We explore the everyday history of extraordinary times for Italians and Germans under fascism and in the crucible of war. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany had entered World War Two as Axis allies, but from 1943 Italy was embroiled in a virtual civil war, occupied in the north by the Germans and in the south by the advancing Allies. We shall examine morale on the home and fighting front through a range of primary sources, from propaganda posters and newsreels, to diaries, secret police reports and even bugged prisoner-of-war conversations. What were ordinary Italians and Germans hearing on the radio? What did they see in the cinema? The module places a premium on cultural representations of the fascist experience, and will screen a weekly film, as well as giving you an opportunity to read some of the classic literary texts of Primo Levi or Hans Fallada. We also ask why there was no meaningful resistance in Nazi Germany, but armed partisans fought in Italy in an unholy alliance of Marxists, liberals, Catholics and British and US intelligence. It finishes by revisiting the moment of liberation and the violence that accompanied it on the cusp of the new global conflict, the Cold War. The seminars will follow the following themes: 1. Home Fronts: Volksgenossen and Brava Gente? 2. Propaganda: Cinecittà and ‘ProMi’ between Hollywood and the BBC 3. Fighting Fronts: From El Alamein to Stalingrad 4. Occupation: from Mare Nostrum to General Plan East 5. Helpless Bystanders?: Ordinary Italians and Germans, the Vatican and the Holocaust [6. no formal teaching] 7. Cracking-Point?: Axis Morale under the Bombs 8. Collaboration: Vichy and Salò 9. Resistance: Patriotic Struggle or Civil War? 10. Liberation and Retribution: the Pax Americana in the Emerging Cold War 11. Bad Memories: Remembering (and Forgetting) the Past

Term(s) offered: Spring term module; 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Credit: 3.0
General Education: III B 2