The 1930s: Capitalism on Trial

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 1930s: Capitalism on Trial

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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The Wall St crisis of 1929 intensified but did not alter an emerging intellectual critique of the new forms of consumerist society emerging in America. Some of these views flirted with totalitarianism but in reality the three major regimes developed their own distinctive relationship with the America-as-future question. Mussolini's Italy showed the most complex pattern, as the Duce was lionised by parts of the US élite. The Soviets thought they could borrow what they needed from US industry and Stalin refused to develop a specific analysis of American capitalism as such. Hitler had done so, but acted upon it only spasmodically, developing his own versions of Hollywood and Fordism. Meanwhile the radiant force of American corporations permeated Nazi Germany, while in the shadows a counter-culture listened to jazz and read book after book on the US.

Keywords: Wall St crisis; 1929; consumerist society; American capitalism; Hitler; Fascist Italy; counter-culture

Chapter.  16001 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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