The management of a country is like managing a machine. Occasionally its parts need to be fixed or replaced to keep the machine moving forward. For a country, a leader must install or fix its parts to help the country move forward. In the, Three New Deals, WolfGang Schivelbusch spent his fifth chapter on public projects that were introduced in the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, the United States, and Nazi Germany. Schivelbusch wrote that Italy, the United States, and Germany, under the conditions of the Great Depression, looked to the Soviet Union for innovation and progress. He stated that the leaders of these countries introduced programs in which they would help their countries move forward.
One of the more intriguing projects that Schivelbusch discussed in his fifth chapter was on the ‘Autobahn’. The autobahn, according to Schivelbusch represented what the TVA represented for the United States: “a promise that……had implied not just an increased convenience but also a kind of symbolic salvation.”1 The autobahn represented a sense of progress for German people. It meant that people did not have to rely on the state as much. What really intrigued me about this is that Germany decided to complete the autobahn before they completed the Volkswagen. How could a country like Germany install a major highway in before people had cars? As Schivelbusch stated, it was about capturing peoples imaginations about the possibilities, making people excited for the future and excited about the prospect of driving along the German landscape. ((Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. “Public Works” in Three New Deals. New York: Picador. 2006, 172.))
What strikes me about the autobahn, to me, is that it represented freedom. It seemed like a way of venturing off into the German land without any care in the world. Considering that Nazi Germany had repressed many freedoms, it seems strange to me that the Nazis would build a highway that could give Germans a dream of endless possibilities. Do you think that the autobahn was part of a greater dream of the Nazis?
- Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. “Public Works” in Three New Deals. New York: Picador. 2006, 169. [↩]