Fascism is a complex ideology. There are many definitions of fascism; some people describe it as a type or set of political actions, a political philosophy or a mass movement. Most definitions agree that fascism is authoritarian and promotes nationalism at all costs, but its basic characteristics are a matter of debate.
Fascism is commonly associated with German Nazi and Italian regimes that came to power after World War I, though several other countries have experienced fascist regimes or elements of them. Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy, Francisco Franco in Spain and Juan Perón in Argentina were well-known fascist leaders of the 20th century. [Dictator Deaths: How 13 Notorious Leaders Died]
Robert Paxton, a professor emeritus of social science at Columbia University in New York who is widely considered the father of fascism studies, defined fascism as:
a form of political practice distinctive to the 20th century that arouses popular enthusiasm by sophisticated propaganda techniques for an anti-liberal, anti-socialist, violently exclusionary, expansionist nationalist agenda.
Other definitions, Paxton said, rely too heavily on documents that Mussolini, Hitler and others produced before they came to power. Once in power, fascists did not always keep their early promises.
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