António Costa Pinto

"Elites, Single Parties and Political Decision-making in fascist-era Dictatorships"

Contemporary European History


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Italian Fascism and German National-Socialism were both attempts to create a charismatic leadership and `totalitarian tension' that was, in one form or another, also present in other dictatorships of the period. After taking power, both National-Socialism and Fascism became powerful instruments of a `new order', agents of a `parallel administration', and promoters of innumerable tensions within these dictatorial political systems. Transformed into single parties, they flourished asbreeding-grounds for a new political elite and as agents for a new mediation between the state and civil society, creating tensions between the single party and the state apparatus in the process. These tensions were responsible for the emergence of new centres of political decision-making that on the one hand led to the concentration of power in the hands of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, but also removed it from the government and the ministerial elite, who were often increasingly subordinated to the single party and its `parallel administration'. This article seeks to ascertain the locus of political decision-making authority, the composition and the recruitment channels of the dictatorships' ministerial elites during the fascist era.  

Also available in Portuguese: "Elites, Partido Único e Decisão Política nas Ditaduras da época do Fascismo", Penélope, 26, 2002, pp. 161-186.

Contact Information

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