After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
Coming to terms with a new period of uncertainty when it is still replete with possibilities
This quick and engaging study clearly lays out the United States’ current democratic crisis. Examining the early stages of the Nazi movement in Germany, William E. Connolly detects synergies with Donald Trump’s rhetorical style. Tapping into a sense of contemporary fragility, Aspirational Fascism pays particular attention to how conflicts between neoliberalism and the pluralizing left have placed the white working class in a bind. Ultimately, Connolly believes a multifaceted democracy constitutes the best antidote to aspirational fascism and rethinks what a politics of the left might look like today.
Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Across the Euro-Atlantic world, political leaders have been mobilizing their bases with nativism, racism, xenophobia, and paeans to “traditional values,” in brazen bids for electoral support. How are we to understand this move to the mainstream of political policies and platforms that lurked only on the far fringes through most of the postwar era? Does it herald a new wave of authoritarianism? Is liberal democracy itself in crisis?
In this volume, three distinguished scholars draw on critical theory to address our current predicament. Wendy Brown, Peter E. Gordon, and Max Pensky share a conviction that critical theory retains the power to illuminate the forces producing the current political constellation as well as possible paths away from it. Brown explains how “freedom” has become a rallying cry for manifestly un-emancipatory movements; Gordon dismantles the idea that fascism is rooted in the susceptible psychology of individual citizens and reflects instead on the broader cultural and historical circumstances that lend it force; and Pensky brings together the unlikely pair of Tocqueville and Adorno to explore how democracies can buckle under internal pressure. These incisive essays do not seek to smooth over the irrationality of the contemporary world, and they do not offer the false comforts of an easy return to liberal democratic values. Rather, the three authors draw on their deep engagements with nineteenth–and twentieth–century thought to investigate the historical and political contradictions that have brought about this moment, offering fiery and urgent responses to the demands of the day.
If the Mandelas were the generals in the fight for black liberation, the Mashininis were the foot soldiers. Theirs is a story of exile, imprisonment, torture, and loss, but also of dignity, courage, and strength in the face of appalling adversity. Originally published in Great Britain to critical acclaim, A Burning Hunger: One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid tells a deeply moving human story and is one of the seminal books about the struggle against apartheid.
This family, Joseph and Nomkhitha Mashinini and their thirteen children, became immersed in almost every facet of the liberation struggle—from guerrilla warfare to urban insurrection. Although Joseph and Nomkhitha were peaceful citizens who had never been involved in politics, five of their sons became leaders in the antiapartheid movement. When the students of Soweto rose up in 1976 to protest a new rule making Afrikaans the language of instruction, they were led by charismatic young Tsietsi Mashinini. Scores of students were shot down and hundreds were injured. Tsietsi’s actions on that day set in motion a chain of events that would forever change South Africa, define his family, and transform their lives.
A Burning Hunger shows the human catastrophe that plagued generations of black Africans in the powerful story of one religious and law-abiding Soweto family. Basing her narrative on extensive research and interviews, Lynda Schuster richly portrays this remarkable family and in so doing reveals black South Africa during a time of momentous change.
The May 1926 coup d’état in Poland inaugurated what has become known as the period of sanacja or “cleansing.” The event has been explored in terms of the impact that it had on state structures and political styles. But for both supporters and opponents of the post-May regime, the sanacja was a catalyst for debate about Polish national identity, about citizenship and responsibility to the nation, and about postwar sexual morality and modern gender identities.
The Clash of Moral Nations is a study of the political culture of interwar Poland, as reflected in and by the coup. Eva Plach shifts the focus from strictly political contexts and examines instead the sanacja’s open-ended and malleable language of purification, rebirth, and moral regeneration.
In tracking the diverse appropriations and manipulations of the sanacja concept, Plach relies on a wide variety of texts, including the press of the period, the personal and professional papers of notable interwar women activists, and the official records of pro-sanacja organizations, such as the Women’s Union for Citizenship Work.
The Clash of Moral Nations introduces an important cultural and gendered dimension to understandings of national and political identity in interwar Poland.
