Vectors of a New Legal Order? European legal periodicals during fascism and Nazism (1922-1945).

01 October 2016 → 01 October 2017
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Metalaw
legal periodicals
Project description

This proposal examines legal periodicals published in Europe, more specifically in the Axis powers (Italy and Germany) and the Benelux, from the rise of fascism (1922) and Nazism (1933) until the end of the Second World War. The impact of legal periodicals goes far beyond serving as a means of communication between lawyers. They are also cultural products that externalize and shape a legal culture. Thus, they provide a useful means of examining how a ‘New Legal Order’ was gradually shaped during the period of conflict and enable us to analyse the attitude of lawyers towards its legal implications. The unknown story of legal periodicals in creating and submitting to a New Legal Order shows the role lawyers have played in justifying and facilitating the emergence of totalitarian regimes. European lawyers followed the legal reforms in Italy and Germany with great interest and many even adhered to this New Legal Order. A comparison of their articles will illustrate the importance of key legal thinkers and help unravel (trans)national networks. This research project proposes two hypotheses: (1) Legal periodicals played a crucial role in justifying the regime and in promoting ideas that contributed to a new legal order. Thus, legal periodicals can be considered vectors of law; (2) Totalitarian regimes entrusted legal titles to influential lawyers who took the lead in a legal unification project throughout the occupied countries and initiated a process of cross-fertilization.