The Institutionalization of Propaganda in the Fascist Era: The Cases of Germany, Portugal, and Italy
Almost a century after the emergence of right-wing dictatorships in twentieth-century Europe, a consensual regime paradigm has yet to be found. The debate always gets bogged down by ongoing attempts to find the definitive and complete definition of the two most common regime types: fascism or generic fascism, and totalitarianism/authoritarianism. This article claims that, although definitive nomenclatures are unlikely to be found, it is more useful to think of regimes as more or less approximating their ideal type than to posit their typologies in abstract terms. It therefore analyzes a key aspect of three dictatorial regimes: the functioning of the consensus-building institutions in Nazi Germany, in Fascist Italy, and in Salazarist Portugal. Propaganda is central to an understanding of these regimes, because it constitutes their ideological footprint—revealing what it aims for (inputs) and its capacity to impose those goals or make them popular (output). The three regimes examined here were very different from each other, and these differences can help us verify the degree to which each of them attained the standard of the totalitarian ideal type.
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