment in the country, and key figures arose to steer Italy into extreme Nationalistic fervor.
Benito Mussolini emerged as a political figure of the Fasci di Combattimento, and the National Fascist Party, passionate about a lively revolution for Italy, but letting the leftist, social platforms that they once stood for, fall by the wayside. The country now began splitting between Fascists, and Socialists. Outward support for Fascism, and the violent byproducts of that support began to grow. The power struggle came to a climax when a coup was staged to force Prime Minister Luigi Facta to resign, and Mussolini be put in his place. King Vittorio Emmanuele III allowed for the succession of Facta to Mussolini as Prime Minister to happen in 1922. The Italian government’s Parliament was quickly controlled by Fascists through assassinations, violence and intimidation. By 1928, all other parties except Fascism were outlawed and Mussolini took almost complete power, answering to no one except the King.
Among the Italian public, propaganda was used to paint Benito as the hero of Italy, any dissent would leave a person jobless, cast from society, and in harm’s way. Forced Italianization was underwent by Germans, Slovene and any other foreign populations. They began assaults on the territories, like Albania, that Italy had wanted after WWI, and had not been rewarded with. Italy was to become the new leader of a Fascist Mediterranean Empire.
The arm of Fascism extended from Italy into Spain’s Civil War, invaded Greece, and became one of Hitler’s biggest allies in Nazi Germany leading into World War II. The Mediterranean Sea should have become a stronghold of the Axis Powers, although by 1943 it was apparent that Italy was not able to be successful, and Mussolini’s failed war efforts had lost almost all support of the Italian public.
Mussolini was captured and killed in 1943, just months before Germany gave up Italy to the Allies. It seems that Fascism faded out of the Mediterranean the same way that it was brought in: with the termination of a World War.
In the Mediterranean, fascism was a very strong force during and before World War II. Specifically in Italy, the form of government became a problem. Benito Mussolini was a World War I veteran who formed his own political party called Fasci di Combattimento. It was eventually known as the Fascist Party. Mussolini led what is called today the March on Rome, in which the title says it all. He and his fascist party made a huge demonstration and marched into Rome where King Emmanuelle II made Mussolini the new Prime Minister.
Fascism is a severely nationalist party. It is built on pride for one’s own heritage and country. It is the farthest right, extreme right, on the political scale as you can go. This type of party is radical and authoritarian. While it may convince many of the population at first that it’s a great type of political agenda, with its love for one’s nation and “unity”, in time it shows its true colors, often times when it is too late. The Fascist party originated here, in Italy, with the rise of Mussolini. It opposes internationalism such as immigrants and foreigners. Fascism has a few pillars that it stands on. Social Darwinism, or essentially eugenics and breeding only the best to sort out the worst – “survival of the fittest”, social intervention, or the creation of a national culture, and indoctrination, propaganda, or essentially government persuasion of the population. Fascism targets a minority and says we need to be rid of them, while holding another group as a perfect race. Manipulation occurs because while minorities are being treated unfairly or even prosecuted, the in-group is benefitting. They’re being given advantages within society and so they don’t really see or care too much about the others. Eventually, more and more minorities are targeted within the in-group and then people realize that it is a problem – however, many times it is too late. The Nazi party is a good example.
In Italy, there was a certain kind of nationalist thought at this time. They had the idea that the Roman Empire, being a great and long lasting empire, and also being their ancestors, that it was necessary to make Italy great. Italians had a sense of ego about the fact that in their country was where the great empire once stood, and this gave them rights to basically be prejudiced. Mussolini eventually became the dictator of Italy, which is usually the way Fascism goes. They allied with the Germany Fascist party, the Nazi’s, in World War II and suffered greatly because of this. They were invaded by the Allies in which Germany backed them up and Italy was split until the fall of the Germans. Afterwards, the citizens of Italy were so angered about the events they had endured before and throughout the war due to Mussolini that he was executed and was hung by his feet in public, so everyone could see. They were also so angry with the monarch for letting this happen that he and his family fled and were exiled, and still to this day, his kin is not allowed to step foot inside of Italy. Safe to say, Fascism was extremely popular at first, and towards the end, was greatly disliked.
