Course Description: The rise of Fascism signified the great change which took place during the 1920s and 1930s in Europe. This course offers an introduction to European Fascism from its Origins after WWI until 1945. A social and cultural historical approach gives an overview of Fascist ideologies and movements in Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, and selected other countries. Authoritarian dictatorships that were influenced by Fascism, such as Hungary under Horthy or Portugal under Salazar, will be sketched in brief. All fascist movements were directed against liberal democracy, but also against socialism and communism. The personality of a Leader was of supreme importance, giving unity to the rival elements with the Fascist party and cohesion to the government. While all Fascist regimes have certain features in common, the differences between them are not negligible and will be analyzed throughout the semester. Modern research on the topic and different interpretations of Fascism will also be discussed.
Required Readings: Excerpts from the following texts will be read throughout the semester:
Carsten, Francis L.: The Rise of Fascism, 2nd ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1980).
Graml, Hermann: Anti-Semitism in the Third Reich (Oxford, 1992).
Hobsbawm, Eric J.: The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991 (NY, 1996).
Kessler, Mario: On Anti-Semitism and Socialism: Selected Essays (Berlin, 2005).
Paxton, Robert O.: The Anatomy of Fascism (London, 2004).
Payne, Stanley G.: A History of Fascism, 1914-1945 (Madison, 1995).
Testing and Grading Policy: You will be asked to write a 10-12 page research paper on a specific topic to be agreed upon in close contact with the professor. Please be sure to adhere to the standard academic practice in terms of proper spelling and the citation of scholarly sources.
Midterm exam: 20%
Final exam: 30%
Research paper: 50%
Attendance Policy: If you miss more than two weeks of class, you will receive an “F” for the course.
Academic Honesty: Any cases of academic dishonesty will be referred to the proper university authorities. Cheating and plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the course. All works submitted for credit in this class must be original and may not be submitted for credit in any other course. Resubmitting course work that was submitted for credit in another course will result in a failing grade for this course.
Course Outline: Sept. 1: Introduction: Nationalism and Total War – Preconditions of Fascism.
Sept. 15: Fascism: Revolution or Counter-Revolution – an Overview.
Reading: Hobsbawm, pp. 109-141.
Sept. 22: Italian Fascism in the Making, 1919-1929.
Reading: Payne, pp. 80-128.
Sept. 29: German Fascism: The Nazi Movement and the “Third Reich”, 1919-1939 (I).
Reading: Payne, pp. 147-211; Manfred Weissbecker, “The National Socialist Party and its
Terror during the Weimar Republic,” Doktryny Historia Wladza (Cracow, 2009), pp. 381-
Oct. 6: Movie “Cabaret” (USA, 1972), dir.: Bob Fosse.
Followed by a discussion of the movie.
Oct. 13: German Fascism: The Nazi Movement and the “Third Reich”, 1919-1939 (II).
Reading: See above (Sept. 29) plus: Leon Trotsky, What is National Socialism?,
Oct. 27: Preparation for Midterm Exam. Nov. 3:Midterm Exam. Nov. 10: (A): Fascism in Spain: From Primo de Rivera to Franco.
Reading: Carsten, pp. 194-204; Nicola Rooney, “The Role of the Catholic Hierarchy in the
(B): Fascism and anti-Fascism: Worker’s Resistance in Nazi Germany.
Reading: Kessler, pp. 117-134.
Nov. 17: (A): Fascism in South Eastern Europe: Hungary, Rumania, and Croatia.
(B): Fascism in Western Europe: The Cases of Britain and Belgium.
Reading: Constantin Iordachi, “Fascism in Interwar East Central and Southeastern Europe:
Toward a New Transnational Research Agenda,” East-Central Europe, 37 (2010), Nos. 2-3,
pp. 161-213; Bruno de Wever, “Catholicism and Fascism in Belgium,” Totalitarian
Movements and Political Religion, Vol. 2 (June 2007), No. 2, pp. 343-352.
Nov. 24: Fascism and anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust.
Reading: Graml, pp. 5-29.
Dec 1: (A): Fascism and Collaboration: The Case of Vichy France.
(B): Fascism and the Historians: Theories of Fascism.
Reading: Payne, pp. 441-461; George L. Mosse, “Towards a General Theory of Fascism,”
Idem, Masses and Man: Nationalist and Fascist perceptions of Reality (Detroit, 1987), pp.
159-196. Recommended reading: Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (London,
2004). pp. 207-215.
Dec. 8: Preparation for Final Exam.
Final Exam: TBA.
* * *
List of Selected Works on the Topic: Beetham, David: Marxists in Face of Fascism (Manchester, 1983).
Ben-Ami, Shlomo: Fascism From Above: The Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in Spain, 1923-1930 (Oxford and NY, 1983).
Blamires, Cyprian: World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara, 2006).
Bracher, Karl Dietrich: The German Dictatorship: The Origins, Structure, and Effects of National Socialism (NY, 1970).
Broszat, Martin: German National Socialism (Santa Barbara, 1966).
Broszat, Martin: Hitler and the Collapse of Weimar Germany (Leamington Spa/UK, 1987).
Burleigh, Michael: The Third Reich: A New History (NY, 2000).
Burleigh, Michael and Wolfgang Wippermann: The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945 (Cambridge/UK and NY, 1991).
Costa Pinto, António (ed.): Rethinking the Nature of Fascism: Comparative Perspectives (London and NY, 2011).
De Grand, Alexander: Italian Fascism: Its Origins and Development (Lincoln, 1982).
De Grand, Alexander: Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: The ‘Fascist’ Style of Rule (London and NY, 1995).
Eatwell, Roger: Fascism: A History (NY, 1996).
Evans, Richard J.: The Third Reich in Power: 1933–1939 (London, 2005).
Felice, Renzo de: Interpretations of Fascism (Cambridge, Mass., 1977).