This bold collection of essays demonstrates the necessity of understanding fascism in cultural terms rather than only or even primarily in terms of political structures and events. Contributors from history, literature, film, art history, and anthropology describe a culture of fascism in Japan in the decades preceding the end of the Asia-Pacific War. In so doing, they challenge past scholarship, which has generally rejected descriptions of pre-1945 Japan as fascist. The contributors explain how a fascist ideology was diffused throughout Japanese culture via literature, popular culture, film, design, and everyday discourse. Alan Tansman’s introduction places the essays in historical context and situates them in relation to previous scholarly inquiries into the existence of fascism in Japan.
Several contributors examine how fascism was understood in the 1930s by, for example, influential theorists, an antifascist literary group, and leading intellectuals responding to capitalist modernization. Others explore the idea that fascism’s solution to alienation and exploitation lay in efforts to beautify work, the workplace, and everyday life. Still others analyze the realization of and limits to fascist aesthetics in film, memorial design, architecture, animal imagery, a military museum, and a national exposition. Contributors also assess both manifestations of and resistance to fascist ideology in the work of renowned authors including the Nobel-prize-winning novelist and short-story writer Kawabata Yasunari and the mystery writers Edogawa Ranpo and Hamao Shirō. In the work of these final two, the tropes of sexual perversity and paranoia open a new perspective on fascist culture. This volume makes Japanese fascism available as a critical point of comparison for scholars of fascism worldwide. The concluding essay models such work by comparing Spanish and Japanese fascisms.
Contributors. Noriko Aso, Michael Baskett, Kim Brandt, Nina Cornyetz, Kevin M. Doak, James Dorsey, Aaron Gerow, Harry Harootunian, Marilyn Ivy, Angus Lockyer, Jim Reichert, Jonathan Reynolds, Ellen Schattschneider, Aaron Skabelund, Akiko Takenaka, Alan Tansman, Richard Torrance, Keith Vincent, Alejandro Yarza
Jeffrey Herf Harvard University Press, 1997 Library of Congress D804.3.H474 1997 | Dewey Decimal 940.53180943
A significant new look at the legacy of the Nazi regime, this book exposes the workings of past beliefs and political interests on how--and how differently--the two Germanys have recalled the crimes of Nazism, from the anti-Nazi emigration of the 1930s through the establishment of a day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism in 1996.
In this first in-depth historical study of homosexuality in Fascist Italy, Lorenzo Benadusi brings to light immensely important archival documents regarding the sexual politics of the Italian Fascist regime; he adds new insights to the study of the complex relationships of masculinity, sexuality, and Fascism; he explores the connections between new Fascist values and preexisting Italian traditional and Roman Catholic views on morality; he documents both the Fascist regime’s denial of the existence of homosexuality in Italy and its clandestine strategies and motivations for repressing and imprisoning homosexuals; he uncovers the ways that accusations of homosexuality (whether true or false) were used against political and personal enemies; and above all, he shows how homosexuality was deemed the enemy of the Fascist “New Man,” an ideal of a virile warrior and dominating husband vigorously devoted to the “political” function of producing children for the Fascist state.
Benadusi investigates the regulation and regimentation of gender in Fascist Italy, and the extent to which, in uneasy concert with the Catholic Church, the regime engaged in the cultural and legal engineering of masculinity and femininity. He cites a wealth of unpublished documents, official speeches, letters, coerced confessions, private letters and diaries, legal documents, and government memos to reveal and analyze how the orders issued by the regime attempted to protect the “integrity of the Italian race.” For the first time, documents from the Vatican archives illuminate how the Catholic Church dealt with issues related to homosexuality during the Fascist period in Italy.
Focusing on a number of historical and literary personalities who were regarded with disdain in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution—figures such as Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, and Mikhail Lermontov—Epic Revisionism tells the fascinating story of these individuals’ return to canonical status during the darkest days of the Stalin era.
An inherently interdisciplinary project, Epic Revisionism features pieces on literary and cultural history, film, opera, and theater. This volume pairs scholarly essays with selections drawn from Stalin-era primary sources—newspaper articles, unpublished archival documents, short stories—to provide students and specialists with the richest possible understanding of this understudied phenomenon in modern Russian history.
