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Fathers of the nation? Bismarck, Garibaldi and the cult of memory in Germany and Italy

Gerwarth, R. and Riall, Lucy (2009) Fathers of the nation? Bismarck, Garibaldi and the cult of memory in Germany and Italy. European History Quarterly 39 (3), pp. 388-413. ISSN 0265-6914.

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This essay explores the origins and functions of two national father figures, Bismarck and Garibaldi, in modern Italy and Germany. Although fundamentally different in character and political outlook, Bismarck and Garibaldi acquired the status of `fathers' of the nation due to their pre-eminent roles in bringing about national unification. The ways in which these father figures were portrayed shifted remarkably over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, testifying to the ability of both narratives to adapt to changing circumstances and even to different types of political rule. The divergent meanings attached to them were reflections of highly fragmented societies trying to establish historical continuities in times of profound and rapid historical change. Ultimately both men were employed by fascist dictatorships in an attempt to win over broader public support and to bolster the dictatorships' claims to historical legitimacy, but with varying degrees of success.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): fascism, hero cults, memory, Nazism
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2010 09:55
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19

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