With the Current Government of America
Libbi M. Loos
Ravenna Public Schools
The saying goes “hind sight is 20/20”, which makes it easy to proclaim that Hitler and Mussolini were ruthless dictators when Italy and Nazi Germany’s fascist governments were in their peak. When looking back in history, there was a similar series of events that took place in these countries that put these takeovers in motion. With new gun and health care laws, the government’s disrespect for personal property rights granted by the constitution and a bigger, more powerful government taking more control, people are asking how much different America’s government really is from these earlier fascist governments. In my paper I’m going to discuss the steps that early dictators took to send Italy and Germany down those dark roads of destruction. Following that, I will discuss how those fascist governmental characteristics are surfacing in America today.
Webster’s dictionary lists fascism as “absolute power of the state, removal of all individual needs and rights, with a rule by a single dictator”. The fourteen characteristics of fascism includes powerful nationalism and disdain for human rights
The identification of scapegoats is used as a unifying cause for citizens to
rally around, these can include racism or more commonly, rampant sexism. The
supremacy of military takes over, while the government controls mass media, and
there is an obsession for national security. The corporate power is protected
but labor power is suppressed. There is an obsession with crime and punishment
along with suspicion of fraudulent elections (Mayer, 2003).
These fourteen traits are extremely evident in the German and Italian nations
when they were controlled by Hitler and Mussolini, but a lot of those
characteristics can also be observed in America today.
In Italy, Benito Mussolini began drawing people into his fold with just his words. He had very emotional speeches that could attract an audience and convince people of his beliefs
(Blinkhorm, 1994). This “following” created
the opportunity for him to become the leader. He gained power as he created the
first-ever named fascist movement, although in many of his speeches he compared
the nation he was making and movements to that of the Romans. His groups of
street fighter squad would wear black and beat up anyone who believed in
socialism or communism. Anti-communists were fooled into following Mussolini because
of their fear of a communist revolt in Italy. Continuing to gain power,
Mussolini made a massive march to Italy’s capital. The government leaders were
so scared of the threat that they fled without a fight. The king had no defense
and simply handed over the title to Mussolini (Blinkhorm, 1994).
Once Mussolini was in power, he completely ended the democracy and took control of every aspect of Italy
(Bill of Rights in Action, 2010). He began by closing
any newspapers that opposed him or his beliefs. He banned all public protests and
gatherings. With his declaration that all political parties were illegal, other
than his own, everyone was forced to publically be in the Fascist Party,
meaning that there was no opposition for him (Blinkhorm, 1994). The Organization of Vigilance and
Repression of Antifascism was Mussolini’s own, created of a political police force.
People began to reference his government as totalitarianism, a term he grew
accustomed to, with his desire to control politics, economy, school, police,
and military. Mussolini had very little use for Italy’s strong-rooted Catholic
religion and tried removing it, but was put under the influence of Hitler’s
anti-Semitic decrees (Bill of Rights in Action, 2010).
Adolf Hitler’s beginning also stemmed from his ability to speak. He was called “a powerful and spell binding speaker” and known for drawing in civilians with a hate for the politicians of the time
(The OpenLearn Team, 2005). Hitler used this to
gain power, starting his party called the National Socialist German Workers’
Party, or the Nazis. He then was voted in as the chancellor of Germany (The OpenLearn Team, 2005).
Once he was in power, HItler, identical to Mussolini, proclaimed the Nazi Party to be the only permitted party and passed the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act of 1933 gave Hitler the power to sanction laws without the involvement of the German Parliament, giving himself complete power
(The OpenLearn Team, 2005). He banned the use
of unauthorized gun ownership, but later in the year when Hitler actually seized
power, he used the records of those who had registered guns to find and disarm
them, along with disarming all Jews. The constitutional rights were dissipated
with massive gun searches. A great emphasis was placed on disarming the Jews
because had the Nazi’s not done that, there may not have been the Night of the
Broken Glass or defenseless Jews thrown in concentration camps (Halbrook, 2013).
America today is starting to share characteristics with these disastrous nations. One of the most obvious comparisons is the expulsion of religion from the nation and especially from the government. Italy’s Catholic belief was “unneeded” by Mussolini, abolished by Hitler and is now forbidden in places such as schools and the workplace in America
(Britt, n.d.). America has strayed
from their strong religious statement of “In God We Trust” so much that many
believe it should be removed from the dollar bill. It may be important to
remember that colonists came to America originally to avoid religious
persecution and ironically it is now here in America.
Along with moderation of the first amendment, the new push for gun control is threatening the second amendment. Just as Hitler used his power to take away registered arms from all Jews before mass murdering them, Obama’s new gun laws require every civilian to have a license, register all guns and pass a background check. His executive orders are also changing gun technology
(State of the Union, 2016).
Similar to totalitarianism, Germany was monitoring everything that the German citizens did just as our bureaucrats are trying to gain access to our lives through every monitoring device they can. They use the knowledge gathered from listening to phone calls or reading emails to influence education, nutrition and regulations. They use their power to stop civilians and search them, an increasing problem for our security program. An example of this is the random security screening of 8,000 by the TSA
An essential part of getting the nation to stay under the control of the government is making them reliant upon the government for the essentials of life. For example, Hitler increased government spending to the point where everyone was receiving some sort of handout, be it free day care, subsidized college tuition, foods stamps or free housing
By the same token, Obama created free health care for everyone with Medicare
and Medicaid along with the brilliant idea to provide free community college
for students. Forty five percent more Americans are now receiving food stamps
than when the this President took office (Jackson, 2015). However, nothing is really free. Someone
is paying for it. Hitler raised taxes dramatically to pay for all these social
programs just as American taxes have increased to the highest taxation rate
since World War II. Other similarities between the fascist nations and the
American government include the facts that prisons are packed, businesses are
over-regulated and votes were cast based on being a part of making history
instead of the choice that would help the world (Britt,
It was emphasized early on that students take history classes in order to learn history and prevent the same tragedies from occurring that destroyed nations and people before us. We have seen the fascism of Mussolini, the lethality of Hitler and the road that led up to horrors such as the Holocaust. Yet we have not been able look at our present situation and see the striking parallelism. It’s time to wake America up and stop the spread of fascism before it becomes another tragedy written in history books for some future generation to read about.
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