Neoclassical Form and the Construction of Power in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter considers the key differences between the classically-inflected architectural production and urban redesign of Fascist Italy and National-Socialist Germany. In doing so, it also examines the role this process of urban development played within each nation’s mission of cultural renewal that so heavily focused on its purportedly ‘classical’ past. In what ways might the authority vested in classical form and imagery have enabled each regime to transmit messages of nationalistic and racial superiority? Did the governments rely on similar techniques in their efforts to weave together an epic cultural heritage? To what extent did the architectural ambitions of each nation mirror one another? In addition to answering these questions, this chapter also works to gauge the variation in aesthetic orientation of Fascist and National-Socialist architects, designers, and the dictators themselves in order to suggest the existence of (at least) two different dialects of the totalitarian language of neoclassicism. In application of Roger Griffin’s understanding of fascist ideology’s dependence upon “palingenesis,” this section engages with the work of several scholars featured elsewhere in this volume in order to make sense of the various ways in which Mussolini and Hitler’s ‘rebirth of empire’ was dependent upon a highly manipulated and superficial link to antiquity. Through challenging scholarly understanding of the production and reception of each nation’s modified urban landscape, this chapter concludes that though in direct conversation with one another, these regimes projected very different understandings of the relationship between history, aesthetics, and power.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrill's Companion to the Classics, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
EditorsHelen Roche, Kyriakos N. Demetriou
Place of PublicationLeiden, Boston
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789004299061
ISBN (Print)9789004246041
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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