History 325: Totalitarian Dictatorships in Twentieth-Century Europe

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History 325: Totalitarian Dictatorships in Twentieth-Century Europe
Monday and Wednesday, 4:00-5:20, Wyatt Hall 304

Benjamin Tromly, Department of History

Office: Wyatt 128

Email (preferred method of contacting me): btromly@pugetsound.edu

Telephone: X 3391

Office Hours: MWF 12-1 or by appointment

This course examines dictatorial regimes that had an enormous destructive impact on Europe and the world in the twentieth century: Stalin's USSR, Hitler's Germany, and Mussolini's Italy. These regimes have often been seen as representative of “totalitarianism”—a concept that highlights important similarities in their histories. The three regimes were established by radical political movements previously on the fringes of political life; they harnessed the vast powers of the modern state for all-encompassing ideological projects like racial empire and communist utopianism; and they resorted to historically novel strategies of rule such as the mass application of violence, the recruitment of citizen informers, the creation of mass political parties, and the mobilization of the masses in ritual affirmation of the state (“plebiscitary rule”). This course explores these and other comparisons with the aim of understanding dictatorship in twentieth-century Europe. How did fanatics with dangerous ideas take control of modern states and societies? Who collaborated with these regimes and who resisted them, and what informed such weighty decisions? What happened to such ostensibly normal institutions and social practices as consumerism, the family, work, and mass culture under brutal regimes? How did bloody reigns of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini change the states and societies that came under their power?
We address these problems through rigorous classroom discussion. In addition to critical examinations of scholarly work on the three regimes, we will also draw heavily on primary evidence like diaries, letters of denunciation and fictional works to illuminate different perspectives and problems. The goal of all components of the course is for students to construct and evaluate historical interpretations themselves, a process culminating in the writing of a research paper.
Participation, 15%: This is a discussion class. You are expected to come to class having done the readings for that day and be prepared to offer questions and thoughts about them. Full participation in class discussions—not merely being present—is necessary for a satisfactory grade in the course (see absence policy below).
Question-framing papers, 20%: A major component of the final grade is the submission of three question-framing papers, no shorter than three FULL pages and no longer than five pages, which will be due at the beginning of class (see guidelines below). Because we will be using these papers in our discussions, a late response paper will be docked one-third of their point value if submitted late, even if it reaches my desk later on the same day. I will draw on your paper questions and ideas in our discussions extensively, so be prepared to share your paper with the class (no formal presentation is necessary). Participating during the days when you have written papers will be important to your participation grade. You will be assigned due dates for these papers according to which you will be assigned.
Take-home midterm exam, 20%: The take-home midterm exam will require you to write a 5-7 page (5 full page minimum), double-spaced, proofread essay on a topic selected from a list. The questions will ask you to synthesize materials from the course to make an argument (I plan to ask for your input in generating this list). You must write in good academic prose and draw extensively and directly on our readings, using parenthetical references for page numbers. You are not required or encouraged to do reading outside our course materials for this assignment.
Term paper proposal and bibliography, 5%: In preparation for writing the term paper, students will write a 1-2 page paper proposal along with an annotated bibliography (specific instructions to follow in class). Each student will meet with me in office hours to discuss the proposal (a list of times will be distributed in class). Failure to come to the scheduled meeting will be counted as an absence. In preparation for composing your proposal we will hold class on November 3 in the Library Instruction Room (Library 118), where Historian Librarian Peggy Burge will discuss strategies for locating materials for your paper. We will also discuss a sample proposal in class.
Term paper, 35%: Each student will write a substantial (8-11 pages, 8 full page minimum) term paper due during examination period on a topic of his or her choice (pending my approval). While I encourage you to write on a topic of great interest to you, some use of comparative history is encouraged, if only to frame a more detailed examination of some aspect of only one of the totalitarian states we are studying. Your paper may use class materials but it also needs to incorporate independent research.
Final presentations, 5%: Our final two classes are devoted to presentations based on the final papers. I will divide the class into groups based on compatibility of paper topics. Your task will be to create a brief collective presentation (approximately 10 minutes in length) that will incorporate and synthesize the findings of your individual papers. Then your classmates can ask you questions or otherwise respond to your presentations. Keep in mind that being present and actively posing questions in the last two classes will count toward your participation grade. I will give you some time in class to work on this assignment.

