The study of fascism is nearly as old as the phenomenon itself. As soon as it stormed the European political stage after World War I, it evoked reactions from multiple directions. From the Soviet Union came the authoritative marxist interpretation of fascism as an extreme agent of capitalism. Many conservatives saw it as a vulgar expression of the new political role of the amorphous masses and many other views followed. From the very beginning of fascism as an active force in European politics, it posed a problem of definition. If one thing was clear about it, it was that it could not easily and one-sidedly be defined. Thus it was in the inter-war years; and so it is even now, more than fifty years after the defeat of fascism.