Fascism is is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce. Mussolini first used the term ‘fascism’ in his movement, Fasci of Revolutionary Action, in 1915 Italy.
Communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology which aims to create a society, that is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state. While the term communism originated in the 16th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels redefined the concept in The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Marxism–Leninism is a political ideology developed by Joseph Stalin, that was implemented in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Totalitarianism is the political concept where the state recognizes no limits so that the citizen should be totally subject to an autocratic authority. It is interesting that fascism and communism both end as totalitarianistic, despite there vastly differing basic philosophies. Fascism in Italy and Germany were basically the same form of government as communism in the Soviet Union because of controlling dictators, secret police, and propaganda. Benito Mussolini was the leader of the Italian Fascist Party which he created in 1919.
OVRA an acronym for Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Anti-Fascism was founded in 1927. OVRA is “a network of special and informal secret inspectorates set up outside and above the official Public Security political division, whose structure, mission, and modus operandi clearly helped subvert Italy’s liberal institutions and achieve totalitarian control.” (Savella, 1) It is estimated that 4,000 people were arrested by OVRA and sent to trial or exile. OVRA’s primary purpose was to run the Casellario Politico Centrale or CPC, a secret archive where large amounts of personal information were compiled to create an individual profile which contained private data regarding citizen’s education, culture, and habits. Not only did Mussolini create a fascist regime with his secret police, but he also maintained total control over the media to reinforce his dictatorship. Mussolini believed in “”Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” Benito Mussolini’s formulation remains one of the most enduring definitions of modern totalitarianism.
Italy’s Fascist regime was the first to declare itself totalitarian” (Everything Within the State) Adolf Hitler “ruled Germany as a dictator from 1933 to 1945¨ (Hitler, 1). Hitler is responsible for the creation of the Nazi Party and the devastating event known as the Holocaust. His use of propaganda and other manipulative and fear-inducing tactics is one of the many causes for his rise to power. Nazi propaganda minister secretary, Brunhilde Pomsel “was promoted to work as one of several assistant to Goebbels, who as minister of propaganda oversaw all means of communications in Germany, including newspapers, magazines, radio, books, entertainment and rallies.” (Langer, 1) By controlling the media, Hitler was able to spread his fascist ideas and gain rapid power and support. Once Hitler had control over Germany, he was able to form a loyal police, much like Mussolini’s OVRA. The Nazi police were called the Gestapo, an abbreviation for Geheime Staatspolizei which translates to Secret State Police.
The Gestapo enforced Hitler’s political ideas and eliminated all who opposed him. They were exempt from civil laws and arrested not only Jews, but leftists, political clergy, homosexuals, and trade unionists. Due to these reasons, Hitler’s rule was undoubtedly totalitarianism. Joseph Stalin governed the Soviet Union in the 1920s after Lenin’s death.Near the end of the 1920s, Stalin “forced through the building of a socialist state, herding 120 million peasants onto collective farms or into the gulag and arresting and murdering immense numbers of loyal people in the officer corps, the secret police, embassies, spy networks, scientific and artistic circles, and party organizations.
” “This was only the start of a seven-decade war by the Soviet regime on its own citizens, with varying brutality and scale, but with the Cheka – later known as the GPU, the NKVD, the MGB and the KGB – always in the avant-garde of repression.” (Kara-Murza, 1)Ultimately, communism in the Soviet Union and fascism in Italy and Germany resulted in the same form of totalitarianistic government because they all had controlling dictators, secret police and propaganda. While idealistic communism and fascism differ in fundamental principles, in practice they inevitably produce similar totalitarian leaders. Communism began with the idea of communal ownership by the people (workers). Fascism developed from the desire for a strong central government and decisive leader. In Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union, these core values yielded autocratic rulers who imposed there will using propaganda and an unprincipled police force.