While historians of Germany have made Nazi science an essential aspect of Hitler’s regime, Italian historians have always written about science and Fascism as two separate entities. This perspective confirms the assumption that good science, as a pure intellectual enterprise, can exist and function properly only in liberal-democratic regimes. Did science work differently under Fascism? In short, was there a “Fascist science”? In order to answer these questions, this presentation builds on the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) to investigate the institutional mechanisms and power struggles of Fascist science by using the example of Italian meteorology. The analysis of the Italian Meteorological Society and the Aeronautical Meteorological Service as social and scientific networks at once is a key test of Fascism’s rhetoric claiming perfect coordination between Italian science, society, and the regime. The presentation will focus on the role of Fascist imperialism and anti-Semitism in transforming Italian meteorology. In short, the presentation offers the category of “Fascist science” as key to understand the successes and limits of Fascism as a scientific modernization project.
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