“These scholars shed a great deal of light not only on Stalinist culture but on the politics of cultural production under the Soviet system.”—David L. Hoffmann, Slavic Review
“An impressive review of reputed fascist movements, at once setting them apart from other authoritarian nationalist organizations and bringing them together within a qualified generic category. Running throughout the volume, and valuable to readers at every level, is a careful critique of the major debates that divide scholars on this most unintelligible ‘ism’ of them all. Payne precisely defines issues, cites the best literature in the major European languages, and offers with moderation and intelligence his own conclusions on the question.”—Gilbert Allardyce, American Historical Review
General Francisco Franco (1892–1975), ruler of Spain for nearly forty years, was one of the most powerful and controversial leaders in that nation's long history. This deeply researched biography treats the three major aspects of his life—personal, military, and political. It depicts his early life, explains his career and rise to prominence as an army officer who became Europe's youngest interwar brigadier general in 1926, and then discusses his role in the affairs of the troubled Second Spanish Republic.
Stanley G. Payne and Jesús Palacios examine in detail how Franco became dictator and how his leadership led to victory in the Spanish Civil War that consolidated his regime. They also explore Franco's role in the great repression that accompanied the Civil War—resulting in tens of thousands of executions—and examine at length his controversial role in World War II. This masterful biography highlights Franco's metamorphoses and adaptations to retain power as politics, culture, and economics shifted in the four decades of his dictatorship.
Alberto Fujimori ascended to the presidency of Peru in 1990, boldly promising to remake the country. Ten years later, he hastily sent his resignation from exile in Japan, leaving behind a trail of lies, deceit, and corruption. While piecing together the shards of Fujimori’s presidency, prosecutors uncovered a vast criminal conspiracy fueled by political ambition and personal greed.
The Fujimori regime managed to maintain a facade of democracy while systematically eviscerating democratic institutions and the rule of law through legal subterfuge, intimidation, and outright bribery. The architect of this strategy was Fujimori’s notorious intelligence advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos. With great skill, Fujimori and Montesinos created the appearance of a democratic public sphere but ensured it would work only to suit their personal motives. The press was allowed to operate, but information exchange was under strict control. The more government officials tampered with the free flow of ideas, the more they inadvertently exposed the ills they were trying to cover up. And that proved to be their downfall.
Merging penetrating analysis and a journalist’s flair for narrative, Catherine Conaghan reveals the thin line between democracy and dictatorship, and shows how public institutions can both empower dictators and bring them down.
The Most Insightful and Profound
Reflections on Totalitarian Tyranny
Totalitarianism was the dominant phenomenon of the twentieth century. Deeply troubling questions endure regarding the nature of such tyrannical regimes: What enabled human beings to carry out such horrific crimes against their fellow man? What does the endurance of Communism reveal about human liberty? Why did human beings suffer rule by ideological lies for so long, and what kept them open to the truth? What are we to make of the relationship between totalitarianism and the foundational principles of democratic modernity?
Some of the greatest minds of the twentieth century sought answers to these haunting questions. Now, for the first time ever, their incisive and profound reflections on totalitarianism have been brought together in one book. The Great Lie showcases the insights of such giants as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Václav Havel, Hannah Arendt, Eric Voegelin, Czeslaw Milosz, Leo Strauss, and Raymond Aron, along with neglected but important thinkers such as Waldemar Gurian, Aurel Kolnai, Leszek Kolakowski, Pierre Manent, Claude Lefort, and Chantal Delsol. The brilliant essays in this volume illuminate the very nature of totalitarian regimes, and the monstrous ideology that is their defining feature.
The Great Lie allows readers to make sense of political evil and how it can attract so many people into its ideological fold. This is not a matter of mere academic interest in an age when we confront totalitarianism in such regimes as North Korea and Cuba—and, arguably, in radical Islamist movements.
