Fascism Book Summary By Madeleine Albright

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Fascism (2018) is an eye-opening book about the historical development of fascism, as well as its potential modern-day implications.

It takes a deep look at the common threads connecting fascist governments and how they can arise in any society, urging citizens not to become complacent when it comes to protecting democracy.

Drawing on historical examples, this book presents a powerful case for why we should be aware of and vigilantly fight against fascism--even today.

Fascism Book

Book Name: Fascism (A Warning)

Author(s): Madeleine Albright

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 26 Minutes

Categories: Politics

Author Bio

Madeline Albright is a well-known political figure and scholar, having a long-standing career in US politics.

She was an ambassador to the United Nations during Bill Clinton’s presidency and was the first female secretary of state.

She now lectures in diplomacy at Georgetown University and has remained vocal on political issues.

Madeline Albright's book on Fascism is based on her life experiences as a childhood refugee from Czechoslovakia who immigrated to the United States.

As a passionate student of history, she combines personal reflection with facts from her extensive research as she examines how authoritarianism has become such a powerful force in modern societies today.

The Fascist History Of ‘America First’: How Democracies Face An Eternal Threat


Fascism is not something we should take lightly, and that’s why the author of the Fascism book takes the time to alert us to the warning signs of it.

By looking at historical and contemporary examples, they are able to provide insight into how a once-stable democracy can slide into fascism.

Using these examples, readers can learn about the events and circumstances that often lead up to fascism.

For example, we learn about who invented the slogan “America First” as well as what Donald Trump said about anti-democratic leaders around the world.

Ultimately, this book provides us with valuable information on how to identify dangerous tendencies and how to stop them before it is too late.

If you want to gain an understanding of fascism and its warning signs then reading this book is a must!

What Makes A Fascist And How Do They Come To Power?

Fascism is not an ideological system as some mistakenly assume, it is a way of gaining and keeping power.

It draws strength from an agitated public – whether the anger results from economic struggle, war loss or decreased national pride – by offering a sense of unity and purpose.

Once in power, fascists usually control the flow of information so that their ideology appears to be the only valid option.

Moreover, they often draw dividing lines between their own group and outsiders or anyone who may threaten their authority, such as in Nazi Germany with antisemitism or Soviet Russia with class traitors.

Fascist leaders expect unconditional support from the people, encouraging them to express their emotions instead of seeking to sooth them.

This approach makes fascism a powerful method for coming into power with most never making it to a long-term stay in office due to its oppressive nature.

The Slow And Quiet Rise Of Fascism: From Mussolini’s Live Chicken To Nazi Germany And Erdogan

Fascism tends to take hold slowly and quietly, not through sudden brute force or a single coup.

Instead, it rises to power bit by bit, with democratic means being used to achieve its authoritarian ends.

This was most evident in the rise of Hitler, who explicitly pursued his quest for power through “a policy of legality,” winning electoral breakthroughs that led to his becoming Germany’s chancellor.

Once in power, he could then begin dismantling institutional checks and balances on his rule.

Modern governments have followed a similar course as well.

Leaders like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey achieved their positions step by step, beginning with legitimate elections and then strengthening his grasp on the country by isolating military forces who might oppose him, taking control of less favorable media outlets, alleging false evidence against political opponents and introducing legislation that served his agenda.

Even after an attempted coup in 2016 he implemented emergency measures designed to further enhance his control over the nation.

By making careful use of democratic processes he was able to increase his authority while weakening the institutions of the state.

Hitler’s Rise To Power Through Exploiting Economic Turmoil And Inflamed Rhetoric

Economic Turmoil

During the 1920s and 1930s, Germany was a place of great upheaval.

As a result of losing the war, many Germans felt disheartened and humiliated by their defeat.

One of those people was Adolf Hitler.

He had been deeply affected by the defeat, especially since he lost his sight during the war and had to regain it in 1918.

When his vision returned, all he saw was a country in ruin.

German citizens felt they had been betrayed, and that is where Hitler found an opportunity to take power.

He took advantage of the panic induced by the Great Depression to win support from concerned Germans by crafting an emotional connection with them through his speeches about restoring the country’s mended pride and fulfilling its destiny for greatness.

His private conversations conveyed a strong message – most people have faith in something and won’t think too much about it if it offers an outlet for their anger, fears and ambitions towards rising up together as one people.

Hitler rose to power by assuaging the anxieties of the German people through this rhetoric that was full of untruths that revolved around blaming others for their suffering as well as declaring there were only two possibilities – either victory or annihilation of Aryans or Jews – enabling him to craft a false but appealing cause around which his supporters could rally behind him.

Fascism Is A Lot Closer Than We Think – A Look At Fascism’S Rise Around The Globe

Fascism is not the aberration of history that many of us believe it to be.

Instead, it is a recurring theme in human political life.

Whenever we experienced social and economic insecurity, fascism has sprung up like a weed in places as diverse as Britain, India, Spain and even America.

A closer look at how fascism comes to power will reveal this normalcy.

Mussolini was successful because he understood the Italian people’s frustrations with their status quo politics and economy, and promised to “drain the swamp” by removing government officials.

A similar narrative can be seen from fascist leaders elsewhere: they present themselves as saviors from foreign influence and immorality, and often target immigrants or other minorities who are seen as a threat.

Today’s world still contains such movements, echoing themes of pre-World War II Europe but adapted for our own times.

