BA Film Studies and History

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
The Comparative and Transnational History of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

Unit code HIST31522
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by History
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course compares and contrasts Nazi Germany to Fascist Italy. It concentrates on the origins, experiences and impacts of both regimes. The course also explores transnational links between both regimes. Each session explores a key theme concerning the origins and development of fascism, the nature of the regimes; resistance and repression; society; class; gender; foreign policy; racial policy and Nazism and Fascism in memory and historiography.


HIST31521 is restricted to History programmes, History and American Studies programmes and European Studies programmes (please check your programme structure for further details).


  1. This course will introduce students to a critical engagement with the comparative and transnational history of the world’s first and most significant fascist dictatorships and explore the usefulness of this approach.
  2. The course will provide students with a critical understanding of the key debates in the historiographies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and introduce them to some key primary sources (which will be made available in English).
  3. Students will also learn how to think critically about the (political) motives, methods and processes of research in this area.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Manifest knowledge and understanding of:

1. The history of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

2. The history of the complex relationship of both regimes with each other.

3. The advantages and challenges of comparative and transnational history.

4. The history of fascism as a political ideology of the interwar period.

5. Post-war memories of the Fascist-Nazi relationship.

Intellectual skills

  1. Students will develop a critical understanding of the historiography of Italy and Germany under fascism.
  2. They will develop skills to evaluate both visual and textual primary sources and discuss their relevance in their historical context.
  3. Students will learn how to engage with comparative and transnational history.

Practical skills

  1. The ability to articulate a response to various primary and secondary sources as well as to comments by other students.   
  2. Writing concisely and presenting an own argument

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1. Essay writing and presenting a written argument in an exam.
  2.  The organisation of research into a coherent argument.
  3. Seminar participation and the ability to articulate a response to various primary and secondary sources as well as to comments by other students.  

Employability skills

The course provides expert training in analysis and critical reasoning and the range of forms of written assessment develop important transferable skills in communication and presentation; argument and debate; teamwork; research and time management.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative

Weighting within unit (if summative)

Essay plan (peer reviewed)



Essay, incorporating primary sources


40 %

unseen exam


60 %

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral feedback in seminars and office hours (one-to-one feedback)


Written feedback via Turnitin the essay and in writing for exam



Recommended reading

Alexander J. De Grand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (2nd edn., London, 2004)

Paul Baxa, ‘Capturing the Fascist Moment: Hitler’s Visit to Italy in 1938 and the Radicalisation of Fascist Italy’, Journal of Contemporary History, 42 (2007), 227-42.

R. Bessel (ed.), Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (Cambridge, 1995)

Christian Goeschel, ‘A Parallel History? Rethinking the Relationship between Italy and Germany, c. 1860-1945’, Journal of Modern History 88 (2016), 610-32.

Christian Goeschel, Mussolini and Hitler: The Forging of the Fascist Alliance (New Haven, 2018).

M. Knox, To the Threshold of Power, 1922/33: Origins and Dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist Dictatorships (Cambridge, 2007)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christian Goeschel Unit coordinator

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