JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Doing History: Fascism and National Socialism"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Luca De Caprariis
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 1:30-2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 103 or EN 105 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: M,W 10:00-11:00; T, Th 4:30-5:30

This course introduces students to the practice of history, that is, how professional historians investigate, reconstruct, and interpret the past. Students will examine a variety of methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives that historians have employed in studying a particular historical problem (the topic varies from semester to semester). Students will also engage directly in practicing history by analyzing a variety of primary and secondary sources and carrying out a significant research project related to the topic of the semester.
During this Semester students will explore the intellectual origins of Italian Fascism and German Nationalism, the Italian "New State and the Third Reich, the historiography and interpretation of the fascist phenomenon through a variety of primary and secondary sources.
Students will further develop their abilities to:

  • Evaluate/analyze differing scholarly arguments/ interpretations of historical problems
  • Critically assess primary and secondary sources
  • Formulate a research question about an historical topic
  • Respect academic integrity and ethical standards
  • Effectively communicate information and ideas orally and in writing in accurate, polished, and persuasive English
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A History of Fascism, 1914-1945Stanley G. PayneRoutledge; Revised edition 978-1857285956  
The Nazi Dictatorship, 4Ed: Problems and Perspectives of InterpretationIan KershawBloomsbury Academic; 4 edition 978-0340760284 or the latest edition
Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich George L. MosseUniversity of Wisconsin Press 0299193047  
Interpretations of FascismA. James Gregor978-15600095041560009500  

Research Paper (including draft, revision, and presentation, 12-15 pages)For the research paper (c. 15 pages), you will explore a topic appropriate for the course chosen in consultation with me. Your paper should build on both primary and secondary sources, and in preparing it, I will guide you through the processes of preparing a first draft and revising that draft to produce a stronger final paper. You also will present this paper to the rest of the class for discussion. For these discussions, each of you will also review at least one of your colleagues’ papers, providing both a written review (for the author and for me) and an oral commentary during the discussion of her/his paper in class. The grade on this assignment will be determined by the strength of your analysis and research, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought.35%
Interpretation of FascismYou will write two five-page paper assessing two different interpretation Fascist or National Socialist policies (nature of the Regime, foreign policy, economic policies, racial policies, etc.)30%
Final ExamYou will select and analyze one or several primary sources discussed during the course, discussing its/their significance and relating it/them to the historiographical debates explored during the Semester35%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. Attendance is mandatory. Students should keep their mobile phones turned off  during class. You may use your laptop, but you are not allowed to surf the web during class. Should you fail to follow these rules I will ban laptops from classroom altogether.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


The instructor will provide copies of all additional primary and secondary sources examined


28 What is Fascism? Payne: 3-19; 487-495.


30   The problem of the "origins:" Germany: The Enlightenment and the Emergence of Modern Racialism. Romanticism and Nationalism         Payne: 23:41; 48-60.


4     Volkish Ideology and the Cultural Transformation of the Fin de Siècle. Payne 23-41; 48-60.

6     The Problem of the "Origins:" Italy: The Revision of Marxism: Sorel. Payne: 35-41; 60-68

11   Revolutionary and National Syndicalism: The Emergence of Mass Politics. Pareto, Mosca and the"Theory of the Elites." Payne 35-41; 60-68.

13 Mussolini from Socialism to Fascism. The War and the Post-War Crisis. Payne: 71-79.

18  The Seizure of Power: Italy 1919-1925. Payne 71-79.

20  Hitler from Linz to Munich, via Vienna: The Making of Hitler's World View. Payne 147-164.

22  Hitler as a Politician.  Payne 147-164; The Main Kampf

25  The Building and Nature of new Regimes. Italy 1925-1929:  Mussolini's New State. Payne: 115-128. Juan Linz: Some Notes Toward a Comparative Study of Fascism in Sociological Historical Perspective

27  The Gleichschaltung of Germany. The Third Reich. Payne: 176-208; Mosse: 1-55.


2    The Stato Nuovo and the Third Reich in a Comparative Perspective. Kershaw: 55-108; 208-211; 212-244.

4    Research Paper Discussion and Presentation

9    Research Paper Discussion and Presentation

11  Research Paper Discussion and Presentation

16  Research Paper Discussion and Presentation

18 Foreign Policies and the Idea of a "new world order" Nazi and Fascist Foreign Policy: "program" or "expansion without object"? Kershaw: 157-186.

23 Totalitarian Dynamic and Expansionism MacGregor Knox, "Conquest, Foreign and Domestic in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany"; Luca de Caprariis, "Fascism for Export? The rise and Eclipse of the Fasci all' Estero."

Racialism, Antisemitism and the Final Solution

25  "The twisted road to Auschwitz": the evolution of Nazi anti-Semitic policies. Kershaw: 109-155; Nazi Culture: 57-91.

30   Mussolini's Racial Laws: radicalization and semi-Nazification of the Regime. De Felice, The Jews in Fascist Italy (selections and primary sources).


6     The Final Solution.  Kershaw: 109-155.

8   The Fascist and National Socialist Regimes at War; Payne 355-391.

13   Interpretations of Fascism. James Gregor; Kershaw: 1-54; Payne 441-461.

15   Interpretation of Fascism.  James Gregor; Kershaw: 1-54; Payne 441-461.

20   Interpretation of Fascism.  James Gregor; Kershaw: 1-54; Payne 441-461.

22   Interpretation of Fascism.   James Gregor; Kershaw: 1:54; Payne 441-46

27  Fascism Outside Europe? Payne 328-355.

29   Neofascism-Neonazism? Payne 496-520.