Poems in Steel: National Socialism and the Politics of Inventing from Weimar to Bonn | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Poems in Steel: National Socialism and the Politics of Inventing from Weimar to Bonn

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Volume 6

Monographs in German History

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Poems in Steel

National Socialism and the Politics of Inventing from Weimar to Bonn

Kees Gispen

372 pages, 3 tables, 3 figs, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-242-1 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (January 2001)

ISBN  978-1-57181-303-9 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (January 2002)

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“... Gispen makes an excellent argument for the politics rather than the logic of large corporate systems and along the way demonstrates unexpected continuities and neglected social innovations in our understanding of Nazi economic policy.”   · Journal of Modern History

"…an important study…Gispen has filled a great gap in the history of German technology and business…it offers a solid foundation on which to investigate the development of inventions in the political and business realms.  ·Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire

"This book is at the intersection of several disciplines ... and will find itself in numerous debates. It will certainly figure in discussions about the modernity/anti-modernity of National Socialism ..."  · German Studies Review

"Kees Gispen offers us the most detailed and densely researched work to date on a topic not previously addressed ... an important advance in our knowledge concerning the mix of modern and antimodern components of Nazi Germany."   · American Historical Review

"A fine book [by] one of the most sophisticated German historians to address the history of technology."  · Technology and Culture

"This sophisticated analysis ... deserves a wide audience that encompasses both historians of science and German historians."  · ISIS

"Clearly organized, lucidly presented, and carefully and resourcefully researched, this book contributes powerfully and from a fresh perspective to our understanding of the German style of corporate capitalism in the twentieth century, of the influence of Nazi doctrine on policy in the Third Reich, and of the continuities of that bound that regime to its successors. Gispen uses the subject of patent law to show how Hitler ideology of achievement, along with its interest in unleashing creative energies, ultimately served individualist purposes and rights in so much so, in fact, that the legal framework perfected under the Nazis between 1937 and 1943 remained enshrined in the legal practice of postwar German democracy. All in all, a meticulous, ambitious, and very valuable book."  · Peter Hayes, Northwestern University

"This is a path breaking study of an intricate but important subject, the development of German patent law. With great clarity, Gispen deals with the politics of invention and the professional aspirations of engineers within a broader discussion of technological culture and economic organization. While the wide temporal sweep from the late Empire to the early Federal Republic is impressive, the book's most significant contribution concerns Nazi social policy. Gispen's authoritative analysis if successive attempts at inventor protection provides an interesting counterpoint to the more capitalist policies pursued in the United States."  · Konrad Jarausch, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"... I was really instructed and fascinated. It's a very revealing study."  · Charles Maier, Harvard University


The role of National Socialism in the development of German society remains a central question of historical inquiry. This study presents original answers by examining the politics of inventing, a crucial but long ignored problem at the intersection of the history of technology, legal, political, and business history. The analysis of conflicts over the rights of inventors and the meaning of inventing from the 1920s to the 1950s reveals a deep chasm, reaching back to the late nineteenth century, between the forces of capital and big business on one hand and the exponents of intellectual capital - inventors, engineers, industrial scientists - on the other.

Kees Gispen is Associate Professor of History at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of New Profession, Old Order: Engineers in German Society, 1815-1914 (1989) and many articles on the relationship between technology and society on modern Germany.

Subject: History (General)History: 20th Century to PresentCultural Studies (General)
Area: Germany


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