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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: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2010 09:55
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:53


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