I’ve read quite a few books on the history of fascism. On those I’ve read, I found Roger Eatwell’s Fascism, A History (1995; Pimlico edition 2003) the most instructive and insightful. This is Chapter 1, “The Birth of Fascist Ideology”, of that book, which I transcribed in July 2005. (Copyright is held by its author Roger Eatwell.) It contains a lot of interesting history of ideas and analysis.
“The Birth of Fascist Ideology“, Roger Eatwell, 1995.
i. On October 29, 1932, a great exhibition opened in Rome to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the first fascist “revolution”. At the heart of the exhibits was Room R, a reconstruction of the newspaper editorial office that had been home to Benito Mussolini during the rise of fascism. Above, in great letters was the word DUX (“leader”) and the dates 1919-1922– reminder that it has taken Mussolini just three years to move from founding anew political movement to the center of power. Flanking these inscriptions were two slogans: BELIEVE, OBEY, FIGHT and ORDER, AUTHORITY, JUSTICE—the Holy Trinities of the new order that had replaced the liberal democratic system.
The Italian fascist movement was built on catechisms. Its early activists often adopted the slogan of the black-shirted wartime shock troops, “I don’t care a damn”, which was written in blood on their bandaged wounds as a badge of pride—a trophy of their many battles with the hated “Bolshevik” enemy. After the destruction of the left-wing and other opposition parties during 1922-5, Italy was to become a gigantic hoarding site, pasted with slogans such as: WAR IS TO MAN AS CHILDBIRTH IS TO WOMAN and BETTER TO LIVE ONE DAY AS A LION THAN A HUNDRED YEARS AS A SHEEP.
It is easy to understand why fascism is widely seen as little more than a nihilistic, authoritarian and violent movement that is best comprehended in terms of psychology rather than rational thought. It is also easy to see why what is arguably the most influential academic definition of fascism stresses its style (such as its emphasis on leadership and propaganda) or its negations (like its hostility to communism), rather than its positive intellectual content. Liberalism, Marxism, socialism, and even conservativism have their great thinkers and can truly be considered ideologies. Fascism seems devoid of any intellectual pedigree, little more than a ragbag of authoritarian and nationalist slogans.
All too easy, but all too wrong—for in truth fascism was an ideology just like the others. As such, it needs to be identified in terms of a body of ideas—not simply in order to clarify what can truly be termed fascist, but to help understand why fascism could have exerted such a fatal appeal to intellectuals as well as to violent activists, to those who were seeking to become part of a new community as well as to those who were motivated by personal economic concerns. Ideas matter in politics—they inspire and shape action, take on a concrete force.
This does not mean that fascism in practice necessarily mirrored the ideology. There is a sense in which fascist movements and regimes departed significantly from the ideological roots. Although the activist and more emotive side of the fascist style of thought involved clear dangers, it did not necessarily lead to brutal dictatorship and genocidal practice (in the same way that Marxism did not necessarily lead to Joseph Stalin and the Soviet terror, though flaws in Marxist ideology posed similar dangers). Fascism—like all serious ideologies—had a vital core, but in 1919 it was in its infancy rather than fully developed.
In order to trace the birth of this fascist ideology, it is most fruitful to begin by looking at the Enlightenment—the great intellectual movement that swept over eighteenth century Europe. It ushered in the era of “modernity”: the belief that destiny could be shaped, that life was not simply determined by the forces of fate, luck or God. The Enlightenment celebrated the power of reason and science over the previously dominant monarchical or religious authority. It heralded a new form of democratic politics. After the French Revolution of 1789, “Sovereignty of the People”, rather than the “Divine Right of Kings”, was the new liturgy. And material progress, rather than spiritual development, became the primary social goal. With this new politics came new forms of political shorthand¾with the “left” representing the forces of progress, and the “right” defending preservation of the past. Initially, progressive ideas were most clearly encapsulated in liberal ideology, with its emphasis on individualism and the related political doctrine of the limited constitutional state, and its economic philosophy of laissez-faire. Such views were to become anathema to fascists, who believed that they made the alienating pursuit of money the main focus of life and created a dangerous division between classes and between government and people. By the late nineteenth century, socialism had taken over from liberalism as the main progressive ideological force. There were more points of contact between this ideology and fascism, but most of the central tenets of socialism were similarly rejected by fascists. This was especially true of the more radical forms of socialism, which opposed all private property—or which, like liberalism, proclaimed the existence of a common humanity and sought some form of universal culture.
