Where are the intellectual writings of fascism?

Communism and socialism have whole reams of philosophical writings promoting them, but aside from Mein Kampf (which I’ve been told is shit), I can’t recall hearing of any works promoting fascism.

Think about that - this was a movement which stormed a good part of the world, which had advocates in most nations, it must have had an intellectual aspect.

Where are all the writings in favour of Fascism?

Fascism isn’t the same thing as Nazism.

Fascism as a political movement started in Italy, and was popular in many places in the 1930s. The Nazi version was actually a sideshow version of Fascism, not a “pure” version like in Italy or Spain.

The Doctrine of Fascism and The Fascist manifesto seem to be what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking specifically for the Nazi version of fascism, Mein Kampf is it, there really isn’t anything else that I know of; Nazism was very anti-intellectual, even more so than the regular Fascism, so it’s not like they really felt the need for manifestos.

Well, there’s always the writings of Alfred Rosenberg, of which The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930) is perhaps the best known. I think Rosenberg is generally regarded as the philosopher of Naziism. Many leading Nazis were dismissive of him and his work, but he did provide some kind of philosophical underpinning for key Nazi ideas. And he was on board from very early on - in fact he joined the German Workers Party (precursor to the NSDAP) before Hitler did, so he was well positioned to have his ideas influence the evolution and direction of the party.

In this endeavour he was influential enough to get himself noticed, and eventually to get himself hanged at Nuremberg (though his activities as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories might have had something to do with that.

There are the works of the ariosophists too, for Nazism at least. Say, Lanz von Liebenfels’ Theozoology.

There were also the Frenchmen Robert Brasillach and Pierre Drieu La Rochelle.

This is not easily answered but it’s a myth that facism and especially the German offshoot had little appeal for the intellectuals of the time.

I’d name Giovanni Gentile as an intellectual representative of the Italian facism and also Giuseppe Bottai, publisher of the magazine La rivista critica fascista and later education minister in Mussolini’s government, who believed that facism was the avantgarde of modern culture. Bottai, btw., was among those who voted in favour of Mussolini’s removal in the year 1943 and was consequently sentenced to death - in absentia - one year later.

The Nationalsozialismus differs from the more traditional facism in Italy and Spain in some crucial aspects, but that discussion would lead us away from your question.

The German nazis did not erupt out of nowhere, they had a foundation in what is often called a conservative revolution during the Weimarer Republik – and that “revolution” was mostly supported and enabled by well-educated, intellectual circles.

Influential representatives of the radical-conservative movement were Stefan George, Oswald Spengler, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, the brothers Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger, Ernst von Salomon, August Winnig, Georg Quabbe, Edgar Jung, Othmar Spann, Hans Freyer, Ernst Niekisch, Wilhelm Stapel, Hans Zehrer and the Tat-Kreis, Carl Schmitt, Ludwig Klages, Thomas Mann, Martin Niemöller, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Lensch-Cunow-Haenisch-Gruppe.

Many ultra-conservative intellectuals distanced themselves from the movement during the 20s, among them Thomas Mann, but others started to drift toward the new Nationalsozialismus.

The brothers Jünger – you might have heard about Ernst, did not just publish ideas that were, in essence, nationalsocialistic, they also supported the movement in its early stages; the same can be said about Heidegger. Carl Schmitt and Hans Freyer, not exactly intellectual light-weights, were far more involved and many – far too many – social scientists, historians, experts in law and even artists, Gottfried Benn for example, supported the ideas of the Nazis before and, of course, even more so after their “Machtergreifung” with well-worded intellectual arguments in newspapers, magazines, on the radio, at the universities etc.

You won’t find an equivalent to “Das Kapital” among the ultra-conservative and anti-democratic intellectuals who defined the principles of the Nationalsozialismus but that doesn’t mean the ideology wasn’t embellished on a grand scale.

It’s not even true that the political protagonists of the nazi-movement were mostly not or anti-intellectual. Hitler, for sure, but Göring, Göbbels and many second-tier Nazis, who did the actual work, were well-educated and, unfortunately, quite capable.

Fascism is a sophisticated and completely legitimate political philosophy. Personally, I find it much more pertinent than Marxism and other left-wing claptrap, which is probably why the latter expends so much effort portraying it as Evil Incarnate.

