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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Rise and Fall of Fascism


Fascism was probably the most important political ideology created during the 20th century. In the inter-war period it dominated half of Europe and threatened to overwhelm the other half. It also influenced many countries across the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and South Africa. In Asia, for example, its influence was probably strongest on the Chinese Kuomintang, Japanese militarists and Hindu nationalists. My book Fascists (Cambridge University Press, 2004) is based on research on fascists where they were strongest, in six European countries -- Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Spain. In the book I ask the question, why did fascism rise to such prominence? And I answer it looking at the men and women who became fascists: who were they, what did they believe in, and how did they act?

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