Fascism, and National Socialism are not merely stitched together; on the contrary Ernst Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism: Action Frangaise, Italian Fascism, Na-. Three Faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism. Ernst Nolte · Science and Society 31 (1) (). This paper is a critique of the final chapter of Ernst Nolte’s crucial text, Three Faces of Fascism. The goal in researching Nolte’s chapter discussing what he calls.

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Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Mass Thfee Paperback Verified Purchase. Kudos first to the seller! The book was delivered on time and in the described condition. Most importantly, though, the author, Ernst Nolte, a renowned historian, has written a stellar, well documented, incredibly thoughtful, and thorough work on French, Italian, and German fascism from the 20th century. Without that, some of what he says will be difficult to understand, pf less genuinely grasp.

However, if you want a solid, authoritative, and fascinating treatment of fascism, especially its history in its most formative period, you can’t do better than this book. One person found this helpful. Ernst Nolte – is a German historian and philosopher with nationalist sympathies who has written extensively on fascism tjree communism.

Nolte is obviously indebted to the German philosophical tradition and in particular to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. This book reflects his thinking on the nature of fascism and its central thesis that fascism arose faced a resistance to and revolt against modernity has proven controversial.

This book provides an excellent account of three aspects of the htree ideology and attempts to explain how all three of these aspects are fundamentally fascist. Nolte has met with some controversy from radical left wing detractors for his thesis on fascism; however, his fundamental insights remain interesting to those attempting to study the nature of fascism. This book is expertly footnoted and includes source material from fascist writings as well as observers of fascism such as Hermann Rauschning, whose writings remain controversial.

To begin with, Nolte notes in his preface that while fascism has been much studied, no comprehensive account of fascism has been made available which makes use of the memoirs and writings fcaes fascists themselves.

Three Faces Of Fascism: Action Francaise, Italian Fascism, National Socialism

Nolte also explains the problematic in defining fascism. The first part of this book is entitled “Fascism and the Era of World Wars”. Nolte considers fascism as the characteristic of an era, distinguishing the “era of fascism” from the “era of imperialism” of the nineteenth century and emphasizing it’s fundamentally anti-modern tendencies. Nolte distinguishes fascism from the “extreme Right”, and attempts to define the term, noting the problems involved in applying too restrictive a definition to the term such as that which would only allow the term “fascist” to be applied to Mussolini’s Italy but also in applying too general an application of the thrse.

Following this, Nolte considers fascism in Europe from to Nolte notes the role of fascist movements, mentioning those for example of Hungaria, Romania, Spain, and Portugal, and contrasting fascism with communism the other great totalitarianism of the age. Nolte also considers interpretations of fascism, both sociological and psychological. Finally, Nolte arrives at his first definition of fascism: The second part of this book is entitled “The Action Francaise”. Nolte begins by considering the “disparate roots” of the Action Francaise.


He notes the role of revolution and political doctrine, and the conflict between the counter-revolution and Marxist revolutionaries. Nolte also notes the role of the Christian conservativism of such reactionary figures as de Maistre and de Bonald, which played a formative influence in the development of the French radical right.

Nolte also notes the role of the critical liberalism of such figures as Comte, Le Play, Renan, Taine, and Fustel de Coulanges in the formation of the French right. Nolte also notes such radically conservative figures trhee de La Tour du Pin, Drumont noting the role of the Dreyfus affairand Barres, emaphasizing the role of anti-Semitism in particular.

Following gascism, Nolte considers the history of the Action Francaise and of fascism in France. Nolte notes the role of the Dreyfus affair and explains how anti-Semitism came to play a prominent role among such figures as Charles Maurras. Or then turns to the life of Maurras, emphasizing his traditionalist Catholic development, but also noting the role of such figures as Nietzsche on his thinking as well as anti-Semitism and monarchism. Nolte then discusses the founding of the newspaper of the Action Fascis, the role of the First World War, and the eventual condemnation of the Action Francaise by the Vatican.

Following this, Nolte notes the rise of the Vichy in France, and the eventual culmination in Charles Maurras’ trial, imprisonment, and death. Next, Nolte considers “practice as consequence” for the Action Francaise, noting the role of practice, the organization of the Action Francaise, the leadership, and the style. Nolte also considers the nllte of the Action Francaise emphasizing the role of the “hidden system”, fear as a fundamental motivating force, the role of the state and sovereignity emphasizing the monarchical system, the role of the state and war, the role of the state and classes, the role of the enemy as a whole, the faaces of battle, and the philosophical basis of the Action Francaise emphasizing both Catholic monarchist and pagan roots.

