The Roaring Twenties in Europe

David Ellwood

in The Shock of America

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780198228790
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741739 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of Modern Europe

The Roaring Twenties in Europe

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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‘Everywhere there emerged the centrality of America — whether loved or loathed — as the crucial term of comparison when the topic was building the future in any form’; the challenges of 1920s modernity now become obvious: mass democracy, mass production, mass communication, and the last two bore unmistakeable signs of America all over them. A wave of adaptation ensued, particularly in Germany, where Fordism was thought to be the key to reconstruction. While the Americans, particularly Herbert Hoover, started to elaborate a new theory linking the survival of democracy to the promise of mass prosperity, a surge of self-conscious criticism of American mass society arose in Europe. Here French intellectuals created a new tradition, but disquiet in Britain was strong across the political and business classes. They attempted a controlled, limited, adoption of American ways, but were not particularly successful.

Keywords: postwar reconstruction; debts and reparations; Herbert Hoover; Fordism; anti-Americanism; 1920s

Chapter.  16726 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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