Thinking Fascism, slow and fast

Alastair Somerville
1 min readJan 29, 2017


Fascism is generally described as a long narrative.

In particular, for Germany, the loss of WW1, the Versailles Treaty, the Weimar Republic and then the rise of the Nazis. A decade or more of events that make the power of Hitler seem logical.

There are many problems with this. Firstly, it wasn’t logical and inevitable.

Secondly, and more relevant to this moment, the Fascists moved very quickly at certain points.


The first 6 months of 1933 were key to the establishment of the Nazi Party as a dictatorial regime.

It was in that period that the German parliament was made irrelevant and then ceased to exist. Power of law passed to Hitler alone.

Also, during that time, his close allies were given roles in both state police and national security organisations. They rose rapidly from local to national roles.

It is these two areas: the elimination of independent Legislature and control of security enforcement organisations that power was seized absolutely.

Fascism moves slowly through populism and folk memory, making it seem necessary and legitimate, and then quickly through the means of power and control.



Alastair Somerville

Sensory Design Consultant, usability researcher and workshop facilitator. Twitter @acuity_design & @visceralUX