During the war period, there was a need for leaders to organize people and prepare for the war, and as a result, forms of government started to emerge. Initially, the ideologies that people had were communism, where everything was owned communally, and people could contribute according to their needs and liberal democracy, which is a political and ethical way of life based on liberty, approval of the people being governed, and equality of all people before the law. However, during the interwar period, there emerged a new ideology called fascism that was adapted in many European countries, and the leaders that were elected at the time were fascists. Fascism is a type of governance that is a one-party dictatorship and is mainly against democracy. There are many differences between fascism and liberal democracy in as much as they were all ideologies that existed during that period. This essay compares dictatorship and liberal democracy, explaining some of the challenges these ideologies seemed to solve and states the drawbacks that were introduced by these solutions.
Fascism is a form of nationalism that began in 1919, immediately after the World War I, from the combination of radical nationalism. After some time, it was realized and named the most destructive form of patriotism, which was because people were being forced to comply to the dictators’ rules and opposers were punished. People were therefore not happy with this. Also, it was the only entirely new type of socialist movement in the twentieth century. Other revolutionary forces at the time were communism, socialism, anarchism, and nationalism. Fascism began in Italy then spread to other parts of the world, and after 1933, the generic fascism in Europe lead to World War II (Gentile, X). By comparison, the other revolutionary forces were clear guidelines, whereas fascism was novel and challenging to understand as it was new and still developing. The known fascist leaders were Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy, Francisco Franco in Spain and Juan Perón in Argentina.
There are many differences and similarities between fascism and communism, and they occur because communism had a changed opinion of social and economic organization. First, communism tries to free the state from private ownership, whereas fascism tries to incorporate ownership private property. Communism encouraged that the whole community take part in all activities and owned things together, and thus, private ownership of things was discouraged and replaced with situations where items were owned communally and people’s contributions was according to their ability. On the other hand, fascism was more involved with this private ownership, which seemed to favor the wealthy people who eventually formed the governance system as they were more superior. Second, communist ideas were multicultural and internationalist to ensure that all people in the community are put into consideration. However, that of fascists was chauvinistically nationalists, and it emphasized an allegiance to one’s country, culture, and ethnicity. Therefore, all people were forced to conform to the cultures and rules of the country which they are in. Moreover, there is also a difference in importance and policy; that is to say that when an institution like church poses a threat to the governance of the state, the communist’s first reaction is to eradicate them. This is because they thought that these institutions would bring about and teach individualism which was different from what they believed. In contrast, for the fascists, their instinct is to engage them. The fascists argue that these external institutions are potential allies of the state, as in the case where they encourage subordination within the people and thus works in their favor. Therefore, they encouraged the development of these institutions which in turn favored people in those countries. Therefore, fascism and communism provide conflicting political solutions that clashed and sometimes it was useful in defining the path the continent would take (Mazower, Ch., 4).
In as much as there are some differences between these two groups, there are also some similarities. First, communism also allows private ownership as suppressing; it entirely leads to economic collapse. Therefore, it is permitted to ensure the economy is stable. Also, they have been seen to be chauvinistically nationalists in practice as they are cosmopolitan communists in theory. Fascists sometimes also adapt liberal universalism. The differences, therefore, occur because fascists hold on to the idea of improvement in the industrial process, which is led by managerial technocrats which the communists do not.
Communism therefore seemed to solve many problems. First, property being owned by the state as opposed to being privately owned brought about equality. Equality is important because it ensures that all people are treated the same way. For example, in the case of healthcare and education, the wealthy and those of the high social class would receive the best services. This is however undesirable because everyone despite their social class requires these services. Thus, communism prevents the formation of social classes. Also, communism is concerned with the development of the community as a whole. Therefore, this ensures that people are all progressing together and therefore this has many advantages like; the reduction of crime which would arise due to the existence of a low social class. This also leads to more growth than if it was individualized. However, in as much as communism seems to be important, there are some drawbacks that were introduced by these solutions. Preventing private ownership of land prevents economic growth. Private property ownership helps the economy grow as people are motivated to maximize the value of their property which thus leads to economic growth. Also, resources will not be scarce as they will be controlled through ownership.
In conclusion, after the World War I, European countries took up fascism as their mode of governance and supported this ideology. This was not easy as it led to the rise of anti-fascist. At that time, the common modes of governance were communism and liberal governance. There are differences between communism and fascist the main one being that communism is where all property is owned by the community at large and people contribute according to their ability while fascism is a system of governance that is dictatorial where the opposers are strongly suppressed. Communism seemed to be solving several problems like ensuring there was equality and thus people were able to access all services equally despite of their status. Also, it ensures that people are progressing together as a community and hence solves problems that would arise from existence of social classes. However, there are drawbacks that were brought by these solutions. The economy is mainly disadvantaged by communism as private ownership of property leads to economic growth.
- Gentile, Emilio. The Struggle for Modernity: Nationalism, Futurism, and Fascism. Hardcover – 30 Nov.2003.
- Mazower, Mark. Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century. Paperback – 24 Jun.1999.