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Jason Cohen

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of nazi1

Was Nazism a
Modern Movement?

Technologically Modern
Nazi Germany invented the jet engine, the television, many medical discoveries, the highway, the computer and the Volkswagen Beetle.

Germany in the '30s and '40s was one on the most technologically progressive countries in the world.
Back to the Basics;
A Romantic Vision of 'Simpler Times'

Nazi Germany critiqued many facets of modern liberal capitalist democracies. They rejected consumerism and idealized the concept of a perfect Aryan family who worked the land and gave all for Germany
The Contradiction
Scholars have debated the level of 'modernity' present in Nazism

Its impossible to deny some level of technology in Nazi Germany, but how to balance this with the paradox of 'stählernde Romantik,' or steellike romanticism

Four opinions:
Jeffery Herf:
Reactionary Modernism
Not technology or culture, but technology and culture.
Technology does not have to mean materialism.
By synthesizing backward-looking romanticism and modern technology, Nazi Germany could become a 'beautiful new order.'
Civilian Germany never mean to be a technologically modern society
Technological advancements were only made for military prowess (even the radio)
Would do anything to achieve Lebensraum, even if it meant sacrificing Aryan values.
VW factory was quickly converted to a military truck factory
Nazis asked themselves: 'will this technology be good for us?
Nazis were only every thinking in their own self-interest and self preservation.
Deliberate and self-aware
Yes, Nazis were technologically advanced
Efficient, Mechanized, Bureaucratic
Bauman: Holocaust was ultimate fulfillment of technology
Well...What did the Nazis Think?
The word 'technology' only appears in Mein Kampf 4 times, whereas the word 'past' appears over 100 times.
Hitler recognized that the labor of 'inferior men' gave the Nazis technology, and with technology, they no longer needed 'inferior men.'
Hitler recognized that technology allowed lebensraum to occur
Technology shrinks space and reduces distance. . .

Fritz Todt: Politicians need not think in terms of technology, but technology must think in terms of politics
Let's look at this through the lens of the Volkswagen:
Hitler was an avid fan of motorsports and automobiles in general
Nazis constructed the Autobahn, the world's first limited-access highway system
The VW model rejected consumerism
Hitler set unachievable goals for the price of the car...as cheap as it was, workers still couldn't afford it, let alone the operating costs
It was actually very simple and mechanical, not a technological marvel
When the war started, the KdF factory was converted to a military truck factory
Was designed to look like a pickelhaube (German WWI helment)
What does this mean?
Hitler was NOT adverse to technology
Nazism could be be defined as TECHNOCRATIC
BUT, technology was not a #1 priority
Nazis had a complicated relationship with technology
Like many other things, it was employed when it would help their cause, and brushed away when it wouldn't
Kershaw: "'the German problem:' a combination of political and social backwardness combined with an advancing industrial economy
Disorganization; a relationship unclear even to the Nazis themselves
Structuralism: no clear directives
Disintegration over time
What does this
mean for us today?
(Personal Conclusions)
Let's let the private sector handle technology

Tight governmental control can lead to a militarization of technology

Technology can be manipulated for political gain: Racial Science
VW as a metaphor for Nazism
Full transcript