In rejecting comparisons between communism and fascism, one historian wrote, “to say that communism is as worse because it made more victims, or that term is shocking and obscene.” What are the similarities along these lines? If they were so similar, then why could not their adherents co-exist? In other words, why do fascists and communists hate each so much? One important reason why fascists, like Hitler, fought against the idea of class struggle was that it put class interests above national interests. As Hitler wrote, the Marxists transformed trades union “into an instrument for use in their own class struggle” to ruin national industry and enslave free nations (1939, p. 458). In the fascist conception of the world, nothing is above the nation.
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Benito Mussolini (1886-1945) was the founder and leader of the fascist party in Italy, prime minister of Italy after 1922, dictator of a police state after 1925, and an ally of Hitler during World War II (Mussolini, 859). Fascism and communism are based on two different ideological principles. While communism is a system based around a theory of economic equality, and extreme socialism, fascism is a nationalist ideology that allows for the rule of an all-powerful dictator. In addition, my notion towards both parties co-existing with one another means that they are both of importance in many peoples’ eyes, and both are admired by many of their supporters. They both have high standards in authority and rank high in superior by so many supporters. They are competing against one another, which can cause some conflict between both parties. They are similar in principle but different in practice and knowledge; both are holding high positions in leadership and popularity. Therefore, fascists stand against socialism because, in socialism, there is neither unity of the people nor economic and ethical union between classes, proving that history is shown as nothing but class struggles (Reilly, 2013). The fascist system is totalitarian and symbolizes a united state with a strong system of values which represents and improves the lives of the whole nation (Reilly, 2013).
Fascism is concentrated around the perception of the state, its functions, and goals. As declared by Mussolini, fascism’s main priority is the state itself, whereas people are less important (pp. 860-861). People are valid as long as they are part of the state. The liberal state is mistaken when it comes to leading society to progress since liberalism is too restrictive. Fascism, on the other hand, clearly understands the situation, has its own will, and can think for itself (Mussolini, pp. 860-861). Therefore, fascism is more ethical and can be beneficial to society.
Communism was an enormous shock to the capitalist world system of the twentieth century. For those living in communist countries, it transformed conditions of life, bringing rapid economic growth, vast social upheaval, and great oppression. It put the West on the defensive, challenged its political, economic, and religious values, and set in motion historical information between rival ideologies and social systems (Reilly, 2013).
Revolution and democratic socialist parties flourished in Europe and even parts of the Americas during the decades before World War I, but they were blindsided by a revolution carried out in the name of Karl Marx in distant Russia. Communism was born in a place far removed from the advanced capitalist industrialized countries that Karl Marx saw as the seedbed of socialism. V.I. Lenin knew that Marx and the Western socialists held a historical interpretation of socialism emerging from advanced capitalist society when the contradiction of capitalism – abundance and equality – could no longer be held together by markets and capitalists (Reilly, 2013).
Three influential ideologies emerged after World War I; those ideologies are liberalism, communism, and fascism. The origin of liberalism was rooted in the Enlightenment and had several beliefs which are known to be the belief in equality. Classical liberalism, also known as conservatism, tends to emphasize liberty, whereas social liberalism emphasizes equality. Classical liberalism tends to emphasize the importance of free markets and capitalism and the belief in private property to various degrees. Liberals also emphasized republicanism and adherents of liberalism were responsible for the revolutionary movements in the Americas, France, and other places. Liberal and conservatives usually differed in how they viewed the individual in relation to the state, and both liberals and conservatives accepted capitalism as an economic system (Hingson Lecture). The United States, Great Britain, and France emerged victorious from the post-World War I settlement.
Modern communism also emerged from World War I. Foundations of communism were laid in the nineteenth century. In The Communist Manifesto, published in 1849, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels predicted the end of capitalism in favor of a more collectivist and not nationalist approach to organizing societies. Karl Marx was not only rejecting capitalism, but he was also rejecting Utopian Socialism. He believed that industrialization was an important step for human advancement; this is what put him at odds with Utopia Socialists who wanted to go back to a pre-industrial society. In turn of his rejection of capitalism, he argued that industrial workers would lead the way to a revolution that would overthrow the bourgeoisie or ruling class (lecture). The Communist Manifesto was written in the midst of European upheaval, a time when capitalist industrialization has spread from England to France and Germany. Marx and Engels were Germans who studied and worked in France and England. In the manifest, they imagine a revolution that will transform all of Europe. The term capitalism developed later from Marx’s classic Das Kapital (1859), but the term bourgeoisie, as Engels notes in this selection, stands for the capitalist class. For Marx and Engels, the industrial revolution (another later phrase) is the product of a particular stage of capitalist development (Reilly, 2013).
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Marx had predicted that this revolution body industrial workers by the proletarian would first take place in an industrialization country such as Great Britain, Germany, United States, and France. The very first attempt to practically apply Marx was the so-called Paris commune in 1871. An important failed attempted that communism took place in France in the late nineteenth century. In 1871, France lost badly to Prussian what was known as the Franco-Prussian War. The German army subjected Paris to a brutal winter seize with a food shortage and starvation (lecture).
On the global stage, the rise of communism split the world through the late 1980s known as the Cold War, that intense conflict found expression as a bitter ideological rivalry pitting Western market economies, democratic politics, and ideals of personal freedom against communist state-managed economies, single-party politics, and ideals of social equality. On both sides, the stakes seemed total, as the entire way of life, systems of value, and alternative visions of the future were at issue. More concretely, the Cold War gave rise to military and political rivalries throughout the world. Europe, Germany, and the city of Berlin were sharply divided with their eastern halves in the Soviet bloc and their western halves allied with the United States, now the clear leader of the so-called free world (Reilly, 2013).
Fascism considered the state most significant, whereas people’s value was determined by their utility to the state, which is regarded as the one and only representative of a person in history. On the other hand, classical liberalism, which originated in the sequel of absolutism, was depleted with time as soon as the state became interpreted by people’s will (Reilly, 2013). Liberalism sacrificed the state for the good of people, but fascism empowered the state to show people’s nature. While in liberalism, liberty can be seen in the power of individuals, fascism glorifies the only true form of liberty, which belongs to the state and the nation within the state.
Fascism and communism are ideologies that are often viewed as essentially the same because of how their supporters were drawn to authoritarian leaders. However, these ideologies could not be any more different. The effect of these important ideologies and their impact during the early 20th century; fascism and communism are similar in leadership but different in values and principles. They are co-existing because they both hold a high standard in leadership, popularity, principle, morals, and values.
Hitler, A. (1939). Mein Kampf. (R. Manheim, Trans.). Hurst and Blackett LTD.
Reilly, K. (2013). World of History: A comparative reader, Volume two: Since 1400 (5th ed.). Bedford/St. Martin’s.