When someone tries to create a totalitarian movement, they first of all build an image of the enemy. Fascism, Stalinism and Nazism appeared in the context of World War I and all the three regimes created external enemies in order to achieve their goals, writer Alexandru Cosmescu, coordinating scientific researcher of “B. P. Hasdeu” Institute of Romanian Philology and the Institute of History of the Moldova State University, said in a public debate staged by IPN.
“There are all kinds of strategies for creating an enemy by different propaganda technologies. For example, today the West is the enemy of Russia. The enemy is depicted as such because this allegedly does not allow them to breathe. The physical extermination of that enemy – that can be classes, races or nations - is the only method of establishing such a regime,” stated Alexandru Cosmescu.
He noted that the same methods are now applied by Putin’s regime in Ukraine. “For example, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the strategy applied by Putin with regard to the enemy, which is the West, has the message: “the collective West, with its decadent values, aims to keep Russia on its knees and respectively Russia, as a great state, should revive and fight against this collective West that tries to build an anti-Russia in Ukraine”. In Putin’s view, Ukraine is Russia and it is part of the Russian cultural space. Aspects of such an attitude are present in all these regimes about which we speak,” stated the historian.
According to Alexandru Cosmescu, the absence of an initial program was one of the common features of Fascism and Nazism, which was recognized both by Mussolini and Hitler. They started from what Hitler called “a worldview”, while Mussolini called “spiritual attitude”.
“Together with the start of World War I, Mussolini acknowledged the traits of this, which included total mobilization of the population, elimination of difference between civilian and military, and the technological nature of the war as revolutionary characteristic that should be kept. His basic conflict with the Italian Socialists, who were then pacifists and didn’t want Italy to enter the war, derived from here. He abandoned the party and then created the first Fascist party that took over in 1922.”
As to the reasons why they more often use the term “Fascism” than “Nazism” is that ”Fascism” was slightly milder than “Nazism”. “The Fascist regimes, including Nazism, were spread in a lot of countries. It is a matter that does not match any textbook definition and rather has common traits, including the death cult that is very important for all the Fascist regimes,” concluded Alexandru Cosmescu.
The public debate entitled “What do Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism have in common?” was the ninth installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.