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'Trash,' Censorship, and National Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Germany

Kara L. Ritzheimer (Oregon State University)



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Cambridge University Press
14 February 2019
European history; Freedom of information & freedom of speech; Cinema industry; Legal history
Convinced that sexual immorality and unstable gender norms were endangering national recovery after World War One, German lawmakers drafted a constitution in 1919 legalizing the censorship of movies and pulp fiction, and prioritizing social rights over individual rights. These provisions enabled legislations to adopt two national censorship laws intended to regulate the movie industry and retail trade in pulp fiction. Both laws had their ideological origins in grass-roots anti-'trash' campaigns inspired by early encounters with commercial mass culture and Germany's federalist structure. Before the war, activists characterized censorship as a form of youth protection. Afterwards, they described it as a form of social welfare. Local activists and authorities enforcing the decisions of federal censors made censorship familiar and respectable even as these laws became a lightning rod for criticism of the young republic. Nazi leaders subsequently refashioned anti-'trash' rhetoric to justify the stringent censorship regime they imposed on Germany.
By:   Kara L. Ritzheimer (Oregon State University)
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 151mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   420g
ISBN:   9781107583443
ISBN 10:   1107583446
Pages:   328
Publication Date:   14 February 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kara L. Ritzheimer is an assistant professor of history at Oregon State University (OSU). She received her Ph.D. from State University of New York, Binghamton and is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Center for the Humanities Fellowship at OSU, and a Faculty Research Grant from OSU. She has published previously on the topics of censorship and gender in Weimar Germany and has participated in summer seminars hosted by the German History Institute, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Fulbright Commission in Germany. She is a member of the German Studies Association and the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth.

Reviews for 'Trash,' Censorship, and National Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Germany

'Ritzheimer's ['Trash', Censorship, and National Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Germany] is a multifaceted, well-researched book that has much to offer scholars of widely varying interests. And her larger argument - that 'anti-'trash' activists ... paved a rhetorical path ... even an emotional one' to the far more brutal censoriousness of the National Socialist regime - is sobering.' David Ciarlo, American Historical Review

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