History in the Making

Document Type



A long-standing historical debate revolves around the definition, fundamental nature and historical constraints of the concept of fascism. A wide array of scholarly questions about the political and ideological nature of fascism, the minimum or necessary traits of a fascist movement, arguments over the classification of semi-fascist groups and the concept of generic fascism characterize this debate. The result is a substantial body of scholarly research replete with competing theories for the evolution and origin of fascism as a concept, of individual fascist movements and even over the geographic and temporal application of the term itself within history. This paper is a historiography of fascist studies that illuminates the development of the scholarly narrative and understanding of fascism. Beginning with the historically contemporary Marxist perceptive of fascism, this paper examines competing and complimentary understandings of the phenomenon across the twentieth century, including various theories for the evolution of fascism in Europe, the relationship to and placement of fascism in the broader political spectrum, and the debate over fascism as a form of political religion. Finally, this paper explores whether fascism is a temporally and geographically limited dead historical phenomenon or an ongoing potential actor in the politics of the modern world.