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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the core of the matter, 23 Feb 2008
This review is from: Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler: The Sense of a New Beginning Under Mussolini and Hitler (Paperback)
Palingenesis has been used for the exact reproduction of ancestral features by inheritance. Roger Griffin understands the political ideology of Fascism as a palingenetic ideology, primarily as a result of the notion that Fascism itself is the rebirth of an empire in the image of that which came before it. The best examples of this can be found with both Fascist Italy and Germany - Italy looking to establish a palingenetic line between the 20th Century regime under Mussolini as being the second incarnation of the Roman Empire, while Hitler's 'Third Reich' was seen as being the second palingenetic incarnation - beginning first with the Holy Roman Empire (First Reich) then with Bismarck's Germany (Second Reich) and then resulting in Fascist Germany (Third Reich).

In other words it seeks, by directly mobilizing popular energies or working through an elite, to eventually conquer cultural hegemony for new values, to bring about the total rebirth of the nation from its present decadence, whether the nation is conceived as a historically formed nation-state or a racially determined 'ethnos'. Conceived in these terms, fascism is an ideology that has assumed a large number of specific national permutations and several distinct organizational forms.

Griffin's approach has already had an enduring impact on the comparative fascist literature of the last 15 years, and builds on the work of George Mosse, Stanley Payne, and Emilio Gentile in highlighting the revolutionary and totalizing politico-cultural nature of the fascist revolution (in marked contrast with Marxist approaches). Now, his latest book, Modernism and Fascism, locates the mainspring of the fascist drive for national rebirth in the modernist bid to achieve an alternative modernity, which is driven by a rejection of the decadence of 'actually existing modernity' under liberal democracy or tradition. The fascist attempt to institute a different civilization and a new temporality in the West found its most comprehensive expression in the 'modernist states' of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, which also revealed the destructive and self-destructive nature of all fascist political projects to 'regenerate' the nation or achieving cultural renewal.

In this context the reviewer was most impressed by page 351: "Inter-war fascist movements had no exit strategy. ... They were bound eventually to become bogged down in their dynamism, moribund in their vitalism. There could be no stabilization, no viable routinization of the charismatic legitimacy of the state (that means, no "Empire Artam"), no social or military peace, no institutional procedures for passing on power to a non-charismatic leader, or for reinvesting it in the party. Nor could power even on the paper be one day entrusted to the people itself in a gradual process of democratization ... . Had Mussolini and Hitler managed to cling on to power, ... then both regimes may have gone the way of Salazar's Portugal and Franco's Spain, charismatic power draining away to a point where the renewal of autocracy after their deaths was impossible, and rapid democratization ensued. However, such an atrophy of modernist energies would have been the ultimate betrayal of the fascist world-view."
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Sep 2013 16:45:19 BDT
Calgacus says:
There was no such thing as 'Fascist Germany'! The Third Reich was NATIONAL-SOCIALIST Germany. Fascism and National-Socialism were very different worldviews (if Fascism could be described as a worldview rather than a mere political ideology).
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