Elites, Single Parties and Decision-Making in the Fascist Era: Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany

Elites, Single Parties and Decision-Making in the Fascist Era: Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany

Italian Fascism and German National-Socialism were both attempts to create a charismatic leadership and "totalitarian tension" that was, in one form or another, also present in other dictatorships of the period. After taking power, both National-Socialism and Fascism became powerful instruments of a "new order", agents of a "parallel administration", and promoters of innumerable tensions within these dictatorial political systems. Transformed into single parties, they flourished as breeding-grounds for a new political elite and as agents for a new mediation between the State and Civil Society, creating tensions between the single party and the State apparatus in the process. These tensions were responsible for the emergence of new centres of political decision-making that, if on the one hand led to the concentration of power into the hands of Mussolini and Hitler, also removed it from the government and the ministerial elite, who were often increasingly subordinated to the single party and its "parallel administration".<br> This project seeks to ascertain the location of political decision-making authority, the composition and the recruitment channels the dictatorships' ministerial elites during the fascist era. It will do so by examining three fundamental areas. The first of these is charisma and political decision-making, that is, an examination of the characteristics of the relationships that existed between the dictators and their ministerial elites by studying the composition and structure of these elites, as well as the methods used in their recruitment and the role of the single parties in the political system and in the governmental selection process. Particular attention will be paid to the relationships between the single parties, the Dictators, and the State in the selection and political composition of the governing elites, and to the impact of this relationship in the relocation of political decision-making power and the imposition of control over civil society in each regime.<br>The second, and one that complements the first, is related to the degree and extent of political and governmental decision-making that was concentrated into the hands of the dictator: the problem that some analysts of Nazism have characterised as the "strong dictator / weak dictator" tension.<br>Awareness of the interaction between the single party, the government, the State apparatus and civil society, appears fundamental if we are to achieve an understanding of the different ways in which the various dictatorships of the fascist era functioned. The party and its ancillary organisations were not simply parallel institutions: they also attempted to gain control of the bureaucracy and to select the governing elite - forcing some dictators towards an unstable equilibrium in the process, even while they were the central agents for the creation and maintenance of the leader's charismatic authority. This project will focus on an analysis of the gradations of these tensions, that may be illustrated by the eventual emergence of a weaker or stronger "dualism of power" that appears to be the determining factor in explanations for the typological and classificatory variations used to qualify those dictatorships that have been historically associated with fascism and which have been variously defined as "authoritarian" and "totalitarian", or as "authoritarian" and "fascist". It is in this perspective that we will study four dictatorships that have each been associated with European fascism: Portuguese Salazarism, Spanish Francoism, Italian Fascism, and German National-Socialism.<br>The principal empirical research of the project will consist of two types of data: a data base of the cabinet elite of the 4 regimes, both in terms socio-professional and of political carrier patterns, and archival sources on a selection of case-studies of decision-making in 3 areas (foreign policy, political repression, and relations between political and State institutions). The result, we believe, will enrich the comparative literature on the formal and informal structures of power of interwar Dictatorships. <br>All the team members are historians and students dealing with the topic of the proposed research and, beyond the research goals, are also objectives of this project to bring the most advance knowledge in comparative political history to new generations of young scholars and students, approaching them to the best international standards of Contemporary History. 

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
No
Keywords: 

Charism, Fascism, Decision Making, Elites

Italian Fascism and German National-Socialism were both attempts to create a charismatic leadership and "totalitarian tension" that was, in one form or another, also present in other dictatorships of the period. After taking power, both National-Socialism and Fascism became powerful instruments of a "new order", agents of a "parallel administration", and promoters of innumerable tensions within these dictatorial political systems. Transformed into single parties, they flourished as breeding-grounds for a new political elite and as agents for a new mediation between the State and Civil Society, creating tensions between the single party and the State apparatus in the process. These tensions were responsible for the emergence of new centres of political decision-making that, if on the one hand led to the concentration of power into the hands of Mussolini and Hitler, also removed it from the government and the ministerial elite, who were often increasingly subordinated to the single party and its "parallel administration".<br> This project seeks to ascertain the location of political decision-making authority, the composition and the recruitment channels the dictatorships' ministerial elites during the fascist era. It will do so by examining three fundamental areas. The first of these is charisma and political decision-making, that is, an examination of the characteristics of the relationships that existed between the dictators and their ministerial elites by studying the composition and structure of these elites, as well as the methods used in their recruitment and the role of the single parties in the political system and in the governmental selection process. Particular attention will be paid to the relationships between the single parties, the Dictators, and the State in the selection and political composition of the governing elites, and to the impact of this relationship in the relocation of political decision-making power and the imposition of control over civil society in each regime.<br>The second, and one that complements the first, is related to the degree and extent of political and governmental decision-making that was concentrated into the hands of the dictator: the problem that some analysts of Nazism have characterised as the "strong dictator / weak dictator" tension.<br>Awareness of the interaction between the single party, the government, the State apparatus and civil society, appears fundamental if we are to achieve an understanding of the different ways in which the various dictatorships of the fascist era functioned. The party and its ancillary organisations were not simply parallel institutions: they also attempted to gain control of the bureaucracy and to select the governing elite - forcing some dictators towards an unstable equilibrium in the process, even while they were the central agents for the creation and maintenance of the leader's charismatic authority. This project will focus on an analysis of the gradations of these tensions, that may be illustrated by the eventual emergence of a weaker or stronger "dualism of power" that appears to be the determining factor in explanations for the typological and classificatory variations used to qualify those dictatorships that have been historically associated with fascism and which have been variously defined as "authoritarian" and "totalitarian", or as "authoritarian" and "fascist". It is in this perspective that we will study four dictatorships that have each been associated with European fascism: Portuguese Salazarism, Spanish Francoism, Italian Fascism, and German National-Socialism.<br>The principal empirical research of the project will consist of two types of data: a data base of the cabinet elite of the 4 regimes, both in terms socio-professional and of political carrier patterns, and archival sources on a selection of case-studies of decision-making in 3 areas (foreign policy, political repression, and relations between political and State institutions). The result, we believe, will enrich the comparative literature on the formal and informal structures of power of interwar Dictatorships. <br>All the team members are historians and students dealing with the topic of the proposed research and, beyond the research goals, are also objectives of this project to bring the most advance knowledge in comparative political history to new generations of young scholars and students, approaching them to the best international standards of Contemporary History. 

Objectivos: 
<p>This project seeks to ascertain the location of political decision-making authority, the composition and the recruitment channels the dictatorships' ministerial elites during the fascist era, comparing 4 regimes: Salazarism, Francoism, Italian Fascism and Nazi Germany. It will do so by examining the process of political decision-making and the characteristics of the relationships between the dictators and their ministerial elites. <br />The principal empirical research of the project will consist of two types of data: a data base of the cabinet elite of the 4 regimes, both in terms socio-professional and of political carrier patterns, and a selection of case-studies of decision-making in 3 areas (foreign policy, political repression, and relations between political and State institutions). <br />Beyond the research goals, are also objectives of this project to bring the most advanced knowledge in comparative political history to new generations of young scholars and students. </p>
Rita Almeida de Carvalho
Ana Mónica Fonseca
Nuno Estêvão Ferreira
Goffredo Adinolfi
Filipa Raimundo
José Manuel Castilho
Susana Chalante

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Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/09/2007
End Date: 
01/09/2010
Duração: 
36 meses
Closed