Stanley G. Payne

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Stanley George Payne (born September 9, 1934 in Denton, Texas) is a historian of modern Spain and European Fascism at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He retired from full-time teaching in 2004 and is currently Professor Emeritus at its Department of History.[1] Payne is one of the most famous modern theorists of fascism.[2]


Known for his typological description of fascism, Payne is a specialist in the Spanish fascist movement and has also produced comparative analyses of Western European fascism. He asserts that there were some specific ways in which National Socialism paralleled Russian communism to a much greater degree than Fascism was capable of doing. Payne does not propound a theory of "red fascism" or the notion that communism and nazism have been essentially the same thing. He states that Hitlerian National Socialism more nearly paralleled Russian communism than has any other non-communist system.[3][4]

In the 1960s, his books were published in Spanish by Éditions Ruedo ibérico (ERi), a publishing company set up by Spanish Republican exiles in Paris, France, to publish works forbidden in Spain by the Francoist government ruling the country at the time. His position regarding the Spanish Civil War has been that of shedding light on the conflict's origin and addressing its related myths. One of his more famous books is Spanish Civil War, The Soviet Union and Communism, which analyzes Joseph Stalin and the Soviet government's intervention in Spain. He also wrote The Franco Regime, The Spanish Civil War and A History of Fascism 1914-1945.

Payne uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector; fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism, and anti-conservatism.[5] He sees elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, complete existence of large-scale capitalism as the common aim of all fascist movements.[6]


Payne received his bachelor's degree from Pacific Union College in 1955. He went on to earn a masters from Claremont Graduate School and University Center in 1957 and a doctorate (Ph.D.) from Columbia University in 1960.



  1. Curriculum vitae and photo at Department of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  2. Roger Griffin. The Nature of Fascism. Routledge. 1993. p. 6
  3. The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right. Routledge. 2002. p.67
  4. Stanley G. Payne. Fascism: Comparison and Definition. University of Wisconsin Press. 1983. ISBN 978-0-299-08064-8. p.102-104
  5. Payne, Stanley (1980). Fascism: Comparison and Definition. University of Wisconsin Press, p.7
  6. Payne, Stanley (1996). A History of Fascism. Routledge. ISBN 1-85728-595-6 p.10

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