“A History of Fascism is an invaluable sourcebook, offering a rare combination of detailed information and thoughtful analysis. It is a masterpiece of comparative history, for the comparisons enhance our understanding of each part of the whole. The term ‘fascist,’ used so freely these days as a pejorative epithet that has nearly lost its meaning, is precisely defined, carefully applied and skillfully explained. The analysis effectively restores the dimension of evil.”—Susan Zuccotti, The Nation
“A magisterial, wholly accessible, engaging study. . . . Payne defines fascism as a form of ultranationalism espousing a myth of national rebirth and marked by extreme elitism, mobilization of the masses, exaltation of hierarchy and subordination, oppression of women and an embrace of violence and war as virtues.”—Publishers Weekly
Written During the Ascension of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, an investigation of the Methods of Revolutionary Change
The first third of the twentieth century saw a seismic upheaval in global politics and society that still reverberates today. Communism and fascism toppled both traditional monarchies and representative democracies, while trade unions and other factions effectively challenged existing governments to adopt reforms or face crippling economic or social upheaval. Given these extraordinary events, Raymond Postgate set forth in How to Make a Revolution to objectively discuss revolutionary methods, and which tactics or strategies are the most effective. Drawing on his own idealistic experience as a young labor agitator and editor of a communist newspaper and more than fifteen years of close study of past revolutionary history and theories, the author dispassionately discusses Marxism, fascism, anarchism, and Blanquism (a doctrine within socialism), as well as syndicalism and industrial unionism. He then reviews revolutionary practice, including general strikes, financial pressure, armed revolution, and communist tactics, and ends with a prescient and frightening conclusion: without general consensus and determination, a peaceful revolution is impossible, and “if no action is taken, action of another kind will be taken for us. . . . The continuance of uncertainty will mean that the disillusioned will drift steadily across to a Fascist organization. Fascism means war; the character of a Fascist State is fairly well known. Once it is established, those who read, who write, who publish or who print, books like this are likely to be dead or in concentration camps.” Originally published in 1934, Postgate’s book was heralded for its clarity and scholarship.
Japan’s Holy War reveals how a radical religious ideology drove the Japanese to imperial expansion and global war. Bringing to light a wealth of new information, Walter A. Skya demonstrates that whatever other motives the Japanese had for waging war in Asia and the Pacific, for many the war was the fulfillment of a religious mandate. In the early twentieth century, a fervent nationalism developed within State Shintō. This ultranationalism gained widespread military and public support and led to rampant terrorism; between 1921 and 1936 three serving and two former prime ministers were assassinated. Shintō ultranationalist societies fomented a discourse calling for the abolition of parliamentary government and unlimited Japanese expansion.
Skya documents a transformation in the ideology of State Shintō in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. He shows that within the religion, support for the German-inspired theory of constitutional monarchy that had underpinned the Meiji Constitution gave way to a theory of absolute monarchy advocated by the constitutional scholar Hozumi Yatsuka in the late 1890s. That, in turn, was superseded by a totalitarian ideology centered on the emperor: an ideology advanced by the political theorists Uesugi Shinkichi and Kakehi Katsuhiko in the 1910s and 1920s. Examining the connections between various forms of Shintō nationalism and the state, Skya demonstrates that where the Meiji oligarchs had constructed a quasi-religious, quasi-secular state, Hozumi Yatsuka desired a traditional theocratic state. Uesugi Shinkichi and Kakehi Katsuhiko went further, encouraging radical, militant forms of extreme religious nationalism. Skya suggests that the creeping democracy and secularization of Japan’s political order in the early twentieth century were the principal causes of the terrorism of the 1930s, which ultimately led to a holy war against Western civilization.
The scale and the depth of Nazi brutality seem to defy understanding. What could drive people to fight, kill, and destroy with such ruthless ambition? Observers and historians have offered countless explanations since the 1930s. According to Johann Chapoutot, we need to understand better how the Nazis explained it themselves. We need a clearer view, in particular, of how they were steeped in and spread the idea that history gave them no choice: it was either kill or die.
Chapoutot, one of France’s leading historians, spent years immersing himself in the texts and images that reflected and shaped the mental world of Nazi ideologues, and that the Nazis disseminated to the German public. The party had no official ur-text of ideology, values, and history. But a clear narrative emerges from the myriad works of intellectuals, apparatchiks, journalists, and movie-makers that Chapoutot explores.
The story went like this: In the ancient world, the Nordic-German race lived in harmony with the laws of nature. But since Late Antiquity, corrupt foreign norms and values—Jewish values in particular—had alienated Germany from itself and from all that was natural. The time had come, under the Nazis, to return to the fundamental law of blood. Germany must fight, conquer, and procreate, or perish. History did not concern itself with right and wrong, only brute necessity. A remarkable work of scholarship and insight, The Law of Blood recreates the chilling ideas and outlook that would cost millions their lives.
Populism suddenly is everywhere, and everywhere misunderstood. Nadia Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as government based on an unmediated relationship between the leader and those defined as the “good” or “right” people. Mingling history, theory, and current affairs, Urbinati illuminates populism’s tense relation to democracy.
Following France’s defeat, the Nazis moved forward with plans to reorganize a European continent now largely under Hitler’s heel. Some Nazi elites argued for a pan-European cultural empire to crown Hitler’s conquests. Benjamin Martin charts the rise and fall of Nazi-fascist soft power and brings into focus a neglected aspect of Axis geopolitics.
Fascism tends to be relegated to a dark chapter of European history, but what if new forms of fascism are currently returning to the forefront of the political scene? In this book, Nidesh Lawtoo furthers his previous diagnostic of crowd behavior, identification, and mimetic contagion to account for the growing shadow cast by authoritarian leaders who rely on new media to take possession of the digital age. Donald Trump is considered here as a case study to illustrate Nietzsche’s untimely claim that, one day, “ ‘actors,’ all kinds of actors, will be the real masters.” In the process, Lawtoo joins forces with a genealogy of mimetic theorists—from Plato to Girard, through Nietzsche, Tarde, Le Bon, Freud, Bataille, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy, among others—to show that (new) fascism may not be fully “new,” let alone original; yet it effectively reloads the old problematics of mimesis via new media that have the disquieting power to turn politics itself into a fiction.
Through the story of one exemplary fascist—a war hero turned commander of Mussolini’s Black Shirts—the award-winning author of How Fascism Ruled Women reveals how the personal became political in the fascist quest for manhood and power.
When Attilio Teruzzi, Mussolini’s handsome political enforcer, married a striking young American opera star, his good fortune seemed settled. The wedding was a carefully stage-managed affair, capped with a blessing by Mussolini himself. Yet only three years later, after being promoted to commander of the Black Shirts, Teruzzi renounced his wife. In fascist Italy, a Catholic country with no divorce law, he could only dissolve the marriage by filing for an annulment through the medieval procedures of the Church Court. The proceedings took an ominous turn when Mussolini joined Hitler: Lilliana Teruzzi was Jewish, and fascist Italy would soon introduce its first race laws.
The Perfect Fascist pivots from the intimate story of an inconvenient marriage—brilliantly reconstructed through family letters and court records—to a riveting account of Mussolini’s rise and fall. It invites us to see in the vain, loyal, lecherous, and impetuous Attilio Teruzzi, a decorated military officer with few scruples and a penchant for parades, an exemplar of fascism’s New Man. Why did he abruptly discard the woman he had so eagerly courted? And why, when the time came to find another partner, did he choose another Jewish woman as his would-be wife? In Victoria de Grazia’s engrossing account, we see him vacillating between the will of his Duce and the dictates of his heart.
De Grazia’s landmark history captures the seductive appeal of fascism and shows us how, in his moral pieties and intimate betrayals, his violence and opportunism, Teruzzi is a forefather of the illiberal politicians of today.
In 1942, two years after invading France, the Germans implemented their policy of exterminating the Jews. In contrast to Jews in many parts of German-occupied Europe, however, the majority of Jews in France survived, thanks to opposition to the Nazi extermination policy from Church dignitaries and the moral indignation of the average Frenchmen. Seeking to maintain popular support, the Vichy Regime bargained with the Germans over the substance and extent of its collaboration, which the Germans needed in order to hold France.
Translated from the German and drawing on German and French sources, Wolfgang Seibel traces the twisted process of political decision-making that shaped the fate of the Jews in German-occupied France during World War II. By analyzing the German-French negotiations, he reveals the underlying logic as well as the actual course of the bargaining process as both the Vichy Regime and the Germans sought a stable relationship. Yet that relationship was continually reshaped by the progress of the war, Germany’s deteriorating prospects, France’s economic and geopolitical position, and the Vichy government’s quest for domestic political support. The Jews’ suffering intensified when the Germans had the upper hand; but when the French felt empowered, the Vichy Regime stopped collaborating in the completion of the “final solution.” Persecution and Rescue: The Politics of the “Final Solution” in France, 1940–1944 demonstrates the ways in which political circumstances can mitigate—or foster—mass crime.
From rap to folk to punk, music has often sought to shape its listeners’ political views, uniting them as a global community and inspiring them to take action. Yet the rallying potential of music can also be harnessed for sinister ends. As this groundbreaking new book reveals, white-power music has served as a key recruiting tool for neo-Nazi and racist hate groups worldwide.
Reichsrock shines a light on the international white-power music industry, the fandoms it has spawned, and the virulently racist beliefs it perpetuates. Kirsten Dyck not only investigates how white-power bands and their fans have used the internet to spread their message globally, but also considers how distinctly local white-power scenes have emerged in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the United States, and many other sites. While exploring how white-power bands draw from a common well of nationalist, racist, and neo-Nazi ideologies, the book thus also illuminates how white-power musicians adapt their music to different locations, many of which have their own terms for defining whiteness and racial otherness.
Closely tracking the online presence of white-power musicians and their fans, Dyck analyzes the virtual forums and media they use to articulate their hateful rhetoric. This book also demonstrates how this fandom has sparked spectacular violence in the real world, from bombings to mass shootings. Reichsrock thus sounds an urgent message about a global menace.
In Revolutionary Nativism Maggie Clinton traces the history and cultural politics of fascist organizations that operated under the umbrella of the Chinese Nationalist Party (GMD) during the 1920s and 1930s. Clinton argues that fascism was not imported to China from Europe or Japan; rather it emerged from the charged social conditions that prevailed in the country's southern and coastal regions during the interwar period. These fascist groups were led by young militants who believed that reviving China's Confucian "national spirit" could foster the discipline and social cohesion necessary to defend China against imperialism and Communism and to develop formidable industrial and military capacities, thereby securing national strength in a competitive international arena. Fascists within the GMD deployed modernist aesthetics in their literature and art while justifying their anti-Communist violence with nativist discourse. Showing how the GMD's fascist factions popularized a virulently nationalist rhetoric that linked Confucianism with a specific path of industrial development, Clinton sheds new light on the complex dynamics of Chinese nationalism and modernity.
From the late 1930s to the early twenty-first century, European and American filmmakers have displayed an enduring fascination with Nazi leaders, rituals, and symbols, making scores of films from Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) and Watch on the Rhine (1943) through Des Teufels General (The Devil’s General, 1955) and Pasqualino settebellezze (Seven Beauties, 1975), up to Der Untergang (Downfall, 2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and beyond.
Probing the emotional sources and effects of this fascination, Sabine Hake looks at the historical relationship between film and fascism and its far-reaching implications for mass culture, media society, and political life. In confronting the specter and spectacle of fascist power, these films not only depict historical figures and events but also demand emotional responses from their audiences, infusing the abstract ideals of democracy, liberalism, and pluralism with new meaning and relevance.
Hake underscores her argument with a comprehensive discussion of films, including perspectives on production history, film authorship, reception history, and questions of performance, spectatorship, and intertextuality. Chapters focus on the Hollywood anti-Nazi films of the 1940s, the West German anti-Nazi films of the 1950s, the East German anti-fascist films of the 1960s, the Italian “Naziploitation” films of the 1970s, and issues related to fascist aesthetics, the ethics of resistance, and questions of historicization in films of the 1980s–2000s from the United States and numerous European countries.
