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review 2018-11-14 15:44
What is fascism?
The Anatomy of Fascism - Robert O. Paxton

Over the past few years, the word "fascist" has been deployed increasingly to describe modern-day political movements in the United States, Hungary, Greece, and Italy, to name a few places. The word brings with it some of the most odious associations from the 20th century, namely Nazi Germany and the most devastating war in human history. Yet to what degree is the label appropriate and to what extent is it more melodramatic epithet than an appropriate description?

 

It was in part to answer that question that I picked up a copy of Robert O. Paxton's book. As a longtime historian of 20th century France and author of a seminal work on the Vichy regime, he brings a perspective to the question that is not predominantly Italian or German. This shows in the narrative, as his work uses fascist movements in nearly every European country to draw out commonalities that explain the fascist phenomenon. As he demonstrates, fascism can be traced as far back as the 1880s, with elements of it proposed by authors and politicians across Europe in order to mobilize the growing population of voters (thanks to new measures of enfranchisement) to causes other than communism. Until then, it was assumed by nearly everyone that such voters would be automatic supporters for socialist movements. Fascism proposed a different appeal, one based around nationalist elements which socialism ostensibly rejected.

 

Despite this, fascism remained undeveloped until it emerged in Italy in the aftermath of the First World War. This gave Benito Mussolini and his comrades a flexibility in crafting an appeal that won over the established elites in Italian politics and society. From this emerged a pattern that Paxton identifies in the emergence of fascism in both Italy and later in Germany, which was their acceptance by existing leaders as a precondition for power. Contrary to the myth of Mussolini's "March on Rome," nowhere did fascism take over by seizing power; instead they were offered it by conservative politicians as a solution to political turmoil and the threatened emergence of a radical left-wing alternative. It was the absence of an alternative on the right which led to the acceptance of fascism; where such alternatives (of a more traditional right-authoritarian variety) existed, fascism remained on the fringes. The nature of their ascent into power also defined the regimes that emerged, which were characterized by tension between fascists and more traditional conservatives, and often proved to be far less revolutionary in practice than their rhetoric promised.

 

Paxton's analysis is buttressed by a sure command of his subject. He ranges widely over the era, comparing and contrasting national groups in a way that allows him to come up an overarching analysis of it as a movement. All of this leads him to this final definition:

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. (p. 218)

While elements of this are certainly present today, they are hardly unique to fascism and exist in various forms across the political spectrum. Just as important, as Paxton demonstrates, is the context: one in which existing institutions are so distrusted or discredited that the broader population is willing to sit by and watch as they are compromised, bypassed, or dismantled in the name of achieving fascism's goals. Paxton's arguments here, made a decade before Donald Trump first embarked on his candidacy, are as true now as they were then. Reading them helped me to appreciate better the challenge of fascism, both in interwar Europe and in our world today. Everyone seeking to understand it would do well to start with this perceptive and well-argued book.

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review 2017-12-26 15:56
The enabling image
The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich - Ian Kershaw

This is a book that, having read Ian Kershaw's massive two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler (which he wrote afterward), I didn't think I needed to read. Now I realize how wrong I was; this is one of the absolute must-reads for anyone seeking to understand how the Third Reich functioned.

 

Kershaw's focus in this book is on Hitler's popularity and its role in legitimizing the regime. Using Max Weber's formulation of "charismatic authority," he examines the rise of the "leadership cult" around Hitler, and how it became an important instrument in Nazi rule. This was hardly an original invention of Hitler's, but drew upon leadership cults in German culture from imperial times. Conservative Germans disaffected from the Weimar Republic longed for a strong man to restore Germanys their imperial greatness, while the miseries of the Great Depression led many to seek someone who could deliver Germany from its travails. Hitler's public persona was crafted to satisfy this demand, and was the key ingredient in the Nazis's rise to power.

 

Hitler maintained this aura as chancellor through careful image management. An important aspect of this was the awareness that its maintenance required association with positive developments. Because of this his appearances were rationed, tied to announcements of economic progress and foreign policy triumphs. By contrast the party itself soon came into popular disrepute through its conspicuous displays of petty corruption. Not only did Hitler rise above this, but his popularity ensured his indispensability to the party -- in short, they needed him in order to maintain their authority.

