From Anti-Fascism to Anti-Totalitarianism: World War Two in Historical Memory

Term: Fall 2011

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5171

We will read the main texts, especially US texts, covering the history of Nazism and the Holocaust. The earliest explanations of Nazism were based on the theory of fascism and imperialism. This theory had a critical dimension, in that it also had implications for understanding the US. The shift to the theory of totalitarianism, which was not accomplished until the 1970s, lost the critical dimension. On the other hand, the totalitarianism model seems to have fostered more attention to factors like anti-Semitism. How are we to understand this shift? Readings include Franz Neumann, Eric Nolte, Hannah Arendt, Saul Friedlander, Timothy Snyder, and Arno Mayer.

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