Advertisement

An Ambivalent Embrace: Businessmen, Mass Consumption, and Visions of America in the Third Reich

  • S. Jonathan Wiesen
Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)

Abstract

It is tempting to associate consumption exclusively with democracy. Many important works in the field of consumer studies focus on the United States and post-World War II Western Europe, and the former is often cast as the paradigmatic example of consumer society.1 We tend to assume that economic opportunity and wide access to goods and services depend on a basic level of political openness and plurality.2 Consumption, however, is not limited to democratic settings. It has also existed under fascist dictatorships, which have used shopping and leisure opportunities to bind their populations to their political visions and to inspire them toward hard work and sacrifice.3 Historians have found the relationship between National Socialism and consumption particularly intriguing, for in his quest to build a racially pure “people’s community” (Volksgemeinschaft.), Adolf Hitler appeared to be moving in the opposite direction from the United States.4 The Nazi leadership welcomed certain features of consumer society—like modern manufacturing, advertising, and retailing technologies—but rejected the social and political expressions that came to be associated with mass consumption: cultural hybridity, the commercialization of public life, and opportunities for activism among self-conscious consumers.5

Keywords

Consumer Research Business Leader Department Store German Economy Mass Consumption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Lawrence Glickman, Consumer Society in American History: A Reader. (Ithaca, NY, 1999)Google Scholar
  2. Victoria de Grazia, Irresistible Empire: Americas Advance through 20th-Century Europe. (Cambridge, MA, and London, 2005)Google Scholar
  3. Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton, The Politics of Consumption: Material Culture and Citizenship in Europe and America. (Oxford, 2001).Google Scholar
  4. Michael Wildt, Am Beginn der “Konsumgesellschaft”: Mangelerfahrung, Lebenshaltung, Wohlstandshoffnung. in Westdeutschland in den fünfziger Jahren. (Hamburg, 1994)Google Scholar
  5. Alon Confino and Rudy Koshar, “Régimes of Consumer Culture: New Narratives in Twentieth-Century German History,” German History. 19, no. 2 (2001): 135–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Frank Trentmann, “Beyond Consumerism: New Historical Perspectives on Consumption,” Journal of Contemporary History. 39, no. 3 (2004): 373–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 2.
    Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. (New York, 2003), especially 18–61.Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    Adam Arvidsson, Marketing Modernity: Italian Advertising from Fascism to Postmodernity. (London, 2003), 1–64;Google Scholar
  9. Victoria de Grazia, The Culture of Consent: Mass Organization of Leisure in Fascist Italy.(Cambridge, UK, 1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Shelley Baranowski, Strength through Joy: Consumerism and Mass Tourism in the Third Reich. (Cambridge, UK, 2004)Google Scholar
  11. Uwe Spiekermann, “Vollkorn für die Führer: Zur Geschichte der Vollkornbrotpolitik im Dritten Reich,” 1999: Zeitschrift für Sozialgeschichte des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts. 16 (2001): 91–128.Google Scholar
  12. Christian Kleinschmidt, Konsumgesellschaft. (Göttingen, 2008), 110–30.Google Scholar
  13. 5.
    Phillip Gassert, Amerika im Dritten Reich: Ideologie, Propaganda und Volksmeinung, 1933–1945.(Stuttgart, 1997)Google Scholar
  14. Hans-Dieter Schäfer, “Amerikanismus im Dritten Reich,” in Nationalsozialismus und Modernisierung., ed. Michael Prinz and Rainer Zitelmann (Darmstadt, 1991), 199–215.Google Scholar
  15. 6.
    Avarahm Barkai, Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory, and Practice. (New Haven, CT, 1990)Google Scholar
  16. Mark Spoerer “Demontage eines Mythos? Zu der Kontroverse über das nationalsozialistische ‘Wirtschaftswunder,’ ” Geschichte und Gesellschaft. 31, no. 3 (2005): 415–38.Google Scholar