In this sense, fascism was a negation of the Enlightenment, part of a counterrevolution that rejected the basic assumptions of “modernity”. The Enlightenment, however, also gave rise to other radical ideas, especially the belief that violence might be necessary to purge the existing order, and that only a mass-based from of politics could incorporate the will of the people¾ideas that fascism was clearly to echo. Paradoxically, in terms of ideas, fascism was both a product of the Enlightenment and a reaction to it. This can be seen by considering some of the men and movements who have been cited as ideological antecedents of fascism by the handful of academics who have accepted that fascist ideology had some form of intellectual core.
The finger has been most often pointed at the eighteenth-century Swiss political philosopher and polymath Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In many ways, Rousseau was a product of the Enlightenment, especially in his belief that it was possible to shape a better world. Yet key aspects of his thought had a more complex paternity. Arguably the most important was his belief that a “general will” could emerge in society—a harmony that would overcome both social divisions and the gulf between citizen and government. Rousseau was particularly interested in the experience of the small city-states of Ancient Greece, which he saw as more natural communities than the emerging large states. His emphasis on homogeneity was very different from liberal thought, which tended to stress pluralism and checks and balances. But the most dangerous aspect of Rousseau’s thought was the belief that people might not always perceive the true “general will”. This meant that there might be occasions when they would need to be “forced to be free”. In such views, some have seen the seeds of elitist dictatorship (both communist and fascist). Yet it would be misleading to portray Rousseau as the first fascist. His general body of thought was multifaceted, and there were other central elements that were very different from later fascism¾most notably his emphasis on universal rules applying to all peoples.
The German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel is also cited as a major intellectual forerunner of fascism, partly because of his interest in the process of history, for fascism was later to stress the validity of historical over rationalistic truth. More often, the similarities of his view of the State with Plato’s are emphasized—leading to both being seen as enemies of an “open society” based on diversity and tolerance. In reality, Hegel’s view of the state was complex, but his emphasis on the need for a balance of forces in civil society and his fear of the masses are more characteristic of conservative rather than fascist thought. A more fruitful parallel can be found in Hegel’s attack on abstract reason. He saw Enlightenment philosophy, especially liberalism, as severing people from tradition—a trend that was producing alienation rather than liberation. Yet the fact that both left and right variations of Hegelianism emerged during the nineteenth century should serve as a warning to anyone who seeks to trace a simple line of descent from Hegel to fascism.
Turning from individuals to more general intellectual movements, two developments have most frequently been cited as laying the intellectual foundations of fascism: the Romantic movement and the growth of holistic nationalism, which was related to the rise of new racist political thinking.
The Romantic movement emerged during the eighteenth century, largely as a response to the hyperrationalism of the Enlightenment, and reached its high point in the works of German writers such as Johann von Goethe and Friedrich von Schelling. Among its many aspects was the worship of nature, the glorification of the national and historical against the universal and timeless, and the exaltation of genius over the mediocrity of the masses. This last aspect was sometimes specifically artistic: the tortured, creative soul, unappreciated by bourgeois society. But it could also take on a political form in the quest for the strong leader who could lead a national rebirth. Similarly, diffuse hostility toward material values was translated during the late nineteenth century into political anti-Semitism (Christian anti-Semitism was much older). The Jew was pilloried as the epitome of capitalist materialism¾a view particularly prevalent in the German völkish movement, which railed against the evils of urban, industrial society.
