Denazification: Victims of Circumstance or Mass Murderers?

Jackie Howell

While I studied at the University of Windsor, I participated in an elective course on German cinema. I am neither a film major nor a German history major, but films and the political aspects of their dissemination intrigued me. What struck me most was not the documentaries of the Holocaust but the films produced in the 1930s and 1940s and post-war. The films created during the Third Reich illustrated how German identity transformed post-WWI to adopt a prideful, nationalist sentiment with anti-Semitic undertones. The post-war films juxtaposed these films by addressing the collective guilt of the Germans. Mapping the transformation of the German identity is best illustrated in the cultural texts produced during this period. Sollors situates his argument through a cultural context and uses books and songs to depict the limits of the Fragebogen in assessing Nazism in Germany. Cultural texts can help unpack the shortcomings of the denazification process, particularly focusing on the extent of justice and guilt in Europe.

One of the dangers of remembering Nazi Germany is oversimplifying the Germans’ participation in the Third Reich. Fulbrook speaks to the myriad of participation in the podcast interview, examining how some Germans felt they were a “victim of circumstance” while others enjoyed their involvement. This begs the question: how do you bring a population to justice without considering the circumstances? Is each individual responsible for the actions of the Third Reich, or are some considered innocent bystanders? Fulbrook illustrates how participation is not simple to define, which the Fragebogen failed to consider. Sollors reaffirms the shortcomings of the Fragebogen by also addressing the oversimplification of “weeding out” Nazism through a questionnaire.  

However, it is also dangerous to underestimate the Germans’ accountability in the Third Reich. While they may not have pulled the trigger themselves, the Germans’ complicity deserves recognition and proper punishment. West Germany failed to properly punish all of those involved in the Third Reich’s atrocities, as the mismatch between the scale of horror and the number of those punished was massive. While East Germany did convict perpetrators with more severe sentences, one must question if the Soviets’ underlying hatred for the Germans fueled their higher conviction rate.

It is not sufficient to say “never again” to the atrocities. To right history, historians must examine how and why people become involved in a system of mass murder and how to deal with it afterward. Perhaps commemoration can be a start to remembering the atrocities and identities lost in collective violence. However, it is equally important to address how this act of collective violence occurred in the first place to prevent future atrocities.  

References

Fulbrook, M. (2019). Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi persecution and the quest for justice [podcast]. https://soundcloud.com/historyhit/coming-to-terms-with-the

Smith, H. W. (2021, Jan. 11). It takes a village to create a nation’s memory. Zocalo Public Square. zocalopublicsquare.org/2021/01/11/post-war-germany-jewish-return-memory-national-reckoning/ideas/essay/

Sollors, W. (2018). ‘Everybody gets Fragebogened sooner or later’: The denazification questionnaire as cultural text. German Life and Letters 71(2), 139-153.

Why COVID-19 Could Signal a Further Rise of the Far-Right in the 21st Century || Opinion

By: Bryce Greer

By reconstructing our memory of the 1918 Influenza epidemic, we can prepare to combat the ever-more potential rise of the far-right in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Like many others trying to escape boredom in their time of isolation due to COVID-19 lockdowns, I looked more and more to the internet. Here, I happened upon a news article by Crawford Kilian that stood out for its almost prophetic warning to our current pandemic despite being written in 2017. Although, realistically, Kilian was not a prophet. Instead, what he does is show the importance of reconstructing our memory of the 1918 Influenza pandemic.

I bring up his article today as a plea for us to continue looking to the past to prepare for the near future. In recent headlines, I have noticed media claim that the far-right is taking massive blows due to COVID-19 revealing their incompetence. While there is an element of truth to such claim, I fear, in perhaps an alarmist tone, that we underplay the threat of the far-right with these statements. One look to the 1918 Influenza pandemic may be enough to show how COVID-19 can lead to long-term gains for far-right movements.

Back in May 2020, researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York published a report claiming that the 1918 Influenza pandemic had supported the rise of Nazism. Statistics had shown that regions that suffered greater mortality-rates due to the virus also had higher turn-out rates for far-right parties in the years following. Similarly, it was noted that there was an increased anti-immigrant outlook in regions due to the uniqueness of the new virus, coupled with a weaponizing of the “Other” by parties like the Nazi Regime.