Fascism is the political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralize autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. You first see this become a thing in Germany as the rise of the Nazi power took over the government. Hitler’s influence spread quickly around the world as you begin to see Italy become one of the first nations in the Mediterranean to become a fascist nation under the dictatorship of Mussolini
Since 1922 the kingdom of Italy which was also called the national fascist party affiliated with the party leader Benito Mussolini. The fascist party was in power for about 21 years starting in 1922 and ending is 1943. After the year 1943, fascism didn’t exactly stop it basically shifted to an even more of a fascist ideology. This was known as the puppet state of the Italian social republic in which they operated under the sphere influence of Nazi Germany for about 2 years 1943-1945. Since the Roman empire declined Italy itself financially, just wasn’t stable. For example, present day northern Italy is more prosperous than southern Italy pretty much the same case during and after world war.
During WWI Italy pretty much neutral in war, but they later choose a side in which they did eventually allied with Russia. They were promised land once the war was over under the treaty of London. Well, finally the war ends in 1917 in July afterwards, come soon to find out that Italy would only be receiving a fraction of the land promised. Due to the new treaty of Versailles, Finaldi Giuseppe stated “the old unredeemed territories. No colonies were granted, no Dalmatia, and certainly no bits of Turkey.” Thus, creating a huge dilemma disenfranchising the Italian government because they couldn’t deliver land to its citizens in which ultimately affected the working class of Italy. Secondly, the economy goes into a recession because Italy was unable to sustain the production of goods to it’s people. Prices inflated much like the Roman days but not as high. The cost of living raised tremendously, causing working to lose fate in the current parliamentary system one of the first major factor of becoming a complete fascist dictatorship. As I’ve already mentioned economic hardship is another leading cause of fascism. How do you fix this and bring fate back to the people? Mussolini, much like Hitler, improved the infrastructure and gave farmland, jobs, and most of hope to those who were affected most by the economic recession. Later, Mussolini goes on to implement a very communist style economic layout in which he complexly destroys the social class in Italy causing workers, employers, and state officials to all oversee the economy together. Under corporatism, Mussolini made striking, lockouts, and unions all illegal to benefit the Italian nation by having a stable economy to promote economic growth. Much like Stalin he used fear and terror to remain in control over the nation.
Fascism in Europe came in many different forms during the 20th century, although it arguably originated in Italy. Fascism can be defined as a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power and forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce. During World War I, Italy swayed from a neutral power to an allied power. After they failed to acquire territory following Germany’s defeat, Italy turned to fascism under Benito Mussolini in the hopes to restore and expand Italian territories. The primary basis that Italian fascism is built upon is Italian nationalism, and completing the project of Risorgimento. Under fascist rule, Italian citizens were bombarded with propaganda, depicting Mussolini and fascism as the key to creating a more powerful Italy. In fact, Mussolini allied Italy with Hitler’s Germany, as it was seen as the best effort to continue the expansion of the Italian empire. After the birth of Fascism, several movements across the Mediterranean emerged which took influence from the Italian faction.
For example, consider the Falange in Spain under Fransisco Franco between 1939 and 1975, which served as an extension of fascism in Germany and Italy. In 1936, Spain had a coup, in which the military went against the government, ultimately leading to a civil war. The weak governmental system in place in Spain fell easily to the strong-willed peoples, allowing for a new political system to thrive. Franco accumulated power through a series of comprehensive and methodical wars of attrition, involving the imprisonment and executions of Spaniards found guilty of supporting values not advocated in Francoist Spain, e.g. liberal democracy, free elections, regional autonomy etc. In addition, Franco successfully garnered support from not only Mussolini, but from Hitler as well, who allowed and enabled him to retain his power. Despite the growing pressures of World War II, Franco used the civil war at home as an excuse to stay out of the war, allowing fascism to live on even after his Italian and German counterparts had fallen. Because of the relative stability Franco offered Spain, the United States and NATO backed his rule well into the 1970’s despite his obvious opposition to western governments and ideals and oppressive administration.
Another example, albeit brief, of the spread of fascism in the Mediterranean is the Metaxas Regime in Greece from 1936 to 1941. Under the leadership of General Ioannis Metaxas, Greece became a conservative authoritarian and anti-communist regime, following inspiration from Fascist Italy. Although the new political system resembled that of the axis powers, Greece remained allied with Britain and France, even during the German invasion of Greece in 1941. The weakened and threatened political systems in place preceding World War II fell easily to the power of Nazi Germany, allowing for a far-right ideology such as fascism to spread throughout Europe.
