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The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany by Siegfried Kracauer

By Siegfried Kracauer

A desirable examine of Germany society at the eve of Nazism. First released in 1930, Siegfried Kracauer's paintings used to be greeted with nice acclaim and shortly attained the prestige of a vintage. the thing of his inquiry used to be the hot category of salaried staff who populated the towns of Weimar Germany. Spiritually homeless, divorced from all customized and culture, those white-collar employees sought safe haven in leisure -- or the "distraction of industries," as Kracauer positioned it -- yet, merely 3 years past due, have been to escape into the fingers of Adolf Hitler. Eschewing the tools of conventional sociological scholarship, yet with out collapsing into mere journalistic reportage, Kracauer explores the contradictions of this caste. Drawing on conversations, newspapers, ads and private correspondence, he charts the tasteless horror of the typical. within the procedure, Kracauer succeeds in writing not only a prescient account of the decline days of the Weimar Republic, but in addition a path-breaking workout within the sociology of tradition which has sharp relevance for this present day.

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In addition, there is also a Reichsbund Deut�cher Angestellten-Beru£�­ verbiinde (with 60,000 members) , which is affiliated to the Reichsaus­ schuss werksgemeinschaftlicher Verbiinde. It is perhaps worth mentioning that the Vereinigung der leitenden Angestellten (Vela) refrains from trade-union activity, contenting it�elf with sickness relief, a burial hmd and general representation. 32 T H E S A LA R I E D M A S S E S Those are a few facts. They roughly outline the territory into which this little expedition - perhaps more of an adventure than any film trip to Mrica - is to journey.

He further maintains that tending a machine requires a person's full intellectual involvement, and then 44 THE SALARIED MASSES explains: ' I n the German view, work must lead to a n unfolding and realization of one's own personality. It must be viewed as service to the great tasks of the national community to which we belong. ' Nothing stands in sharper opposition to these ideologically biased impositions of Professor Kalveram than his own statement, made at another point in the same essay, that the field of activity of the masses employed in mechanized firms has been narrowed down.

The behest may possibly im ply hardship; however, the high-ups do not know the staff. The departmental manager, who does know them, for his part will perhaps n o t risk h i s own position . It may safely be assumed that not just he, but also the big shots, are relatively amicably disposed yet inhuman a c t i o n s d o not fail to materialize. rac 'k �scape the real dialectic with the people kept busy in the ENTERPRISE WITH I N T H E ENTERPRISE 49 Thc head of one employee union closely associated with the Demo­ c ratic Party tells me of his experiences.

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