CfP: Fascist Warfare: A Concept to Understand Fascism and Total War in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

UAB, Barcelona, March 16-17 2017
Organising Committee: Javier Rodrigo, David Alegre and Miguel Alonso
Grup d’Estudis República i Democràcia, Department of Modern and Contemporary History, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The main aim of this conference is to debate about the existence of a specific way of making war typical of fascism, that is to say, of the concept fascist warfare. Or, in other words, to reflect not only on its applicability, but also on its possible analytical and interpretative implications that its development would have both for the study of war in the twentieth century and for the study of fascism. For debating this issue we aim to count on the presence of scholars who have worked fascist regimes in times of war, mainly connected with two main elements: on the one hand, combat experience of the troops (mobilisation, violence, behaviour at the front, discipline, etc.) and, on the other hand, occupation policies (shootings, deportations, antipartisan policy, requisitions, economic exploitation, relations with civil population, etc.) Thus, we aim to tackle how war was set out in the ideological/conceptual level, hence including the sphere of mentalities, and how this war was waged in the frontlines and the rearguard, therefore paying attention to praxis.

Due to the dimensions planned for this conference, we will focus mainly on four cases of study, Germany, Italy, Spain and Croatia. This way, we are seeking to obtain a picture as complete and rich as possible in cases of study on which to build our debate, fundamentally with the aim of obtaining functional conclusions both at the theoretical and empirical levels, and above all to obtain a comparative and transnational perspective of the problem tackled, something we consider essential. Equally, and absolutely involved in the 80th Anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, this comparative and transnational perspective will allow us to connect the Spanish case with the nucleus of European fascisms and their war experiences, delving into this converging way that must be, and is, one of the main workhorses of Spanish historiography.

The conference will take place during two days, both in the morning and in the afternoon. We will invite 3 foreign scholars and a Spanish one, that is to say, one for each of the aforementioned cases of study. These scholars will make 4 lectures of 45 minutes tackling the different elements needed to establish the theoretical and factual limits of the proposed debate, that is, an analysis of mentalities, occupation policies, institutional machineries and combat experiences of the German, Italian, Spanish and Croatian fascisms during the thirties and the forties, as well as their multiple interrelations. Finally, beyond the lectures, a roundtable will take place in which the invited scholars will discuss, answering the questions posed both by a moderator and/or by the public, the limits, applicability and suitability of the concept fascist warfare, starting each from their own research experiences and from the elements tackled in the lectures.

Equally, we will open the conference to the selection of four or five papers among those proposals that we receive which will complement the issues tackled in the lectures, always on the basis of the debate around the concept fascist warfare and the different topics mentioned in the previous section. Besides, the organization will cover the expenses of travel and accommodation for the selected panellists. The papers will be grouped into the same discussion table in order to be debated altogether after being presented by one or two moderators. This way, we aim the debate to be the common base among all of them and what mark the nature of the session, rather than the mere and unconnected exposition of the papers. Therefore, this minimal selection of contributions will allow us to widen the discussion as well as the chronological and thematic boundaries defined in the lectures, making the conference a useful working platform able to produce the most feedback possible. And, also, we would be able to tackle both the questions and cases of study mentioned as well as other which could emerge during the debates and because of the different contributions and research experiences of the scholars attending the conference. Thus, our main goal is to provide a first approach to the concept fascist warfare and to weigh the possibilities of continuing working in this direction.

The deadline to send proposals is September, 30th 2016.

The proposals can focus on different cases and chronologies from the ones posed by the four lecturers, therefore these can deal with cases beyond the limits of the interwar period and the Second World War. These should include a title; a brief summary of 100-150 words where the author should explain his/her main thesis or the key questions he/she would deal with during the presentation; five keywords; and finally an explanation of 800-1000 words where he/she briefly develops the contents posed in the summary together with the main sources used in order to defend his/her thesis, explaining at the same time his/her position regarding the effectiveness and sense of the concept fascist warfare, how his/her proposal fits in this debate, as well as what can offer and which are his/her motivations to take part in this kind of conference. All of that should also include a brief curriculum vitae of 200 words. Needless to say that we will value specially these proposals that include transnational and/or comparative approaches, but also those which make original contributions from the thematic and methodological point of view. English will be the lingua franca of the conference in order to boost exchange and debate among the participants, in that sense we ask the proposers to send their proposals in that language or in both languages (English-Spanish; English-Catalan; English-German; English-Italian; etc.) The proposals should be sent to the following email addresses: or

Further information here.

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