Article Summary

In most European nations throughout the 1930s, the political fight was characterized by the conflict between authoritarian and democratic ideals of government. The exclusions were Italy, where fascism already had developed an aggressive model of authoritarian government, then Britain, which had a tight social stratification that provided solidity to ostensibly democratic systems. By this decade, autocratic capitalist administrations were increasing in Germany, the majority of central and eastern Europe – for example, Hungary and Poland, and Portugal, together with Spain, shortly emerged (Merziger et al., 2019). Nevertheless, democracy appeared to be the stronger tendency in just a handful of well-advanced nations in the late 1930s. Just in the U. S., there was evidence of a clear move toward increasing popular engagement amongst the big nations.

The emergence of authoritarian governments in the 1920s and 1930s coincided with a general popular belief that unrestrained capitalism culminated in monumental catastrophes. These tragedies comprised the biggest horrific warfare in the history of humankind, which was quickly preceded by the globe’s worst severe economic disaster. Numerous people on either left or right saw “bourgeoisie democracy” as decadent and unstable (Merziger et al., 2019). In Russia, the opposition of capitalists manifested itself as an endeavor to establish a governance structure within the interest of the workers and peasants. The prospect of true democracy swiftly faded as the ostensible employees’ state devolved into a carefully veiled authoritarian regime. The Russian leader, Stalin, and his allies recognized their adversaries on social and political levels. They didn’t employ the word “ethnicity.” The kulaks are one such case. Stalin was fanatical about eliminating opponents. As a result, the Great Massacre of 1936-38 occurred. Approximately a third of the Communist Party’s 3 million members were slain.


Mussolini in Italy pursued assertive international policies and practices in the 1920s. He began by attacking the Greek island of Corfu. Mussolini intended to advance into the Balkans, acquiring Albania as a province. He also advocated for the ruthless repression of anti-colonial opposition in Libya. His army chiefs utilized poisonous weapons, famine, detention centers, and mass relocation of African Libyans to make room for Italian immigrants. Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935, employing equally brutal methods. According to scholars Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Mia Fuller, early Italian territories served as “training fields for tactics of control and oppression” (Merziger et al., 2019).Colonial hostility also had a role in the emergence of Italian racial prejudice. Mussolini issued a “Policy platform of Fascist Racism” in 1938. It announced a government policy of open racism towards Africans, Arabs, and other minorities.

Worse, in Germany, the demonization of the capitalist system resulted in open dictatorial regimes that showed no pretense of being dictatorial. The corporate elite built these oppressive governments to preserve capital’s reign in the wake of robust labor uprisings. The administrations were egregiously effective not just in suppressing the labor movements but also in reversing Enlightened values. Demolition of such barbaric regimes would necessitate a battle much more devastating than the 1914-18 war. With Adolf Hitler, the concept of Territorial expansion became inextricably linked to racism and hatred. The Nazis attempted to determine who constituted the German “people” and to deport and persecute others who were not.

In the late 1920s, autocratic administrations progressively took the power of the Japanese administration. Even though not truly dictatorial, these administrations were greatly motivated by the army and economic elites, both of which desired the Japanese to conquer countries in Asia (Merziger et al., 2019). Japan nonetheless faced a scarcity of environmental assets, necessitating the importation of materials, lumber, and petroleum. Japan had controlled certain colonies, notably Korea, yet some army and corporate elites claimed that the Japanese ought to govern over the majority of Asia. They felt that Japan had a higher civilization and could reign over neighboring Asians more effectively than the European powers did. Their dominion could be the “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.” However, in Japan, the Japanese authorities were progressively suppressing any dissent to its military effort. Even though the majority of Japanese people were opposed to such war initiatives, it grew perilous to challenge the administration or the troops. Nevertheless, many more Japanese civilians supported the idea of independence and military buildup.


The authoritarian attempts of Italy, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s differed. However, there are some commonalities in the methods they arose. For instance, they all believed in patriotism and sought methods to legitimize attacks on civilians. Moreover, notwithstanding their disparities, the idea that these all occurred within the same timeframe shows that there existed an underlying global structure that made them all feasible (Merziger et al., 2019). By the 1920s and 1930s, happenings in one location might have far-reaching political, economic, and cultural ramifications. Indeed, increased insecurity, aggressiveness, bigotry, and dread precipitated the outbreak of World War II.


Merziger, P., Balbi, G., Barrera, C., & Sipos, B. (2019). Crises, rise of fascism and the establishment of authoritarian media systems. The Handbook of European Communication History, 135–152.