Readings on Fascism and National Socialism

Readings on Fascism and National Socialism

Readings on Fascism and National Socialism

Readings on Fascism and National Socialism

Synopsis

The catastrophe and holocaust brought about by the two powerful movements of fascism and national socialism will mark human life always. Now, as we feel our hatred for them, we find it difficult to understand how they could have been so powerful, how they could have appealed so strongly to millions of people of a modern age.

To understand our own times, it is necessary to understand these movements. And to understand them, we must read the basic philosophical and political documents which show the force of the ideas which moved a world to the brink of disaster.

This collection of readings has been selected to encourage students to clarify their thinking on social philosophy. They will accordingly need to determine whether the readings contain more or less coherent body of ideas which constitutes a social philosophy. They will also need to raise the more far-reaching question of whether the ideas are acceptable. To arrive at any satisfactory answer to this latter question, they will necessarily have to compare the ideas of fascism and their practical meanings with the alternatives, real and ideal, that are the substance of live philosophical issues.

Excerpt

Like every concrete political conception, Fascism is thought and action. It is action with an inherent doctrine which, arising out of a given system of historic forces, is inserted in it and works on it from within. It has therefore a form co-related to the contingencies of time and place; but it has at the same time an ideal content which elevates it into a formula of truth in the higher region of the history of thought.

There is no way of exercising a spiritual influence on the things of the world by means of a human will-power commanding the wills of others, without first having a clear conception of the particular and transient reality on which the will-power must act, and without also having a clear conception of the universal and permanent reality in which the particular and transient reality has its life and being. To know men we must have a knowledge of man; and to have a knowledge of man we must know the reality of things and their laws.

There can be no conception of a State which is not fundamentally a conception of Life. It is a philosophy or intuition, a system of ideas which evolves itself into a system of logical contruction, or which concentrates itself in a vision or in a faith, but which is always, at least virtually, an organic conception of the world.

Fascism would therefore not be understood in many of its manifestations (as, for example, in its organisations of the Party, its system of education, its discipline) were it not considered in the light of its general view of life. A spiritualised view.

To Fascism the world is not this material world which appears on the surface, in which man is an individual separated from all other men, standing by himself and subject to a natural law which instinctively impels him to lead a life of momentary and egoistic pleasure. In Fascism man is an individual who is the nation and the country. He is this by a moral law which embraces and binds together individuals and generations in an established tradition and mission, a moral law which suppresses the instinct to lead a life confined to a brief cycle of pleasure in order, instead, to replace it within the orbit of duty in a superior conception of life, free from the limits of time and space a life in which the indvidual by self-abnegation and by the sacrifice of his particular interests, even by death, realises the entirely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists . . .

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.