Originally an Italian political movement which took power in 1922, the term has been extended to include ultra right-wing regimes in other countries, particularly of a Latin or Mediterranean type, or to encompass general right-wing antidemocratic tendencies of authoritarianism, nationalist aggression and patriotic sentimentality. Although fascism takes its ultimate support from capitalist financiers and industrialists, its appeal to the masses is not the traditional 'bourgeois' approach, and has been described as classless and 'tribal'. It involves the establishment of a dictatorship based on military and industrial strength and the paternalistic instigation of a uniform nation state with the use of corporativism. The sentimental, romantic ideal of a pure race adopted by fascism from Nazism in 1939 (ultimately with a destiny to rule other inferior races) led to repression of certain elements, notably the Jewish communities, and to severe restrictions on the rest of the population with the use of secret police and informers, torture and political imprisonment. Inherent in the system is the justification of inequalities and injustice and the use of brutality in the cause of an ideal. Once the country concerned is sufficiently united and strong it may turn its aggressions outwards.
Fascism was a product of the social and economic crisis in Europe which followed World War I. It produced no coherent system of ideas, and the various Fascist movements reflected the different national backgrounds of the countries in which they developed. None the less there were a number of common traits. All were strongly nationalist, violently anti-communist, and anti-Marxist; all hated liberalism, democracy, and parliamentary parties, which they sought to replace by a new authoritarian state in which there would be only one party, their own, with a monopoly of power, and a single leader with charismatic qualities and dictatorial powers; all shared a cult of violence and action, planned to seize power, exalted war, and with their uniforms, ranks, salutes, and rallies gave their parties a para-military character. In their political campaigns, they relied heavily on mass propaganda and terrorism; once in power, they used the power of the State to liquidate their rivals without regard for the law.