Fascism: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Aug 22, 2002 - History - 176 pages
What is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? This book argues that it is both: fascism unleashes violence against the left and ethnic minorities, but also condemns the bourgeoisie for its 'softness'. Kevin Passmore opens his book with a series of 'scenes from fascist life' - a secret meeting of the Romanian Iron Guard; Mussolini meeting the king of Italy; a rally of Hungarian doctors calling for restrictions on the number of Jews entering the profession; the shooting of 1800 Jews by Reserve Police Battalion 101 at Jozefow in Poland in July 1942. He then looks at the paradoxes of fascism through its origins in the political and social crisis of the late nineteenth century, the history of fascist movements and regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of 'failed' fascist movements in Romania, Hungary and Spain. He shows how fascism used and uses propaganda and popular culture to propagate itself and how it exported its ideas outside Europe, through Nazi and Spanish post-war escape routes to Latin America, for instance. The book concludes with a discussion of the recent revival of the extreme right in Austria, Italy, France, and Russia. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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User Review  - euang - www.librarything.com

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A very well-structured and well-written perspective on fasicm. Passmore starts with an overview of the criteria adopted in the definition of fascism that is applied consistently in the remainder of the book.
Passmore uses a few methods in tackling this topic.
1) Historical narratives - tracing the rise of fascist movements in italy, germany, france, romania, spain.
2) Causes - investigating where fascist movements drew their support.
3) Compare/contrast with other radical right-wing movements.
4) New Offshoots - distinguishing between historical fascism and modern or "neo-fascist" movements e.g. national-populist movements.
5) Class analysis - demonstrating that fascism's appeal to different social classes had varied support (so it's more complicated than a class-derived phenomena).
The great success of this book, unlike others in the Very Short Introduction series from Oxford University Press, is that it manages to keep the text relatively self-contained.

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About the author (2002)

Kevin Passmore is Lecturer in History at the University of Wales, Cardiff. His books include From Liberalism to Fascism: The Right in a French Province (CUP, 1997), Writing National Histories: Western Europe Since 1800 (Routledge, 1999), The French Right: A History (Routledge), and Women, Gender and the Extreme Right in Europe, 1919-1945 (Macmillan).

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