History of World War II 1939–1945 The origin of war. The struggle of progressive forces for the preservation of peace

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  History of World War II 1939–1945 The origin of war. The struggle of progressive forces for the preservation of peace 
Selected Articles from the History of World War II 1939–1945 in 12 volumes.
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Fascism is the darkest offspring of imperialism

Socio-political roots of fascism and the way it came to power

Fascist movements and regimes arose after the First World War as an expression of the aspirations of the most reactionary, chauvinistic circles of finance capital for an open terrorist dictatorship. This trend was traced by V. I. Lenin long before the appearance of the first fascist groups and dictatorships, when the concept of “fascism” did not even exist. In his work “Imperialism, as the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, he revealed the patterns inherent in state-monopoly capitalism, which lead to such dictatorships, showed the inextricable connection between the strengthening of the state machine of imperialism and the unprecedented growth of its bureaucratic and military apparatus for repressions against the proletariat and the broad masses of the people as in monarchical as well as in the freest, republican countries. Describing imperialism as the last stage of capitalism, Lenin wrote:{206} .

Fascism is the brainchild of the general crisis of capitalism, the crisis of the entire socio-economic, political and ideological structure of bourgeois society. The monopoly bourgeoisie, and in a number of cases the non-monopoly bourgeoisie, fearing for the fate of their class domination, saw in fascism the force that must deal with the revolutionary masses, and above all with the working class {207} . The 1969 meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties in Moscow noted that "fascism is intensifying its activity at a time of sharpening of the crisis of imperialism, when the desire of the reaction to apply methods of brutal suppression of democratic and revolutionary forces is growing" {208} .

With the rapid development and aggravation of the crisis of the “tops”, on the one hand, and the growing mobilization and revolutionary determination of the “lower classes”, on the other, the state power of the bourgeoisie becomes shaky. At such a moment a situation is created when the ruling classes are no longer able to govern in the old way, and the working class and its allies are not yet ready to take decisive joint action to overcome the crisis [54] by revolutionary means. The ruling class, in order to strengthen its power, resorts to the methods of terrorist dictatorship, one of the varieties of which is fascism. Of course, betting on fascism is a political risk, but experience shows that the ruling circles take such a risk.

Fascism is a terrorist dictatorship of monopoly capital. Its goal is to strengthen the class rule of the big bourgeoisie, prevent a revolutionary explosion, and suppress the working class and its organizations.

Fascist movements and dictatorships arose in the 1920s and 1930s in those countries where the influence of the general crisis of capitalism was especially strong and its resolution by revolutionary means was imminent.

In the epoch of imperialism, the interests and ties of the monopolies and banking capital are intertwined most closely and intricately, not only on a national but also on an international scale. Fascism, wherever and wherever it spread, acted under the flag of chauvinism. But his desire for world domination did not interfere with the international relations of the monopolists. The monopolies of the fascist states consisted in innumerable cartel agreements with the largest monopolies of other capitalist countries, especially with those of them that were of an international character.

The close economic ties of the monopolies gave rise to political, diplomatic and military cooperation between the fascist governments and the governments of other bourgeois states.

In the field of ideology and propaganda, the unity of the class interests of the monopolists was manifested in the fact that the bloody reprisals of the fascists against everyone who opposed their arbitrariness were not condemned, but praised by politicians and the press of "democratic" states. The Vatican did the same. Pope Pius XI declared in 1929: “Mussolini has been sent down to us by providence; he is a man free from the political prejudices of liberalism” {209} .

The fascist movement before the seizure of power is terrorism, illegal militant organizations, anti-parliamentarism, national and social demagoguery. After the establishment of the fascist dictatorship, this means the elimination of all other parties from the political arena and, in particular, the merciless liquidation of all workers' organizations, a regime of terror, a "totalitarian" state.

V. I. Lenin noted that there is a completely definite police rule, which is expressed in the following: "Against the people's revolution, against the class struggle, you cannot rely on the police, you must also rely on the people, also on the classes" {210} . In other words, in addition to the police and the army, the reaction is always trying to create for itself a more or less broad social support, enlisting the declassed elements to its side in order to form ultra-right organizations and armed detachments from them.

Fascism has created a mass social base for itself, using the methods of demagogy and deceit. Lies have accompanied fascist dictatorships throughout their history, marked by crime and blood. Fascism's extensive use of social demagoguery {211} distinguished it [55] to a certain extent from other bourgeois parties. If the latter, as a rule, hushed up the crisis of the capitalist system, then the fascists "boldly" criticized it, offered their own way out of the crisis, and even demagogically announced the elimination of classes and class differences, the introduction of social equality.

Hitler in his book "Mein Kampf" wrote: "The National Socialist state does not know "classes". Politically, it knows only citizens who enjoy exactly the same rights and bear the same duties . Fascist leaders vilified the "plutocrats", promised to eliminate "percentage slavery", forever put an end to economic crises and unemployment. Speculating on the desire of the masses for socialism, fascism called itself a revolutionary, socialist movement - "National Socialism".

Fascist demagogy had a pernicious influence on certain sections of society, especially those that experienced the severe consequences of the onset of big capital, economic crises: the petty and middle bourgeoisie, the unemployed and lumpen proletarians who lost their perspective and desperate people.

The servants of the counter-revolution went to the fascist party: officials, the military, police agents and provocateurs, guards and gendarmes. But not only they constituted the social basis of fascism. Fascism has succeeded in enveloping comparatively broad sections of the petty bourgeoisie and part of the workers with its nets. Some idea of ​​the social base of fascism can be obtained from the official data on the composition of the Hitlerite party. In 1930, the ranks of the German Nazis consisted of: "independent owners" (owners of industrial and commercial enterprises, bankers, monopolists and kulaks) - 20 percent (of the entire composition of the party), peasants - 11 percent, major officials - 13 percent, employees (chief image of the former military) - 21 percent. In 1930, industrial workers made up only 20 percent of the Fascist Party, while their share in society was 45 percent.{213} .

Bourgeois democracy seemed dangerous to the fascists, and in preparing for war they attacked its institutions with fury. To please the industrial and financial sharks who organized military production, fascism introduced a system of state regulation similar to that carried out by the governments of the warring capitalist countries during the First World War. The implementation of the regulation of production and distribution represented the further development of state-monopoly capitalism, the creation of a war economy.

In seizing power and fulfilling the social order of the bourgeoisie, the fascists tried, first of all, to exterminate the advanced part of the working class, to crush its organizations.

Long before the Second World War, the fascist leaders planned further intensification of repressions and massacres, as they knew that the population of their countries did not want war and would have to face a strong anti-war movement. The main executioner of Nazi Germany, Himmler, in one of his speeches to the leaders of the officer corps of the Nazi Wehrmacht frankly stated: “In the coming war we will have not only a land front on the ground, a sea front on the water, an air front in the sky, we will also have a fourth theater of war in Germany. This is the basis from which we must proceed . [56]

A characteristic feature of fascism is gross lawlessness, inhuman reprisals against the working masses, opponents of the fascist regime, champions of the preservation of peace. Fascism relied everywhere on nationalism, chauvinism, racism, and in a number of countries on revanchism. It is no coincidence that fascist dictatorships established themselves precisely where national arrogance, the preaching of hatred for other peoples, most of all had a detrimental effect on political life and ideology, and where all these traits, fueled by defeat in the First World War, gave rise to chauvinism.

Marxist parties have given a precise characterization of the class essence of fascism since its inception. The Fifth Congress of the Communist International, held in 1924, wrote in its resolution: “Fascism is one of the classic forms of counter-revolution in the period of the collapse of the capitalist system and the proletarian revolution - especially where the proletariat, fighting for power, but not having revolutionary experience and not having a revolutionary leading class party, he was unable to organize a proletarian revolution and bring the masses to the establishment of a proletarian dictatorship.

Fascism is the fighting weapon of the big bourgeoisie in its struggle against the proletariat... Its roots are mainly nourished by those middle strata of the bourgeoisie who are doomed by the capitalist crisis, as well as by elements declassified by the war, like former officers, etc. , partly even some elements of the proletariat, bitterly disappointed in their hopes for a revolution and embittered” {215} . This was a generalization of the events that took place in Italy.

