Rick Steves' Europe Preview: The Story of Fascism in Europe

In this one-hour special, Rick travels back a century to learn how fascism rose and then fell in Europe — taking millions of people with it. We'll trace fascism's history from its roots in the turbulent aftermath of World War I, when masses of angry people rose up, to the rise of charismatic leaders who manipulated that anger, the totalitarian societies they built, and the brutal measures they used to enforce their ideology. We'll see the horrific consequences: genocide and total war. And we'll be inspired by the stories of those who resisted. Along the way, we'll visit poignant sights throughout Europe relating to fascism, and talk with Europeans whose families lived through those times. Our goal: to learn from the hard lessons of 20th-century Europe, and to recognize that ideology in the 21st century.

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Why Rick Produced The Story of Fascism

Travel experiences are like seeds that grow in ways impossible to predict — like producing a TV special called "Rick Steves' The Story of Fascism in Europe," debuting fall 2018 on public television across the USA.

For decades, I've gathered impressions about Europe's experience with fascism in my travels. Riding up the elevator to Hitler's mountain-capping Eagle's Nest retreat on a mountaintop in Bavaria, I noticed the precision of the stonework. As those imposing doors slammed open and shut, they seemed to demand obedience. In Rome's EUR, standing before the central palace of Mussolini's planned city, I looked into the eyes of mighty, bleached-white statues that left me reeling with the feeling that it's all for one in lockstep, and that individuality is to be consumed by the state. In Nürnberg, stepping into the gilded "Green Room" under the towering tribunal platform from where Hitler stoked the masses at his rallies, I imagined a charismatic despot getting prepped for his speech that would amp up both the fears and the anger of an entire nation.

These powerful sights — the physical remains of that period — inspired me to weave their important lessons into this one-hour special. It's travel on TV, as viewers have come to expect from the Rick Steves brand...and much more.

The memory of these dark times is as important as ever. And the people who lived through Europe's fascist nightmare — the destruction of Europe, the Holocaust, and the ultimate, heroic Allied victory — are like flickering candles keeping the memory of those dark times alive.

A few years ago, while walking the beaches at Normandy and making a pilgrimage to concentration camps in Poland, it occurred to me that the last of those candles are flickering out. And for those who respect the value of learning from history, the passing of the last people with a firsthand, living memory of Hitler and the Holocaust puts us at a kind of crossroads. Future generations have a responsibility to keep those lessons alive.

Insightful observers note that the rise of fascism took Germany and Italy by surprise — and it could take any nation by surprise today if conditions line up in the same way.

"The Story of Fascism in Europe" — while chillingly engaging and thrilling to watch — also has a practical purpose: to help us learn from Europe's experience and to show how, even today, would-be autocrats follow the same playbook in their attempts to derail democracies. It's a case study in how fear and angry nationalism can be channeled into evil, and how our freedoms and democracies are not indestructible…in fact, they are fragile.

Visiting Germany, Italy, and Spain, we talk with Europeans whose families lived through fascism. We explore the still-stern remains of fascist societies and ponder the powerful memorials built in the wake of their defeat. And we learn just what fascism — which rose from the rubble of World War I 100 years ago — looks like. From our perspective in 2018 — with extremist movements on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic — watching this special program is an hour well-spent.

Program Descriptions

RICK STEVES SPECIAL: THE STORY OF FASCISM IN EUROPE (1/60) (TV-G, Stereo, CC, DVI)
RKEE 110 HD-Base Revision 001
Thursday, August 30, 2018
1100–1200ET /HD03


Rick Steves' The Story of Fascism in Europe [18 words]
Rick traces fascism's history in Europe to help us learn from the hard lessons of the 20th century.

Rick Steves' The Story of Fascism in Europe [30 words]
In this one-hour special, Rick traces fascism's history in Europe. Our goal: to learn from the hard lessons of the 20th century, and to recognize that ideology in the 21st century.

Rick Steves' The Story of Fascism in Europe [75 words]
In this one-hour special, Rick travels back a century to learn how fascism rose and then fell in Europe — taking millions of people with it. We'll trace fascism's history from its roots in the turbulent aftermath of World War I, when masses of angry people rose up, to the rise of charismatic leaders who manipulated that anger, the totalitarian societies they built, and the brutal measures they used to enforce their ideology. We'll see the horrific consequences: genocide and total war. And we'll be inspired by the stories of those who resisted. Along the way, we'll visit poignant sights throughout Europe relating to fascism, and talk with Europeans whose families lived through those times. Our goal: to learn from the hard lessons of 20th-century Europe, and to recognize that ideology in the 21st century.

Promotional Media

Rick Steves' The Story of Fascism in Europe Photos

Click on the images to view the full-sized JPGs. Right-click on the download link to save the image. For additional publicity shots of Rick, view our Downloads in the Press Room.

 
 
 
 

Fascism

Rick on the steps of the Altes Museum, on Berlin's Museum Island. Download image.

Fascism

Rick holding a fasces at the Palace of Italian Civilization in the E.U.R. district of Rome. Download image.

 

Fascism

Rick at the Reichstag building in Berlin. Download image.

Fascism

The Palace of Italian Civilization in the E.U.R. district of Rome. Download image.