Here are some guidelines for posing good discussion questions (and historical questions generally):

- A good question is a problem or puzzle.

-A good question is debatable, or open to alternative conclusions by informed respondents. In other words, your fellow students should be able to disagree with your answer to it.

-A good question is free from value judgments and implicit assumptions.

-A question should not provide its own answer, but should be open-ended.

-A good question has historical significance. This can mean many things: it might be a question on a theme we have already discussed in class, or it might be a question that has been (or should be) controversial for historians, or it might be one that carries important implications for our study of the subject. Keep in mind that some questions are most important than others. Good historical questions often begin with “why” and “how.”

-A good question is specific rather than general. Choose words carefully.

These papers should have two components: a) a paragraph posing the question and explaining its historical significance and b) at least a paragraphs proposing a clear answer to the problem. The paper should be written in good academic prose and sustain an argument, even if you have to focus on some sub-arguments more than others given time and space constraints. Be sure to reference course readings; each paper must cite course texts at least twice. Footnotes are not necessary, but parenthetical references are required. I encourage you to pose original questions whenever possible, but you may use a question posed directly in the reading or one I have distributed to the class if you wish—so long as you explain why it is a question worth asking.
Please write about what interests you. I hope that writing these papers will help you find a final paper topic. I encourage you to pose related questions in different weeks (so long as you focus on the relevant readings for each paper).
Question-framing assignments due throughout semester (depending on group)

October 13— Take-home midterm exam

November 3—class held in the Library Instruction Room (Library 118)

November 17—Proposal and bibliography due in class

December 6-8—in-class presentations

December 13—final papers due at 2 PM in folder outside my office


  • Attendance at all class meetings is expected. Each unexplained absence is viewed with irritation and dismay; after two unexcused absences, the final grade in the course will be dropped by half a letter grade. I reserve the right to withdraw students from the class for excessive absences (defined as six or more unexcused absences).

  • You are strongly encouraged to review UPS’s policies on academic honesty and plagiarism as detailed in the Academic Handbook. Plagiarism will result in a 0 on the assignment in question, with greater penalties possible.

  • All assignments must be submitted at the start of class on the due date. If you submit a late paper, be sure to submit a hard copy to my office along with an electronic copy. Late papers will be penalized at the rate of ½ a letter grade per day late (a ‘B’ paper handed in two days late becomes a ‘B-‘) and will not be accepted more than five calendar days following the due date. Please notify me before the paper is due if health or family emergencies prevent you from submitting work.

  • On occasion, I will send emails to the class to provide you with reading questions and important contextual information. While the exact timing of these emails will vary, I will send them at least a few days before the class in question whenever possible. I encourage you to read these messages carefully, as they will help you prepare for class and perform successfully in the course.

  • I strongly encourage you to visit me in office hours. There is no need to schedule an appointment during scheduled office hours. If you are unavailable during these times, please contact me in advance by email.

  • The best way to reach outside of class is via email. I try to respond to email as quickly as possible, but I cannot promise that I will respond promptly to messages sent on weekends or holidays.

  • Students who want to withdraw from the course should read the rules governing withdrawal grades, which can be found at http://www.ups.edu/x4727.xml#withdrawal.


An “A” paper contains a perceptive, original, and compelling central argument which reflects an original perspective. It is clearly written, well-organized into sub-arguments, and supported by a variety of specific examples drawn from the readings.
A “B” paper is a solid effort which demonstrates a good grasp on the course materials. But a “B” paper might have one or more shortcomings. It might provide a summary of ideas and information drawn directly from readings and discussions without independent thought or synthesis. Or it might give evidence of independent thought yet suffer from unclear and/or unconvincing presentation of an argument, a lack of textual evidence, or be sloppily written.
A “C” paper shows a decent grasp on the course material but lacks a thorough or accurately defended argument. A paper receiving a grade lower than “C” suffers from more serious shortcomings, such as not responding adequately to the assignment, frequent factual errors, the lack of a cohesive thesis, poor organization, unclear writing, or a combination of these problems.
NOTE: We will discuss paper assignments in class in advance of due dates. I am happy to discuss writing assignments before or after you have written them. Although I do not usually read full drafts of papers, I am happy to look at a thesis statement or a section of a paper.
GETTING HELP WITH WRITING: Anyone can become a better writer. The UPS Center for Writing and Learning is has a mission to help all students, at whatever level of ability, become better writers. I strongly urge you to take advantage of its services. To make an appointment, call 879-3404, email writing@ups.edu, or drop by Howarth 109.
The following titles are available for purchase at the Campus Bookstore and through online services. They are also available on two-hour reserve at Collins Memorial Library.
Detlev Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition and Racism in Everyday Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987)

Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the final solution in Poland (New York: HarperPerennial, 1998)*

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)
Apart from these books, the majority of our readings are in the course reader available for purchase from the bookstore (listed as “CR” in the schedule of readings below). Purchasing the course reader is recommended, as you will need to have copies of the readings with you in class.
On background reading. Students who feel they would benefit from reviewing the historical context of Europe during the period in question may benefit from consulting the following works, both on two-hour reserve at Collins Memorial Library:

-relevant chapters of Eric Dorn Brose, A History of Europe in the Twentieth Century New York : Oxford University Press, c2005)

-Julian Jackson, Europe, 1900-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, c2002)
NOTE: All reading assignments are to be completed before the class meeting for which they are listed (for Sep. 1, you are to have read Friedrich, Mosse, and Scott) Please bring to class the syllabus, the assigned readings for the day, and your reading notes.
Monday, Aug 30: Introduction to course
I. The emergence of totalitarian regimes in interwar Europe
Wednesday, Sep. 1: Theoretical perspectives on totalitarianism
Carl J Friedrich, “The unique character of totalitarian society,” in Totalitarianism: proceedings of a conference held at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, March 1953 (CR)

George Mosse, The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany from the Napoleonic Wars Through the Third Reich, 1-20 (CR)

James C. Scott, Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed, 87-102 (CR)
PREP (Questions to ponder for class):

-The Friedrich reading presents a classic and influential definition of totalitarianism. What distinguishes a totalitarian state from other kinds of dictatorships? What are the examples that would fall in this definition? Do you see any problems with this approach? Is the Friedrich model useful for classification, explanation or both?

- Mosse and Scott offer broad approaches to the origins of totalitarianism—ideas that we will draw on in the following classes when we look at the specific cases of Italy, Russia, and Germany. What does Mosse mean by the nationalization of the masses? When and why did this development occur? Are you convinced by his account?

-Scott offers a very contemporary, perhaps “post-modern,” explanation of totalitarianism. Why does he begin the chapter with a discussion of maps?

What does “authoritarian high modernism” mean? When and where did it exist in human history and why? Is this broad approach for a student of totalitarianism? Does it do justice to the specificities of totalitarianism outlined by Friedrich?
Monday, Sep. 6: no class (Labor Day)
Wednesday, Sep. 8: Right totalitarianism: Fascist Italy (group 1)
Roger Eatwell, Fascism: A History, 43-88 (“Italy: The Rise of Fascism” and “Italy: The Development of the Fascist Regime”) (CR)

Benito Mussolini, “Fundamental ideas,” from Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions (1935), 7-14 (CR)

Documents from Mediterranean Fascism, 1919-1945, 55-61 (CR)
PREP: One topic for discussion will be the ideological origins and nature of fascism. How did the experience of the Great War—a war, it is worth emphasizing, in which Italy was on the winning side—contribute to fascism? How should one account for the fact that many fascists, including Mussolini, began their political careers on the left of the political spectrum?

-We will also want to explore the rise to power of Mussolini in some detail. Recall Pipes’ argument that the Russian revolution was not inevitable. Does the material in Pollard lend itself to a similar reading of the Italian case? How strong was the social base of fascism? How important was Mussolini’s role as leader of a radical movement? Do you see similarities to Lenin’s role in Russia or not?

-Ponder the transition toward a full-blown fascist dictatorship that occurred after Mussolini took office. What limits existed on Mussolini’s power at the different stages of this process?
Monday, Sep. 13: Left totalitarianism: Leninism-Stalinism (group 2)
Richard Stites on Russia in The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century (CR)

Hiroaki Kuromiya, Stalin, 74-113 (CR)

Documents from The Structure of Soviet History, ed. Ronald G. Suny, 212-232 (CR)
PREP: Why did the Soviet regime undertake the incredibly bold and dangerous path of full-scale industrialization and collectivization of agriculture? What were Bukharin’s positions and how did Stalin counter them? Think of economic development and security concerns in tandem.

