Fascism, in it's pure form, is a political ideology based on radical views and nationalist ideas. Founded in Italy during World War I and the rise of Benito Mussolini, fascism combined both left and right political views but is considered a far right political belief today.
Supporters of fascism believe that a nation is dependent on a central leadership and a single identity. They insist that a willingness to wage war is essential to keeping strength in a nation. Individualism is rejected and people's identity is expected to be gained through the ideas of the culture as a whole. Since they only see a nation as having one collective view, a totalitarian state is considered a representation of the whole nation. A single-party is preferred and anyone that opposes or defies a fascist government is silenced and punished. They will use violence, if necessary, and believe this creates a national spirit.
Mussolini & Hitler
Fascists are strongly against any groups that try to remain autonomous. Most ethnic and cultural groups are expected to assimilate. Those groups that cannot or will not are considered a threat to the nation.
Believers of fascism are against the ideas of the Enlightenment, as well as Marxism and liberalism. They consider rationalism and materialism to be part of the failure of the Enlightenment. Among the ideas that fascists support are discipline, hierarchy, and will. They strongly disagree with the concept that a nation can be governed by economic classes and assert that a nation's military forces must control an aristocracy based on merit, including production. Conservatism is opposed due to its views against change and modernization.
Forms of Fascism
Fascist Italy isn't the only form of fascism. Because each emergence of fascism is different, there are varying definitions for it. The exact definition is widely debated among scholars and historians.
Scholar, Roger Griffin wrote, "[Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism." He goes on to explain that in times of war fascism has shown up mostly in the form of an "armed party" led by the nations elite. In Griffin's opinion, fascism promises to combat a threat originating from socialism and degenerating liberalism. This is expected to be done by implementing radical policies that are believed to bring a renewal of social, political, and cultural life within the nation.
Another scholar, Robert O. Paxton, believes that fascism is obsessed with the decline of community and becoming victim of "compensatory cults of unity." He states that national militants and the nations elite work together to combat these issues through violence without the restraint of ethics and to cleanse their nation internally while expanding externally.