History KS3: Fascism

An animation for KS3 history students about fascist ideology in the 20th century.

After outlining where the term ‘fascism’ comes from, the film describes the common features of a fascist regime, including an erosion of democracy, authoritarianism often accompanied by violence and oppression, extreme nationalism and demonisation of minorities. It covers the rise of fascism in Italy in the 1920s, and the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany in the 1930s. It also mentions the rise of neo-fascist movements in Europe in recent years.

Illustrative examples are chosen from popular schemes of learning so that learners can confidently apply their knowledge and appreciate the dynamic nature of the concept being explained. This short film could be used to support learners investigating:

  • Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world, 1901 to the present day. In addition to studying the Holocaust, this could include:
    • The inter-war years: the Great Depression and the rise of dictators
    • The Second World War and the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill
  • At least one study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments.

Teacher Notes

This short film can be used for whole class direct instruction and/or with smaller groups and individuals.

Since the film is designed to help clarify understanding of fascism, it can be used as a flexible tool to help learners make connections and think about changes and causation leading to similarity and difference with other social and political systems in various parts of the world.

The film can be revisited throughout the key stage depending upon learners’ differing needs and starting points to help reinforce the umbrella term, reiterate knowledge, understanding and aid progression

Accompanying films in this series on Government, Capitalism and Communism might also be helpful to students wishing to know more or take a more ambitious approach. Spatial and temporal differences can be explored.

Suggested activities
Individually or in groups, students could predict the film content in advance drawing up a key word list and, whilst watching, cross check what they thought they knew with what they learned. This could help correct any preconceptions, assumptions or misconceptions.

The film can be preparatory work, with students encouraged to watch and generate questions before a sequence of learning.

Students could initially watch and then later ‘write the script’ or provide a voice over, recalling information from memory by way of retrieval practice in a ‘storyboard’ style.

Students could actively watch whilst answering a series of questions generated by the teacher tailored to the period under study. This could perhaps lead to a summarising pyramid.

Students could be encouraged to draw a diagram or story board to represent their understanding of how a fascist system of government might come about and work.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is relevant for teaching history at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.

More from this series: