Konsum und politische Kommunikation
As urban populations in Europe experienced unprecedented material want during the First World War and its aftermath, political communication increasingly centred on the interests of consumers. At issue was not only how to provide for their basic needs, but also, and more importantly, whether it was legitimate and feasible to represent their interests at an institutional level in order to counter-balance the power of producers. Ultimately, although the point of view of consumers promised to recast the relationship between the political and the economic, the impact at the institutional level turned out to be limited. The article examines this debate at the point of its greatest prominence during the formative years of the Weimar republic. Its main actors, issues and effects are then compared to parallel struggles for consumer rights in Great Britain and France. It will be argued that similarities outweigh national differences and that these similarities should be attributed to the pervasive effects of the First World War and to the difficulties inherent in representing consumer interests.