Fascism refers to a modern form of extreme right-wing authoritarian dictatorship. The sociology of fascism must be understood, first and foremost, as a response to the experience of the First World War. The term first appeared in that war’s immediate aftermath, and it captured something novel about the post–World War I environment, a form of political ideal that would have been unthinkable before the reality of total, industrial warfare had made itself manifest in Europe. The war was an unprecedented upheaval both in terms of the scale of destruction it wreaked and in terms of its counterintuitive qualities: the ways in which it upended paradigmatic assumptions about military strategy, economic policy, political organization, and the overall trajectory of history. Across Europe and across the political ...

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