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Fordism, mass tourism and the third reich: the "Strength through Joy" seaside resort as an index fossil.

0. Introduction

Four days after Hitler was made Reichskanzler, he outlined his agenda in front of military commanders: the first objective was to gain total power by abolishing democracy and "eradicating Marxism root and branch." (1) In doing so the new regime proved to be a master in political staging. Implementing an old demand of the labour movement, the government declared the first of May a holiday. Union-leaders were pleased and encouraged their members to participate in the processions during the "National Labour Day." The following day, ten o'clock a.m., SA and SS stormed the houses of the Free Unions. Soon there were no trade unions and no political parties except for the National Socialist German Worker Party (NSDAP) and the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront). The coup against the unions had been launched by Robert Ley, organizational director of the NSDAP and later also chief of the Arbeitsfront, including its organization for the leisure time, "Strength through Joy" ("Kraft durch Freude"). (2)

At the first anniversary of the coup, two luxury liners left Hamburg and Bremerhaven for the Isle of Wight. One of them had Robert Ley on board, celebrating the beginning of a "new era" of tourism: "German workers" at the Seven Seas. And again, two years later Ley held a ceremony which was to mark a "new era." On May 2nd 1936, amidst a crowd of workers and men in uniform, he laid a foundation stone at Prora Bay on the Island of Rugen. It was the start of a gigantic construction: "the most colossal seaside resort of the world." Millions of Germans were to recuperate here at the Baltic Sea and so to demonstrate the superiority of the "Socialism of Deed."

The "seaside resort of the 20,000" never went into operation. Nonetheless, the project serves as an outstanding example of the basic concepts--and ambiguities--of modernity. Linking social, political and cultural history, (3) this article (4) attempts to analyze this project in the light of a universal precondition of the consumer society: the grammar of rationalization. In linguistics a grammar is a limited set of rules which allows the production an unlimited number of sentences. The grammar of rationalization engended such inventions as different as the slaughterhouse, the computer, or mass tourism.

1. "Modern Times"

'Metropolis'--the machine-like city of the year 2000 shocked the audience. When in 1927 Fritz Lang's lavish film came to German cinemas it proved to be a financial disaster; all too hopeless was his vision of the future world as a machinelike organism. Maybe Lang was a bit ahead of his time. (5) In 1936, 'Modern Times' was released in America: the tragicomic parable about depravation through technology. Charlie Chaplin's film was a huge success. He succumbs to the rhythm of the assembly lines; the machinery runs faster and faster, culminating in an apocalypse. 'Metropolis' and 'Modern Times.' as different as they were, dealt with the same topic, a topic that was the subject of much controversy on both sides of the Atlantic: rationalization.

This controversy was not only about new forms of factory organization. 'Rationalization' had entered consciousness as something that permeated all 'spheres' of life, as Max Weber put it. The attitudes towards this phenomenon were extremely divided. Some, such as Max and his less known brother Alfred Weber, saw rationalization as a fatal destiny: "Until the last ton of fossile fuel is burned out," capitalism and bureaucracy force humanity into an "iron cage" of dependency, ushering in the "domestication of the world." However, others, such as Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford, saw rationalization as the vehicle that would transport humankind into a happy future of full department stores and order books. There is no such thing like the "terror of the machine," Ford claimed. Also, if not with even greater vigour, Communists, like Antonio Gramcsi, praised the blessings of rationalization--the Soviet science of work dreamt of transforming the whole working class into a "social machine." Thus, in Aldous Huxkey's Brave New World, there were two gods: Marx and Ford.

Heated as it was, the global discourse on rationalization was characterized by a remarkable lack of a sense of history: the structure of this controversy was anything but new. It can be traced back at least as far as Rousseau and Voltaire. It is the debate on the costs and benefits of the "civilizing process" (N. Elias). At the dawn of modernity--especially in the second half of the 18th century--the perception of an acceleratetly changing world became common among the educated classes. This gave room for both fears and hopes. "Society" in this view was the result of a growing distance from "nature." The "natural" state of mankind, however, could be conceived as hell or as paradise--just as the discoverers reported on fierce cannibals on the one hand, and on Gardens of Eden, on the other. The course of history, correspondingly, could be seen as principally good or principally bad, as "progress" or as "degeneration." Therefore it is a fallacy to regard enlightenment and romanticism as subsequent phases (as in the common periodization of philosophy and arts); rather, they represented simultaneous, opposing attitudes towards modernity--inseparable like the two sides of a coin. (6) Since then at times a modernistic, at times an anti-modernistic zeitgeist has prevailed but both of them have always been present at the same time, often mixed in ambiguous ways.

The interwar period gave new vigour to this old and lasting controversy; 'rationalization' dominated thought with tremendous force. A typical quality of such terms, however, is their vagueness. Instead of compiling the innumerable connotations, let me distinguish four levels of meaning according to the range they cover, to the degree of abstraction:

1. A logical meaning referring to the basics, the universal principles of efficiency; this was a topic of mathematics and logic, partly of economic theory and philosophy. Though rarely speaking of a process (i.e. rationalization), the first level provided the others with criteria of an ideal state of a system (i.e. rationality).

2. A historical-philosophical meaning referring to the interpretation of the long-term processes of "Occidental rationalization" (M. Weber), or--hardly less far-reaching--to the emergence and structure of capitalism. This was a field especially of sociologists and politico-economists (from Comte to Marx, Durkheim and Weber).

3. A technological or economical meaning referring to the most recent stage in this process, in particular in respect of the organization of factory work and human engineering. This was the field of engineers, scientists, psychologists, and economists who formed the emerging science of work (Taylor, Munsterberg, Ford, Gilbreth, Bedeaux, Mayo and others).

4. Finally, a psychological meaning, namely the use of pseudo-rational justifications for irrational behaviour as defined by Freud (in a wider sense also the substitution of supernatural explanations by scientific ones).

Admittedly, these levels were often interwoven in many ways; it is just this hidden unison which makes a discourse. But although used in so many venues, ranging from arts to arithmetic, the public debate mainly referred to the third level, meaning mass production and assembly lines. Rationalization, in this sense, was just another word for 'Taylorism' and 'Fordism.' (7) While Taylorism was associated with inhuman (and on the long run contraproductive) restraint in the factories and used mostly in a disparaging intention, the broader term of Fordism made a brilliant, though also controversial career. Its meaning was twofold: the rationalization of production and its economic and social results--be it levelling, alienation and unemployment or be it good profits, high wages and cheap products; in this positive sense, moreover, Fordism comprised a whole ideology of mass consumption and of social engineering: the "white revolution." In this connection 'rationalization' was the catch word which stirred up the public, frightened the workers, inspired the managers and divided political parties and trade unions. The underlying principle, however, did not move the masses (except for the scandals that art exhibitions of the avantgarde provoked). But it proved to be highly universal--the grammar of rationalization became visible.

This grammar is based on the idea of decontextualization and of disassembling and recombining: Isolating complex processes from their context, breaking them down into their individual components, then combining them again to form a new structure. That which is superficial can be discarded; that which is mixed can be separated. The processes, laden with significance, with meaning and morality, with traditions and arbitrariness, can be melted down to the pure scaffolding of relations--as translucent as crystal and as unsurprising as doubleentry bookkeeping. This grammar, as everybody knows, provided for the victory of capitalism, step by step conquering science, technology and economy, judicial systems and management, the arts and philosophy. (8)

Fundamental aspects of this grammer had been formulated during the 19th century. Although a blind rationality obviously is something instrinsic to nature--and as such has always been a characteristic of humankind, as well--it now reached a new quality of man-made control. (9) Analyzing the change from craft to industry, none other than Karl Marx had perceptively revealed the principles. (10) The only element still missing to make the factory a single "mechanical monster," he concluded, was the "constant transport of the work-piece." Indeed, the practical application also requires internal transport systems and a "central clock" which coordinates the machinery. What Marx did not knew was that in America this problem was already about to be solved: assambly line work was introduced in gun factories and in Cincinnati's and Chicago's slaughterhouses--it started in association with killing. Then, in 1913, this principle was implemented in Henry Ford's car works in Detroit. Coincidentally, (11) Frank and Lilian Gilbreth decomposed the human movements into single "units" (they isolated exactly seventeen), and arts and architecture decomposed space and colour. Walter Gropius--founder of the Bauhaus--praised the industrial construction: "exact forms, devoid of any randomness. (...) Lining up identical parts." Ford's assembly line was neither an application of avantgarde aesthestics nor of scholary theories; but in turn, it inspired the attempts to automate not only production, but also thinking: in 1936 the computer was born, the universal calculating machine. Simultaneously, Turing, Post and Zuse designed their computer theories (12) (and thus the basics of our computers). All three had the radical division of labour in the factories in mind when they were in search of the smallest, irreducable steps of arithmetic operations--like Taylor or Gilbreth who identified the atoms of movements, like Feininger or Mondrian who identified the atoms of forms, they identified the atoms of thought. Rationalization had exeeded a crucial boundary: proof was furnished that its principles are potentially boundless.

Thus, in this connection a further invention is associated with the year 1936: the holiday machine. The "seaside resort of the 20,000" was a project as modern as the computer. Such a task had nothing to do with the nostalgic ideology of "blood and soil." It required cold-blooded, highly universal solutions--it required a holiday from the assembly line.

2. "Strength through Joy"

The project was to be a center piece of Nazi social and tourism politics. (13) In February 1934 the travel activities of "Strength through Joy" had a dramatic start. Special trains had rolled all through Germany, with flags, flowers and cheering masses at the stations. Within a week, ten thousand "worker-vacationers" were taken from the grey cities to the clear mountain air. This cheap travel was accompanied by an unbelievable torrent of propaganda and made the leisure organization popular within no time.

Under the bombastic name Nationalsozialistische Gemeinschaft "Kraft durch Freude" (NSG "KdF") it had been founded as a department of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF) in November 1933. This marked the provisional end of the harsh internal fights on the role of the Labour Front (although they lasted until 1935). Taking over the lower staff of the Social Democrat Free Unions and treating the Christian Unions gently, the DAF at first could appear as an overdue step towards a unified trade union. Social-revolutionary circles indeed had tried to from a Nazi union out of the small "Works Cell Organization" (NSBO), while others had aimed at corporative structures, similar to Italian and Austrian Fascism, which would have vested Ley with an enormous power. But these plans were thwarted. By no means did Hitler and his allies from big business want to allow a "second revolution." Thus, the Arbeitsfront had to unite "all working Germans" in order to "guarantee the establishment of absolute economical peace." (14) Although soon the biggest and wealthiest organization in the "new state," the DAF was reduced to a mere Party's instrument and a means for controlling the workplace. On the other hand, it had to "win the hearts of the workers"--a difficult task without supporting their interests. For it had to keep out of the industrial disputes, so the Labour Front looked for another sphere of activity--and found leisure time. So Ley was not responsible for the bread but for the games.

Of course, Ley did not admit his defeat when he held his speech at the KdF's founding congress. (15) Instead, he opened the prospect of a "people's community" (Volksgemeinschaft), where all Germans would have equal access to the cultural assets which still were in the hands of the bourgoisie. In his speech, Ley drew a line between the justified "envy" and the "inferiority complex" of the workers, fueled by "Marxist" ideology, on the one hand, and the ongoing debates on the perils of rationalization, on the other. Rationalization was a global, irreversible process that in future would even speed up--resulting in the loss of "joy" at work, in the "ruin" of physical and mental health, in the increase in "nervousness." Remedies were to expand leisure time and to care for its proper use. Already in 19th century England, "rational recreation" had been a favorite idea of social reformers. (16) Now, by offering the masses all sorts of once privileged leisure activities, Ley announced, KdF would become a decisive tool for overcoming class struggle as well as for improving health and performance.

Initially, holiday trips ranked low among the planned activities. (17) KdF was primarily designed to fill and control the evening and weekend leisure time. Ley worried that otherwise "boredom" would emerge, leading to "stupid, rabble-rousing, if not criminal ideas." In order to fight this dangerous "boredom"--in other words: to offer the "homeless" workers a substitute for their smashed organizations--a whole array of activities was launched: sports, theater, movies, cabaret, classical and popular music, folk-dance, evening classes etc. The intentions were ambitious. In particular, the head of KdF, Reichsleiter Horst Dressler-Andress, saw himself on a "mission" of bringing "culture" to the workers. KdF arranged highcarat concerts and exhibitions: Paul Hindemith conducted in factory halls and even works of "degenerated" painters like Emil Nolde were presented. However, the focus of the activities was changed quickly after the first KdF trains had met with an overwhelmingly positive response. The initiators--Ley, Dressler-Andress, and the head of the KdF-travel department, Bodo Lafferentz (18)--were themselves surprised by their success and promptly expanded the travel program. They were pleased that they had stumbled into an enormous gap in the market.

From that point now on, the founding of KdF was traced back to a Fuhrer's order: "I want every worker to get sufficient holiday time, and I want everything to be done so that these holidays and his other leisure times become a real recreation." (19) To Ley KdF offered the chance to upgrade his unpopular Labour Front. As the (partly compulsory) DAF membership automatically included that in KdF, the leisure organization finally stood open to the vast majority of the population. (20) And within KdF, it was tourism that counted: with four fifths of the enrollment, the travel department (Amt Reisen, Wandern, Urlaub; RWU) soon became the most important branch--many people regarded KdF as a kind of state-owned travel agency. In 1934, the journal Deutschland-Bericht of the exiled Social Democratic Party (Sopade) noted that the holiday trips made KdF an important propaganda tool, whereas the other KdF activities were hardly ever mentioned in everyday chats. (21)

The idea of turning the holiday trip into a mass-produced article was not at all new. In the end it goes back to the first English package tour organizers in the 1840s, among whom Thomas Cook became the most successful. He was a genius in making travel a standarized commodity, and at the same time saw it as a means to overcoming the "distinction of classes" and rescuing workers from booze and apathy. "Cookism" preceded "Fordism." The package tour, however, caused more a widening of the spatial scope than of the social scope of tourism. (22) Although better off workers flooded the pleasure beaches on Bank Holidays, their "excursions" were far from decent bourgeois travel. The 'proper' holiday trip remained a privilege of minorities.

Organizing 'bourgeois-style' tourism as a mass product was first put to the test on a large scale in Fascist Italy. From 1931, the Duce's leisure organization "After Work" (Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro; OND) sent "popular trains" through the country. (23) In the first year more than half a million Italians took advantage of the discount of up to 50%. However, the living standards of the "masses" were too low to afford such a trip without substantial subsidies; after the initial euphoria had dissipated the number of participants declined to about 100,000 per year.

But the concept of "popular trains" remained promising. When the Nazis picked up the Fascist model, they did so with German perfection and rapidly overtook their prototype. (24) Soon "Strength through Joy" became the world's biggest tour operator. Already the sheer size meant a market position of a new scale. The crisis-ridden hotel industry had to willy nilly accept KdF's offers of at least fifty percent below the usual level. With an average of 35 Reichsmark (RM) for an all-inclusive package tour in 1934 the KdF prices fell by two thirds compared to the "cheap" operators in the Weimar Republic--not to speak of the prevailing individual tourism. (25) The programe was expanded vigorously until 1937, when in terms of figures nearly a fifth of the population older than 15 had booked KdF trips. With that, the upper limit was reached; the capacities of the transport systems (in particular the railways which had to serve the growing needs of the Wehrmacht), as well as the spending power of the lower classes did not allow for a further increase. However, the figueres were unique at that time and are still impressive.

By the outbreak of war, some 8 million package tours had been sold by KdF, almost a tenth of which--more than 700,000--were spectacular cruises abroad with the KdF fleet. Taking all trips together, more than 45 million had traveled with KdF in the prewar years. (26) Of course, only the holiday tours were really a sensation. To provide some examples: A seven day all-inclusive tour to Reit im Winkel in the Bavarian Alps cost 28 RM; ten days at the seaside resort of Heiligenhafen 44 RM; a seven day "reduced offer" into the Swabian Jura only 16 RM. In addition to those 'normal' holiday trips there were also 'special' tours, e.g., an eight-day skiing course costing 48 RM. In accordance with the global trend, the vast majority of the KdF trips went to domestic destinations. An exception were tours to allied Italy after 1937. The absolute highlight, though, became the cruises. They were not included in the original program. But after the first cruises proved to be so successful, KdF bulit up the world's biggest cruising fleet and launched two luxuury cruisers of its own: the 'Robert Ley' and the 'Wilhelm Gustloff.' The prices were unriveled: an eighteen day journey to Madeira, a traditional destination of the English upper class, cost about 120 RM, a sevenday cruise to Norway 42 to 63 RM. A Swiss novelist trumpeted: "A nation at sea!" (27)

With great relish, propaganda reminded of the Social Democrats' promise that one day the workers will be aboard luxury liners and cited the planned travel program of the trade unions for the year 1933: just twelve tours had been announced with prices ranging from 42 RM--a three day excursion--to 350 RM. And now: workers strolling through chic resorts and spas, tanning on the decks of cruisers! In the beginning, many people hostile to the regime thought this was simply a fraud. But they soon learned that it was not quite wrong when posters lured: "Now you, too, can travel!" or more poetically and in respect to the KdF travel saving system: "Weave your own dream carpet!" The impression was so strong that the chief of the KL Dachau wanted to send a political detainee on a trip to Norway--for "he is an obdurate Communist and may be convinced by the facts." (28)

No wonder the underground opposition was alarmed, worrying whether this could really work. The Sopade-Bericht was at least ambivalent: "Some get enthusiastic, some grumble." Summing up the local reports from all over the country, the editors wrote: "The judgements are divided." This remained true in the coming years (29)--considering the Sopade-Bericht was published by the resistance, positive assessments count double. In contrast to nearly all other fields of the social politics, the KdF trips were often reported to be a great success. Former union officials had to hear: "Now we see what our subscriptions are really good for." From Bavaria, e.g., it is said that "according to the concurring reports of all (Social Democratic) comrades, KdF is a positive achievement for the regime. These trips get more and more popular, and how cheap they are is astonishing."

While excursions and even short holiday trips were nothing new for manual workers, (30) the 'proper' tourism had remained in the realm of the upper and middle classes. (31) Although the travel intensity had increased since late 19th century--in particular among the clerks and teachers, male and female, as the harbingers of modern lifestyle--the boundary between blue and white-collar workers had not been challenged: the holiday trip functioned as a social marker. And now the propaganda could chime: "Travel is no longer a privilege for the wealthy classes. Thanks to KdF every national comrade (Volksgenosse) is now able to partake in tourism." (32)

This was not only due to the cheap package tours--in addition, the holiday entitlements were greatly improved. Traditionally Germany (together with Austria) had the best arrangements in this respect; now it increased its lead. In 1938 more than 87% of the workers in the metal-processing industry enjoyed a yearly holiday of six to twelve days. (33) Even the International Labour Office had to acknowledge not only "Strength through Joy" but also the holiday entitlements as exemplary.

3. Socialism of Deed

KdF provided indisputable evidence of how effectively the grammar of rationalization can be applied to the production of holiday trip--just as Henry Ford had demonstrated with his Tin Lizzie how to turn an unattainable object of desire into a mass-produced article.

The Nazi version of Fordism was the "Socialism of Deed" (Sozialismus der Tat). This term suggests that The National Socialism really improves the living conditions of the workers, and thus makes the working class and their "Marxist ideology" obsolete. The greatest trump in this connection was the decrease in unemployment which finally ushered in manpower shortage. But Socialism of Deed was more then having a job again: The "cultural mission" of KdF, Dressler-Andress wrote, is "to overcome the traditional contrast between work and man." (34) A lofty mission, indeed. Probabely he really had a cultural "revolution" in mind which breaks with the curse of alienation. However, more often and less pathetically Socialism of Deed was simply defined in terms of "standard of living." In this connection, DAF experts demanded that the "traditional concept of wages" should be replaced by transfers in form of "organized consumption." (35) Along this line the regime concentrated on reducing the prices of prestigious goods to such an extent that they could symbolically represent the prosperity that the worker parties had failed to give the workers. Standarized mass production should provide all households with "popular" products like refrigerators or cameras (already in 1932 Agfa had marketed a Volkskamera); most spectacular were the Volksempfanger (two simple radio types), the Volkswagen (which was never delivered), and travelling--only here were really impressive achievements made.

Thus, when the KdF cruiser 'Robert Ley' was launched in March 1938, Hitler could say: (36) "The National Socialist state, the National Socialist Volksgemeinschaft are trying to make everything accessible to our Volksgenossen that was formerly the privilege of a limited social class. (...) This is an objective that in the beginning appeared to be unimaginable. At that time there were many who believed: this program looks so much like Marxist promises, that it cannot come true. Well, my Volksgenossen, it is on the way to being fulfilled!"

Travel became a substitute both for higher wages and for civil and social rights. As Kuhnl had put it: The Labour Front "was not to produce social justice but the illusion of social justice." (37) The social politics were grounded in the abolition of democracy in general and of the right to strike and the participation rights in the work-place in particular. Instead, white and blue-collar workers were both labeled as "followers," bound to the "leader of the firm" by mutual "loyalty and duty." Mitigating this paternalism, the regime spoke of "workers of the brow and workers of the fist," signalling the dissolution of the traditional status hierarchy: All Germans form a great community, the Volksgemeinschaft--except, of course, those of racial or other genetic "inferior quality" and those who were "stubborn" opponents. The "orderly" German worker, thus, was ennobled by merely belonging to that community--hypertrophic aggravation of the basic concept of nationalism. The space in which this banishing of hierarchy within the Volksgemeinschaft should take place was conceived, however, as outside the crude sphere of power, politics and work: in the realms of culture, leisure and consumption. A truly pioneering concept.

Of course, time was all too limited for this to be really translated into action. The promised land of affluence was counterpointed by Hermann Goring's famous slogan: "Guns instead of butter!" The cash had to flow first into the producer goods and the military buildup. Wages had to remain low, both to safeguard the profits and to avoid an increasing demand for consumer goods, in particular for imported raw materials. Holiday politics promised a solution to the regime's conflicting aims: taming the working class and preparing for war. Spending money in the domestic tourist industry reduced the demand for limited goods and imports. And improving the holiday entitlements (38) contributed to keeping the wages low and thus also to reducing the spending power freely disposable. And KdF tourism and paid holidays were indeed an improvement in the standard of living. Thus, both could function as a conspicious symbol of upward mobility. (39) "There is probably no nation," the newspaper of the DAF commented on the first cruise to Madeira, "which takes so much care of the working people (Werktatige) as Germany." (40)

To sum up: "Strength through Joy" promised to combine many different functions in an ideal way. First of all:

1. Winning "the hearts of the workers" or--less sentimentally--promoting the integration of the working class.

2. Providing for consumption control along the lines of the autarky politics.

Further objectives were: (41)

3. Giving a push to the tourist industry which was in a severe decline due to the Great Depression. This goal was dropped or modified, resp., when tourism recovered.

