A bookreport on Fascism in Western Europe: 1900-45, by Kedward, Roderick. Simple and concise, it also briefly examines the credibility of the author.

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According to popular belief, fascism was composed of a dominant totalitarian government that possessed total control over the people of its nation. Fascists were "psychopaths or the scum of society" and fascism was "an appeal to man's animal nature" (5). However, fascism was much more complex than what many people believe it to be. Fascism originated as a synthesis of many ideas and a compromise between conflicting sides. For example, fascists were neither socialists nor capitalists, but believed in ideas from both viewpoints. In addition, fascism was a synthesis of rationalism and irrationalism, of the civilized and of the primitive, and of the mass and of the elite. The reason that fascism became so popular in Europe during the turbulent post-world war I era was because it combined these different views. (It seems that at this point Kedward is sympathetic towards fascism, but after the first two chapters end, he clearly disapproves of it for the remainder of the book.)

Fascism first emerged in Italy, and was later evident in Germany, Britain, Belgium, and Spain. In 1922, Benito Mussolini usurped the premiership of Italy through the "March of Rome" and formed the first fascist government. Then, in 1933, Adolf Hitler secured his position as Chancellor of the Weimar Republic in Germany and inaugurated his fascist dictatorship. They were both extremely popular leaders who won the support of the lower and middle classes by scaring them with the dangers of socialism and appealing to their sense of nationalism. In addition, they both used violence and deception to maintain their absolute control over all aspects of human life in their country. Other fascist leaders, such as Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder of the British Union of Fascists, Leon Degrelle, the leader of the Belgian Rex, and Jose Antonio, the founder of...