Originating in the 19th century, fascist ideas appeared in the works of writers from France as well as Austria, Germany, and Italy. Many fascist ideas derived from the reactionary backlash to the progressive revolutions of 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1871 and to the secular liberalism and social radicalism that accompanied these upheavals. Fascist ideas prospered politically only when perceived economic threats increased their appeal to members of certain social groups.
Mussolini’s rise to power in Italy, one of the more well-known fascist regimes in the Mediterranean, began at age 19. He had left home and was jumping from job to job, attempting to make something of himself. He read widely and voraciously, plunging into the philosophers and theorists Immanuel Kant, Benedict de Spinoza, Peter Kropotkin, Friedrich Nietzsche, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Kautsky, and Georges Sorel, picking out what appealed to him and discarding the rest, forming no coherent political philosophy of his own yet impressing his companions as a potential revolutionary of uncommon personality and striking presence.
While earning a reputation as a political journalist and public speaker, he produced propaganda for a trade union, proposing a strike and advocating violence as a means of enforcing demands. Repeatedly, he called for a day of vengeance. More than once he was arrested and imprisoned. When he returned to Italy in 1904, even the Roman newspapers had started to mention his name.
Swayed by Karl Marx’s ideas that social revolution usually follows war and persuaded that “the defeat of France would be a deathblow to liberty in Europe,” he began writing articles and making speeches as violently in favour of war as those in which he previously had condemned it. Wounded while serving with the bersaglieri (a corps of sharpshooters), he returned home a convinced anti socialist. As early as February 1918, he advocated the emergence of a dictator to confront the economic and political crisis then gripping Italy. Three months later, in a widely reported speech in Bologna, he hinted that he himself might prove to be such a man. The following year the nucleus of a party prepared to support his ambitious idea was formed in Milan. At rallies—surrounded by supporters wearing black shirts—Mussolini caught the imagination of the crowds. His attitudes were highly theatrical, his opinions were contradictory, his facts were often wrong, and his attacks were frequently malicious and misdirected; but his words were so dramatic, his metaphors so apt and striking, his vigorous, repetitive gestures so extraordinarily effective, that he rarely failed to impose his mood.
In late 1920, the Blackshirt squads, often with the direct help of landowners, began to attack local government institutions and prevent left-wing administrations from taking power. Mussolini encouraged the squads—although he soon tried to control them—and organized similar raids in and around Milan. By late 1921, the Fascists controlled large parts of Italy, and the left, in part because of its failures during the postwar years, had all but collapsed. In the summer of 1922, Mussolini’s opportunity presented itself. The remnants of the trade-union movement called a general strike. Mussolini declared that unless the government prevented the strike, the Fascists would. Fascist volunteers, in fact, helped to defeat the strike and thus advanced the Fascist claim to power. At a gathering of 40,000 Fascists in Naples on October 24, Mussolini threatened, “Either the government will be given to us, or we will seize it by marching on Rome.”
Mussolini’s obvious pride in his achievement at becoming (October 31, 1922) the youngest prime minister in Italian history was not misplaced. Anxious to demonstrate that he was not merely the leader of fascism but also the head of a united Italy, he presented to the king a list of ministers, a majority of whom were not members of his party. He made it clear, however, that he intended to govern authoritatively. He obtained full dictatorial powers for a year; and in that year he pushed through a law that enabled the Fascists to cement a majority in the parliament. The elections in 1924, though undoubtedly fraudulent, secured his personal power.
Many Italians, especially among the middle class, welcomed his authority. They were tired of strikes and riots, responsive to fascism, and ready to submit to dictatorship, provided the national economy was stabilized and their country restored to its dignity. Mussolini seemed to them the one man capable of bringing order out of chaos. Soon a kind of order had been restored, and the Fascists inaugurated ambitious programs of public works. The costs of this order were, however, enormous. Italy’s fragile democratic system was abolished in favour of a one-party state. Opposition parties, trade unions, and the free press were outlawed. Free speech was crushed. A network of spies and secret policemen watched over the population.
