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Mobile Exceptionalism?

Passenger Transport in Interwar Germany

Christopher Kopper

The development of bus transport in European countries followed distinctly different paths. Unlike in the liberal economic regimes of the U.K. and the Netherlands, the German transport policy in the interwar years was characterized by a high degree of state intervention, of regulation and restrictions on inter-modal competition. The main purpose of the regulatory regime in Germany was to ensure the profitability of the national railroad, whereas the interests of passengers ranked second. Concessions for private inter-urban bus services were severely restricted by the political priorities for the railroad and the bus lines of the Postal Service.

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Migration, Transfer and Appropriation

German Pork Butchers in Britain

Margrit Schulte Beerbühl

Today foreign restaurants and food shops shape the culinary landscape of Britain. While the impact of post-war migration on the traditional eating habits of the British population has received some attention in historical research, the influence of former waves of immigrants has hardly been studied. This paper focuses on the immigration of German pork butchers and their contribution to the development of meat consumption in Britain. By looking at the pattern of migration it will be shown that migrants created geographically widespread networks in Britain. Within these networks they transferred skills, know-how and social capital. Through a complex process of adaptation and appropriation German sausages were incorporated into the British diet. This process involved natives as well as immigrants. The former had to overcome established food habits while the latter had to adapt their recipes to local taste preferences.

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The War of Legs

Transport and Infrastructure in the East African Campaign of World War I

Michael Pesek

This article describes the little-known history of military labor and transport during the East African campaign of World War I. Based on sources from German, Belgian, and British archives and publications, it considers the issue of military transport and supply in the thick of war. Traditional histories of World War I tend to be those of battles, but what follows is a history of roads and footpaths. More than a million Africans served as porters for the troops. Many paid with their lives. The organization of military labor was a huge task for the colonial and military bureaucracies for which they were hardly prepared. However, the need to organize military transport eventually initiated a process of modernization of the colonial state in the Belgian Congo and British East Africa. This process was not without backlash or failure. The Germans lost their well-developed military transport infrastructure during the Allied offensive of 1916. The British and Belgians went to war with the question of transport unresolved. They were unable to recruit enough Africans for military labor, a situation made worse by failures in the supplies by porters of food and medical care. One of the main factors that contributed to the success of German forces was the Allies' failure in the “war of legs.”

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Richard Vahrenkamp, The German Autobahn 1920-1945: Hafraba Visions and Mega Projects Peter Merriman

Alexandra Boutros and Will Straw, Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture Fabian Kröger

Ted Conover, Routes of Man: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today Rudi Volti

Pradeep Thakur, Tata Nano: The People's Car Thomas Birtchnell

Emmanuela Scarpellini, Material Nation: A Consumer's History of Modern Italy Massimo Moraglio

Kuntala lahiri-Dutt and David J. Williams, Moving Pictures: Rickshaw Art of Bangladesh Tracy Nichols Busch

Patrick Laviolette, Extreme Landscapes of Leisure: Not a Hap-Hazardous Sport Carroll Pursell

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Transfers between Media and Mobility

Automobilism, Early Cinema, and Literature, 1900-1920

Dorit Müller

The essay analyzes the interrelationship between media technologies and the development of mobility based on a concrete historical constellation—the emergence of automobilism and its representation in literature and film between 1900 and 1920. The focus lies on Western European countries and most notably on Italian and German literature as well as British, German, and French films. During that period, the portrayal of the automobile in these countries shows a dominant pattern: due to their speed, cars seem to embody a destructive power per se. This is expressed by numerous violence-related scenarios. However, the accentuation of destructive tendencies cannot only be described as a response to increased risks. Rather, they are a product of media technologies and media-specific aesthetics, too: film, establishing itself as a new media form experimenting with “dynamization“ and destruction; and literature, responding to the new visual media using dynamic language and the demolition of traditional poetic forms. Consequently, the noticeable surge in technology around 1900 created new and different types of mobility in the areas of transportation and media, influencing each other.