4. Strengthening the "love for Germany" and overcoming regional fractioning and hostilities, e.g., among Bavarians and Prussians--a widespread idea (42) and already promoted by Friedrich L. Jahn a hundred years before. Nation building became a main objective in 1938, when KdF was employed to integrate Austria.

5. Promoting the "strength," i.e. the health and performance of the work force; in this connection DAF officials loved to speak of the "achieving community" (Leistungsgemeinschaft). However, the argument that KdF "overhauls" the worker like a car motor primarily aimed at the skeptical business community and later also at opponents within the regime (43).

6. Creating a safety valve for activists from the left wing of the NSDAP: In the first years KdF offered a playground to those who were frustrated by the regime's social politics and its alliance with big business.

7. Offering incentive tourism for Nazi "bigwigs" as well as for workers--the "leader of the firm" could reward diligent "followers" by awarding them a cruise to Madeira; this went of course well with the two main objectives.

8. Finally, KdF functioned as an instrument for foreign propaganda, (44) thus mitigating the grim image of the Third Reich.

The pictures of the classless luxury liners were a sensation. Moreover, together with Italy, the regime fostered the international leisure movement. In 1936 the second "World Congess on Leisure and Recreation" was held in Germany, gathering 3000 delegates from 61 nations. (45) Rudolf He[beta] issued the motto: "A proper organization of the working people's leisure time is a decisive precondition not only for social peace within the nations, but also for political peace among the nations"--a masterpiece of dissimulation that sounded like the former program of Thomas Cook. Bodo Lafferentz, director of RWU, praised his cruisers as "ambassadors of peace" and stated: the "class-concious worker has disappeared." The congress' honorary president, Gustavus Town Kriby from the USA, was impressed: "'Strength through Joy' grew from a mere ideal to reality." Also an international agency Joy and Work was installed. As its president, Robert Ley was received in London by King George VI shortly before the outbreak of war. Nontheless, foreign propaganda was a by-product of holiday politics. By and large, KdF was essentially domestic politics. Admittedly in a special sense: in the eyes of the regime's inner circle all domestic policy was to serve foreign policy agendas: expanding the "biosphere" according to the visions of the German master race. The regime therefore could not elude the self-created dilemma of "guns" and "butter"--or better: it postponed its solution for after the victorious blitzkrieg.

Until then, the Nazi version of a "white revolution" was curtailed by Hitler's secret order from 1936 that Germany had to be "ready for war" within four years. The regime was forced therefore to preach old-fashioned abstinence, too. A tight-rope-walk, especially since the prospect of a renewed war was anything but popular. Goring, responsible for this "Four-Years-Plan," expressed no understanding for the dilemma. He regarded the DAF as an enemy that "spreads wrong social ideals among the workers" and theatened: "I will ruthlessly take action against every obstruction by the Labour Front." Certainly, Goring failed "to take away all raw materials and workforce" from the DAF. But to the inner cirlce of power, social politics was just a tool of "great politics," or as Ley put it: "The Leader does not speak of wages and prices, but of soul, race, blood, soil, and fatherland." No wonder, Ley had a difficult position. (46) Nonetheless, the Volksund Leistungsgemeinschaft was more then a mere phrase. The term 'Socialism of Deed' could have come from Henry Ford himself. Not only was he an ardent anti-Semite and backed Hitler, his paternalistic engeneering, designed to curb both Marxism and Conservatism, went well with this kind of Socialism. From pushing efficiency and destroying participation in the firms to the concept of defining the social status by consumer opportunities--the Third Reich certainly swam with the mainstream of modernization. (47)

4. The "seaside resort of the 20,000"

Admittedly, in respect to the implementation of assembly lines, Germany was far behind the USA. (48) Ferdinand Porsche, for instance, when he built up the Volkswagen works (1938 named KdF-Wagen) which were to produce 1.5 million cars per year, wooed away numerous experts from the Ford works in Detoit. But in the industrialization of travelling Germany took over the leading role. This takes us back to that 2nd of May 1936, when the foundation stone for the "seaside resort of the 20,000" was laid on the Island of Rugen. What were the grounds from which this ambitious project emerged?

The response to the cheap travel oriented towards middle-class standards was surprisingly positive, but unexpected problems also arose, specifically in two respects: First, it became clear that unskilled workers, and above all whole workingclass families, were hardly in a position to come up with the travelling expenses without further subsidies--a flagrant violation of the widely-disseminated family politics. Second, the tourist industry proved to be rather ungrateful: Instead of applauding the fact that their spas and seaside resorts were suddenly filled with KdF-holidaymakers, the tourist associations complained that "Strength through Joy" was taking clients away from the commercial operators and chasing off the "solvent public" in the chic resorts. (49)

No better demonstration of the "shattering of bourgeois privileges" was really required. However, in this conflict of aims, the KdF's head office was guided less by its egalitarian mandate, than by the complaints of the middle classes, the social backbone of Nazism. The retreat from the luxury hotels began: KdF tourists were increasingly sent to undeveloped touristic areas, such as Eastern Bavaria; finally, former Austria became the main destination (with some 70%). Initiallly more than 60% of the KdF holiday trips led to traditional German spas and beauty spots, in 1939 less than 5%.

Nevertheless: At the seaside the strategy of "no friction" with established tourism could hardly be implemented--the capacities were limited. But the seaside holiday could not be entirely removed from the program. Thus, the plan emerged to build its own tourist towns on the beaches and so make KdF independent from the private hotel trade--and also cement the spatial class distinction in tourism. In 1935, Ley explained that the Fuhrer had given him instructions to "think through the possibilities of a mass seaside resort with 20,000 beds." (50) Five such "mass resorts" were planned on the Baltic Sea: on Rugen, near Kolberg, Konigsberg, Kiel, and Danzig. In 1940 there was even talk of ten such resorts. Three to four millions would have been driven through these holiday plants each summer.

Rugen functioned as the pilot scheme and was to be be completed before the war. (51) However, in the beginning there was an embarrassing delay. On July 30th, 1935, with a handshake, Malte von Veltheim, Duke of Putbus, indicated his agreement to "hand over" part of his property at Prora Bay as a building lot--whatever "hand over" may mean in this context. The document was legally hardly worth the paper it was written on since it stated neither the size of the lot, nor the price, nor even the new owner. It appears that Ley was in a hurry to snatch the uniquely lovely land away from the Duke: A gently curved bay, pine forests, a wide, white beach.

One of the signatories of this strange agreement was the architect Clemens Klotz. Acquainted with Ley since 1925, he had joined the NSDAP in 1933 and became Ley's favorite architect. As the wealthiest Nazi-organization, the DAF provided him with an immense market. Hitler, the maniac lay architect, made him Professor but did not think highly of him--Klotz once had been a member of the Werkbund. (52) Alfred Rosenberg, the guardian of "blood and soil," was not quite wrong when he gibed, Klotz lacks "deepening." Indeed, this architect was able to master every style ranging from the cool elegance of New Realism to the impressive pomp of neo-classicism.

A day after Ley's handshake with the Duke of Putbus the headline of Der Angriff read: "Fuhrer's order: Five huge KdF seaside resorts!" The plans have "already been commissioned." (53) The latter seems to tally with the truth: Ley could present a first draft of the blueprints in September; a month later, on the occasion of the second anniversary of KdF, there already was an exhibition of "plans and models" including a doll's house showing the standardized decor of the guest-rooms. (54) In February 1936, however, for as yet obscure reasons, a competition was suddenly announced. Albert Speer, head of the KdF-department "Beauty of Work" and Hitler's favorite architect, was entrusted with carrying it out. He selected eleven participants from quite diverse directions ranging from neo-classism to modernism, including such prominent names as Giesler, Bestelmeyer and Tessenow. Meanwhile, without the competition having been decided, Ley staged the laying of the foundation stone. In August 1936--during the Olympics--Hitler officially viewed the draft plans on display in Berlin, only to announce that his choice was the design by Klotz after all. (As the only major modification, the festival hall was to be built according to the neo-classical design by Erich zu Putlitz. (55))

The concept was brilliantly simple and perfectly adapted to the given local circumstances: an arc, nearly five kilometers long. Here Klotz had picked up the basic pattern of a 'bourgeois' seaside resort: a promenade with hotels along the beach and in the center a square or mainstreet leading to a pier--but he inflated this pattern by means of repetition into dimensions of a new quality:

The center of the complex comprised a square of 400 by 600 metres, containing a tower with restaurant, the monumental festival hall, the elegant reception buildings and "large-scale cafes" etc.; towards the sea there was a massive quayside with two piers for KdF cruisers. Adjoined to the left and right side of the central square, however, were the six-storey accommodation buildings, the "residence wings," stretching 90 metres from the water line behind a promenade running parallel to the beach. Each of the wings (technically divided into four segments) extended over more than two kilometers. As Prora is an evenly curved bay, this made geometrically for one sixteenth of an imaginary giant circle. The residence wings were erected in skeleton construction and contained more than 10.000 rooms, most of which were identical hotel rooms, all with seaview--a really "Socialist" achievement, considering that the privilege of seaview symbolized the elite in the resorts. In accordance with modern architects' term "functional room-cells," the guest-rooms--as the atoms of the complex--were called "living and sleeping cell units." They "measure 2.20 by 4.75 m and are all identically furnished with two beds, a washstand with running water and waterproof curtain, wardrobe (...) table, chairs and a couch." Each pair of "cell units" was connected via a communicating door, so that a six-member family could be accommodated. Furnishings, kitchenware, bedding, even the complete set of beach utensils, right down to the bathing suit, were designed by the DAF according to rational principles.

At the rear of the residence wings, towards the woods, 96 stump-like wings were attached; they contained mainly the stairways and the bathrooms. Thus, from the backside one faced an endless row of backyards. Approaching from the ocean side, on the other hand, the sight was of breathtaking modernity. Here, ten massived though slender "community halls" or "dining houses" protruded from the residence wings, each seating 2,000 guests. These tracts jutted into the water line and thus divided the beach into eight, just half a kilometer long segments--the vacationers' "home area." Here, calculations said, each guest was provided with five, or according to other calculations ten, square metres of the beach. The rounded ends of the dining tracts resembled the stern of a ship--with its plentiful light and glass this was a "cheerful" architecture with "elegant simplicity," praised the Baugilde.

The resort was to function as a modern entertainment center, offering--besides the beach life--theaters and cinemas, bowling alleys, indoor swimming pools with artificial waves etc. In addition numerous secondary facilities were needed inland. Among them a train station, 5,000 underground parking lots, residential areas for 2,000 employees, hospital, power station--and a slaughterhouse. A complex of such dimensions required excellent logistics: The problems associates with "bringing, distributing and removing large masses of people," the Baugilde wrote, "were, with the aim of total efficiency, brought to a mature solution."

Ley managed to budget a fantastic 100 million RM for his project on Rugen. (56) It became the second largest civil construction site of the Reich, after the autobahn. Up to 15,000 people worked there in the middle of a once untouched nature reserve. "This luxurious 'resort for the rabble' is a thorn in the flesh of German bourgeois conformists," as the Sopade-Bericht enviously put it: "It is one of the most effective architectural advertisements for the Third Reich." By September 1939 the construction--except for the festival hall and the dining tracts--had almost been structurally completed. (57) Nonetheless, production in the holiday plant never started up; the premature outbreak of war forestalled the opening planned for 1940.

