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By Israel Gershoni, James Jankowski

Confronting Fascism in Egypt bargains a brand new studying of the political and highbrow tradition of Egypt throughout the interwar period. although scholarship has more often than not emphasised Arab political and armed forces help of Axis powers, this paintings unearths that the shapers of Egyptian public opinion have been mostly unreceptive to fascism, brazenly rejecting totalitarian principles and practices, Nazi racism, and Italy's and Germany's expansionist and imperialist agendas. the bulk (although no longer all) of Egyptian voices supported liberal democracy opposed to the fascist problem, and so much Egyptians sought to enhance and reform, instead of to interchange and spoil, the prevailing constitutional and parliamentary system.The authors position Egyptian public discourse within the broader context of the advanced public sphere in which debate unfolded—in Egypt's huge and colourful community of day-by-day newspapers, in addition to the weekly or per month opinion journals—emphasizing the open, different, and pluralistic nature of the interwar political and cultural area. In analyzing Muslim perspectives of fascism in the intervening time whilst classical fascism used to be at its top, this enlightening publication heavily demanding situations the hot assumption of an inherent Muslim predisposition towards authoritarianism, totalitarianism, and "Islamo-Fascism."

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Extra info for Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship versus Democracy in the 1930s

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41 According to the testimony of his posthumous diaries, Nahhas remained equally unsympathetic to Fascism and Nazism when out of office. The diaries record several initiatives of 1938–39 on the part of fascist or profascist figures seeking Wafdist support for the Axis powers—a conversation with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano when Nahhas visited Rome in 1938, in which Ciano sought Wafdist support against British imperialism in the Middle East; a more indirect German approach, through The Historical Setting 21 an Egyptian student studying in Germany, for a Wafdist-Nazi “front against the English”; a conversation with the Mufti Amin al-Husayni of Palestine in which Husayni urged Nahhas to support Germany in case of war; and another Italian overture promising to install Nahhas as leader of an Egyptian “republic” in exchange for Wafdist collaboration.

The critical views of Nuqrashi and Ahmad Mahir of what they portrayed as a Nahhas- Ubayd cabal are reported to have resonated particularly with younger and educated Egyptians. By October, Egyptian police reports reaching the British indicated that “Noqrashi’s supporters are showing great activity in their propaganda among students apparently 32 Narratives and Contexts with considerable success, particularly in the Azhar. ”86 Nahhas’s position was not enhanced by his increasingly autocratic manner.

46 British assessments of how Egyptian views of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany had evolved by the end of the 1930s suggest a differential impact of Axis propaganda upon different segments of Egyptian society. , the Court and those revolving around it, the Turks and Turco-Egyptians and the socially more eligible or more snobbish elements of Egyptian society. 47 22 Narratives and Contexts Lampson reiterated much the same view a month later, when he credited the King of Egypt and the more “aristocratic” elements, using that term in its peculiarly Egyptian sense of those longer in possession of the spoils of power, must obviously dislike this democratic virus with which we have inoculated the Egyptian people.

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