Liberalism, Fascism or Social Democracy: Social Classes and the Political Origins of Regimes in Interwar Europe
By: Gregory M. Luebbert (author)Paperback
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This work provides a sweeping historical analysis of the political development of Western Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. The author argues that the evolution of most European nations into liberal democracies, social democracies or facist regimes was attributable to a discrete set of social and class alliances within individual nations. In Britain, France and Switzerland, countries with a unified middle class, liberal forces established political hegemony before World War I. By co-opting considerable sections of the working class with reforms that weakened union movements, liberals essentially excluded the fragmented working class from the political process, remaining in power throughout the inter-war period. In countries with a strong, cohesive working class and a fractured middle class, Luebbert points out, a liberal solution was impossible. In Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Czechoslovakia, political coalitions of social democrats and "family peasantry" emerged as a result of World War I, resulting in social democracies.
In Spain, Italy and Germany, on the other hand, the urban middle class united with a peasantry hostile to socialism to facilitate the rise of fascism.
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- ID: 9780195066111
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