In both Koenker’s article on Soviet tourism and Reagin’s article on German housewives we see a similarity in the attempts made by both governments to sway their citizenry to a specific ideology. In Russia the communist party decided to control all forms of tourism. They were determined to change the view of tourism from the “bourgeoise” experience of knowing “only one street in a new city, the street from the train station to the hotel.” To the Soviet of idea of a tourist on a bicycle who “could observe al parts of a city, from its outskirts to its bridges…” This proletarian shift dominated all aspects of Soviet tourism in the interwar period. In Germany we see another cultural shift in regard to the way housewives conducted their household responsibilities. Although the cultural change was no wear near as dramatic as the one happening in Russia their was still an attempt made by middle and upper class German ladies to make the life of the everyday “frau” a little easier. This attempt was focused mainly on home economics, the German government still regarded kitchen as the females “workplace”. The changes attempted by the Germans although less dramatic then in Russia were still steps taken by the government to influence social life.
Koeneker’s article really struck me, mainly cause it was a topic I had never given though to. Although it is obvious through studying the Soviet Union that the communist party were involved in all aspects of life, its very interesting to see the amount of importance they put on such a “minor” issue in the scheme of things. When thinking of the Soviet worker tourism is one of the last things you would think of. The Soviet’s used tourism as another way to indoctrinate their citizenry, and keep the workers happy, and content. This show’s the depth that the Soviet state went to control their citizens.
Several points came to me when reading these two articles. Why did the Soviet’s focus so much on changing a clearly “upper class” pursuit? Why not just eliminate tourism all together. In Germany why was their such a focus on the improvement of house hold economics when the country was clearly lagging behind other western countries in regard to their infrastructure?