Aggression against neighboring countries, endless wars, dismantling states, violent border modifications? Does this remind us of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage or of their political opponents, Clinton and Bush clans, or of Tony Blair and David Cameron?
In the Western countries, more and more often the public is hearing the words “fascism” and “fascists”. Those words are reserved for Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, Marine le Pen and other “right populists”. In addition, the use of such heavy words is justified by the fact that these politicians refer to national values, because they ask mass immigrations to their countries to stop and because of xenophobic outbursts of their supporters.
Fascism is, however, a term whose meaning cannot be quickly and easily determined. After all, it is the same with all political ideologies. There is no generally accepted definition of liberalism, socialism and conservatism. It is well known that the term “fascism” hides very diverse movements such as the Italian fascists, the German Nazis or the Croatian Ustashas. All this, however, should not get us confused and prevent us from understanding this important historical phenomenon.
It is the historical experience that could help us in this task, more than any political simplification or a theoretical explanation. There is one key feature about fascism that is intentionally or not, too often forgotten in the general tumult against Donald Trump or Marine le Pen. The “fascists”, however, are still remembered for their aggressions against other sovereign countries, the endless wars, dismantling states and violent borders modifications. Louis XIV and Napoleon also committed acts of aggression against their neighbors, they led continuous wars, they dismantled countries and changed borders. Hitler’s aggression, however, was followed by the mass destruction of entire populations, such as Jews, Gypsies and Serbs. As such, fascism is especially remembered in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
Aggression against neighboring countries, endless wars, dismantling states, violent borders modifications? Does this remind us of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage or of their political opponents, Clinton and Bush clans, or of Tony Blair and David Cameron? Should we remind you of destructions of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the encirclement of Russia, the provoking of China, Iran? Trump, on the contrary, according to the published statements, is advocating for a traditional diplomacy of interests and negotiations between sovereign states, such as the one widely known since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which is the contrary of endless crusades in the name of “values” assiduously conducted by their liberal opponents.
Ethnically motivated mass destructions of entire populations? These people succeeded in what seemed to be an unattainable ideal for Hitler and Pavelic: they killed and expelled the Serb population from Croatia and parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Metohia. All this, of course, was conducted by their local collaborators, the same way it was done with the Christians in Iraq or Syria. We should not forget the anti-Serb hysteria in the media that allowed unpunished, mass crimes against Serbs. This operation is comparable only with what the Nazi Europe did to the Jews.
Chauvinist terror and war crimes against the Serbs in the Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995) (Source: Serbian Defence League)
Mark Mazower, a professor at Columbia University in New York, stated in his book Hitler’s empire, that Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by the colonial experience of liberal states, the United Kingdom and the United States, for the crimes they committed in Eastern Europe. They simply did to the Europeans what the liberal colonizers did in Africa and Asia. Hitler admired the British foresight and mercilessness in India, as well as the US racist brutality against black people and the Indians. He openly said that the Slavic countries, especially Russia, would be in the future, the India of the united German Europe. During the Germanic colonizing of the Slavic territories in eastern Europe, Hitler was inspired by the experience of the United States. Enclaves of “racially and civilizationally superior people” in the Indian sea, progressively bound together, merged and plundered the lands of the natives.
According to Mazower, the liberal empire’s attempts to force the colonized countries to adopt their modernization and cultural models, are just another side of the indestructible ancient racism. Hitler, as well as Goebbels called for the unification of Europe around Germany, in order to protect and defend its racial and cultural values. In doing so, they openly claimed that the key purpose of uniting Europe was the protection from Russia and the march on Russia. The rhetoric of defense against the Soviet Union was useful in the post-war process of uniting Europe, where, as Mazower proves it, Hitler’s former supporters assiduously worked as senior officials. The Russian threat was an important part of the campaign of the EU supporters during the Brexit referendum in Britain, as well as of the of Hillary Clinton’s supporters campaign during the presidential elections in the United States.
Some people will say that, after all, NATO liberals do not conquer the world in the name of race, but in the name of human rights. However, the bombs were dropped on Republika Srpska, Serbia, Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with the American and the British rock and roll, and not with the German military marches. It is, indeed, a beautiful consolation for millions of their victims.
Translated from Serbian by Svetlana Maksovic
Milos Kovic is a Serbian historian, Doctor of Historical Sciences and Assistant professor at the Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Serbia. The areas of his research are international relations (late 18th – early 20th century), history of political ideas (late 18th – early 20th century). He was at the Oxford University for professional development in 2004-2005. He participated in international conferences in London, Florence, Jena, Sofia, Belgrade.
Featured image: Buka/Politika