On 10 May 2017 Professor Bruce Kuklick, Nichols Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (US) gave the first RIAS public lecture: ‘Fascism Comes to America.’

Throughout the twentieth century, American politicians, followed by novelists, Hollywood movie makers, and television producers have agonized about the terrifying menace of fascism, and its ability to corrupt the United States constitutional republic, supposedly moderate, strong, and firm. Despite the antithesis between democratic and fascistic values, many pundits and scholars have believed that this horrible other imperils the United States, perhaps because the flame attracts the moth, or because Americans will effloresce into what they truly are, or because they allow themselves to become weak in the face of evil. Bruce Kuklick examined these issues, assisted by clips from several Hollywood movies.