Small Wars Journal

The Fascist Caliphate: How the Islamic State Mirrored Fascist Political Tactics Through Appealing to a Relatively Deprived Middle Class

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:49am

The Fascist Caliphate: How the Islamic State Mirrored Fascist Political Tactics Through Appealing to a Relatively Deprived Middle Class


William Spach


Introduction: Islam, Fascism, and “Islamofascism”


At a surface level, the National Socialists (Nazis) and the Islamic State (IS) appear fundamentally different. The former is a white-supremacist group who sought to conquer much of the world. The latter is a now-defunct band of zealots who waged a violent insurgency under religious auspices against the Iraqi government and alleged imperial powers. However, upon closer scrutiny Nazis and IS share a range of common features. Both ideologies emphasize using violence to overthrow the existing international order and replace it with a strict, intolerant doctrine. Of the similarities, one of the most foundational is an emphasis on appealing to disenfranchised members of a middle class and the groups’ exploitation of middle class identity to achieve their goals. Hitler rose to power on a wave of resentment among German professionals and veterans who felt economically vulnerable and nationally castrated after World War I. The Islamic State used a similar sense of resentment among former Baathist officers and other politically weak Sunnis to form a violent resistance to the Shia-dominated government. In both cases, the relatively deprived middle class embraced messages of supremacy, strength, and violence to restore themselves and their political community to their former glories.

While the messaging, tactics, and support base of IS and the Nazi Party is an important topic of analysis, there is a dearth of reputable scholarship connecting Islamic extremism and fascist movements. The first connection between Islam and Nazism arguably came when Adolf Hitler described Islam as the “cult which glorifies the heroism, and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. The Germanic races would have conquered the world [if they converted]. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so.”[i] Hitler’s quotation highlights a largely ignorant and contradicting view of Islam; his view of Arabs and the Muslim world as sub-human contradicts his apparent praise of Islamic warriors.[ii] Outside of this quotation from Hitler and the fighting in Muslim-majority regions of North Africa during WWII, discussions of connections between Islam and Nazism were largely absent until 2001.

A renewed Western focus on Islam after 9/11 sparked an increasing number of writers to link Islam with a range of historical threats, including fascism. This connection arguably peaked in 2006 with President George W. Bush’s use of the term “Islamo-fascism,” which subsequently spurred a range of pundits to begin making connections between Mussolini, Hitler, and Islamic extremism.[iii] Shortly after Bush introduced the term, Norman Podhoretz, an American pundit, published World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamo-fascism, which classified Islamic groups including Hezbollah, Tehran, and al-Qaeda as the modern successors to European fascism.[iv] Podhoretz’s and other writers’ connection between diverse parts of the Islamic world and fascism prompted controversy, and President Bush shortly ceased use of the term “Islamo-fascsim” after he had introduced it to the mainstream vernacular.[v] One of the key problems with the use of the term was that many pundits viewed Islam as a monolithic threat like the Nazis were. Despite the fact that many of the “Islamo-fascist” groups were openly hostile to each other (such as Iran and Sunni extremists), advocates of the term perceived Islamic groups as one unified anti-American actor.[vi] Islamo-fascism quickly became a term that connoted a civilizational struggle between the freedom loving, Judeo-Christian West and the oppressive, fascist Muslim world, a conceptualization that is both a misrepresentation and gross generalization of contemporary Islam.

No group in the Islamic world before IS really exhibited a sufficient amount of fascist tendencies to be considered fascist. However, when IS arose in 2014, its level of extremism highlighted that it was something new and different. IS drew more opposition from religious thinkers than other extremist groups had in recent history. Notably, scholars at al-Azhar University—Egypt’s oldest university and arguably the most prestigious Sunni institution of higher learning—quickly denounced the group and its corrupted interpretation of Islam.[vii] Even Al-Qaeda deemed IS to be too extreme, clearly signaling that the Islamic State was radical among extremists.[viii] Likening the organization to other terrorist groups seemed insufficient as the Islamic State’s brutal propaganda machine and propensity of violence made even some of most committed radicals balk. Observers struggled to conceptualize the group among other Islamic extremist organizations; part of the reason for this challenge is that the Islamic State’s nature is fundamentally more fascist than it is Islamic extremist.