In the summer of 1935, the 7th Congress of the Communist International resolutely opposed the underestimation of the fascist threat both in individual countries and throughout the world. The Congress noted with great dismay that fascism had become an international menace, that fascism was the most dangerous and most cruel enemy the international workers' and democratic movement had ever faced. Mobilizing the communists against any underestimation of fascism, the congress denounced the "dangerous illusions of the automatic collapse of the fascist dictatorship" and urged working people to be vigilant in relation to every step of the fascist movement. The congress gave a detailed description of fascism, its essence, social base, its policy and class purpose.

In the report of G. M. Dimitrov "The offensive of fascism and the tasks of the Communist International in the struggle for the unity of the working class, against fascism" and in the resolution of the congress, it was extremely clear about the socio-political roots of fascism and its class function. These documents revealed the complete inconsistency of the assertions of the Social Democratic leaders that fascism is supposedly the power of the insurgent petty bourgeoisie, standing above the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. “No,” Dimitrov said. — Fascism is not a supra-class power and not the power of the petty bourgeoisie or the lumpen proletariat over financial capital. Fascism is the power of finance capital itself. This is the organization of terrorist reprisals against the working class and the revolutionary part of the peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in foreign policy is chauvinism in its crudest form,{216} .

The rise of fascism to power was not the mere replacement of one bourgeois government by another. That was the replacement of one state [57] form of the class domination of the bourgeoisie—bourgeois democracy—by its other form—an open terrorist dictatorship. Fascism came to power in a mutual, sometimes bitter struggle with the old bourgeois parties or with a certain part of them, in the struggle of different groups of the monopoly bourgeoisie, in the struggle in the fascist camp itself, which sometimes amounted to armed clashes, as was the case, for example, in Germany and Austria. However, in all cases the way for fascism was paved by the ruling bourgeois circles. The West German philosopher K. Jaspers reasonably notes: “The stream would not have broken through the dams if the people who were in decisive positions had not opened the floodgates for it” {217} .

Whichever way fascism develops and whatever means it uses to seize power, it has always and everywhere been characterized by the most ferocious attack of capital on the working masses, frenzied reaction and counter-revolution, unbridled chauvinism and an aggressive policy.

This characterization of fascism, given by the 13th Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern and the 7th Congress of the Comintern, reveals not only the nature, but also the basic class function of fascism.

Fascist dictatorships were characterized by the fusion of the forces of the monopolies, the state machine, the military, the gangster assault squads, the robber ideology into a single mechanism directed against the working class and all the liberation movements of mankind. “No fantasy is able to invent what the oldest activist of the CPSU E. D. Stasova wrote, “what was carried out and carried out every day in concentration camps, in the barracks of attack aircraft, in a huge prison into which fascism turned Germany, the bearers of the new “national German culture" {218} .

The entire policy of fascism, both internal and external, was determined by the interests of the monopolies. Thus, for example, banks, coal, steel, chemical and other monopolies exerted a decisive influence on the colonial policy of Nazi Germany.

There is a lot of irrefutable evidence about the patronage of fascism by the official authorities. The Italian anti-fascist historian G. Salvemini tells the following. In 1920, Giolitti's liberal cabinet, which had given the social reformist Bonomi the Minister of War, "believed that the fascist offensive should be used to break the socialists and communists" and "therefore allowed the leaders of the army to supply the fascists with guns and trucks and allowed retired officers and reserve officers to command them" {219} .

In Germany, fascism grew to an even greater extent than in Italy, under the guidance and solicitous tutelage of the old regime, and especially the military authorities. From the very beginning it was supported, financed and subsidized by representatives of the big bourgeoisie. Back in 1924, the trial of Hitler-Ludendorff and the investigating commission of the Bavarian parliament discovered facts of financial support for the Nazis from the big bourgeoisie.

The head of the Steel Trust, F. Thyssen, and the head of the Rhenish-Westphalian Coal Syndicate, E. Kirdorf, persuaded the leaders of the German Ruhr capital to agree that all coal and steel [58] concerns would pay a mandatory tax to the electoral fund of the National Socialists. During the presidential election in 1932, Thyssen handed over to the National Socialists more than 3 million marks {220} within a few days . Without this help, Hitler's agitation in 1930-1933. could not take such fantastic proportions.

In National Socialism, the monopoly bourgeoisie had a ready tool to carry out its goals. The Nazi Party gave her what she needed most: a mass base, without which it was impossible to stay in power, and most importantly, to think about revenge. The German monopolists dreamed of a time when the hateful strikes would cease, red flags would disappear from the streets, and it would be possible without hindrance to directly prepare for a new world war.

German imperialism handed over political power to the National Socialist Party in January 1933 because it saw it as the most suitable instrument for carrying out its plans for the conquest of world domination.

In many capitalist countries the leading role has passed to warmongers and the most rabid representatives of imperialism. But even in most of those countries where the bourgeois-parliamentary system was preserved, there was a further strengthening of political reaction and fascism.

The ruling circles of Britain, France and other capitalist states not only did not come out to fight the mortal danger that fascism represented for democracy and peace, but most of them were themselves infected with the conviction that capitalism could be strengthened only with the help of fascism and war. They hoped that the war for which the fascist bloc—Germany, Japan, Italy—was clearly preparing for it—would be a war against the Soviet state they hated.

The rise of fascism expressed the striving of the imperialist bourgeoisie to put in power a force that would be able to carry out direct material and, no less important, ideological preparations for a new world war.

2. Fascism in Italy

Italy emerged from the First World War so weakened that her territorial claims were little taken into account. The mood of revenge and infringed national pride became an important factor in the development of political life in the country.

The internal situation of Italy was characterized by serious socio-economic upheavals. The war disorganized the economy and finances. The state budget, which rested heavily on the people, did not cover the costs with its revenues. Inflation increased, and the rate of the paper lira fell. The public debt has reached enormous proportions.

Soldiers demobilized from the army did not find work. The growth of unemployment was complicated by the fact that emigration from the country, which always diverted part of the labor force and stopped during the war, did not immediately resume with the onset of peace.

Class contradictions and the class struggle sharply escalated. The events of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia found [59] a wide response among the Italian working masses. The first post-war years (1918-1920) were for Italy a time of strong revolutionary movement. Its climax was the mass protests of workers in August-September 1920, when Italian metalworkers, and then workers in other industries, began to seize factories and factories throughout the country. These events brought the proletariat close to solving the question of power.

In the agricultural regions of the country, a struggle broke out for the division of the landlords' lands. The strike movement of farm laborers assumed wide proportions. In almost every village there were so-called "chambers of labor" and "red leagues", which regulated wages, the length of the working day of farm laborers, sought to eliminate feudal remnants in relations between landlords and peasants.

September 1920 showed that the class struggle in Italy, which had escalated to the limit, threatened to overturn the capitalist system.

But the Italian Socialist Party and the General Confederation of Labor did not show sufficient revolutionary spirit and determination at that time, did not lead the movement, did not lead the proletariat from seizing individual factories and plants to seizing state power. Their Right opportunist elements tried to extinguish the revolutionary movement, to draw the proletariat onto the path of struggle for partial reforms. But the centrists who dominated the party, frightened by the scope and nature of the struggle, did not stand at the head of the masses. Left to their own devices, deprived of leadership, the workers could not seize power. The movement was at an impasse and stopped.

The bourgeoisie perfectly understood why it managed to hold on. "Italy was in danger of a catastrophe," wrote the influential bourgeois newspaper Corriere della Sera. “The revolution did not happen, not because someone blocked its way, but because the General Confederation of Labor did not want it” {221} . But the ruling classes learned a serious lesson. They realized that the uprising of the proletariat could not always be "defeated by non-resistance," as Minister of War Bonomi {222} characterized the past events , calling for more decisive action.

The desire of the monopolists to maintain their class rule at any cost was reflected in the fact that they hastened to organize in advance forces that could prevent a new outbreak of the revolutionary struggle, carry out a preventive counter-revolution and, moreover, use the growing revolutionary anger of the people for their own class goals. Fascism has become such a force, the spokesman for the interests of the most aggressive circles of the monopoly bourgeoisie, a weapon in its hands in the struggle against the proletariat, the working masses and the progressive intelligentsia.

