Humanities Faculty Articles & Other Works

Document Type

Presentation

Published In

American Studies Association Conference

Publication Date

11-11-2004

Abstract

Coming on the heels of the economic “miracle,” as West German and international observers described the dramatic turnaround of the 1950s, West German consumer culture fully came of age in the 1960s. The most severe consequences of postwar deprivations like starvation, rationing or the focus on sheer economic survival became a thing of the past for most West Germans. The consumerist cornucopia promised particularly by the victorious United States, long desired and emulated, increasingly became a lived reality for quickly expanding segments of the population in the Federal Republic. From increased motorization and home ownership to a rapid influx of household and electrical appliances, increased disposable income fueled a leap towards a consumer culture already nascent in the late 1950s. West Germans worked less, spend more and began their eternal love affair with mass tourism. By the second half of the 1960s, commentators spoke of the emergence of a “modern way of life” and “new society” in West Germany.

Comments

A paper presented as part of the Mediated Border Crossings: Popular Culture of the 1960s in Comparative Perspective panel at the 2004 American Studies Association Conference in Atlanta, GA.

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