Its roots are in the writings of many turn-of-the-century nationalist writers such as Maurice Barrès, Charles Péguy, Giuseppe Prezzolini, Enrico Corradini, Gabriele d’Annunzio, Ardengo Soffici and Giovanni Papini, though the first two were never fascists. Crucial for the “fascist synthesis” is the syndicalism espoused by Georges Sorel, whose relationship to nationalism and fascism is likewise ambiguous. An encounter took place between Sorelians and Charles Maurras’s nationalist royalists under the umbrella of the Cercle Proudhon. It was here that the royalist-turned-fascist-turned-antifascist Georges Valois gave voice to proto-fascist sentiments prior to WW1.

In addition to traditional counter-revolutionary theorists such as Joseph de Maistre and Louis de Bonald, the nineteenth century positivists Ernest Renan and Hippolyte Taine were both formative influences on Maurras’s integral nationalism. Maurras’s Action Française attracted an impressive array of intellectuals at the time, such as Léon Daudet, Jacques Bainville, Paul Bourget, Pierre Gaxotte, Louis Dimier, Henri Massis, Georges Dumézil, Jean-Pierre Maxence, René Benjamin, Pierre Lasserre, Thierry Maulnier, Jean de Fabrègues, Georges Bernanos, and Pierre Boutang. Most of these men would become fellow travelers of Latin Fascism, though because they were French nationalists, the German variety repelled them. Exceptions include Robert Brasillach, Abel Bonnard, Lucien Rebatet, and Marcel Jouhandeau, all of whom praised Nazi Germany and became outright collaborators. Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, another notorious collaborator, claimed a Maurrasian influence without ever being a royalist. Yet other French fascists, such as Alphonse de Châteaubriant, Henri Béraud, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Raymond Abellio, Jacques Benoist-Méchin and Marc Augier did not come from Maurrasian backgrounds at all.

Another important aspect of fascism is corporatism. This might sound strange to Americans, but the continental European right has been hostile to capitalism for most of its existence. Nineteenth century corporatists include Adam Müller, Frédéric Le Play, Albert de Mun, and René de La Tour du Pin. The Austrian Othmar Spann revived interest in Müller during the 1920s while Werner Sombart elaborated on “right-wing socialism” which is akin to corporatism, though he also drew upon Anglophone souces such as Thomas Carlyle. Other Weimar Conservative Revolutionaries, such as Oswald Spengler and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, promoted similar right-wing forms of socialism. Fascist Italy was home to a number of brilliant corporatist theorists, such as Ugo Spirito, Giuseppe Bottai, Sergio Panunzio, A.O. Olivetti, Agostino Lanzillo and Alfredo Rocco. Giovanni Gentile might also be grouped in with them, though his thought focused more on his actual idealism.

Many fascists accepted the idea of a “cycle of elites” in which society always requires a ruling class, but an elite is liable to be replaced by another once it has become decadent and unable to to defend its position. In Italy, this was articulated by Vilfedo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca, in France by Gustave Le Bon, and in Spain by José Ortega y Gasset, though none of these men could be called fascists proper. The one exception is Robert Michels, who did become a loyal member of the Italian Fascist Party.

One should not underestimate the anti-bourgeois element in fascism either, which is another continuity with the traditional European right – monarchists and Catholics such as Antoine de Rivarol and Léon Bloy often denounced the money-grubbing and complacent bourgeoisie with as much fervor as the fascists. There were always fascists who remained committed to effecting an anti-bourgeois spiritual revolution and establishing a new warrior aristocracy. In Italy, these included Berto Ricci, Curzio Malaparte, Camillo Pellizzi, and Carlo Costamagna. Many German conservative revolutionaries were greatly influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, and sought a spiritual renewal to overcome the problem of nihilism. These concerns are found in the writings of Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Klages, Edgar Julius Jung, Stefan George, Friedrich Hielscher, Hans Freyer, Georg Quabbe, Gottfried Benn. Related to them is the “National Bolshevik” faction which tended to be more populist, though still adhering to the ideal of a hierarchical authoritarian state. These included Ernst Jünger, Friedrich Georg Jünger, Ernst von Salomon, August Winnig, Ernst Niekisch, and Max Hildebert Boehm. Contrary to the staunch anti-communism of the Nazis, many of these writers advocated a German-Russian alliance against Western liberal democracy.