5. A "word of stone"

Outside Germany, too, the project met with great interest. The plans went on display at the World Fair in Paris 1937 and were awarded a Grand Prix. Although in respect to the style and the building technique were partly rather conventional, it was an outstanding example of modern architecture, of an architecture which was essentially Fordistic. "Lining up identical parts" was exactly the principle which was praised by the trailblazers of modern urban planning and architecture, under headings such as 'International Style,' 'New Construction' or 'New Realism.' Their gospel became the Charter of Athens, initiated by Le Corbusier and approved in 1933 by the Congres Internationale d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM). The world has to be freed from the mess and arbitrariness of history. Instead, an austere network of relations has to be erected, a utopia, ruled by the rational "disjunction of the functions." The basics sound familiar: (58) "Each structure has to be decomposed into its single elements, in order to integrate them in a new way according to rational principles. As modern painting has shown, this method allows one to get rid of the whole burden of traditional forms, and to create a tabula rasa as the foundation for the making of a completely new world."

Adopting Sullivan's motto "form follows function," the CIAM had declared: "Urban development must never be influenced by aesthetical reflections but only by functional conclusions." Repelled by the sunless, cramped conditions in the cities, well-intended architects became obsessed with order. Together with his cousin, Le Corbusier ran a planning office, proposing to tear down Algiers and to put the inhabitants into tower blocks; the two main buildings--comparable to the "residence wings" by Klotz--stretch along the beach for twelve kilometers. Similar plans were made for Paris (it was envisioned to consist of eighteen gigantic skyscrapers or of a vast triangle in the middle of nowhere). One might dismiss those plans as childish power-fantasies if they had not been so influential. In 1946, Hans Scharoun, whom the Soviets made the chief urban planner in Berlin, praised the blessings of the bombing war: the air-raid damages allowed for an overdue urban renewal (a stance already held among architects of Speer's planning team). Scharoun's Berlin consisted of a grid of "functional zones" but was--due to the division of the capital--never realized for the most part. In countless other places those ideas came true. The CIAM general secretary, Sigfried Giedion, could herald a new age in which "mechanization takes command." (59)

In this view, machine-like structures were not "mechanical monsters" (as Marx had called the factory), but they were beautiful because they were functional. Thus, the resort at Prora Bay was indeed a beautiful machine, namely a "dwelling machine" (a term coined by Le Corbusier). It was a machine for producing fun, health and loyalty, engendered by the grammar of rationalization. Even today, architects are impressed by the "consequently functional solution" and the "elegant figure" following the "principles of New Realism." (60)

As modernism and anti-modernism are in a constant battle, such praise povokes protest. Since the seventies, the Charter of Athens is no longer the (only) architect's bible. In the past decade, the project of Clemens Klotz has been critizised harshly. But already to Alfred Rosenberg--not only a personal enemy of Ley's but also an ardent foe of modern "Bolshevist" architecture--the project was a contradiction in itself: the workers will be carted "from the urban crowd into a mass machinery even worse." (61)

This leads us into the further fate of this complex. During the war wounded and bombed-out, after the war displaced persons were put into the Aryan seaside resort, until the Red Army plundered and partly destroyed it. After 1950 the National People's Army of the GDR used it and the whole environs was resticted area. After reunification the last soldiers withdrew--what should happen to "Prora" (as the complex was called now), to the ruins, the remaining 9847 rooms, and the 3.5 million squaremeters of land? Investors promised to rebuild the complex for the original tourist purposes, including marina and 15,000 parking lots. Luckily, historians and community action groups achieved a "pause for reflexion" and the complex was listed. Local actors would like to turn the remains, or at least parts of them, into a museum that denounces the inhumanity of the Nazi regime. To them Prora is a "word of stone"--a term coined by Hitler on another occasion. (62) Since the "only objective of KdF was to stabilize a criminal system," Prora is labelled a "place of offenders" standing for the "terror" of the Third Reich and thus must not become a holiday paradise. Instead, an "educational place" should be developed at this "authentic" scene, last not least to prevent a pilgrim's site for Neo-Nazis--although here "even a naive visitor" realizes that Nazism was nothing but "visible and touchable megalomania." As can be easily seen, there is some inconsistency in the arguments.

First of all, nearly all that was built during the Third Reich helped--in one way or the other--to "stabilize a criminal system." The term "place of offenders" does not make much sense, if applied to all sorts of buildings, regardeless of their function and history. In an emerging market of remembrance, local actors may tend to emphasize the monstrosity of "their" spot--and indeed, the complex might appear a monsterous colossus. But neigther was it designed to commit nor did it witness exceptional "actrocities."

Secondly, Prora is a poor example for the "inhuman," monumental "words of stone," as favoured by Hitler in connection with important public buildings. Instead its structure simply follows the cool principles of Fordist architecture as promoted by the CIAM or the Bauhaus (stylistically Prora was a compromise: the moderately modern residence wings--today, they resemble the housing scheme of the fifties--were contrasted both with the neo-classical festival-hall and with the ultra-modern dining tracts and cafes). Admittedly, nowadays many people feel that this sort of architecture is "inhuman"--but this is no judgement on a peculiarity of Nazism.

Finally, even if--at all costs--one counts Prora as part of the "Nazi architecture," one should keep in mind that symbolic attributions to buildings rather reflect their shape than their use. Suppose that the KdF town had been used by the GDR's "Vacation Service" instead of by the Army, (63) it would be regarded quite differently today. In 1945, bombastic constructions like Berlin-Tempelhof Airport were taken over gladly by the new authorities, in particular by the Americans; in the collective memory Tempelhof is by no means associated with "megalomania and terror" but--since the Airlift 1948/49--with "freedom and democracy." (64) Only long after the war, the alledgedly unique "Nazi architecture" became a mighty symbol of evil in the eyes of German intellectuals, thus at the same time ennobling and daemonizing it afterwards, surpassing its original psychological effects by far. (65)

6. Conclusions

6.1. What Prora stands for

The debate on the "colossus of Rugen" can serve as a warning example for a restriced view on Nazism. What Prora actually "stands for" obviously differs from the prevailing assessments with their moralizing undertone. The complex was simply an uncompromising application of the basics of mass tourism--"standardization, mounting, serial production" (H.M. Enzensberger). Societies are of "incredible complexity" (N. Luhmann): they are related to other societies and consist of many "systems," of levels and ranges of experiences, practices, discourses, policies. This means that "normality" can coexist alarmingly well with "barbarism" (D. Peukert). Since the "joy" produced by KdF was to serve all but innocent ends, there remains an ambiguity at Prora Bay, making all planning delicate. But refering solely to the "great politics" would be an all too narrow approach. (66) The "joy" experienced by the individual KdF tripper is of another quality and scope and is worth another historical perspective. And so are the technical means to produce it. The complex at Prora is no fit object for a condemnation as megalomanic "Nazi architecture." Meanwhile countless beaches have been transformed into holiday plants. Many of them outrival Prora by far--to mention only Benidorm, "the most efficient machine of mass tourism in Spain:" the fishermen's hamlet was made a mass resort during the Franco era and today takes pride in more than 60,000 beds in its dwelling machines. (67)

Millions of vacationers love such arificial paradises. The "fantastic dreams" of the KdF stategists had come true--or rather turned into a nightmare. Among the middle classes, namely, instead of "mechanization," a "post-modern" cult of individuality, naturalness and rootedness "takes command." The shape of tourist organization and architecture is partly changing. But here is much confusion because the refinement of "mechanization" tends to result in concealing the underlying grammar. Flexibility does not contradict rationalization--but follows from it. Present-day computers, for instance, no longer force the users to struggle with highly formalized input standards--you may even talk to them; nontheless, they are based on the very same logic architecture as the former "electronic brains." Already in the 1920s Ford's original system was replaced by more refined applications: General Motors president Alfred P. Sloane Jr. introduced flexible mass production in order to speed up the model cycles and to offer a range of marques from Pontiac to Cadillac--each with a different image although substantially composed of the same elements. But there was no "Sloanism," since it was just another phase of "Fordism." The grammer of rationalization is an all too powerful device to be abolished just by a change in zeitgeist.

Therefore--and not only for the socially biased perception of vacationing--it is a fallacy when tourist experts and sociologists herald the dawning of a "new," a "post-modern" or "post-Fordist" age. (68) Like Sloan's cars, the holiday trip is a commodity which consists for the decessive parts of intangible goods, such as "fun," "recreation," "nature," "freedom," "flair," or "status." Consumption in general, but tourist consumption in particular is an active practice. On the personal level, tourist experience always combines standarized supply with individual appropriation. Accordingly, on the social level, tourists consume and produce an enormous scope of experiences. Tourist places are both stage and mirror, they document and require "taste" (P. Bourdieu). Right from its origins in the 18th century, tourism served as a prominent field of "distinction"--a never ending game, especially driven by the educated classes. "Post-modern" tourism, thus, is new wine in old bottles. Although tourism is regarded and sold to us as a counterpart to our frantic, mechanized everyday life, as a realm of "freedom," of playful values and individual practices--as a mass phenomenon tourism and tourists are inevitably part of the very same machinery which they try to elude. (69)

What Prora "stands for" is less typical for a certain regime than for a certain stage of "modern times." In this connection, admittedly, the complex is a "word of stone:" an index fossil which confirms to George Orwell's famous notion that the "machine civilization" aims at total control to assure the "paradise of little fat men." Amittedly, on the one hand, the terror of efficiency rules independently from application fields and political systems. But on the other hand, it was directly linked with political terror. Among many advocates of rationalization there was the strong belief that only heavy-handed policy can pave the way to an orderly, wealthy, egalitarian society. The Charter of Athens demanded: "the private interest will be put under the public interest" and everybody shall have "access to the fundamental joys" ([section] 95). (70) This comported well with the Nazi slogans; but even better was the call for "a political power of the sort desirable--clearsighted, sure and determined" ([section] 91). No wonder, Le Corbusier both admired the Russian revolution and the French Fascist leader Pierre Winter. Together they dreamt of the destruction of Paris to build it anew with mathematical precision. Making tabula rasa and creating a Brave New World--such high-flown visions demanded the Great Central Clock, the political framework of a revolution from above. But where else if not in the USSR and in Germany was the way clear for the efficient doers--into the most far-reaching planning areas imaginable. (71)

6.2 "A New Lifestyle"

What were the effects of the Nazi holiday politics? A quantification of tourism suggests that "Strength through Joy" achieved at least a ten percent share of the German travel market. (72) Also roughly one out of ten workers was likely to have at least one time traveled with KdF; in particular the skilled male workers in the towns--often former Social Democrats--took advantage of the program. These proportions are appreciable, but they are, at the same time, not a social breakthrough. Tourism as a whole was dominated by the middle and upper classes. Even among the KdF vacationers the (new) middle classes formed the majority--and their share increaed (in particular the famed cruises were dominated by white collars and "bigwigs").

The "seaside resort of the 20,000" was to reverse this trend. Calculations allowed for a holiday there costing 12 to 20 RM. This would have put it within the reach of unskilled workers or entire families. The test-tube town on Rugen might thus have been able to increase the travel intensity in the working class nearly by half! But even this would still not have done a lot of good: with at best some 3%, their touristic travel intensity was not substantially higher than in several other countries. KdF failed to push working-class tourism to a new level. "For official use only," this was voiced by the Institute of Work Science of the DAF (AWI): KdF was the futile attempt "to use organized intervention to achieve effects that are in conflict with the existing social structure." (73) A sober analysis of the Socialism of Deed.

