Analyze the major principles/values of fascism and describe its appeal to Europeans during the inter-war years (1919-1939).



Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, 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….

…Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect…And above all Fascism denies that class-war be the preponderant force in the transformation of society….

…Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….

The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality -- thus it may be called the “ethic” State….

SOURCE:  Benito Mussolini, On the Meaning of Fascism, 1932.



…And today that Movement cannot be destroyed: it is there: people must reckon with it, whether they like it or not…For here they see before them an organization…inspired to the highest degree by national sentiment, constructed on the conception of an absolute authority in the leadership in all spheres, at every stage—the solitary party which amongst its members has completely overcome not only the conception of internationalism but also the idea of democracy, which in its entire organization acknowledges only the principles of Responsibility, Command, and Obedience….Here is an organization which is filled with an indomitable aggressive spirit, an organization which when a political opponent says ‘your behaviour we regard as a provocation’ for the first time does not see fit immediately to retire from the scene but brutally enforces its own will and hurls against the opponent the retort, ‘We fight today! We fight tomorrow!’…

SOURCE:   A speech made in Dusseldorf, on the Nazi party to gain support, 1932.



To understand Hitler’s enormous success with the young we must understand what life has meant to the post-war generation in Germany, not only the children of the poor but of the middle class as well. They were children during the years of the war when the food blockade kept them half starved, when fathers were away at the front and mothers distracted with the effort to keep their families fed. They came to manhood in a country which seemed to have no use for them. Even compulsory military training was no more and there was nothing to take its place….

…Hitler told the young men that the fate of Germany was in their hands, that if they joined his army they would battle with the Communists for the streets, they would see Jewish blood flow in streams, they would capture the government, deliver Germany from the Versailles treaty and then sweep triumphantly over the borders to reconquer Germany’s lost land.

SOURCE:  Dr. Alice Hamilton, International Authority, article entitled “The Youth Who Are Hitler’s Strength,” 1933.



An almost unbroken chain of homeless men extends the whole length of the great Hamburg-Berlin highway….

Some of them were guild members—carpenters…milkmen…bricklayers. Far more numerous were those whom one could assign to no special profession or craft—unskilled young people, for the most part, who had been unable to find a place for themselves in any city or town in Germany, and who had never had a job and never expected to have one…whole families…piled all their goods into…carriages and wheelbarrows that they were pushing along as they plodded forward in dumb despair. It was a whole nation on the march….

There is no repulsive disease of which traces are not to be seen here. There is no form of mutilation of degeneracy that is not represented, and the naked bodies of the old men are in a disgusting state of decline…

SOURCE:  An excerpt from Heinrich Hauser’s periodical, Die Tat, on conditions in Germany, 1932..



The new nationalism wants to awaken a sense of the greatness of the German past. Life must be evaluated according to the will to power, which reveals the warlike character of all life. The value of the individual is assessed according to his military value for the state, and the state is recognized as the most creative and toughest source of power….

A mad urge for throwing off all restraints, for dissolution, for unbridled liberty, dissolved society into driftwood. This urged shaped the flighty masses, depriving them of all convictions of meaningfulness. These excesses finally aroused disgust and a counter movement arose. A new consolidation of purpose began. From it arises the future success of the new nationalism….The nationalism is born of the new awareness of blood-bonded community….

           Nationalism must apply its force to the masses and try to set them afire by means peculiar to itself. These means are neither parliaments nor parties, but rather military units mobilized by a fierce loyalty to a leader. These units alone are called to carry out the will of the new nationalism. They will be more powerful and successful the more they act in an organized and disciplined manner, the more unconditionally they subject themselves to the ideal of the nationalist state…Next comes the urgent task to create a mighty organization covering all of Germany and to seize the reins of government. The community of blood is given the highest priority. It is defined race-like by the nationalist sentiment

SOURCE:  An excerpt from The Rise of the New Nationalism, by Friedrich Junger, 1926. .



