This article examines British attitudes to motorway construction during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, stressing the importance of international events to Britain's motorway building policy. It shows that while national social, political and economic imperatives, movements, and contexts were clearly of primary importance in debates about motorway construction in Britain, these often emerged amidst discussions about road-building developments abroad, particularly in mainland Europe and North America. The article focuses on British reactions to the construction of the German National Socialist Party's Autobahnen in the 1930s, examining how the Autobahnen became embroiled in a spectacular propagandist performance of the modern German nation. Finally, the paper examines the attention paid to European and U.S. motorways in postwar Britain, as engineers, landscape architects, designers, and civil servants undertook research to help inform their plans and designs for British motorways.
The Effect of European and North American Motorway Construction on Attitudes in Britain, 1930-1960
GERMANY, GREAT BRITAIN, MOTORWAYS, NATIONALISM, and TRANSPORT
The motorcar changed the modern world. While German inventors inaugurated the automotive era in the late 1880s, industrial production was scaled up first in France, followed shortly by the United Kingdom and the United States. Before World War II, the German automotive industry remained small, despite its central role in pioneering the technology. While around 3.8 million cars left U.S. plants in 1928, German manufacturers produced only 108,143 automobiles. The bulk of these vehicles were sold domestically, and as another indication of low German production, American companies built nearly a quarter of the German total in assembly plants they set up across Germany.
A new historiographic trend in Germany has emerged. Since 2009, scholarly publications in the formerly little-researched subfield of tourism history have proliferated on the German book market. This remarkable surge might not be surprising except for one fact: most of these publications cover the history of tourism in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), a communist state that dissolved in 1990, leaving few remnants in the unified Germany of today.
through this analysis. In spite of this, the importance of these authors, even in the narrower field of travel writing, is relatively unknown. This may be in part due to the fact that the study of German colonialism—although now firmly established
A closer look at military pilots promises new insights into processes of automation, changing man-machine relations, and the cultural and political meaning of these experiences. The review of recent scholarship is combined with concrete historical examples. By drawing from the German case between the two world wars, the author discusses how the material and cultural experience of flight can be investigated and which new directions such an approach makes possible.
In Berlin’s U-Bahn an announcement cautions passengers: “Bitte beachten Sie beim Aussteigen die Lücke zwischen Zug und Bahnsteigkante.” This fastidious rendition of the London Underground’s “mind the gap” warning reveals audio equivalencies between the two transport networks. However, the more numerous curved platforms of the Underground—originally designed for the shorter trains of the past—mean that its gaps are more pronounced than those of the U-Bahn. When it comes to the cultural investigation of each city’s broader public transport histories and geographies, the reverse is true. Unlike in London, public transport in the German capital has escaped the significant scholarly attention of historians in recent years.
After the Second World War, the bicycle was surpassed by the car as the dominant mode of individual transportation in most Western countries. Since the 1970s, however, bicycle use has again gained some support both from the general public and from governments. In the last two decades national governments and cities throughout the Western world, from Norway to Australia and the United States to Germany, as well as the European Union, have launched policy statements and programs aimed at promoting cycling. Policy documents show much optimism about the possibilities to increase the bike’s modal share in transport by means of infrastructural and social engineering. These policy plans have enhanced social scientific and traffic engineering research into bicycle use and its facilitation.
Overtaking Americans and Germans as the world’s most exuberant tourism spenders, middle-class Chinese tourists have become the most coveted demographic in the global tourism market. At the same time, robust “Golden Week” tourism data, which tracks domestic tourism during the two-week national holidays in mainland China, has indicated a surge in travel within China. Viewed as a revealing lens through which one could observe Chinese modernity, travel and tourism-related activities have attracted considerable attention from scholars interested in China.1 However, marked as a “contemporary” phenomenon, tourism and travel in China seem to have remained largely outside historians’ purview. In response to calls from mobility scholars for a historical understanding of the movement of peoples, goods, and ideas since the late twentieth century, China historians have begun to examine the practice of travel and tourism, especially from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries. At the same time, infl uenced by colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory, literary scholars have renewed their interests in Chinese travel accounts, both textual and visual, making connections between travelers’ representations and the imaginations of empire and nation-state over the past few centuries.
European Travel Writers and the Making of a Genre—Comment
Steven D. Spalding
structures. Tracey Reimann-Dawe’s work, “Time and the Other in Nineteenth-Century German Travel Writing on Africa,” uses the concept of a “western time-set” to assert the centrality of temporality to both how German travelers in Africa ( Afrikareisende ) in
Technology, Gender, and Orientalism in German Interwar Motorized Adventure Literature
Following Germany's resounding defeat in the First World War, the loss of its status as a colonial power, and the series of severe political and economic upheavals during the interwar years, travel abroad by motor vehicle was one way that Germans sought to renegotiate their place in the world. One important question critical studies of mobility should ask is if technologies of mobility contributed to the construction of cultural inequality, and if so in which ways? Although Germans were not alone in using technology to shore up notions of cultural superiority, the adventure narratives of interwar German motorists, both male and female, expressed aspirations for renewed German power on the global stage, based, in part, on the claimed superiority of German motor vehicle technology.