Theorists have put down arguments on the evolution of Europe. The discourse has often been that absent leaders that characterized the European political landscape, Europe would not have prospered as it has. In addition, it has been argued that communism and fascism indeed played a pivotal role towards the evolution of the modern states in Europe. It is imperative to appreciate that modern Europe remains purely capitalist with a few nations keen to introduce welfare systems intended to contain the harsh vagaries of capitalism. However, it is should be noted that the current practice is far from what Europe could have anticipated during the fascist and communist rules. On that premise this paper shall examine the rise of communism and fascism and in turn consider some of the social, political and economic issues that led to communism and fascism. It should be appreciated that although the two assume a common approach in their opposition of capitalism, there are differences which are subtle in nature. Some of the differences include the fact that communism was more international in its approach, was based on common ideologies and aimed at eliminating the class systems. On the other hand, fascism exalted nationalism over any other forms of governance, was based on authoritarianism and did not as such oppose the existence of the class systems. The differences notwithstanding, it is essential to appreciate the fact the all the fascist and communist nations in Europe were ruled by dictators some of which remain in records as the world’s worst known dictators. Some of these leaders include Benito Mussolini of Italy, Joseph Stalin of Russia and Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party in Germany.
As the industrial revolution was catching up in Europe, the inevitable consequences were coming up. The struggle for resources and economic success did not stop at the national level. Even the individual citizens competed for resources. It is this competition that led to the class struggle which Karl Marx had so much opposed. It is incidental that both Stalin and Mussolini were good students of Karl Marx. They believed the class struggles were unnecessary and that the economic wars among the people were consequent of government planning and policies. For that reason, both persons sort to change the circumstances from within. In fact, it is recorded in history that Mussolini as a member of the Socialist Party vehemently opposed the participation of Italy in the World War II. In their considered opinion, the Socialist Party had considered that Italy adopt an isolationist system. It was their contention that the war would occasion unnecessary suffering of the people and that Italy could survive without their international allies. However, Mussolini soon changed tract. He would quit the Social Party and began his championing for Italy to engage in the war. It is at this time that Mussolini established the Fascist Party. With time, the party would work up the system to gain the ultimate control of Italy.
In essence, it can be argued thus that Mussolini was solely responsible for the establishment of fascism. One question thus is how he maneuvered through the system to attain ultimate control. Mussolini made use of the social and economic conditions facing Italy. It should be appreciated that at the time of the war, Italy was still a monarchy though a form of constitutional monarchy. On that premise, it was imperative that absolute political leadership lies with the King. As the ravages of the war tore within and without the Europe, Italy too had to bare its share. It was at this time that the people felt dissatisfied with the system. Around this time, the Social Party was receiving overwhelmingly positive reception with the people. The civilians identified with their ideologies and activities. This included on matters concerning Italy’s involvement in the World War. It has been noted that Mussolini was expelled from the Social Party after he supported the participation in the war.
According to Mussolini, the turn of events was necessitated by the need for Italy to occupy a niche in the international arena. It was the consequential expulsion that occasioned Mussolini’s establishment of the Fascist Party. For the party, it was critical that the people have respect for their leaders and that absolute nationalism be attained in Italy. In other words, it was necessary for the people to have trust in the government and its leadership. Mussolini must be appreciated for its oratory and communication skills. He was able to convince the citizenry that fascism would solve the economic ravages being experienced then. Soon, the people started believing in Mussolini. The big day arrived on the supposed “Match to Rome.” According to historical records, Mussolini had planned this day for the people to occasion a bloodless revolution. He would install fascism and get Italy back to its foot. However, the King in fear of the actions organized by Mussolini resorted to having him in the government. The King thus pleaded with Mussolini to take the reign of government as the Prime Minister. Mussolini would in turn abandon the match to Rome. It is this unfolding that set forth the Fascist state in Italy. Mussolini would model himself into the fixer of all issues. He would solve the social issues in Italy and institutionalize systems into full operation. However, as the system was being organized, Mussolini equally expanded the fascist beliefs to the people. A fundamental observation and practice by the fascists related to the respect for the leadership and absolute nationalism. This was the onset of dictatorship in Italy. The people soon found themselves captured and contained in the dictatorship that would characterize the subsequent rule of Mussolini.
On the part of Germany, the success of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler’s fascist rule in particular was facilitated by the failed economic policies that were worsened by the resolutions of the Allies after the conclusion of the World War I. It is instructive to appreciate the fact that the Allies had found that Germany was indeed responsible for the World War I. As a consequence, it was imposed on Germany that they pay war repatriations to the tune of millions of dollars. In addition, Germany was strictly contained including restrictions as to the size of its military and arms. This occurrence precipitated a form of nationalism among the Germans. In addition, the citizens considered the then political leadership led the then Chancellor as being inferior. The political leadership had failed the nationalist test. They were unable to defend Germany when they were needed most. It is this apparent vacuum that Adolf Hitler would use. He slowly enticed the people into believing in him. As a local leader, Hitler stressed on the need for Germans to be loyal to their country and be ready to defend their territorial integrity. He would promote the ideals of the Nazis during the course of his daily endeavors. The economic, social and political ramifications occasioned in part by the results of the World War II and the onset of the Depression occasioned tension in Germany. In efforts to contain the situation, the Chancellor appointed Hitler to the position of Prime Minister. Hitler would capitalize on the relatively weak leadership. He inspired the people into Nazism. It is the Nazi movement that introduced fascism in Germany. Soon the entire nation was full of patriots who believed in their nation. In addition, the war ravages and the repatriations imposed on Germany contributed to the nationalism then. The Germans thought the world had aggrieved them and that that the victorious Allies were taking advantage of the state of weakness of Germany at that time. It is these activities and occurrences that set in motion the Nazi rule which in essence promoted fascism.
Joseph Stalin’s philosophy, also known as Stalinism borrowed heavily from Karl Marx and Leninist leanings philosophy. Indeed, as mentioned before, the communism system was more international with the believers determined to unite laborers of the world against the exploitation by the burgesses. It is instructive to note that Stalin was a consumer of Marxism. In fact, one of his favorite writing was the article on the Role of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. The philosophy of the Lenin scholars was that by sabotaging the system, the capitalism would be replaced by a class system called communism. While Stalin might have been wrong and indeed later historical outcomes have proved him wrong, it must be appreciated that it was his leadership within the Bolshevick Political Party that led to the Bolshevick revolution. He would later come out strongly especially with the demise of Lenin. The political and economic crisis that faced Russia then can be credited with the rise of Stalin and thus the Communist Party. The determination of Stalin to dominate the world and spread communism is partly responsible for the Cold Water that proved dangerous in its own right.
In conclusion, this paper has considered the cases of Italy, Germany and Russia. It should be appreciated that while communism and fascists systems were not limited to the three nations, it is their nations that experienced intense forms of political leadership. The decisions leaders chose to pursue are what made Europe what it is today. Absent the communist struggles and consequential failure and one would still not appreciate the capitalist systems. It is the general contention of the paper that it was the economic conditions, the labor movements and indeed Marxism that occasioned the communist and fascists systems of governance in Europe. In addition, it is notable that in the long run, the people observed the excesses of the systems and fought against them. For example, Hitler and Mussolini died miserable deaths essentially because the people had ceased believing in their governance. While both communism and fascism attempted to solve the question of social inequalities, none gave out an adequate and sustainable solution. To date, economic inequalities in society remain.
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