Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s chapter, “Back to the Land” in Three New Deals discusses the concept of a “back-to-the-future movement” with the revival of “the region” (p 111). Fascism, National Socialism, and the New Deal all had reforms focusing on the decentralization of the state’s population. I found Stuart Chase’s perspective of this movement particularly intriguing. He argued decentralization was ideal for “maintaining and encouraging the handicrafts”(p 118). The main idea behind this movement was to restore the unity between nature and economy. The driving force behind this idea was the belief that a large, industrial economy was more problematic than a smaller, “crisis-resistant” economy (p 118). In Germany, these small regional settlements, landstadt, were overwhelmingly unsuccessful. The failure of landstadt was succeeded by the Industrie-Gartenstadt, which tied a community to large-scale industry.
National Socialist Propaganda used these settlements as a symbol of their architecture. However, these settlements did not contain the necessary power to fulfill this symbolic role (p 136). Schivelbusch ends this chapter by stating this orientation was shared with both Fascism and the New Deal. In what ways do you think these regimes shared characteristics with the National Socialists? If the landstadt couldn’t fulfill the symbolic power for propaganda, what could?
Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. “Back to the Land.” Three New Deals: Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, and the Rise of State Power in the 1930s. New York: Metropolitan, 2006. 105-37. Print.