A Reading List On Fascism

Reading about history, and specifically the history Nazi Germany, has been a hobby of mine for several years. A few people have asked me for some suggestions on reading material lately, due to the rise of fascism in the United States, so I decided to put it here. Please consider contributing your own suggestions in the comments!

Books I have already read:

Fascism: A Very Short Introduction is an excellent and quick basic introduction to the primary aspects of fascist movements. It will give a solid understanding of how to define fascism and some of the similarities and differences between the major fascist governments of the World War II era. It’s academic in nature, but actually pretty approachable.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany and The Coming of the Third Reich are both good introductions to the basic history of Nazi Germany. They both have weaknesses and strengths. The first is a complete history through the end of the WWII, while the second is the first in a series. Also, the first was written decades earlier than the second, and therefore more was known by the time Evans wrote his series. Either would give a stronger understanding of the basic history of how the Third Reich developed and gained power.

Nazi Years: A Documentary History provides a lot of first hand sources of writings from the years leading up to and during the Third Reich. The thought of trying to read through a lot of the original texts myself was staggeringly daunting, but this text is an excellently curated sampling that gets right down to the important parts.

Online resources worth reading:

Honestly, the Wikipedia page on German resistance is totally worth a read and a good way to figure out what further you might want to know. While any Wikipedia information is only a start and not the end to research, this article has been built with detail and care. On the other hand, there are areas that require more cited sources and I’d love to see those sources provided.

Technically a listening, rather than reading recommendation, but the Stuff You Missed in History Class has a good episode on the White Rose resistance within Germany. There’s a transcript there too if that is better for you. In general the White Rose resistance movement is something I want to learn a lot more about right now and that podcast is only a start. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum also has an article about the White Rose group, with a resources list I intend to dive into.

My new reading list:

I have just begun reading The Origins of Totalitarianism as it came highly recommended. So far I’m finding it a little dated but I hope to gain some insight from it.

To The Bitter End is a first hand account of the military resistance to Hitler. I can’t wait to read this. Although none of the assassination attempts on Hitler succeeded, I hope this account will provide insight on what else could have been done to stop the Nazi’s at any point before or during their power.

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A Reading List On Fascism

4 thoughts on “A Reading List On Fascism

  1. 2

    I would add ‘Ordinary Men’ by Chris Browning. Gets right to the heart of the predisposition to follow the leader into doing horrible things that is built into all of us. It completely strips away any pretension that you can be neutral.

  2. 3

    Definitely Robert Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism. Paxton refuses to say that fascism is just about racism or just about an authoritarian state, instead looking at German and Italian fascisms and their stages of development. It’s the only book on the subject that I’ve read, but it was incredibly eye-opening.

    Philip Sandifer’s “Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons” is an essay about the 2015 Hugos and the Sad and Rabid Puppies, most notably the figurehead of the Rabid Puppies, author Vox Day. In it, Sandifer discusses the “fascist aesthetic,” a way of conceptualizing fascism that is less about national policy and more about the myths and beliefs that sustain fascism. It echoes Paxton’s work pretty strongly.

    This is somewhat adjacent, but Willie Osterwell’s recent “What Was the Nerd?” looks at how white male Millennial nerds became today’s new wave of fascists.

  3. 4

    Lately, I’ve been deep in Roman history. I couldn’t help noting some parallels in the situation that lead to the first emperors. The populist politics, economic situation, and the slow, over-time shift in what’s acceptable.

    I recommend the History of Rome podcast. It’s a completed series and goes through from start to finish.

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