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Virtual Exhibition Talk: Between fanaticism and mediocrity: Swedish and Dutch fascism, 1923-1940

January 13, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

NSB leader Anton Mussert together with party members at an annual congress in The Hague, 1935

NSB leader Anton Mussert together with party members at an annual congress in The Hague, 1935. The image is out of copyright, originally produced by the NSB Photo Service, which was criminalised and dissolved in 1945.

Part of The Wiener Holocaust Library’s This Fascist Life exhibition series.

The Netherlands and Sweden were better known in the interwar period for the stability of their democracies and their relative liberalism than fascism. Yet there too fascist parties emerged: tens of thousands of people joined the Dutch National Socialist Movement and the Swedish National Socialist Workers Party among many others and fought for a new fascist state. They did so fortunately without ultimate success – marginalised into oblivion, these groups can appear as only mediocre imitations of more successful models. This begs the question of why so many thousands of people not only joined, but persisted in a fanatical devotion to their cause, sometimes for decades far beyond any hope for victory. This lecture will explore the rise and decline of fascism in Sweden and the Netherlands, explain their appeal to ordinary fascists in spite of unfavourable conditions and the mediocrity of the objects of their devotion.

Dr Nathaniël Kunkeler is a historian of fascism and the far-right in interwar Europe, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research on Right-Wing Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo. They did their PhD at Cambridge University on the subject of Swedish and Dutch fascism, which has now been published as a monograph with Bloomsbury Academic: Making Fascism in Sweden and the Netherlands: Myth-Creation and Respectability, 1931-40. They are currently working on a research project about military volunteers and the transnational counter-revolutionary Right in north-western Europe 1917-40.

Event guidelines:

1. The Library will send you a Zoom link and joining instructions via email prior to the event. Please check your junk email folders.

2. Please try and join 5 minutes before the event start time and we will let you into the room (do try and bear with us if this takes a few minutes).

3. If you would like to ask a question during the event, please type your question into the chat function, and we will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A. Your webcam will not be seen during this event.

4. The event will be recorded for the Library’s YouTube channel and will be shared at a later date.

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January 13, 2022
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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