Richard Evans, a historian focused on Germany, has recently noted that Nazi Germany weaponized the fear in the language of “virus” by comparing Jews to terms like parasite or plague. The rhetoric seems shockingly familiar – perhaps Trump’s claim of a “China Plague” rings a bell. Just as was done with the 1918 Influenza pandemic, now we see an increase in anti-immigrant outlook among the populace once again.

Take for example Canada. Opinions have surfaced critiquing the Canadian government for their “open house” policy through air travel into the country. While the article states that statistically only 1.3% of cases come from airports, and there is strict policy on who may currently enter, one look to the comments can see people turning the blame of the virus on foreigners. The rhetoric is wrong, and yet the damage is already harmful.

Due to COVID, polls have shown that 20% of Canadians have grown a more negative attitude to immigration due to fear of the pandemic. While some can try and claim that this could be simple fear of the pandemic, last week, Vancouver reported that Anti-Asian hate crime has increased by 717% in the last year. This is one city, and an arguably progressive one as well. Clearly, nationalist, and anti-immigrant, outlook is growing. This will ultimately fuel the far-right.

And so, as experts highlight the massive blows due to the incompetence of far-right populists, I want to direct attention to the growing fear of the “Other” whether seemingly connected to the pandemic or not. Secondly, I also want to express the words of Cas Mudde, a political scientist focusing on populism in Europe. “Trump is the exception but not the rule.” Coming to generalize the far-right on the incompetence of Trump’s clear mishandling of the pandemic fails to show the nationalist element of the far-right. In Europe, there is a different story.

Ignacio Garriga, the regional candidate of Catalonia for Spain’s far-right Vox, was a vocal critic against Salvador Illa, of the Socialist Party, for his mismanagement and failure to deal with COVID. Illa had resigned as health minister, and from the weaponizing of the pandemic, Garriga had made a new move for Vox into Catalonia’s parliament securing eleven seats in the recent election. Previously, the party had no hold in their government. Vox’s support has come from pandemic burnout. Not only in Catalonia but also in France can we see the far-right Marine Le Pen’s popularity soar in the pandemic, now on par with Macron in voter support.

While some far-right falter, others take the mantle and strive. In the short-term, there are sacrifices, but in the long-term, COVID is bound to bring about further economic recession and a greater anti-immigrant outlook, policies that the far-right easily weaponize. For that, I think we may soon need to address the second wave that is the far-right not so long after surpassing the waves of COVID.

In Memory of the Holocaust

Sara Dix

When looking at history, it is the memory that holds the most impact. It gives insight to a specific event in time that has impacted so many people, yet memories of various events can vary from person to person. Sollors discusses the “Fragebogen” questionnaire that asked people to recollect their role during the Holocause whereas Smith provides an anecdote to explain how the cooperation of between Germans and Jews has created a nationwide memory of the consequences post-WWII.

It’s interesting how the questionnaire appeared as a part of the denazification campaign by the Allies during the second half of the 1940s. It was a way to identify people who affiliated themselves with the Nazi Party and prohibited any sort of Nazi activity or benefits. The “Fragebogen” was important in the process of denazification, but even if they were completed under the oath of honesty, it would have been extremely difficult for the Allies to ensure that people told the truth. In that respect, the Germans who felt too ashamed and guilty for their actions could have easily lied about their experiences and associations.

The story of Hugo Spiegel shows how it takes a collective from both sides to come together and find some kind of reconciliation. Smith emphasizes that a country cannot face up to its past alone which is why Germans needed help from Jews in order to work towards a more inclusive and accepting environment. Even though his own daughter was killed in a concentration camp, Spiegel was still able to work with Germans in order and that just shows how the Jews who did return to their hometowns were willing to work with people who may have antagonized them just to create a better life in Germany.

Works Cited

W. Sollors, “Everybody Gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later’: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text.” German Life & Letters. Vol 71, Issue 2 (2018): 139-153

Helmut Walser Smith, “It Takes a Village to Create a Nation’s Memory” Zocalo Public Sphere https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2021/01/11/post-war-germany-jewishreturn-memory-national-reckoning/ideas/essay/

Dissidence, Democracy and Dictatorship: The Struggle for Freedom in Europe’s last Authoritarian State

By Austin Pellizzer

With the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to make headlines in the European news for the last year, the fight against Europe’s last dictatorship continues to rage on despite being pushed out of the media limelight. For many Belarusians, the ongoing aspirations for democracy, human rights, and freedom continue to burn deep and unite citizens. 