No wonder, the hope that thanks to KdF the worker will be transformed into "the most dedicated follower of the Leader" did not come true. In the beginning, the propaganda effect was considerable, but the more KdF lost the aura of sensation, it ceased. Again, the stick, and not the carrot, became the decisive political tool. While in 1935 the Sopade-Bericht had "no doubt that the vast majority [of the workers] is not aware of the political objectives the dictatorship pursues" with KdF, in 1938 the all clear could be given: "The attitude toward the regime is not essentially influenced"--the workers would just make the most of it. Accordingly, officials, too, complained about the vacationers' shallow consumerism, seeking trivial "fun" instead of "real joy." (74)

But Sopade also feared an increase in "petit bourgeois self-esteem." Indeed, of significance in the long run was not the political but the mental impulse that had bred this dream machine. The figure of eight million KdF vacationers was large enough for that: A lot of Germans partook in 'proper' tourism for the first time in their lives--and could enthusiastically tell their family, colleagues and friends about it, thus reinforcing the impression that now every Volksgenosse has the chance to travel. "In particular the women," a Sopade correspondent grumbled, "for months report on the beautiful journeys and get their surroundings enthusiastic about it." (75) KdF officials were fully aware of that phenomenon: "If you enjoyed your holiday trip, be happy about it. However, we ask you not to keep this joy to yourself, but to tell it to your workmates, too." (76) In this sense, KdF indeed "helped a mass desire (...) on its road to success," as a dissertation put it. (77)

In doing so, "Strength through Joy" established a new level of tourist experience in Germany: the hedonistic holiday style, as to speak between the proletarian excursion and the distinguished bourgeois travel. KdF started as a copy of the latter; but transforming the production from a craft into an industry inevitably changes the product itself, physically and symbolically. The propaganda was right in calling the KdF vacationer a new type of vacationer and the KdF holiday a new type of holiday: less formal, less costly, less individual. (78)

This trend must certainly be seen as entrenched in a long-term development, starting before World War I, and it is not a German peculiarity. In the thirties, the social scope of tourism was widened by means of cheap package tours, be it on non-profit or commercial grounds. In England--it was the year 1936--William Butlin started his first holiday camp. Three years later some 300,000 "Butliners" could be accomodated in two hundred camps, one of them designed for 5000 guests. Like the projected KdF camp, it was a modern styled holiday factory--partly even more "modern:" Group pressure was far more intense than at the average KdF trips: from dawn to evening red coated animators produced a total fun society of Orwellian proportions. In many other countries attempts were made to overcome the social boundaries, as well as the travel style of the bourgeoisie as the traditional 'leisure class.' To mention in particular France, where the Popular Front introduced holiday entitlements and railway fare reductions in 1936, and Switzerland, where the tour operator Hotelplan offered "holidays for everybody." Looking at Europe at the eve of the war, it is obvious that holidaymaking was on the road to becoming an integral part of the life of broad sections of society. Although still this was chiefly a matter of the white collar workers (79)--the "horizon of chances" (G. Schulze) had been widened durably. In this connection, KdF represents a turning point in the history of tourism, both in psychological and engineering terms. Accoding to the grammar of rationalization, the tools of modern mass tourism had been tried out on largest scale and at the same time inhibitions among the lower classes to partake in "bourgeois" travel had been overcome. The "dams of pent-up demands" (R. Spree) were shaken--and they gave out as soon as purchasing power permitted after the war. (80)

This was when Ludwig Erhard, the Federal Republic's Minister of Commerce, in 1957 called for the "will to consume." He saw it as the precondition for his Social Market Economy: a truly white revolution which promised "prosperity for all" and at the same time curbed all Socialist "experiments." Mass consumption would "finally overcome the old conservative social structure," the "traditional hierarchy" with its "resentment between 'rich' and 'poor.'" (81) And indeed: both the bourgeois high culture with its claim to define morals and taste and the proletarian culture with its ties, ethics and ideologies, were finally buried under the piles of consumer goods. The old "class structure" gradually dissolved and the affluent society of 'little fat men and women' was born--the modern fun and event society with their patchwork of 'milieus.' Regarded in this way, Robert Ley was not entirely wrong when he declared: (82) The best thing that the Fuhrer gave his nation--is a "new lifestyle."
KdF trip participants

 Participants (mill.)
Year Travels (a): Short trips (b):

1934 0.5 1.9
1935 1.1 5.2
1936 1.4 7.3
1937 1.8 8.4
1938 (c) 1.6 8.7
1939 (d) 1.2 6.2

Source: calc. from Spode 1982, p. 298
a) Holiday trips, including cruises, skiing holidays etc. (3 to 21,
mostly 7 to 12 days).
b) Excursions and hiking tours (1 or 2 days; hiking tours sometimes 6
days or more).
c) Including 0.3 mill. participants in longer travels and 1.6 mill. in
short trips from the annexed territories (esp. Austria).
d) Not comparable with the other years: Firstly, it is uncertain whether
participants from the annexed territories are included. Secondly, on the
1st of Sept. KdF travel stopped due to the war (in 1940 it started again
on a smaller scale, partly in cooperation with the Wehrmacht; overall
figures are not available).


1. Then strengthening Germany's role by fighting the Versailles system and developing the Army, the economy, and the agrarian settlements; in the long run it could be necessary to conquer new markets or--even better--new biospheres (Lebensraum): Hitler on 2nd Feb. 1933 as a guest of General v. Hammerstein-Equord acc. Vierteljahreshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 2(1954), pp. 434 (not knowing that the general planned a coup against him). A note on the citation form: due to limited space literature of minor importance in respect to this essay is mentioned in a shortened way and in the titles common terms like "Kraft durch Freude," "Deutsche Arbeitsfront," "century" etc. are abbrevated.

2. On KdF generally I recommend as introducing sources: O. Marrenbach (ed.): Fundamente des Sieges. Die Gesamtarbeit der DAF von 1933 bis 1940, 2nd ed. (Berlin 1942); G. Starcke: Die DAF. Eine Darstellung uber Zweck, Leistung und Ziele (Berlin 1940); A. v. Hubbenet: Die NS.-Gemeinschaft "KdF." Aufbau und Arbeit (Berlin 1939); a scholary overview with lots of useful material: W. Buchholz: Die nationalsozialistische Gemeinschaft "KdF." Freizeitgestaltung und Arbeiterschaft im Dritten Reich (Diss. Munich, 1976); On KdF tourism: H. Spode: "Der deutsche Arbeiter reist. Massentourismus im Dritten Reich." In: G. Huck (ed.): Sozialgeschichte der Freizeit (Wuppertal 1980); the same: "Arbeiterurlaub im Dritten Reich." In: T.W. Mason et al.: Angst, Belohnung, Zucht und Ordnung. Herrschaftsmechanismen im Nationalsozialismus (Opladen 1982; the condensed version of my MA-thesis Die Rolle der NSG "KdF" im Rahmen der nationalsozialistischen Urlaubspolitik (Berlin 1979); both provide for much more details than given here, as well as S. Baranowski: "Strength through Joy. Tourism and National Integration in the Third Reich." In: the same/E. Furlough (eds.): Being Elsewhere: Tourism, Commercial Leisure, and Identity in 19th and 20th c. Europe and North America (Ann Arbor 2001); see also the overviews given in/by A. Corbin et al.: L'avenement des loisirs, 1850-1960 (Paris/Rome 1995); H. Spode (ed.): Zur Sonne, zur Freiheit! Beitrage zur Tourismusgeschichte (Berlin 1991); C. Keitz: Reisen als Leitbild. Die Entstehung des modernen Massentourismus in Deutschland (Munich 1997); H. Wei[beta]: "Ideologie der Freizeit im Dritten Reich." Die NSG "KdF." In: H. Beckstein (ed.): Freizeit in der modernen Massen und Konsumgesellschaft (Bonn 1993) (Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte 33[1993]). For earlier studies see esp. Spode, Rolle and "Arbeiterurlaub."

3. For my anthropological approach: "Reif fur die Insel. Prolegomena zu einer historischen Anthropologie des Tourismus." In: C. Cantauw (ed.): Arbeit, Freizeit, Reisen (Munster/New York 1995) and also Wie die Deutschen 'Reiseweltmeister' wurden. Eine Einfuhrung in die Tourismusgeschichte (Erfurt 2003). On the current state of tourism history: Tissot and Spode in A. Leonardi/H. Heiss (eds.): Tourismus und Entwicklung im Alpenraum (Innsbruck 2003); and see Pagenstecher in Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte 38(1998); cf. also fn. 69.

4. For stylistic improvements of the English text I am deeply indebted to Petra Barsch.

5. In 2003 'Metropolis' became the first movie on UNESCO's list of the world heritage.

6. Both grounded in a novel notion of time and space; differences were turned into stages of development--"a profound historicity penetrated the heart of things" (Foucault). This was the birth of the tourist gaze--if one uses the term 'gaze' not like J. Urrry: The Tourist Gaze (London 1990) as different practices of consuming symbols but in the sophisticated original sense of M. Foucault: Naissance de la clinique (Paris 1972), as an all-encompassing, unconcious "order." Thus, tourism was fueled by "romantic" feelings and perceptions, emphazising the costs of "progress:" the political restraints and social "self-constraints" (Elias), the loss of "freedom" and coherence--in short: the "alienation," as Hegel put it in 1807 (cf. Spode as in fn. 3).

7. Further catch-words used in this context were 'mechanization' and partly also 'Americanization.' See on the principles the sprawling book by S. Giedion: Mechanization Takes Command. A Contribution to Anonymous History (New York 1948). On interwar Germany there are brillant studies, e.g.: A. Ludtke et al. (eds.): Amerikanisierung. Traum und Alptraum im Deutschland des 20. Jh. (Stuttgart 1996) and M. Nolan: Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany (New York etc. 1994), emphazizing the belatedness of German industry (indeed, due to the highly developed system of skilled labour, the low wages for simple manual work and the well organized trade unions and works councils, "Fordist" production was rare; on the other hand, Europeans--including Hitler!--overestimated the role of "Fordism" in American business by far); still inspiring is J. Hermand/F. Trommler: Die Kultur der Weimarer Republik (Munchen 1978); for further literature on mental, social, political and technical aspects (like Rabinbach, Kramer, Siegel, or Freyberg) cf. H.-J. Braun/W. Kaiser: Propylaen Technikgeschichte, vol. 5 (Berlin 1997) as well as Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub" and "Ein Seebad fur zwanzigtausend Volksgenossen. Zur Grammatik und Geschichte des fordistischen Urlaubs." In: P.J. Brenner (ed.): Reisekultur in Deutschland. Von der Weimarer Republik zum 'Dritten Reich' (Tubingen 1997).

8. In the mighty words of Marx: "Alles Standische und Stehende verdampft, alles Heilige wird entweiht" (Communist Manifesto acc. Spode, "Seebad," p. 11). On this grammar see Giedion op.cit. and Spode op.cit. (with further literature). As a wide-reaching consequence, the time-honoured notion of an "essence" inherent to things, spaces, and words was replaced by "indifference." See the lucid analysis of rationality (following Weber, Simmel and Elias) by D. Claessens: Angst, Furcht und gesellschaftlicher Druck (Dortmund 1966), pp. 116ff.

9. Intellectual milestones were J. Dalton's atom theory, the reflections on the division of labour by A. Ure and C. Babbage, and the logical systems of "pure thinking" designed by G. Boole and G. Frege. The discourse, however, ranged from architecure (the English "want that their buildings function like a machine, driven by a single engine:" L. Baltard 1829 acc. M. Foucault: Surveiller et punir [Paris 1975], ch. IV.1) to the arts (cf. P. Mattick Jr.: "Art in the Age of Rationalization," unpubl. ms., Frankfurt 1994). Cf. fn. 7f and on modern architecture ch. 5 below.

