The Magic of the Extreme: On Fascism, Modernity, and Capitalism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this article is to re-examine the relationship of fascism–up to and including its German National Socialist variant–to modernity, generally, and to capitalism, more specifically. Outlining a general conceptual framework within which these questions might be addressed, the article seeks to move beyond the habitual positing of abstract antinomies to a more dialectical approach to the questions posed. In the first part of the discussion, it is maintained that fascism and its extremism were quintessential phenomena of the modern age, while fiercely resistant to modernity. In the second, and concluding, part, it is argued that fascism was profoundly indebted to capitalism even as it was, in other ways, passionately opposed to it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-63
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Holocaust Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ishay Landa is Associate Professor of modern history at the Israeli Open University, in Ra’anana. His research interests include political theory – especially fascism, Marxism, and liberalism – and popular culture. He has written four books: The Overman in the Marketplace: Nietzschean Heroism in Popular Culture (Lexington, 2007), The Apprentice’s Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism (Brill, 2010), The Roots of European Fascism: 1789–1945 (in Hebrew, the Open University Press, 2015), and Fascism and the Masses: The Revolt Against the Last Humans, 1848–1945 (Routledge, 2018). His essays and lectures deal with diverse topics such as fascism, consumerism, religion and atheism, and take on different writers and thinkers, for example, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, or J. R. R. Tolkien. He has won several scholarships, among them a Post-doc fellowship with distinction: ‘Gerhard Martin Julius Schmidt Minerva Fellowship,' for a research conducted at TU Braunschweig, Germany (2006–2008), and more recently, the Alon Fellowship for Outstanding Young Researchers, awarded by the Council of Higher Education, Israel (2009–2012).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and Education, at the University of Haifa.


  • Fascism
  • National Socialism
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich
  • capitalism
  • modernity
  • political extremism


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