Modernist alternatives to bankruptcy?

von macchiato

Some thought-provoking quotes from Roger Griffin’s book Modernism and Fascism. The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler, a synoptic interpretation of fascism based on the concept of modernism:

Fascism can be seen as a political variant of modernism„(…)

„Fascism represents one response to modernisation within a protracted, complex and unpredictable evolution of particular nation-states away from traditional society. Its core myth of national palingenesis, through the creation of a new socio-political and ethical order, means that it always portrays itself as a radical alternative to existing ideology and as the pioneer of a new path to modernity made necessary by the bankruptcy or decadence of (all) existing alternatives.“(…)

„Both the Fascists and Nazis were not rejecting modernity, but using the built environment to lay foundations of an alternative modernity. they were thus seeking to realize an alternative modernism.“

„The premise of this book is that the two fascist regimes of inter-war Europe cannot be understood without taking into account the wide-spread conviction that the upheavals of contemporary history were the death throes of the modern world under the aegis of Enlightenment reason and liberal capitalism.(…)

„To study Nazism is (…) to study the awesome potential of modernisation to create ephemeral and abortive (but to their victims terrifyingly real and definitive) symbioses between the traditional and the modern, to produce a form of modernity deliberately attempting to crush the Enlightenment humanist tradition. To grasp this fact destroys any comforting equation between modernity and humanism, modernity and civilisation, modernity and progress, modernity and the good.“

„Many aspects of the relationship of Fascism and Nazism, still widely perceived as a flight from or assault on the modern world, should seem disturbingly ’natural‘ expressions of Western modernity at a certain point in its evolution (…)

„It will also be more intelligible why some of the most ‚barbaric‘ acts of modern history were

carried out by activists who felt they were at the cutting edge of history, pioneers of a new age driven on not by nihilism or cruelty, but by visionary idealism, a brand-new creed of redemption, purification, and renewal.“ (…)


(Source: Roger Griffin: Modernism and Fascism. The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2007, pp. 7-13, p.31, p.43, p.363)