Since the August 9, 2020, Presidential election in which Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide with 80% of the vote and cementing his 6th term in office, citizens immediately took to voicing their opposition. Within the first week of the civilian protests, tens of thousands marched in what some experts called the largest demonstrations to occur since independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. With Lukashenko holding the office of the presidency since 1994, the tides of technology, access to information, and opposition leaders continue to test the limits of what a leader can do to keep his regime in place. 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends his inauguration ceremony in Minsk, Sept. 23, 2020. (AP Photo)

One of the biggest threats to Lukashenko’s rule is the growing wave of technology and how the Belarusian youth have used it as a tool to push back against the violent crackdowns by the state. Platforms such as Telegram are used inside and outside its borders to share news regarding ongoing police violence. Not only has social media made it easier for Belarusians to connect even within nationwide internet blackouts, but also, it has been a tool to help promote opposition leaders to the Lukashenko Government.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 38, is seen as the nations popular opposition leader with support from pro-democracy protesters and youths all over the nation. (BelarusFeed Photo)

A notable public figure who has helped lead the charge for democracy and human rights in Belarus is none other than 38-year-old Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Tikhanovskaya, a teacher and stay-at-home mother took the stage as one of Lukashenko’s opponents in the 2020 Presidential election after the arrest of her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky who was a leading presidential candidate. After sending her small children out of the nation to safety, she saw the opportunity to step into her husband’s shoes and take charge of the opposition movement. When the national election took place, it is reported that Tikhanovskaya only receiving 9.9% of the vote. However, Tikhanovskaya disputes it being closer to 75% of the vote based on the amount of public support she had gained in polls and social media popularity. With this disputed election result and international outcry over fraudulent and corrupt elections, she continues to push hard and stand not just for her family but also for the people of Belarus. Although the protests in August of 2020 have had overwhelming public support and international recognition, the movement in more recent months seems is at threat of losing momentum and traction among its supporters.  

People take part in a protest against the presidential election results demanding the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and the release of political prisoners, August 16, 2020. 
(Reuters Photo)

With reliable and accurate polls scarcely available, it is difficult to pinpoint how these protests have won over citizens throughout the nation. However, one of the closest and reliable sources from the Berlin Centre for East European and International Studies (a nonprofit funded by the German Foreign Ministry) states that support from solely urban Belarusians that look favourably on these social uprisings is at 45%. This underwhelming support from a critical sector of the population is also being paired with the dwindling attendances at street demonstrations as Tikhanovskaya conceded in mid-February that they ‘lost the streets’ concerning her movements efforts. With Lukashenko carrying out harsher crackdowns and holding support from  Moscow and his Government Officials, the efforts for social and political change are coming closer to deteriorating. 

If internal actors continue to fall short of uniting all citizens, Belarus is in danger of failing to become a more welcomed and integrated member of the European family. While on the other hand, the likelihood of Lukashenko ever relinquishing power after this attempt at democracy becomes a more far-fetched aspiration in the hearts and minds of all Belarusians alike.

Traumatic Realism in Memory and Coming to Terms with Comparisons to the Holocaust

By: Bryce Greer

I want to preface by saying that I take my reflection in a slightly different way then most of my other responses to other week’s readings. This week spoke different volumes to me when discussing memory in history.

Back in high school, maybe when I was 14 or 15, I remember my high school history teacher bringing in a guest speaker. It pains me that I do not recall her name, but what she talked about- her experiences of the residential schools in Canada- have been deeply rooted into my memory. The Indigenous woman, who stood before me in the classroom, spoke of her trauma on a history that I had never been previously taught. It was her voice and her story that I came to recollect in my own memory when reflecting on the readings this week. It is why I want to reflect on traumatic realism in memory as something that I think can speak to one of the lessons from the atrocities committed by Nazism with regards to the Holocaust.

The use of the phrase “traumatic realism” I take from one of Michael Rothberg’s book titles as a way to primarily have a conversation with his article “Comparing Comparisons” this week. In the article, he discusses the Historikerstreit and the debate around the uniqueness of the Holocaust, something recently returned in the contemporary alongside the rise of the far-right. I could not help but see the political use of the Holocaust by both the Left and Right today as something that highlights the exact issues when coming toward the debate. And Rothberg sums it up well on how we need to approach the debate: comparing an atrocious genocide to Auschwitz is not “unthinkable [but] how one does it and why are where the crux of the ethical and political matter lies.”

