Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century is a compilation of rare and unique archival collections covering a wide range of fringe political movements. It has been sourced from distinguished libraries and archives across the world but also premiers some previously hidden treasure troves.
With an extensive scope of content focused on political extremism and radical thought, this archive is one of the first digital archives covering such a broad assortment of both far-right and left political groups. It offers a diverse mixture of materials, including periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and various ephemera, which allow researchers to explore unorthodox social and political movements in new and innovative ways and to understand what impact they have had on today’s society.
The collections cover a period of just over a century (1900s to 2010s) when the world saw the formation of several civil rights movements for the rights of minorities, women's rights, and gay rights. It also encompasses the rise and fall of a number of peripheral groups deemed ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ by contemporaries, such as anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-war, communist or socialist, creationist, environmentalist, hate, holocaust denial, new left, survivalist, white supremacist, and white nationalist. Global in scope, although the archive presents materials largely from the US and Britain, it also showcases important factions from Europe and Australia, such as the Norwegian Nazi Party and the Australian National Socialist Party. By spanning multiple geographic regions, the resource shows both the cultural impact of radical groups at a national level as well as the international networking and cross-border exchanges of extreme political movements.
Extremist literature has always been difficult to find because its authors intend the material for a limited number of true believers. Consequently, print runs tend to be small and erratic or materials are intentionally ephemeral in nature, for instance stickers, leaflets, or pamphlets. In most instances it has taken a dedicated effort to amass and organize collections of this type. These records provide a unique, behind-the-scenes view of often inaccessible groups, such as the John Birch Society or the Black Panther Party.