In light of this, we must recognize that fascism is not an aberration or a virus introduced into an otherwise healthy democratic system – instead it must be recognized as something which rears its head throughout human history in times of crisis and fear.

Walking The Fine Line Between Democratic Populism And Fascism

Venezuela and Hungary are countries that have both been flirting with fascism in recent years.

In the case of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez was elected president in 1998 in a legitimate election and ran on a platform designed to support workers and struggling families.

He then used oil revenue to ease his people’s lives, becoming reknowned for his charm and popularity.

However, he used this power to weaken state institutions, suspend judges, purge government officials and even create a private security force to intimidate protesters.

When it comes to Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is also attempting to flex his executive power by promoting ethnic pride and trying to control the legal system.

He has also voiced his opposition against immigration and called for more babies from Magyar women – those of Hungarian descent.

While he may not be an outright fascist, Orbán is certainly testing the limits of liberal democracy; creating cause for alarm amongst many citizens across the globe.

As Economic Uncertainty Rises, Populist And Authoritarian Ideas See A Resurgence In Support

Economic Uncertainty

The fragility of democracy should be a major concern to those who believe that democratic systems offer the best form of government.

Unfortunately, it appears that the optimism and excitement felt when the Berlin wall was destroyed is starting to wane.

According to the Economist’s Democracy Index, 70 countries recorded a decline in their respect for due process and religious liberties in 2017.

At the same time, more people have become more accepting of different forms of rule – such as those without parliaments or judiciaries – which raises alarm bells amongst defenders of democracy.

This sentiment can largely be attributed to current economic conditions, where one in four young people are unemployed, particularly among immigrants.

The rise of technology has accelerated trust issues between politicians and citizens; anyone with an internet connection can just as easily access false information spread by provocateurs or foreign state actors as legitimate news outlets.

Social media has made it easy for providers of disinformation to distribute their messages at no cost and with relative anonymity, making it harder for readers to tell what sources are reliable journalists versus bots that masquerade as legitimate content producers.

Donald Trump’S Praise Of Authoritarian Leaders Sets A Dangerous Precedent At Home And Abroad

Donald Trump’s behavior and rhetoric has been a cause of concern due to its potential global implications.

From praising the policies of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, who encourages police and civilian vigilantes to kill suspected drug dealers with impunity, to his praise of Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists without trial, Trump has made it clear that he does not share the grand tradition of hope, freedom and democracy set forth by predecessors before him.

Rather than standing up for democratic ideals and defending America’s traditional allies from authoritarian regimes — not to mention attacking some of America’s own institutions — Trump is actively giving succor to fascists and strongmen around the world.

His attacks on press outlets as ‘fake news’ are being used by Cambodian and Chinese governments as excuses for stifling free speech and ruthlessly crushing dissent.

His words carry even more weight because he is perceived as leader of one of most powerful nations in the world; this makes his potential influence over those who would seek an undemocratic approach all the more troubling.

The Consequences Of Trump’S “America First” Policy: Isolationism, Tyranny And Legitimizing The Abuse Of Power

Donald Trump’s rhetoric of victimhood and national resurgence is eerily similar to the language used by fascist regimes.

The President paints a bleak picture of America’s current state and complains that “for decades” it has suffered tremendous losses, with factories closed and jobs outsourced to distant countries.

He also talks about “gangs flooding” into the United States.

All this allows him to emphasize that America is being victimized, allowing him then to claim that “America first” should be the remedy.

Trump’s adoption of the slogan “America First” is deeply troubling in its own right; it has been associated with moral cowardice since 1940, when an organization called the America First Committee formed to protest US involvement in World War II.

This committee included anti-war advocates as well as Nazi sympathizers, including Charles Lindbergh who openly worried about Jewish influence in American politics.

Trump’s vision of America’s unique standing in world affairs legitimizes what fascism has always championed: a nation doing whatever it wants without regard to international law or opinion – something which North Korea and Russia seem particularly fond of doing.

It is this same line of thinking that could lead us further away from democracy instead of closer toward it – if we continue down this path, the world may be worse off than ever before.

Americans Must Unite To Prevent A Possible Slide Towards Fascism


Americans must guard against complacency when it comes to the potential threat of fascism rising in the United States.

Many may believe this is an impossible feat, but what we often don’t realize is that fascism can creep up on us – one step at a time.

In fact, it isn’t hard to imagine scenarios in which fascism could take root, such as devastating terrorist attacks on US soil that are claimed by an Islamic group.

People may be so desperate and eager for change that they hitch their wagon to a young firebrand of an orator who promises revolution and restoration of greatness.

One student even argued that Americans’ faith in public institutions and values would make them too complacent and willing to look away from erosion ensuing from fascist policies until it’s too late.

To avoid a splintered culture where fascism might thrive, citizens need to stay informed, listen with good faith and reconnect with each other through dialogue and civil discourse rather than becoming entrenched in media bubbles.

It is therefore critical for citizens to remain vigilant at all times and recognize the signs if fascism should ever come knocking at our door, instead of simply assuming it will never happen to us here in the United States.

Wrap Up

The final summary of the book on Fascism is that it should not be seen as an anomaly, but instead a regular and recurring aspect of history and politics.

Taking shape slowly, it can be difficult to recognize or prevent until it has already taken root.

Growing out of grievance and division, fascism is still seen in many parts of the world today.

That’s why we must remain vigilant and safeguard democracy against any attempts to undermine its principles.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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