Three New Deals by Wolfgang Schivelbusch is a historical analysis comparing Roosevelt, Mussolini, and Hitler between the years of 1933 and 1939. Schivelbusch states his thesis in the introduction; he argues that the programs of FDR, Hitler, and Mussolini (specifically the New Deal, Fascism, and National Socialism) all gave a new vision to their respected nation. Each leader did this through post liberal state-capitalist or state-socialist systems, rising as autocrats through legal means, and seeking a nation of protection and equality. Schivelbusch is clear to point out that he argues commonality between these leaders’ regimes, not sameness.
In chapter one, Schivelbusch elaborates on commonalities from Europe’s view, America’s view, common ground between the two, and with a section on “liberators from capital”. In this first section on Europe’s view, Schivelbusch focuses on Roosevelt’s embracement of national socialist economic and social policies. This adaptation can be seen through Roosevelt’s philosophy of collective good of the nation over individual interest. Hitler initially agreed with FDR’s general philosophy of sacrifice, as Mussolini agreed with his economics strategy of a more state-run economy with the National Recovery Administration. However, in the mid-1930s, criticisms of FDR’s policies exploded, ending the seeming ideological harmony between these three countries. In the second section of America’s view, Schivelbusch explains why FDR’s policies were often referred to as fascist. He explains the term “Fabian socialism”: a civilized version of fascism. Schivelbusch describes how commentators during FDR’s presidency used the term fascism while still acknowledging the general preservation of individual liberties. Like any political statement, this was a highly debated topic. Was Roosevelt maintaining liberty? Roosevelt has a keen likening to Mussolini’s economic policies until the mid-30s. Roosevelt kept his research of Mussolini’s policies secretive due to the public’s eye on his policies. Roosevelt knew Germany posed a great threat to the United States than Italy, perhaps influencing his interest in Italy’s politics rather than Germany. The term pragmatism also came up in this section, being described as “America’s philosophy of modernization”. In the liberators section, Schivelbusch talks about the rise of reform, focusing of America’s Progressive movement. He ends with the Progressive ideology, “Laissez-Faire is dead. Long live social control.”
The introduction explains the importance of monumental architecture; how does this fit into what Schivelbusch discussed thus far in chapter 1?