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In September 1937, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler met in Germany. Millions of ostensibly enthusiastic Germans welcomed the Duce. Here were the world's first two fascist dictators, purportedly united in solidarity, representing the ‘115 million’ Germans and Italians against the Western powers and Bolshevism. Most historians have dismissed the 1937 dictators’ encounter as insignificant because no concrete political decisions were made. In contrast, I explore this meeting in terms of the confluence of culture and politics and argue that the meeting was highly significant. Its choreography combined rituals of traditional state visits with a new emphasis on the personality of both leaders and their alleged ‘friendship’, emblematic of the ‘friendship’ between the Italian and German peoples. Seen through this lens, the meeting pioneered a new style of face-to-face diplomacy, which challenged the culture of liberal internationalism and represented the aim of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to create a New Order in Europe. At the same time, analysis of this meeting reveals some deep-seated tensions between both regimes, an observation that has significant implications for the study of fascist international collaboration.


Corresponding author

Department of History, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, Manchester m13 9pl


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I should like to thank Thomas Tunstall Allcock, Paul Corner, David Laven, Molly Loberg, Valerie McGuire, Lucy Riall, Naoko Shimazu, Tara Zahra, the anonymous referees, and the members of the History and Civilization Department's research seminar at the European University Institute for extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft.



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1 Ernst von Weizsäcker, Die Weizsäcker-Papiere, 1933–1950, ed. Leonidas E. Hill (Frankfurt am Main, 1974), pp. 117–18.

2 Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce, ii: Lo Stato totalitario, 1936–1940 (Turin, 1981), pp. 414–15; Gerhard Weinberg, The foreign policy of Nazi Germany: starting World War II (Chicago, IL, 1980), p. 281; R. J. B. Bosworth, Mussolini (London, 2002), p. 329; Robert Mallett, Mussolini and the origins of the Second World War, 1933–1940 (Basingstoke, 2003), pp. 146–7; idem, Fascist foreign policy and official Italian views of Anthony Eden in the 1930s’, Historical Journal , 43 (2000), pp. 157–87.

3 Wolfgang Benz, ‘Die Inszenierung der Akklamation – Mussolini in Berlin 1937’, in Michael Grüttner, Rüdiger Hachtmann, and Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, eds., Geschichte und Emanzipation: Festschrift für Reinhard Rürup (Frankfurt am Main, 1999), pp. 401–17; Wenke Nitz, Führer und Duce: Politische Machtinszenierungen im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland und im faschistischen Italien (Cologne, 2013), pp. 326–7; on the importance of rituals, see Emilio Gentile, The sacralization of politics in Fascist Italy (Cambridge, MA, 1996).

4 Wolfgang Schieder, Faschistische Diktaturen: Studien zu Italien und Deutschland (Göttingen, 2008); Bernhard, Patrick, ‘Borrowing from Mussolini: Nazi Germany's colonial aspirations in the shadow of Italian expansionism’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History , 41 (2013), pp. 617–43; for older work, see Watt, D. C., ‘The Rome–Berlin Axis, 1936–1940: myth and reality’, Review of Politics , 22 (1960), pp. 519–43; for an influential English account, see MacGregor Knox, Common destiny: dictatorship, foreign policy, and war in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (Cambridge, 2000); for a review of recent work, see Christian Goeschel, ‘ Italia docet? The relationship between Italian Fascism and Nazism revisited’, European History Quarterly , 42 (2012), pp. 480–92.

5 Work includes Patricia Clavin, Securing the world economy: the reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920–1946 (Oxford, 2013); Mark Mazower, Governing the world: the history of an idea (London, 2012); Glenda Sluga, Internationalism in the age of nationalism (Philadelphia, PA, 2013); Susan Pedersen, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the crisis of empire (Oxford, 2015).

6 Clifford Geertz, ‘Thick description: toward an interpretive theory of culture’, in idem, The interpretation of cultures: selected essays (New York, NY, 1973), pp. 3–30.

7 Johannes Paulmann, Pomp und Politik: Monarchenbegegnungen in Europa zwischen Ancien Régime und Erstem Weltkrieg (Paderborn, 2000); David Cannadine, ‘The context, perfomance and meaning of ritual: the British monarchy and the “invention of tradition”, c. 1820–1977’, in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The invention of tradition (pbk edn, Cambridge, 1992), pp. 101–64; on the organization, see Massimo Magistrati, L'Italia a Berlino (1937–1939) (Milan, 1956), p. 57.

8 See Ian Kershaw, The ‘Hitler myth’: image and reality in the Third Reich (Oxford, 1987); Stephen Gundle, Christopher Duggan, and Giuliana Pieri, eds., The cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians (Manchester, 2013).

9 For a perceptive comment, see Magistrati, L'Italia a Berlino, p. 59; on the history of emotions, see Jan Plamper, The history of emotions: an introduction (Oxford, 2015); recent literature on friendship includes Bernadette Descharmes, Eric Anton Heuser, Caroline Krüger, and Thomas Loy, eds., Varieties of friendship: interdisciplinary perspectives on social relationships (Göttingen, 2011).

10 Febvre, Lucien, ‘Sur la doctrine nationale-socialiste: un conflit de tendances’, Annales d'histoire sociale , 1 (1939), pp. 426–8; Plamper, The history of emotions, pp. 42–3.

11 William M. Reddy, The navigation of feeling: a framework for the history of emotions (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 63–111; Sluga, Internationalism in the age of nationalism.

12 See Paulmann, Pomp und Politik, passim.

13 Shimazu, Naoko, ‘Diplomacy as theatre: staging the Bandung Conference of 1955’, Modern Asian Studies , 48 (2014), pp. 225–52; Roosen, William, ‘Early modern diplomatic ceremonial: a systems approach’, Journal of Modern History , 52 (1980), pp. 452–76; Markus Mösslang and Torsten Riotte, eds., The diplomats' world: a cultural history of diplomacy, 1815–1914 (Oxford, 2007).

14 Jeffrey C. Alexander, ‘Cultural pragmatics: social performance between ritual and strategy’, in Jeffrey C. Alexander, Bernhard Giesen, and Jason L. Mast, eds., Social performance: symbolic action, cultural pragmatics, and ritual (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 29–90.

15 On context, see Jens Petersen, Hitler–Mussolini: Die Entstehung der Achse Berlin-Rom, 1933–1936 (Tübingen, 1973); on the Venice meeting, see Poesio, Camilla, ‘Venezia. Italia. L'immagine della città e la visita di Hitler (1934)’, Memoria e Ricera , 43 (2013), pp. 145–66.

16 On context, see Simone Derix, Bebilderte Politik: Staatsbesuche in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Göttingen, 2009), p. 40; Michael Meyer, Symbolarme Republik? Das politische Zeremoniell der Weimarer Republik in den Staatsbesuchen zwischen 1920 und 1933 (Frankfurt am Main, 2014).

17 Telespresso R. Consolato Generale al R. Ministero degli Affari Esteri, 4 Sept. 1937, Rome, Archivio storico del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (ASMAE), SP Germania 1931–45, b. 40.

18 Karen Peter, ed., NS-Presseanweisungen der Vorkriegszeit (7 vols., Munich, 1998), v/3, pp. 766–75.

19 Dr Walther Schmitt, ‘Benito Mussolini: Mann und Werk’, Völkischer Beobachter (VB), no. 268, 25 Sept. 1937, on Italo-German perceptions, see Klaus Heitmann, Das italienische Deutschlandbild in seiner Geschichte (3 vols. so far, Heidelberg, 2003–12).

20 Schmitt, ‘Benito Mussolini’; on racial policy in Italy, see Robertson, Esmonde, ‘Race as a factor in Mussolini's policy in Africa and Europe’, Journal of Contemporary History , 23 (1988), pp. 3758 ; Michele Sarfatti, Gli ebrei nell'Italia fascista: vicende, identita, persecuzione (Turin, 2000); Meir Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews: German–Italian relations and the Jewish Question in Italy, 1922–1945 (Oxford, 1978); for a recent survey, see Frauke Wildvang, Der Feind von nebenan: Judenverfolgung im faschistischen Italien, 1936–1945 (Cologne, 2008), pp. 9–16; de Donno, Fabrizio, ‘ La Razza Ario Mediterranea: ideas of race and citizenship in colonial and Fascist Italy’, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies , 8 (2006), pp. 394412 .

21 One of the most recent contributions to this debate is Geoff Eley, Nazism as Fascism: violence, ideology and the ground of consent in Germany, 1930–1945 (London, 2013); see also Tim Mason, ‘Whatever happened to “Fascism”?’, in idem, Nazism, Fascism and the working class, ed. Jane Caplan (Cambridge 1995), pp. 323–31; Ernst Nolte, Three faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, trans. Leila Vennewitz (New York, NY, 1969).