This piece argues that examining the importance of relative deprivation of a middle-class is a crucial identity-based element for understanding the nature of conflict between the Nazis and IS and their respective adversaries. Section II provides an overview of fascism’s key features with a particular emphasis on the role of the middle-class in fascist movements. Section III examines the Islamic State’s key features and how they are consistent with past fascist movements. This section also considers how the role of other identities, such as nationalism and religion, differed between the two groups. Section IV explores the specific cases of the middle-class’ relative deprivation in both 1920s Germany and 2000s Iraq, and how this loss made the group susceptible to messages about strength, redemption, and violence. In Political Man, Seymour Lipset argues that class identity is the main determinant of extremist movement affiliation—working class for communism, upper class for traditional authoritarianism, and middle class for fascism.[ix] The difference in other forms of identity between IS and Nazis yet strikingly similar features highlights the importance that middle-class identity can play in determining how a group forms and fights.

Section II: Fascist Principles and The Role of the Middle Class

Fascism is arguably defined as much by what it rejects as by what it supports. In The Antecedents of Fascism, Alan Cassels offers a simple but compelling definition of fascism: the collapse of liberalism.[x] In Fascism, Kevin Passmore expands upon Cassels’ anti-liberal definition to include anticapitalism, antisocialism, anticommunism, and antiparliamentarianism as defining fascist features.[xi] Despite the fact that Hitler and Mussolini came to power in weak democratic systems, both Cassels and Passmore imply that fascism is fundamentally antidemocratic.[xii] Indeed, in “The Ideology of the Twentieth Century,” Mussolini writes, “Fascism trains its guns on the whole block of democratic ideologies, and rejects both their premises and their practical applications and implements.”[xiii] Furthermore, Hitler’s own description of Marxism as one of the two evils that the German people could not see confirms Cassels’ view of fascism as antisocialist and anticommunist.[xiv] The other “invisible evil” to the German people was “Jewry,” which anti-Semites like Hitler often associated with an international capitalist financial system.[xv] In Italy as well, Mussolini used anti-Semitism as a way of decrying the international system of finance and capitalism.[xvi] Both Hitler and Mussolini rejected capitalism and its system of finance, instead favoring a system known as corporatism where the key purpose of the economy was to fund the state’s military and foreign policy agenda.[xvii] Fascism’s opposition to both leftist and capitalist economic systems makes any communist or socialism authoritarian regime (such as Maoist China and Stalinist Russia) as well as any overtly internationally financially dependent, capitalist authoritarian regime (such as Pinochet’s Chile) inherently un-fascist. While political illiberalism is common among authoritarian regimes, fascism’s inherent opposition to other ideologies like communism, socialism, and capitalism is one of its key defining features.

While fascism’s opposition to other ideologies is foundational in understanding it, a sense of lost glory, victimhood, and betrayal are other key aspects of fascism. Mussolini and Hitler glorified perceived national heroes, particularly themselves, who personified the strength that that the nations had lost after WWI.[xviii] Hitler specifically sought to restore German glory by reversing the Treaty of Versailles and redrawing of state boundaries after WWI.[xix] Mussolini claimed he sought to restore Italy to the golden era of the Roman Empire and emphasized the importance of heroism by writing, “Fascism believes now and always in sanctity and heroism.”[xx] Furthermore, Hitler created a narrative that the German people had been betrayed by their political leadership in WWI and had fallen victim to the evils of Marxism and Jewry. As a result, the German people needed a strong leader to ward off these evils and allow Germany to recognize its full potential. However, in order to prevent political opponents or facts from contradicting this narrative, fascism often requires a totalitarian propaganda machine.

In the German case, total control over citizens’ lives was a defining part of fascism. In Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt describes that totalitarian systems strive to organize all individuals under their regimes according to a strict set of rules.[xxi] In order to guarantee that these individuals conform to the rules, totalitarian systems use a robust secret police force to persecute anybody deemed an enemy of the state.[xxii] Totalitarianism also uses propaganda to create a fictitious world and control the actions of all of its followers within this world, a trend clearly exhibited by Goebbels and the Nazi propaganda machine.[xxiii] While Nazi Germany was far more successful at achieving a totalitarian system than Italy, the latter still displayed certain totalitarian tendencies.[xxiv] Mussolini wanted to believe his government was successfully able to have at least totalitarian elements, and boasted that, “A party governing a nation ‘totalitarianly’ is a new departure in history.” In both Italy and Germany, the desire to govern through uniformity, terror, and propaganda suggests that these features of totalitarianism are underlying elements of fascism. While fascism did not have a foundational element of religion, the total control that Nazism had over Germans’ lives provided the moral and institutional frameworks that religions often provide through fostering group cohesion.[xxv] Particularly, the totality of the cult of Nazism meant that Hitler had developed a de-facto religion that provided predictability and continuity for a German middle class that was struggling to cope with change. [xxvi]

