Was Mussolini's Fascism as bad as Hitler's Nazism ?

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chris1989
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08 Aug 2022, 2:09 pm

This may seem to some like a ridiculous question to ask and of course, I don't agree with fascism and I am sure a lot of other people don't agree either. I just happen to be reading about Mussolini and finding out that Fascist Italy was not as ''oppressive'' as the Nazis were and that Mussolini was popular for reducing unemployment, bringing back order to Italy and its people and famously that he made the trains run on time, which turns out to be a myth as he didn't make them run on time. I also read how during the second world war, even when Germany and Italy were allies, Italy secretly helped to protect and save Jews escaping the Nazis and even in some Italian concentration camps, people were not worked to death or murdered outright like in the Nazi death camps and instead were allowed to roam freely and do as they pleased despite conditions in the camps were disease-ridden and had little food for the people in those camps.
If Mussolini was milder in cruelty than his Nazi or Japanese allies then how can we explain the other things that happened during his dictatorship such as dropping mustard gas and other atrocities in Ethiopia and Libya and war crimes committed against civilians in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece ? Unlike the Nazis or the Japanese, no Italian fascist was ever put on trial for any of those misdeeds.



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08 Aug 2022, 2:20 pm

chris1989 wrote:
Was Mussolini's Fascism As Bad As Hitler's Nazism?
That is like asking, "What is worse: Getting shot in the face or getting stabbed in the face?"  Both "isms" were systems used to oppress the citizens and persecute enemies.  Neither survived WWII in their original form.


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08 Aug 2022, 2:47 pm

chris1989 wrote:
This may seem to some like a ridiculous question to ask and of course, I don't agree with fascism and I am sure a lot of other people don't agree either. I just happen to be reading about Mussolini and finding out that Fascist Italy was not as ''oppressive'' as the Nazis were and that Mussolini was popular for reducing unemployment, bringing back order to Italy and its people and famously that he made the trains run on time, which turns out to be a myth as he didn't make them run on time. I also read how during the second world war, even when Germany and Italy were allies, Italy secretly helped to protect and save Jews escaping the Nazis and even in some Italian concentration camps, people were not worked to death or murdered outright like in the Nazi death camps and instead were allowed to roam freely and do as they pleased despite conditions in the camps were disease-ridden and had little food for the people in those camps.
If Mussolini was milder in cruelty than his Nazi or Japanese allies then how can we explain the other things that happened during his dictatorship such as dropping mustard gas and other atrocities in Ethiopia and Libya and war crimes committed against civilians in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece ? Unlike the Nazis or the Japanese, no Italian fascist was ever put on trial for any of those misdeeds.


From Wikipedia:

The British and American governments, fearful of the post-war Italian Communist Party, effectively undermined the quest for justice by tolerating the efforts made by Italy's top authorities to prevent any of the alleged Italian war criminals from being extradited and taken to court.[12][10] Fillipo Focardi, a historian at Rome's German Historical Institute, has discovered archived documents showing how Italian civil servants were told to avoid extraditions. A typical instruction was issued by the Italian prime minister, Alcide De Gasperi, reading: "Try to gain time, avoid answering requests."[12] The denial of Italian war crimes was backed up by the Italian state, academe, and media, re-inventing Italy as only a victim of the German Nazism and the post-war Foibe massacres.[12]

A number of suspects, known to be on the list of Italian war criminals that Yugoslavia, Greece and Ethiopia requested an extradition of, at the end of World War II never saw anything like the Nuremberg trial, because with the beginning of the Cold War, the British government saw in Pietro Badoglio, who was also on the list, a guarantee of an anti-communist post-war Italy.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_w ... to%20trial.


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Last edited by Chuckster on 08 Aug 2022, 4:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Summer_Twilight
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08 Aug 2022, 2:55 pm

I don't know that much about Mussolini but I do know that he shared the same values that Hitler had. In fact, I believe they were allies? However, I can tell you more about Hitler and how he rose to power.



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08 Aug 2022, 4:32 pm

No, the two were very different, the Italians never had the racial and mystic elements of the Nazis, and were frankly weirded out by them. I've heard Italian Fascism described as "war socialism" and it feels accurate, a public-private alliance held together by a permanent war footing (Mussolini had noticed the way the country came together and got things done during WWI and wanted to harness that), IIRC it's usually considered the root of "war on poverty/drugs/etc" style social programs trying to take advantage of the wartime attitude.


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cyberdad
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08 Aug 2022, 4:40 pm

In addition to culture, beliefs, identity differences, Mussolini and Hitler were completely different people. About the only thing they had in common was a high level of narcissism.



techstepgenr8tion
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08 Aug 2022, 4:47 pm

I think what interests me on the topic is just how bizarre Nazism was compared to other instances of fascism. It seems like Italian had more in common with other western European and Latin American instantiations where Nazism added this strange kayfabe and as people have already stated - occult mysticism that almost seems to be a darker reworking of Theosophy. My concern in this area tends to be that if all people think of when they hear the word fascism is Nazi's they're less likely to see and adequately process the kinds of fascism that are most likely to revisit us in the future. Nazism IMHO seems pretty well locked in a given time and it seems unlikely that we're going to see anything quite like that again anytime soon.


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08 Aug 2022, 5:15 pm

Authoritarianism, militarism, fear of Communism, and ambitions of territorial conquest fueled both Hitler and Mussolini.

But there were differences.

Mussolini invented generic Fascism. Nazism was a virulent strain of fascism. Like Stalinism is a severe strain of Communism. And the Spanish Flu was a killer strain of flu.

Authoritarian parties and regimes sprang up all over Europe in response to the fear of "Bolshevism". Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini were all examples, and became allies against both the Soviet East, and the democratic West.

Hitler borrowed many American ideas about racial superiority and about eugenics that the Italian fascists never bothered with. Sorry Whoopie- Nazism, and American Racism ARE kindred creeds.

Hitler and Mussolini helped in the bloody Spanish Civil War to help Franco win and attain power. But the two couldn't get Franco to join in their later war of world conquest. "Hey DUDE...Gilbralter. Dont ya even wanna take back Gilbralter that the Brits stole from Spain two hundred years ago????". Franco never took that nor any other bait. Sent two token divisions to fight alongside the Germans on the Eastern Front against Russia, but other than that he kept Spain out of WWII. Thats why Franco was the only one of the three to survive WWII.



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08 Aug 2022, 5:27 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
My concern in this area tends to be that if all people think of when they hear the word fascism is Nazi's they're less likely to see and adequately process the kinds of fascism that are most likely to revisit us in the future.


Me too. It also drives me nuts the way fascism is used as a generic political term of abuse when it actually has a specific meaning, one that ironically often better applies to the people tossing the epithet around.


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08 Aug 2022, 5:44 pm

It's hard to say, without adopting portions of fascist ideology the Nazis likely wouldn't have sounded coherent enough to work their way into power.

Mussolini's fascism would be viewed more on par with other dictatorships of the 20th century if it wasn't further tainted by association with the Nazis.

There's a number of actions that the Nazis engaged in that are uniquely offensive to most people's morality. Not every Axis nation was equally enthusiastic about cooperating with the Nazis and their anti-Jewish campaigns. By the same token, some occupied nations were far more willing to make an effort to resist Jewish citizens being deported vs. others who might have been a little more cooperative.


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08 Aug 2022, 7:36 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Authoritarianism, militarism, fear of Communism, and ambitions of territorial conquest fueled both Hitler and Mussolini.

But there were differences.

Mussolini invented generic Fascism. Nazism was a virulent strain of fascism. Like Stalinism is a severe strain of Communism. And the Spanish Flu was a killer strain of flu.

Authoritarian parties and regimes sprang up all over Europe in response to the fear of "Bolshevism". Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini were all examples, and became allies against both the Soviet East, and the democratic West.

Hitler borrowed many American ideas about racial superiority and about eugenics that the Italian fascists never bothered with. Sorry Whoopie- Nazism, and American Racism ARE kindred creeds.

Hitler and Mussolini helped in the bloody Spanish Civil War to help Franco win and attain power. But the two couldn't get Franco to join in their later war of world conquest. "Hey DUDE...Gilbralter. Dont ya even wanna take back Gilbralter that the Brits stole from Spain two hundred years ago????". Franco never took that nor any other bait. Sent two token divisions to fight alongside the Germans on the Eastern Front against Russia, but other than that he kept Spain out of WWII. Thats why Franco was the only one of the three to survive WWII.


You forgot Salazar in Portugal.

Also, after the war, fascism set up shop in South America. Now you had Pinochet, Stroessner, Bordaberry and Videla.



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08 Aug 2022, 7:45 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I think what interests me on the topic is just how bizarre Nazism was compared to other instances of fascism. It seems like Italian had more in common with other western European and Latin American instantiations where Nazism added this strange kayfabe and as people have already stated - occult mysticism that almost seems to be a darker reworking of Theosophy. My concern in this area tends to be that if all people think of when they hear the word fascism is Nazi's they're less likely to see and adequately process the kinds of fascism that are most likely to revisit us in the future. Nazism IMHO seems pretty well locked in a given time and it seems unlikely that we're going to see anything quite like that again anytime soon.


Putin's Russia might prove you wrong, though. The alliance between the dictator and the russian orthodox church has the potential to go towards that occult direction. Or maybe it already is going that way.... Journalist Peter Pomerantsev gets offended by notions like "Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma", and says it'smore like everyone bought into a sado-masochist story of 'the Russian soul'... But I think the "Russisn-enigma"-idea can be abused if one were to want that.
With some 21st century post-ironic cynicism worked into it to become an integral part of the structure.

Also, to answer OPs question: Italian fascism was more like Pinochet's Chile - a way to ensure the communists wouldn't be able to effect much


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08 Aug 2022, 9:04 pm

shlaifu wrote:
techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I think what interests me on the topic is just how bizarre Nazism was compared to other instances of fascism. It seems like Italian had more in common with other western European and Latin American instantiations where Nazism added this strange kayfabe and as people have already stated - occult mysticism that almost seems to be a darker reworking of Theosophy. My concern in this area tends to be that if all people think of when they hear the word fascism is Nazi's they're less likely to see and adequately process the kinds of fascism that are most likely to revisit us in the future. Nazism IMHO seems pretty well locked in a given time and it seems unlikely that we're going to see anything quite like that again anytime soon.


Putin's Russia might prove you wrong, though. The alliance between the dictator and the russian orthodox church has the potential to go towards that occult direction. Or maybe it already is going that way.... Journalist Peter Pomerantsev gets offended by notions like "Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma", and says it'smore like everyone bought into a sado-masochist story of 'the Russian soul'... But I think the "Russisn-enigma"-idea can be abused if one were to want that.
With some 21st century post-ironic cynicism worked into it to become an integral part of the structure.

Also, to answer OPs question: Italian fascism was more like Pinochet's Chile - a way to ensure the communists wouldn't be able to effect much


The Eastern Orthodox church hates occultism just as much as does every other sect of both Christianity, and of Islam, and every other Abrahamic religion. So Putin's alliance with it has no potential to take Russia into that Himmler/occult direction, though it is a radical departure from the old Soviet stance against all religion. It makes his post Communist Nationalistic regime similar to that of Franco (who was a staunch ally of the Roman Catholic church in Spain to oppose Communism), and also to Mussolini who was also largely allied to the RC as well.

The alliance is an integral, and deliberate part of his nationalism, and attempted populism. Nothing woo-woo about it.



techstepgenr8tion
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08 Aug 2022, 11:20 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I think what interests me on the topic is just how bizarre Nazism was compared to other instances of fascism. It seems like Italian had more in common with other western European and Latin American instantiations where Nazism added this strange kayfabe and as people have already stated - occult mysticism that almost seems to be a darker reworking of Theosophy. My concern in this area tends to be that if all people think of when they hear the word fascism is Nazi's they're less likely to see and adequately process the kinds of fascism that are most likely to revisit us in the future. Nazism IMHO seems pretty well locked in a given time and it seems unlikely that we're going to see anything quite like that again anytime soon.


Putin's Russia might prove you wrong, though. The alliance between the dictator and the russian orthodox church has the potential to go towards that occult direction. Or maybe it already is going that way.... Journalist Peter Pomerantsev gets offended by notions like "Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma", and says it'smore like everyone bought into a sado-masochist story of 'the Russian soul'... But I think the "Russisn-enigma"-idea can be abused if one were to want that.
With some 21st century post-ironic cynicism worked into it to become an integral part of the structure.

Also, to answer OPs question: Italian fascism was more like Pinochet's Chile - a way to ensure the communists wouldn't be able to effect much


The Eastern Orthodox church hates occultism just as much as does every other sect of both Christianity, and of Islam, and every other Abrahamic religion. So Putin's alliance with it has no potential to take Russia into that Himmler/occult direction, though it is a radical departure from the old Soviet stance against all religion. It makes his post Communist Nationalistic regime similar to that of Franco (who was a staunch ally of the Roman Catholic church in Spain to oppose Communism), and also to Mussolini who was also largely allied to the RC as well.

The alliance is an integral, and deliberate part of his nationalism, and attempted populism. Nothing woo-woo about it.


I both agree and disagree with aspects of both of the above.

On one hand Putin's strategies are still very close to the recommendations that Aleksandr Dugin would have (and historically has) made, it's part of why it's hard for me to watch him run around promoting a sort of radical pluralism on various podcasts while rather proudly being a big part of the production chain for Russia's current adventurism which apparently just starts in the Ukraine and only properly ends in taking back the proximate row of eastern block states.

At the same time - the occultism that's in Russia's toolkit (largely by way of Dugin) is known as 'esoteric traditionalism'. The best example of an extreme expositor (more x's than I'll probably use for the rest of the week there) in WWII wasn't on the German side, rather he was on the Italian side criticizing Mussolini for not being right-wing enough, ie. Julius Evola. To that end I'm going to also maybe add - esoteric traditionalism was started by a guy named Rene Guenon, you can see his criticisms of modernity and the reign of quantity and his belief that it's a direct signal of the Kali Yuga, I'm less sure how Putin would iron that one out with the Orthodox church as I'm less sure any branch of Christianity believes in cyclical history, but you can see that the narrative goes like this - that the west is decaying into chaos, that it's a spiritual and moral chaos, that it's a sign of cyclic history (well - in the Ray Dalio sense I might agree), and thus a benevolent KGB strong man riding shirtless on the back of a white horse comes to save the day - it's got some appealing architecture doesn't it!

On a side note - Charles Upton is a modern American esoteric traditionalist and has done a lot of his own written debunks and public challenges to Dugin's way of thinking which are published online as well.

So something I hadn't thought about until writing this, Nazism might have been not just extra-perverse fascism with a race utopian bent but it also took one of the strangest, most Las Vegas 'razzle dazzle' parade float mystical ideologies of modern history - ie. Theosophy - and reworked its ideas for its own purposes. On that last one I used to listen to Carol Runyon's Hermetic Hour regularly and he had a discussion of K Paul Johnson's book 'The Masters Revealed' where what's really interesting with the claims therein, it sounds like Theosophy was possibly a bit of cultural espionage from India back at Britain set off by a couple regional leaders. For as baroque as Blavatski, Bailey, et al's cosmologies were I also get the sense that this was a commonly Victorian thing - ie. Rudolph Steiner, Max Heindel, Fabre de Olivet, Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, they all wrote stuff like this as well and had little such connection other than that perhaps Steiner's Anthroposophy was a Rusicrucian and mystical Christianity oriented breakaway from Theosophy which incorporated similar serial incarnations of the planet earth (cluster of seven) along with the various 7x7 root and sub-races of each of these planet incarnations. As a side note don't worry too much - they're a fascinating read from a creative standpoint but they don't line up well against each other.

In that sense fascism plus occultism and what the outcomes of that look like have a lot more to do with what kind of occultism and, really thinking about the situation of Nazi Germany, what they're trying to do with that occultism (ie. what kind of political desperation is bringing both the fascism and the political occultism about).


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08 Aug 2022, 11:46 pm

I think that Hitler's Nazism was worse. Hitler was more bloodthirsty.


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09 Aug 2022, 2:24 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Nazism added this strange kayfabe and as people have already stated - occult mysticism that almost seems to be a darker reworking of Theosophy. .


Yes I'm surprised you know about that!

Theosophy was founded by a Russian aristocrat named madame Blavatsky who lived in India and was heavily influenced by Hinduism. Despite spending time with Rishis and holy men in India Blavatsky was instrumental for founding the idea that all spiritualism and great civilisation was the result of the Aryan superman. One weird byproduct of her theosophical society was it's influence on American intellectuals at the end of the 19th century which influenced many scientists and doctors on theories of evolution of humans where science and spiritualism became entwined with racial supremacy, The Aryans of old were written as supermen like Hercules and indeed they might have influenced the Hollywood idea of superheroes and supermen as well.

Her theories influenced scientists who started the theory of eugenics as well as historians and anthropologists in the early 20th century, It was not long before these ideas filtered into the fledgling Nazi party in Germany after WWI. One of the pecularities is that in addition to Blavatsky's mythical Aryan superman a lesser known fact was the Nazis (particularly Hitler and Himmler) adopted the pseudo-hindu mythology and associated mysticism including the symbol of the swastika. Little did Hitler know that the hindu religion had nothing to with aryan pastoralists who invaded India but with the little brown men who were indigenous to the region whose religion likely influenced nearly all world religions including (ironically) christianity.