The most controversial ingredient in the fascist brew is undoubtedly racism. The Nazi strain was influenced by the Nordicism of Arthur de Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Georges Vacher de Lapouge, Madison Grant, and Hans F. K. Günther. The esotericist Julius Evola developed a more spiritual racist doctrine for Fascist Italy during the late 1930s. Vichy France also implemented eugenics policies with help of Nobel Prize winner Alexis Carrel. It should be noted that biological racism and antisemitism are by no means essential to fascism, though these ideas were widely accepted by the educated classes back then.

Spanish Falangism had its own unique flavor inspired by Spain’s own conservative pedigree, beginning with thinkers such as Juan Donoso Cortés and Jaime Balmes, but especially Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, who combined Catholicism with nationalism, and Ángel Ganivet, who added an irrationalist element. The essayist and art critic Eugenio d’Ors imported Sorelian thought into Spain and can be called the first identifiably proto-fascist writer. Other conservatives, such as Azorín, Josep Pla, and Vicente Risco, were influenced by Maurrasian doctrines, but promulgated them in a much more moderate form. The authoritarian monarchist Ramiro de Maeztu advanced a position close to fascism. But Spanish fascism really starts with Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Onésimo Redondo, and Ramiro Ledesma Ramos, whose national syndicalist ideology would give birth to José Antonio Primo de Rivera’s Falange Party. Among those who joined the Falange during the 1930s are Dionisio Ridruejo, Pedro Laín Entralgo, Luis Rosales, Leopoldo Panero, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Agustín de Foxá, and Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, most of whom remained loyal to its original revolutionary vision, though during the Civil War it merged with more traditionalist elements as represented by Pedro Sainz Rodríguez, Gerardo Diego, and José María Pemán. The most prominent Latin American fascist is probably Leopoldo Lugones, though Argentina did host a circle of right-wing nationalist intellectuals, such as Manuel Gálvez and Leonardo Castellani.

In the same fashion, the Romanian Iron Guard shaped its own doctrine in accord with its country’s indigenous traditions, such as the agrarian conservative nationalism of Mihai Eminescu, Duiliu Zamfirescu, Ion Creangă, Titu Maiorescu, and Nae Ionescu. Its chief figure was Corneliu Codreanu, and the movement succeeded in attracting many of the most talented young Romanian intellectuals: Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran, Vintilă Horia, Constantin Noica, Radu Gyr, and Petre Tuțea.

In addition to those listed above, many other artists and intellectuals admired certain traits of fascism and could at least be designated fellow travelers, among them Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Knut Hamsun, W.B. Yeats, Igor Stravinsky, Luigi Pirandello, Ezra Pound, Jacques Chardonne, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Anton Webern, Henry de Montherlant, Paul Morand, Mario Sironi, Carl Schmitt, Evelyn Waugh, Giacomo Balla, Jacques de Lacretelle, Wyndham Lewis, Ivan Ilyin, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Rudolf Borchardt, Andrea Emo, Hans Bogner, Jan de Vries, Hilaire Belloc, Carlo Carrà, Heimito von Doderer, Gioacchino Volpe, David Jones, Massimo Bontempelli, Emil Nolde, Saunders Lewis, and Josef Weinheber,

And while they are by no means fascists in the conventional understanding of the term, there remain European intellectual movements interested in the heritage of the Conservative Revolution, such as the French Nouvelle Droite, which includes figures such as Alain de Benoist, Louis Rougier, Julien Freund, Dominique Venner, Jean Cau, Louis Pauwels, Jules Monnerot, and Jean Parvulesco, as well as the German Neue Rechte, represented by Armin Mohler, Helmut Schelsky, Karlheinz Weißmann, Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner, Günter Maschke, and Günter Rohrmoser.

Well, I’m sure most of these names will be unfamiliar to you, but I hope I exploded the myth the fascism has little intellectual basis. It is true that there is no one key fascist text that can explain the entire movement to you, because there are many different versions of fascism. You have to read multiple authors in order to truly grasp the outlook.

Nazi zombies!


Reported? You may want to take another look at the rules…

Now, my post may have damaged certain myths you and others hold about evil “anti-intellectual fascism,” but that is not my problem nor is it a violation of the rules. I responded to the OP’s inquiry. And if someone wishes to have a polite intellectual discussion on fascist philosophy, that would not be a violation of the rules either. Unless you’re in favor of censorship, of course.

golf clap


For what? TMI?

