Major Scholarly Research Yields New Evidence on Fascism in America
Internationally renowned RIT history professor corrects the record on fascism
Nov. 10, 2008
by Sherry Hoag
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What caused the dissemination of fascism in the United States from 1922 to 1930? It has been believed a conspiratorial entity of Italian-American individuals politically motivated to spread fascism and replace democracy in the United States was behind the movement.
However, “Fascist and Anti-Fascist Propaganda in America: The Dispatches of Italian Ambassador Gelasio Caetani” written by Pellegrino Nazzaro, professor of European history at Rochester Institute of Technology, debunks the popular myth of conspiratorial underpinnings of the fascist movement in America.
Nazzaro says, “Fascism in the United States was beset by internal factionalism, and frequent clashes with strong and well-organized anti-fascist movements therefore it never emerged as a political ideology capable of creating an alternative to American democracy.”
Rather, Nazzaro found through extensive research of first-hand, original and archival documents from both American and Italian national archives, that fascism provided a new Italian national identity. It provided the means for Italian-Americans to combat ethnocentrism and nativism in 1920s America.
The book has already been added as a critical addition to the history collections of all major American and European university libraries. It also has been purchased by the State of Berlin Public Library and stands as a revocation to previous espoused beliefs on the subject of fascism in the United States.
Nazzaro has spent over three decades conducting numerous research projects in European and Italian history and published many scholarly essays. He previously chaired the Department of History at RIT and served on the Executive Council of the American-Italian Historical Association.