Segment descriptions
Modern European History Series:
Rise of Fascism, Part 1
          Description: Spanish Civil War 1

    Rise of Fascism, Part 1
    sampler  3 ’29”    (49’ lecture)

How does Western neutrality doom the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War, and also sets the stage for World War II? 

                 play sampler



Rise of Fascism




Extreme Capitalism: Bitter Aftermath of World War I.  In Italy and Germany, an ultra-nationalism emerges, with a sense of superiority to other nations.  The nature of totalitarianism and the all-powerful leader.  Hitler takes power in Germany legally in 1932.  Why fascism, an extreme and violent capitalism, finds support in the insecurities of contrasting segments of society emerges and continues throughout WW II.




Why the U.S. and England Do Not Turn Fascist.  Although significant pro-fascist elements exist in both countries, communist and socialist parties are not mass parties and, therefore, are not threatening.




Anti-Semitism.   Exploitation of ancient European Anti-Semitism.  The Jew as scapegoat.  Incremental marginalizing and isolation.  The "final solution."  Homosexuals, gypsies, and mental defectives are also targeted for extinction.  The Holocaust requires great organization and support, often with the complicity of occupied countries.  The pseudo-science of aryanism.  Unimaginable medical experiments on humans.  Violence and death are the ultimate results of fascism.  .




France, although a victor, has not recovered from 4 years of war.  The Socialists come to power whose minister is Leon Blum, a Jew.  Reflecting French anti-Semitism, many French say, “Better Hitler than Blum.”




England.  In the face of growth of the labor unions and major strikes, the upper class share the anti-Semitism associated with the Nazi party. 




Prelude to War.    The new republic elected in Spain, is resisted by the military and the church, and leads to civil war from 1936 to 1939.  A moral opportunity to stop fascism is lost.  Germany supports the fascist side; the U.S. and England remain neutral, partly explained by the world memories of the horrors of World War I. 




Appeasement based on the fear of war and desire to avoid it actually helps precipitate it.  Hitler brilliantly manipulates the West’s fears of Russia and other concerns to his advantage.  The motivations behind the August 1939 Non-Aggression Pact between the two bitter enemies, Germany and Russia, which is a stunning shock.