Matthew S. Hartman
Honors in History: The Emergence of Indigenous Fascism in France and Spain 1923-1939
Fascism in France and Spain emerged out of conservative discontent with the inefficiency of the liberal establishment that had controlled France and Spain since the 1870s. French and Spanish movements evolved from Bonapartist and nationalist organizations into proto-fascist organizations that were characterized by paramilitarism. However, conservative fears of Marxism, that were supported by the resurgence of the left in the form of the Popular Front in both France and Spain, propelled the proto-fascist organizations to reorganize into fascist political parties. Fascism in France and Spain reached its pinnacle following the victories of the Popular Front in 1936; however, German aggression in France during World War II caused fascist sympathy to plummet. Spanish fascism rose to prominence after the Spanish Civil War where General Francisco Franco defeated the republicans and established a fascist state that would remain until his death in 1975. French and Spanish fascist movements were indigenous ideologies that trace their roots to conservative and nationalistic sentiments, which predate the rise of more prominent fascist movements in Germany and Italy. Moreover, fascism in France and Spain was more than an esoteric movement of the elites; it had a mass appeal that permeated the class structure of French and Spanish society.