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Modern Germany, Italy and Japan: Towards a New Perspective

Wann 14.06.2012 um 14:00 bis
15.06.2012 um 16:00
Wo FRIAS Seminarraum EG, Albertstr. 19
Kontakttelefon +49(0)761/203-97376
Teilnehmer nach Anmeldung
Termin übernehmen vCal

Concept and Organisation: Patrick Bernhard, Freiburg; Lucy Riall, London, and Sven Reichardt, Constance

Programme (PDF)

For many decades, historians have been trying to understand the rise to power and operation of extreme right-wing regimes in inter-war Germany, Italy and Japan. Yet there is still remarkably little consensus. Much work remains firmly focused on individual nation states, above all on Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The latter is a ‘unique phenomenon,’ according to many historians, while the study of the former is hampered by a bitter definitional quarrel about the modernity of the regime and the significance of fascism as a political religion. There is still relatively little satisfactory comparative work on Japan, perhaps because historians tend to assume that fascism was confined to Europe and do not study non-European far right-wing regimes.

This workshop revisits the relationship between modern Germany, Italy and Japan in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Traditionally, histories of the relationship between these three countries have been dominated by the fact that the three countries were allies during the Second World War in the Axis; and, at the outset, scholars aimed to study them using the paradigms of fascism and military dictatorship. Later, histories of the relationship between Germany, Italy and Japan were teleological: historians, often influenced by Marxist theory, referred to the ‘special paths’ taken by the three individual countries and concentrated on discovering the long-term structural causes of the failure of liberalism. More recently, historians in Germany and elsewhere have developed a new transnational approach. This approach has focused – often very profitably – on the relationship between authoritarian regimes and on the ‘transfers’ between them. Yet, it is still not clear what exactly the regimes learned from one another and what intended as well as unintended effects the exchange of ideas, knowledge and practices had in different national – and in the Japanese case – non-European settings. Moreover, so far at least, this method has failed to address directly the broader, but still central, question of causality.