-Using the documents in Suny ed., think about the methods by which Stalin was able to mobilize his party and state for the revolution from above. How does Kuromiya understand the connections between Stalin’s personal rise to near-total power in the country and the new political course of the regime? Using the documents in Suny, question the direction of ideological change in the USSR. What parts of communist orthodoxy was Stalin willing to soften or abandon in the context of new political realities?

Wednesday, Sep. 15: German National Socialism (group 3)
Mary Fulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-1990, 44-95 (CR)

Nazism 1919-1945: a Documentary Reader, v. 1. The Rise to Power 1919-1934, ed. J. Noakes and G. Pridham, 7-14, 70-74, 144-148, 167-169 (CR)
PREP: On the Nazi rise to power, ponder the origins of the Nazi party in the context of WWI, keeping in mind the Italian comparison. How did a fringe party emerge to power so quickly? How did the Nazis win at the polls and in the streets? Did Nazi victory reflect real support for their agenda or clever manipulation and deception by the party? How did the power structure change after Hitler’s appointment as chancellor?

-One goal of today’s class is to understand the origins and nature of Nazi ideology. Where does Fulbrook locate the sources of Nazi anti-Semitism, social Darwinism, and racial hygiene? What role did the Russian Revolution play in this? How do you explain the distinctive differences between German National Socialism and Italian Fascism, most of all its “scientific,” racial aspect?

II. The regime phase: violence and legitimization
Monday, Sep. 20: Political rituals and cults of the leader: Hitler and Mussolini (group 4)
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, chapter four (“the Führer Myth and Consent in Everyday Life”) to page 77

Nazism 1919-1945: a Documentary Reader, v. 2, 374-382 (CR)

Emilio Gentile, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy, 132-161 (chapter 6) (CR)

PREP: An important question that confronts anyone hoping to understand societies under totalitarianism is that of the authenticity of sources: how do we know when people are telling the truth? Moreover, given the state’s ubiquitous propaganda assault, what did “truth” mean for historical subjects? Ponder the sources used by Peukert, Noakes, and Gentile. Are these sources to be trusted?

-On personality cults, ponder Gentile’s treatment of the neo-religious essence of fascist public culture and the symbol of Mussolini in particular. Is this a specifically Italian phenomenon? Is it a fruitful framework for analysis? Also, think about the different roles that cults of personality might have served for the state and society as a whole. What do you make of Gentile’s observation that the Mussolini myth outweighed belief in fascism for many Italians? See the similar dynamic at work in Germany (Peukert, 72). Was the leader cult an expression of the strength or weakness of the totalitarian state?

Wednesday, Sep. 22: Was Hitler a “weak dictator”? Hitler and Stalin as Dictators (group 5)
Ian Kershaw, “‘Working towards the Führer’: reflections on the nature of the Hitler Dictatorship,” in Stalinism and Nazism: dictatorships in comparison, ed. Ian Kershaw and Moshe Lewin, 88-106 (CR)

Nazism 1919-1945: a Documentary Reader, v. 2. State, Economy and Society, 1933-1939, 1-17 (CR)

Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism, chapter 1 (“The party is always right”), pages 24-28 on “Stalin’s signals”

Stalin's letters to Molotov, ed. Lars T. Lih et al., 213-216 (CR)
PREP: what is meant by “intentionalist” and “functionalist” readings of Hitler? Look carefully at the discussion of the different roles of Hitler on pages 97-8 of the Kershaw reading. Can you find examples in the primary sources of Hitler acting in these ways? Do you see any flaws in Kershaw’s argument? Finally, is Kershaw correct in the contrasts he draws between Hitler and Stalin? Think of Fitzpatrick on signaling—is this similar to Hitler’s style of rule?

NOTE: the ordering of readings in the course reader is a bit confused here—these readings come after a reading planned for Monday. Everything is there but in scrambled order.

Monday, Sep. 27: The Nazi racial state in the 1930s (group 1)
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, chapter 12 (“Racialism as Social Policy”)

Nazism 1919-1945: a Documentary Reader, v. 2., 336-347 (CR)

Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945, 136-167 (CR)

PREP: How does Peukert explain the similarities and differences of Nazi policies from previous German policies toward groups like the “work-shy,” asocial, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and gypsies? Was the state acting with the tacit support of German public with regard to all or some of these groups?

