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Woxx - Luxembourg | Friday, March 16, 2007

For Zeev Sternhell, the danger of fascism remains in Europe

In an interview conducted by Luc Caregari, the Israelian historian Zeev Sternhell, a specialist on fascism in Europe, analyses the roots of this phenomenon and explains that certain countries, such as France, should not feel out of its reach. "A happy society does not just hatch fascism, which builds its ascension on simple solutions for complex problems. A rising unemployment rate certainly favours fascism more that democracy. Democracy is the luxury of happy societies. A society that considers itself a victim of economic disaster tends more to accept simple solutions, accusing democracy of all evils and calling in a strong-man to fix things. ... In Eastern countries, authoritarian regimes can develop easily. It is more difficult in the West, but never impossible. I believe that the fascist disaster in Europe was not a problem that arose solely from historical contingency, but rather something emanating from a fundamental problem of culture and identity. And these problems have not gone away."

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