22 On context, see Kevin Passmore, Fascism: a very short introduction (new edn, Oxford, 2014), pp. 17–21; Michel Dobry, ‘Le thèse immunitaire face aux fascismes: pour une critique de la logique classificatoire’, in idem, ed., Le mythe d'allergie française du fascisme (Paris, 2003), pp. 17–67.

23 Programm für den Besuch des italienischen Regierungschefs Benito Mussolini, Sept. 1937, Berlin, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts (PA AA), Botschaft Rom (Quirinal), 695B.

24 Hence the title of Fred G. Willis, Mussolini in Deutschland: Eine Volkskundgebung für den Frieden in den Tagen vom 25. bis 29. September 1937 (Berlin, 1937); cf. Nitz, Führer und Duce, pp. 359–77.

25 Sowerby, Tracey A., ‘“A memorial and a pledge of faith”: portraiture and early modern diplomatic culture’, English Historical Review , 129 (2014), pp. 296331 .

26 Wolfgang Schieder, ‘Duce und Führer: Fotografische Inszenierungen’, in idem, Faschistische Diktaturen, pp. 417–63, at p. 437; on Chamberlain's visit, see Stafford, Paul, ‘The Chamberlain–Halifax visit to Rome: a reappraisal’, English Historical Review , 98 (1983), pp. 61100 .

27 On the Triple Alliance, see Holger Afflerbach, Der Dreibund: Europäische Großmacht- und Allianzpolitik vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg (Vienna, 2002), pp. 229–89; on Crispi, see Christopher Duggan, Francesco Crispi, 1818–1901: from nation to nationalism (Oxford, 2002), pp. 495–531; on the cultivation of Bismarck as a precursor to Hitler, see Robert Gerwarth, The Bismarck myth: Weimar Germany and the legacy of the Iron Chancellor (Oxford, 2005).

28 Willis, Mussolini in Deutschland, pp. 6–7; on Willis, see Wolfgang Schieder, Mythos Mussolini: Deutsche in Audienz beim Duce (Munich, 2013), p. 168; on Hoffmann, see Rudolf Herz, Hoffmann & Hitler: Fotografie als Medium des Führer-Mythos (Munich, 1994).

29 Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 246, 4 Sept. 1937; ibid., no. 264, 22 Sept. 1937; for the same tenor, see also Il Duce in Germania. Con prefazione di Gherardo Casini (Milan, 1937).

30 Marks, Sally, ‘Mussolini and Locarno: Fascist foreign policy in microcosm’, Journal of Contemporary History , 14 (1979), pp. 423–39.

31 Magistrati, L'Italia a Berlino, p. 55; on Mussolini's showmanship, see still Luigi Barzini, The Italians (Harmondsworth, 1968), pp. 155–79.

32 On public radio transmissions, see Stephen Gundle, ‘Mass culture and the cult of personality’, in Gundle, Duggan, and Pieri, eds., The cult of the Duce, pp. 72–90; Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi, Fascist spectacle: the aesthetics of power in Mussolini's Italy (Berkeley, CA, 2000), pp. 84–8.

33 Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 267, 25 Sept. 1937; for the organization of the farewell ceremony, see Il Sottosegretario di stato, 23 Sept. 1937, Rome, Archivio centrale dello stato (ACS), PCM 1941–3 20/2/13100, viaggio del Duce in Germania, sf. 1; on the organization of Fascist rallies, see Paul Corner, The Fascist party and popular opinion in Mussolini's Italy (Oxford, 2012), pp. 192–200.

34 Ministero della Cultura Popolare, appunto per l'On Gabinetto di SE Il Ministro, 9 Sept. 1937, ACS, MinCulPop, Gabinetto, b. 37, sf. 2; see ibid. for a list of instructions ‘Alla Delegazione Italiana Servizio Stampa’, undated.

35 Kleiderordnung anläßlich des Besuchs Seiner Exzellenz des Italienischen Regierungschefs in Deutschland, PA AA, R 269004, fo. 53.

36 Gundle, ‘Mussolini's appearances in the regions’, in Gundle, Duggan, and Pieri, eds., The cult of the Duce, pp. 129–43.

37 For the most up-to-date work on South Tyrol in English, see Roberta Pergher, ‘A tale of two borders: settlement and national transformation in Libya and South Tyrol under Fascism’ (Ph.D. thesis, Michigan, 2007), pp. 49–82; see also Jens Petersen, ‘Deutschland, Italien und Südtirol 1938–1940’, in Klaus Eisterer and Rolf Steininger, eds., Die Option: Südtirol zwischen Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus (Innsbruck, 1989), pp. 127–50.

