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Three New Deals

Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939

Wolfgang Schivelbusch

Picador

Today Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal is regarded as the democratic ideal, the positive American response to a crisis that propelled Germany and Italy toward National Socialism and Fascism. Yet in the 1930s, shocking as it may now seem, these regimes were not considered entirely antithetical. In his book, Wolfgang Schivelbusch investigates the shared elements of these three "new deals" to offer an original explanation for the popularity of Europe's totalitarian systems.
 
By reconstructing Depression-era attitudes toward security and government, Schivelbusch traces the emergence of a new type of state—one bolstered by mass propaganda, led by a charismatic figure, and designed to project stability and power. The gigantic public works programs favored by all three regimes not only put people back to work, they also convinced them of the government's unshakeable authority.
 
Schivelbusch uncovers stunning commonalities: the symbolic importance of the TVA dams, the German autobahn, and the reclamation of the Pontine marshes; the seductive persuasiveness of Roosevelt's fireside chats and Hitler's mass rallies; the vogue for monumental architecture; the omnipresent banners, badges, and buttons enlisting citizens as loyal followers and supporters of the state.
 
Schivelbusch does not equate the political systems identified with Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini or minimize their acute differences. Rather, by exploring their similarities, he both deepens our understanding of the New Deal and puts forward a provocative explanation for the still-mysterious popularity of Europe's most tyrannical regimes.

REVIEWS

Praise for Three New Deals

"Controversial, well written, and convincing, this is historical analysis at its most invigorating."--Minneapolis Star-Tribune
 
"Schivelbusch is a brilliant cultural historian . . . who brings a comparative cultural focus to the 1930s with fascinating and provocative ideas."--Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
"Illuminating."--Bloomberg News
 
 
Praise for The Culture of Defeat:
 
"A feast of ideas, many of them strikingly appropriate to our own bellicose times."--San Francisco Chronicle
 
"Fresh and provocative . . . A novel and thought-provoking book."--Houston Chronicle

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Wolfgang Schivelbusch

  • Wolfgang Schivelbusch is an independent scholar who divides his time between New York and Berlin. His books include The Railway Journey, Disenchanted Night, and Tastes of Paradise.
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    Three New Deals

    Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939

    Wolfgang Schivelbusch

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