History 490R (201) Transnational Fascisms and Anti-Facisms in 1930s




Course Level





In the years before the Second World War, Mussolini and Hitler were keen to export and legitimize fascism in Europe and elsewhere. Many fascist organizations took root around the world, with some achieving power and others remaining on the fringes of politics. In response, a variety of antifascist strategies and organizations emerged.

In this course, we will examine how fascism and antifascism crossed borders, reflecting on where, how and why they took hold. We will explore both the explicit and hidden support offered by Italian and German diplomatic officials to fascist groups, and the response of antifascist groups, with some investigation into the role of the USSR. We will explore how film, literature, art and sports became tools in spreading and resisting fascism. Although we will discuss the roots of fascism and antifascism, the emphasis in the course will be on the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. Among the specific events we will examine are the Italo-Ethiopian War, the 1936 Olympics, the Spanish Civil War, and the 1937 International Exposition in Paris (where both Nazi Germany and the USSR built costly pavilions, and the Spanish pavilion exhibited Picasso’s Guernica).