The fascist movement in Italy was a spontaneous movement of large masses, with new leaders from the rank and file. It is a plebian movement in origin, directed and financed by big capitalist powers. It issued forth from the petty bourgeoisie, the slum proletariat, and even to a certain extent from the proletarian masses….

The movement in Germany is analogous mostly to the Italian. It is a mass movement, with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement.

The genuine basis (for fascism) is the petty bourgeoisie. In Italy, it has a very large base -- the petty bourgeoisie of the towns and cities, and the peasantry. In Germany, likewise, there is a large base for fascism….

SOURCE:  Leon Trotsky, excerpt from a letter to an English comrade, 1931.



The audience was breathlessly under his spell. This man expressed their thoughts, their feelings, their hopes; a new prophet had arisen—many saw in him already another Christ, who predicted the end of their sufferings and had the power to lead them into the promised land if they were only prepared to follow him.

Every word he said was true. They had won the war—yes. Been deprived of the reward for their heroism by a number of traitors—yes. Had suffered incessantly ever since—yes. Been enslaved, suppressed, exploited—yes, yes, yes. But the day had arrived when they would free and revenge themselves—yes.

A single question as to reason or proof or possibility would have shattered the whole argument, but nobody asked it—the majority because they had begun to think with their blood, which condemns all logic, and the others because they sat amazed, despairing, and hopeless in a small boat tossed about by the foaming waves of emotional uproar which surrounded it….

Of course, the Nazis are not mere villains, and they are striving for an ideal for which they are willing to suffer. On the other hand, much is rotten in the Republic and in the Republican parties.

SOURCE:  Lilo Linke’s account of a rally during the Depression, 1935.



None but the members of the nation may be citizens of the State….The activities of the individual may not clash with the interests of the whole, but must proceed within the frame of the community and be for the general good….

We demand legal warfare against conscious political lying and its dissemination in the Press…a German national Press…all German-language newspaper editors and their assistants must be members of the nation….

The publication of papers not conducive to the national welfare must be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of all literary and artistic tendencies likely to disintegrate our national life, and the suppression of institutions which militate against its needs.

SOURCE:  An excerpt of the first program of the Nazi Party as presented in National-Socialism, 1943.



The mixing of blood and the resulting lowering of racial cohesion is the sole reason why cultures perish. People do not perish by defeat in war, but by losing the power of resistance inherent in pure blood…A state which in the age of racial poisoning dedicates itself to the cultivation of its best racial elements will one day become master of the world….

*                       *                       *                       *                       *                       *

A people gains its freedom of existence only by occupying a sufficiently large space on earth….

The Nationalist Socialist movement must try to end the disproportion between our numerous population and its limited living space, the source of our food as well as the base of our power—between our historic past and the hopelessness of our present impotence….

…We National Socialists must resolutely stick to our foreign policy goals, namely to secure the German people the territorial base to which they are entitled…In future we will not secure the living space of our people by divine grace, but by the might of the victorious sword….

If we speak today about gaining territory in Europe, we think primarily of Russia and its border states….

SOURCE:  Passages from the sacred writing of the Nazi movement, Mein Kampf, on the primacy of race and lebensraum, 1923.



This parliamentary democracy of ruin has at all times destroyed peoples and states. It does not express the will of the people: it serves only the ambition and interests of conscienceless corrupters of the people, be they small or great.

            The effect of this kind of government in Germany was disastrous. From the time when this parliamentary democracy had finally and completely mastered the nation there began a downfall in every sphere: not only in politics, in culture, and in morals was Germany disintegrated and weakened, but even in the sphere of economics those conditions were destroyed under which alone, in the last resort, such an enormously complex and sensitive organism can flourish….

SOURCE:  Adolf Hitler, speech made on democracy in Hamburg, Germany, 1934.





DBQ Question created by:

Veronica Radoman
Class of 2002
Maria Regina H. S.
Hartsdale, NY  10530