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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Whereas Hitler's Germany was centrally structured around a racial or racist ideology, a form of ‘Aryan’ anti-Semitism, Mussolini and the Italy of the ventennio were only marginally and latterly interested in questions of race, and then only for contingent or tactical reasons to do with Italy's political alignment with Nazi Germany. If the former was a ‘racial state’, the latter – even as it pursued, at times, an aggressive politics of race – was not. This article compares fascist Italy and Nazi Germany on questions of race in the light of such new insights and emphases, offering a snapshot of current thinking about the role of race in the ideology, historical reality, and ‘essential nature’ of fascism. It looks at the two regimes in parallel, in a sequence moving from origins, to legislation and action once in power, to the extremes of racial violence both reached in their final years.

Keywords: fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, racism, anti-Semitism, racial politics, racial violence

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