In Nazi Germany, the middle-class embraced the fascist narrative at greater rate than any other group because of a sense of personal loss that mirrored the decline of the German nation. In The Politics of Mass Society, William Kornhauser argues that middle-class intellectuals and professionals are often overrepresented by a factor of ten in revolutionary political movements, particularly fascism.[xxvii] Whereas communism was largely a working-class phenomenon, fascism focused on those middle class members who had experienced relative deprivation after WWI. In, “The Nazi Party: Its Leadership and Composition,” Hans Gerth describes the Nazi Party core as, “Princes without thrones, indebted and subsidized landlords, indebted farmers, virtually bankrupt industrialists, impoverished shopkeepers and artisans, doctors without patients, lawyers without clients, writers without readers, unemployed teachers, and unemployed manual and white-collar workers.”[xxviii] Seymour Lipset builds on Gerth’s theory in Political Man, by describing the ideal Nazi voter in 1932 as a middle-class, self-employed Protestant who lived in a small town.[xxix] Overall, scholars on the rise of fascism are largely in agreement about the importance of the middle class in the movement’s development.

The reason that the middle class supported fascist movements more fervently than other groups was because they had experienced a significant enough loss that made them susceptible to narratives about vengeance and restoring former glory. Lipset cites Harold Lassel’s sentiment about this issue, “The psychological impoverishment of the lower middle class precipitated emotional insecurities within the personalities of its member, thus fertilizing the ground for the various movements of mass protest through which the middle class might revenge themselves.”[xxx] In other words, the psychological effects of going from “haves” to “have-nots” in society created a sentiment that made the fascist narrative appealing.



Fascist Ideology Support and Rejection


Overall, fascism’s foundational emphasis on the lost glory of a nation, emphasis on revenge for a recent national decline, and the projection of heroic narrative makes it most appealing to groups who have experienced the most extreme relative deprivation. Fascism tells recently weakened members of society that they are not at fault for their recent decline; instead, an outside actor and hostile system have oppressed them and only a strong leader can avenge their loss and restore their lives to the quality they once were.

Fascism, the Middle Class, and IS

A comparison between the behavior of IS and the principles of fascism reveals a striking amount of similarities between the two movements. In terms of governance, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi maintained a small, authoritarian ruling circle that emphasized his role as the Caliph. While the term has a more religious connotation than Il Duce or Fürher, the Caliph of the Islamic State embodies a similar type of unquestionable authority (as it stems from God) as both of the fascist positions.[xxxi] IS and fascist regimes lack any semblance of democratic institutions, instead favoring a strict form of authoritarianism. Socially, the Islamic State and fascist movements opposed outsiders (religious minorities in the case of IS and ethnic ones in the case of fascism) and emphasized conformity. IS and Nazism both romanticize war, masculinity, and heroism as part of their ideologies, while blatantly opposing feminism. Economically, both the Islamic State and fascism oppose the international financial system as well as communism. Despite having many former Ba’ath party officials, the Islamic State regards the Arab Socialism of Saddam Hussein as atheistic, echoing the hatred that European fascism displayed towards socialist movements.[xxxii] In contrast, both the Islamic State and fascist regimes use a type of corporatism to extract resources and labor to fuel their militaries and conquer territory. In terms of foreign affairs, IS, Hitler’s Germany, and Mussolini’s Italy all expressed discontent with the existing system of state boundaries and the balance of power that resulted from WWI. For IS, this discontent stemmed from the division of the Middle East under the Sykes-Picot Agreement that led to the creation of the states of Iraq and Syria, initially dividing Arab Muslims between the British and French rule.[xxxiii] For Italy, Mussolini was displeased with Italy’s small share of the spoils of war and poor economy while Hitler opposed the redrawing of German borders and forced reparation payments. Both European fascist regimes and IS believed in responding to this existing order with military force to both secure and expand their territory. Furthermore, in order to maintain power, all three actors used a system of terror, violence, and heavily armed forces and police to suppress anybody whom they deemed to be an enemy. Examples of this behavior include the genocide of the Yazidis, the Holocaust and countless other Nazi atrocities, and Mussolini’s Black Shirts. While all of these similarities indicate the high degree of fascist tendencies of IS, some differences exist. 

