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Fascism

Palace of Communications: the Lisbon Post Office, known as Palácio das Comunicações, early 1950s.

The buildings that came out of Portugal’s New State were described as an ‘architectural lie’.

In late 1945, a small self-styled fascist church established itself in southern England, where its members worshipped Adolf Hitler. For the war-weary locals, it was too much: vigilante action was required.

Bad wine: bottles of Lunardelli wine, Bibione near Venice, September 2003.

Never fully exorcised, the memory of Italy’s fascist past is fading.

The Villa Feltrinelli. Copyright Anna Reinert

Salò was Mussolini’s German-backed experiment in ‘real Fascism’ and fine living. Italians find it hard to come to terms with its legacy.

The Palazzo della Civia Italiana, part of the EUR complex in Rome and now home to the fashion house Fendi

Though many writers, film-makers and other artists found it difficult to work in Fascist Italy, modernist architecture flourished under the less than watchful gaze of Mussolini.

Historic attachments to heroic leadership combined with a mastery of propaganda techniques to mesmerise Germany into acceptance of the charismatic authority offered by the Führer. 

The leader of the British Union of Fascists, attempted to portray himself as a reluctant antisemite, a narrative many historians have bought into. But such a reading is wrong. Opposition to Jews was at the very core of the would-be dictator’s ideology.

Hitler had taken enthusiastically to his years in the army during the first World War. D.C. Watt describes how, afterwards, the future führer worked with equal zeal — and served his political apprenticeship — as a propagandist for a Bavarian counter-revolutionary army group.

Firemen work on the burning Reichstag.

The conflagration of the Reichstag provided Hitler with a heaven-sent opportunity. But the theory that the Nazis had planned it themselves now appears to be entirely baseless.

All the Nazi leaders had a talent for self-dramatisation. None was more enamoured of the role he had chosen than Heinrich Himmler.