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Anti-fascism is a political movement in opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals. Beginning in European countries in the 1920s, it was at its most significant shortly before and during World War II, where the Axis powers were opposed by many countries forming the Allies of World War II and dozens of resistance movements worldwide. Anti-fascism has been an element of movements across the political spectrum and holding many different political positions such as anarchism, communism, pacifism, republicanism, social democracy, socialism and syndicalism as well as centrist, conservative, liberal and nationalist viewpoints.
Fascism, a far-right ultra-nationalistic ideology best known for its use by the Italian Fascists and the Nazis, became prominent beginning in the 1910s. Organization against fascism began around 1920. Fascism became the state ideology of Italy in 1922 and of Germany in 1933, spurring a large increase in anti-fascist action, including German resistance to Nazism and the Italian resistance movement. Anti-fascism was a major aspect of the Spanish Civil War, which foreshadowed World War II.
Prior to World War II, the West had not taken seriously the threat of fascism, and anti-fascism was sometimes associated with communism. However, the outbreak of World War II greatly changed Western perceptions, and fascism was seen as an existential threat by not only the communist Soviet Union but also by the liberal-democratic United States and United Kingdom. The Axis Powers of World War II were generally fascist, and the fight against them was characterized in anti-fascist terms. Resistance during World War II to fascism occurred in every occupied country, and came from across the ideological spectrum. The defeat of the Axis powers generally ended fascism as a state ideology.
After World War II, the anti-fascist movement continued to be active in places where organized fascism continued or re-emerged. There was a resurgence of antifa in Germany in the 1980s, as a response to the invasion of the punk scene by neo-Nazis. This influenced the antifa movement in the United States in the late 1980s and 1990s, which was similarly carried by punks. In the 21st century, this greatly increased in prominence as a response to the resurgence of the radical right, especially after the election of Donald Trump.