 

For all of Hitler's (and Joseph Goebbels's) success in maintaining his popularity, Kershaw sees it as contingent upon circumstances. The gap between economic promises and results was ignored as Hitler scored foreign policy triumphs, while general uneasiness about the outbreak of the war in 1939 was soon dispelled by the military triumphs in Western Europe. Yet Kershaw portrays Hitler as falling victim to the classic flaw of believing his own press, with the failure to bring about a popularly-anticipated end to the war, coupled with the surprise attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, as signaling the beginning of the decline of his stature. With the German people increasingly exposed to the failings and brutality of the Nazi regime, Hitler's popularity plummeted to the point when, by the end of the war, they regarded themselves as much as victims of it as were the rest of Europe.

 

Kershaw's book is a fascinating study of the role the Hitler image played in Nazi Germany. His analysis helps to explain much about his role for the German people during those years, and how Germans rationalized the terrible developments of those years. If there is a flaw, it's that Kershaw doesn't tie his findings into broader discussions of leadership beyond Weber; his argument about how Germans saw Hitler as unaware of Nazi corruption, for example, was squarely in a tradition of "the courtiers, not the king" rationalizations which have a long tradition in Western history. Nevertheless, this is a enormously important study of the Nazi regime, one that should be interested in this history of modern Germany or the Second World War.

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url 2016-05-05 05:31
Grapples with ‘Mein Kampf’ profits
Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler

A long and somewhat disturbing article in the Boston Globe:

What do you do with the devil’s lucre?

 

That’s the question Boston-based publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has been grappling with for more than 80 years, as it has quietly disbursed the royalties and profits from “Mein Kampf,” the infamous screed Adolf Hitler composed while in prison following the failed beer hall putsch of 1923.

 

For the past 16 years, the publisher, which first printed the book in the United States in 1933, has addressed the question by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds from its sale to groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, and Facing History and Ourselves — specialized organizations that have used the funds as a sort of direct moral equalizer, putting them toward Holocaust education or programs that combat anti-Semitism.

 

Recently, however, the company has quietly decided to change course, shifting its grant-making focus from programs explicitly related to Holocaust awareness and Jewish education to those that promote tolerance more generally. This delicate pivot has become even more complicated locally, as the publishing house has sought to focus the book’s proceeds in Boston, inviting a handful of area institutions to propose projects for funding. At least one — Boston Children’s Museum — has said no, discomfited by the Hitler connection.

............

To read the rest, click on the link.

Source: www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2016/04/30/boston-publisher-grapples-with-mein-kampf-profits/zgFxVGBpfPx98xKchc382L/story.html
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review 2015-10-15 00:00
كفاحي
كفاحي - Adolf Hitler,أدولف هتلر,لويس الح... كفاحي - Adolf Hitler,أدولف هتلر,لويس الحاج لا أعرف إن قمت بتقييم هذا الكتاب قهل سيحسب ذلك تقييماً لشخصية أدولف هتلر نفسه
أم لكتابه؟
لهذا سأترك هذه المراجعة بلا تقييم وأحتفظ برأيي لنفسي
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text 2015-03-28 20:46
Jason sale!
I Killed Adolf Hitler - Jason
Werewolves of Montpellier - Jason
The Iron Wagon - Jason
Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories - Jason
The Last Musketeer - Jason
Tell Me Something - Jason
You Can't Get There from Here - Jason
The Living and the Dead - Jason
Jason Conquers America - Jason
Meow, Baby! - Jason

Jason is a Norwegian cartoonist.   He first came to my attention when I realized he'd drawn the art for I Killed Adolf Hitler.   I was intrigued.  

 

His treasury is 52% of at Comixology here.

 

I'm tempted, because he's got a very distinct style and I've heard amazing things from him.   In the end, $100 is expensive for someone I've never read, so I won't end up getting it, but I figured in case anyone else knew of Jason, and was interested in collecting his books, here's the place to start. 

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