Völkisch ideas were linked to the spread of a more emotive form of nationalism during the nineteenth century. The first main wave of nationalist ideology during the eighteenth century had largely been associated with liberal democratic ideas relating to the sovereignty of the people, which then raised the question, “Who are the people?”. It was a universalistic and humanistic creed, for most Enlightenment philosophers held that all people had a right to rule themselves and that citizenship was open to all. It was also essentially a left-wing creed, for the doctrine of popular sovereignty clearly challenged the dominant ideas of monarchical and religious authority.
During the late nineteenth century, nationalism increasingly took a more right-wing hue—although the seeds of reaction to the first wave can be traced back to the eighteenth century. One of the high priests of this new nationalism was the French journalist and writer, Maurice Barrès, who became the prophet of “rootedness” (enracinement), involving a mystical social union between the living and the dead. Whereas earlier nationalism had been closely associated with modernity, this new form was highly critical of what it saw as the resulting socially divisive and individualistic materialism. Barrès believed that the epitaph of the French had become “Born a man, died a grocer”. (“Accountant” would be today’s mot juste.) Whereas the old nationalism was essentially concerned with legitimating the overthrow of regimes, this form of nationalism was obsessed with the need to secure social unity in order to prevent the collapse of regimes—and to develop the martial values necessary to survive in war. By the 1890s Barrès was talking of “national socialism”¾though the term was essentially manipulative, a desire to extend the appeal into the working class, for his social views were conservative more than radical.
This holistic nationalism was highly critical of liberal universalism, a feature that contributed to the rise of a new racism. Hostility to outsiders had existed since primordial times and ancient Greek philosophy had demonized the barbarian “Other”. What emerged during the late nineteenth century was a more systematic form of racial thinking. Two names stand out in this development: the French aristocrat Arthur de Gobineau and the Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain—who in later life adopted German citizenship and became an admirer of a rising young German politician named Adolf Hitler. Gobineau’s key work was his Essay on the Inequality of Human Races, written in the 1850s but little read until after the 1870s. He saw the world as polarized between white, yellow, and black races (or Caucasian, Mongoloid, Negroid) and argued that the motor of history was the struggle between these races. Chamberlain was deeply influenced by the nationalism of the composer Richard Wagner, who became his father-in-law. His Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, published in 1900, was widely read—or more precisely, sold and talked about. Its seminal importance to the emergence of fascism, however, lies in more than simply its influence. It is also related to its style, for Chamberlain’s arguments were not just based on Wagnerian historical or mystical notions. He synthesized these ideas with a growing body of scientific and intellectual developments and rejected the pessimism of Gobineau.
Within these developments in Romantic, and especially in nationalist and racist thought, the origins of fascist ideology begin to emerge more clearly. But much of this thinking arose from a mystical hostility to the Enlightenment. Although there was to be an element of this in fascism, it is important to realize that many of its central arguments were based on “reason”—though the conclusions contradicted the Enlightenment’s most optimistic and “modern” assumptions. This can be seen clearly by considering two areas of rationalist thought in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the sciences and the emerging social sciences.
Arguably the most important nineteenth-century scientific development in its impact on political ideology was Darwinism. Charles Darwin published The Origins of Species in 1859. Others quickly realized that some key ideas, especially “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection”, could be adapted for political ends—though there were disagreements over what the implications were. In one version, Darwinism seemed to point to the need for minimal state intervention in order to allow free competition. In another, Darwinism was taken as highlighting the need for the state to take on the role of selection for survival—especially in the battle with less developed but virile and martial races. The strong appeal of the latter position needs understanding against a more general background of scientific-racial thought. In particular, further impetus toward statist-racism came in the form of eugenics, which was pioneered by leading scientists such as the German Ernst Haeckel. The eugenicists were worried about the way that moral laws prevented the working of natural selection, for example in taboos on euthanasia. A crucial theme of theirs was the need to regenerate national or European racial stock.
