Despite their undeniable importance, the leaders of the Fascist and Nazi youth organizations have received little attention from historians. In Shaping the New Man, Alessio Ponzio uncovers the largely untold story of the training and education of these crucial protagonists of the Fascist and Nazi regimes, and he examines more broadly the structures, ideologies, rhetoric, and aspirations of youth organizations in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
Ponzio shows how the Italian Fascists’ pedagogical practices influenced the origin and evolution of the Hitler Youth. He dissects similarities and differences in the training processes of the youth leaders of the Opera Nazionale Balilla, Gioventù Italiana del Littorio, and Hitlerjugend. And, he explores the transnational institutional interactions and mutual cooperation that flourished between Mussolini’s and Hitler’s youth organizations in the 1930s and 1940s.
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Alessio Ponzio received his PhD in history and politics from the Universitá Roma Tre and is now pursuing a second degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in women’s studies and history. He has held fellowships at the Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
“Ponzio provides, above all, valuable new perspectives on the tremendous influence of Italian Fascism on fledgling Nazi youth organizations, and the cooperative and reciprocal relationships that flourished between the two regimes.”—Michael Ebner, author of Ordinary Violence in Mussolini’s Italy
“A valuable and original contribution to the historiography of the totalitarian project in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Alessio Ponzio should especially be commended for his transnational focus and for the rigor with which he traces the interactions, influences, and tensions between the youth organizations of the two regimes.”—Joshua Arthurs, author of Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past in Fascist Italy
“Mussolini and Hitler agreed that the future of their movements depended on molding young people by indoctrinating them in body, mind and spirit. . . . Ponzio explores the elaborate programs of radical transformation established by the Italian Fascists and emulated by the Nazi Germans. Holding power was only the means to an end for Mussolini and Hitler, who had grand designs of remodeling their nations and (at least for Hitler) remaking the world.”—Shepherd Express
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