APWH: The Rise of European Fascism

Posted on April 16, 2020

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After WWI, economic uncertainties bred fear. Political parties and ideologies, as always, seized upon that and exploited that. We’ve seen the Russian Revolution and the growth of Communism in Russia, but Communist parties also grew in Western Europe as a response to massive unemployment and gross inflation levels. Germany, due to the punishments in the Treaty of Versailles, was particularly vulnerable to the rise of extremism as both Communists and Fascists promised to fix everything that ailed people.

Italy, the birthplace of fascism (see this powerpoint for more in-depth information), was also extremely volatile post WWI. Fascists found a sworn enemy in Communists, and the people of Italy, Germany, and elsewhere were caught in the middle. Eventually the governments of Italy and Germany became fascist under Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. If you’re wondering why, it’s because that despite the despots that they became, to gain power all they had to do was promise one thing – to fix their countries’ problems. Hitler especially was responsible for yanking Germany out of one of the worst economic depressions that the world has ever seen, and many infrastructure improvements (like the Autobahn) and easily accessible consumer products (the Volkswagen) were created under his early rule. People focused on this and either missed – or applied selective attention to – the red flags inherent in Fascist ideology.

Please today view the above video on Fascism, click the above PowerPoint link on Fascism in Italy and scroll through, scroll through this PowerPoint on Europe in the 1920s and by Monday at 11:59, please complete this chart on the multitude of ways that Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles. While you guys are filling that out, be thinking about how you think the German people responded to these measures – it’ll help explain how Hitler got into power.