10. Das Kapital, vol. 1, ch. 11-13 (1st ed. Hamburg/New York 1867, here acc. MEW 23).

11. Cf. fn. 8.

12. In America and England the mathematicians E. Post and A. Turing worked theoretically, whereas in Germany the engineer K. Zuse built a programable "calculator" out of sheet metal with a vacuum-cleaner as central clock. Like Babbage's steam-driven "analytical engine" in the 19th c., it did not work safely; but in 1941 a relay controlled successor model became the first functioning computer. At that time, Turing, too, developed a real computer--which cracked the secret code of the Wehrmacht. Others were built by Stibitz (1940) and Aiken (1944), using meanwhile obsolete logic architectures (cf. fn. 8).

13. Speaking of "joy" in the Third Reich and not of terror might deserve an explanation. In the 70s, social historians had shifted the focus from the 'bad' aspects of Nazi rule to the 'good' ones, to the improvements and rewards offered in uneasy combination with lies and supression. Their studies into the stick-and-carrot-policies and the social experiences provided far-reaching insights on modern societies in general. However, abysmal terror and cruelty seem more fascinating than the less spectacular peace years with everyday life's peculiar 'normality.' In the past decade (perhaps in the wake of the Reunification and the breakdown of the Soviet "empire of evil"), war and genocide again absorbed the public and scholarly view of Nazism. But staring at the final years of the regime has doubtful consequences. Not only does it produce relapses into dubious theories about a deviant "special path" (as Goldhagen's huge success on the book market has demonstrated), but it also detracts attention from potentialities of totalitarian systems, thus obscuring their capabilities to attract and bind people and to cope--at least for a limited period--with challenges. To deal with KdF tourism, therefore, is an implicit critique of current mainstream research, an attempt to recall the need for research on the mechanisms of integration and modernization, i.e. on those aspects that paved the way for the final catastrophe--and partly also for the consumer society that emerged after the war. Who, like H. Mommsen ("Noch einmal: Nationalsozialismus und Modernisierung." In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 21[1995], here p. 399), implies that speaking of modernity means to "impute positive traits" on Nazism, only demonstrates his refusal to take note of the uneasy 'dialectic of enlightenment.' When M. Broszat once pleaded for "normalizing" the research on Nazism, he caused a storm of indignation (cf. I. Kershaw: Der NS-Staat. Geschichtsinterpretationen und Kontroversen im Uberblick [Reinbek 1988], pp. 289ff; see also pp. 253ff and the introduction by M. Prinz/R. Zittelmann (eds.): Nationalsozialismus und Modernisierung [Darmstadt 1991]). However, research ends where there is no comparison.

14. Organisation der Deutschen Arbeitsfront und der NS-Gemeinschaft 'KdF' (Berlin 1934), p. 15. On the DAF see the pioneering study by T.W. Mason: Arbeiterklasse und Volksgemeinschaft. Dokumente und Materialien zur deutschen Arbeiterpolitik. 1936-1939 (Opladen 1975; there is an English version without the sources: Oxford 1993). The social policy has been dealt with before in overall portrayals (D. Schoenbaum: Die braune Revolution. Eine Sozialgeschichte des Dritten Reiches [Koln/Berlin 1968]; R.A. Grunberger: A Social History of the Third Reich [London 1971]); from the broad literature here only: Mason, Angst; E. Heuel: Der umworbene Stand. Die ideologische Integration der Arbeiter im Nationalsozialismus. 1933-1935 (Frankfurt/New York 1989); see also e.g. R. Hachtmann: Industriearbeit im Dritten Reich (Gottingen 1989); W. Zollitsch: Arbeiter zwischen Weltwirtschaftskrise und Nationalsozialismus (Gottingen 1990) and overviews like P. Aycoberry: The Social History of the Third Reich (New York 1999); they partly mention also KdF, esp. Heuel (Stand, pp. 418ff).

15. R. Ley: Durchbruch der sozialen Ehre. Reden und Gedanken das schaffende Deutschland (Berlin 1937), pp. 23ff. He drew from Italian sources (cf. D. Liebscher: "Organisierte Freizeit als Sozialpolitik. Die faschistische OND und die NSG KdF 1925-1939." In: J. Petersen/W. Schieder (ed.): Faschismus und Gesellschaft in Italien [Koln 1998]) and esp. from the Belgian social scientist Hendrik deMan at the union-affiliated Akademie der Arbeit in Frankfurt who had called for a "struggle for the joy of work" in the face of the rationalization and the worker's "social inferiorty complex" (Der Kampf um die Arbeitsfreude [Jena 1927], here p.281). Ley's programe was also entrenched in the debate on the taming of capitalism: in the wake of the war nearly all political camps made up plans for a national "Socialism" in which private business has to be put in charge of the common good by one means or the other; this was the birth of concepts like Gemeinwirtschaft (social economy), Volksgemeinschaft (a term coined by Schleir macher and occasionally used since the turn of the century, e.g. by Theodor Herzl) or the Swedish Folkshem (people's home). Cf.A. Triebel: "Gesellschaftsverfassung und Mangelwirtschaft." In: B. Thoss/H.E. Volkmann (eds.): Erster Weltkrieg. Zweiter Weltkrieg (Paderborn 2002).

16. A classical study: P. Bailey: Leisure and Class in Victorian England (London 1975); on Cook: fn. 22.

17. Cf. Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," p.290, Keitz, Reisen, p.242.

18. Dressler-Andress became the right-hand-man of Goebbels who made him also chief of the Reichs-Radio Chamber. But he soon came under attack as a "cultural Bolshevik;" this could be dangerous for Goebbels, too, since he sympathized with modern arts and stemmed from the Party's left wing. After never-ending quarrels among Ley, Goebbels and Rosenberg, Dressler-Andress was replaced in 1938 by Lafferentz, a brilliant organizer, related to the Wagner clan by marriage and not interested in any "cultural revolution." During the war he worked for the KdF-Cars and for the evacuation of the civilian population--KdF proved to be an apprenticeship in moving masses of people. Dressler-Andress, on the other hand, was pushed away as a cultural attache to Krakow. 1945-48 he was detained by the Soviets in Buchenwald, until a military court spoke him free ("idealistic convictions") and he became a politician in the GDR. Acc. R. Bollmus: Das Amt Rosenberg und seine Gegner. Studien zum Machtkampf im nationalsozialistischen Herrschaftssystem (Stuttgart 1970), pp.61ff, as well as verbal reports of Dressler-Andress and Karin Lafferentz (daughter of Bodo Lafferentz) to the author; on Ley--who failed to turn the financial power of the DAF into personal power and finally became a laughing stock--see R. Smelser: Robert Ley. Hitlers Mann an der "Arbeitsfront" (Paderborn 1989).

19. ... because I want a "people with strong nerves" in order to make "really great politics." While the OND frankly spoke of the "needs to make [the people] fit for a warlike future" (acc. Weiss, "Ideologie," p.293), this was a rather opaque hint at the regime's war plans. The (alleged?) Fuhrer's order was repeated again and again (here Reichsamtsleitung "KdF" (ed.): Unter dem Sonnenrad. Ein Buch von Kraft durch Freude [Berlin 1938], p.12). The talk of "strong nerves" was at the intersection of two discourses: Firstly, since the 18th c. physicians warned of the "disorganization" of the nervous system due to the perils of civilization; around 1900 this concept had ushered in an epidemic of "neurasthenia"--to be cured last not least by vacationing (cf. Spode, Reiseweltmeister). Secondly, there was the widespread believe that the German soldiers lost the war because the Germans at home--goaded by "Judeo-Marxist" agitators--lost their nerves (on the stab-in-the-back legend as the centerpiece of Nazi social politics see Mason, Arbeiterklasse); recent findings show that indeed the political breakdown of the "home front"--due to supply shortage--had a decisive impact (cf. Triebel, "Gesellschaftsverfassung").

20. Buchholz, KdF, p.37ff; Spode, "Massentourismus," p.293. On the by-laws (membership required "Aryan origin" although it was not legally defined): Organisation der DAF, pp.68ff. The wives and children of the DAF members were entitled to use the KdF facilities, also a growing number of freelancers, medical professions and civil servants (with a monthly income up to 250 RM).

21. Deutschland-Bericht der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands [Sopade] 1(1934)6, pp.A23ff; RWU was called the "jewel" of KdF: ibid. 5(1938)2, p.A22, and also H. Krapfenbauer: Die sozialpolitische Bedeutung der NS.-Gemeinschaft "KdF" (Diss. Nurnberg 1937), p.23. Sopade published--in Prague, since 1938 in Paris--reports from undercover "correspondents" on everyday life in Germany (FU Berlin: 8ZE21; a newly paginated reprint: Frankfurt 1980). On this valuable source: M. Voges: "Klassenkampf in der Betriebsgemeinschaft." In: Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte 21(1981), pp.332ff.

22. Cook's "popular tours" (to Switzerland, Egypt etc.) were unaffordable for the "millions" he wanted to make travelling (on the modest social impact cf. Moioli in Leonardi/Heiss, Tourismus). The term "Cookism" I found in J. Urry/S. Lash: Economies of Signs and Space (London 1994), p.261.

23. On the "taylorized" travel activities of the OND: V. de Grazia: The Culture of Consent: Mass Organization of Leisure in Fascist Italy (Cambridge/New York 1981), pp.179ff, and see Liebscher, "Freizeit," passim; Buchholz, KdF, pp.43ff.

24. Already before 1933 Ley and others (cf. Die Arbeit 8[1931], pp.66ff) pleaded to adopt the model of Dopolavoro. Consequentely, KdF's initial name was "After Work," too. It was dismissed shortly before the founding congress in order to signal a difference from corporativism--indeed KdF became more than a mere copy. Cf. Smelser, Ley, p.202; Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.288ff.

25. The records of the Reichsleitung were destroyed in 1945. Since the published overall figures (reprinted, e.g., by Buchholz) were incomplete, often exaggerated and contradictory (as already Sopade 5[1938]2, p.A29, knew) they are worthless without critical recalculations. The data presented here are therefore constructed from many different sources, esp. from a newly built data set based on the complete travel programe of one KdF district (ed. by Gauamt Mainfranken, Staatsbiliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz Berlin: Fha 835); nevertheless, they remain estimations. All figures and the sources and methods used acc. Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.296ff.

26. Including approx. 2 mill. from Austria and the Sudeten. In comparison, in 1937, the largest British non-profit operator, the Worker's Travel Association, organized 61,000 trips: this corresponded to 3.4% of the longer or 0.6% of all KdF trips. For the activities during the war, see Buchholz, KdF, ch. IV, as well as the case studies by Gordon in Annals of Tourism Research 25 (1998) and Frese in Westfalische Forschungen 47 (1997).

27. J. Schaffner: Volk zu Schiff (Hamburg 1936); on the cruises see B. Frommann: Reisen mit "KdF." Eine Darstellung der KdF-Reisen unter bes. Ber. der Auslandsfahrten (MA-thesis Karlsruhe 1977; revised as: Reisen im Dienste politischer Zielsetzungen, Stuttgart 1993). Finally, six ships belonged to the DAF, in addition up to six were chartered. The program was expanded to Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Libya, Yugoslavia, Greece etc.; there were even plans to visit Japan. Many cruises led to Norway (once a favorite tour of Emperor Wilhelm II) where the passengers mostly did not disembark--Norwegian leftists together with German immigrants confronted them with anti-Nazi slogans. Except for the cruises (and those of 7000 KdF-employees paid by the DAF who worked for RWU), the trips were nearly self-funding. The sensational price level grounded in reduced railway fares (75%) and the mass production (including a lowering of the standards) together with the work of volunteers (their number grew up to 135.000, mostly contacts in the firms). Cf. Buchholz, KdF, pp.213ff; also Spode, "Seebad," pp.20ff; on travel costs before 1933: Keitz, Reisen, pp.112ff. There is no room here for a discussion of the worker household budgets: Roughly speaking wages ranged from 1500 to 2500 RM per year; about 1% of the household incomes was spent on leisure travel (cf. fn. 14 and 30f).