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Bill Luckin

This international overview focuses on the conflict between drivers and non- drivers in Britain, France, the United States, Germany, and Sweden during the interwar period. It suggests that on neither side of the Channel did pro-pedestrian movements make a major impact on national safety legislation. In the U.S.A. automobile-manufacturing interest groups undermined what they perceived to be threatening neighborhood opposition to the onward rush of the automobile. In Germany, which had earlier experienced high levels of anti-car activity, Hitler-inspired commitment to modernization nevertheless led, by the mid-1930s, to the consolidation of punitive measures against erring drivers. In Sweden, however, there appears to have been a high degree of complementarity between pro-motorism and policies designed to minimize dangerous driving. The paper concludes that an understanding of this “deviant“ position may be deepened through scrutiny of the values associated with the Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party (SAP). A similar approach might be applied to the other nations discussed in the article.

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The Mobilization of Weimar Radio

Actuality, Microphone, Radio-film

Brían Hanrahan

This essay addresses the effects and experiences that become possible, and become the object of fascination and reflection, when early German radio mobilized-when it moved out of the studio to transmit from places in the "outside world." Mobile electro-acoustic technologies enabled a new sense of exteriority and new experiences of time and space. The paper reconstructs and analyzes three rhetorical figures associated with this mobilized radio. First, the complex concept of actuality, among other things, referred to temporal liveness and the palpable auditory presence of location sound. Second, the popular rhetorical and visual image of the "traveling microphone," emphasized new relations of inside and outside, studio and world, reality and representation. Third, comparisons between radio and film-including the term "radio-film," an early name for live location broadcasts-provided a vocabulary for understanding the properties of a mobile radio, including the intense sense of an outside world made present for the listener at home.

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How “Poland Entered Europe”

The Motorway as a Space of Neoliberalism

Waldemar Kuligowski

The article surveys a giant infrastructural construction project in Poland: the A2 motorway, connecting Poznan´ and Warsaw with the Polish-German border. It was the first private motorway in Poland, and the biggest European infrastructural project, and was realized in a public-private partnership system. The last section of A2 was opened on 1 December 2011, which can be seen as a key moment in Polish socioeconomic transformation. I examine it on two levels: (1) a discourse between government and private investors in which the motorway was the medium of economic and social development and infrastructural “the end” modernization of Poland; (2) practices and opinions of local communities, living along the new motorway. On the first level, the construction of A2 was seen as an impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was built. But on the second level, I observe almost universal disappointment and a deep crisis experienced by local economies.

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M. William Steele

Japan is one of the great bicycle nations of the world, ranking alongside the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark in terms of per capita bicycle ownership and use. This article reviews the history and characteristics of Japan as a bicycle nation. It examines the emergence of a distinctive bicycle culture that offered personal mobility to ordinary people in prewar Japan and traces the contribution of the bicycle to postwar Japan's social and economic development. It reviews postwar bicycle history in: the period of reconstruction and recovery (1945-1956); the period of high economic growth (1957-1973); the period of rapid motorization (1974-1991); and the period of raised environmental consciousness (1992-present). The conclusion seeks to offer reasons for the persistence of Japan's vibrant and pervasive bicycle culture.

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Iterative Modernism

The Design Mode of Interwar Engineering in Belgium

Greet De Block and Bruno De Meulder

This article traces the implicit spatial project of Belgian engineers during the interwar period. By analyzing infrastructure planning and its inscribed spatial ideas as well as examining the hybrid modernity advocated by engineers and politicians, this article contributes to both urban and transport history.

Unlike colleagues in countries such as Germany, Italy and the United States, Belgian engineers were not convinced that highways offered a salutary new order to a nation traumatized by the First World War. On the contrary, the Ponts et Chaussées asserted that this new limited access road would tear apart the densely populated areas and the diverse regional identities in Belgium. In their opinion, only an integration of existing and new infrastructure could harmonize the historically fragmented and urbanized territory. Tirelessly, engineers produced infrastructure plans, strategically interweaving different transport systems, which had to result in an overall transformation of the territory to facilitate modern production and export logics.