In support of Gobineau, who seems like a decent sort of fellow, his post appears to not be a cut & paste post, and while long, not a spewing of regurgitated spam.

Faint praise, to be sure. But I would like to welcome Gobineau to SDMB, and if your posts are genuine, insightful, and intellectual, say, “You’re going to fit in here just fine!”

You may have inadvertently stumbled onto an old thread (more than 3 months old or so), and that’s why we call them “zombies.” However, new info is always welcome, so don’t be intimidated by the knee-jerk reactions.

However, topics about Nazi-related subjects will hit a lot of sensitive hot buttons, so please be careful! Please look around and contribute to other threads and topics. Any non-jerk poster is a valuable part of our community.

This is very nice. Welcome to the dope, Gobineau.

Zombie thread.

There are, or have been a number of American right-wing writers whose work has had some quality of intellectualism. Usually they have flown under some other banner than fascism but their core beliefs seem to have born a strong resemblance. Rousas John Rushdoony (The Nature of the American System, The Institutes of Biblical Law) and his son-in-law Gary North are two whose writings have lent an air of intellectual credibility to various right-wing causes, although they are most strongly identified with the dominionist/reconstructionist movement rather than outright fascism. Still, it is difficult to see much significant difference between the two.

Do I dare to include such worthies as Ludwig von Mises (an extreme capitalist) and Robert Welch (an extreme anti-communist) in the group? Both appeared to be notable intellects of the far right. LvM was ardently opposed to Nazism and Welch opposed just about everything, neither openly stumped for the fascist movement. Both however advocated some form of government by militant elitists which smells a lot like fascism by another name.

Although Gobineau has presented a well-made case for the deeper nature of fascism I am not quite ready to forego the notion that it is not really an intellectual movement. James A. Michener, the American writer made intensive investigations of European facism and communism during the 1930’s and concluded that while communism did have an intellectual basis and a logical (if flawed) means to achieve its desired end, he was unable to ascertain just what the desired end product of facism was. Although nominally sympathetic to European fascism at first (untils the oppression of Jews and other minorities made it’s moral bankruptcy obvious) Michener concluded that fascism was generally no more than an excess of nationalism that lost momentum as soon as it ran out of things to hate.

Thanks for the report, but as has been noted it’s OK to raise old threads in GQ to post new information. It’s only necessary to report zombies if the new post hasn’t added much, the poster is trying to argue with someone who isn’t around, or some other problem. Also, for the benefit of newbies, it’s good to give an explanation rather than just making a zombie joke.

I don’t know that I’d call Belloc a fascist, even though some people have claimed him. He was a distributivist, and at least sympathetic to integralism, but while there are similarities between fascism and integralism, they’re different enough I wouldn’t lump the two philosophies together.

Then he didn’t try hard enough. In recent decades, scholars such as Zeev Sternhell, Renzo de Felice, A. James Gregor, and Roger Griffin have debunked the notion that fascism lacked a solid ideological foundation, although, as I said, it is agreed that there are different versions of fascism.

I am no great fan of Ludwig von Mises, but to call him “far right” is just bizarre. He considered himself a classical liberal. As I mentioned, most real “far right-wingers” are uneasy with capitalism, especially the laissez-faire variety espoused by Mises. If you study contempoary European “far right” movements such as the French Front National and Italian neo-fascist groups, you’ll notice they attack free-market capitalism and globalization as much as the left, sometimes for similar reasons.

I didn’t call him a fascist; I called him a fellow traveler. And fellow travel he did. He even had a private audience with Mussolini during the 1920s and called for the British parliament to be disintegrated. His time as an MP had greatly soured him on that institution and he was far less tentative in his praise for right-wing authoritarian movements than his friend Chesterton, who likewise made a pilgrimage to Rome and met with Il Duce.

Again, welcome to the boards. We hope you stay around for awhile! :slight_smile:

Unfortunately I don’t have exact names of publications on me because I don’t believe they’ve all been culled in translation, but Chiang Kai-shek in the 1930s had some very favorable things to say about it in his speeches, and I’m pretty sure he was pushing it in state-sponsored propaganda as well.