  17. 7.
    Konrad Jarausch and Michael Geyer, Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories. (Princeton, NJ, 2003), 269–316.Google Scholar
  18. 8.
    Frank Trentmann ed., The Making of the Consumer: Knowledge, Power and Identity in the Modern World. (Oxford, 2006)Google Scholar
  19. Susan Strasser, Charles McGovern, and Matthias Judt, eds., Getting and Spending: European and American Consumer Societies in the Twentieth Century. (Washington, DC, 1998).Google Scholar
  20. 9.
    Mary Nolan, Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany. (Oxford, 1994).Google Scholar
  21. 10.
    Holm Friebe, “Branding Germany: Hans Domizlaff’s Markentechnik. and Its Ideological Impact,” in Selling Modernity: Advertising in Twentieth Century Germany., ed. Pamela Swett, S. Jonathan Wiesen, and Jonathan R. Zatlin (Durham, NC, 2007), 78–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 11.
    Ulrich Nussberger, “Fördert Werbung die Vermassung?” Zeitungs-Verlag und Zeitschriften-Verlag. 60 (1963): 352–54.Google Scholar
  23. Axel Schildt, Konservatismus in Deutschland: Von den Anfängen im 18. Jahrhundert bus zur Gegenwart. (Munich, 1998), 211–52Google Scholar
  24. Mark Roseman, “The Organic Society and the ‘Massenmenschen’: Integrating Young Labour in the Ruhr Mines, 1945–58,” in West Germany under Construction: Politics, Society, and Culture in the Adenauer Era., ed. Robert G. Moeller (Ann Arbor, MI, 1997), 287–320Google Scholar
  25. Uta G. Poiger, Jazz, Rock and Rebels: Cold War Politics and American Culture in a Divided Germany. (Berkeley, CA, 2000), 106–36.Google Scholar
  26. 13.
    Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg, eds., The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1994), especially 655–72.Google Scholar
  27. 14.
    Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy.(New York, 2006), 138–47.Google Scholar
  28. 15.
    Wolfgang König, Volkswagen, Volksempfänger, Volksgemeinschaft: ‘Volksprodukte’ im Dritten Reich: Vom Scheitern einer nationalsozialistischen Konsumgesellschaft.(Paderborn, 2004).Google Scholar
  29. 16.
    Bruno Kiesewetter, “Kartell, Marktordnung, Recht auf Verbrauch,” Die deutsche Volkswirtschaft. 6, no. 17 (2 June 1936): 536–38.Google Scholar
  30. 17.
    Ulrich Herbert, “Good Times, Bad Times: Memories of the Third Reich,” in Life in the Third Reich., ed. Richard Bessel, 2nd rev. ed. (Oxford, 2001), 97–111. On the concept of a Nazi “economic miracle,”Google Scholar
  31. Werner Abelshauser, “Guns, Butter and Economic Miracles,” in The Economics of World War II., ed. Mark Harrison (Cambridge, UK, 1998), 122–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 18.
    Rudy Koshar, German Travel Cultures. (Oxford, 2000), 115–34;Google Scholar
  33. Kristin Semmens, Seeing Hitler’s Germany: Tourism in the Third Reich. (Houndmills, Basingstoke, 2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 19.
    Peter Hayes, “Industry under the Swastika,” in Enterprise in the Period of Fascism., ed. Harold James and Jakob Tanner (Aldershot, 2002), 26–36.Google Scholar
  35. 21.
    Hartmut Berghoff, “Methoden der Verbrauchslen- kung im Nationalsozialismus: Konsumpolitische Normensetzung und ökonomis- che Folgewirkungen zwischen totalitärem Anspruch und widerspenstiger Praxis,” in Wirtschaftskontrolle und Recht in der nationalsozialistischen Diktatur., ed. Dieter Gosewinkel (Frankfurt am Main, 2005), 281–316.Google Scholar
  36. Jill Stephenson, Hitler’s Home Front: Württemberg under the Nazis.(London, 2006), 166;Google Scholar
  37. Nancy Reagin, Sweeping the German Nation: Domesticity and National Identity in Germany, 1870–1945. (Cambridge, UK, 2007), 152.Google Scholar
  38. 22.
    Götz Aly, Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State.(New York, 2007).Google Scholar
  39. Dirk Reinhardt, Von der Reklame zum Marketing: Geschichte der Wirtschaftswerbung in Deutschland. (Berlin, 1993), 429–41, 447Google Scholar
