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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

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. 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.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenters: Stephanie Haibach (Undergraduate Student)
Natalie Walton (Graduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 9:25 am Session I