Despite their undeniable importance, the leaders of the Fascist and Nazi youth organizations have received little attention from historians. In Shaping the New Man, Alessio Ponzio uncovers the largely untold story of the training and education of these crucial protagonists of the Fascist and Nazi regimes, and he examines more broadly the structures, ideologies, rhetoric, and aspirations of youth organizations in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
Ponzio shows how the Italian Fascists' pedagogical practices influenced the origin and evolution of the Hitler Youth. He dissects similarities and differences in the training processes of the youth leaders of the Opera Nazionale Balilla, Gioventù Italiana del Littorio, and Hitlerjugend. And, he explores the transnational institutional interactions and mutual cooperation that flourished between Mussolini's and Hitler's youth organizations in the 1930s and 1940s.
“When this book was first published it received some attention from the critics but none at all from the public. Nazism was finished in the bunker in Berlin and its death warrant signed on the bench at Nuremberg.”
That’s Milton Mayer, writing in a foreword to the 1966 edition of They Thought They Were Free. He’s right about the critics: the book was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1956. General readers may have been slower to take notice, but over time they did—what we’ve seen over decades is that any time people, across the political spectrum, start to feel that freedom is threatened, the book experiences a ripple of word-of-mouth interest. And that interest has never been more prominent or potent than what we’ve seen in the past year.
They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis. His discussions with them of Nazism, the rise of the Reich, and mass complicity with evil became the backbone of this book, an indictment of the ordinary German that is all the more powerful for its refusal to let the rest of us pretend that our moment, our society, our country are fundamentally immune.
A new foreword to this edition by eminent historian of the Reich Richard J. Evans puts the book in historical and contemporary context. We live in an age of fervid politics and hyperbolic rhetoric. They Thought They Were Free cuts through that, revealing instead the slow, quiet accretions of change, complicity, and abdication of moral authority that quietly mark the rise of evil.
First published in 1955, They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis.
“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.”--from Chapter 13, “But Then It Was Too Late”
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as many other communist totalitarian regimes around the world. But it would be naive to assume that this historic, symbolic event and its aftermath have completely rid the world of totalitarianism. Instead, we should ask, what is the totalitarian experience and how does it survive today?
This is the imposing question raised by acclaimed philosopher and writer Tzvetan Todorov in this compact, highly personal essay. Here, he recounts his own experiences with totalitarianism in his native Bulgaria and discusses the books he has written in the last twenty years that were devoted to examining such regimes, such as Voices from the Gulag, his influential analysis of Stalinist concentration camps. Through this retrospective investigation, Todorov offers a historical look at communism. He brings together and distills his extensive oeuvre to reveal the essence of totalitarian ideology, the characteristics of daily life under communism, and the irony of democratic messianism.
Bringing his thoughts and insights up to the present, Todorov explores how economic ultraliberalism may be considered just another form of totalitarianism. And his conclusion leads us to ask ourselves another challenging question: Are liberal democratic societies actually totalitarian experiences in disguise?
“In this honed, finely calibrated essay, Todorov refutes the notion that good can be imposed by force. More efficient is to embody one’s values and demonstrate their worth. . . . This is a concise and eloquent defence of what makes us truly human.”—Age, on Torture and the War on Terror
Visualizing Fascism argues that fascism was not merely a domestic menace in a few European nations, but arose as a genuinely global phenomenon in the early twentieth century. Contributors use visual materials to explore fascism's populist appeal in settings around the world, including China, Japan, South Africa, Slovakia, and Spain. This visual strategy allows readers to see the transnational rise of the right as it fed off the agitated energies of modernity and mobilized shared political and aesthetic tropes. This volume also considers the postwar aftermath as antifascist art forms were depoliticized and repurposed in the West. More commonly, analyses of fascism focus on Italy and Germany alone and on institutions like fascist parties, but that approach truncates our understanding of the way fascism was indebted to colonialism and internationalism with all their attendant grievances and aspirations. Using photography, graphic arts, architecture, monuments, and film—rather than written documents alone—produces a portable concept of fascism, useful for grappling with the upsurge of the global right a century ago—and today.
Contributors. Nadya Bair, Paul D. Barclay, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Maggie Clinton, Geoff Eley, Lutz Koepnick, Ethan Mark, Bertrand Metton, Lorena Rizzo, Julia Adeney Thomas, Claire Zimmerman