B. Mussolini became the organizer of the first fascist detachments, and then the leader of the fascist movement in Italy. Expelled from the Socialist Party at the beginning of the First World War, he was one of the leaders of the movement for Italy's entry into the war. The "socialist" label he continued to wear helped him infiltrate the working environment. With the money of the French bourgeoisie, who were interested in dragging Italy into the war, Mussolini founded his newspaper The People of Italy (Popolo d'Ita-Na), the pages of which during the First World War were filled with noisy militaristic propaganda. “Neutrals do not move events, but obey them. Only blood gives run to the ringing wheel of history” {223} . [60]

In these pompous phrases, the whole of Mussolini, with his cheap rhetoric and demagoguery, designed for people who are exalted and not experienced in politics. "He who trembles too much for his own skin will not go to fight in the trenches, but you will not meet him on the barricades" {224}  - this is Mussolini's usual political speculation.

The same combination of violent nationalism with social demagogy was characteristic of the activities of the fascist organization created by Mussolini in March 1919, called the "Union of Struggle" ("Fascio di combattimento") {225} . At first, the organization numbered only a few dozen people, but gradually began to expand its ranks, mainly due to former front-line soldiers.

At first, the Nazis recruited their supporters under the guise of foreign policy slogans and tried to present themselves as defenders of "national interests." The starting point of this propaganda was complaints about the "spoiled victory" ("Sconfitta vittoria"). Mussolini and other fascist leaders portrayed the matter as if the whole world (and most of all the rulers of the Entente countries) was infected with hatred for Italy, which was surrounded by enemies, and the government was showing criminal weakness and lack of will. The fascist bosses assured that only fascism could put an end to this, only it would enable Italy to gain dominance over the Adriatic Sea. “If any Italian government in the past made shameful concessions,” wrote the fascist Gargolini, “this does not mean that the Italian nation will agree to give up the Adriatic Sea - mare nostrum (our sea. -Ed.) - at the discretion of the all-powerful usurpers and usurers. Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania hate us. But we are hated even more by the great powers, who ... mock us, bully and weaken us. We managed to climb out of the quagmire of the military Caporetto. Let us also triumph over our diplomatic Caporetto.” {226} .

From curses addressed to former allies, the fascists moved on to curses at the “rotten democracy”, “incapable and corrupt parliamentary talkers and demagogues”, who were declared guilty of all external and internal political troubles in Italy.

Fascism tried to recruit to its side, first of all, the most unstable elements of the youth who returned from the front, among whom there was a sharp political stratification. The most conscious part of it was looking for a way out of the difficult economic situation of the country in the class revolutionary struggle. Another significant part, mainly from petty-bourgeois families, having achieved various ranks and honors in the war, did not intend to engage in the modest work of clerks, teachers, technicians, petty lawyers, especially since Italy had long suffered from an overproduction of workers in these professions. Crackling phrases, spectacular gestures, absolute political unscrupulousness - everything that the fascist leaders had in abundance attracted these young people, ready for anything, just not to pull the strap of a prosaic existence.

But not only some of the youth became easy prey for fascism. A severe material and moral crisis was experienced by the middle strata of the population, the petty bourgeoisie. With the depreciation of the lira, accumulated savings, acquired position [61] and income turned into a ghost. The future seemed hopeless. The material insecurity of the numerous bourgeois intelligentsia reduced them socially to the level of the lumpen proletariat. The war increased the already large amplitude of political fluctuations in this motley environment.

Fascism took advantage of the unstable economic position of the petty bourgeoisie and the political vacillation in its ranks in order to turn it into an instrument of counter-revolution and carry out plans to strengthen the capitalist system. Slogans for the protection of small property, demagogy directed against the “sharks of capitalism” who had profited from the war, created for fascism the appearance of a commonality of its interests with the interests of the middle strata and the petty bourgeoisie. Unsettled by rising high prices, disillusioned with liberalism, seeking peace and material well-being, bewitched by the specter of "great Italy", the mass of the petty bourgeoisie and the middle strata of the population rushed to fascism, which seemed to them the savior of the nation and the only means of establishing "order" in the country.

Fascist businessmen recruited into their detachments both peasants who returned from the war and found the economy ruined during their long absence, and workers who found the gates of factories locked due to the reduction in military production and joined the ranks of the unemployed.

Fascism established close ties with groups of the rural bourgeoisie and the landowners, who were afraid of the growth of the peasant movement, which threatened to eliminate their privileges. At the same time, fascism began to create its own mass base among a part of the middle peasantry, frightened by rumors about the expropriation of land, the movement of farm laborers and agricultural workers. To fight the hated "Red Leagues", the rural bourgeoisie and landowners called in the fascists, and they acted as an instrument of reaction in the Italian countryside. This struggle soon unfolded in all the agricultural districts of Italy. The agrarian movement was especially brutally suppressed in Bologna and Ferrara.

A sharp strengthening of fascism began after September 1920, when he was supported by the big bourgeoisie, and he placed his armed detachments at its disposal. Pogroms of workers and democratic organizations began, beatings and murders of political and trade union leaders, terror and violence reigned in the country.

The communist party of Italy, which took shape in January 1921, took the path of a decisive struggle against fascism. In a number of places, committees of proletarian defense, detachments of "people's daredevils" were created. They were joined by anti-fascists, regardless of class and political affiliation. However, this embryonic form of a united anti-fascist front did not lead to unity even in the labor movement. The leadership of the Italian Socialist Party for a long time adhered to the tactics of "passive resistance" in relation to fascism. The effectiveness of the actions of the young communist party was reduced because of its attempts to lead the anti-fascist movement exclusively along the path of struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The unorganized anti-fascist front was opposed by the fascist party with its armed detachments of blackshirts, who enjoyed the full support of the bourgeois-democratic government, the military authorities, the police, the courts and the big bourgeoisie. The military authorities provided weapons, and professional officers trained the gangs and directed their operations. The General Staff issued a circular in October 1920 inviting divisional commanders to support fascist organizations. The workers and peasants were disarmed, and the Nazis openly carried weapons. The police, at best, remained passive, but more often directly [62] supported the fascists. The courts pronounced harsh sentences on the workers who were attacked by the Blackshirts, who were acquitted.

The well-known American journalist Mowrer wrote: “In this atmosphere of murder, violence and arson, the police remained “neutral” ... Officials shrugged their shoulders, while armed gangs, on pain of death, forced the socialists to resign or arranged formal trials, sentencing their enemies to corporal punishment, exile or execution ... Sometimes the carabinieri and the royal guards openly acted together with the fascists, paralyzing the resistance of the peasants. The peasants would have coped with the fascists alone, but they were helpless in the fight against the united fascists and the police .. The Italian historian Salvemini also noted the unity of fascists and militarists. He wrote: “The professional military, who supplied the fascist gangs with weapons and officers, introduced their mentality into the fascist movement, and with them methodical cruelty, which was not characteristic of the political struggle in Italy until 1921. It was the military specialists who transferred to the fascists their principle of strict hierarchy. Without their help, the fascist armed detachments could never have been created, and the organization of the fascist party would not have differed in any way from the organization of any other Italian party .

The army and government bodies knew about the intentions of the Nazis to seize power. On October 17, 1922, the head of the army information service reported: “Mussolini is so sure of victory and that he is the master of the situation that he even foresees the first steps of his government. It seems that he intends to carry out the coup no later than November 10, but possibly November 4” {229} .

However, the government did not take any measures to stop the Nazis on the way to seizing power. Indeed, it was difficult to expect this after almost two years of successive "liberal" and "democratic" governments in Italy pandering and helping the fascists. The open transfer of power into the hands of fascism took place in 1922. On October 28, a fascist coup was carried out, which Mussolini called "the great march on Rome." With this, the Duce wanted to create the appearance that the fascist detachments had to break the armed forces that opposed them. In reality, everything happened differently. Fact's government, which had already negotiated with the fascists, resigned. Mussolini received a proposal from the king to form a new government, and the "great campaign" against Rome was expressed in the fact that on October 30, the Duce arrived in the capital of Italy in a sleeping car.

