Sunday, November 02, 2008

The true nature of fascism

If there is one political philosophy that is misunderstood it is facsism. When people use the word they often use it to describe any system of government they find offensive. The truth is that fascism is an authoritartian form of government that occurs in countries that have either weak monarchies or where a ruling monarchy has been deposed and the country has fallen on hard times. A good example of those who understood this were those present when King Juan Carlos of Spain told Venezuela’s President Chavez to shut up after Chavez called Spain’s previous Prime Minister a fascist, barely conscious of the fact that Juan carlos owed the restoration of his throne to the actions of Spain’s fascist ruler, Franco.
Though the term fascist came about in italy in 1919 that party remained obscure until it seized power in 1922. The first person to apply fascist principles of a strong, centralized control in support of a monarch or to bring order in a society where a monarchy had been deposed was Reza Khan, who in February 1919 led Iranian Army forces in a military coup and again two months later and who would eventually use his power base thus acquired to become Shahanshah of Iran in 1925. Later in 1919 Admiral Miklos Horthy would take advantage of revolution in Hungary to rally forces still loyal to the Habsburg military around him, crush the rebels, and assume the powers of the deposed Kaiser Karl as Regent of Hungary. This trend would spread and would be successfully demonstrated by Mussolini’s fascists in 1922 and in Turkey where Mustafa Kemal would depose Sultan Mehmed VI and assume his authority. These successes would inspire Franco in Spain, who was a closet monarchist who understood Spain could not profit under the corrupt Alfonso XIII and his son Juan de Borbon, and in Germany. It was in Germany that the term “fascist” would take on an evil and racist context.
Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s was a society in turmoil since it’s defeat in 1918 and the deposition of the Hohenzollern’s, Wittlesbachs, Saxe-Coburg’s, and other reigning families throughout the German empire had left the country in turmoil. As the result many German aristocrats, inspired by Mussolini, decided to pack Germany’s government, reestablish central authority under the pretext of crisis, and use their new authority to effect a restoration. They were partially assisted that the government structure had little changed and in 1932 when Franz von Papen became Chancellor he packed the government with aristocrats, including Constantin von Neurath and Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk who would play pivotal roles. The alliance Papen and these aristocrats had made with the Nazi party worked to their benefit, for the Nazi’s, the dominant party in Germany, had much respect for the German aristocracy and shared similar goals, and when Hitler and the Nazis took power in January 1933 the aristocrats were pleased. Even more telling was how German Royals, including Carl Eduard, Herzog of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Kronprinz Rupprecht of Bayern, Augustus Wilhelm of Prussia among the most prominent supported the Nazis as they understood the ultimate plan of the Nazis was a Monarchist restoration.
It was the faction within the nazi party which wanted the elimination of jews and which was overaggressive which caused the ultimate problems. Beginning with the annexation of Austria the Nazis began to sideline those who wanted a restoration in favor of those who wanted to make mass conquests at the expense of the rest of Europe, and who wanted to eliminate Slavs, Jews, Gypsies, and others considered undesirable. As a result a counterplot emerged within the Nazi party and the German government, led from the shadows by Constantin von Neurath who helped organize the Beck/Stauffenberg plot and the Rommel/Dietrich plot. That something was afoot was demonstrated at the Nuremberg trial which few people picked up on. One demonstration of this was Franz von Papen reminding Goring that he was to remove Hitler the instant Hitler got out of line. More telling was how Von Neurath refused to admit his role, was convicted on all 4 counts, and received a prison sentence and was only released in 1952 on the insistence of Queen Elizabeth II, the granddaughter of Von Neurath’s lover Queen Mary. Just as telling was the revelation by Albert Speer, a direct descendant of the Pappenheim family whose members were Hereditary Marshals of the Holy Roman Empire, had plotted to kill Hitler in 1945. Whether or not this was true is conjecture, however it did sway the Nuremberg Court not to sentence him to death and persuaded other Nazi defendants to adopt a similar approach.
While acknowledging that many fascist regimes had caused serious problems, most prominently Italy and nazi germany, had it not been for the rogue actions of those two countries in all probability prosperity would have come to other such countries. Iran and Hungary would have flourished and avoided many of the problems they had were it not for their association with fascist Italy and nazi Germany. Today Turkey and Greece are thriving nations, while the method used to restore Juan Carlos I and the Borbons to the Spanish throne has been used by other Royals, including those of Cambodia to restore Monarchs and in countries like Bulgaria where Monarchs are seeking restoration.
Finally, the racist aspect of fascism must be discussed, as the Nazis used race as a means to stir up popularity for their movement. By their claiming that Aryans were superior to other ethnic/racial groups they automatically labeled themselves as prejudiced, and those that dealt with them suffered from this same stigma. Because of this most people do not realize that the word Aryan simply refers to an ethnic group, in the same way the words Slavic, Latin, and Semitic do. Were it not for the aggressiveness of the Nazis and other white/Aryan power groups the term Aryan would not have negative connotations. Today as a result of the demise of the nazi party, the shift of radical white power groups from violent acts to acts of cultural awareness and acceptance of those of mixed ethnic heritage, and the rise of extremist groups like Zionists and black supremacist groups the word Aryan is beginning to reclaim more positive connotations.
People often forget to be careful in their choice of words. This is the case for fascism, where fascism is confused for totalitarian and prejudiced governments. Certainly few people could apply the racist behavior of nazi germany with that of Reza Shah’s Iran or of Spain today. To use the term fascist today to label countries like homeland security america is also misleading, for today’s america is a totalitarian, not fascist, regime. If this article has acomplished anything it is to make people look at what is going around them and to improve their perception.

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