Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 6

Ammara Ansari History 143 Essay April 9th Professor Peter van Lidth de Jeude An Analysis on Schivelbuschs Comparisons

s Between 1933 and 1939, the world was adjusting to the great chaos created by the Depression and the World War I. Germany, Italy, and the United States were searching endlessly for a stop to the economic turmoil that hurt them so terribly. Many of the policies implemented by Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt were similar but enforced in completely unique ways according to the nations circumstances and tradition. In fact, even the title of Shivelbuschs work Three New Deals is a reference to a relationship between the Italian and German policies and the New Deal that Roosevelt put into place. The word new suggests that there was a dramatic change across the board and the fact that there were three meant that they were similar yet quite distinct. All three leaders focused on post-liberalism, building up their charisma, the use of propaganda and technology, bringing the community together, the use of symbolism and architecture, and intervention in the economy. Classical liberalism was an evil that needed to be overturned. This ideology promoted limited government, much political freedom, individualism, and capitalism. In Germany, Italy, and the United States, Liberalism was seen as the main reason for the Depression. People were thought to be too selfish. There was not enough government regulation in the economy. The Great War made citizens all over the world believe that stability, strong leadership, and community were the only way to bring back the lost morale. Bolshevism was completely rejected because of its associations with Communism. All of these opinions of Liberalism were concurrent throughout all three nations but did have their unique methods of implementation. In

Italy and Germany for example, fascist dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler had eliminated all threats to the new post-liberal order. They then put up new rules that took over society and the economy in the hopes to benefit the people. In the United States, however, pragmatism, or "America's philosophy of modernization, thrived under Roosevelt (p. 34). Pragmatism was the equivalent of post-liberalism in Europe. All three rulers came into "power via varying but thoroughly legal means; it was under this new order that a new form of leadership arose (p. 14). Charismatic leadership and war rhetoric were necessary to help bring society back to its progressive self but application of these two ideals varied across the cultures. World War I and The Great Depression brought about a need for strong governance to keep order. Mussolini, Hitler, and Roosevelt were believed to be saviors from crisis. They were seen as integral part of their respective citizenry and were given more powers than their previous leaders. It "presupposed the ability on the part of the head of state to build and maintain a direct emotional connection with the masses" (p. 51). War rhetoric was common and was used to induce a sense of heroism and sacrifice for the greater good. What is surprising is that it worked. Many people were willing to give up their personal freedoms for the benefit of the entire community. All three believed that they were doing was right for their own people. They were attempting to rid their societies of the pain and suffering that they had been enduring for such a long time. In the end, nonetheless, it was only Roosevelt who used his powers without causing chaos to his society. He did not wish to take America to war and neither did he believe that the state was the only power in the nation. Though it must be noted that charismatic leadership was not the only aspect of the new order. Propaganda and technology played huge roles in the time after the Great Depression in all three countries, but again there was a great difference in the way that the leaders used them to

their own advantage. Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt needed a way to gain definitive support from their people. All used their technology in the best possible light. It was important to have as much popularity as possible in order to continue enforcing the policies deemed necessary. For Hitler and Mussolini, live rallies and parades were extremely effective. The people achieved a greater sense of community and emotional connection from all the efforts at opulence and selfpromotion by Il Duce and Der Fhrer. Citizens were pressed to follow the crowd and commend the leader's capabilities, or else they were considered outcasts. Mussolini and Hitler knew how to excite a crowd and get them on board. In the case of Hitler, he "exploited the techniques of classical rhetoric to establish a relationship of trust with his audience (p. 61). It can also be assumed that there was some religious element to his rallies: "[He] was a special kind of messiah who addressed the crowd at the beginning of these sermons (p. 62). One must also keep in mind that after Hitler and Mussolini came into power, they eliminated all forms of opposition. Roosevelt, however, had to constantly face conflict because he could not rid of the other political party. He preferred the radio. His voice was made for it. He was able to have conversations with the people on a more private level. Americans would subconsciously listen to the radio at home and make it a note to gather for the Fireside Chats. According to Schivelbusch, "the distance between public speakers and their audiences...radically shrank" (p. 55). The technology in The United States was definitely more advanced than in Europe, and that is another reason the radio worked. Apart from using propaganda, leaders of the twentieth century promoted returning to the ideals of the past and public works through varying projects. These were very deeply intertwined with propaganda as a whole. They believed that rendering public service and then publicizing it was probably the best way to legitimize their power. How else would they promote an ideal of

national peace and prosperity? In Germany, the Autobahn, "the world's first limited access road network", was a complicated system of roads that ran through the Reich (p. 172). The constructors of the road wanted to build the most scenic route rather than the shortest and most practical. Even though there were hardly any cars to drive on those roads, the project was seen as a big success for the German people. The aim of this huge task was to make the German vlk feel more connected to their land, nature, and to the past. In Italy, the Agro Pontino was a huge failure. It was a plan to create more settlements, but there were many problems with it. There was hardly any electricity and the land upon which construction took place was swamp. Mussolini tried to make it seem like a huge success, but it did not gain much support. In the US, the Tennessee Valley Authority was also seen as a huge flop as well. Many people who started living in these settlements felt like they were being controlled and watched. Obviously, being observed closely is seen as violation of one's privacy and liberty in the American culture. The press covered the project with great intensity and more than was needed. In the end, it actually gave a negative vibe to Roosevelt's ethos. Moreover, symbolism and architecture in the three countries were personifications of shoulders that the rulers could lean on when other policies did not work. They represented power and progress. Reconstruction and amelioration gained much international recognition. There was a race to see which people were the strongest and which nation could lead the world through these two venues. Furthermore, the two were very strong indications of nationalism. The Autobahn and Albert Speer's architectural designs were symbols of a magnificent Germany that consisted of a pure race. The use of a bright "red" was importantly the "symbolic color of the [Nazi] party (p. 81). In the United States, the Blue Eagle was symbolized hope for a better

future. All three nations had their own tactics to win the race of power and prestige symbolism and architecture were complemented with control of the economy. Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt all intervened in the economic system but in different ways in order to ensure greater stability. During their reigns, people were willing to give up many of their economic freedoms for the greater good. Again, liberalism had crushed people's morale and the one major way to boost it back up was through control of the economy. The Blue Eagle campaign in the US made sure that wages were fair. If businesses did not have the Blue Eagle sticker on their windows, many would often neglect those businesses. NRA's head Hugh Johnson was even reported to have said that "those who are not with us are against us" (p. 88). People were mainly shamed and blamed into doing what the government (or Roosevelt) thought was best for the country. Mussolini was known for his corporate state. Hitler was committed to a policy of Gleischaltung which nationalized labor, education, business, and etc. in Germany. The Winter Relief Program (WHW) even gave holidays and allowed for people of lower classes to enjoy greater leisure and relief. Italy and Germany, unlike the United States, actually punished non-compliance. It was their way of ensuring that the policies would work. Overall, looking for similarities between Roosevelt and Hitler and Mussolini might not have been as detrimental to American reputation as one might have thought. In fact, it is important to ask the question. All three leaders enforced policies that had similar aims but were implemented in different fashions and had varying effects based on culture and society. Postliberalism was a horrendous and malicious ghost that lurked in the hallways of freedom. The only way to destroy it was to strengthen control on the economy and legitimize leadership through propaganda and tightening of communities. One must remember, however, that we may

not assume that these leaders were the same. They reacted to the situations of their nations in unique ways.