The emphasis on leadership found an echo in two key developments in the social sciences. The first was the emergence of elite theory. By 1914 leading sociologists, including the Italian Vilifredo Pareto and the German Robert Michels (who moved to Italy and became a prominent admirer of Benito Mussolini), believed that societies were necessarily ruled by elites. They held that the major difference between forms of government was simply the social composition of elites and the extent to which they were open to talent from rising social groups. The second development came from psychology. The main intellectual figure was Sigmund Freud, whose work on unconscious drives seemed to undermine much of the Enlightenment’s belief in individuals as conscious and rational actors who could shape their own fate. Of even greater immediate political impact was the work of the Frenchman Gustave Le Bon. His most famous work, The Psychology of Crowds (1895), depicted the people as an emotive mass, easily swayed by charismatic leaders. The book was to enjoy remarkably wide sales—and both Hitler and Mussolini were aware of its main arguments.
These ideas were reinforced by two philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche and Georges Sorel. Highlighting the thought of these two major thinkers serves to illustrate the dangers of believing that classic fascist ideology can be placed simply on the left-right spectrum for Nietzsche is commonly seen as one of the most fertile sources of conservative thought, whereas Sorel is seen as having made a crucial contribution to socialism.
There is no doubt that Nietzsche’s writings are elusive, often dealing in metaphors like “sickness and health” or in irony rather than clear arguments. They are also written in a radical style, synthesizing literature and philosophy, the abstract and the concrete. Three sets of arguments, however, were central to Nietzsche’s credo. First, anticipating Freud, was the appreciation of the irrational, the unconscious side of human nature. Next, Nietzsche was fearful for the future of the West, which he believed was lapsing into individualistic and material decadence accompanied by irretrievable decline. He related this back to Christianity—which he termed a “slave religion”—and its later secular forms: humanism and socialism. These, he believed, encouraged a false sense of universalism, tending to promote pity for the weak rather than respect for the strong. This led to his final theme, which he set out in works such as Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-5). Here Nietzsche argued that the main lesson of history was that at exceptional times a man of destiny would use his will to power to rise above the herd of ordinary men. Nietzsche therefore eulogized the great leader, the “Superman” who would overcome nihilism and recreate a more spiritual community—the “man” who would turn politics into aesthetics.
Sorel is associated with two key developments that reflect the doubts felt by some socialist theorists at the turn of the twentieth century: together they reflect a less optimistic view of human nature than that held by most socialists, almost a division of society into two types of people¾the economic-rational and the emotive-colelctive. First, influenced by arguments about the survival of the fittest, he held that socialism could be compatible with private property and that socialism needed to be concerned with securing efficient production as well as equitable distribution: equality among paupers could never be the basis for a viable society. Second, influenced especially by Le Bon, Sorel developed the idea that the working class could only be brought to revolutionary consciousness by the use of “myths”. He saw these as simple verbal formulae that underpinned social solidarity by crystallizing fundamental beliefs¾like “log cabin to White House” as a vivid expression of social mobility in the United States. In Reflections on Violence (1908) he sought to popularize the idea of a general strike as the means to bring down the social order. He did not see his task as the setting out of a clear blueprint for such an insurrection. The point was more to offer an inspiring myth, which would raise working-class consciousness and willingness to take action. For Sorelian syndicalists (from the French for trade union, syndicat), the word would thus take on a concrete reality. The herd of “human Zeros”, as one syndicalist described the people, would be aroused from their slumbers.
Hitler was fond of posing for photographs staring at Nietzsche’s bust and he frequently visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar, where the philosopher died in 1900. This probably tells us more about Hitler and especially Nietzsche’s sister than about the thinker himself. Elisabeth Nietzsche and her virulently anti-Semitic husband, Bernhard Föster, set up an Aryan paradise in Paraguay during the 1880s. Nueva Germania turned out to be more like hell and Förster poisoned himself at the end of a six-week drinking spree. Back in Germany, Elisabeth increasingly took control of the affairs of her brother, who was lapsing into insanity—probably the result of syphilis. Even before his death, she set about turning him into the great prophet of nationalism and anti-Semitism. This alone would have made him appeal to Hitler, but he had other attractions too, especially is reputation for being a major, albeit difficult thinker. Hitler was not opposed to intellectuals per se; indeed, he saw the advantages of exploiting the authority of people who were perceived as great thinkers. It was more a certain type of intellectual whom he condemned. This was the rationalistic, optimistic believer in the perfectibility of people and human progress¾ideas best encapsulated in liberalism and Marxism. Such ideas found in Nietzsche their most fertile critic of the nineteenth century.
