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The Shock of AmericaEurope and the Challenge of the Century$
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David Ellwood

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198228790

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198228790.001.0001

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The Roaring Twenties in Europe

The Roaring Twenties in Europe

Chapter:
(p.72) 2 The Roaring Twenties in Europe
Source:
The Shock of America
Author(s):

David Ellwood

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198228790.003.0004

‘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

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