1934 Montreux Fascist conference


1934 Montreux Fascist conference

The Fascist International Congress was a meeting held by deputies from a number of European Fascist organizations. The conference was held on December 16-17, 1934 in Montreux, Switzerland. The conference was organized and chaired by "Comitati d'Azione per l'Universalita di Roma (CAUR)", or the Action Committees for the Universality of Rome.

Background

The Action Committees for the Universality of Rome was a network founded in 1933 by Mussolini's Fascist Regime. "CAUR's" director was Eugenio Coselschi, and its stated goal was to act as a network for a "Fascist International" [Payne, Stanley G. "Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922-1945". "Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898", Raanan Rein, ed. page 105. London, 1999] Major obstacles arose in the organization's attempt to identify a "universal fascism" and the criteria that an organization must fulfil in order to qualify as "fascist". [Payne, Stanley G. "Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922-1945". "Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898", Raanan Rein, ed. page 105. London, 1999] . Nevertheless, by April 1934 the network had identified "fascist" movements in 39 countries, including all European countries except Yugoslavia, as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, five countries in Asia and six in Latin America. [Payne, Stanley G. "Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922-1945". "Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898", Raanan Rein, ed. page 105. London, 1999] . As different groups tried to obtain subsidies all manners of conflicts arose on issues such as racism, anti-Semitism, corporatism and state structure. [Payne, Stanley G. "Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922-1945". "Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898", Raanan Rein, ed. page 105.London, 1999]

Participants

The first world conference of the "CAUR" convened at Montreux on December 16. Participants from fascist organizations in 13 European countries attended, including Ion Mota of Romania's Iron Guard, Vidkun Quisling of Norway's Nasjonal Samling, Gimenez Caballero of the Spanish Falange movement, Eoin O'Duffy of the Irish Blueshirts, Marcel Bucard of the French "Mouvement Franciste" [Bingham, John. " [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3686/is_199412/ai_n8727323/pg_5 Defining French Fascism, Finding Fascists in France] ". Canadian Journal of History, Dec. 1994.] , representatives from Lithuania's TautininkaiGriffin, Roger "The Nature of Fascism" St. Martin's Press, New York. 1991, page 121] , the Portuguese Acção Escolar Vanguarda ("Vanguard School" Action, with observer status), headed by António Eça de Queiroz (son of the famous writer and future head of the Emissora Nacional, the National Radio Station of Portugal) [Cordeiro, Filipe. [http://www.angelfire.com/pq/unica/forum_arquivo_1_ns_en.htm Nacional Sindicalismo / Estado Novo / ] . Unica Semper Avis, website of the Causa Real (federation of Portuguese Monarchist associations), 18/10/2001 09:58:07 PM] , as well as delegates from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Notable in their absence were any representatives from Nazi Germany [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] . The conference in Montreux occurred only six months after the assassination of the Austrofascist Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss by Nazi agents and the resulting diplomatic crisis between Italy and Germany. Likewise, Mussolini did not allow any official representative of the Italian Fascist Party attend the meeting, ostensibly in order what the conference could achieve before lending full official support [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] . Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, while allowing members of the Falange to participate, stated that the Falange as an organization would not be represented, as the "CAUR" was "not a Fascist movement" [Payne, Stanley G. "Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922-1945". "Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898", Raanan Rein, ed. page 106. London, 1999] . Other notable absences included the Austrian Ernst Rudiger von Starhemberg and Oswald Mosley of Great Britain [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] .

Proceedings

From the outset, the conference was marred by serious conflicts between the participants. Coselschi, acting as President of the Conference, clashed with Quisling over the importance of Nazi Germany to international fascism [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] .Mota, supported by the Danish and Swiss delegates, likewise created a rift by underlining the centrality of anti-Semitism to fascist movements, a move opposed by Coselschi and O'Duffy [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] .

On the matter of anti-Semitism, several compromise resolutions were adopted. These declared that "the Jewish question cannot be converted into a universal campaign of hatred against the Jews," while also stating that "Considering that in many places certain groups of Jews are installed in conquered countries, exercising in an open and occult manner an influence injurious to the material and moral interests of the country which harbors them, constituting a sort of state within a state, profiting by all benefits and refusing all duties, considering that they have furnished and are inclined to furnish, elements conducive to international revolution which would be destructive to the idea of patriotism and Christian civilization, the Conference denounces the nefarious action of these elements and is ready to combat them." [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] .

The delegates at the conference also unanimously declared their opposition to Communist movements and the Third International [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,754480,00.html Pax Romanizing] ". TIME Magazine, Dec. 31, 1934] .

Results

A second and final conference was held in Montreux in April of 1935. Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera did make a brief appearance at this conference, using the opportunity to express sympathies with the movement while stating that Spain was not ready to participate in any venture of international fascism, because his movment was "estrictamnete nacional", "only national" [Payne, Stanley G. "Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922-1945". "Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898", Raanan Rein, ed. page 107. London, 1999] .

The conference was not able to bridge the gulf between those participants who proposed achieving national integration by a corporative socio-economic policy and those who favored an appeal to race [Cassels, Alan. "Ideology and International Relations in the Modern World" Routledge, New York. page 158] . Pretensions to "universal fascism" could not survive this rift, and the movement did not meet its goal of acting as a counterbalance to international communism [Cassels, Alan. "Ideology and International Relations in the Modern World" Routledge, New York. page 158] .

The "CAUR" did not win official endorsement from the Italian Fascist Party or the Spanish Falange. It was unsuccessful presenting a commonly-agreed definition as to what "fascism" was, and was unsuccessful in uniting most major fascist parties into one international movement.

Footnotes

See also

*Fascism
*Definitions of Fascism
*Fascism as an international phenomenon


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