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  • Cited by 2
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Badenoch, Alexander 2010. Materializing Europe. p. 47.

    Koshar, Rudy 2004. Cars and Nations. Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 21, Issue. 4-5, p. 121.

  • Print publication year: 1998
  • Online publication date: January 2013

9 - World War I and the Creation of Desire for Automobiles in Germany


War is the greatest of all agents of change. It speeds up all processes, wipes out minor distinctions, brings realities to the surface.

George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn

the 1920s: desire for automobiles in adverse conditions

Following World War I, several factors adversely affected the popularization of car ownership in Germany, which lagged behind that of other Western countries. In the mid-1920s, there was one car for every 250 Germans. In France and Britain, in contrast, the figure was half of that. The reason for Germany's lower rate of car ownership was primarily economic. Quite unlike in the United States, the cost of purchasing and operating automobiles in Germany was simply far too expensive. The portion of the population able to afford personal motorized transportation was comparatively small, increasing significantly, if only gradually, in the second half of the decade. The inflation crisis of 1922-3, reparations, and the precarious situation of the German economy were among the factors that negatively influenced car ownership. The disposable income of most families was not high enough to operate even a modestly priced motor vehicle.

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Getting and Spending
  • Online ISBN: 9781139052634
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