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Alcalde, Angel (2018): Towards Transnational Fascism: German Perceptions of Mussolini's Fascists and the Early NSDAP. In: Politics Religion & Ideology, Vol. 19, No. 2: pp. 176-195
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The early relations between Italian Fascism and German National Socialism are an understudied albeit crucial aspect of the history of fascism. This article explores the hypothesis that the Italian fascist movement influenced the development of the early NSDAP before 1922. While Fascism and Nazism were rooted in the same transnational ideological background, Italian Fascism emerged as a clearly distinct political phenomenon in 1919-1921. This article argues that Hitler's NSDAP transformed into a fascist party and movement only after the example of Italian Fascism became well known in postwar Munich. By analysing German perceptions of Mussolini's movement, particularly through Bavarian and Austrian newspapers, the article shows how volkisch ultra-nationalist groups came to see Fascism as a model to follow. The subsequent transformation of the NSDAP from the summer of 1921 onwards can be seen as a process of fascistization and hybridization in which the Italian fascist example was appropriated and adapted by the Nazis. Thus the article proposes advancing towards a transnational, rather than 'generic,' understanding of fascism.