National Fascist Community

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The National Fascist Community (Czech: Národní obec fašistická, NOF, sometimes translated as National Fascist League) was a Czechoslovakian Fascist movement led by Radola Gajda, and based on the Fascism of Benito Mussolini.[1]

Formation and ideology[edit]

The party was formed in March 1926 by the merger of a group of dissident National Democrats known as the "Red-Whites" with various other rightist groups across Bohemia and Moravia.[2] It was distinguished by a strong current of opposition to Germany, which continued even after Adolf Hitler had come to power. The NOF instead looked to Italy as its model, and based itself wholly on Mussolini's National Fascist Party. In this respect it differed markedly from its chief rival Vlajka, which was firmly in the Hitler camp.[1] Groups targeted by the NOF for criticism included the Jews, communists, the Czechoslovak government and the Magyars.[2] It set up a youth group and a trade union movement, although the latter was minor. The group also advocated a policy of Pan-Slavism, and hoped to take a joint lead with Poland of a grand Slavic alliance that would overthrow communism in the Soviet Union. They also believed in a corporatist economy with a large agricultural sector.[1] The NOF attracted some early support from veterans of the Czechoslovak Legions.[3] It was estimated by a government informer that the NOF had as many as 200,000 followers in 1926, although it had virtually no support in the Slovak area as the far right there was dominated by an indigenous movement[2]

Activity[edit]

The NOF regularly indulged in street-fighting tactics, clashing frequently with the National Labour Party, a moderate left-wing party led by Jaroslav Stránský. Such was the frequency of NOF attacks on Stránský and fellow leader Václav Bouček in 1927 that both men were provided with bodyguards by the government.[4] The NOF even made plans for a possible coup d'etat and secured the support of Slovak paramilitary group Rodobrana in this endeavour although ultimately the plans were intercepted by Brno police and thus shelved.[5]

Decline[edit]

In the 1929 elections the NOF ran under the name "Against Fixed-Order Lists",[6] but won three seats. Gajda was elected to Parliament, but the party failed to maintain its support, and received only 2% of the vote and seven seats in National Council in the elections of 1935.[1] In 1935 it merged with the National Democratic Party to form the National Union, but it was dissolved in 1937.

The NOF attempted a comeback during the German occupation,[6] although the Nazis had no time for the NOF due to their earlier criticism and their overall minor status. Ultimately the NOF were disbanded and largely absorbed into the puppet National Solidarity Movement, Gajda having been bribed to leave politics.[7] The party's demise was sealed in late 1939 when they organised a rally in Prague's Wenceslas Square and only managed to attract 300 supporters.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism 1914-1945, London, Roultedge, 2001, p. 309
  2. ^ a b c Andrea Orzoff, Battle for the castle: the myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe, 1914-1948, Oxford University Press US, 2009, p. 100
  3. ^ Andrew C. Janos, East Central Europe in the modern world: the politics of the borderlands, Stanford University Press, 2002, p. 170
  4. ^ Orzoff, Battle for the castle, p. 102
  5. ^ Orzoff, Battle for the castle, p. 101
  6. ^ a b Vincent E McHale (1983) Political parties of Europe, Greenwood Press, p149 ISBN 0-313-23804-9
  7. ^ Payne, A History of Fascism, p. 426
  8. ^ Benjamin Frommier, National cleansing: retribution against Nazi collaborators in postwar Czechoslovakia, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 21