Fascism is part of human nature. It is in all of us to fear, to hate, and to reject ‘the Other’. That’s the message from former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her new book Fascism: A Warning.

Albright cautions that the conditions that led to fascism are not necessarily unique to the 1920s and ’30s, and warns that if we are too complacent we could see democracy falter and stumble once more. She writes:

In hindsight, it is tempting to dismiss every Fascist of [the 1920s and 1930s] as a thoroughly bad guy or a lunatic, but that is too easy, and by inducing complacency, also dangerous. Fascism is not an exception to humanity, but part of it…

Debating Europe is excited to announce that we will be interviewing Madeleine Albright about her book as part of our book club – a chance to put your questions and comments to authors from across the globe!

Each month, we will pick a different book and interview its author, and put questions and comments to them from our readers on the topic of the book. Our book of the month for September will be Madeleine Albright’s Fascism: A Warning.

One of the symbols of fascism is a bundle of sticks. Hit a person over the head with a single stick, and the stick may break. Hit a person over the head with a bundle of sticks, and the person’s head is likely to come out worse. That’s one of the defining characteristics of fascism: collective violence against individuals, minorities, and outsiders (anyone not part of the bundle of sticks).

Fascism: A Warning begins with a discussion on the origins and definition of fascism. Albright takes us through the turbulent years immediately after the First World War, charting the rise to power of Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Francisco Franco. However, this history only occupies the first few chapters of the book. She then draws parallels between the fascism of the past and many of the “strong man” regimes of the present (while admitting that few of them, with the possible exception of North Korea, qualify as outright fascist states).

Drawing on her experience as Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, she talks about the rise of right-wing ultra-nationalism and xenophobia in countries such as Russia, Serbia, and Turkey. She also has some choice words on President Donald Trump, who she has called the “the most undemocratic president in modern American history” (though, again, she stops short of outright declaring him a fascist).

Ultimately, however, Albright sees fascism as part of human nature, but also a perversion of it. She argues that the stronger part of being human is to love and remain open-minded. However, in order to reject the hatred and anger of fascism, we first need to understand its history and legacy.

Is fascism coming back? Or was it consigned to the ideological dustbin of history after World War Two? Is the modern world too complacent about the dangers of fascism? Now is your chance to put your comments and questions to Madeleine Albright about her book – so let us know in the comments below what you would like to ask her!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Jacqueline Poggi

66 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    esteban portal amalia

    Serán los actuales complacientes….los responsables del retorno del fascismo? O se transformaran
    directamente en los nuevos fascistas ellos mismos?

  2. avatar
    frankie perussault

    yes, fascism is coming back and it is scary. the only hope is that the experience of it is still vivid and that might act as a break. and perhaps we’re a little more educated. but yes, the modern world is too complacent about it.

    • avatar
      eric whitfield

      Maybe it’s the youngsters we should worry about, as they are not so knowledgeable.

  3. avatar
    Viviana Lorenzo

    What forms of resistance to modern fascist propaganda based on sentiment internet algoritma, trolling with fake news and cyberbullism, can we apply?

    • avatar
      Daniel Tigli

      That’s the question!

  4. avatar
    John Costigane

    Fascism is a relic of the past but there are still people today who declare political opponents as fascist. The overwhelming liberal bias in the Western media is responsible for promoting such feelings. The truth is that they themselves are left leaning progressive apologists for ultimately communism. They are the threat to Western values.

    • avatar
      Happy Human

      That is just one of those zillion absolutely boring stereotypical allegations made by the Alt-Right or fascists or whatever you want to call them. Like every other thinking person on this planet, I am absolutely sick and tired of these completely false allegations. Give me a break!

  5. avatar

    Quite strange how this website pushes a criminal person, who said 500,000 children lost in Iraq was “a price well worth it” in an interview.
    A person who has a record of hating certain Balkan people, and supporting corrupt Hillary Clinton, and working with Rothschilds. Maybe Albright and Macron could shake hands and sing about their wonderful “democracy” in the liberal communist EU.

    • avatar

      what nonsense is this, the EU is staunchly anti-communist and is populated by mostly centre-right leaders? Are you even from the EU?

  6. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Sorry, I did not read her book- but what would Mrs. Albright say about “the Petri dish of Fascism” found in Europe? Is the EU designed to be immune? Outrageous question?

    Why not have a look & listen to several other “outrageous” books & opinions like:

    “The EU: The Truth about………..”
    by Daniel J Beddowes and Falvio Cipollini:



    “The Godmother” (‘Die Patin’) a book by academic Gertrude Höhler:


    Or: “Truths about the EU” by Vernon Coleman

    Or Rodney Atkinson:

    Or the Greek crises- in hindsight- it was 2015:

    Yanis Varoufakis and Joseph Stiglitz

    In 2018: is the Greece crises really over? Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said: “I am happy”- really?

    EU fascism- an impossibility or a step by step approach by Brussels?

