Though we think we know what it is, the definition of fascism is remarkably elusive. In general consciousness, it has become a collective term of abuse, ile, in reaction, scholars have over defined it out of existence. In this incisive book, Richard Griffiths undertakes to resolve the issue, placing fascism in its tortuous historical context. Originating from the radical Right in the late 19th Century, fascism combined revolutionary anti-capitalism and nationalism and was heavily influenced by the thinking of French philosophers. It encompassed a wide spectrum of movements with characteristics both of the Right and the Left. Only with Mussolini's movement in the Twenties did the term Fascism become attached to this heady mixture. And it was only by the Thirties that movements of the radical Right throughout Europe began to see themsleves as what has now become known as 'international fascism' a Third Way between capitalism and communism. Nevertheless some of those who saw themsleves as fascists resisted being classified with Nazism. Griffiths' remarkably lucid analysis lays bare exactly what we have to fear if and when there is a repeat of the past.
Professor Richard Griffiths has recently retired as Professor of French at King's College London. He is a leading authority on the European Right and author of numerous acclaimed books, including a biography of Marshall Petain and Patriotism Perverted (1998).