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Creating the Nazi Marketplace
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Book description

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they promised to build a vibrant consumer society. But they faced a dilemma. They recognized that consolidating support for the regime required providing Germans with the products they desired. At the same time, the Nazis worried about the degrading cultural effects of mass consumption and its association with 'Jewish' interests. This book examines how both the state and private companies sought to overcome this predicament. Drawing on a wide range of sources - advertisements, exhibition programs, films, consumer research and marketing publications - the book traces the ways National Socialists attempted to create their own distinctive world of buying and selling. At the same time, it shows how corporate leaders and everyday Germans navigated what S. Jonathan Wiesen calls 'the Nazi marketplace'. A groundbreaking work that combines cultural, intellectual and business history, Creating the Nazi Marketplace offers an innovative interpretation of commerce and ideology in the Third Reich.


‘In this deeply researched and richly argued book, S. Jonathan Wiesen suggests that, rather than illustrating the ‘primacy of politics’ over the economy, the Nazi marketplace was central to the regime’s promise of future consumer abundance, the realization of individual achievement, and the creation of a purified ‘racial community.’ In addition to highlighting the contradictions in the regime’s attempt to reconcile communal and private interests and its pursuit of rearmament and war while satisfying civilian needs, the Nazi marketplace exposed the overlapping desires of business elites and marketing professionals to preserve their autonomy from political interference while advancing the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft.’

Shelley Baranowski - University of Akron

‘S. Jonathan Wiesen tells a fascinating, unsettling story: how Nazi elites attempted to engineer prosperity and how German citizens came to expect getting and taking. Racial comrades slipped easily into the role of consumers, which bound them more tightly to the imperial projects and unceasing violence of the Third Reich. Wiesen shows how Nazism was built on desire and entitlement.’

Peter Fritzsche - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

‘Shoppers, ad men, Rotary Club boosters, and market researchers are not the kinds of people we usually associate with Nazi Germany. But Wiesen makes precisely this connection as he explores the contradictory interdependence between a racist dictatorship and a modern consumer society. Meticulous research, original interpretation, and lucid writing make this a major contribution to our understanding of ordinary Germans who supported Hitler’s rule.’

Claudia Koonz - Duke University

‘S. Jonathan Wiesen’s book analyzes a still incompletely understood dimension of daily life under National Socialist rule, while also drawing attention to the larger issues of morality and violence that remain crucial to an understanding of the Nazi regime. In doing this, the work provides an original and valuable contribution to the scholarship.’

Rudy Koshar - University of Wisconsin, Madison

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