Clerical fascism, or clerico-fascism is a political leadership combining fascism and clericalism, which is church based, and essentially a fascist regime with a religious leading role. In 1930, Portugal, the National Union (União Nacional) which was a far right political party part of the Estado Novo regime, which was a clerical fascist party, who during a coup d’état against the Democrat party took control of the government.
António de Oliveira Salazar became Prime Minister of Portugal in 1932. His leadership was completely authoritarian, and his rule was influenced by Catholicism and nationalistic ideals, and his military police repressed citizens.
He used propaganda and censorship to suppress his opposition, especially Towards the Communist party, as he despised Communism, democracy, socialism and liberalism, despite being a stern leader in command of a military dictatorship. His intent was to strengthen traditional values and restrain public opinion, and in public he always attempted a saintly image, but some historians claim his rule was of a ruthless and bloodthirsty regime for thirty six years.
In 1923 The Slovak People’s Party (Hlinkova slovenská ľudová strana) was founded, which was a right wing political party with a nationalistic Christian stance. It was initially run by Andrej Hlinka who was a Slovak Roman Catholic Priest, and in his early adulthood he spent two years in prison for inciting Slovaks against Hungary. His ideas were pure Christian socialism in his youth.
Jozef Tiso was also Slovak Roman Catholic Priest who governed the Slovak state during World War II. He was part of the Czechoslovak government and replaced Hinka as party leader in 1938. During the war, Tiso was a supporter of Hitler and was involved in the deportation of Jews for execution in Germany, and the execution of Slovak Jews. The Slovak National Uprising had intent of removing Tiso from power, but were suppressed and many of them were executed.
After the war ended he fled to Germany, but was captured by U.S soldiers and returned to Czechoslovakia, where he was tried for crimes against humanity and was sentenced to a death by hanging in 1947.
In 1936 the 4th of August Regime took over the Kingdom of Greece, and the leadership was Totalitarianism and ruled under the Prime Minister of Ioannis Metaxas. State propaganda made him out as though he was Saviour of the Nation, despite him being a dictator. Like most dictatorships, Metaxas was against political opposition and was brutal towards the communists by persecution, imprisonments and exile, and book burnings were ordered of anything anti-Greek.
Stories leaked out of Greece describing the horrific acts by the secret police to suppress people’s voices. Metaxas died in 1941 after just five years of dictatorship but the Greeks will never forget his dictatorial Metaxism, which held extremely strong relations with the Greek Orthodox Church and the Monarchy, and strong Militarism in control.
In 1933 Johan Heinrich Ludwig Müller, was a member of the German Christians which was a group within the Evangelical Church that wished for German Protestantism to adopt antisemitic and Führerprinzip ideologies. What this meant was the Church adopted the Christian views of the Nazi party and accepted that Hitler was above the law. Müller became the Reichsbischof due to his obsession that Jesus was the first Aryan who died from Jewish corruption.
During the Nazi Gleichschaltung, which was was the process of totalitarian Nazification control, Müller had the job of uniting all of the separate Protestant church bodies into one solitary moment called Reichskirche, and he wished to serve as the top bishop, which eventually happened when he became Reich Bishop. The radicalised Nazis wanted to remove the Old Testament and replace it with a new German religion that had no connection to the Jews.
Müller was unable to truly unite the Protestant Churches which infuriated Adolf Hitler, so with the German Christians failing in their job, it was Alfred Rosenberg’s turn and he described Rome and Protestantism as Negative Christianity and he pushed Germany towards Positive Christianity.
But in reality, Rosenberg had no interest in Christianity and he, and a few other radicals, wished to start a new religion called German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung) which replaces the Christian Cross with the Swastika and mix Paganism with Aryan ideas.
In the 1920s in Brazil, Plínio Salgado studied Catholic theology of the Roman Catholic Church, and researched the works of Brazilian Catholic thinkers, and in 1927 he wrote his book titled Literature and Politics which was about nationalism and anti-liberalism. In 1930, during a holiday to Europe he became aware of Mussolini and was inspired to do the same in Brazil. Upon his return he formed the Brazilian integralism Party. They were forced to work underground and used terrorism tactics against the Communists, which were led by Luís Carlos Prestes, until Vargas demanded that they supported him as his only right wing aid against the left.
In 1937 Salgado started his campaign as a presidential candidate, but like any fascist dictator, Vargas had no patience for opposition so he banned the Integralism party, like all of his previous opposition. Integralism militants attempted twice to overthrow his government, but failed each time, and as a result Salgado was exiled to Portugal for six years.
Upon his return to Portugal he created the Party of Popular Representation, which was a far right nationalist party incorporating fascism and Catholic doctrines and Integralism ideologies, which was still extremely violently opposed to Communism. Salgado was still keen for presidency, but it never happened and he had to settle for various government positions.
Vargas adopted a European style police state where he adopted Hitler type fascist ideologies which involved economic growth and suppression of the working class. In 1945 Vargas resigned from Presidency, but by 1951 he was re-elected and pursued a nationalist policy and attempted to reform the economy. Vargas’ main opposition Carlos Lacerda had an attempt made on his life, and Vargas’ personal guard was accused of being behind the attempt, and generals demanded Vargas’ resignation. After realising he’d lost control he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, and left a suicide note.
‘Serenely, I take my first step on the road to eternity. I leave life to enter history’