To me, there is a political game being played around the current debate of the uniqueness of the Holocaust. To look at it simply, the truthful answer is that the Holocaust is unique. The violence, the suffering, the trauma, it is all unique. On a global scale: colonialism, the Gulag, and the current Chinese internment camp of Uyghur Muslims all hold their own uniqueness to the violence, suffering, and trauma. Where the comparison of these atrocities lie is by understanding the histories through the stories of those who hold the memories, the traumas, as they come forward to speak about them. It takes sympathetic ears to see how trauma is something shared in each of these histories.

Mary Fulbrook had noted in her book that the evolution of memory culture was abused outside the stories, creating a sense where those who were “uniquely” suffering or suffered the most, became this desirable status in a perverse twist. (366) Yet the trauma in memory is unique to every individual, and hearing the story sympathetically is the way forward for the listener and the speaker in continuing the memory. Sympathy to these traumas should not be ranked. The story of Hugo Spiegel in Helmut Smith’s reading is unique to him, and as I read and come to learn of his story, it will become one that I remember as he spoke of his trauma following the Holocaust. Now, when I look back at the Indigenous woman who spoke to me only 8 years ago, I see her unique story compared to his as both memories of a past downplayed to simplicity. One must escape bureaucratic history-making for comparison, as it is the memory of these stories that can show comparative sympathy to both victims of the past and those that still suffer today.

References:

Mary Fulbrook. Reckonings : Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Michael Rothberg, “Comparing Comparison: From the “Historikerstreit to the Mbembe
Affair” Geschichte der Gegenwart September 23, 2020
https://geschichtedergegenwart.ch/comparing-comparisons-from-the-historikerstreitto-the-mbembe-affair/

Helmut Walser Smith, “It Takes a Village to Create a Nation’s Memory” Zocalo Public
Sphere https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2021/01/11/post-war-germany-jewishreturn-memory-national-reckoning/ideas/essay/

De-Radicalizing and Remembering: Coming to Grips with the Nazi Past and Collective Violence in the Present

By Austin Pellizzer

Since the end of the Second World War in 1945, historians have been in constant debate about how a nation should remember horrific events of war, especially the Holocaust. However, before looking at a more contemporary vision, one should look at the earliest steps used to combat the evil ideology of nazism at the end of the war.

In Werner Sollor’s article “Everybody Gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later’: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text.”, Sollor describes how allied forces tried to de-radicalize and rehabilitate German society in the forms of questionnaires (139). These 131 question documents were used by the American forces to screen citizens for future employment in the new German state (142). However, this calls into question how effective it is for foreign actors to impose particular methods of de-radicalization onto groups (149). While it is true that Sollor discusses that it was, in fact, the German Marxists who coined this term of “denazification” (153), it was still used on mass by the allies. This article also points out a lack of oversight, trustworthiness, and resentment towards the Americans for demonstrating grandstanding gestures on a defeated enemy (149). Because of this, Sollor believes this action was a failed attempt at trying to change a society’s ideology through these particular means (140). 

In the same breath, Dan Snow’s podcast with Professor Mary Fulbrook addresses the idea of contemporary remembrance of these tragedies. In this talk, the topic of how one can become complacent and a critical actor in a killing machine was of great interest. However, one question which was brought up and in need of an explanation is as follows. What can be done in the contemporary age to try and deter society from adopting radical ideologies, becoming radicalized, and complacent in mass murder?

Works Cited

Mary Fulbrook, Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice podcast, 2019.

W. Sollors,“Everybody Gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later’: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text.” German Life & Letters. Vol 71, Issue 2 (2018): 139-153.

Nazis that got away

Sollors’ article on the Fragebogen brings attention to the process of denazification through the particular mean of answering a detailed questionnaire. This bureaucratic response to a phenomenon that penetrated all spheres of life just a few years before seems, in my opinion, a rather weak approach to the elimination of Nazism.

The first aspect which I found troubling is the honesty of the answers. The questions were, as mentioned, embarrassing for some, and could prevent people from getting jobs, so I can imagine that the temptation of lying, or at least concealing incriminating facts, would be present. They were also very specific (an example was to tell for which party one had voted in November 1932 and March 1933). False answers were apparently punished and could be verified with archived files of membership. The punishments were public in order to discourage others to lie. But there were limits to this system, as it is reported by the article that it was suspected that many still lied. Membership could easily be checked out with an access to SS files, for example. But in the instance of a vote that occurred years ago, how could it be confirmed? Someone could simply have forgotten, or could answer with a political party that would not undermine his future job. I don’t know how voting worked in Germany in the 1930s, but I doubt that records were kept on who voted for whom. But if so, that would be a very interesting aspect of democracy to study.