38 ‘Nel treno del Duce da Roma a Monaco di Baviera’, Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 268, 26 Sept. 1937; New York Times, 26 Sept. 1937.

39 Peter, ed., NS-Presseanweisungen der Vorkriegszeit, v/3, pp. 771–2.

40 Manfred Messerschmidt, ‘Aussenpolitik und Kriegsvorbereitung’, in Wilhelm Deist, Manfred Messerschmidt, Hans-Erich Volkmann, and Wolfram Wette, eds., Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg (10 vols., Stuttgart, 1979), i, pp. 620–3; Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 268, 26 Sept. 1937; for a report of Mussolini in Austria, see Observer, 26 Sept. 1937; for pictures of cheering Germans, see Hoffmann, Mussolini erlebt Deutschland: Ein Bildbuch von Heinrich Hoffmann mit einem Geleitwort von Dr. Otto Dietrich, Reichspressechef (Munich, 1937), pp. 12–13.

41 Daily Telegraph, 25 Sept. 1937, copy in PA AA, R 103300, fo. 14; on context, see Evans, Richard J., ‘Coercion and consent in Nazi Germany’, Proceedings of the British Academy , 151 (2006), pp. 5381 .

42 Daily Herald, 25 Sept. 1937, copy in PA AA, R 103300, fo. 9; for details of SS deployments, see V. Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler: Besuch Mussolini in Berlin und München, Munich, Institut für Zeitgeschichte (IfZ), MA 329, fos. 265325–400.

43 On romanità, see Visser, Romke, ‘Fascist doctrine and the art of the romanità’, Journal of Contemporary History , 27 (1992), pp. 522 ; on the arrival ceremony, see Berliner Tageblatt, 25 Sept. 1937, copy in PA AA, R 103298, fo. 16; Nicolaus v. Below, Als Hitlers Adjutant, 1937–1945 (Mainz, 1980), p. 42.

44 Berliner Tageblatt, 25 Sept. 1937, copy in PA AA, R 103298, fo. 16.

45 For the preparations of the Munich parade, see Der Aufmarschstab für den Empfang des Italienischen Regierungschefs, 10 Sept. 1937, Berlin, Bundesarchiv Berlin (BAB), NS 22/234; Elke Fröhlich, ed., Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels. Teil I. Aufzeichnungen 1923–1941 (9 vols., Munich, 2000), iv, p. 329.

46 Das Schwarze Korps, 7 Oct. 1937; on remaking Italians through war, see Silvana Patriarca, Italian vices: nation and character from the Risorgimento to the Republic (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 133–60.

47 Klaus Behnken, ed., Deutschland-Berichte der Sopade (7 vols., Frankfurt am Main, 1980), iv, p. 1221; on the reports, see Stöver, Bernd, ‘Loyalität statt Widerstand: Die sozialistischen Exilberichte und ihr Bild vom Dritten Reich’, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 43 (1995), pp. 437–71; Ian Kershaw, ‘Consensus, coercion and popular opinion in the Third Reich: some reflections’, in Paul Corner, ed., Popular opinion in totalitarian regimes (Oxford, 2009), pp. 33–46.

48 Filippo Anfuso, Roma Berlino Salò (1936–1945) (Milan, 1950), p. 41.

49 Meyer, Symbolarme Republik?, p. 12.

50 Paul Schmidt, Statist auf diplomatischer Bühne, 1923–1945: Erlebnisse des Chefdolmetschers im Auswärtigen Amt mit den Staatsmännern Europas (Bonn, 1949), pp. 365–7; cf. Watt, ‘The Rome–Berlin Axis’.

51 Herbert Michaelis and Ernst Schraepler, eds., Ursachen und Folgen: Vom deutschen Zusammenbruch 1918 und 1945 bis zur staatlichen Neuordnung in der Gegenwart (26 vols., Berlin, n.d.), xi, p. 507; Schmidt, Statist, p. 366; Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 268, 26 Sept. 1937.

52 VB, no. 269, 26 Sept. 1937; Max Domarus, Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen (2 vols., Munich, 1965), i/2, p. 734.

53 Weinberg, Gerhard L., ‘Die geheimen Abkommen zum Anti-Kominternpakt’, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 2 (1954), pp. 193201 .

54 Hoffmann, Mussolini erlebt Deutschland, pp. 40–1; 7. Befehl für den Vorbeimarsch am 25.9.1937, 22 Sept. 1937, IfZ, MA 329.

