The Anatomy of Fascism

Paperback $17.00

Mar 08, 2005 | 336 Pages

Ebook $13.99

Dec 18, 2007 | 336 Pages

  • Paperback $17.00

    Mar 08, 2005 | 336 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Dec 18, 2007 | 336 Pages


"So fair, so thorough and, in the end, so convincing, it may well become the most authoritative . . . study of the subject. . . . A splendid book." –The New York Times Book Review

"Useful and timely. . . . Mussolini and Hitler were the prototypical fascist leaders, and Paxton chronicles their rise to power–and their global influence and ultimate fall–with a brilliant economy." –San Francisco Chronicle

"A deeply intelligent and very readable book. . . . Historical analysis at its best." –The Economist

“[A] helpful contribution, thoughtfully mapping out the descent of a civilized people — first the Italians, then the Germans — into a primal state (and state of being) ruled by mythology, symbol and emotion. . . . Serves as a reminder of our power and responsibility.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Until now there has been no satisfying account of fascism that includes a convincing diagnostic kit for identifying its symptoms. . . . Robert Paxton steps in to restore sanity, with his view that fascism is not what was believed but what was done.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review

Table Of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction
The Invention of Fascism
Images of Fascism
Where Do We Go from Here?

Chapter 2 Creating Fascist Movements
The Immediate Background
Intellectual, Cultural, and Emotional Roots
Long-Term Preconditions
Understanding Fascism by Its Origins

Chapter 3 Taking Root
Successful Fascisms
—(1) The Po Valley, Italy, 1920–22
—(2) Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 1928–33

An Unsuccessful Fascism: France, 1924–40
Some Other Unsuccessful Fascisms
Comparisons and Conclusions

Chapter 4 Getting Power
Mussolini and the “March on Rome”
Hitler and the “Backstairs Conspiracy”
What Did Not Happen: Election, Coup d’Etat, Solo Triumph Forming Alliances
What Fascists Offered the Establishment
The Prefascist Crisis
Revolutions after Power: Germany and Italy
Comparisons and Alternatives

Chapter 5 Exercising Power
The Nature of Fascist Rule: “Dual State” and Dynamic Shapelessness
The Tug-of-War between Fascists and Conservatives
The Tug-of-War between Leader and Party
The Tug-of-War between Party and State
Accommodation, Enthusiasm, Terror
The Fascist “Revolution”

Chapter 6 The Long Term: Radicalization or Entropy?
What Drives Radicalization?
Trying to Account for the Holocaust
Italian Radicalization: Internal Order, Ethiopia, Salò
Final Thoughts

Chapter 7 Other Times, Other Places
Is Fascism Still Possible?
Western Europe since 1945
Post-Soviet Eastern Europe
Fascism Outside Europe

Chapter 8 What Is Fascism?
Conflicting Interpretations
What Is Fascism?

Bibliographical Essay

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