Immediately after the coup, despite the preservation of parliamentary forms, two new state institutions appeared: in December 1922, the “Great Fascist Council” (BFS) and in January 1923, by royal decree, the legal recognition of the fascist militia created a year ago was secured, which from now on became known as the Volunteer National Security Militia (DMNB). The BFS was organized on the basis of the directorate of the fascist party with the addition of fascist ministers and some fascist leaders, personally appointed by Mussolini, who became the chairman of the BFS. This council controlled bills before they were submitted to Parliament, the activities of the government itself. With the creation of the DMNB, Mussolini sought to achieve the predominance of the executive [63]power in the face of the fascist government over the legislature in the person of the king and parliament. The transfer of the DMNB to the subordination of Mussolini strengthened his personal power.

After the fascist coup, the communists and socialists organized separate demonstrations of the working people, mainly strikes. The aggravation of the political situation took place in the summer of 1924. The reason for the mass action of broad sections of the working people was the murder of the socialist deputy D. Matteotti by the Nazis. The deputies of the opposition parties withdrew from parliament and formed the so-called "Aventine Bloc" {230} . The Communist Party offered the liberal-democratic and socialist leaders of the bloc to unite and begin the fight against fascism. But this time too no decisive action was taken, and the fascists quickly succeeded in gaining control of the situation.

In January 1925, Mussolini announced his firm intention to curb any opposition by force. This was the signal for the start of a new fascist offensive aimed at eliminating the remnants of bourgeois-democratic freedoms. In June, at the Congress of the Fascist Party, Mussolini proclaimed the desire of fascism to transform the moral and political consciousness of Italians into a monolithic and totalitarian consciousness: “We want to fascist the nation ... Fascism must become a way of life ... there must be Italians of the era of fascism, as were, for example, Italians the Renaissance." Here, for the first time, the desire of fascism to create an empire {231} was announced .

Of particular importance in strengthening the fascist dictatorship was the law of April 3, 1926, which established government control over the trade unions. After the assassination attempt on Mussolini at the end of October, on November 5, 1926, a law was issued dissolving all "anti-national" parties, which formally completed the transition to a one-party system. In April 1927, the so-called Labor Charter was adopted, which established the corporate principle of the structure of the state and society in Italy. Instead of class trade unions, corporations are being created that unite workers and entrepreneurs in each branch of production. These corporations, which were under state control, were to become the cornerstone of fascist statehood.

Candidates for parliament could now be nominated only by corporations. After the approval of the candidates by the "Great Fascist Council", they were included in the voting lists. Thus, the opposition did not have any opportunities to oppose fascism in the parliamentary field.

The mechanism of the complete fascist dictatorship included party, as well as trade union, youth, student, women's and sports organizations. Like a web, they entangled all layers and groups of the population of the fascist state and society.

At the heart of the fascist doctrine lay the idea of ​​a "nationwide power", which allegedly stood guard over "common interests." Based on this idea, the Nazis demanded complete submission from the people. “Everything is in the state, and nothing is outside the state” - these words of Mussolini are a kind of formula for fascist totalitarianism.

Italian fascism was the first of such regimes to plant a system of mass psychosis, the madness of an exalted crowd that believed in the fascist Duce and lost the ability to think independently. Such a mass psychosis was used to incite bloodlust, justify atrocities and violence. [64]

Fascism meant a specific form of state-monopoly capitalism, which provided the fascist leadership with the opportunity to act in the interests of the entire elite of monopoly and financial capital. Indicative in this connection is the intensification of the process of merging the state and capitalist economic apparatus. The fascist leaders who were in power, using their position, themselves became big industrialists and financiers. Of the 400 deputies of the fascist parliament elected in 1929, 175 held paid posts in the administrative councils of large joint-stock companies; one of the deputies collaborated in 43 joint-stock companies, another in 33, etc. {232} .

State-monopoly regulation was carried out by the fascist regime in the interests of economic preparation for war with the aim of realizing the aggressive plans of Italian imperialism to create a huge empire on all the shores of the Mediterranean Sea with its transformation into an "Italian lake". The philosopher D. Gentile, who put himself at the service of fascism and wrote the main parts of the “Doctrine of Fascism”, officially attributed to Mussolini, speaking about the functions of the fascist state, stated: “For fascism, the desire for empire, that is, for national expansion, is a vital manifestation. The reverse, that is, "staying at home," is a sign of decline. The peoples who are rising and resurrecting are imperialists” {233} .

Thus, the terrorist functions of the fascist state, all its organizational and economic measures were associated with predatory foreign policy plans. As domestic violence grew, the fascist state became more and more aggressive in foreign policy, stepped up military preparations for the creation of an empire.

In Germany, these characteristic features of fascism were demonstrated on an even larger scale.

3. German fascism

The situation in which Germany found itself after the First World War was in many respects similar to the conditions prevailing in Italy. But with all the similarities, there were also significant differences in the depth and severity of the events that took place. They were explained by specific socio-economic and political factors.

A feature of the historical development of German capitalism was that from the second half and especially from the end of the 19th century, the German economy grew at a faster rate than in other capitalist countries of Europe. V. I. Lenin noted that “the rapid development of capitalism in Germany was the development of a young and strong predator...” {234} . The effect of the law of uneven economic and political development of capitalism.

German imperialism entered the world arena at a time when all the chairs at the capitalist "food table" were occupied. Germany, "which developed economically in the 20th century faster than the rest of the European countries, and which is especially 'offended' by the division of the colonies" {235} , came out with militant demands for the redivision of the world. The Italian monopolists, although indignant at the "spoiled victory", belonged [65] to the camp of winners. Germany, on the other hand, was defeated and for a time expelled from the ranks of the great imperialist powers.

The revolutionary situation that arose in Italy was brought to naught by the passivity of the leadership of the socialist party, by its unwillingness to lead the revolutionary struggle of the masses. In Germany, the November Revolution of 1918 was betrayed in the literal sense of the word by right-wing social democracy. Its leaders became the soul of the counter-revolutionary conspiracy. In January 1919, the Social Democrats Ebert and Scheidemann, who headed the government, demanded an armed defeat of the revolutionary workers. On behalf of the government, they entrusted this dirty business to their "Parteigenosse" G. Noske, who, accepting the assignment, declared: "Someone must become a bloody dog" {236} .

With the help of the Right Social Democrats, one of the most vile atrocities was committed - the murder of the leaders of the German proletariat, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. “There are no words to express all the vileness and meanness of this butchery, allegedly committed by the socialists,” wrote V. I. Lenin. “Obviously, history has chosen a path in which the role of the “working lieutenants of the capitalist class” must be brought to the “last line” of brutality, baseness and meanness” {237} .

In Germany, in contrast to Italy, in the process of suppressing the revolution, direct cooperation was established between the right-wing Social Democracy and the command of the Reichswehr. Right-wing socialist politicians felt themselves in the strongest dependence on the military command and, at every revolutionary outbreak, turned to the armed forces for help and support.

In Germany, as in Italy, there were the same fairly large social strata that could easily succumb to the demagogy of the Nazis. These are sections of the petty bourgeoisie, declassed elements, officers demobilized from the army in connection with the end of the First World War and not adapted to life in peace. The new order did not attract them, they hated its leaders - the "people of November". They longed for the restoration of the old order.

These feelings were especially acute among those who found themselves outside the ranks of a greatly reduced army. They could not and did not want to adapt to civilian life, were uprooted from their familiar environment and felt isolated and betrayed, surrounded by a hostile world. They wanted action, action at any cost, no matter who they were against—the Bolsheviks, the Slavs, the Reds, the speculators, the Jews, the government, or the victorious powers.

German monopoly capital, having crushed the revolution at the hands of the Social Democrats and the military, did not feel such an acute need as in Italy to create some kind of new political force capable of immediately carrying out a preventive counter-revolution. Militaristic traditions, rooted for centuries in the entire social and political life of Germany, played a role in this. In Europe, there was no country like Prussia, where the military craft would be fanned with such a romantic halo, and military service so honorable, where militarism and everything connected with it would be erected on such a high pedestal. Germany was united around Prussia with iron and blood. The aggressiveness of imperialism was multiplied by the militancy of the Prussian Junkers, who retained many privileges in the German Empire. Bismarck's words: "We have the best army,[66] Corps! No one compares to a Prussian lieutenant!” - relentlessly hammered into the heads of the Germans. Every petty official or shopkeeper who put on an officer's uniform during the war years believed that the brilliance of the Prussian officer caste, and at the same time its privileged position in society, was already extending to him. The officers tried to use any pretext to keep their privileges and ranks.

