Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe

Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe

Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe

Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe

Synopsis

What has been the relationship between the 'radical' and the 'conservative' right in twentieth-century Europe? In Fascists and Conservatives thirteen distinguished authorities on the European right explore this major theme within Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Britain, Austria, Romania, Greece and the Nordic countries.

Excerpt

Geoff Eley

The recourse to political violence—to repressive and coercive forms of rule, to guns rather than words, to beating up one’s opponents rather than denouncing them from the speaker’s platform—was ultimately what distinguished fascism, in Germany and elsewhere, from existing forms of right-wing politics. Of course, the coercive apparatuses of the state had always been used against certain kinds of opposition, whether via routine applications of the law for the protection of persons and property or the maintenance of public order, or by curtailment of civil freedoms under conditions of national emergency, such as wartime or a general strike, or by more restrictive or authoritarian systems of public policing. Coercion in this sense is a normal dimension of legally constituted public authority, whether more liberal or more authoritarian. It provides necessary sanction against activity transgressing the established boundaries of social and political dissent. Privately organized coercion had also been common, in the form of strike-breaking, vigilantism, economic paternalism, servile labour in agriculture, and so on. But fascist violence was new. In Germany the Anti-Socialist Law (1878-90); harassment, deportation and imprisonment of left-wing agitators; curtailment of the right to strike; the setting of police or troops on to strikers and demonstrators: these were one thing. But terror, first through a militarized and confrontationist style of politics, then as a principle of state organization, was another.

In this sense, the years 1914-23 marked a crucial watershed in the politics of the German right. The disaster that befell the latter in 1918- the double trauma of military defeat and revolution—viciously radicalized its ideological temper. During the civil war that prevailed for much of the period 1918-23 there was ample scope for the resentful activism of the returning right-wing ‘front-soldiers’ and their civilian compatriots, simultaneously elevated and brutalized by the experience of the war . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.