Fascism is defined as radical, authoritarian, nationalist, extreme right-wing movement. Fascism originates in Italy at the time of World War I as a merger between the left and right wing politics in opposition to internationalism supported by the liberal and communist parties. When World War I was in the early stages, Italy maintained neutrality for a while until they allied against Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Italy failed to gain territory against the Ottomans which resulted in a loss during the war. This gave Benito Mussolini a platform to stand against and build his own regime. Mussolini is the originator of the fascist party in Italy. The idea of fascism was influenced by the teachings of Plato, Pareto, and Caesar. The belief that you can unite one nation under common needs and desires and provide those needs to a people who will in turn obey their governments every command to serve the greater good of the nation is, in theory, not terrible. It is when that form of government is brought about to serve a majority and cause a terrible condition of living for the minority and is led by a ruler who has his own personal interests in mind that he wants to push off on to others so that he gets his own way, that is when fascism becomes a dangerous political party, much the same as communism and capitalism. Mussolini used the loss in World War I to fuel his own campaign to better Italy and provide for the nation in a way that prevents anyone other than native Italians from living the good life. He created one nation that is united in their national identity and was done so under the premise of social Darwinism. Mussolini rose to prime minister and then took power completely by removing all other political opposition and creating a single party dictatorship. The style at which he took power is one we see only a few years later in Germany when Adolf Hitler creates Nazi Germany. Fascism was largely despised in Italy and there were several assassination attempts made on Mussolini. He had convinced himself that Italy was superior to all other nations and decided to ally with Germany in World War II because they were “strong” nations. As seen with the fascist Nazi party, many technological advances were made under the fascist rule in sea and air transportation. The party also aimed to better educate school children and to ensure literacy among citizens. Fascism soon spread to many more parts of the Mediterranean, one key example being Spain. Francisco Franco rose to power after the Spanish Civil War and took full control of the government there. He killed off many political opponents and caused issues still prevalent today when he forced Spanish rule and language over the Catalan, Basque, and Galician people groups which are still trying to gain freedom from Spain to this day. Homogeneity was a major was for fascist regimes to be able to control even more of the populations around the Mediterranean. Greece and Albania were also heavily influenced by or ruled under Mussolini.
The time is not showing correctly. It is 11/30 at 9:39 PM right now.
Good discussion. Don’t worry about the time.
The Mediterranean has experienced a history of Fascism specifically in the cases of Italy, Greece, and Spain. The Fascist regime of Italy was in power from 1922 to 1945. The National Fascist Party of the Kingdom of Italy ruled from 1922 to 1943 under Benito Mussolini. Mussolini came to power after he led a march on Rome when the king of Italy asked him to form a new government because he was distrusting of the current parliament. Mussolini then became Prime Minister working for a short time with the parliament before establishing himself as the effective dictator of Italy using his brutal police organization. Mussolini’s rule was characterized by fear and the disappearance of free speech, elections, and association. Mussolini maintained his effective authority until 1943 when Italy became a puppet state of Nazi Germany with him as its puppet leader until 1945. The end of World War II and the looming invasion of Allied forces lead to rebellion within the Fascist Party. Then, the end of Nazi occupation of Italy occurred on April 25, 1945 with the invasion of Allied forces. This date is now celebrated as Liberation Day in Italy as one can see in the middle left picture that says in Italian, “25th of April! Fascism no more!” Mussolini was executed by firing squad on April 29, 1945. Following the destruction of Italy and removal of Mussolini that came from defeat in World War II, there were a series of governments that oversaw the transition to a Constitutional republic in 1946.
After the end of World War and German occupation of the country, Greece was plunged into civil war with its government fighting the communist insurgents. Weakened by the civil war, the weak government came under the control of military generals. This regime was in control from 1967 to 1974. This photo on the bottom right is comparing the government and prime minister, Georgios Papadopoulos, in power during 1970 to Hitler and the Nazi regime by referencing the Nazi political police called Gestapo.
