Photos Of Everyday Life In Fascist Europe

These photos show what everyday life under fascism looked like

Big Brother in the streets…

The face of Benito Mussolini presided over Rome’s Palazzo Brunchi ahead of the 1934 elections. Il Duce had an overwhelming victory. (Getty Images)

The “fascism” label has been thrown around a lot lately, leaving some wondering, what does it really mean? We know the infamous system of government traces to Benito Mussolini—the Italian dictator who inspired and collaborated with Hitler during the Second World War. But as we spiral down our own 21st century flirtation with fascism, it’s helpful to see how the hateful ideology played out for everyday people in regimes past.

Fascism endears itself to a citizenry through various means of public display and propaganda. Mussolini embedded his image in Italian public space as a way to maintain presence and power. Hitler mainstreamed the Nazi swastika and employed layered messaging to emphasize the superiority of ethnic Germans over a Jewish threat.

Signs and symbols — like speech — seem passive at first. But their steady encroachment into public space parallels the slow creep of ideological acceptance. The incurrence of fascism doesn’t happen overnight. But by the time you notice it’s there, it’s probably too late. What once may have seemed unthinkable is easily assimilated into the hustle and bustle of daily life.

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