In his final major work, Ecce Homo (1888), Nietzsche prophesied: “One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful, or a crisis like no other before on earth … I am not a man. I am dynamite”. It is all too easy when studying the origins of fascism to accept Nietzsche’s implied connection between ideas and events, without realizing that the relationship between thought and practice is elusive. This crucial point is underlined by the fact that it is far from clear that either Nietzsche or Sorel would have supported the fascist movements that emerged after 1919.
In adult life Nietzsche journeyed from ivory tower academic to ailing grand tourist. It is highly doubtful whether he would have felt any affinity with the working-class, unintellectual side of “proletaryan” Nazism. Many have stressed that Nietzsche criticized German nationalism and biological theorises of race, but this argument needs probing more carefully. Nietzsche’s critique of German nationalism was essentially twofold. First, he believed that it was diverting attention from more general European problems, especially the rise of decadence. Second and related to this first point, he saw modern German culture as too materialistic, too philistine. But this did not mean that there was nothing about Germany that Nietzsche admired. He had great respect for Frederick the Great and celebrated a more ancestral, German spirit. Nor was his thinking completely opposed to racism. Central to his beliefs was a desire to save Europe from decadence and from the threat of newer and more virile nations. Ultimately, it is impossible to be sure how Nietzsche would have reacted to the development of the main fascist regimes. On balance, the evidence points to the idea that he would have opposed them—though some who shared many of Nietzsche’s views, for instance the major philosopher Martin Heidegger, were to support the Nazis on grounds that they offered the best vehicle for creating a new world.
The main difference between Nietzsche’s philosophy and fascism was not so much nationalism or racism as his pessimistic view of the possibilities of imminent change. In this context, fascist ideology was to owe more to Sorel. His work on myths as a mobilizing force was critical, a point later acknowledged by Mussolini¾or rather by Mussolini on those occasions when he sought to stress the intellectual origins of fascism, for in more egocentric moments Mussolini liked to claim that he was the founder of fascism. Vital too was Sorel’s movement away from the belief that socialism necessarily involved the end of private ownership, which made possible a synthesis between aspects of left and right. Sorel, like Nietzsche, was not a nationalist in the sense that he believed in the superiority of his own nation: it was the fate of European civilization that preoccupied him. But by the outbreak of World War I, he had come to see the usefulness of nationalism as a myth for achieving popular mobilization and the creation of a new society. At first Sorel showed some sympathy for infant Italian fascism, though he quickly turned against it as Mussolini watered down fascism’s initially radical program in order to attract the rich and the powerful. He died in 1922 without apparently commenting on Nazism, but it seems likely that he would have condemned it¾especially as he was opposed to biological racism. Yet it is impossible to be sure. Certainly other radical socialists turned to fascism when they came to believe that it was the best means of planning for economic prosperity, welfare and social unity—for example the Frenchman Marcel Déat.
What was emerging in the period before World War I, especially among groups of younger thinkers and political activists, was a complex ideological synthesis of old and new, of left and right. Fascism was embryonic rather than fully formed, and its name was yet to be coined. The emerging core of fascist ideology was clear, nevertheless.
There was a growing concern with populist propaganda as the basis of an appeal to the masses, especially with the use of myths to encapsulate simple messages. A key metaphor was increasingly “rebirth”—which had the advantage of hiding whether what was sought was essentially old or new, and of exploiting a central theme in Christian culture, thus broadening fascism’s appeal. More fundamentally the key philosophical approach was synthesis, or more exactly a set of syntheses. Fascist ideology used primarily rational arguments to hold that people were largely swayed by irrational motives. It sought to create a new society, but one in which crucial old values would be retained. The ideological goal of fascism was the creation of a “new man” (women had little place in this thinking) based on deep national roots. It sought to achieve economic development tempered by a sense of national community. People were to be made whole again by bridging the more individualistic and collective aspects of modernity.
