East german typewriter

In the mock-up of the factory, we see rice cookers and teapots for the workers, along with two long tables of sewing machines, bolts of fabric leaning against a corner, a rack of very ’70s utilitarian-meets-disco jumpsuits, and a bulletin board covered with union information and buttons. In the room, if you touch any sewing machine, it triggers a recording. We see 1974 film footage of a factory and hear memories of children for whom factories served as de facto after-school programs. One former resident recalls sitting on the fire escape as a kid, watching trains cross the Williamsburg Bridge, waving at them and feeling thrilled whenever someone waved back. Another remembers being ordered to run and hide whenever the Department of Labor came for an impromptu inspection—once he stayed under a pile of coats, sweating and forgotten until he was found sobbing. He was given two sodas as recompense.

By the 1970s, Olympia--like most other business machine suppliers--was well aware of the threat computers presented to typewriters. Eventually, the company would branch out into calculators and computers, but before doing so, it tried many different innovations and improvements to the existing product. In 1970, Olympia introduced the SGE 50M Excellence, an electric typewriter that used proportional spacing, much like the computers of today. The firm also experimented with Dvorak keyboards, which placed the most commonly-used letters in the English alphabet more conveniently and comfortably than the standard QWERTY format. And, in 1984, even as computers took over the business world, the company kept pushing the envelope; it debuted its Olympia 1011, an important improvement over the traditional Chinese-language typewriter. Instead of the individual keys for over 2,500 characters conventionally used, the 1011 featured electrically-controlled inkjets that specially formed each character without time-consuming adjustments.

However, the general was certainly impressed by the tactics of blitzkrieg—coordinating air, armor, and infantry in a lightning attack against the enemy. When Yamashita returned to Japan in 1941, he was given command of the Twenty-Fifth Army. The unit was considered among the best in the Japanese military, and Yamashita’s job was to prepare it to invade Malaya and capture Singapore. Because taking Singapore was an essential goal of Japan’s offensive in Southeast Asia, only the best troops would be employed in the Malaya campaign. In his drive against Singapore, Yamashita planned to use some of the lessons he had learned in Germany.

Geiss knew how to make this final state of the history of World War I politically useful. In his view, the Fischer controversy had produced a new kind of person, "the German who had become insightful." From the 1972 perspective, Geiss had developed instructions for this person. The first and second world wars, he said, had resulted in "the need to make do with the status of lesser powers in Europe," as well as the "final liquidation of all patriotic dreams of a German Reich." He was referring to the possibility of German reunification. "Any attempt to circumvent these political consequences, to squeeze past them, would inevitably lead to a third phase of German power politics, hence leading to a third world war initiated, once again, by Germany."

East german typewriter

east german typewriter

Geiss knew how to make this final state of the history of World War I politically useful. In his view, the Fischer controversy had produced a new kind of person, "the German who had become insightful." From the 1972 perspective, Geiss had developed instructions for this person. The first and second world wars, he said, had resulted in "the need to make do with the status of lesser powers in Europe," as well as the "final liquidation of all patriotic dreams of a German Reich." He was referring to the possibility of German reunification. "Any attempt to circumvent these political consequences, to squeeze past them, would inevitably lead to a third phase of German power politics, hence leading to a third world war initiated, once again, by Germany."

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