The term fascism was first used in Italy during the 1920s, and like Nazism, its meaning came to refer to a type of union of right wing concepts of authoritarian political controls with welfare state economic policies. The term neo-fascism is used to describe fascist movements active after World War II.
Modern colloquial usage of the word sometimes extends the definition of the terms fascism and neo-fascism and Neo-Nazism to refer to any totalitarian worldview, regardless of its political ideology. Although the assertion that religious fundamentalists and militants are fascists can often be understood as hyperbole, (see Fascist (epithet), some scholars have used the term when discussing certain religious movements.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, authoritarian ideals saw a resurgence in the context of political upheavals across Eurasia, typically anti-aristocratic socio-political revolutions. The ethnic-rooted conflicts of World War I and World War II arose from the political circumstances brought about by internal societal battles, usually between left-wing revolutionaries and right-wing traditionalists.
In addition to the authoritarian political model, most scholars classify fascism as an extreme right ideology, along with ethnic-populist movements that call for increased traditionalism. In the context of civil conflicts, the demand for increased traditionalism typically promotes ethnocentrism, and in extreme cases this ethnic unity resulted in the persecution of those not within the chosen ethnic group. Religion has often been an aspect of ethnicity, whose moral foundation and message may grow corrupted by the societal acceptance of convergence between political and religious populism.
Between the two world wars, there were three forms of fascism: Italian economic corporatism; German racial nationalist Nazism; and clerical fascist movements such as the Romanian Iron Guard and the Croatian Ustashi.
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