The Spread of Dictatorship

January 27, 1938

Report Outline
Recent Broadening of the Fascist Front
Advance of Democracy in Last Century
Rise of Dictatorships Since World War
Fascist Tendencies in Latin America

Recent Broadening of the Fascist Front

Establishment of a semi-Fascist dictatorship in Brazil on November 10, 1937, and introduction of a regime of pronounced Fascist characteristics in Rumania at the end of the year emphasized anew the continuing spread of authoritarian government and the corresponding decline of democratic institutions. The proclamation by President Vargas of Brazil of a constitution with corporative features, providing for a dictatorship unlike those in other South American countries, followed by only four days the conclusion at Rome of the German-Italian-Japanese anti-Communist pact. Fascism thus gained its first apparently substantial foothold in the western hemisphere at the very time when the leading European Fascist and Nazi powers were making a significant gesture of solidarity with the self-appointed arbiter of the destinies of East Asia. The Fascist movement seemed to be forging links in a globe-girdling chain which threatened to restrict increasingly the area of democratic government.

New Gains in Europe for the Rome-Berlin Axis

King Carol's appointment of Octavian Goga as premier of Rumania, despite the fact that Goga's party had obtained less than 10 per cent of the votes in a preceding election, represented a significant victory for Fascism in eastern Europe. Rumania was apparently ready to follow Yugoslavia, which had come to a reconciliation with Italy last March, into the orbit of the Rome-Berlin axis, leaving Czechoslovakia as the sole member of the Little Entente to maintain in more than name the ties that since the war had kept all three nations within the sphere of French influence. The recent tour of Foreign Minister Delbos to the capitals of France's eastern allies had obviously been less than a complete success, while the unity of the Little Entente itself was seriously impaired. Meanwhile, at a conference of Italian, Austrian, and Hungarian ministers at Budapest in the second week of January, Foreign Minister Ciano induced Austria and Hungary to agree to recognize the Spanish insurgent government of General Franco. While he did not prevail upon them to subscribe to the anti-Communist pact or to resign from the League of Nations, the representatives of the two states voiced their opposition to Communism and expressed a measure of sympathy with Italy's decision to withdraw from the Geneva organization.

World Spread of Various Types of Dictatorship

More than half of the world's peoples are ruled today by dictatorships of one type or another—Fascist, Nazi, Communist, or military. The United States, Great Britain, and France are the only great powers maintaining a truly democratic system of government. On the European continent, outside of France, representative government is found only in Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, and a few smaller states. Dictatorship is the rule rather than the exception among the South American republics. There is no longer genuine parliamentary government in Japan, and Chiang Kai-shek is virtually a dictator in China. Here and there, elsewhere in the world, the British self-governing dominions stand as isolated representatives of democracy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World WarII Catalysts
Oct. 17, 1939  Coalition Government and National Unity
Oct. 03, 1939  Present and Proposed Neutrality Legislation
May 10, 1939  Demands of the European Dictators
Apr. 01, 1939  American Neutrality Policy and the Balance of Power
Jan. 10, 1939  Nazi Objectives in Eastern Europe
Oct. 18, 1938  Changing European Political Alignments
Jan. 27, 1938  The Spread of Dictatorship
Oct. 21, 1937  Neutrality vs. Sanctions
Feb. 05, 1937  Germany's Demand for Colonies
Dec. 04, 1935  Revision of American Neutrality Policy
May 06, 1935  The Great Powers and the Danubian Problem
Jan. 16, 1935  Neutrality Policy of the United States
Jun. 04, 1928  The International Cartel Movement
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
World War II