As the first issues of Foreign Affairs went to press, Europe witnessed the initial stirrings of fascism, with Mussolini in Italy and then Hitler in Germany. Written as the world divided into Axis and Allies, these essays mark the first great challenge to a liberal, democratic world order.
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THE most thorough way to understand and judge Fascism is by dissociating Fascism as a political program from Fascism as a movement in the history of the Italian national revolution. It is my intention in the following pages to consider and appraise particularly this second aspect--or function--of Fascism as it is revealed in the history of my country.
FOR the Italian nation the World War was the solution of a deep spiritual crisis. They willed and fought it long before they felt and evaluated it. But they willed, fought, felt and evaluated it in a certain spirit which Italy's generals and statesmen exploited, but which also worked on them, conditioning their policies and their action. The spirit in question was not altogether clear and self-consistent. That it lacked unanimity was particularly apparent just before and again just after the war when feelings were not subject to war discipline.
THE National Socialist Party came into being in Germany eleven years ago, founded by a group of seven men. Adolf Hitler was the seventh to join. He was soon, however, "the man" in the group; and so he is today in the party numbering millions of adherents which is often designated by his name. There may be cleverer, better educated, more energetic individuals in the party than he. All the same, "the Nazis" and "Hitler's Party" are synonymous terms.
EVENTS of the last few months have placed the Reichswehr in the forefront of world interest. But its bloodless victories in Austria and Czecho-Slovakia have not offered any insight into its real capacity to carry on another World War. The Reichswehr remains, even more than the Red Army, the mystery force of the world.
"America's brilliant, if pitiless, war industry had entered the service of patriotism and had not failed it. Under the compulsion of military necessity a ruthless autocracy was at work, and rightly, even in this land at the portals of which the Statue of Liberty flashes its blinding light across the seas. They understood war." -- Field Marshal von Hindenburg.
ACOMMANDER-IN-CHIEF is not in a position to begin a war as a chess player may begin a game with a new gambit. He has to take over a play which has been opened by others, that is, the statesmen, and then carry it through according to the rules of the game. His strategical opportunities are thereby limited. In the long history of war more campaigns have been lost on account of a wrong political start than by subsequent strategical mistakes. More wars have been won by the élan, the passion, and the will to sacrifice of whole nations than by the genius of commanders.
JAPAN is, to put it bluntly, out on a limb. It is possible for the United States, acting in concert with the British nations, China, the Dutch Government of the East Indies, and the Soviet Government of Siberia, to saw off that limb; or, alternatively, to help Japan to descend from her precarious perch, on fair terms, with a minimum of injury and loss of face. We should be prepared to do the first and offer to do the second. Then let Japan choose.
Fifty years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America should ask itself why Japanese civilians became targets during World War II. Recently declassified documents suggest that Tokyo probably would have surrendered without the bombings or an Allied invasion of Japan. In the moral climate of 1945, however, there were few dissenters. "When you have to deal with a beast," Truman wrote, "you have to treat him as a beast."