-How do our readings explain the collaboration of doctors, academics, and other professionals in the racial state?

-How does Puekert connect racial policies to processes of social control?

-Noakes and Pridham and Burleigh and Wippermann provide detailed analyses of how racial policies were developed in the Third Reich. What were the important factors in policy-making in this sphere and how do they relate to our discussion of Hitler’s role as dictator and “working towards the Fuhrer” a week ago?

Wednesday, Sep. 29: Soviet political terror in the 1930s (group 2)
Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism, chapters 5 and 8 (“Insulted and injured” and “A time of troubles”)

Documents in The Structure of Soviet History, 240-50 (CR)

PREP: Does Fitzpatrick offer an overarching explanation for the Great Terror? Our readings show the multiple faces of the Great Terror, which targeted political opponents, military leaders, intellectuals, and, most of all, several specific categories of the population (please make a list of these). How were these aspects of state violence connected?

I would like to discuss Bukharin’s letter to Stalin in detail. What does it say about the political culture of the Bolsheviks and the motives of Stalin himself?

Finally, we will cover the impact of terror on society. How did the regime seek to control public behavior during the purges? What ways did citizens view the terror as a phenomenon and specific arrests in particular? Were there multiple ways? See, for instance, the Mandel’shtam source which shows the terror from the perspective of pre-revolutionary intellectuals.
Monday, Oct. 4: Denunciation as popular participation in terror: Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR (group 3)
John Connelly, "The Uses of 'Volksgemeinschaft': Letters to the NSDAP Kreisleitung Eisenach, 1939-1940," Journal of Modern History, 68, 4 (1996) (available through JSTOR: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2946724 )

Andrei Sokolov, Stalinism as a Way of Life, 217-228, 231-233 (CR)

Handout: Jan Gross on the spoiler state (to be distributed)
PREP: Today we delve more deeply into a critical and troubling question: why did people become complicit in political repression carried out by totalitarian states? What does Connelly mean by his intriguing suggestion that the Nazi “national community” was a really existing entity? What made it so? Do the Soviet documents in Sokolov suggest similar explanations for popular input into terror?
III. War and genocide
Wednesday, Oct. 6: The Holocaust and the Nazi racial empire: an overview (group 4)
Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century, 138-181 (“Hitler’s New Order, 1938-1945”) (CR)

Nazism 1919-1945, vol. 3: Foreign Policy, War and Extermination, 467-477, 483-493, 504-509 (CR)
PREP: What were the major stages in the development of Nazi actions in the East? How did the Nazi government view Poland and Eastern Europe more broadly? What was to be their future role in German-dominated Europe?

-According to Mazower, how “successful” were Nazi policies in the East in terms of their stated goals of racial transformation and purification?

-How did the context of Central and Eastern Europe influence the mass violence against Jews? Pay close attention to the documents on the SS Einsatzengruppen.

-Why did the Nazi plans for resettlement and expulsion of Jews become impossible?

Monday, Oct. 11: film viewing and discussion
FILM: Come & See (Elem Klimov, USSR, 1985)
Described as “142 minutes of raw emotion”, this film won top prizes at the Moscow and Venice film festivals in 1985. The story is based on writer Aleksandr Adamovich’s WWII memoirs of SS reprisals against partisans. Set in occupied Belorussia in 1943, the film follows a raw teenager into the swamps and forests of the Western border provinces, where he undergoes a hell of atrocities, transformed by his hatred for the fascists as he tries to survive the carnage of war. Russian with English subtitles. 142 minutes.
Reading in preparation for class:

Mark Edele and Michael Geyer, “States of Exception: the Nazi-Soviet War as a system of violence, 1939-1945,” in Beyond Totalitarianism (CR)

NOTE: as described above, students who don’t attend both film viewings (October 11 and 13) will watch the film independently and submit a two-page paper on their reactions to “Come and See” (due Wed., October 20 in class).
Wednesday, Oct. 13: film viewing and discussion continued
Take home midterm due in class
Monday, Oct. 18: no class (Fall break)
Wednesday, Oct. 20: Mobilizing the home front during WWII (group 1)
Philip Morgan, The fall of Mussolini: Italy, the Italians, and the Second World War, 35-71 (CR)