The two apparent discrepancies between the Islamic State and fascism are the seemingly differing roles of nationalism and religion in each case. However, these discrepancies have more to do with geographic context and chosen rhetoric than actual substance, ideology, or intended result. In terms of nationalism, the Islamic State does not conceive of nations in the same way that Nazi Germany or Fascism Italy did. Germany and Italy boasted of the greatness of the German and Italian people, respectively, whereas the Islamic State places Sunni Muslims (who fit their specific criteria) at the top of their hierarchy. Simply put, the Islamic State defines political communities by religion, not ethnicity. Muslim scholars like Sayed Qutb, a twentieth-century Egyptian thinker often associated with Arab extremist movements, break the world down into dar-ul-Islam (home of Islam) and dar-ul-harb (home of hostility, non-Muslim land).[xxxiv] The Islamic State’s coalition of foreign fighters and cross-border nature illustrate that IS does not regard the division of states in the region as legitimate. Instead, IS claims that Muslims who join the group are true believers, while the rest of the world consists of outsiders set on killing them. Despite the difference between ethnicity and nationalism, both Nazis and IS rely on the creation of a hostile out-group energizing supporters and claiming unique greatness of a certain in-group.

Furthermore, the use of religion appears to be substantially different under IS than it was under either Hitler or Mussolini. In Germany, tensions between Christianity and Nazism existed, as many Christians replaced their worship of God with a worship of Hitler, an inherently atheistic trend.[xxxv] In Italy, Mussolini granted the Church special status in return for support, but the Church and Italian Fascists had a complicated relationship.[xxxvi] In contrast, IS claims be the most religiously devout Muslim organization in the world. However, IS loosely interprets Islamic law as needed to maintain power, and most Muslims consider the group highly un-Islamic. Whereas fascists justified their violence based on the will of the leader, the Islamic State claims it acts out of the will of God, implying that religion is merely a type of rhetoric meant as a way to boost legitimacy. Despite differing rhetoric to legitimize actions, both IS and fascist organizations relied heavily on absolute, unquestionable authority to maintain control over their populations. 

Connecting the Disenfranchised Sunnis and Nazis through Middle Class Identity

One of the most important similarities between the Iraqi Sunnis and middle-class Germans was that both groups had experienced a real and prolonged period of clear decline. Whereas Iraqi Sunnis experienced a loss of power to the Shias, another group did not supplant the German middle class. The IS narrative built upon existing sectarian tensions to fuel hatred towards Sunnis whereas the Nazi narrative built upon centuries-old anti-Semitism to construct the Jews as the cause and benefactors of Germany’s decline. In reality, many German Jews were part of the middle class and had often suffered just as much as any other German. This section argues that despite differences with regards to the groups’ other identities, the role of middle-class identity in each case is most important in explaining IS’s similarities to fascism.

The Sunni minority in Iraq dominated the country under Saddam, but the first post-2003 government saw Shia religious parties come to power.[xxxvii] Despite some electoral gains in the next election, Shia or Kurdish members held most influential government posts.[xxxviii] The Shia-dominant government under Maliki was highly corrupt, and political infighting brought the country to the brink of collapse.[xxxix] Saddam Hussein was corrupt with countless human rights violations, and Maliki was no Hussein, but Saddam’s corruption often benefitted Sunnis whereas Maliki’s harmed them. Many Sunni civil servants and Ba’ath Party members lost their stable, relatively high paying jobs after the 2003 invasion and were largely replaced by Maliki allies.[xl] Shias have enjoyed greater representation in top government posts, leading to resentment among the former government workers who used to fill them. Iraq’s economic situation is not strong overall and all major sects within the country have experienced widespread violence, poverty, and difficulty since the invasion. However, the Shia experienced a relative gain in economic and political power at the expense of the Sunnis, which likely contributed to a strong sense of Shia resentment among certain Sunni circles.[xli] Regardless of whether this power change was justified or necessary, the fact that the Sunnis underwent a period of clear relative deprivation is clear. The disillusioned Sunni middle-class looked for a group that would restore their old lives, offer a compelling narrative for their recent loss, and avenge the perceived injustices they had experienced. Al Qaeda in Iraq (IS’s predecessor)—a Salafist extremist group that heavily targeted Shias and US soldiers—blamed the West and “puppet regimes” in the region for Muslims’ economic suffering and vowed to use violence to restore Iraq (and the entire Islamic World) to its past glory under a strict interpretation of Sharia Law. For much of the Sunni middle-class, AQI and IS appeared to be their champions in the same way that Hitler appeared to be a champion for the German middle-class.

After WWI, postwar Germany resembled postwar Iraq in that middle-class Germans had experienced a large relative decline. Whereas in Iraq, class identity and political power fell along Sunni/Shia lines largely before and after the invasion, ethnic or religious identity was not as clear as a divider within Germany. Protestants did not make major gains over Catholics in Germany nor vice versa, meaning that the sectarian breakdown of Germany along those centuries-old religious lines did not occur. Just like the Sunnis in Iraq, the German middle-class was desperate for answers as to how they lost the war despite sacrificing so much, why they had experienced prolonged economic depression after the war, and when they would be able to realize their past (or ideally better) lives. The Nazi Party offered a compelling narrative by blaming German political leadership for selling out the German people to the Jewish-controlled Allies and telling the German middle-class (and all non-Jewish Germans) that they were the master race of the planet. Hitler not only promised to restore the middle-class members’ lives to their past potential, but vowed to allow the German people to recognize their place as the masters of the world. Economic depression was simply a cause of Jewry in the world and the unfair reparations that France had imposed, according to the Nazis narrative. Hitler’s story made clear to the middle class that a strong leader could reverse and avenge the wrongs that they had experienced and restore their quality of life to a place that was not only equal to the pre-war levels but far superior.

The most important shared feature between IS and the Nazis is the susceptibility of the middle class to narratives about restoring strength and lost glory, setting right perceive injustices, and targeting a group (or groups) for acts of alleged oppression. For IS, this narrative meant a medieval-style Caliphate, attacks against Shias (and the West and minority sects), and a Sunni-dominant government in some portions of Iraq. For the Nazis, restoration meant expanding territory for a new German Empire, creating a new wartime economy to restore employment, and the mass murder of the Jews and Bolsheviks who Hitler blamed for Germany’s past downturn. The core argument in this section is that an experience of relative deprivation among the middle-class emboldens fascist-oriented extremist groups. Whereas communism is often the extremist ideology of peasants seeking a different social order after centuries of poverty, fascism appeals most to recently disenfranchised members of the middle class. This phenomenon suggests that those who became Nazis or IS members were not the most ideological individuals or the most vulnerable, but those who felt as if they had lost the most over the course of recent events. The fascist tendencies of both IS and Nazis occur primarily as a function of the need for a middle class to have an explanation and way forward after a period of relative decline. Many analysts think that being part of IS was about identities like Muslim, Sunni, or male and that Nazism was about being German, white, and not Jewish. However, as the similarities between these groups highlight, middle class identity and relative deprivation arguably play a determinative role in key thematic elements of both group’s narratives and actions.  

The Middle Class: Seeds of Future Conflict?

IS and Nazis differ little at a broad level because they both relied on narratives and features meant to appeal to a relatively deprived middle class. If two groups in two very different settings can strikingly resemble each other at a thematic level because of this middle-class linkage, one implication is that a deprived middle class could be a causal link for future conflict and movements with key elements of fascism. While observing the relative depravation and middle-class trend is important, a conclusion that any relatively deprived middle class is likely to lead to WWII or IS would be alarmist. Postwar Germany and Iraq were both somewhat extreme cases where a range of factors, such as a history of warfare, weak institutions and each state’s status as a new democracy, and national humiliation, gave the Nazi and IS narrative tremendous staying power among the middle class. In order to better understand an extremist group like IS, looking to European fascism and the role of middle-class identity can provide new and potentially more insightful perspectives into the group’s nature than remaining within the realm of Islamic extremism and the role of religious identity.

Works Cited

Bernardini, Gene. “The Origins and Development of Racial Anti-Semitism in Fascist Italy.” The Journal of Modern History 49, No. 3 (1977): 431-453.


Cameron, Norman. Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1953.


Carsten, Francis The Rise of Fascism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.


Gerth, Hans. “The Nazi Party: Its Leadership and Composition.” American Journal of Sociology 45, No. 4 (1940): 517-541.


Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.


Laqeuer, Walter. Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. 


Linz, Juan J. “Further Reflections on Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes.” The new introduction to Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. Boulder: Lynne Rienner 2000. 


Mussolini, Benito. “The Ideology of the Twentieth Century.” In International Fascism: Theories, Causes and the New Consensus. Edited by Roger Griffin. London: Arnold, 1998.


Passmore, Kevin. Fascism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.


Podhoretz, Norman. World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. New York: Doubleday, 2007.


Qutb, Sayed. Milestones. New York: Islamic Book Service, 2006.


