Search our site
Search our site

Britain, Europe and the Extreme Right, 1918-to the Present

  • Module code: HS6008
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This research-led module explores the rise and impact of the Extreme Right in the 20th and early 21st centuries in Britain and in three other countries in Western Europe (namely France, Germany and Italy). It adopts a historical and comparative approach, and focuses on fascist, populist and authoritarian ideas, parties and movements in Britain and across Europe, and the challenges these posed for the liberal democratic state and its main institutions. The relationship between democracy and dictatorship proved to be a major source of controversy and change in the 20th century, and the question of how the liberal state 'managed' (or mis-managed and succumbed to) the threat from the Extreme Right has been a major theme in the historiography in recent years. In fact, such issues remain very prominent today. The first half of the course thus describes and analyses the historical developments, main patterns and key controversies engendered by these events and challenges in the interwar period. The second half of the course explores the extent to which these historical developments and the associated challenges were possibly replicated in the post-1945 period, especially with the more recent resurgence of the extreme Right across Britain and Europe in the early 21st century. 

Aims

  • To provide students with an empirical and theoretical understanding of the nature of fascism and post-1945 rightwing extremism in Britain and the West European countries of France, Germany and Italy.
  • To examine the nature of the Extreme Right from a long-term historical perspective, and the challenges (real or imagined) posed by fascism and rightwing extremism to the liberal democratic state, both in Britain and in other parts of Western Europe.
  • To analayse, compare and critically evaluate, in depth and via particular case studies, the historical and ideological patterns of rightwing extremism in national contexts in Western Europe, but with particular reference to Britain.
  • To enable students to assess different researching approaches and apply different analytical tools to the study of fascism and the Extreme Right over time and up to the present.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Identify and outline the main themes in the history of fascism and rightwing extremism in both Britain and wider Western Europe, 1918-present.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the nature, impact and role of fascism and rightwing extremism in Britain, France, Germany and Italy over time and up to the present-day, and the challenges these posed to democracy.
  • Critically evaluate evidence from both primary and secondary sources concerning fascism and rightwing extremism and the responses of democratic states.
  • Synthesize information from, and critically engage with, the relevant historiographical debates surrounding fascism and rightwing extremism for the purposes of essay-writing. 

Curriculum content

  • Introduction: controversies in the historiography over fascism and rightwing extremism.
  • The historical context: fears of decadence and decline in Britain and Europe, the impact of the First World War, and the crisis of liberalism.
  • Italy and the emergence of Mussolini.
  • What is fascism?
  • The main fascist and authoritarian regimes in interwar Europe.
  • The nature of Nazism.
  • The French authoritarian right.
  • The nature of fascism in Britain.
  • Why did fascism fail in Britain.
  • Post-1945 fascism?
  • Neo-fascism in Italy and Germany.
  • Neo-fascism and populism in France.
  • The British Extreme Right: old wine in new bottles?
  • The challenges of rightwing extremism to democracy.

Teaching and learning strategy

This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and two workshop sessions, with opportunities for students to discuss aspects of the assessment regime with the tutor on a one-to-one basis during allocated office hours. The lectures are designed to introduce the students to the main features of each topic covered and to lay the foundations for the application of knowledge and expanded critical engagement via individual and group work in seminars. The seminars will be organized around a series of worksheet exercises, provided to students in advance of each seminar.

The workshop activities are designed to give students some 'feed forward' on pre-prepared essay plans, and to further enhance their research and essay-writing skills for the purposes of the two pieces of assessment required for the module.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 23 one-hour lectures. 21 one-hour seminar sessions. 2 one-hour essay-writing workshops. 23. 21. 2.
Guided independent study Guided independent study. 254.
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through:

Two 2,000-word essays worth 50% each, one submitted as an in-course essay, and the other as an end-of-course (final) essay. A range of formative assessments will be set throughout the course, including: a worksheet of questions prepared by students prior to seminars for discussion within the relevant seminar session, and preparation of two brief essay plans, for discussion and 'feed forward' in the two essay writing workshops.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
On completion of the module, students will be able to: Identify and outline the main themes in the history of fascism and rightwing extremism in both Britain and wider Western Europe, 1918-present. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the nature, impact and role of fascism and rightwing extremism in Britain, France, Germany and Italy over time and up to the present-day, and the challenges these posed to democracy. Critically evaluate evidence from both primary and secondary sources concerning fascism and rightwing extremism and the responses of democratic states. Synthesize information from, and critically engage with, the relevant historiographical debates surrounding fascism and rightwing extremism for the purposes of essay-writing. In-course essay and end-of-course essay. Methods of formative assessment will also support this outcome, although no summative mark will be awarded. As above. As above. As above, together with essay-writing workshops and office-hour consultations with the course tutor, providing dedicated personal tuition.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK In-course Essay 50
CWK End-course Essay 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Eatwell, R (1995). Fascism: A History. Chatto & Windus.

Griffin, R (1995). Fascism. Oxford University Press.

Bibliography recommended reading

Bosworth, R (ed.) (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Fascism. Oxford University Press.

Clarke, P (2004). Hope and Glory: Britain, 1900-2000. Penguin.

Copsey, N (2008). Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy. Palgrave Macmillan.

Copsey, N and Macklin, G (eds.) (2011). British National Party: Contemporary Perspectives. Routledge.

Copsey, N and Renton, D (eds.) (2005). British Fascism, the Labour Movement and the State. Palgrave Macmillan.

Costa Pinto, A (ed) (2010). Rethinking the Nature of Fasdcism: Comparative Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan.

Cronin, M (ed.) (1996). The Failure of British Fascism: The Far Right and the Fight for Political Recognition. Palgrave Macmillan.

Eatwell, R and  Mudde, C (eds.) (2004). Western Democracies and the New Extreme Right Challenge. Routledge.

Goodwin, MJ (2011). New British Fascism: The Rise of the British National Party. Routledge.

Hainsworth, P (ed.) (2000). The Politics of the Extreme Right: From the Margins to the Mainstream. Pinte).

Hainsworth, P (2008). The Extreme Right in Western Europe. Routledge.

Lee, SJ (2000). European Dictatorships, 1918-1945.Routledge.

Mudde, C (2007). Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge University Press.

Thurlow, R (1998). Fascism in Britain: From Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to the National Front. I.B. Tauris.

Find a course

Course finder

>
Undergraduate study
Site menu