Fascism (/fæʃɪzəm/) is a form of reactionary authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Influenced by national syndicalism, fascism originated in Italy during World War I, in opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and traditional conservatism. Fascism is often placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum, but some academics call that description inadequate. Fascists identify World War I as a revolution. It brought revolutionary changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A “military citizenship” arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines or provide economic production and logistics to support those on the front lines, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens. Fascists view World War I as having made liberal democracy obsolete and regard total mobilization of society led by a totalitarian single-party state as necessary for a nation to be prepared for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties, such a totalitarian state is led by a strong Dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions of violence automatically being negative in nature and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascism borrowed theories and terminology from socialism but replaced socialism’s focus on class conflict with a focus on conflict between nations and races. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky to secure national self-sufficiency and independence through protectionist and interventionist economic policies. Following World War II, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The terms neo-fascistor post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally t Fascist as an insulting description of a political entity or persons describe parties of the far right with ideological similarities to, or roots in, 20th century fascist movements. The word fascist is sometimes used to denigrate people, institutions, or groups that would not describe themselves as ideologically fascist, and that may not fall within the formal definition of the word. The Fascist party that developed in Italy in the 1920s rigidly enforced conservative values and behavior norms during the Mussolini regime. As a political epithet, fascist was subsequently used in an anti-authoritarian sense to emphasize the common ideology of governmental suppression of individual freedom. It has also been applied to a broad range of people and groups, including people of many religious faiths, particularly fundamentalist groups. The individual, institution, or group(s) called fascist often find the use of the term in this way to be highly offensive and inappropriate. In this sense, the word fascist is intended to mean “oppressive“, “intolerant“, “chauvinist“, “genocidal“, “jingoistic“, “dictatorial“, “racist“, and/or “aggressive“—all concepts that are allegedly inspired by the ideology of actual fascism, and pervasive through fascist states. One might accuse an inconveniently placed police roadblock as being a “fascist tactic” for its perceived oppression or interloping, or an overly authoritarian teacher as being “a total fascist”. Terms like Nazi and Hitlerite are often used in similar contexts. The slur has been used since the beginning of the actual Fascist movement and is still common in the 21st century.
The Fascists came to associate the name with the ancient Roman fasces or fascio littorio which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate carried by his lictors which could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.