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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Weimar Consumerism: Revitalization, Americanization, And the Deception of Modernity

Title of Paper: Weimar Consumerism: Revitalization, Americanization, And the Deception of Modernity Analysis of Weimar consumerism reveals much about post-war Germany and its desire to create an identity disassociated from its former self. The Treaty of Versailles essentially shattered all preconceptions of German identity, pride, and the German spirit. Germany was thus faced with an opportunity to rebuild both physically and socially. This paper argues that Germany, fixated on creating a modern nation, sought to revitalize via creating a mass consumer culture. This paper highlights three main points of analysis: juxtaposing the second consumer revolution of the nineteenth-century and the pseudo-consumer revolution in Weimar; the Americanization of Weimar by mimicking American consumerism; and the creation of a modern identity Weimar hoped to achieve personified by the image of the New Woman. This paper uses a vast assortment of images, adverstisements, as well as a wide variety of both popular and academic writings published at the time. Ultimately, the paper argues that underneath the hype of Weimar consumerism, the modern lifestyles and level of modernity promoted by Weimar consumption was for the most part superficial, not representative of the majority of Germans, and consequently failed to achieve the image of modernity it promoted, and ergo provided a welcoming platform for the Nazis.

Presenter: Natalie Walton (SUNY Brockport) --
Topic: History Panel
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 3:35 pm (Session IV)