Shirt Movements in Interwar Europe: A Totalitarian Fashion

Shirt movements embodied the idea of a homogeneous community, based on a racial social or cultural identity. Abstract The article deals with a typical phenomenon of the interwar period: the proliferation of socio-political movements expressing their “mood” and identity via a paramilitary uniform mainly composed of a coloured shirt. The analysis of 34 European shirt[…]

Sturmabteilung: Hitler’s Original Paramilitary Wing, the ‘Brownshirts’

After Adolf Hitler ordered the “blood purge” (Night of the Long Knives) of 1934, he replaced the SA with the SS. Introduction The Sturmabteilung, literally Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party’s original paramilitary wing. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing[…]

Why the Axis Powers Were Called the Axis Powers

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared an axis between Berlin and Rome, coining a term that would be used by both sides in WWII. By Jason Daley In 1936, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave a speech in Milan celebrating a new treaty of friendship with Germany and a political realignment of Italy. “This Berlin-Rome protocol is[…]

A History and Description of Fascism

Fascists promote a type of national unity that is usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, national, racial, and/or religious attributes. Introduction Fascism is a term used to describe authoritarian nationalist political ideologies or mass movements that are concerned with notions of cultural decline or decadence and seek to achieve a millenarian national[…]

How Neville Chamberlin Misread Hitler and Allowed the Third Reich to Threaten the World Order

Chamberlain tried appeasement by endorsing a diplomatic initiative floated by fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to resolve the crisis. By Jeff Roquen When Adolf Hitler unleashed the might of the German armed forces against Poland on 1 September 1939, shock waves of horror and trepidation ran through the cities of Europe. After years of methodically capitulating[…]

Vital Hasson: The Jew Who Worked for the Nazis Hunting Down Refugees

Vital Hasson was born into the Jewish community of Salonica, Greece. After World War II, he was executed for helping the Nazis destroy that community. By Dr. Sarah Abrevaya SteinProfessor of HistoryMaurice Amado Chair in Sephardic StudiesSady and Ludwig Kahn Director, Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish StudiesUniversity of California, Los Angeles I learned a[…]

Neville Chamberlain, Sir Horace Wilson, and Britain’s Plight of Appeasement

Chamberlain and Wilson had aimed to prevent war entirely; instead they made it almost inevitable. In 1941, as his time in office drew to a close, the head of the British Civil Service, Sir Horace Wilson, sat down to write an account of the government policy with which he had been most closely associated. It[…]

The Pact between Hitler and Stalin That Paved the Way for World War II

With the stroke of a pen 75 years ago, two men changed the world and sealed the fate of millions. Those two men were the foreign minister of Nazi Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov. On August 23, 1939, they signed a non-aggression pact, promising not to interfere in case the other[…]

How Hitler Went from Fringe Politician to Dictator

He went from fringe political to chancellor of Germany within a few years and from chancellor to dictator in a matter of months. From Fringe Politician to Chancellor For most of the 1920s, Hitler was a fringe-party rabble-rouser. In 1923, as the leader of the tiny Nazi party, he incited a violent attempt to overthrow the government and got[…]

“It Can’t Happen Here”: Americans and the Holocaust

Widely held beliefs in eugenic “science” and pervasive fear of foreigners led the US Congress to pass quota laws that had severely restricted immigration to the United States since 1924. Introduction On his first day in office in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the American people, “The only thing we have to fear is[…]

Hitler and France’s Maginot Line

The humiliating failure of the vaunted Maginot Line thrilled the vast majority of Germans, who adored their Führer and supported his ruthless agenda. “Monsieur Maginot built a fortified line,” noted the German justice inspector Friedrich Kellner in his diary in June 1940, just after Hitler’s army burst through the French fortifications. If France really expected[…]

The Death of Appeasement: The 80th Anniversary of the Invasion of Prague

The appeasement policy pursued by Britain and France was founded on the premise that Germany was maltreated by the victors of World War I. A turning point in the history of international relations refers to an event that alters significantly the present process in international relations, which entails a long-lasting, considerable effect in it. A turning[…]

The True Story of the Reichstag Fire and the Nazi Rise to Power

When the German parliamentary building went up in flames, Hitler harnessed the incident to seize power. By Lorraine Boissoneault Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and where there’s fire, conspiracy theories are sure to follow. At least, that’s what happened in Germany on February 27, 1933, when a sizeable portion of the parliamentary building in Berlin,[…]

Culture War and the Völkischer Beobachter: How the Nazi Party Recast Nietzsche

High culture played an important political role in Hitler’s Germany. References to music, history, philosophy, and art formed a key part of Nazi strategy. High culture played an important political role in Hitler’s Germany. References to music, history, philosophy, and art formed a key part of the Nazi strategy to reverse the symptoms of decline[…]

Anti-Semitic Propaganda and the Christian Church in Hitler’s Germany: A Case of Schrödinger’s Cat

The effectiveness of the propaganda machinery altered perception, thus reality. Abstract In his epic Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler made a point of disparaging the intelligentsia. He asserted that propaganda was the most effective tool to use in political campaigns since especially the popular masses generally possessed limited astuteness and were generally devoid of intellect. This[…]