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The spirit of the Plassenburg : technology and ideology in the Third Reich / by John Charles Guse.

Publication | Library Call Number: T26.G3 G87 1981

Nazi ideology is often described as anti-modern, being identified with volkisch ideologues who wished to replace industrial, urban society with a pastoral paradise. It is the purpose of this study to show that the Nazi world view also contained a philosophy of technology which grew out of this volkisch milieu, but which proposed only an inner revolution of values and not an economically primitive society. The initiator of the Nazi technical ideology was Gottfried Feder, trained engineer and radical economist, who founded the Militant League of German Architects and Engineers in 1931. His ideas were similar to those expressed by the Technocrat movement in America. In effect, he preached a volkisch technocracy whose ideal was a society of rur-urban settlements, sustained by modern technology. Feder's political goal was a Ministry of Technology, but he failed in an attempt to "coordinate" the German engineering associations in 1933. Opposition to his settlement projects soon ended his career. Feder was replaced as head of the NSDAP Office for Technology by Fritz Todt, who personified Nazi technology. A subtle politician, Todt succeeded in "reordering" the German engineering associations under the Party. He sought to integrate technicians into the Volk community through "techno-political" education, the symbol of which was the Reich Castle of Technology, the Plassenburg. Man, machine and nature should function in artistic harmony, said Todt, the German Autobahnen exemplifying this ideal. By 1938-39, Todt's technical ideology was being used for NSDAP propaganda: "Voyages of German Technology" were sent into Austria and the Sudetenland in order to demonstrate the value of Nazi technology. With the war, Nazi engineers increased their political power, and plans were made for technocratic control of the post-war Nazi economy. Nevertheless, the Nazi technical ideology was diminished by the war effort. When Todt was killed in February, 1942, Albert Speer subordinated both Nazi engineers and their ideology to his plans for total war. Despite his reputation as a Nazi technocrat, Speer did not subscribe to the Nazi technical ideology--the spirit of the Plassenburg.

Guse, John Charles.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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