  7. avatar
    frankie perussault

    le fascisme c’est quand un groupe d’hommes coursent et tabassent un individu parce qu’il n’est pas comme eux. restons terre-à-terre et précis. il ne FAUT PAS que la réponse à l’invasion musulmane de l’Europe devienne fasciste. c’est en passe de le devenir parce que la réponse à cette ‘invasion’ est molle, pas claire, et ne satisfait pas le peuple à la base. l’ingrédient majeure du fascisme est la haine, la haine pure et dure, aveugle, sans discernement. quand mon fils métis de mère européenne (moi) blanche et protestante, ouais protestante chrétienne, se fait tabasser sur le chemin de l’école par une bande de skin heads, c’est du fascisme. les idéologies de gauche de droite d’en haut ou d’en bas n’entrent pas en ligne de compte du tout.

  8. avatar

    Since when do we care what the Yanks think? Most probably couldn’t even spell ‘fascism’, let alone define it.

    • avatar

      How ignorant are you! Europe should care ,after all the Yanks have to came to help to liberate us from “fascism” in two world wars in the last century. Perhaps if you read the book you will learn something before making such stupid coment.

    • avatar

      two actually !

    • avatar

      That is almost what a “fascist” would say Mathilde ! In a country of 325 milion people i’m sure there are plenty that can define what fascism is or isn’t. Anti-americanism is one of the sympthoms of fascism in Europe.

    • avatar

      Dos. Two. 2. COMPRENDE.?

  9. avatar

    I really hope not.. Surely there’s a tendency towards right wing and also populism.

  10. avatar

    We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open, but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world and always attacks the heart, especially if it’s red, white and green.

  11. avatar

    Fascism was a reaction to excesses on the left. If we stop the excesses on the left that are reappearing, we won’t have Fascism coming back.

    • avatar

      What excesses of the left was in Germany? Before coming Hitler ?!?!

    • avatar

      The “excesses of left”.


      How DARE you not let us be racist to non-whites/ eastern European/ jews/muslims/gays !!!

      It is an “excess” ! The “evul left” is hutting muh fweelings…huhuu…

  12. avatar

    Present TIME world wide ongoing project/society/, it isn´t the fascism; it is the RE-FEUDALIZATION. The cold war oppose the mankind. The wall street casino syndicates backed king herods are creators, FEUDALISM-BOLSHEVIK-UEBERMENSCH caste and they are creators word wide, the feudalistic bolshevik POTEMKIN BANANA REPUBLIC SYSTEMS; The quasi profit grabber it is the “wall street casino syndicates” https://boingboing.net/2018/07/17/noam-chomsky-calmly-explains-w.html

  13. avatar

    European treaties are almost similar

  14. avatar

    Fascism is dead & the real threat to Western Civilisation comes from Socialism.

    A reading list for anyone thinking the ideas of Socialism are anything other than a death cult would be:

    1. The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell

    2. The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    3. Basic economics – thomas sowell

    4. 12 Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson

    Reading these 4 books alone will give you a far better understanding of the evil that is Socialism & how to avoid reproducing the terrors of the 20th Century.

    • avatar

      Pensa per casa tua e migliorala . “Peras imposuit Iuppiter nobis duas: propriis repletam vitiis post tergum dedit, alienis ante pectus suspendit gravem. Hac re videre nostra mala non possumus: alii simul delinquunt, censores sumus.”

    • avatar

      Orwell was a socialist, dumbass…

    • avatar
      EU Reform- Proactive

      @ his Honorable the Adrian Limbidis:
      Rumanian vulgarity-again? Vulgarity is the quality being common.

      Besides having interesting “opinions”- Orwell was a novelist, journalist and critic!

      Newspeak is pc. Bellyfeel is euroism- is democratic supranational totalitarian social capitalism! A close relative to fascism. All just a mouthful of slogans- not so?

  15. avatar

    Fascism is not coming back. Fascism IS back. There is at the moment no European state that has less than 10% fascists on average and some already have nazis in their parliament. With the examples of Italy or Austria, France is following, Denmark and so on… Fascists are the dogs of capitalists fed by them for the dirty jobs. Following Greece and Spain, if socialism gains more ground in Europe it will be the best time to take the democratic voting privilege from fascists and thus clear fascism for good. The right to vote for a fascist is like hiring a pedophile in a kindergarten…

    • avatar

      You do know fascism is a form of Socialism right ?

    • avatar

      Yeah… And thats why we dont need socialism

  16. avatar

    Yes, Fascism is coming back, and we have to fight against this new fascism.

    • avatar

      Which is called ” liberalism” nowadays…

  17. avatar

    No. But could be possible If we not rezolve the diference between poor and reach countries.

  18. avatar

    Just look to Poland and Hungary. Thisisfine.jpg attitude galore. The frustrated Eastern European youth commenting here is also direly brainwashed and can’t swallow their pride to admit they are defending an authoritarian system

    • avatar


  19. avatar

    Not exactly. From my point of view, the hard right politicians that nowadays are important in the EU and the USA are trying to hide all fascist decoration they could have. In theory, most of them aren’t trying to eliminate the current democratic systems but, as the far right did a long time ago, they are trying to create a common enemy (Soros, the globalization…) to manipulate our minds and control the world. They are more subtle than Mussolini or Hitler were but their leitmotiv is similar. Hard wing is similar but people is discovering that they are a mess (e.g. Syriza in Greece) and they will remove them (and I hope the same result for the Euro-American populist right as soon as it will be possible).