The third noltw of this book is entitled “Italian Fascism”. Nolte begins by discussing the history of Italian fascism, emphasizing the role of the precursor in the Action Francaise. Nolte explains the situation in Italy prior to the rise of Fascism and Mussolini emphasizing such figures as Mazzini and Taces. Nolte then turns his attention to Mussolini, noting his early role as a Marxist from toemphasizing Mussolini’s idea of war as revolution beginning with the First World War, noting the failure of the war and the struggle for social democracy, noting the turn towards nationalism emphasizing such figures as D’Annunzioand eventually showing the manner in which Mussolini achieved his power.

However, Nolte maintains that in achieving power, Mussolini lost his coherence. Further, Nolte tnree the beginnings of National Fascism and the totalitarian dictatorship, emphasizing the role of war and the complicated relationship with the National Socialists, and the eventual demise of Italian Fascism.

Three Faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism

Following this, Nolte turns to the fixed doctrine of Italian Fascism, and the “irksome precursors” of fascism emphasizing the role of such thinkers as Nietzsche as well as the Blackshirts. Next, Nolte turns to “practice as premise” within Italian Fascism, emphasizing the practice of fascism up until the March on Rome, after the seizure of power toand the Starace Era. The fourth part of this book is entitled “National Socialism”. Nolte first considers the relationship between National Socialism and Fascism.

Next, Nolte considers the background, emphasizing the racial doctrines of such figures as Gobineau, Lapouge, and Chamberlain as well as the role of anti-Semitism. Following this, Nolte turns to the history of National Socialism, beginning with the early life and influences on Adolf Hitler. Nolte considers the role of Austria as progressive feudal statethe German Reich as feudal industrial statethe role of war, revolution, and the peace treaty, Hitler’s political beginnings, and the history of Hitler and the Third Reich.


Following this, Nolte considers “practice as fulfillment” as it relates to the National Socialists, noting the role of the SS. Following this, Nolte considers the doctrine of National Socialism in context, emphasizing the role of fear, eternal war, and nature and antinature. The fifth part of this book is entitled “Fascism as a Metapolitical Phenomenon”. Nolte considers the concept of transcendence as it relates to metaphysics and the phenomenon of fascism.

Nolte then considers three important thinkers who paved the way for the fascist phenomenon: Fascsim Marx who provided a radical fsacism of bourgeois societyFriedrich Nietzsche who developed the prebourgeois soil of “culture”and Max Weber “the theoretician of bourgeois society before fascism”.

Nolte ends with an outline of the transcendental sociology of erjst period and final reflections on fascism. Nolte includes an appendix on the question of the legitimacy of the term “fascism” and an appendix on the idea of a “history of Fascism” as there is a “history of European Communism”.

This book provides a valuable study of three fascist movements which existed as some of the worst totalitarianisms of the past century.

Nolte’s critique is interesting and his understanding of the fascist phenomenon provides a valuable contribution to the political arena. As such, this book is recommended to all those who seek to understand the nature of fascism as it played out through three of its main centers in the twentieth century. Nolte attempts to describe a philosophical view of Fascism and partially comes to grips with this much misunderstood view of Fascism.

Nolte begins his study with a political and philosophical view of Europe after World War I. Nolte presents the interesting view that if Big Communism had not emerged in Russia, there would have been no Big Communism. In fact, fascist leaders purged or tried to purge communists. If this is a charactistic of Big Fascism, the Soviet system under Lenin and especially Stalin could be called Fascism.

The fact is Lenin purge workers’ movements, and Stalin purged and massacred the largest number of “card carrying” communists in history. What may interest readers is the fact that Nolte begins his study of fascist movements with the French.

He ascribes Charles Maurras as the leader of Action Francias which Nolte considers a fascist movement that gradually developed as a reaction the Dreyfus Affair The fears of many French that there was some conspiracy partially explains the success of this movement. Nolte gives the background of events in Italy and Mussolini Mussolini began his poltical career as a socialist and pacifist. However, when the Italians were bled dry during World War I and got little to show for that sacrifice, Mussolini changed nollte views.

Mussolini was also concerned by the disruptions and apparent chaos that the Italians faced after World War I. When he got power, he moved against the “leftists” in an attempt to establish law and order.

Three Faces Of Fascism: Action Francaise, Italian Fascism, National Socialism by Ernst Nolte

Nolte also makes clear that Mussolini introduced a revolution in Italy that brought “Big Capitialism” under control in the name of the people. As readers may note, Mussolini introduced the term Fascism as a political concept. Mussolini also coined the ffascism term totalitarianism, but Italian Fascism was never totalitarianism. Nolte’s examination of the rise of Hitler and the National Socialists is the most complex section of the book.