RLE: Responding to Fascism

1st Edition


Published April 6, 2010
Reference - 6600 Pages
ISBN 9780415576994 - CAT# Y107769
Series: Routledge Library Editions: Responding to Fascism


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The rise of fascism in Europe ultimately plunged the world into war and brought about the horrors of the holocaust, yet these outcomes were far from apparent to many observers in the 1930’s. This collection of contemporary and near contemporary works represents some of the diversity of response as the English speaking world struggled to come to terms with the political upheaval. It includes a wide range of works, including translations from French, Italian and German.

The authors are similarly diverse and range from activists through academics to apologists.In Enter Mussolini and The Rise of Italian Fascism leading anti-fascist writers Emilio Lussu and Angelo Tasca (writing under the pseudonym ‘Amilcare Rossi’) chart the establishment of a fascist state in Italy and offer telling insights into the nature and future of fascism. Both Lussu and Tasca were active in their opposition, and for many others the response to fascism involved taking up arms, typified by the thousands of volunteered to fight against Franco in Spain. In The Spanish Tragedy, Dutch writer Jef Last’s recounts his experience, which ends in disillusionment with Stalin and the Soviet Union.Other works demonstrate a more basic need for information.

Hitler’s Official Programme is a translation of official Nazi documents, which a contemporary review describes as ‘a declaration of war by barbarism on civilization’. However it should never be forgotten that the views of many others were more equivocal. In Norman Hillson’s I Speak of England the author offers a sympathetic description of a journey through Germany, highlighting the success of economic reconstruction under Hitler.

Issues of race are not ignored but are not seen as central, a view which is challenged by the works of the two exiled German Jews, Heinrich Fraenkel and G. Warburg, included in this collection.A characteristic of the fascist regimes was the extent to which ideology penetrated aspects of everyday life. German Literature through Nazi Eyes and Higher Education in Nazi Germany examine the impact of the Nazis on culture and education. Straight On includes an account of Red Cross work in Belsen and Auschwitz, perhaps the most moving and tragic of the many responses to fascism.

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