Brief definitions of ideologies have inherent flaws, but perhaps the essence of fascist ideology can best be summed up by combining two ideas. The first relates to the basic nature of the community. Fascism was primarily concerned with building, or reviving, the nation (though a few were more concerned with European culture). But there have been nationalists who accept liberal rights, or who welcome diversity. The fascist conception of the nation was more holistic, it sought to overcome divisive differences and to forge a strong sense of shared purpose. The second part relates more to socioeconomic policy. Intellectual fascists were often to term themselves supporters of a “Third Way”, neither left or right, neither capitalist nor communist: they sought to achieve individual prosperity but linked to communal goals. The term is in some ways misleading, as it could be taken to imply that fascism was a form of centrism, or conservatism. Both would be totally false descriptions for an ideology that sought to launch a social revolution, albeit one that owed more to the right than left. Yet it is a useful shorthand for fascism’s syncretic style of thinking.
Fascist ideology is, therefore, a form of thought that preaches the need for social rebirth in order to forge a holistic-national radical Third Way—though in practice fascism has tended to stress style, especially activism and the charismatic leader, more than detailed program, and to engage in a Manichean demonization of its enemies. This is a formulation that clearly excludes many alleged examples of fascism, such as the essentially conservative dictatorship of General Franco in Spain. Yet it is flexible enough to include different varieties of fascism, for instances the biologically based nationalism of the Nazis and the culturally based Italian Fascism. This emphasis on both its more affective-communal and economic-rational sides also opens important perspectives in terms of explaining why fascism could attract so broad a coalition of support in some countries. Underlining the importance of an ideological approach to the definition fascism has to be intimately related to the question of the appeal of that ideology.
More specifically, there were four main poles to this emerging fascist ideology. First, there was a view of human nature that seemed to synthesize common left- and right-wing positions: people were seen as constrained by nature and talents, but fascism held that they were capable of being remolded in a new, more communal and virile society. Second, there was a view of geopolitics: nation, region, or race were seen as the driving forces of history, a motor that pointed to the need for military preparedness or aggression. Third (and least developed in 1919), there was a view of what political and economic structures were sought. Central to embryonic fascism was a critique of both democracy and capitalism as weak and socially divisive. Finally, there was an emphasis, largely derived from the view of human nature, on the charismatic leader, to induct people into the new values. (Although fascism at times could appear populist, it was essentially manipulative and often held common people in contempt.)
It is important to underline that tracing the genesis and core of fascist ideology is not the same as identifying all the roots of the first self-styled “fascist” parties and related groups, which were to explode onto the European political scene after World War I. The relationship between the world of ideas and political movements is complex. There is no doubt that ideas¾often derived secondhand, rather than from major thinkers¾inspired some political activists. But ideas are not completely timeless, nor are they universal. They rise and fall in particular contexts and under the impact of specific events.
Although there is an important sense in which fascism’s intellectual roots can be traced back to the period before 1914, there is no doubt that war played a crucial role in the appearance of the first major fascist movements. Even at the level of ideas it had a major effect. For instance, many syndicalists came to believe that nationalism rather than the working class general strike was the crucial mobilizing myth they were seeking. Sometimes this was related to the widespread belief that war had demonstrated the great power of the state to achieve social revolution. Those of more conservative disposition saw it in terms of securing the economic development that could finance the reforms to buy off left-wing revolution (which petrified many on the right after the Bolshevik success in 1917). War unquestionably undermined faith in old elites and in crucial values, such as religion, which had helped underpin the old order. But although it is possible to make generalizations about these trends, their impact varied depending upon national traditions and on the way in which war affected different countries. So the hunt for the roots of fascist movements must turn from the abstract history of ideas to the more concrete realm of national histories from the post-1918 period.
