Article ID: CBB001201568

Towards “Total” Recycling: Women, Waste and Food Waste Recovery in Germany, 1914--1939 (2013)


Weber, Heike (Author)

Contemporary European History
Volume: 22
Pages: 371--397

Publication Date: 2013
Edition Details: Part of a special issue: “Recycling and Reuse in the Twentieth Century”.
Language: English

In two critical periods of German history, namely during wartime Imperial Germany and the National Socialist era, the German state resorted to salvaging waste to mobilise both people and resources at home for the war effort. Waste recycling efforts were part of preparing the national economy as well as home front morale for `total' war. Since domestic waste -- the generation of which was largely an urban phenomenon before the advent of mass consumer society -- has traditionally been defined as a female responsibility, urban women were seen as the main pillars of waste work. Collecting, separating and storing reusable leftovers became a pervasive element of their everyday lives, as well as those of schoolchildren. Moreover, in the case of the First World War, under the umbrella of the so-called National Women's Service (Nationaler Frauendienst or NFD), women's associations set up grass-roots local waste collections before the state discovered the potential of waste for its war mobilisation efforts from 1916 onwards. The article highlights this self-mobilisation in the case of food recycling. Furthermore, it explores the continuities and differences between First World War waste salvage and later Nazi waste policies. Claiming to have learnt their lessons from the salvage drives of the First World War, the Nazis aimed at a `total' waste recovery at the latest from 1936 onwards and took a top-down approach to reach it; in contrast, waste salvage drives of the First World War had been dominated by local and often female initiatives.

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Authors & Contributors
Stoff, Heiko
Hutchinson, Braden
Weinreb, Alice
Paul van Reyk
Jensen, Tenna
Thoms, Ulrike
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Technology and Culture
Social History of Medicine
Scientia Canadensis: Journal of the History of Canadian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Science in Context
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
University of North Carolina Press
University of Utah
Rowman & Littlefield
Reaktion Books
Oxford University Press
Ashgate Publishing
Food and foods
Food science; food technology
Food preservation
Science and culture
Consumers and consumerism
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
21st century
Early modern
United States
Scandinavia; Nordic countries
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Smithsonian Institution

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