Notwithstanding its ultra-nationalist core, fascism understood itself as a transnational political movement. Although a “Fascist International” did not emerge in the inter-war period, fascist activists, movements, and regimes shared common goals and sentiments which led them to draw on each other for support and inspiration. In the early 1920s, Fascist Italy inspired other movements and regimes in various regions of Europe. Similarly, after 1933 several smaller fascist movements in different parts of Europe were inspired by the Nazi seizure of power and the following Gleichschaltung of German society. Following these two examples, they also aimed to seize power in their countries and to establish dictatorships.
For a long time, scholarship on fascism has focused on Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany. Only in recent years have scholars investigated smaller fascist movements that cooperated with each other and were supported by Germany and Italy. These new studies have shown that fascism was much more complex and multifaceted than has been commonly assumed. This is particularly true for transnational connections and interactions, a sphere in which non-state actors played a significant role. In order to further the scholarship in this area, the conference aims to gather experts investigating cross-border relationships or entanglements between smaller fascist movements and the supranational influence of Italian Fascism and German National Socialism. In focusing on these relationships, the conference is to open a new perspective on European fascism, one that recognizes fascism as an ensemble of manifold but closely intertwined movements.
The conference aims to reconstruct general European processes of reception and interaction through an analysis of reciprocal, though often asymmetric, relationships beyond individual regions. In order to analyze the transnational connections between regimes and movements, the contributions should not only focus on high-ranking politicians and leaders (who have been at the center of the scholarship), but also on mid-level civil servants and activists, as well as specific groups such as fascist students and professors. Self-representation, propaganda, and visions of a “New Europe” represent important vantage points for an analysis of the exchanges among fascist movements. Moreover, various conflicts between fascist states and movements as well as between movements and the authoritarian regimes in their countries should be discussed at the conference. Not least, the conference will deal with the impact of international and transnational cooperation between the fascists on collaboration between their opponents.
The organizers are interested in papers which focus on bi- or multinational relations between fascist movements and regimes. We ask for contributions that analyze fascism on the basis of the following key questions:
- Which forms of cooperation developed among fascist movements and regimes? Which goals and motivations can be discerned? What role did mid-level civil servants and activists play in these relationships?
- Did smaller fascist movements primarily cooperate with Italy and Germany or did they establish connections among each other? Did smaller European movements consider Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany models or did they rather aim to develop alternative concepts of fascism?
- What factors thwarted or interfered with the cooperation among fascist movements and regimes? To what extent and how were conflicts between fascist movements and regimes results of practical political and economic interests?
- To what degree did opposition forces such as the communist partisan movements or students and professors at the universities in the fascist states consider fascism a transnational movement? Did they react with their own cross-national exchanges to a particular trans-national challenge?
These questions will make up a central focus of this conference. The organizers would like to invite in particular experts investigating the connections and relationships (whether bilateral or multilateral) among fascist movements and states or the influence of Italian Fascism and German National Socialism on smaller fascist movements. Please send your proposals (up to 500 words maximum) and a brief curriculum vitae (150 words) by 30 September 2013 to Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe (firstname.lastname@example.org). Provided funds can be secured, the conference will take place at the Freie Universität Berlin on 20 and 21 June 2014.