"When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing." — Charles Edward "Father" Coughlin, a popular Roman Catholic Priest and one of the leaders of the fascist movement in the United States in the 1930s, at a rally in 1938.*
Like most children from the baby-boom generation, I grew up in the shadow of fascism. The atomic bombs that threatened to end the world had been developed to defeat the fascist National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany. Communism was the new fascism; the United States had to invade Vietnam because otherwise it would be like not standing up to Hitler before World War II. Then I heard critics call Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon fascists. What did it mean to call elected Presidents fascist? I studied fascism, along with other topics, as a political science major in college. I have continued to study and analyze fascism ever since.
I am defining fascism pragmatically as the type of government (and economy and social relationships) characterized by the acknowledged big 3 fascist states: Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany, Benito Mussolini's fascist Italy, and General Francisco Franco's Spain. Of course there were many other fascist states, and many fascist movements that were not able to gain control of their nations.
Fascists wanted to recreate the ancient practice of a well-ordered, essentially monarchical society. In the modern industrial context (roughly 1920 to 1945) that required rejecting not just democracy and republicanism. They rejected both the Marxist idea of the triumph of the industrial workers and the capitalist reality of the triumph of the owners of industry. If you look carefully at the main, Roman Catholic fascist dictators (Mussolini, Hitler, Franco and Petain) you can see why leftists typical claim fascists were capitalist tools while modern conservatives see them as dangerous kin to Stalin. They took advantage of economic and social disruption to claw their ways to become heads of government, shoving aside the old aristocracy, the capitalists, and the socialist leaders. — William P. Meyers
Fall of France in World War II, Fascism True Nature Revealed [July 7, 2015]
Series on Pius XI:
*quoted in The Glory and The Dream by William Manchester, page 213