Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Peter H. Merkl
In the years between World Wars I and II, there were violent fascist movements all over Europe. Nearly every country had at least one; France had six and Switzerland three. The fascist category was quite vague and included, among several competing groups, militant nationalists and veterans of World War I. Their chief antagonists, the socialists and communists, called them fascists—from Benito Mussolini's fasci di combattimento (combat squads)—but the criteria for such a label to be used were rather hazy at first. Even after nearly a decade in power, Mussolini himself was reluctant to define the faith of his movement until he allowed Giovanni Gentile, a fascist philosopher, to write his famous article on fascism for the Italian Encyclopedia Treccani in 1931. A once-prominent revolutionary socialist leader, Mussolini forged the character of his movement as he went along, seeking violent confrontations with his erstwhile party comrades and accepting the support The ...