António Costa Pinto & Stein U. Larsen

"Conclusion: Fascism, Dictators and Charisma"

Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions


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By the beginning of the Second World War, and particularly after the German invasion of Eastern Europe on 22 June 1941, Europe was strangled by various dictatorships: some fascist/Nazi dictatorships, some puppet, and a variety of semi-fascist or right-wing national and royalist authoritarian regimes. There were only a very few of the smaller neutral states that kept democracy alive: Ireland, led by a Catholic (but authoritarian) Fianna Fail government under Eamon de Valera; Iceland, which was occupied by ‘friendly’ British and American forces; Switzerland, which was under heavy pressure to restrict political freedoms so as not to not provoke invasion from Germany; and Sweden, which had to allow German troops and weapons to pass through its territory. Finland was in a special position: as a consequence of its recent war against the Soviet Union (the Winter War of 1939-40), it was permitted to retain its largely democratic regime whilst simultaneously being allied to Germany and governed by the authoritarian president, Carl Mannerheim. 

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Antonio Costa Pinto   |
Institute of Social Sciences   |   Av. Professor Anibal Betencourt, 9   |   1600-189 Lisbon   |   Portugal