55 On the Roman greeting, see Schieder, Wolfgang, ‘Das italienische Experiment: Der Faschismus als Vorbild in der Weimarer Republik’, Historische Zeitschrift , 262 (1996), pp. 73125 , at pp. 108–9.

56 For the itinerary, see Programm für den Besuch des italienischen Regierungschefs, Sept. 1937, PA AA, Botschaft Rom (Quirinal), 695B; see also Führerprogramm, Platzverteilung des italienischen Sonderzug (sic!) ab München, undated, PA AA, R 269004.

57 VB, no. 270, 27 Sept. 1937; Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 269, 27 Sept. 1937; see also Below, Als Hitlers Adjutant, p. 43.

58 Hoffmann, Mussolini erlebt Deutschland, pp. 49, 56–9.

59 Willis, Mussolini in Deutschland, pp. 6–7.

60 Kostenvoranschlag der dekorativen Ausgestaltung der Stadt Berlin nach Entwürfen des Prof. Benno von Arent, undated, BAB, R 55/512; see also Der Reichs- und Preußische Minister des Innern an die obersten Reichsbehörden, 14 Sept. 1937, BAB, R 43 ii/1449a; cf. Benz, ‘Die Inszenierung der Akklamation’, pp. 401–17.

61 Fröhlich, ed., Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, iv, p. 332.

62 Behnken, ed., Deutschland-Berichte, iv, pp. 1219–20; see also Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes to Mr Eden, 6 Oct. 1937, in W. N. Medlicott and Douglas Dakin, eds., Documents on British foreign policy, 2nd series (21 vols., London, 1982), ixx, pp. 370–5.

63 On the trains, see Schmidt, Statist, p. 367; on the flags, see Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes to Mr Eden, 6 Oct. 1937, in Medlicott and Dakin, eds., Documents, ixx, p. 370; on Ogilvie-Forbes, see Strang, Bruce, ‘Two unequal tempers: Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes, Sir Neville Henderson and British foreign policy, 1938–1939’, Diplomacy and Statecraft , 5 (1994), pp. 107–37.

64 Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes to Mr Eden, 6 Oct. 1937, in Medlicott and Dakin, eds., Documents, ixx, pp. 371, 373.

65 For the speeches, see discorso di Mussolini a Berlino (28 Sett 1937), ASMAE, Gab. 1923–43, b. 163 (681); Benito Mussolini, Opera omnia, ed. Edoardo and Duilio Susmel (35 vols., Florence, 1959), xxviii, pp. 245–7; Domarus, Hitler, i/2, p. 735; on the problem of transnational fascism, see Federico Finchelstein, Transatlantic Fascism: ideology, violence, and the sacred in Argentina and Italy, 1919–1945 (Durham, NC, 2010).

66 Michaelis and Schraepler, eds., Ursachen und Folgen, xi, pp. 507–9.

67 Mussolini, Opera omnia, xxviii, pp. 248–53; New York Times, 29 Sept. 1937.

68 On the joke, see Below, Als Hitlers Adjutant, p. 44; see also the memoirs by the unrepentant Nazi diplomat Reinhard Spitzy, So haben wir das Reich verspielt: Bekenntnisse eines Illegalen (Munich, 1988), pp. 174–5.

69 VB, no. 273, 30 Sept. 1937.

70 Hoffmann, Mussolini erlebt Deutschland, pp. 98–9; Programm für den Besuch des italienischen Regierungschefs Benito Mussolini, Sept. 1937, PA AA, Botschaft Rom (Quirinal), 695B; Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 272, 30 Sept. 1937.

71 BZ am Mittag, 30 Sept. 1937, copy in PA AA, Politische Abteilung, R 103298, fo. 84.

72 Mussolini, Opera omnia, xxviii, p. 275.

73 John Woodhouse, Gabriele D'Annunzio: defiant archangel (Oxford, 1998), pp. 378–9; see also the reports in Il Popolo d'Italia, 1 Oct. 1937; New York Times, 1 Oct. 1937; on the ‘determining weight’, see Rosaria Quartararo, Roma tra Londra e Berlino: la politica estera fascista dal 1930 al 1940 (Rome, 1980); for a sharp critique, see R. J. B. Bosworth, The Italian dictatorship: problems and perspectives in the interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism (London, 1998), pp. 82–105; Knox, MacGregor, ‘The Fascist regime, its foreign policy and its wars: an “anti-anti-Fascist” orthodoxy?’, Contemporary European History , 4 (1995), pp. 347–65; John Gooch, Mussolini and his generals: the armed forces and Fascist foreign policy, 1922–1940 (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 384–449.

