The Characteristics Of Fascism And Nationalism In World War II

1449 Words 6 Pages
On September 1st, 1939, World War II officially began when Germany invaded Poland (Morillo). While September 1st marked the official beginning of the war, tensions had been building for quite some time before then. At the center of the tension was Germany. Germany’s involvement in the war was fueled by nationalist ideologies and the fascist regime led by Adolf Hitler. Nationalism and Fascism, marked as two different ideologies, are inherently similar ideas with many overlapping characteristics. While some aspects of nationalism difference from fascism, their characteristics ultimately promote the same idea, an idea which led to the beginning of World War II. Nationalism, in its truest and purest form, can simply mean “patriotic feelings, principles …show more content…
The many traits of fascism combine to create an authoritarian and nationalistic state. That being said, one of the most apparent traits of fascism is to have powerful and continued nationalism occurring throughout a state. This nationalistic atmosphere creates intense feelings of pride for one’s country to the point where one’s own country is viewed as superior over all others. Next, fascist leaders take a series of measures that allow the government to have control of their people. For example, fascist leaders create a scapegoat to blame for their country’s problems or a “common enemy.” By creating a scapegoat or common enemy, fascist leaders can rally people together, creating a unifying cause for the people to stand behind. Next, most fascist regimes are obsessed with the idea of national security. Because fascist leaders already chose a scapegoat or common enemy, governments then instill fear in their people by creating panic over national security. People then often react by requesting stronger national security or military action against “the enemy.” And because fascist leaders view national security as a top priority, many fascist leaders ignore human rights if it means that their own country is protected from the “enemies.” And lastly, continuing on with the theme of governmental control over the people, fascist governments control mass media. Meaning, instead of having non-partisan, …show more content…
Furthermore, nationalism and fascism usually work together, coinciding in order to accomplish a common goal. Nationalism and Fascism both create atmospheres where order, strength and “unity” are present. However, usually unity is only an illusion created by the government, because nationalist and fascist governments are highly exclusionary towards anyone viewed as an outsider. Next, a strong support for military efforts are present. Here, nationalism usually creates the want for a strong military and fascism promotes the “need” for a strong military by convincing the citizens of a country that there is a common enemy that need they need to be protected from. In this case, nationalism and fascism work together to create both a want and a “need” for a strong military. Next, fascism and nationalism usually coincide until war is reached at a large scale. While this is not a defining or necessary characteristic of fascism or nationalism, over the course of history, nationalist and fascist government have usually contributed to a full-scale war and have only ended their regime after a war has taken place, World War II, for example. While nationalism and fascism are by definition, different ideological principles, they share many of the same characteristics. Additionally, nationalism and fascism coincide in order to reach a

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