  20. avatar

    In Poland, there has never been and there is no fascism, and Poland was the first country to oppose fascist Germany. The current accusation of Poland is similar to the accusations against Poland in 1939, which allegedly justified the attack of Nazi Germany. Do we now have such situations for the second time?

  21. avatar

    The revival of fascism in Islamizing countries is possible.

  22. avatar

    Ya,its coming back and she’s helping in its arrival.

  23. avatar

    Fascismus is here becuase being fascist is so easy. just don t doubt. dont make any critics. just say what your leader say. dont think by yourself, blame cowardly everyone else for your faults and errors and bash everyone who thinks different.

  24. avatar

    Yes firstly because people ignore history, and also because mostly of them are deeply racist!

  25. avatar

    Fascism not so much these days, more there is the danger of communism coming back..

    • avatar

      I think both are resurging ! Neo-marxism with state support due to various ngo’s and some kind of fascism due to popular support of disenfranchised people … In both cases, democracy is at risk !

    • avatar

      Yes, both, but the far left propaganda is eveywhere these days..And yes, big risk for democracy!

  26. avatar

    In Italy fascism has never gone! The fascists just put a mask over the past 7 decades. Now they have come out again electing the new “Duce” Matteo Salvini. Watch out Europe, the situation in Italy might have its suitors outside its national borders!

  27. avatar

    Fascism is already here, behind democratic face, people like Duda, Orban, Salvini are destroying rights, freedom, ethics

    • avatar

      Real fascism in 2018 means international banking and industrial powers exploiting poor countries to keep them in a state of chaos needed to control them, that’s exactly what Macron is doing in Africa, not Orban nor Salvini.

    • avatar

      Orban is a big friend of big companies. He gave them low taxes, weak trade unions. Orban is a part of this regime.

  28. avatar

    Please! Keep an eye on Spain! Situation is getting ugly!!

  29. avatar

    Fascism is gone, the real danger is the lack of economic expansion (austerity) and a new wave of wild liberalism…we’re gettin’ screwed by the élite and you name fascism, it’s total BS!

  30. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    This theme quickly raises a variety of political emotions- depending on ones experience, attitude & world view. The EU book is not yet finished nor published.

    Care should be taken to remain within strict historical confines what fascism meant according to its founder Mussolini in 1919 (Partito Nazionale Fascista) & how it played itself out over time. It’s disgraced name should not become a common “swear word” to be used against persons or to label political opponents- “willy nilly”.

    No doubt, fascist elements ARE traceable in today’s political concepts. More of interest for all living and voting in the EU- than others in other parts of the world. Mine is (our’s should be?) political vigilance.

    Are there- and if- what are the similarities between the past concept of “radical authoritarian ultranationalism” and the EU’s “strictly anchored regulatory supranationalism”?

    In 1936, ~99% of ordinary German people, the working, middle, upper class & large industrialists handed over their citizen rights to one party & one leadership.


  31. avatar

    As far as European nations are concerned there are no fascist governments,true there are some with hard right wing parties in coalition,but this is primarily a backlash against mass immigration and the surrender of national sovereignty to the corrupt EU bodies that people feel they have no control over.
    A simple solution would be for the current mainstream conservative parties to move further to the right,similar to how Mark Rutte did in the Netherlands and Orban in Hungary,promise the electorate that you will put them first and ignore any instructions given by the EU commission.

  32. avatar

    when press labels centrist liberals as far right, you can have that impression.

  33. avatar

    Yes. And thats a good thing!

  34. avatar

    “One of the symbols of fascism is a bundle of sticks. Hit a person over the head with a single stick, and the stick may break. Hit a person over the head with a bundle of sticks, and the person’s head is likely to come out worse. That’s one of the defining characteristics of fascism: collective violence against individuals, minorities, and outsiders (anyone not part of the bundle of sticks).”

    That is not what the symbolism means. What it means is that there is strength in numbers, which is absolutely true. United we stand, divided we fall. That is the essence of fascism and it can be used to attack or to defend.

  35. avatar

    Of course fascism is coming back! The jesuits of Romd love fascism and are doing everything they can to make the whites of Europe and America ‘angry’ flood those nations with a savage backward religion called Islam , make them feel like they’re losing their culture , do continuous Muslim false flag attacks and pump it on the news all the time! When gangs of Muslims rape children have the politicians on the TV claim Islam is a religion of peace . Fascism is 100% coming back it’s fucking obvious! All goes back to that man of sin day in Rome.

  36. avatar

    He is a fascist to be, we know what’s gonna happen if he wins and people don’t stand up to his fascism.

  37. avatar

    By her definition, communists are fascists, so it’s a wider definition than what most people are probably using.

  38. avatar

    She should be catefull of what she is saying coz Trump wants send women disagreeing with him back home ( even if they are americans). :)

  39. avatar

    Europeans calling Trump fascist..reminds me of the bible story of motes & beams !

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