Fascisti - Criticism of Fascism - Ideological Dishonesty

Ideological Dishonesty

Fascism has been criticized for being ideologically dishonest.

Major examples of ideological dishonesty have been identified in Italian Fascism's changing relationship with German Nazism. Fascist Italy's official foreign policy positions were known to commonly utilize rhetorical ideological hyperbole to justify its actions, although during Dino Grandi's tenure as Italy's foreign minister, the country engaged in realpolitik free of such fascist hyperbole. Italian Fascism's stance towards German Nazism fluctuated from support from the late 1920s to 1934 involving praising Hitler's rise to power and meeting with Hitler in 1934; to opposition from 1934 to 1936 after the assassination of Italy's ally leader in Austria, Engelbert Dolfuss by Nazis in Austria; and again back to support after 1936 when Germany was the only significant power that did not denounce Italy's invasion and occupation of Ethiopia.

Upon antagonism exploding between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy over the assassination of Austrian Chancellor Dolfuss in 1934, Mussolini and Italian Fascists denounced and ridiculed Nazism's racial theories, particularly by denouncing its Nordicism, while promoting Mediterraneanism. Mussolini himself responded to Nordicists' claims of Italy being divided into Nordic and Mediterranean racial areas due to Germanic invasions of Northern Italy, by claiming that while Germanic tribes such as the Lombards took control of Italy after the fall of ancient Rome, that they arrived in small numbers of about 8,000 and quickly assimilated into Roman culture and spoke the Latin language within fifty years. Italian Fascism was influenced by the tradition of Italian nationalists scornfully looking down upon Nordicists' claims, and taking pride in comparing the age and sophistication of ancient Roman civilization as well as the classical revival in the Renaissance, to that of Nordic societies that Italian nationalists described as "newcomers" to civilization in comparison. At the height of antagonism between the Nazis and Italian Fascists over race, Mussolini claimed that the Germans themselves were not a pure race and noted with irony that Nazi theory on German superiority was based on the theory of non-German foreigners, such as Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau. However after German-Italian relations reduced in tension in the late 1930s, Italian Fascism sought to harmonize its ideology with German Nazism and combined Nordicist and Mediterranean racial theories, noting that Italians were members of the Aryan Race of a mixed Nordic-Mediterranean subtype.

Mussolini declared in 1938 that Italian Fascism had always been anti-Semitic, upon Italy adopting anti-Semitic laws in 1938. When in fact Italian Fascism did not endorse anti-Semitism until the late 1930s when Mussolini feared alienating anti-Semitic Nazi Germany whose power and influence was growing in Europe, prior to then there had been major Jewish Italians who had been major Italian Fascist officials prior to this, including Margherita Sarfatti, who had also been Mussolini's mistress. Also, contrary to Mussolini's claim in 1938, only a small number of Italian Fascists were staunchly anti-Semitic such as Roberto Farinacci and Giuseppe Preziosi while other members, such as Italo Balbo who came from Ferrara that had one of Italy's largest Jewish communities, were disgusted with the anti-Semitic laws and opposed them. However fascism scholar Mark Neocleous notes that while Italian Fascism did not have a clear commitment to anti-Semitism, that there were occasional anti-Semitic statements issued prior to 1938, such as Mussolini in 1919 declaring that the Jewish bankers in London and New York were connected by race to the Russian Bolsheviks, and claimed that eight percent of the Russian Bolsheviks were Jews.

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Famous quotes containing the word ideological:

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