The center of attraction for the declassed elements at first became the paramilitary "voluntary" formations created by the Reichswehr in circumvention of the Treaty of Versailles as their reserve and bearing a semi-fascist character. They were used by the military command as an important means of putting pressure on the government, increasing its dependence on the military.

The Entente powers tolerated a clear violation of the Treaty of Versailles in view of the insistent assurances of German statesmen that such formations were necessary to fight the revolution. The desire at all costs to prevent the victory of the democratic forces of the people, to use the German military to fight the revolutionary movement not only in Germany, but also abroad, led the Western powers themselves to encourage the restoration of German militarism.

Many fascist and semi-fascist organizations that arose after the war, often uniting only a few dozen people, had no independent significance and were often considered by the Reichswehr command as a screen for creating new military and paramilitary formations. In one of these organizations, which called itself the "German Workers' Party", the army command in Munich sent Hitler as a political agitator. He was a prosperous bourgeois, hiding from military service for a long time, and during the war years he did not advance in the army further than the rank of corporal {238}. Beginning in 1919, Hitler received the support and patronage of Captain E. Röhm, the chief of staff of the military commandant of Munich. In a short time, he took a leading position in an organization called the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Exposing the falsity of this name, E. Telman wrote: "...behind their words "nation" and "socialism" hides the brutal mug of capitalist exploiters" {239}. The National Socialists chose their party symbol and flag: a black swastika in a white circle on a red background. This combination, apparently suggested by the Reichswehr, was supposed to preserve the white, black and red colors of the old imperial flag, and the emblem indicated a family connection with the nationalist military formations, the symbol of which was the swastika. But the main color of the flag was red. He was to emphasize that the party is "National Socialist" and "workers'". The new flag played a significant role in propaganda. All posters and leaflets of the Nazis were red, their trucks were decorated with scarlet flags. For the same propaganda purpose, the Nazis dressed as workers.

In February 1920, the party program appeared. It was nationalist, racist, revanchist. The program called for the creation of a "greater Germany" through the seizure of lands and colonies, the annulment of the Versailles and Saint-Germain treaties, which they sewed Germany territories in the east and west, colonies and forbade its unification with Austria. The racism of the program was expressed in the requirements that only persons of German blood could be citizens of the German state, be allowed to decide questions of legislation and leadership of the state. The social demagogy of the Nazis was reflected in the promises contained in the program: to abolish unearned income and "percentage slavery", to confiscate all military profits, to nationalize trusts, to ensure universal participation in the profits of concerns, to introduce the death penalty for usurers and speculators.

In speeches about his program, Hitler emphasized the articles demanding the annulment of Versailles and the creation of a great Germany "from the Neman to Bratislava, from Konigsberg to Strasbourg", and hysterically screamed about the elimination of "the dominance of the Jews."

In December 1920, Hitler purchased the racist newspaper Völkischer Beobachter, which became the central party organ. The money for this purchase was provided in part from the funds of the Reichswehr.

In 1921, the National Socialists created paramilitary formations called assault squads - SA (Sturmabteilungen). Under the leadership of the officers, these detachments soon became a great counter-revolutionary force. They had their own cavalry, artillery, technical means.

According to the famous German historian E. Nikisch, “any person with the instincts of a killer and a sadist was in the SA in his place. The more brutally he behaved, the more he was respected; here you could be a beast to your heart's content... In the SA, all criminal inclinations were given complete freedom. The barracks of the storm troopers were the focus of all conceivable vices: parasites, drunkards, life bankrupts, thugs, homosexuals, murderers prepared their darkest deeds here, with the help of which it was necessary to “awaken Germany” {240} .

At the same time, a close connection was established between the Nazis and General E. Ludendorff. As the Nazi party grew, its leader showed more and more independence, refusing unconditional submission to the Reichswehr.

At the same time, Hitler finds patrons among the monopolists. Already in the early 1920s, a group of industrialists formed in Bavaria, who staked on the Nazi party and allocated significant funds for it. But even in its "Munich period" the leadership of the Hitlerite party was no longer limited to Bavaria and established contacts with influential representatives of the German monopoly elite.

The kings of coal and steel in the Rhine-Westphalian region, as well as the Prussian Junkers, who hated even the very word "democracy", considered it necessary to put an end to the republican order, the "policy of implementation" of the Treaty of Versailles and, through a military coup, establish a militaristic dictatorship as a step towards the restoration of the monarchy.

In 1923, the domestic and foreign political situation in Germany sharply worsened. In January of this year, France, under the pretext of Germany's failure to fulfill the terms of the Versailles Treaty and its non-payment of reparations, occupied the Ruhr. The heart of German industry was paralyzed. In response, the German government proclaimed a policy of "passive resistance". Germany was hit by severe social upheavals. Subsidizing the policy of "passive resistance" has led to hitherto unknown inflation. Workers and employees could not even buy bread with their wages. Speculation has reached unprecedented [68] proportions. All the foundations of the social and economic life of the country were undermined.

The Communist Party put forward the slogan of a united front against the invaders and domestic capitalists and the creation of a workers' and peasants' government. Soon workers' governments were formed in Saxony and Thuringia. On October 23, the heroic Hamburg Uprising began. But the Social Democrats blew up the united front. Ultimately, the counter-revolution won.

The National Socialists took advantage of this situation to strike at the republican government and establish a military-terrorist dictatorship. On November 8, the General Commissioner of Bavaria von Kahr was supposed to speak at a rally of honorary citizens of the city of Munich in the Burgerbräu beer hall. By order of Hitler, the SA, reinforced by the “voluntary” military detachments still in Bavaria, surrounded the beer hall and at the same time occupied some other public buildings. As soon as Kahr began his speech, armed stormtroopers led by Hitler burst into the hall, who, jumping on a chair, fired at the ceiling for greater persuasiveness, and then proclaimed the program - the formation of a “national government”. In an ultimatum form, he invited Kahr and General Lossow, commander of the Reichswehr troops in Bavaria, to join him. Ludendorff, who was right there, said, turning to Lossov: "You will do it, Lossov." To which he replied: "Your Excellency's desire is an order for me."

However, when Kahr and Lossow returned to their residence, they received a categorical order from Berlin to put an end to the rebellion. Therefore, they told Hitler and Ludendorff that the word given under the gun did not oblige them to anything, and demanded that they lay down their arms. Hitler and Ludendorff the next day brought their supporters to a demonstration to show "who is the boss in the city." But in the center of the city they were met by the fire of the police, reinforced by parts of the Reichswehr. In a matter of minutes it was all over. Frightened to death, Hitler and Ludendorff managed to escape {241} . Thus ended the Bavarian attempt to "march on Rome" ingloriously.

The big German bourgeoisie, which had extensive experience in suppressing the revolutionary uprisings of the working class, feared that an attempt at a reactionary coup could provoke such a rebuff from the revolutionary forces that was dangerous to itself, and under those conditions did not dare to establish an open fascist dictatorship.

While denying immediate support to Hitler, the monopoly bourgeoisie nevertheless decided to keep him as a reserve for the future. Hitler and his accomplices, when brought to trial, were sentenced to a short prison term. Already at the end of 1924 they were released.

While in prison, Hitler molded from various reactionary works the book Mein Kampf - the bible of National Socialism and its program. Here there was admiration for Prussian militarism; the desire to eradicate Marxism; bestial hatred for the peoples of Europe, primarily for the French and Slavs as "inferior" and "degenerate"; a call to return to the traditions of the Teutonic Order and its policy of "drang nach Osten"; anti-Semitism, brought to the point of pogrom persecution, racist discourses about the "master race", which accumulated the views of the imperialist ideologists of different countries; the mystical idea of ​​the "Third Reich", designed to dominate all peoples. Hitler's program proclaimed a legitimate and necessary war for [69]the assertion of the dominance of the "superior race" over all other peoples. The expansionist plans of German imperialism found their expression in this program.

The inhabitant of Germany, by virtue of the upbringing he received and the entire system of ideological influence, was very malleable to the phenomena of mass psychosis, and the Nazis played on this. The German tradesman, the philistine, the very one who was so hated and branded with anger and contempt by K. Marx and F. Engels, yearned. He lacked a deity in the form of an emperor, whom he could worship, whose images would hang before his eyes, at the thought of which he could freeze with delight. Heinrich Mann in the novel “The Loyal Subject” in Diederich Gesling brought out the image of a German burgher and colorfully painted a picture of psychosis and excitement around a person who personifies sole power: “Intoxication, stronger, more wonderful than what beer can give, lifted him above the ground, carried him through the air. He waved his hat high above the heads of the crowd, in an atmosphere of seething enthusiasm... There, under the triumphal arch, power itself rode on a horse, with a stone face and sparkling eyes. The power that tramples us, and we kiss the hooves of its horse... It entered our blood, because obedience is in our blood. We are just an atom, an infinitesimal molecule of her spit... To live in her, to be a particle of her, merciless to all who are not with her, and to rejoice, even if she tramples on us, because this is what she justifies our love!{242}

The title of Mann's novel "The Loyal Subject" has become a household name for the German philistine who was the backbone for the most reactionary undertakings of the rulers of Germany. The Nazis counted on such "loyal subjects" not without reason.

Gradually the Hitlerite party was restored in Bavaria. In the northern regions of Germany, G. Strasser was engaged in its reconstruction, seeking an autonomous position in relation to the Bavarian center. In Berlin, J. Goebbels, who had defected from Strasser to Hitler, acted as a Gauleiter. He was tasked with propaganda and force to win over the workers of the capital to the side of Nazism {243} .

Hitler dressed his SA in a new, brown uniform, introduced not a military, but a fascist salute, in 1925 he organized the SS (Schutzstaffeln) - special security detachments to protect his own person and reprisals against his opponents {244} . His party continued to grow. In 1926 it numbered 17 thousand, in 1927 - 40 thousand, in 1928 - 100 thousand, in 1929 - 178 thousand, in 1930 - about 380 thousand, and by the end 1931 - already more than 800 thousand people {245} . This growth was largely due to the absorption of many racist and nationalist groups, dozens of which existed in various parts of Germany. The remnants of "voluntary" military organizations, which went underground after their formal dissolution, poured into the Nazi armed detachments.

The Fascist Party in Germany has become the center of attraction for all reactionary, racist and anti-Semitic organizations. Her fanatical dynamism attracted both student youth and old soldiers looking for "heroic" deeds in battles with political opponents. [70] The police turned a blind eye to the adventures of the fascist thugs. The SA detachments underwent special training for street fighting. The slogan was put forward: "The street is our trench." The youth, who had heard enough about the exploits of German soldiers at school, were thrilled with happiness that they could show their courage to the people along with the “front-line soldiers”.

The Nazis took vigorous measures to earn the confidence of big business. During the referendum of 1926 on the question of whether or not to reimburse the house of Hohenzollern and the sovereign princes for the value of the property confiscated from them after the November Revolution, they resolutely took the side of the monarchists. To explain this, they again resorted to social demagogy, declaring that they defend the principle of private property, in the preservation of which, they say, artisans, skilled workers, and the lower strata of civil servants are interested.

The bourgeoisie appreciated the behavior of the Nazis in this important political campaign. The leaders of trade and industry in Hamburg invited Hitler to speak at their meetings. He chose as the subject of his speeches the burning question for the monopolists of the restoration of Germany as a great power, demanded the complete eradication of Marxism, made it clear that only the National Socialist Party could fulfill this task. “Bismarck was revered,” Hitler said. - Why? The masses love masculinity because they are feminine; they want to be led, and they do not want to have a leader who would tell them: this can be done in one way, it can be done in another way, and perhaps in some other way. The masses want a man who, stamping his boot, says: this is the right way.” {246} .

All this appealed to representatives of big business. In April 1927, Hitler was invited to a meeting with 400 Ruhr businessmen at the Krupp villa. Thereafter, he and his party began to receive regular funding from large industrial monopolies and banks associated with international business and political circles. Big business recognized the ability of the Hitlerite party, if necessary, to turn into a massive support for the open dictatorship of monopoly capital. The end of capitalist stabilization was approaching, a storm of economic crisis was approaching, the first signs of which appeared already in 1928-1929. In this situation, the German monopolists, who felt the revival of the economic and military power of their country, dreamed with particular force of such a dictatorship, which by extreme violence would crush internal resistance and open the way to revenge. Hitler seemed like a good fit for this. "We engaged him"{247} , - F. Papen said about him.

Many Western authors, whitewashing bourgeois democracy, deny the continuity that connected the Weimar Republic with the Nazi Reich. This view is exposed with the utmost precision in the program document of the Central Committee of the SED, approved by the second plenum of the Central Committee in April 1963, "An Outline of the History of the German Labor Movement." It says: “The fourteen-year history of the Weimar Republic has proved that on the paths of formal bourgeois democracy, which covers the dictatorship of monopoly capital, it is impossible to protect the interests of the working class and solve the vital problems of our people. History of the Weimar [71]the republic was not a history of democracy serving the interests of the people. It was the history of the formation of imperialist, anti-democratic forces of finance capital and militarism and their policy, which, hiding behind the bourgeois-democratic facade of the Weimar state, was aimed at destroying democracy and establishing an open fascist dictatorship over the German working class and the entire German people. The history of the Weimar Republic has shown that the rule of imperialism and genuine democracy are in incompatible antagonism .

The relationship of monopoly capital with its fascist offspring became more and more solid, which determined the characteristic features of Hitlerism.

In the political sphere, a course was set for an open terrorist dictatorship of big German finance capital, for the rejection of bourgeois parliamentary democracy and its replacement with a new form of power—bloody fascist tyranny as an extreme means of suppressing the working-class movement and unleashing aggressive adventures.

The German fascists pursued the goal of reducing the people to the level of a silent and blind instrument of the monopolists. To deceive the people, the Nazis called themselves nationalists and socialists. They were even ready to throw handouts to the masses from the table of monopoly capital, especially by conquering and plundering other countries. But in fact, striving to seize foreign territories, enslave the European nations, including the German one, and achieve world domination, the Hitlerite party acted as an imperialist, predatory, oppressive party.

The ideology of the Nazis, the main component of which was extreme anti-communism, found expression primarily in the barbaric racial doctrine, in the theory of insufficient "living space" for the Germans, in wild chauvinism. It was the focus of all the most reactionary, pseudo-scientific and anti-humanistic theories put forward in the interests of the ruling exploiting classes.

The theory of “total war”, which became the official military doctrine of fascism, testified that the Nazis were not going to distinguish between the army and the civilian population of the country that was attacked. They deliberately prepared the destruction of cities and villages, the massacre of the civilian population, up to the physical liquidation of entire peoples, the deportation of able-bodied men, women, and adolescents to hard labor in Germany.

The most important characteristic features of German fascism in the field of economy include: its desire to establish state-monopoly methods of capitalist economy, the predominant development of the war economy, the implementation of a wide program of military measures that require the involvement of a large number of labor (the construction of highways, etc.).

One of the characteristic features of German fascism is a firm alliance with militarism. The Nazis planted in the country the cult of the army, the cult of war, extolled the military, violent methods of solving issues of domestic and foreign policy. They aggravated such a vicious tradition of German militarism as overestimating their own forces and underestimating the forces of the enemy. This determined the adventurism of the plans and actions of the Nazis. The extreme reactionary nature of German imperialism resulted in an alliance of dark forces, fascism and militarism, created by it. [72]

4. Fascism in other countries

At the first stage of the general crisis of capitalism, the desire of the big bourgeoisie to establish a fascist dictatorship manifested itself not only in Italy and Germany, but also in a number of other capitalist countries, expressed in the activation of ultra-right organizations and groups. However, the choice by the ruling circles of the form of their rule—bourgeois-democratic or fascist—depended on many factors, among which the balance of power of the struggling social classes was of paramount importance.