74 Gianluca André, ed., I documenti diplomatici italiani, serie VIII (13 vols., Rome, 1998), vii, doc. 393, Il Capo del Governo, Mussolini, al Re Imperatore, Vittorio Emanuele III, 4 Oct. 1937.

75 On the reception of Mussolini in Rome, see ACS, PCM 1941–3, 20/2/13100, sf. 2–2; sf. 2–3; sf. 2–4; sf 2–5; for Mussolini's speech, see Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 273, 1 Oct. 1937.

76 Galeazzo Ciano, Diario, 1937–1943, ed. Renzo De Felice (Milan, 1980), p. 40 (29 Sept. 1937).

77 Il Popolo d'Italia, no. 273, 1 Oct. 1937; Peter, ed., NS-Presseanweisungen der Vorkriegszeit, v/3, pp. 774–5.

78 Fröhlich, ed., Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, iv, p. 337.

79 For a survey, see Gian Enrico Rusconi, Deutschland – Italien. Italien – Deutschland: Geschichte einer schwierigen Beziehung von Bismarck zu Berlusconi (Paderborn, 2006), pp. 107–205.

80 Behnken, ed., Deutschland-Berichte, v, p. 26.

81 Il Duce in Germania, p. 8; on Casini, see Guido Bonsaver, Censorship and literature in Fascist Italy (Toronto, 2007), pp. 171, 196; on Italian media views on Nazi Germany, see Filippo Focardi, ‘Journalisten und Korrespondenten der italienischen Presse in Deutschland von der Gründung des Deutschen Reiches bis zum Zweiten Weltkrieg (1871–1939)’, in Gustavo Corni and Christof Dipper, eds., Italiener in Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert: Kontakte, Wahrnehmungen, Einflüsse (Berlin, 2012), pp. 53–80; on public opinion, see Simona Colarizi, L'opinione degli italiani sotto il regime 1929–1943 (2nd edn, Rome and Bari, 2009), p. 227; Christopher Duggan, Fascist voices: an intimate history of Mussolini's Italy (London, 2012), pp. 207, 327–9; Corner, The Fascist party and popular opinion, pp. 227–44.

82 New York Times, 30 Sept. 1937.

83 Ogilvie-Forbes to Mr Eden, 6 Oct. 1937, in Medlicott and Dakin, eds., Documents, ix, p. 373.

84 On the New Order, see Mark Mazower, Hitler's empire: Nazi rule in occupied Europe (London, 2008); Fioravanzo, Monica, ‘Die Europakonzeption von Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus (1939–1943)’, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 58 (2010), pp. 509–41.

85 Alexander, ‘Cultural pragmatics’.

86 Cf. Bauerkämper, Arnd, ‘Transnational Fascism: cross-border relations between regimes and movements in Europe, 1922–1939’, East Central Europe , 37 (2010), pp. 214–46.

87 David Reynolds, Summits: six meetings that shaped the twentieth century (London, 2007).

88 For Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy, see Maddalena Vianello, ‘La visita di Hitler a Roma nel maggio 1938’, in Istituto romano per la storia d'Italia dal fascismo alla Resistenza, ed., Roma tra fascismo e Liberazione (Rome, 2006), pp. 67–92; see also Baxa, Paul, ‘Capturing the Fascist moment: Hitler's visit to Italy in 1938 and the radicalization of Fascist Italy’, Journal of Contemporary History , 42 (2007), pp. 227–42.

89 For an evaluation, see M. François-Poncet to M. Delbos, 29 Sept. 1937, Documents Diplomatiques Français, 2e série (1936–9), vi (Paris, 1970), pp. 886–7.

90 For the diplomatic approach, see Watt, ‘The Rome–Berlin Axis’; for the more recent approach, see Schieder, Faschistische Diktaturen.

91 Cf. Roger Griffin, The nature of Fascism (London, 1993); on transnational fascism, see Finchelstein, Transatlantic Fascism; see also Thomas Schlemmer and Hans Woller, eds., Der Faschismus in Europa: Wege der Forschung (Munich, 2014).

* I should like to thank Thomas Tunstall Allcock, Paul Corner, David Laven, Molly Loberg, Valerie McGuire, Lucy Riall, Naoko Shimazu, Tara Zahra, the anonymous referees, and the members of the History and Civilization Department's research seminar at the European University Institute for extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft.

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