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Conditions of Authoritarianism, Fascism and Democracy in Inter-War Europe

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Conditions of democracy continue to be discussed for various parts of the world. The inter-war period in Europe, with some of the most dramatic breakdowns of democratic systems, provides an interesting "laboratory" for systematic investigation in this respect. This paper summarizes the major findings of a large international research project covering 18 European states. It presents and discusses broader social structural, political cultural, institutional, etc. conditions of democracy against which the impact of the world economic crisis of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the respective social and electoral reactions, the political moves of major actors and the final survival or breakdown of parliamentary regimes are assessed. It employs both macro-quantitative and macro-qualitative methods in a cross-sectional and, as far as possible, longitudinal manner. In this way, in a "quasi-experimental" systematic comparative design "structure-" and "actor-oriented" approaches, i.e., the "opportunity-set" and the actual choices and outcomes, are brought into a common perspective. The results point to interesting applications to the present situation in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Affiliations: 1: Philipps-Universltdt Marburg, 35032 Marburg, Germany


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