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POLSC302: Contemporary Political Thought

Unit 6: Fascism and Authoritarianism   Fascism is most often associated with the post-World War I regimes of Germany, Italy, and Spain.  Fascism is typified by a combination of fierce nationalism and leadership via “the cult of personality” which together give rise to an authoritarian regime in which persons believed to be outsiders or threats are victimized through systemic and institutional means.  In fascist states, the government intertwines itself throughout the fabric of society, controlling education, religion, the media, and business in such a manner that there are no outlets for challenging or seeking relief from the regime.  In more recent times, fascist leadership has been seen in Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit will take approximately 7.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 2.5 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Summarize the primary principles of fascism and authoritarianism.
  • Identify the major political theorists of fascism and authoritarianism.
  • Discuss fascism and authoritarianism in the context of historical events.
  • Assess the impact that Marxism, fascism, and authoritarianism has had on law, economics, international relations, and society.
  • Analyze the primary sources of fascist and authoritarian political theory and understand how these theories can be applied to solve problems in society.

6.1 Fascism   - Reading: The Library of Economics and Liberty: Sheldon Richman’s “Fascism” Links: The Library of Economics and Liberty: Sheldon Richman’s “Fascism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this article.
 
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  • Reading: Rense.com: Dr. Lawrence Britt’s “Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism” Link: Rense.com: Dr. Lawrence Britt’s “Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this article where Dr. Britt attempts to extract common characteristics from a number of fascist regimes.
     
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  • Reading: Remember.org: Chip Berlet’s “What is Fascism?” Link: Remember.org: Chip Berlet’s “What is Fascism?” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this article which traces the history of fascism from the French Revolution to World War II.
     
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  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor John Merriman’s “Fascists” Link: Yale University: Professor John Merriman’s “Fascists” (YouTube)

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    Instructions: Please watch this lecture (48 minutes).  Dr. Merriman discusses how  fascism took root amid the political and economic instability of postwar Germany, enabling ideologues like Adolph Hitler rise to power.
     
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  • Lecture: iTunesU: Duke University: Lutz Musner and Carso Maledetto’s “Industrialized Warfare and the Rise of Fascism in Italy” Link: iTunesU: Duke University: Lutz Musner and Carso Maledetto’s “Industrialized Warfare and the Rise of Fascism in Italy” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Go to the above website and scroll down to podcast #62 to view this lecture (56 minutes).
     
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6.2 Nazi Germany, Authoritarianism, and Cult of Personality Governance   - Reading: BBC: Jeremy Nokes’ “The Rise of Adolf Hitler” Link: BBC: Jeremy Nokes’ “The Rise of Adolf Hitler” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this article. 
 
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  • Reading: The History Place: “Hitler's Book ‘Mein Kampf’” Link: The History Place: “Hitler's Book ‘Mein Kampf’” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the synopsis of Mein Kampf.  Written in 1923 while Hitler was imprisoned for a failed coup, the book combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of his political ideology.  Mein Kampfwas significant in 1925 because it was an open source for the presentation of Hitler's ideas about the state of the world. The book is significant in our time because a retrospective review of the text reveals the crystallization of Hitler's decision to completely exterminate the Jewish presence in Europe.  Due to its racist content and the historical effect of Nazism upon Europe, it is considered a highly controversial book.
     
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  • Reading: BBC: Dr. Geoffrey Megargee’s “Hitler’s Leadership Style” Link: BBC: Dr. Geoffrey Megargee’s “Hitler's Leadership Style” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this article which assesses Hitler’s effectiveness as a military commander.
     
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  • Reading: Carles Boix and Milan Svolik’s “The Foundations of Limited Authoritarian Government: Institutions and Power-Sharing in Dictatorships” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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