This specific process of denazification in the immediate post-war years tallies with one of the objectives of the Nuremberg trial of purging Germany from the remnants of the Third Reich. Apart from trying to ensure that workers have no history of association with the Nazi Party, bringing known criminals to justice was also a way of getting a clean slate. An eye-catching point in this article is the complaint that real Nazis got away. Some were tried, less of-interest had to file a questionnaire, but some were exonerated, and some, in the real sense of the word, got away. This particular point took me through an interesting search on Nazi hunters, people that dedicated their time to finding Nazis that had escaped and hid in South America. This documentary (in French… this youtuber is my go-to for videos about “fun” historical facts, but there are many others on the subject of Nazi hunting) retraces the story of Klaus Barbie, a former Gestapo chief in Lyon, France, who was able, with the help of the American government that needed information he possessed on French communist parties, to leave Germany and spend years in Bolivia. Nazi hunters were able to find him in the 1970s, and during an interview, a French journalist, asking a question in French that caught Barbie off guard, could identify him. What is frustrating is that it still took about 20 years before he was brought back to France to be tried, but in the end justice won… but there are more that escaped it, in South America, or just in Germany, with lies and loopholes.

At one point though, wherever former Nazi criminals are, they will all be dead. But just the fact that some didn’t get caught and were able to spend good years in another country, away from the suffering that their crime had caused, is probably not helping with the coping of the Holocaust that is questioned, challenged and put in perspective today, as shown by comparisons in Rothberg’s article.

Works cited:

W. Sollors,“Everybody Gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later’: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text.” German Life & Letters. Vol 71, Issue 2 (2018): 139-153.

Michael Rothberg, “Comparing Comparison: From the “Historikerstreit to the Mbembe Affair” Geschichte der Gegenwart September 23, 2020

Women’s Role in Far-Right Movements

Angry white men voting for angry white men, this trend was seen as the standard in the right of populism but interestingly women are now coming to dominate right-wing leadership. With this, the gender gap in women’s roles in these movements seems to be shrinking with similar attitudes in feeling ‘left behind’ as well as becoming increasingly worried about immigration and Islam. With at least some power shifting into the favour of women, a new challenge comes from these women to combat the masculinity that is a traditional standard in the more right-leaning parties, trying to move away from the idea of traditional female roles or in the case of Marie Le Pen, trying to soften the party stance on anti-abortion and combatting the need to entice women voters by changing the idea of what it means to be a woman with these views and the male voters not likely to want to move away from these traditional aspects. So now we are thrust into a scenario where the fundamental aspects of right-wing populism are being challenged by the inclusion of women who are then not welcomed for their rebranding efforts.

The Traditionalist View of Apolitical Feminity

Back in 2017, a coworker of mine said she was relieved Marine Le Pen had lost the French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron – because ‘she wasn’t pretty enough’.

The sentiment threw me at first, and our break ended before I had the chance to press her much on what she meant, but the sentence stuck in my mind – and this class has been quite useful in understanding how exactly to situate it in history. It’s a sentiment which arguably tracks with the conservative/traditionalist gender roles discussed in this class, an idea that demands men act ‘as befits men’ and that women act ‘as befits women’, and allows transgression in one realm only if one’s ‘masculinity’/‘femininity’ is indisputably or exaggeratedly demonstrated elsewhere. Exceptions to the gender roles are bought through adherence to them.

This could mean the Nazi model described by Thomas Kühne, under which men were allowed ‘feminine habits’ like pushing their child’s stroller or demonstrating emotion only if they had proved their ‘masculine strength’ through their use of violence. Or it could mean, as I now understand my coworker’s framing, that Le Pen was not seen as having a sufficiently ‘feminine’ appearance to make up for the ‘masculine-ness’ of her political ambitions.

This framing of government as an inherently masculine activity, barred to women unless they meet whatever arbitrary and demanding metric of femininity elsewhere in their lives, has been dissected and lampooned elsewhere with much greater understanding, knowledge, and precision than I can put forth here (or, to be frank, anywhere). It’s a way to silence a demographic, to perpetuate the hold on power of certain groups, so on and so forth; it’s a tactic repeated far beyond the male/female faultline.

That rhetorical ploy to secure male hegemony over governance politics, though, has had interesting repercussions on the discourse regarding other forms of politics.