John Barber and Mark Harrison, The Soviet home front, 1941-1945: a social and economic history of the USSR in World War II, chapters 4 and 7 (CR)
PREP: Today’s discussion focuses on a comparison of the success of the Soviets in home front mobilization and the failure of the Italian fascists. How did the Soviets manage to avoid a collapse of the home front during the disastrous defeats of 1941 and the hardships of the war? What ideological shifts and economic policies made this possible? Why did the Italians fail to adopt meaningful solutions to the problems that plagued the country during the war? A broader problem to consider is the relationship between the front and the home front in both countries.
Monday, Oct. 25: Explaining complicity in genocide (group 5)
Browning, Ordinary Men (entire)
PREP: Consider the use of the term "ordinary" in the work's title.  Do you agree that the order police were, in fact, "ordinary men?" How they come to view their duties as "ordinary?"  Were these ordinary "men" or ordinary "Germans"?  Is there a difference?  That is, how did these men reflect the German population as a whole?  Look at the sources Browning cites.  How does his choice of, and his analysis of, this source material help us answer this question?  What are the rhetorical ramifications of using the term "ordinary"? 

-After reading Browning's afterward, do you agree with Goldhagen's criticism of Browning's work?  Do you believe that Browning effectively counters Goldhagen's criticism?  How might Goldhagen respond to Browning?

 -Discuss how Browning explains the police battalion's motivation for taking part in mass murder.  Consider the opportunities these men had to avoid taking part in mass murder and consider the punishment (or lack thereof) these men might have suffered had they refused to take part.  Given what you have read thus far in the semester and your preconceived notions about this time period, did this aspect of Browning's narrative surprise you?  How does it affect Browning's overall thesis?
IV. Societies under dictatorships
Wednesday, Oct. 27: The victims: camp populations in Nazi Germany and the USSR (group 2)
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi assault on humanity, translated from the Italian by Stuart Woolf, 42-76 (CR)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, II, 251-291 (“The Trusties”) (CR)

PREP: Just when you thought this course couldn’t get more disturbing. . . We will be reading sections of Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz and Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago to think about the experiences of the camp populations. The camps clearly serve different functions in the two totalitarian states: try to gather from the readings what those might be.

-Are there any similarities in the survival strategies employed by prisoners in the two camp systems? Were there any people approximating “trusties” in the Nazi death camps?

-In what ways did camp society reflect or distort the societies in which they existed?

A few translations of Solzhenitsyn’s camp jargon:

The 58’s: those charged according to article 58 of the criminal code (counterrevolutionary activity). Discriminated against in the camps vis-à-vis “common,” non-political criminals.

Zek: slang term for a gulag prisoner

Sharashka: camp where highly skilled professionals plied their trade

Young Guard by Fadeyev: a novel presenting a falsified history of a WWII partisan group

Monday, Nov. 1: Popular resistance to dictators (group 3)
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, chapters 5 and 7 (“Areas of Conflict in the Third Reich” and “The working class: everyday life and opposition”), 81-86 and 101-125

Philip Morgan, “The years of consent”? Popular Attitudes and Forms of Resistance to Fascism in Italy, 1925-1940’, in Opposing Fascism. Community, Authority and Resistance in Europe, ed. Tim Kirk and Anthony McElligott, 163-179 (CR)

PREP: What is resistance? Should it be measured by the intentions of the actors or the effects of their actions? How does Peukert separate resistance from other actions of citizens (or state officials) that might have worked against central policies? Peukert makes the important observation that the states we are studying had a very expansive view of what constituted resistance—it was easy to come under suspicion for seemingly benign actions. Did totalitarianism create resistance, as Peukert seems to suggest? Or was it possible for people found themselves “resisting” without being fully conscious of doing so? How does Morgan approach the conceptual problem of distinguishing “real” resistance from other actions?

-Sources are a critical issue here. What kinds of sources exist for studying resistance in Germany and Italy, and what are their drawbacks?

-Clearly, different groups had very different reasons and opportunities for protest. In Germany, the workers had a very strong tradition of political action to draw on. To what extent did the Nazis control the politicized German working class? Were there any groups in the two countries well-positioned to offer resistance?
Wednesday, Nov. 3: Library session
NOTE: Class today (Nov. 3) will be in the Library Instruction Room (Library 118). The first half of the class will be devoted to discussion of class materials. In the second half, Historian Librarian Peggy Burge introduces you to some resources available at UPS and beyond for your research papers.
Monday, Nov. 8: Getting by: consumption and politics in Nazi Germany and the USSR (group 4)
Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism, 41-50, 62-66 (from chapter 2, “Hard Times”) and 89-103 (from chapter 4, “The Magic Tablecloth”)

Hartmut Berghoff, “Enticement and Deprivation: The Regulation of Consumption in Pre-War Nazi Germany,” in The Politics of Consumption, ed. Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton, 165-184 (CR)

PREP: Our topic today is the connection between consumption and political rule in the USSR and Nazi Germany.

