Published in Association with the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
Hitler's autobahn was more than just the pet project of an infrastructure-friendly dictator. It was supposed to revolutionize the transportation sector in Germany, connect the metropoles with the countryside, and encourage motorization. The propaganda machinery of the Third Reich turned the autobahn into a hyped-up icon of the dictatorship. One of the claims was that the roads would reconcile nature and technology. Rather than destroying the environment, they would embellish the landscape. Many historians have taken this claim at face value and concluded that the Nazi regime harbored an inbred love of nature. In this book, the author argues that such conclusions are misleading. Based on rich archival research, the book provides the first scholarly account of the landscape of the autobahn.
Thomas Zeller is an associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he teaches the history of technology, environmental history, and science and technology studies. He is the author of Strasse, Bahn, Panorama (2002) and has co-edited the volumes How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich (2005), Germany's Nature: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental History (2005), The World Beyond the Windshield: Roads and Landscapes in the United States and Europe (2008) and Rivers in History: Perspectives on Waterways in Europe and North America (2008). His current research project, consuming Landscapes, has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and the Program in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks.