The image of “fascism” is evident in our culture – the very word sparks visions of devout masses following chauvinistic leaders, marching militias dressed in black or brown, violence against dissidents, world war and the horrors of the Holocaust.
But this image is just a description of the effects of an ideology, not a definition of it. Today, the word “fascist” is mostly used as an insult. But it’s important to understand the difference between the carelessly delivered invective and the actual ideology of generic fascism. The moment Adolf Hitler committed suicide in 1945, fascism and nazism became an impossible route to continue in Europe, and a modern symbol of evil.
Fascism as an ideology, on the other hand, had emerged long before that. On March 23, 1919, Benito Mussolini held a rally in Milan’s Piazza San Sepolcro, attended by futurists and syndicalists, republicans and monarchists, Jews and anti-Semites, women-haters and feminists. The unifying factor was nationalism – an ultra-nationalism. It was there, on a square in central Milan, that fascism was born.
In Älskade fascism, Henrik Arnstad explains the emergence of fascism, how it seized power in Italy and Germany, how it spread across Europe and around the world. How it relates to other ideologies (liberalism, conservatism and socialism) and to racism, antisemitism and the Holocaust. Arnstad addresses fascism’s relationship to modernity (and anti-modernity) as well as women, men and masculinity within fascist movements.
The last part of the book handles the controversial question of modern day fascists– neo-fascists – who are now holding parliamentary positions all over Europe. Will the 21st century become the fascist century?
Arnstad gives the reader a thorough and easy- comprehensible analysis of the ideology of fascism; a pioneering work of popular science elucidating the 20th century totalitarianism and what effects it still has on our society today. It is an important, awarenessraising exposition that should be read not only for the sake of personal historical edification, but also for the sake of gaining a deeper insight into the perils that the future might hold.