'Mussolini's Third Rome, Hitler's Third Reich and the Allure of Antiquity: Classicizing Chronopolitics as a Remedy for Unstable National Identity?'

Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, 8 (2), 2019, pp. 127-52.

While it is generally acknowledged that fascist movements tend to glorify the national past of the country in which they arise, sometimes, fascist regimes seek to resurrect a past even more ancient, and more glorious still; the turn towards ancient Greece and Rome. This phenomenon is particularly marked in the case of the two most powerful and indisputably ‘fascist’ regimes of all: Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

This article suggests that this twin turn towards antiquity was no mere accident, but was rather motivated by certain commonalities in national experience. By placing these two fascist regimes alongside each other and considering their seduction by antique myths in tandem, it is argued that – without putting forward some kind of classicizing Sonderweg – we can better appreciate the historic rootedness of this particular form of ‘chronopolitics’ in a complex nexus of political and social causes, many of which lie far deeper than the traumatic events of the Great War and its aftermath.