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Philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state's authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal and democratic values are disparaged. Fascism arose during the 1920s and '30s partly out of fear of the rising power of the working classes; it differed from contemporary communism (as practiced under Joseph Stalin) by its protection of business and landowning elites and its preservation of class systems. The leaders of the fascist governments of Italy (1922–43), Germany (1933–45), and Spain (1939–75)Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Francisco Francowere portrayed to their publics as embodiments of the strength and resolve necessary to rescue their nations from political and economic chaos. Japanese fascists (1936–45) fostered belief in the uniqueness of the Japanese spirit and taught subordination to the state and personal sacrifice. See alsototalitarianism; neofascism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fascism, visit Britannica.com.