For one, the ideological tenet that of apolitical femininity left its believers incapable of adequately responding to the very political actions that some women undertook against them. Sofia Rodriguez Lopez and Antonio Cazorla Sanchez demonstrate this well in Blue Angels, where both the Republican and the Nationalist structures dismissed women as incapable of having political agency, despite the fact that said women were quite effective in supporting their sides.

In those cases where the women were punished for their dissidence, they were often framed as being the wives, sisters, or daughters of dissidents – justifying the participation of ‘apolitical women’ in these ‘political crimes’ by emphasizing their connection to men, and thus distancing them from that feminine apolitical ideal. This can also, in a sense, be seen in Hochst Höchst’s quote that she merited her position in modern Germany’s right-wing Alternative für Deutschland because “I could kill every man in the party” – in her interview with the Guardian’s Angelique Chrisafis, Höchst emphasizes her prowess in martial arts, reframing it as a ‘masculine trait’ that overrides her woman-ness sufficiently to legitimize her presence in traditionalist politics.

Another example comes in Wendy Lower’s Hitler’s Furies, and ties into some contemporary discussions. Culture is unarguably a form of politics, with heavy influence on who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, and the construction of societal discriminations based off those hierarchies. However, the power of culture in a political sense is that it comes off as completely natural – of course things are like this, of course we do things this way, of course power is distributed in this way, because that’s our culture! Given the important role of women in household and formal cultural education, though, as described by Lower, there is a tension between the obviously political (if subconscious) aims of this indoctrination and the allegedly-apolitical nature of women put forth by that ideology. And for a long time, regimes built on the idea of feminine apoliticism insisted that no activity so dominated by women could be political. Nowadays, though, that blinder is being pulled back, and culture is being exposed to political dissection and contestation on a greater scale than previously possible – no longer shielded by some traditionalist myth that women are innately apolitical.

Challenging female assumption in the eyes of fascist and right leaning movements

By: Conrad Yiridoe

The clearest and most obvious theme to me based from a couple readings this week, stems from the lack of true appreciation of the important roles that women played historically. This lack of understanding is not even fully understood as even multiple authors admit we do not actually understand the full extent to which women were involved in various events through out history. For example, with Lopez and Sanchez’s take on female force in the Spanish civil war, they admit early on the rather obvious fact that historians have significantly neglected the important and critical role that women played during the war.

As well, the extent towards how underrated women were in this period is (in my opinion) well articulated by the authors for example when they note that  the “efficiency of the female-only network of Madrid, which withstood the repression carried out by the Sim, contrasts with the vulnerability of the briefly described, mostly male-controlled, networks in Barcelona, Valencia or Alicante. They were more easily penetrated by Republican counter-intelligence.” Amongst the numerous examples detailed in the article, it appears rather obvious that women played a far more important and significant role in the war, which contrasts with the rather traditionally conservative feminist role that propaganda emanating from that time period would suggest. For example, it is noted that “Nationalist women were supposed to have supported both established social and gender traditions, having collaborated in the war effort without transgressing these roles. During the dictatorship, this was the official truth.”

Another major theme that stuck out to me through all the readings, is the confusion surrounding the idea of women’s involvement in areas that may not have been seen as “traditional”. A modern example of this struggle is described by Chrisafis, Connolly and Giuffrida in their article “ From Le Pen to Alice Weidel: how the European far-right set its sights on women” which dived into the concept of women increasingly moving towards political groups that in the past (as well as now) have roots in opposing “ traditionally feministic” ideologies. What I appreciated with the article, is how the investigation though centered in Europe, avoid the appeal of focusing solely on arguably the most prominent example in Marine Le Pen of France. As well, by describing other examples such as Meloni (in Italy) and Hermannsson (Sweden), the authors convey a sense of scale with how dramatic this movement appears to be growing. It is also interesting to observe that the authors note why these individuals in a sense appear to support these parties for similar reasons as their male counterparts, despite significantly lower numbers in the party compared to their male counterparts. For example, immigration, appears to be a galvanising idea for these party supporters, which is not completely surprising given the continent’s continued and recent brushes with migratory issues (such as back in 2015 with the Syria refugee crisis).

In conclusion, an interesting question raised from this article/situation may be; to what extent that not prioritising “traditionally observed feministic” ideas and instead focusing on other mainstream concepts such as immigration and Islam, will continue to be seen as a winning strategy for increasing larger support amongst women, going forward.