  40. Hartmut Berghoff, “‘Times Change and We Change with Them’: The German Advertising Industry in the Third Reich—Between Professional Self-Interest and Political Repression,” Business History. 45, no. 1 (2003): 128–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Matthias Rücker, Wirtschaftswerbung unter Nationalsozialismus: Rechtliche Ausgestaltung der Werbung und Tätigkeit des Werberats der deutschen Wirtschaft. (Frankfurt am Main, 2000)Google Scholar
  42. Uwe Westphal, Werbung im Dritten Reich. (Berlin, 1989).Google Scholar
  43. 25.
    S. Jonathan Wiesen, “Creating the Nazi Marketplace: Public Relations and Consumer Citizenship in the Third Reich,” in Citizenship and National Identity in Twentieth-Century Germany., ed. Geoff Eley and Jan Palmowski (Stanford, CA, 2008), 146–63.Google Scholar
  44. 26.
    Peter Hayes, “Industrial Factionalism in Modern German History,” Central European History. 24 (1991): 122–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 27.
    Hauke Janssen, Nationalökonomie und Nationalsozialismus: Die deutsche Volk- swirtschaftslehre in den dreißiger Jahren. (Marburg, 1998), 441–63.Google Scholar
  46. 29.
    Manfred Wedemeyer, Den Menschen Verpflichtet: 75 Jahre Rotary in Deutschland.(Hamburg, 2002), 64.Google Scholar
  47. 32.
    David Head, ‘Made in Germany’: The Corporate Identity of a Nation. (London, 1992)Google Scholar
  48. Alf Lüdtke, “People Working: Everyday Life and German Fascism,” History Workshop Journal. 50 (Autumn 2000): 74–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 35.
    Björn Sven Ivens, “Wilhelm Vershofen: Professor der Absatzwirtschaft? Ein Rückblick zum seinem 125. Geburtstag,” Arbeitspapier 109 (August 2003), Lehrstuhl für Marketing, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.Google Scholar
  50. 36.
    Wilfried Feldenkirchen and Daniela Fuchs, Die Stimme des Verbrauchers zum Klingen Bringen: 75 Jahr Geschichte der GfK Gruppe.(Munich, 2009)Google Scholar
  51. Georg Bergler, Die Entwicklung der Verbrauchsforschung in Deutschland und die Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung bis zum Jahre 1945. (Kallmünz, 1959).Google Scholar
  52. 38.
    Alexander Schug, “Wegbereiter der modernen Absatzwerbung in Deutschland: Advertising Agencies und die Amerikanisierung der deutschen Werbebranche in der Zwischenkriegszeit” Werkstattgeschichte. 34 (2003): 29–52.Google Scholar
  53. 44.
    Jeffrey Herf, Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  54. Riccardo Bavaj, Die Ambivalenz der Moderne im Nationalsozialismus: Eine Bilanz der Forschung. (Munich, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Paul Betts, ‘The New Fascination with Fascism: The Case of Nazi Modernism,’ Journal of Contemporary History. 37:4 (2002): 541–58Google Scholar
  56. Norbert Frei, ‘Wie modern war der Nationalsozialismus,’ Geschichte und Gesellschaft. 19 (1993): 367–87.Google Scholar
  57. 45.
    Hans Peter Danielcik, “Leistungsgemein- schaft als Rechtsprinzip,” Die Deutsche Volkswirtschaft. 4, no. 22 (1. Augustheft 1935): 704–5.Google Scholar
  58. 46.
    Peter Hayes, “Corporate Freedom of Action in Nazi Germany,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute. 45 (2009): 29–42 and Christoph Buchheim and Jonas Scherner, “Corporate Freedom of Action in Nazi Germany: A Response to Peter Hayes,” in ibid., 43–50.Google Scholar
  59. 47.
    S. Jonathan Wiesen, “Miracles for Sale: Consumer Displays and Advertising in Postwar West Germany,” in Consuming Germany in the Cold War: Consumption and National Identity in East and West Germany, 1949–1989., ed. David F. Crew (Oxford and New York, 2003): 151–78.Google Scholar
  60. 48.
    Francis R. Nicosia and Jonathan Huener, eds., Business and Industry in Nazi Germany. (New York, 2004)Google Scholar
  61. Werner Abelshauser, Jan-Otmar Hesse, and Werner Plumpe, eds., Wirtschaftsordnung, Staat und Unternehmen: Neue Forschungen zur Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Nationalsozialismus. (Essen, 2003).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The German Historical Institute 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Jonathan Wiesen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations