Read Rebecca Onion’s introduction to this series.
In the first episode of Fascism: A Slate Academy, Slate writers Rebecca Onion, June Thomas, and Joshua Keating ask what the term fascism means. As Kevin Passmore writes, “How can we make sense of an ideology that appeals to skinheads and intellectuals; preaches revolution while allying with conservatives; adopts a macho style yet attracts many women; calls for return to tradition yet is fascinated by technology; idealizes the people yet is contemptuous of mass society, and advocates both violence and order?”
Then they talk to historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922–1945. Did Mussolini have any ideology beyond the acquisition of power? Who did his fascism benefit, and who were its victims?
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Supplementary reading for this episode
- Giulia Albanese, “Violence and Political Participation during the Rise of Fascism, 1919–1926” (from In the Society of Fascists, Acclamation, Acquiescence, and Agency in Mussolini’s Italy, eds. Giulia Albanese and Roberta Pergher).
- Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922–1945.
- Ruth Ben-Ghiat, “An American Authoritarian,” TheAtlantic.com, Aug. 10, 2016.
- Lorenzo Benadusi, “Borghesi in Uniform: Masculinity, Militarism, and the Brutalization of Politics from the First World War to the Rise of Fascism” (from In the Society of Fascists, Acclamation, Acquiescence, and Agency in Mussolini’s Italy, eds. Giulia Albanese and Roberta Pergher).
- Umberto Eco, “Ur-Fascism,” New York Review of Books, June 22, 1995.
- Kevin Passmore, Fascism: A Very Short Introduction: Chapter 1: “Scenes From the History of Fascism”; Chapter 2: “’A and not A’: What is Fascism?”; Chapter 3: “Fascism Before Fascism?”; Chapter 4: “Italy: ‘Making History with the Fist.’”
- Nick Harkaway, “What You Talk About When You Talk About Fascism,” Medium, Nov. 18, 2016.
- Stanley Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914–1945: Chapter 4: “The Rise of Italian Fascism, 1919–1929”; Chapter 7: “The Transformation of Italian Fascism, 1929–1939.”