28. Acc. M. Broszat/E. Frohlich (eds.): Bayern in der NS-Zeit, vol. 2 (Munich/Vienna 1979), p.368.

29. Judgements ranged from "swindle" to "great success among the workers." Taking all reports together, the positive assessments slightly prevailed: calc. from Sopade 1-6 (1934-1939). For details on the practice of the KdF trips (experiences, conflicts etc.): Buchholz, KdF; Spode, Rolle and "Arbeiterurlaub;" Baranowksi, "Strength;" Frommann, Reisen.

30. In order to acquire planning data for KdF, a poll was taken among the employees of Berlin's Siemens Works: 32% had made a holiday trip. This looks like a lot but it is not. Nearly half of the 42,000 (mostly male) informants were white-collar workers, a stratum in which holiday trips were already common. Thus, the share of blue-collar workers, who had traveled at least once in their lives, was much lower than 32%, and the quota of those who traveled within the last year (i.e. the "travel intensity") must have been minimal--altough the Berlin Siemens workers were better off than the average German worker. Source: Siemens-Mitteilungen, No. 151, July 1934, p.113. Unfortunately, the original data are lost (I thank C. Sachse for this hint; cf. her remarks in Beckstein, Freizeit, pp.317f). For the results, see Buchholz, KdF, pp.20f; whereas Keitz, Reisen, p.176, erroneously states a travel intensity of 20% among Siemens' blue-collars (the eagerness to support her main thesis--that the Weimar years of all times were the breakthrough of working class tourism--devalues her findings considerably). On financial aspects of travelling cf. Spode, "Massentourismus," pp.284ff, "Seebad," pp.19f; "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.303f, and next footnote.

31. ... among them the minute stratum of the "labour aristocracy" which even runs small travel agencies--and thus fueled the "envy" of the average workers (a point of departure for the Nazi efforts to isolate the elite of the labour movement from the rank and file: Heuel, Stand, pp.224ff). See the inspiring interpretation of consumption patterns by R. Spree: "Modernisierung des Konsumverhaltens deutscher Mittel-und Unterschichten wahrend der Zwischenkriegszeit." In: Zeitschrift fur Soziologie 14(1985) and the abundant statistics by A. Triebel: Zwei Klassen und die Vielfalt des Konsums (Diss. Berlin 1991), showing that the increase in spending in leisure activities was chiefly a matter of the "bourgeois middle-class strata" but hardly affected the "manual working" majority (p.415).

32. Acc. Spode, "Seebad," p.24.

33. 8% more than 12 days and 5% less than 6 days: calc. acc. Jahrbuch, ed. by Arbeitswissenschaftliches Institut der DAF [AWI] 4(1939)2, pp.99ff. There are no comparable data for the Weimar Republic, but if one counts the settlements, the improvement is obvious: in 1931 61% of the tariffs fixed the minimum duration of the holidays at 3 days or less, in 1937 only 15%; a maximum of 6 days was fixed in 1931 in 30%, in 1937 in only 4%. Most profited young, female, and seasonal workers; in addition, the widespread paying off of the entitlement was curbed. For details and the conflict between the DAF and the Supreme Labour Court on the legal nature of holidays: Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.277ff, and see the solid study by G. Seger: Arbeiterurlaub und seine Gestaltung in den Tarifordnungen (Diss. Berlin 1938).

34. See fundamentally H. Dressler-Andress: Freizeitgestaltung in Deutschland (n.p. 1936) and also "Die kulturelle Mission der Freizeitgestaltung." In: Bericht uber den Weltkongress fur Freizeit und Erholung v. 23.-30.7.1936 in Hamburg und Berlin (Hamburg 1937).

35. Jahrbuch AWI 1(1936)1, pp. 169ff; similar: Starcke, DAF, pp. 141ff; W. Muller: Das soziale Leben im neuen Deutschland unter bes. Ber. der DAF (Berlin 1938), p. 180; P. Bruns: Vom Wesen und der Bedeutung der DAF (Diss. Leipzig 1937), p.87ff; R. Fuhrsatz: Gestaltung und Wandlungen im Fremdenverkehr (Diss. Berlin 1938), p.75; see also Buchholz, KdF, pp. 150ff, and esp. Mason, Arbeiterklasse, pp.232ff. In 1937 an umbrella office "Increase of the Standard of Living" was founded, comprising several DAF departments, such as Public Health and KdF.

36. Acc. Marrenbach, Fundamente, p.357.

37. Marxist researchers like R. Kuhnl: Formen burgerlicher Herrschaft (Reinbek 1971), here p. 129, regarded Nazism as "Fascism:" not a revolution but the most brutal "form" of capitalism. Meanwhile, there is a broad literature on the Volksgemeinschaft (cf. fn. 14f). It is mostly regarded as a staged myth, designed to conceal the hard realities of a class society. Indeed, its ultima ratio was simply terror. However, in face of the "red" proletarian culture, the regime was aware that it could not rely on repression and propaganda alone and provided for material and esp. socio-psychological achievements for "their" workers. Considering the renaissance of constructivism, the rediscovery of 'meaning' and 'identity,' it is time to rethink Schoenbaum's notion of a "perceived social reality." In this light the Volksgemeinschaft could be studied as a special case of nation building; at any rate, mental and psychological structures are systems of their own right and power.

38. See fn. 33. That made 1 to 3% of the total wage sum (acc. Mason, Arbeiterklasse, p.1252 and 1263). On consumption-control: ibid.; H. Berghoff: "Konsumguterindustrie im Nationalsozialismus." In: Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte 36(1996); and the classical study by D. Petzina: Autarkiepolitik im Dritten Reich (Stuttgart 1968).

39. On KdF as an instrument for "allocating social prestige" which "belonged" to higher classes see esp. Buchholz, KdF, p.139ff (however, with all too far reaching conclusions on the success of this politics); similar already Schoenbaum, Revolution, pp.143ff.

40. Arbeitertum, 1st March 1935, p.3. The Soviet term Werktatige was rarely used; it was later common in the GDR.

41. Cf. the literature in fn. 2. The different aims mostly went well with each other, though they did not result from a master plan. Instead, tourism policy emerged from changing constellations and from unforseen conflicts within the regime. As pointed out frequently, Nazi rule was characterized by a "chaos" in governance ("polycracy"). Indeed, since clearly defined competences, legal security and rules of procedure were mostly missing, the regime, even without its destructive ideology, bore the specific instability of a "dual state" (as Fraenkel already put it in 1941). However, in many, all too many fields it worked very well. Moreover, isn't it a bit strange to blame a totalitarian dictatorship for being not really total? Here, too, we should be careful not to look out exclusively for 'bad' features. 'Chaos' is a normal quality of societies; all depends on how they try to channel it--and it was all but clear which political system would cope up best with that task.

42. E.g., in Sweden: Lofgren in Baranowski/Furlough, Elsewhere; in Germany: Spode, Reiseweltmeister.

43. On the impossibility of substantial health benefits by KdF travel: Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.321f (in most studies the improvement of health and performance ranks high; e.g. Buchholz, KdF, p.91: "Doubtless regeneration was the most important function ..."). Generally, health is the big myth of tourism (cf. Spode, Reiseveltmeister).

44. See D. Liebscher: "Mit KdF die Welt erschliessen. Der Beitrag der KdF-Reisen zur AuBenpolitik der DAF. 1934-1939." In: 1999 14(1999), also briefly Spode "Arbeiterurlaub" ibid.

45. Bericht Weltkongress, pp.IXf and 368ff. As in the case of the Olympics, it was Nazi Germany which made the congress a really great event; the 3rd congress, then, was held in Rome, the 4th was planned for Tokyo in 1940. On the reasons for the growing intererst in (working-class) leisure politics see fn. 15 and briefly Baranowski, "Strength," p.220.

46. Ley, Durchbruch, p.242; Goring acc. Der Monat 5(1952), p.196; Hitler's memorandum on the Four-Years-Plan acc. Vierteljahreshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 3(1955), pp.204ff.

47. Since the 60s, when Dahrendorf and Schoenbaum spoke of an "unintended" social revolution (cf. fn. 13 and 37), the debate on the modernity of the Third Reich did not wear off. It should be made clear that firstly it is perferable to speak of modern features instead of the modernity. Secondly, that the concept of an "unintended" or "reactionary modernism" (Herf) grounds in a misinterpretation of anti-modern thinking. As mentioned above, anti-modernism is as modern as progressism; the praise of "nature" and the "past" did not intend a relapse into pre-industrial conditions--instead these weltanschauungen aimed at a different modernity. Cf. T. Rohrkramer: Eine andere Moderne? Zivilisationskritik, Natur und Technik in Deutschland (Paderborn 1999) and Spode, Reiseweltmeister. A certain romanticism was/is constitutive for most social movements--or as Marx had put it in the Eighteenth Brumaire: they "conjure up the spirits of the past" while they perfom a new act in the world theater.

48. Cf. fn. 7. In 1941 Goring demanded: "In respect to rationalization the German industry has to be equal to the American." (acc. G. Aly/S. Heim: Vordenker der Vernichtung. Auschwitz und die deutschen Plane fur eine europaische Ordnung [Frankfurt 1993], p.68). On the automobile politics see esp. D. Ortlinghaus: Die 'Massenmotorisierung' in der NS-Zeit (Dipl.-Arbeit Osnabruck 1996) and H. Mommsen/Manfred Greiger: Das Volkwagenwerk und seine Arseiter im Dritten Reich (Dusseldorf 1997).

49. They rightly perceived that even without KdF, tourism was going up again. On the conflicts with the tourist industries: Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.307ff. Initially, KdF also helped to fill the gap resulting from the expulsion of the Jewish guests from the chic seaside resorts, like Norderney. Already before 1933 there were tourist resorts where Jews were "unwelcome;" this was a widspread phenomenon with the USA and Austria walking at the head. Now, when grassroots antisemitism was turned into official politics, it became ever more difficult to find accommodation in tourism, until in 1939 Jews were virtually banned by law. Cf. F. Bajohr: 'Unser Hotel ist judenfrei.' Bader-Antisemitismus im 19. und 20 Jh. (Frankfurt 2003).

50. R. Ley: Deutschland ist schoner geworden, 3rd ed. (Munchen 1939), p.74 (probabely Ley himself had the idea). In 1932 all working-class holiday camps together counted 5400 beds (acc. Keitz, Reisen, p.325).

51. On the project: esp. P. Leser: Der Kolner Architekt Clemens Klotz. 1886-1969 (Diss. Koln 1991); Spode, "Seebad;" also see B. Lichtnau: Prora. Das erste KdF-Bad Deutschlands, 3rd ed. (Greifswald 1995); R. Wilkens: "Gebaute Utopie der Macht. Das Beispiel Prora." In: R. Schneider (ed.): Moderne Architektur in Deutschland. 1900-2000 (Ostfildern 1998); G. Dolff-Bonekamper: "Das KdF-Bad Prora auf Rugen." In: A. Tietenberg (ed.): Das Kunstwerk als Geschichtsdokument (Munchen 1999); B.M. Hoppe: "Die KdF-Anlage Prora, Rugen." In: B. Asmuss/H.-M. Hinz (eds.): Zum Umgang mit historischen Statten aus der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus (Berlin 1999); pictures provided esp. in J. Rostock (text)/F. Zadnicek (fotos): Paradiesruinen. Das KdF-Seebad der Zwanzigtausend auf Rugen 3rd ed. (Berlin 1995) who make free use of secondary literature with and without quotation-marks.

