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8 Four Major Variants of Fascism Before World War II, only two fascist-type movements were able to come to power, and these two were the only ones to create historically significant fascist regimes. Though the radicalizing impact of the depression, combined with the influence ofNazi Germany, gave major impetus to fascist movements in a number of countries, only a few managed to attract significant support, and even in these cases none were capable of taking power independently. Nonetheless, the cases of Austria, Spain, Hungary, and Romania merit special attention, for these were the only other countries in which fascist-type movements came to play an important role, however briefly. AUSTRIA Austria presented perhaps the clearest case in Europe of the three faces of authoritarian nationalism: two moderate right authoritarian sectors (the large Christian Social Party and the smaller pan-German groups); a more radical, more overtly authoritarian, and violent rightist sector, led by the Heimwehr; and revolutionary fascist-type nationalists in the form of the Austrian Nazis. The first fifteen years of the Austrian Republic were dominated by the political Catholicism of the Christian Social Party and by its principal adversary , the Socialists or Social Democrats. Both originally stood for the unification of Austria with Germany, but this was forbidden by the peace treaty, and during the first years they collaborated uneasily in constructing a new parliamentary regime in what remained of Austrian territory, beset by manifold problems of economic adjustment. The Socialists retained the support of the bulk of Austrian labor and blocked the path of communism, but their commitment to democracy was less than complete. They looked to the triumph 245 246 PART I: HISTORY of socialism and the supersession of the present system, through a process which a few of the more radical still referred to as a dictatorship of the proletariat . Similarly, the Christian Socials-who before the war had been led by the popular anti-Semitic demagogue Karl Lueger-were also less than fully committed to democracy. Led by Dr. Ignaz Seipel (a priest and theology professor ), they governed in coalition with other small parties for most of the 1920s but talked of "true democracy" as distinct from the present parliamentary system and tended to lean toward its replacement by a corporative regime, should circumstances permit. J The most significant group espousing authoritarian activism was the Heimwehr -the "home guard" that was the largest of several paramilitary civilian forces created in 1919-20 to protect Austria's frontiers in a moment of great flux and secondarily to protect conservative interests from Marxism. The Heimwehr was to some extent the counterpart of the German Freikorps, and like the laUer, it was committed to nationalism, paramilitary activism, and opposition to the left.2 The Heimwehr never achieved tight organizational unity or a very specific ideology. Like the Austrian right in general, the Heimwehr had its social basis mainly in the small towns and countryside. Conflict between the right and the Socialists first peaked in 1927, enabling the Heimwehr to gain recruits as an alternative to the'party system. Its members enjoyed support from the Hugenburg sector of the DNVP and the Stahlhelm in Germany and, more important, financial assistance from Mussolini (channeled at first through the conservative Hungarian government, another patron). At the same time, generic fascism was developing in the form of Austrian Nazism, hardly surprising in view of the fact that German-speaking national socialism had originated in greater Austria in 1903-4. Though the main support of the original German Workers Party (DAP) came from the Sudetenland in Bohemia-Moravia (after 1918 the new state of Czechoslovakia), there were also smaller sections in the territory of the postwar Austrian Republic. In 1918, shortly before the end of the war, the DAP in Austria changed its name to DNSAP (German National Socialist Workers Party), presaging the ultimate title of Hitler's party and also preceding it in the creation of a swastika flag and in coining the slogan Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz (The common good before the individual good). Initially most of the DNSAP's membership lay in Czechoslovakia, and it won only 0.79 percent of the vote in the first Austrian 1. Klemens von Klemperer's biography Ignaz Seipel (Princeton, 1972) is reasonably favorable to Seipel. For the broader political context, see W. B. Simon, Oesterreich. 1918-1938: Ideologien und Politik (Vienna, 1984). 2. H. G. W. Nusser, Konservative Wehrverbiinde in 8ayern. Preussen und Oesterreich. 1918-1933 (Munich, 1973), is the principal...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780299148737
Related ISBN
9780299148744
MARC Record
OCLC
45733847
Launched on MUSE
2012-06-26
Language
English
Open Access
No
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