The Spanish Civil War raged on from 1936 to 1939. The poster depicted in the upper left-hand corner has the date of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, July 19, 1936, and reads in Spanish, “And always our common objection: to crush fascism!” The right-wing Nationalists sought to overthrow Spain’s leftist Republican government. The Nationalist were led by General Francisco Franco who was supported by the German and Italian fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. An example of Hitler showing his support of Franco was the bombing of Guernica of which you can see a headline for in the lower right picture, “Historic Basque Town Wiped Out; Rebel Fliers Machine-Gun Civilians.” Hitler used his air force to completely destroy the town of Guernica and produce an estimated loss of life of 1,650. As Spanish Civil War concluded with Franco’s right-wing Nationalists victorious, Spain was plunged into an era of isolation and consolidation. From 1946 to 1959, Spain remained relatively isolated from the rest of Europe. Franco passed an act that designated Spain as a kingdom and reinstated the monarchy, with Franco as it’s Head of State for life. Franco censored the public and established his authority for years to come. Prior to that time, Spain had been ostracized by the United Nations for being a fascist dictatorship. This disdain on the world stage made alliances with European states as well as the United States nearly impossible, but with the Cold War heating up, Spain acted as an ally to the US. Spain was given loans by the United States in return for establishing US military bases on Spanish soil. Even though, during the years prior to Franco’s death, Spain had made political and economic advancements, the country still trailed behind its European neighbors, and its people had remained relentlessly repressed, factors which made for their upcoming transition to democracy ripe with looming complications. Francisco Franco died on November 20, 1975, after forty years in power, sparking the end of a regime said to be responsible for the deaths of as many as 400,000 political dissenters. Experts have commemorated Spain’s transition into Democracy as an “exemplary” model of transition because Spain was able to move out of fascism into democracy in an overall peaceful and legal fashion.
Very nice work.
In terms of Mediterranean fascist ideologies, there are basically two schools of thought, those being Italian fascism and Greek fascism. Italian fascism is the original fascist ideology and is associated with several political parties led by Benito Mussolini. They are the Fascist Revolutionary Party (PFR) created in 1915, the National Fascist Party (PNF) which was eventually renamed the Third Fascist Congress and controlled Italy from 1922 to 1943, and finally the Republican Fascist Party that ruled from 1943 to 1945. The post war Italian Social Movement and resulting neo-fascist movements have also been associated with Italian Fascism. Italian Fascist’s goal was to assert its dominance and prevent their decay as a society. They achieved this by promoting nationalistic ideals and the expansion of territories. They perceived modern Italy as the heir to ancient Roman empires and their legacies. These legacies created historical support and further justification for the expansion of territories, especially in the Mediterranean Sea region. Italian Fascists fiercely opposed classical liberalism ideologies. Mussolini personally condemned liberalism by calling it “the debacle of individualism”. They also opposed Marxist socialism because the two approached nationalism in a different way. They believed that respect for tradition and a potent feeling of shared history among Italians were the key to a successful nationalistic state. Economically, Italian Fascists pushed a corporatist system wherein employee and employer sectors are collectively associated in representing the nation’s economic producers and collaborate alongside the state to create national economic policy. This system was intended to fix class conflict through collaboration between the classes. Other major ideas backed by Italian Fascists include totalitarianism, corporatism, militarism, anti-democracy, imperialism, and social order. Fascists were outraged after WWI when the agreement between Italy and the entente allies in the Treaty of London of 1915 to have Dalmatia join Italy was revoked in 1919. Mussolini declared Dalmatia as having strong Italian cultural roots and therefore desired it heavily. The same could be said for Corsica, Nice, Savoy, Ticino, Graubünden, and Malta.
Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, there is another sect of Fascism originating from Greece called “Metaxism”. Metaxism is an authoritarian nationalist ideology named after Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas. Similar to Italian Fascism in many ways, Greek Fascism called for the reconciliation of the greater Greek nation and the creation of a culturally homogenous Greece. Unsurprisingly, Metaxas considered his regime the “Third Greek Civilization” which lasted from 1936-1941 and focused on the reformation of a pure Greek society that drew inspiration from the militarist societies of ancient Sparta and Macedonia (First Greek Civilization). Uniform religion was also important to Metaxas, stating that real Greeks ethnically adhered to the orthodox Christian religion, hoping to exclude Slavs, Turks, and Albanians from obtaining citizenship. Although Greek Fascism is classified as fascism, it does not compare on a theoretical depth level to the systems of Italian Fascism or German Nazism. Greek Fascism came about when Metaxas gained enough support to essentially dissolve parliament. With a weakened ruling body he declared martial law and suspended various civil rights, still gaining support along the way. He justified these actions as steps needed to prevent a communist uprising. Metaxas then abolished all political parties including his and ruled as an independent, and thus began Metaxas’ authoritarian rule.