Explore the development, actions and ideologies behind twentieth century extremism
With a range of content focused on political extremism and radical thought in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America, Political Extremism provides a range of documents and audio recordings covering the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The archive will contain over 600,000 pages of content, making it one of the first digital archives on far-right and left political groups.
This archive includes a diverse range of content, including campaigning materials, propaganda, government records and various ephemera. The inclusion of oral histories, both as audio recordings and transcripts, makes this archive a unique resource for researchers, and provides a broader range of information sources than other archives on the subject.
It will be valuable to researchers in European and international history, politics, international relations and government studies, but also has a much wider application, containing content of use to researchers in areas as diverse as gender studies, sociology, psychology and religious studies.
The collections combine content on far-right and fascist movements alongside significant coverage of radical left groups, allowing researchers to access material from both sides, providing points for comparison. Researchers in contemporary topics will also find value in the content, allowing them to explore the origins and development of present-day issues, including anti-war thinking, ‘fake news’, the resurgence in right-wing politics, and radicalisation.
Within the documents contained in this archive, researchers will encounter groups and figures that are well known alongside those that are more obscure. The archive contains information on prominent groups such as the Klu Klux Klan, the Black Panthers, National Socialist Party of Australia, and the British Union of Fascists as well as leading figures including Oswald Mosley, Arnold Leese, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Its scope also covers areas of focused interest, including gay activism, anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups, equal rights, environmentalism, and creationism among others.
The Searchlight Archive, held at the University of Northampton in the UK, consists of documents from Searchlight Associates, an information service founded in 1967 that aimed to expose racist and fascist groups. In 1975 it launched a magazine, Searchlight, intended to promote intelligence on the far-right from around the world. This archive includes oral histories from activists who acted as undercover informants on far-right organisations or members of anti-fascist groups. The interviews are available within the platform both as audio recordings as well as searchable transcripts. This archive also includes various ephemera including booklets, leaflets and posters.
The Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda from the John Hay Library at Brown University finds its beginnings with Gordon Hall. An infiltrator and investigator of U.S. domestic hate groups for Friends of Democracy, an anti-totalitarian group, he began compiling a collection of extremist printed propaganda when he returned from World War II. Brown University purchased the collection in the 1980’s and are still cataloguing it. It contains printed propaganda from US anti-integrationist, anti-Semitic and racist groups such as the American Fascist Union and Ku Klux Klan Organizations. In 2004 Gale microfilmed part of the collection and it formed part two of the Radical and Reactionary Politics in America Series.
Working with the National Archives in the UK, we are also digitising government documents relating to inter- and post-war British extremist movements. These include Security Service personal files on right-wing extremists, suspected communists and terrorists as well as Home Office papers on detainees, such as Oswald Mosely, who were related to far-right groups including the British Union of Fascists, British National Party, Imperial Fascist League, the Nordic League and The Link.
Since 1970, the American Radicalism Collection at Michigan State University has been collecting ephemera on radical political groups, across a range of extremist movements including those involved in religion, race, gender, the environment, and equal rights. The collection covers four general categories , each with a different focus: leftist politics and anti-war movements; religion and the radical right; race, gender and equal rights; and social, economic and environmental movements. The collection also includes materials on such topics as survivalism, Holocaust denial, creationism, and anti-Catholicism from groups like John Birch Society and the Black Panther Party.
"First-rate content, usability, and features make Political Extremism & Radicalism a strong option for libraries that subscribe to databases on pacifism. . . Researchers interested in the nature, evolution, and contemporary state of extreme political thought from a variety of perspectives will be highly satisfied."
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- British Studies
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- Twentieth Century Studies
- U.S. History
- Social History
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.
By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections within search terms—helping to shape research by integrating diverse content with relevant information.
Search across the content of complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.