Friday, July 29, 2022

Jasenovac - or what is wrong with "Fascism"

Wrangel - or What's Right With Fascism · Jasenovac - or what is wrong with "Fascism" · More than One Brand of Fascism

To many in the West, the word Fascism refers to a movement rejecting both Marxist revolutions and Capitalistic laissez-faire with exploitation, and usually excluding Social Demcracy which can also be so described, but which has some Marxist roots and therefore also agendas, like Feminism.

In this sense, I am a Fascist, and, as said, count Wrangel as one of the earliest.

However, in Eastern Europe, the word is used in another way. It basically means in former Communist countries "Hitler and his allies" and the focus is on walking over extant frontiers during World War II and also human rights violations.

I think, the word used this way should be replaced by the phrase "Hitler and his allies" - but I am not holding my breath for Serbs to replace Ustasha as "allies of Hitler" (or directly Ustasha) rather than simply as "Fascists" or for Poles to concede that Pilsudski's later years were a fairly typical Fascism (the way I and some in the West use the word) when they have so many neighbours using the word in a very different way.

In World War II, Francisco Franco was not an ally of Hitler. He was not an ally of the Ustasha. But usually he is termed Fascist dictator. And Dollfuss was killed, Schuschnigg was made captive on Hitler's orders or with his approval. Yet, they are called Austrofascists.

I think three of the Fascisms actually went bad, all three allied in World War II : Hitler's, Mussolini's and the Ustasha. I obviously appreciate that Tudjman preferred Franco over the Ustasha. Hitler's NSDAP went bad basically when it started, it was as obsessed with race as New England secularised Puritans (Lovecraft is a good story-teller, according to some, but would not make a good politician). Mussolini went from good to bad about when he changed preferences for Austrofascism into preferences for Hitler - which was after a fairly good first 15 years or so. And Ustasha went bad pretty quickly after getting to power - the Independent state was founded in 1941 6th of April and Jasenovac opened in August same year. So, of the three which went bad, only the Italian one had been good before.

When it comes to Pétain, I am not sure he ever wanted simply to save Jews, but he actually did so, because he did want the Free Zone to be, well, free ... and then in 1942, he was forced to start the Laval government, which was bad. What do you expect of someone a puppet régime of Hitler, once he starts shortening the strings? In my teens and twenties, I put Mussolini here too, I thought he only went bad with the Salò Republic (when he was a puppet régime), but, unfortunately, letting Schuschnigg down in 1938 and issuing the Carta della Razza in 1937, perhaps endorsing the use of gas against Ethiopian civilians even earlier, no, not quite good in the end on his own either. But he had been better before - giving the Church back some of its rights, ending the Communist revolutionary moves of Biennio Rosso, forcing factory owners to pay properly and not to overwork workers ... he started out at the very least OK.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Olaf's day

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