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With special emphasis on Hitler’s Germany and National Socialism, this subject explores the history of fascism in Europe between 1919 and 1945. The origins, development and significance of the Third Reich are placed in the wider social, cultural and political context of interwar Europe and the rise of authoritarian regimes. Topics include the post-WWI crisis, the emergence of Italian Fascism, Nazi and fascist ideology, the rise of the Nazi movement, the destruction of the Weimar republic, the Nazis’ seizure of power, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as charismatic leaders, the racist character of Nazi society and politics, the role of women in fascist regimes, the Spanish Civil War, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, the origins and development of the Second World War, the nature of the Nazi empire and its global influence.
As a History third level subject, there is a focus on historiography and on the different perspectives and ways of analysing and interpreting the past. Students will become familiar with the work of several generations of historians and with the latest trends in historical research in this field. Political history, diplomatic and military history, social and cultural history, gender history, comparative history, and transnational and global history are the key historiographical approaches discussed in the subject. The subject will also engage with the fundamental public and historiographical debates that have left an imprint on how societies today understand the uncomfortable past of fascist and national-socialist experiences.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- demonstrate a general knowledge of the principal figures and significant events in the history of fascism and Nazism for the period 1933-1945;
- gain an understanding of the specific historical context in which fascism and National Socialism emerged and the chief causes of the fascists rise to power, the nature of Hitler's rule
- and the Third Reich, the ideology and aims of fascists and national-socialists, and the violent and genocidal consequences of their rule;
- demonstrate familiarity with the major historiographical debates concerning history of Nazism and fascism and an awareness of the variety of interpretive perspectives and categories of understanding that historians have developed in their search for an explanation of these phenomena;
- be able to analyse critically work of historians and the contributions of historiographical schools;
- demonstrate research skills using printed and electronic sources in preparation of a substantial research essay; and
- develop skills of critical thinking through group discussion of subject readings and preparation of written assessment.
Last updated: 22 January 2021