In those countries where the development of the revolutionary movement did not pose a direct threat to the dictatorship of the monopoly bourgeoisie, it preferred to preserve the traditional bourgeois-democratic forms of government, assigning the role of its reserve to ultra-right and clearly fascist organizations and groups. This was the situation in England, the United States of America, and also in Czechoslovakia, where the monopolies actively contributed to the development of fascism, but the majority preferred to do without a fascist dictatorship. This by no means ruled out that another, smaller part of monopoly capital was pushing the ultra-right to carry out a coup d'état in its interests. Consequently, the choice of the form of state government of the bourgeoisie was also influenced by the struggle in its own ranks. But many groups of the big bourgeoisie in England and the United States of America were clearly sympathetic to Italian and German fascism, studied its experience with unremitting attention, which they intended to use in the event of a dangerous turn of events for them. And on the international, and not only domestic, level, the monopolists saw in fascism their class ally, their reserve. Thus, the American right openly warned that Mussolini “may be needed to save the country from the American equivalent of Lenin.”{249}.

There were also countries in which the monopolists made their choice in favor of fascism, but were unable to carry it out due to the powerful resistance of the working class to the attempted fascist coup. So, for example, in France, numerous ultra-right organizations (Crosses de la Roque, French Action, French Solidarity, Patriotic Youth and their youthful and sports affiliates) had a large number of weapons, including aircraft, and did not need funds. They even received subsidies from special government funds, and many ministers either secretly belonged to fascist organizations or were closely associated with them. With the support of the Daladier government, the French fascists launched an armed coup attempt in February 1934. This attempt met with such a rebuff from the working masses, that the frightened bourgeoisie changed its orientation: the government ordered the municipal guards and the police to take part in the liquidation of the rebellion. Subsequently, there were numerous fascist provocations, to which, however, big business was wary. These provocations were rebuffed with increasing force by the French working people. The French Communist Party led the fight against fascism. Around it, a broad anti-fascist Popular Front was formed. The French Communist Party led the fight against fascism. Around it, a broad anti-fascist Popular Front was formed. The French Communist Party led the fight against fascism. Around it, a broad anti-fascist Popular Front was formed.

Fascist dictatorships arose only in a few states, taking various forms depending on the balance of class forces, historical, social and economic conditions, national [73] features, and even the international position of a given country. Thus, fascism was an international phenomenon, and the struggle against it inevitably became international, presupposing the unity of the actions of progressive forces. Along with complete fascist dictatorships, there were such reactionary-terrorist regimes, which were characterized by only a part of the features characteristic of fascism. In accordance with this, they were called differently: fascist, monarcho-fascist, semi-fascist, military-dictatorial. Sometimes there were names generated by local conditions, for example, the sanitation regime{250} in Poland. According to the historians of the Polish People's Republic, some features of the sanation "either brought it closer to fascism, or prepared the ground for it" {251} .

To study the social processes of the capitalist world in the interwar years and the origin of the Second World War, it is extremely important to identify the common and specific features of the reactionary-terrorist dictatorships of that time. First of all, naturally, the question arises of their class content. Basically, it was the same everywhere - a form of power of big capital and landowners. A characteristic example was the behavior of the big bourgeoisie and landlords in Poland in 1926, when the Pilsudschiki carried out a "campaign against Warsaw." 180 representatives of the big capital of Poland, united in the "Central Union of Polish Industry, Mining, Trade and Finance", signed a special statement of strong support for the coup. The land magnates made the same statement at their congress, held in October 1926 at the estate of Prince Radziwill.

In contrast to Germany and Italy, in a number of countries the decisive role in the establishment of fascist or semi-fascist dictatorships belonged to external forces. The difference between fascist groups was often determined by their foreign policy orientation. Military-dictatorial regimes in some countries of Latin America arose at the behest and under direct, sometimes even military, pressure from the United States. In the countries of South-Eastern Europe, for a long time there was a struggle for power between fascist organizations oriented towards France or England. After the establishment of the fascist dictatorship in Germany, the pro-German reactionary forces of the countries of this part of the continent acquired a decisive role. Most of the fascist regimes in the small countries of Europe turned into direct allies and accomplices of Nazi Germany.

Unrestrained terror against progressive forces, the sharpest class hatred for revolutionary movements and the Soviet state were the main common feature of all fascist and semi-fascist dictatorships without exception. However, in a number of cases, these dictatorships not only preserved the remnants of bourgeois democracy, but even placed them at their service. This was the case in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, where parliaments continued to exist, although their role was reduced to submissive service to dictatorships, and the electoral rights of working people were curtailed to the utmost. On the contrary, in Spain, during the years of the fascist regime of General Primo de Rivera, the Cortes were dissolved, and in Yugoslavia, after the coup d'état of 1929, the National Assembly was even abolished.

The complexity and diversity of the social structure of the countries of South-Eastern and Central Europe, the associated general political instability [74]gave rise to many fascist groups competing with each other and fighting for power, oriented towards one or another imperialist power. That is why fascism in these countries could not go for the complete elimination of the bourgeois-parliamentary form of government and allowed the existence of "opposition" parties. On this occasion, G. Dimitrov at the 7th Congress of the Comintern said: “In some countries, mainly where fascism does not have a broad mass base and where the struggle of individual groups in the camp of the fascist bourgeoisie itself is strong enough, fascism does not immediately decide to liquidate the parliament and retains it for others bourgeois parties, as well as a certain legality for the Social Democracy” {252} .

Italian and German fascism succeeded in creating a significant mass base for itself by the methods of social demagogy. Social demagogy was inherent in all fascist parties and organizations in other countries as well. However, they were unable to create the same mass base, although some of the population was deceived by fascist promises.

The characteristic features of the dictatorships of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany include "fuhrership", that is, the personification in the person of the dictator of the supreme, peremptory and not bound by any laws of state power. It was noteworthy that the Italian Duce was in charge, despite the formal preservation of royal power in Italy.

In other countries, fascist dictators never became "fuhrers." Some similarity was only Pilsudski in Poland and individual leaders in Latin America. In Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, Japan, the dictatorship acquired a monarcho-fascist form - it relied on the supreme power of the king (Greece, Yugoslavia), the king (Bulgaria) or the emperor (Japan).

There were also certain differences in the field of ideology. This is, of course, not about its social essence, reactionary-bourgeois, but only about the degree to which this ideology was permeated with extreme racism and chauvinism. In this respect, their Japanese relative was on a par with Italian and German fascism. Nationalism took deep roots in bourgeois-landlord Poland and, to varying degrees, in other countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe. One of its manifestations was the persecution of national minorities, in Poland - Belarusians and Ukrainians. But still, in none of these countries did he reach such heights of fanaticism as in fascist Germany and Italy.

Aggressiveness was inherent in all varieties of fascism. Japanese monarcho-fascism in this respect was not inferior to Italian and German {253} . The three main instigators of a new world war sought to dominate the entire globe or a significant part of it. In other countries that did not have a great military and economic potential, there was also an insatiable thirst for territorial acquisitions, so inherent in the big bourgeoisie and landowners, but it did not spill over into a global scale, but manifested itself in predatory claims in relation to neighboring states. The ruling circles of Poland and Romania wanted to realize their territorial claims at the expense of the USSR.

When it came to aggression against the USSR, all the reactionary regimes, by virtue of their class nature, showed a striking unity, despite the contradictions between them. Hatred of the USSR united [75] the fascist regimes with German imperialism and its Hitlerite offspring. This was also largely due to the fact that the ruling circles of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe were aware of the might of the Soviet Union and would like to fight against it together with the more powerful capitalist powers. Their fascist dictators consoled themselves with the hope that their country would be able to become an equal partner of Hitlerite Germany in the aggression against the Soviet Union and realize their predatory claims.

The historical merit of the communist parties of countries with dictatorial regimes lies in the fact that, under the most difficult conditions of the most severe terror of the ruling circles, they tirelessly fought against fascism and war, for the true national interests of their peoples and countries. They presciently warned of the inevitable disastrous consequences of a reactionary-aggressive course {254} .

5. Fascism is war

One of the main tasks of the fascist dictatorships was to carry out certain state measures to regulate production, to further develop the system of state-monopoly capitalism in order to prepare for war as soon as possible and to carry out the aggressive plans of the ruling classes.

