In October 1922, the March on Rome was envisaged as an instrument for the seizure of power and there were no plans to present the Fascist movement and its ‘revolution’ as a political model for the transformation of the liberal State. However, the events in Italy immediately captured the attention of governments, media, and public opinion across Europe and the world. In many respects, the March was seen as a response to some crucial issues raised by the total mobilisation of the Great War: the delegitimising of traditional political elites, the call for a radical transformation of sovereignty, and the demand that the reins of the community be put into the hands of veterans, or those casting themselves as their moral heirs. The appointment of Mussolini’s government constituted an important precedent: it sparked the founding of new political movements, led existing movements to adopt a different course of action in the public arena, and fuelled the transformation or demolition of existing regimes.
The international impact of the March on Rome and of Fascism has not been adequately investigated by historians, particularly with reference to the years before the 1929 crisis and the Nazi rise to power. We still know little about the way in which this event influenced individuals and movements in other political contexts. What aspects of the Fascists’ seizure of power and of the establishment of the Fascist regime attracted the greatest attention? How was this experience perceived and processed, and what kind of new political perspectives did it open up on the levels of ideology and the exercising of power?
The aim of the conference which will be held in Padua on 29-30 September 2022 is to reflect on the impact of the March on Rome and of Fascism outside Italy, starting from the assumption that the Italian experience provided a crucial impulse for the transformation of the political landscape in Europe and beyond.
We especially welcome papers – based either on individual national cases or on a transnational, comparative approach – that focus on:
- demobilisation, conflicts, and the process of exiting the war after 1918;
- the crisis of liberal democracies and authoritarian plans in the aftermath of the First World War;
- European and global reactions to the rise of Fascism in Italy and transnational interpretations of the Italian events;
- the creation of Fascist and pro-Fascist parties and movements in Europe and around the world between the 1920s and the Nazi rise to power;
- regime changes in 1920s Europe and their relation to the Fascist experience;
- the circulation, impact, and ‘imitation’ of Fascist ideas in the 1920s.
Deadline: scholars wishing to present a paper are invited to submit an abstract (max 500 words) and a short bio, along with a CV, by 28 February 2022, to the email address: email@example.com
Organising committee: Giulia Albanese, Filippo Focardi, John Horne, Aristotle Kallis, Matteo Millan, Marco Mondini, Sven Reichardt, and Dominique Reill.
The conference is organised by the Centro d’Ateneo per la storia della Resistenza e dell’età contemporanea (Casrec) in collaboration with the Dipartimento di Scienze storiche, geografiche e dell’antichità (Dissgea) and the Dipartimento Scienze Politiche, Giuridiche e Internazionali (SPGI).