-What were the effects of extreme hardship and chronic shortages on Soviet society? Why does Fizpatrick focus on patronage and blat (the use of social contacts)?

-How did the Nazis try to influence consumption patterns? Were there any similarities with the Soviet case?

-For both regimes, ponder whether the ways that people got by on an everyday basis influenced totalitarianism as a system of power.

Wednesday, Nov. 10: Women and the family under totalitarianism (group 5)
Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism, at least 139-156 of chapter 6 (“family problems”)

Perry R. Willson, “Women in Fascist Italy,” in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: Comparisons and Contrasts, ed. Richard Bessel, 78-93 (CR)

Nazism 1919-1945: a Documentary Reader, v. 2., 257-262 (CR)
PREP: Thinking about women and family under totalitarianism will allow us to explore new issues and also look at some problems we have examined through a new perspective.

-Both Italian and German totalitarianisms called for the subordination of family making and reproductive decisions to the nation. How successful were the two states in this endeavor? What does Perry say about the effectiveness of laws in the family sphere in Italy?

-The Soviet Union had different policies towards female labor, but also turned to pro-natalism in the 1930s. How do you explain such a convergence between “right” and “left” totalitarianisms?
Monday, Nov. 15: Totalitarianism and culture: architecture in Germany and Italy
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, chapter 10 (“Public Show and Private Perceptions”), 187-196

Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich, trans. Richard and Clara Winston, 71-83 (CR)

Diane Yvonne Ghirardo, “Italian Architects and Fascist Politics: An Evaluation of the Rationalist's Role in Regime Building” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 39, No. 2 (May, 1980): 109-127 (CR)
PREP: Today we use architecture as a case study for examining totalitarian culture in Germany and Italy (I will mention the Soviet case a bit too).

-How does Peukert characterize the change in culture and aesthetics between the Weimar period and Nazi Germany?

-What light does Speer’s memoir cast on architectural plans and the self-image of the Nazi elite?

-Both Speer and Ghirardo touch (in very different ways, of course) on the collaboration of cultural figures in totalitarian regimes. What explained such collaboration?

Wednesday, Nov. 17: no class--mandatory individual meetings with instructor on final projects (sign-up sheet to be distributed)

(Proposal and bibliography due in box outside my office 5 PM)
Monday, Nov. 22: Youth resist totalitarianism: Germany and Italy
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, chapter 8 (“Young people: Mobilisation and refusal”)

A reading on the Italian resistance movement (possibly: G. Franco Romagnoli, The bicycle runner: a memoir of love, loyalty, and the Italian resistance)--to be posted on moodle or distributed in class

Wednesday, Nov. 24: no class (travel day)
Monday, Nov. 29: Confronting troubled pasts
Timothy Garton Ash, “The Truth about Dictatorship,” New York Review of Books, Volume 45, Number 3 (CR)

Roger Eatwell, Fascism: A History, 272-300 (“Neo-Fascism in Germany”) (CR)

PREP: According to Garton Ash, what are the different approaches to dealing with the past in countries emerging from authoritarianism or totalitarianism? Is doing nothing (sweeping the issue under the rug) an option? Why or why not? Reflect on the course as a whole: has your study of totalitarianism this semester put these issues in a new light for you? For instance, why is it so hard to deal with totalitarianism in particular—in the Friedrich and Brzezinski definition—after the fact?

-The Eatwell reading is assigned to facilitate a discussion about the potentially lasting imprint of totalitarianism. Did what might be called the afterlife of Nazism pose a serious threat to democracy? How did the Cold War play into this unpleasant story?

Wednesday, Dec. 1: no class (meet in presentation groups)
Monday, Dec. 6: group presentations
Wednesday, Dec. 8: group presentations
December 13—final papers due at 2 PM in folder outside my office
Note: the syllabus is subject to change with due notification.

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