Fascism, like socialism and communism, is another "ism" that seeks to justify the role of the state in the means of production and the organization of society. Fascism was originally the work, apparently, of Italian "national syndicalists" who proposed the system in the wake of the social chaos emerging from World War I. The initial proposition sought to combine socialist goals with corporatist mechanisms. In other words, society would achieve prosperity for the masses of people by having the state closely supervise capitalist enterprises.
Fascism, historically, deemphasizes formal collectivism, with its adherents preferring to use the corporatist mechanisms created by capitalism itself. It is for this reason perhaps that fascism is seen as a "right wing" political philosophy as it attempts to manufacture prosperity by using the corporate instruments of capitalism within in a larger state-supervised command and control environment.
Hallmarks of fascism during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany and Italy (and to a lesser extent in Japan) included a "Strong Man" leader backed by the corporate elitists that organized the means of production (and resources) of the larger society. Unlike socialism and communism, fascism seems to emphasize the nation-state itself and a mysterious manifest destiny that bestows on the Strong Man leader and his backers a legitimacy they would not otherwise have.
The glue of culture and history – instead of socialist and communist economic/internationalist theories – are used to justify fascist empowerment. Like communism and socialism, individualism is de-emphasized in favor of the role of the state, though the justifications are different and the systems of collectivism (corporatism in the case of fascism) diverge as well.
Like communism, especially, fascism justifies the creation of a single-party state to realize the nation's manifest destiny. And because of the emphasis on the state and its "Strong Man" leadership, fascist states tend to be aggressive and expansionist. While this is justified on cultural grounds, the reality is that the Strong Man must be seen as leading the nation to prosperity and greater glory.
Since authoritarianism and the reduction of free-markets essentially leads to statist ruin and bankruptcy, the only way that a Strong Man can illustrate the power of his vision is by expanding the boundaries of the state, usually through war. A Fascist state justifies its system by being aggressively expansionistic. War is often the solution to Strong Man leadership, affirming in the body politic the bonds of comradeship and a vision of national greatness through the subjugation of inferior nations and ethnicities.
In the 20th century, after World War II, fascism fell out of favor as a formal organizing force of state power. Instead, communism and socialism were espoused along with capitalism itself, which became the dominant stated sociopolitical system of the West. What is true in reality however is that fascism brought together all the mechanisms that strong-man leaders have used throughout the ages to justify their rule. Thus it could be said that fascism is the purest expression of authoritarianism and as such has never truly gone out of style. It may not be referred to by its name, but if one looks around the world one finds its signature in many nation states, especially in the developing world.
What is also true and unfortunate is that Fascist methodologies are increasingly evident in Western countries. The Anglo-American power elite seems to be deliberately driving Western societies toward more authoritarian forms of government using the mechanisms of fascism that were developed in pre-war Europe and successfully put into practice, notably in Germany under Adolf Hitler. It is an uncomfortable fact that Western banks and industry provided a large amount of funding for Hitler and that many approved of the German statists model prior to World War II. Perhaps Germany was only a "dry run" for what money power intends to implement throughout the West.