Seul, Jeffrey. “‘Ours is the Way of God’: Religion, Identity, and Intergroup Conflict.” Journal of Peace Research 36, No. 5 (1999): 553-569.


Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1970.


End Notes

[i] Norman Cameron, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1953), 667. 

[ii] Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1970), 143.

[iii] Sheryl Stolberg, “‘Islamo-fascism’ Had Its Moment,” The New York Times, September 24, 2006, accessed April 24, 2016,

[iv] Norman Podhoretz, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism (New York: Doubleday, 2007).

[v] Stolberg, “‘Islamo-fascism’ Had Its Moment.”

[vi] Jonathan Masters and Zachary Laub, “Hezbollah,” Council on Foreign Relations, January 3, 2014, accessed May 6, 2016,

[vii] Mustafa Bassiouni, “Al-Azhar Graduates Reject ISIS ‘Caliphate’,” Al-Monitor, July 3, 2014, accessed May 3, 2016,

[viii] Krishnadev Calamur, “ISIS: An Islamist Group Too Extreme Even for Al-Qaida,” National Public Radio, June 13, 2014, accessed May 1, 2016,

[ix] Seymour Lipset, Political Man (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1960), 127

[x] Alan Cassels, Fascism (Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1975), 10.

[xi] Kevin Passmore, Fascism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 5.

[xii] Walter Laqeuer, Fascism: Past, Present, Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 29.

[xiii] Benito Mussolini, “The Ideology of the Twentieth Century,” in International Fascism: Theories, Causes and the New Consensus, ed. Roger Griffin (London: Arnold, 1998), 251.

[xiv] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971), 21.

[xv] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 21.

[xvi] Gene Bernardini, “The Origins and Development of Racial Anti-Semitism in Fascist Italy,” The Journal of Modern History 49 (1977): 433-434.

[xvii] Laqeuer, Fascism, 66.

[xviii] Laqeuer, Fascism, 25.

[xix] Francis Carsten, The Rise of Fascism, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 44.

[xx] Mussolini, “The Ideology of the Twentieth Century,” 251.

[xxi] Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973), 438.

[xxii] Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 423-425.

[xxiii] Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 392.

[xxiv] Juan J. Linz, “Further Reflections on Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes,” the new introduction to Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes (Boulder: Lynne Rienner 2000), 8.

[xxv] Jeffrey Seul, “‘Ours is the Way of God’: Religion, Identity, and Intergroup Conflict,” Journal of Peace Research 36, no. 5 (1999): 561.

[xxvi] Seul, “Religion, Identity, and Integroup Conflict,” 558.

[xxvii] Kornhauser, The Politics of Mass Society,  

[xxviii] Hans Gerth, “The Nazi Party: Its Leadership and Composition,” American Journal of Sociology 45 (1940): 526

[xxix] Lipset, Political Man, 148

[xxx] Lipset, Political Man, 132.

[xxxi] Fred Kaplan, “ISIS’ Leader Just Declared Himself Caliph,” Slate, July 1, 2014, accessed May 5, 2016,

[xxxii] Liz Sly, “The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s,” Washington Post, April 4, 2015, accessed May 3, 2016,

[xxxiii] Ian Black, “Middle East Still Rocking from First World War Pact Made 100 Years Ago,” The Guardian, December 30, 2015, accessed May 7, 2016,

[xxxiv] Sayed Qutb, Milestones (New York: Islamic Book Service, 2006), 81.

[xxxv] Laqeuer, Fascism, 43.

[xxxvi] Laqeuer, Fascism, 41-42.

[xxxvii] Rafid Jaboori, “Iraqi Sunnis’ Long Struggle Since Saddam,” British Broadcasting Corporation, December 31, 2013, accessed April 8, 2018,

[xxxviii] Jaboori, “Iraqi Sunnis’ Long Struggle Since Saddam.”

[xxxix] Jacery Fortin, “Ten Years in Baghdad: How Iraq has Changes since Saddam,” International Business Times, March 19, 2013, accessed April 8, 2018,    

[xl] Joshua Partlow and Surdarsan Raghavan, “Deadlock Sunni, Shiite Factions Block Political Progress, Iraqis Say,” The Washington Post, July 13, 2007, accessed April 8, 2018,

[xli] Fortin, “Ten Years in Baghdad.”

Lipset, Seymour. Political Man. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1960.

Cassels, Alan. Fascism. Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1975.



Categories: Islamic State

About the Author(s)

William Spach holds an M.A. in Security Studies and a B.S.F.S. in International Economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.