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Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) coined the term fascism in 1919 to describe his political
movement. He adopted the ancient Roman fasces as his symbol. This was a bundle of rods
tied around an ax, which represented the power of Rome. Mussolini established the first
fascist regime, followed soon after by others, including Nazi Germany.
Mussolini came to power after the "March on Rome" in 1922, and was appointed Prime
Minister by King Victor Emmanuel. When he came into power, he closed opposition
newspapers and banned public protest meetings. He declared all political parties illegal
except for his own Fascist Party. He outlawed labor unions and strikes. He also established
a political police force, the Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Antifascism.
Opponents of Mussolini coined the term totalitarianism to describe his quest to control
not only the political system but also the economy, schools, police, courts, military, and
more. Ironically, Mussolini liked this term and began to use it himself to persuade Italians
to come together under his leadership for a rebirth of society.
Mussolini remained in power until he was deposed by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1943.
Mussolini inspired others to develop their own versions of fascism. When Hitler gained
power in Germany in 1933, he added the idea of an Aryan master race to his fascist state.
In 1939, Francisco Franco established the Spanish state with some fascist elements.
In Hitler's Germany there were many characteristics of a Totalitarian state:
The Government ran and censored the media. All forms of communication were liable to
interference from above and could, and were, heavily censored. This removes freedom of
speech, therefore enabling the government to influence popular opinion via propaganda and
false news messages.
Propaganda within Nazi Germany was highly effective. Carefully planned radio broadcasts,
rallies and films were used to convince the public that Hitler and the party had the
overwhelming support of the masses. The news was engineered to show successe
sbrought about by the parties policies and techniques such as subliminal messaging were
used to 'brainwash' the masses into a state of belief and hysteria.
Clearly not everyone was susceptible to propaganda. To combat the potential threat to the
utopia that was created by Hitler by these people alternative methods of ensuring control
were necessary. The secret police was publicized, it's role was to find enemies of the state.
These people would quite often be publicly humiliated or even tortured. Likewise the police

and Gestapo had the authority to remove people from their homes and send them, often
without trial, to concentration camps.
The general and dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975) ruled over Spain from 1939 until
his death. He rose to power during the bloody Spanish Civil War when, with the help of
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, his Nationalist forces overthrew the democratically elected
Second Republic. Adopting the title of El Caudillo (The Leader), Franco persecuted
political opponents, repressed the culture and language of Spains Basque and Catalan
regions, censured the media and otherwise exerted absolute control over the country. Some
of these restrictions gradually eased as Franco got older, and upon his death the country
transitioned to democracy.
Franco himself admitted in the mid-1940s that he had 26,000 political prisoners under lock
and key. The Franco regime also essentially made Catholicism the only tolerated religion,
banned the Catalan and Basque languages outside the home, forbade Catalan and Basque
names for newborns, barred labor unions, promoted economic self-sufficiency policies and
created a vast secret police network to spy on citizens.