 See S. Payne, Fascism: Definition and Comparison (Madison, 1980), for an excellent statement of this interpretation. See also his A History of Fascism 1914-1945 (Madison, 1995).
 For a different presentation of the argument that fascism was a serious ideology, see R. Eatwell and A. Wright (eds.), Contemporary Political Ideologies (London, 1993), and R. Eatwell, “Towards a New Model of Generic Fascism”, Journal of Theoretical Politics 2, 1992.
 On the origins of left-right terminology, and for a more general analysis of types of right-wing thought, see R. Eatwell and N. O’Sullivan (eds.), The Nature of the Right (London 1989).
 Those who stress this aspect of fascism sometimes trace its origins to reactionary thinkers such as Joseph de Maistre. See, for example, I. Berlin, “Joseph Maistre and the Origins of Fascism”, in H. Hardy (ed.), The Crooked Timber of Humanity (London 1991).
 For instance, E Nolte, The Three Faces of Fascism (New York, 1969), and especially J. L. Talmon, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy (London, 1952).
 For a widely influential academic attack on Plato and Hegel as the founding fathers of totalitarianism, see K. Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, esp. Vol 2 (London, 1962), pp. 60-78.
 See especially G. Moore, The Crisis of German Ideology (New York, 1964), and F. Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair (Berkeley, 1961).
 See R. Soucy, Fascism in France:The Case of Maurice Barrès (Berkeley, 1972), and Z. Sternhell, Maurice Barrès (Paris, 1972). N.B. Soucy sees fascism as a form of conservativism.
 On Chamberlain, see G.G. Field, Evangelist of Race (London, 1981). On the general rise of nineteenth century racist thought, see G. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution (New York, 1978).
 The key writer to argue that a crucial factor in the rise of fascism was an attack on “positivism” is Z. Sternhell. The best introduction to his work in English is his essay “Fascist Ideology”, in W. Lacqueur (ed.), Fascism: A Reader’s Guide (Harmondsworth, 1979). See also Z. Sternhell, M. Sznajder, and M. Asheri. The Birth of Fascist Ideology (Princeton, 1994).
 See especially M. Burleigh, Death and Deliverance: “Euthanasia”in Germany 1900-45(London, 1994), and P. Weindling, Health, Race and German Politics between National Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945 (Cambridge, 1993).
 For example, D. Beetham, “From Socialism to Fascism: the Relationship between Theory and Practice in the Work of Robert Michels”, Political Studies 1 and 2, 1977. N.B., contrary to its popular left-wing image, early sociology both contributed to and exhibited fascist strands. See S.P. Turner and D. Käsler, Sociology Responds to Fascism (London, 1992).
 For an introduction to Nietzsche, see J.P. Stern, Nietzsche (London, 1978). S.E. Aschheim, The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany 1980-1990 (Berkeley, 1993) offers an important survey and shows the connection between Nazism and Nietzsche. On Sorel-the-socialist, see J. Jennings, Georges Sorel (London 1987). C.f., Sternhell et al., Birth of Fascist Ideology, who portrays Sorel as an especially important figure in producing the synthesis of nationalism and socialism, which they see as lying at the heart of fascism.
 On this important fascist philosopher, see V. Farias, Heidegger and Nazism (Philadelphia, 1989), and T. Rockmore, On Heidegger’s Nazism and Philosophy (London, 1992).
 On the major Belgian theorist, Henri de Man. See Z. Sternhell’s controversial Neither Right Nor Left (Berkeley, 1986). On the left impact on fascism, see also the notable works of A.J. Gregor, especially The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics (Princeton, 1974).
 The argument that fascist ideology focused on rebirth appears in its most sophisticated form in R. Griffin, The Nature of Fascism (London, 1991). See also his edited selection of texts, Fascism (Oxford, 1995).
 C.f. Sternhell’s view that Nazism was not fascist on account of its form of racism. See also R. De Felice, Interpretations of Fascism (Cambridge, Mass., 1977), which sees Italian fascism as fundamentally different from Nazism on account of the latter’s atavistic tendencies.