Fascism is an ultra-right movement that emerged in a period of crisis in European society. Like other right-wing parties and movements before World War II, fascism opposed democracy, liberalism, socialism, and communism and emphasized support for hierarchy, nationalism, militarism, aggressive imperialism, and women's subordination. In seeking power, fascist movements were organized around a charismatic leader, used the techniques of mass politics to win support from the middle strata of war veterans, shop owners, artisans, and white-collar workers, and sought to control the streets with the use of paramilitary bands. When they came to power, fascists ended parliamentary systems and terrorized their opponents. The Nazi variant claimed a race-based superiority for "Aryans" and embraced a virulent anti-Semitism both to designate a scapegoat for Germany's problems and to be able to bribe supporters with property and positions taken from German Jews.
The first fascist movement was that of Italy's Benito Mussolini, who came to power with the aid of conservative elites seeking to put down the revolutionary workers' movement arising after World War I. The international influence of fascism greatly increased when the Nazis assumed power in Germany in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. Significant fascist movements arose in Hungary, Austria, and Romania, and smaller fascist movements, such as the Falange in Spain, became important with support from Germany and Italy. Germany's power led many authoritarian leaders in Europe to ally with the Nazis. Support for the fascist example existed in Latin America, but only Argentina favored the Axis in World War II. The third Axis power, Japan, was authoritarian, militaristic, nationalist, anticommunist, and aggressive, but its attempt at a fascist mass politics, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, had limited impact.
Fascism had limited appeal in the United States in the 1930s, but, given its growth...
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