52. Together with the Bauhaus, the Werkbund was the leading association for modern design and architecture in Germany until 1933. Rosenberg acc. Spode ibid., p.32.

53. Der Angriff, 31st of July 1935, p.1.

54. Ley, Deutschland, pp.74 and 93; cf. Arbeitertum, 15th of Dec. 1935, p.1, showing Hitler and Ley visiting the models.

55. Its impressive form followed his prizewinning plan of the League of Nation's building in Geneva in 1927--a difficult mixture of styles, as, between the lines, the professional journal Baugilde criticized. Here and for the following paragraphs: Baugilde 18(1936), pp.819ff and 20(1938), pp.822ff; Marrenbach, Fundamente, pp.361ff; and see fn. 51.

56. Ley ibid., p.93. All rumors that the autobahn and the KdF camp and cruisers were secretely designed to serve military purposes proved to be wrong. But in May 1939 voyages were cancelled since KdF ships fetched back the Legion Condor from Spain. During the war, they served as troopships and hospitalships; in the final days the 'Gustloff'--used to evacuate the civilian population from the East--was sunk by Soviet torpedos (the greatest desaster at sea ever was recently turned into a novel by Gunter Grass).

57. Sopade 6(1939)4, p.A64. The work at the interior installation--mostly done by PoWs--went on until 1943.

58. Approving this programe: L. Benevolo: Die Geschichte der Stadt (Frankfurt/New York 2000), p.914 (1st ed. 1975). On the contrary, at the same time a critique of the "city as a Fordistic system:" Hermand/Trommler, Kultur, pp.41ff; see also M. Perelman: Urbs ex machina. Le Corbusier (Montreuil 1986); C. Asendorf: Super Constellation. Flugzeug und Raumrevolution (Vienna, 1997); Mattick, "Art;" and the catalog Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre (Berlin 1977) with lots of examples and manifestos.

59. His booklet on "freed dwelling" was introduced with a quotation by Henry Ford; cf. the brillant epilogue by v. Moos to the German ed. of Giedion, Mechanization (Frankfurt 1982, here p.786).

60. Leser, Klotz, pp.216ff; also taken with the "high quality," but stressing the "ambivalence:" Dolff-Bonekamper, "KdF-Bad," passim.

61. Cf. Spode, "Seebad," pp.41ff. Ironically, at the same time Stalin wiped out the Russian avantgarde.

62. Cf. Hoppe, "KdF-Anlage;" a similar stance is held by Wilkens, "Utopie;" Rostock/Zadnicek, Paradiesruinen and prevailed in numerous workshops, which counts Prora among a "triangle of terror" (partly more balanced: '1. Prora-Symposium,' Berlin 1994, and 'Entwicklungskonzept Prora auf Rugen,' Berlin 1997). In the building small museums compete for several hundred thousand visitors at Prora (the only professional one is the "Prora Zentrum."

63. In 1947 plans were made for an international seaside resort: Lichtnau, Prora, p.32.

64. The Airport was designed by Emil Sagebiel while Klotz planned the holiday town; not only was the start of the construction identical but also the basic structure: a sector of a gigantic tooth wheel, the ambiguous symbol of the machine age: Spode, "Seebad," pp.35ff. Norman Foster calls Tempelhof the "mother of all modern airports" (acc. Asendorf, Super Constellation, p.152).

65. On this "moral exorcism:" Der Spiegel No. 25, 2001, pp.160ff; cf. generally H. Frank (ed.): Faschistische Architektur. Planen und Bauen in Europa 1930-1945 (Hamburg 1985). An exorcism which was extremely selective. Another "word of stone" by Sagebiel, Goring's aviation minister, also found its way into new political systems: in the GDR it accommodated several ministries, today the finance minister. It was never subject of scrupulous debates, like numerous other monumental buildings from the 30s, ranging from the Haus der (Deutschen) Kunst in Munich to the Italian ambassy in Berlin (faith-fully reconstructed and reopened in 2003) as well as from the Trocadero in Paris to Los Angeles' Central Station.

66. Moreover, it tends to result in ritualized educational admonitions. The workshop '2. Historikertagung Prora,' Berlin 1998, e.g., warned of calling elements of the Third Reich "modern, progessive or attractive" without thinking of the evil "objectives" behind (Wendt, here p.56). Such pedagogics is not the task of historical research.

67. ... and up to 400 000 visitors per day: Der Spiegel No. 20, 2002, p.151.

68. As did in particular Urry, Gaze. Alas, much that is said on "postmodern tourism (is) strikingly ahistorical" (O. Lofgren: On Holiday. History of Vacationing [Berkeley 1999], p.8). Today the world's biggest tour operator alone, the German TUI, sells far more holiday trips than KdF did. The "new" tourism grounds itself in the refinement of the old tools and thus allows at best for a "pseudo-individualization:" Spode in H.J. Kagelmann/W. Ratzinger (eds.): 5. C-B-R-Tourismus-Symposium (Munchen 2002).

69. See the elegant "theory of tourism" by H.M. Enzenzberger: "Vergebliche Brandung der Ferne." In: Merkur 12(1958)--relating of course not to Rosenberg's critique of Prora but to Horkheimer/Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment. It should be added that this dialectic does not imply that tourism is a "swindle" but that tourist experiences and demands are extremely ambivalent. See fn. 3; on tourism as an "experience industry" (Leed) see Baranowski/Furlough, Elsewhere, and H. Berghoff et al. (eds.): The Making of Modern Mass Tourism (Basingstoke 2002); for further discussion cf. C. Rojek/J. Urry (eds.): Touring Cultures (London 1997); H.-P. Burmeister (ed.): Auf dem Weg zu einer Theorie des Tourismus (Rehburg 1998); R. Koshar (ed.): Histories of Leisure (Oxford 2002), G.M.S. Dann (ed.): The Tourist as a Metaphor of the Social World (Wallingford 2002) as well as continuously Voyage. Studies on Travel & Tourism 1ff(1997ff).

70. ... "severest restrictions are needed" to prevent that only "a minority is showered with products" (acc. Tendenzen, p.143). On Orwell see A. Rai: Orwell and the politics of despair (Cambridge 1988); summing up "white," "red" and "brown" revolutions as "machine civilizations," he pointed rightly at the fact that all three drew upon (supposedly) "rational" knowledge to ground their definitions of the public good. Of course, this does not mean that they should be lumped together. On the level of ideas, Fordism aimed at a boundless totally of efficiency in private ownership. Only Stalinism, on the other hand, consequently--and inefficiently--tried to erase all autonomy; whilst only Nazism (for staying behind in this respect, labelled a pseudo-revolution: cf. fn. 37) was based on a heroic ideology: in the end it did not aim at satisfied "fat men," as promised by the Socialism of Deed, but at hardness to assure the "survival of the fittest." A crude biologism far from obtaining a majority but of enormous destructive power.

71. "It was the youngest and most flexible academic elite ever ruling in Germany. (They) felt free to realize their visions:" Aly/Heim, Vordenker, p.487; see also Z. Bauman: Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge 1991), ch. 3 and 4.

72. The figures of overnight stays included business travel, so that the share in tourist travel was even higher. On KdF holiday trips the average share of workers was less than 40%; on cruises less than 20% (but possibly a majority of the workers participated in the--far less spectacular--KdF short trips). Acc. Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub," pp.296ff; Frommann, Reisen, pp.181ff; Buchholz, KdF, pp.364ff; Spode, Sonne, pp.85ff.

73. T. Buhler: Deutsche Sozialwirtschaft. Ein Uberblick uber die sozialen Aufgaben der Volkswirtschaft (Stuttgart/Berlin 1940), pp.383ff. Cf., on the contrary, the published good news on the impovement of the standard of living by KdF: R. Ley: Soldaten der Arbeit (Munchen 1938), ch. 3.

74. Sopade 2(1935)12, p.A76 and 5(1938)2, p.A31. The analysis of reports from the three secret services (cf. Buchholz, KdF, pp.225ff) and the resistance as well as of the KdF figures suggest distinguishing a first sensational phase from a second adaptational phase. Since 1937/38 KdF was increasingly regarded as second-class tourism, and, at the same time, salaried employees took over the most attractive tours. Both curtailed the propaganda effect: Spode, "Arbeiterurlaub" ibid. and p.323f.

75. Sopade 3(1936)7, p.A53 and 5(1938)2, p.A37. See Reulecke in H. Pohl (ed.): Die Bedeutung der Kommunikation fur Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Wiesbaden 1989), p.373, as well as Dussel/Frese in Beckstein, Freizeit, p.96, speaking of "mental effects" which paved the way for the postwar rise in tourism.

76. Urlaubsreisen 1937, ed. by NSG "Kraft durch Freude" Gau Berlin, Berlin, p.99.

77. Fuhrsatz, Gestaltung, p.52.

78. See e.g. W.Kahl: Der deutsche Arbeiter reist! (Berlin 1940). KdF encouraged travelers to say Du to each other. The proletarian way of addressing was to foster the "vacationers' community." However, individual actitives prevailed, resulting in "cliquism" and a "lack of discipline:" drunkeness, sexual libertinage, brawls as well as--in border areas and at the cruises--smuggling and even contact with resistance groups (cf. fn. 29).

79. Comparable to Germany, in France there was/is a "legende rose" on the breakthrough of working-class tourism thanks to the Popular Front: Corbin, L'avenement (here p.394) and see Furlough in Comparative Studies in Society and History 10(1998); a popular view on the Butliners: C. Ward/D. Hardy: Good night Campers! (London 1986); a dissertation on Switzerland: B. Schumacher: Ferien. Interpretation und Popularisierung eines Bedurfnisses (Vienna, 2002); see also the comprehensive overview by Berghoff (as in fn. 69). Following the same trends, still the USA logged behind--despite the talk of a "dramatic" growth in travel (here Berkowitz in Baranowski/Furlough, Elsewhere, p.196, speaking of 70 local tourist boards before 1930--when in Germany alone there were about 900).

80. On tourism: C. Pagenstecher: Des bundesdenbche Tourisms (Hamburg 2003) and H. Spode (ed.): Goldstrand und Teutonengrill (Berlin 1996). See generally G. Schulze: Die Erlebnisgesellschafts (Frankfurt/New York 1993). Also Baranowski, "Strength," p.225, states that KdF "reinforced the destruction of class-based politics."

81. L. Erhard: Wohlstand fur alle (Dusseldorf 1957), pp.7 and 233.

82. Marrenbach, Fundamente, p.356. Ironically, this unheroic "lifestyle" that flourished in post-war Germany, was just the opposite of the harsh core of the Nazi ideology. See, e.g. Schulze ibid; for the conversion of the "Socialism of Dead" into truly Fordist Consumerism cf., e.g., V. Wellhoner: Wirtschaftswunder, Weltmart, Westdentscher Fordismus. Der Fall Volkswagen (Munster 1996).

By Hasso Spode

Freie Universitat Berlin

Institut fur Tourisms

D-12249 Berlin

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Author:Spode, Hasso
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Date:Sep 22, 2004
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