In fact, from the amount of attention currently aimed at the Croix de Feu it appears likely to become both a test case and a battleground for debates over French fascism.
First, he maintains that fascism in France, Germany, and Italy "shared, in common with the traditional right, a fundamental social and economic conservatism that was strongly opposed to Marxism.
Comparing its various aspects with those of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy, Irvine argues that the Croix de Feu exhibited characteristics that in any other national context would be considered fascist.
s supposedly bourgeois outlook, Irvine notes that the presence of influential bourgeois elements within Nazism and Fascism has not precluded their being considered fascist; in any case, the P.
When the first purpose of a definition is to combat fascism rather than understand it,(52) the attendant political and moral baggage serves not only to discourage efforts to make balanced assessments, but also determines what kind of research gets done in archives.
Faced with trying to find fascist commonalities among these examples, one scholar of French fascism went so far as to propose scrapping the term altogether as too elastic and unwieldy to have any useful methodological precision.
Soucy's definition of fascism as an essentially conservative phenomenon cannot account for its more radical social aspects; indeed, the more radical the group, the farther from Soucy's definition it gets.
Readers familiar with fascism studies, theoretical or empirical, will experience an understandable moment of surprise when confronting the gap between the standard image of the fascist "militant" and the reality of this ping pong- and bridge-playing, theatre-going family an.
Just as historians' analyses of fascism have been shaped by memories of occupation, collaboration, and holocaust, so many of the concepts used to define and describe fascism have moved a corresponding distance from their interwar French context and, in the process, lost the finer shades of historical experience.
But what emerges more strongly is how little fascism mattered as a sui generis political or social force in interwar Marseille.
No static conception of fascism, no ahistorical definition" he argues, "can do justice to the various doctrinal fluctuations which fascism underwent in France, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere during the interwar period.
However, a deeper and subtler understanding of historical fascism will come only with the completion of more basic research and the development of more practical analytic tools.
This article has argued that defining French fascism has been hitherto coupled with finding fascists in France; it seems logical to conclude that the passions of the latter enterprise will continue for some time to undermine historians' efforts to understand the past.
Although few historians would now deny that fascism in some form was an important part of France's political terrain in the 1930s, there is still little agreement about its origins, its nature, or the extent to which it infiltrated French politics.
In 1954 Rene Remond, Frances foremost historian of the right, concluded that fascism had not existed in France.