*THE CULTIVATION OF IGNORANCE*
Fascism, like all forms of government, rests firmly on the sincere consent of a large part of the population. To maintain this consent, the Fascist leadership must cut off the people from any information which might cause them to doubt the complete rightness of the fixed Fascist principles. All forms of communication are carefully censored, so that the public will receive only those facts that the dictators want known. Travel to other countries must be controlled, and freedom of speech and assembly must be rigorously suppressed.
*SUPPRESSION OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY*
Fascism in Italy and Germany at first won the support of the wealthy classes, both landed and industrial. These people saw in Fascism a protection against the demands of farmers and other workers. Both regimes at first upheld the rights of private property. They subjected the working classes to a rigorous discipline. As soon as they were firmly established, the dictators began to limit profit, impose capital levies, and regulate business in great detail.
*THE POLICE STATE*
Fascism depends upon the police to crush all opposition or dissent. Secret police spy on the whole population, and any casual remark against the regime leads to swift and severe punishment. Opposition parties are dissolved. Intellectual, athletic and recreational organizations are usually brought under the control of the Fascist authority. The ruthlessness of the police gradually becomes less noticeable. This is because within a year or so after a Fascist government takes power, vigorous opponents of the regime have either left the country, been killed or jailed.
(Both Fascist and Communist leaders make use of the police state. Every absolute government has used the police state to some degree. It was highly developed among the ancient Assyrians.)
Fascism is highly nationalistic. It tries to identify its principles with the country, so that disagreement will look like treason. Some other country, or some group within the country, is chosen to serve as the "enemy" and made to appear as the cause of all evils or misfortunes. For example, the Nazis in Germany represented their movement first as a crusade against the Jews, then as a fight against Communism and later as a struggle against the "attacks" from whatever neighboring country they wished to subdue or occupy. Extreme nationalism often becomes a kind of racial fanaticism. Sometimes it combines racial and religious bigotry.
Fascism maintains among the people a permanently warlike frame of mind. Every citizen feels that he is mobilized against enemies of the regime from within, and against possible foreign foes. The dictator usually comes to power during a period of economic crisis or depression. He relieves the depression partly by employing many people in the making of armaments. To justify this procedure, he must convince the people that the country is threatened, and must point toward some of the enemies against whom the armaments may be needed.