It’s interesting how there is more emphasis on the brutality of fascist regimes in history, but the aspect of “leisure” and “tourism” as a form of propaganda is rarely discussed. Baranowski’s article focuses on the organization, Strength Through Joy, during the Nazi regime as a way to build a racial utopia with German tourists. This goes the same for Spain during the 1960s, as Crumbaugh explains.
The Strength Through Joy organization’s goal was to improve the living standards for Germans until living space was achieved. So, it provided leisure activities for people of various as a way to compensate for the wage freezes, longer working hours, and restrictions on private consumption by the German government. Tourism for this organization was an “attempt to create a non-Marxist, non-Fordist, and characteristically Nazi mode of consumption” (Baranowski). This was similar in Spain during the 1960s and it was a form of propaganda that created a sense of normalcy against the background of fascist brutality. The Strength Through Joy organization needed to boost productivity among Germans, but it also enforced the idea of a “master race” by bringing tourists into countries that were doing poorly, such as Italy, and those that were doing well, such as Nordic countries.
Crumbaugh explains that tourism was a device for Spain that includes “the modes of representation associated with both bureaucracy and commercialism” (Crumbaugh). The film he discusses shows that the tourism trope operates as an “invention necessary for its own (re)production” (Crumbaugh). In 1951, the Ministry of Info and Tourism (MIT) was created with the idea that tourism was not just for economic means, but to collect information. This ministry was used to promote a relatively normal and pleasurable environment to cover up a violent government that did not tolerate any liberal freedoms.
Justin Crumbaugh, “Prosperity and Freedom Under Franco: the Grand Invention of
Tourism” in Destination Dictatorship: the Spectacle of Spain’s Tourist Boom and the
Reinvention of Difference (SUNY Press, 2009), pp. 15-41.
Shelley Baranowski, Strength through Joy: Consumerism and Mass Tourism in the Third
Reich (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 1-10, pp. 162-98