The territorial expansionism of Italian fascism and German Nazism have their origins in both great power competition and nationalism. Great powers possess more territory and the resources it may provide for war-making. Thus the Italian drive to conquer Ethiopia. The nationalist obsession with national territory and the national idenity of the population living on it is an elaboration of the impulse of great power competition. Colonizing territory with fellow nationals means that its resources will be avialable in a future conflict with other great powers. Thus the German attempt to colonize Ukraine.
Originally anti-clerical, Italian fascism in practice found political allies in the Roman Catholic Church against the political left, especially the officially aetheist Italian Communist Party. German Nazism was also secular but most leading Nazis embraced a heterodox form of Christianity called Positive Christianity. Other European fascisms such the Spanish Falangists, Belgian Regists, Romanian Iron Guard, and Hungarian Arrow Cross were explicitly Christian.
Anxiety about sexuality and sexual identity was important in the mid-20th century rise of fascism. Like the continental fascisms, Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascism emphasized the masculine. The propaganda of his Blackshirts symbolically castrated opponents by ascribing them with feminine characteristics.
- Stephen Dorril. 2007. Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley & British Fascism. New York: Penguin. p. 227.
- Wendy Lower. 2005. Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in the Ukraine. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.
- Richard Steigmann-Gall. 2003. The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Michaela Wrong. 2005. I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation. New York: Harper Perrennial.