Politicizing the Social and the Cultural in the Histories of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

Christian Goeschel's picture
June 9, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Italian History / Studies

Workshop organised by Christian Goeschel (University of Manchester) and Hannah Malone (Magdalene College, Cambridge), sponsored by the German History Society, the Association for the Study of Modern Italy, and the Trevelyan Fund.


Friday 9 June 2017

Magdalene College, University of Cambridge


For a long time, historians have been exploring the relationship between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Some have focused on the comparative history of Europe’s principal fascist regimes, while more recently others have begun to examine the transnational history of Italy and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Despite this work, conversations between historians of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany still happen relatively rarely, especially in English-speaking fora. Efforts to define generic fascism in political thought have engendered comparative studies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. However, these are of limited use in examining the social and cultural histories of these regimes. With a few notable exceptions, the historiography of Fascist Italy is often largely dominated by cultural history, including the polemical debate whether the Fascist regime is best understood within the framework of political religion. Relatively little has been written, at least in English, on the social history of Italian Fascism with the exception of the debate around consensus. While in the 1970s the social history of Nazi Germany highlighted the limited popular support for the Third Reich, such views have recently been dismissed by a group of historians. These shared concerns suggest that there are significant parallels in the social histories of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, which remain largely unexplored. New directions in cultural history also offer interesting points of contact between the two regimes that have often been overlooked.

At this one-day workshop, we will bring together historians of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to explore the adoption of new cultural and social approaches to the history of two regimes, and the integration of those approaches with political history. As the first in a series of further workshops, the event will be an occasion for a critical exchange between historians of Italy and Germany. The aim is to open up fresh areas of research and to develop comparative methods of inquiry.



Friday 9 June 2017

The Parlour, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge


2.30-4.00 Panel, chaired by Christian Goeschel (Manchester)

Paul Corner (Siena), ‘Politics, peasants, and popular opinion’

Moritz Föllmer (Amsterdam), ‘Reflections on Culture in the Third Reich’

Helen Roche (Cambridge), “Distant Models?’ Italian Fascism, National Socialism and the Lure of the Classics’

Comments: Hannah Malone (Cambridge) and Christian Goeschel

4.00-4.30 Tea break


4.30-6.00 Roundtable discussion

Chair: Stephen Gundle (Warwick)

Robert S.C. Gordon (Cambridge)

John Pollard (Cambridge)

Christopher Dillon (KCL)

Hannah Malone and Christian Goeschel


Attendance is free, but places are limited. All those wishing to attend must book a place via Eventbrite:



Contact Info: 

Christian Goeschel (University of Manchester)

Hannah Malone (Magdalene College, University of Cambridge)