Deutsche Kultur" und Werbung – Studien zur Geschichte der Wirtschaftswerbung von 1918 bis 1945 (2010)

in: Q-Serie

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This dissertation offers a history of modern commercial advertising during the first half of the twentieth century and demonstrates that despite cultural barriers, advertising colonized the everyday world of Germans and began to encroach upon "German culture". The work shows that the construct of "German culture" was not only defined by bourgeois high culture, but rather increasingly by factors from consumer culture. The imagery of advertising shaped national icons, created modified "surfaces" (for example, through illuminated ad media) and perceptions of space. Likewise, the logic of market differentiation and marketing began to determine social interactions as well as political communication (Hitler branding). This development did not progress without conflict: Debates surrounding both advertising as well as the direct confrontation between cultural critics and advertisers make clear that there was a massive collision between two mentalities. This allowed a conflict to emerge between traditional, guild thinking, high cultural representations and a putatively authentic aesthetics of content, on the one hand, and on the other hand, a "world of appearances" and aesthetic of the exterior form. One question in particular played a central role in this debate, namely: the extent to which capitalism, the market economy, consumption and the aesthetics of the modern Lebenswelt with its specific (commercial) texture were in accord with ideas of "Germanness."