While I remain one of the strongest defenders of the internet, denying that it has quite a large amount of misinformation would be the biggest example of denial in human history. Mind you, this didn’t start with the internet — as many of these fake quotes spread like wildfire long before Al Gore’s creation hit the mainstream household — but the internet certainly hasn’t slowed it down.
Combine this with an ideology as hated as fascism, one where everyone is jumping up and down trying to prove their ideology is the exact opposite of it, and you get quite a bit of misinformation.
However, one of the great things about the internet is that refuting this nonsense is just as easy as making it up. Back in the day, to have my work next to the work of a liar I’d have to find a book publisher or submit an op-ed to a newspaper. Now, the right tags can get this article just under the original source.
With that said, I have compiled four of the most popular quotes about fascism that simply do not exist.
First off, with the rise of ANTIFA ever since Donald Trump took the White House in 2017 many have argued that just because they call themselves “anti-fascists” that doesn’t mean they themselves aren’t fascists. (Which is a can of worms I have no plans of opening at this moment.) From this, a quote from the grandfather of anti-fascism, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, has sprung up:
The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists.
It is sometimes also quotes as:
The Fascists of the future will be the anti-fascists.
No date is ever given when this quote props up, which should set off a red-flag. Churchill branded himself as an anti-fascist. He was, after all, one of the first people to call out the rise of fascism across Europe. Was he admitting that he himself fascist because he called himself an anti-fascist?
Maybe Churchill was bragging. He so kicked the ass of fascism that when it returns it has to pretend it’s the exact opposite.
Well, actually neither of those guesses are true, because no evidence exists that Churchill even said this.
A similar quote is sometimes attributed to former Louisiana Governor and Senator Huey Long, the darling of the radical left during the early New Deal. This quote states:
When the United States gets fascism, it will call it anti-fascism.
Sometimes also quotes as:
When the United States gets fascism, it will call it 100 percent Americanism.
This one has slightly more ground to stand up, and it’s likely Long said some version of this. The quote was first reported on by Robert Cantrell after having a conversation with Long. However, Cantrell admitted years later that this was a summary of what Long told him — not Long’s exact words.
Another quote, quite similar to the one from Churchill, comes from It Can’t Happen Here author Sinclair Lewis. Many variations of it exist but it’s most commonly quoted as:
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
When fascism comes to the United States it will be wrapped in the American flag and claim the name of 100% Americanism.
This one became so popular for two reasons. The first one being in 1971 journalist Harrison Evans Salisbury remarked:
Sinclair Lewis aptly predicted in It Can’t Happen Here that if fascism came to America it would come wrapped in the flag and whistling “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Four years later, Ronald Reagan said:
If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.
Not only that, but many on the anti-fascist left around the time of Sinclair were saying similar things. For instance, Halford Luccock is quoted as saying the following in 1938:
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism.”
James Waterman also said in 1936:
If fascism comes it will not be identified with any “shirt” movement, nor with an “insignia,” but it will probably be wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution.
Now lets do two quotes from fascists. The first fascist leader is often cited as Italian leader Benito Mussolini. One quote commonly cited by the left as an example of how fascism is right-wing is the following:
Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.
This dates back to a column from left-wing populist Molly Ivins (who can’t say that, can she?) titled “Big Brother, Big ‘Bidness’” from late 2002. In which she stated:
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis was a bad book, and the genre shades off into right-wing paranoia about black helicopters, including the memorably awful Turner Diaries. I don’t use the F-word myself — in fact, for years, I’ve made fun of liberals who hear the approach of jackbooted fascism around every corner.
But to quote a real authority on the subject, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” That was Benito Mussolini.
While in cannot be confirmed Mussolini did not say this at some point, the evidence that he said it is quite lacking. Often, the citation for this is the entry for Fascism in the 1932 Enciclopedia Italiana. However, despite many copies of this book existing all across Italy, nobody has ever brought forth any evidence of this quote existing.
Last one, this one is from the big guy — Adolf Hitler. One quote passed around right-wing circles as evidence Hitler was a socialist is the following:
We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.
This quote first appeared in John Toland’s 1976 book Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography. In that book, the quote is attributed to a speech Hitler gave on 5/1/1927. However, no evidence of this quote coming from Hitler exists.
The quote does however match something said by Gregor Strasser in an article called Thoughts About The Tasks Of The Future from 6/15/1926. In that article, Strasser states:
We are Socialists, we are enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are determined under all circumstances to abolish this system! And with my inclination to practical action it seems obvious to me that we have to put a better, more just, more moral system in its place, one which, as it were, has arms and legs and better arms and legs than the present one!
Gregor Strasser was a member of the Nazi party before Hitler, and was caught in a power struggle with Adolf Hitler over where the Nazi party would go. He was killed during the Night Of Long Knives in 1934.
However, this does not mean Hitler never called himself a socialist. And I don’t even mean in the regards that his party was called the National Socialist German Workers Party.
In a speech from 8/15/1920 called Why We Are Antisemites, Hitler stated:
Socialism as the final concept of duty, the ethical duty of work, not just for oneself but also for one’s fellow man’s sake, and above all the principle: Common good before own good, a struggle against all parasitism and especially against easy and unearned income. And we were aware that in this fight we can rely on no one but our own people. We are convinced that socialism in the right sense will only be possible in nations and races that are Aryan, and there in the first place we hope for our own people and are convinced that socialism is inseparable from nationalism.
To end this article, I figured it’s best to give you a real quote on fascism from former Vice President Henry Wallace:
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance towards those of other races, parties, classes, religions, culture, or nations as to make him ruthless in the use of decent or violence to attain his ends.