In those countries where, by the time fascism came to power, there was not yet developed monopoly capitalism, the establishment of a fascist dictatorship contributed to accelerated monopolization and the imposition of a system of state-monopoly regulation of the economy.

The foreign policy goals of fascism depended on the degree of power of a particular country. But everywhere the fascist dictatorships were used by the imperialist bourgeoisie for aggressive purposes, carrying with them a mortal threat to the Soviet Union, to the international communist movement, to the democratic rights and freedoms of working people, to the national and even biological existence of many peoples.

Fascism is war, the communists immediately said. “Since fascism,” notes Palm Dutt, “is ... the expression of the most violent policy of capitalism in crisis, it inevitably means war” {255} . The fascist cliques furiously accelerated the preparation and unleashing of the war, the objective causes of which were deeply rooted in the very system of state-monopoly capitalism. The West German historian Hofer agrees to admit that “the National Socialist dictatorship in Germany is the prerequisite without which the Second World War as a historical phenomenon would be unthinkable; the National Socialist dictatorship appears as its main cause" {256} . But fascism was a product of the imperialist system. Hofer does not expose [76]her guilt in causing world wars. In reality, it was the greedy financial capital of Germany, as A. Norden writes, "showed the path that Hitler had to take up arms" {257} .

The most influential person in the concerns of the Weimar Republic, K. Duisberg, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of IG Farbenindustry and President of the Imperial Union of German Industry, was one of those who nurtured the Fascist Party. And it is not surprising that Duisberg welcomed the rise of the Nazis to power. "Under the regime set up by Adolf Hitler, Germany will become powerful again," {258} , he declared.

It would be a mistake to think that bourgeois democracy can become a complete guarantee against war. Historical experience shows that even the most "democratic" bourgeois states resort to wars of conquest and aggression against other countries and peoples, and that each such war is combined with an intensification of reaction and terror within the country that leads it.

But the fascist political regime forced the adoption of the program that most corresponded to the will of finance capital. There was intense ideological coercion. Fascist terror spread to the realm of ideology as well. Fascist propaganda organs (in Germany, a ministry of popular clarification and propaganda was created), headed by Goebbels, acted in close contact with the political police (Gestapo in Germany) and made extensive use of its services. They did not convince people who held different views, they destroyed them.

They intensively propagated the most reactionary ideology - a complex of political, philosophical, religious, moral (actually immoral) and artistic (actually anti-artistic) views. The ideology of fascism, like itself, is a characteristic product of the general crisis of capitalism.

The ideologists of fascism were aware of their inability to oppose Marxism with any scientific theory. Therefore, their programs included the denial of social sciences, scientific knowledge, scientific worldview, calls for barbarism. Fascist ideologists openly said: "We are rather for a worldview that is criticized as barbarism, because we consider the best battle cry proclaimed in recent years: back to barbarism" {259} . Soon, the bonfires of burned books flared up in the streets and squares of the fascist countries, and subsequently the sky over Europe was eclipsed by the black smoke of crematoria.

From the denial of science, a definition of the worldview, characteristic of the Nazis, was also given, which they considered not as scientific knowledge of the laws of social development, but as a blind, reckless faith in the "truths" proclaimed by the Fuhrer. Hitler defined the official purpose of such an understanding of the worldview in the following words: "A person can die (in war. - Ed.) only for the idea that he does not understand." In other words, if people understood the class meaning of Nazi ideas, they would not fight for them.

The complex of fascist ideas was almost the same in all countries where such dictatorships were established. In the first place was the racial theory, according to which this nation is the only one, "chosen by God", and therefore world domination [72] and all the riches of the earth should belong to it. After all, the “chosen nation” cannot live in conditions of a limited and therefore insufficient “living space”! In reality, the fascists only cared about the monopoly top. In order to hide the true meaning of their slogans, the fascist leaders strenuously convinced the population of the country of the complete coincidence and unity of their ideas with national interests.

Another important component of the fascist ideology and policy was the glorification of brute force, which is allegedly the main factor in social progress and the entire development of mankind. This was inextricably linked with the cult of the leader, the "superman", who differed from ordinary mortals by the strength of his intellect, the will to universal power, the ability to subjugate the masses and the means of extreme cruelty to achieve his goals. Fascist leaders and Fuhrers were proclaimed examples of such "supermen".

The ideology of fascism demanded the recognition of the Fuhrer's absolute rightness and unlimited confidence in him. By all means - from the press and radio, theatrical performances and mass spectacles to concentration camps and torture - the Nazis convinced the population that such trust does not require any reflection or proof, that it is based solely on faith, which is of a religious nature. Both Mussolini and Hitler called fascism a religious concept, the highest form of religious worship.

The fascist cult of the leader is also used by some modern bourgeois authors in order to prove that fascism was the product of only individual personalities.

Representatives of various trends in bourgeois historiography are united by the desire to hide the class character of fascism as a dictatorship of monopoly capital. Bourgeois historians, philosophers and sociologists are trying to portray fascism as a kind of conglomeration of "revolutionary and conservative" forces, not amenable to a clear socio-political characterization.

Modern pro-fascist literature is characterized by the book of the English author Hamilton, who pretends to be a historian. In the preface, he writes: "Essentially, fascism was a 'myth', a contradictory 'system of idols', defying logical definition or rational analysis." {260}. He is trying to convince the youth, who did not survive the war and the bombing of British cities by German aircraft, that there was no fascism at all, there is only a myth about fascism. However, behind his vague formulations lies a certain concept, which was revealed by the publisher, who placed the following annotation on the dust jacket of Hamilton's book: “Modern historians prefer to reconsider the truth about fascism, not to say that he appealed to reasonable people of good will in his early years. It would be too easy ... to consider the early development of fascism as a malignant formation, as an inevitable forerunner of the Nazi concentration camps.

This is how the fascist executioners are portrayed as spokesmen for the good will of reasonable people! The malignant nature of fascism, which not only gave rise to monstrous atrocities, but also manifested itself in these crimes against humanity, is being questioned.

The concepts of the American historian D. Weiss, the Englishman S. Wolfe, and the West German historian E. Nolte have gained wide acceptance in the West. They all want to consign fascism to oblivion, to erase from the history of the recent past an important component of it—the struggle [78] of the peoples against fascism. Wulff suggests that the word 'fascism' be dropped from the political vocabulary, if only temporarily . Weiss calls fascism "the last gasp of conservatism" {262} . For Nolte, fascism is a conservative phenomenon that has its own nature {263}. Both Weiss and Nolte are trying to find the origins of fascism in the feudal reaction to the Great French bourgeois revolution. This concept, therefore, ignores the symbiosis of feudal and monopoly reaction inherent in imperialism, the unity of militarism and state-monopoly capitalism.

A large group of bourgeois researchers, denying the genetic relationship between fascism and extreme conservatism, focuses on the "revolutionary" components of fascism. Such views are most actively defended by the American historian E. Weber. He is unhappy that there are still scientists who continue to confuse reactionaries and fascists {264} . The Fascists, Weber argued, "were or wanted to be revolutionaries" {265} .

The concepts of reactionary historiography, often mutually exclusive at first glance, are imbued with a desire to rehabilitate fascism, to hinder the struggle of progressive forces against neo-fascism. Reactionary historiography hides the true class face and official purpose of fascism, which is a whole hierarchical system of organized mass violence created by financial capital. Fascism was called upon by the imperialist rulers to play the role of the organizer of a new world war.

The history of fascism as a specific social phenomenon, which has acquired various specific forms in individual countries, convincingly reveals its essence. Fascism was a direct offspring of world imperialism, it was nurtured and nurtured by it. It appeared where it was most needed by monopoly capital. The terrorist fascist dictatorship had a very definite class purpose. It was created to deal with the revolutionary, democratic, national liberation, communist movement, to prepare and unleash aggressive wars. Since the nature of imperialism has not changed, fascism still exists today in some countries and represents a significant potential threat in the capitalist world.

The service role of fascism was not limited to numerous local acts of aggression conceived and carried out by it at the behest of the monopolies. It was imperialism and its brainchild, fascism, that formed the hotbeds of the Second World War.