Although the 1930s saw considerable growth and maturation in science and technology, the outlook they inspired owed much to the legacy of dozens of technological utopians who, from the late nineteenth century until the mid 1930s, published accounts of how technology would help achieve the perfect society, Industrialization and its negative aspects, ranging from smokestacks to cramped living quarters and long workdays, was considered only a stage that would give way to a clean, harmonious world. Whereas religion, ideologies, and revolution always seemed to provide but a part of the answer to life's challenges, technology might be the tool that truly fixed all troubles. Although such an ideal never materialized, the 1930s became the proving ground for many utopian technological predictions, from skyscrapers to airships. It also became the era when such expectations were tempered, despite scientific and mechanical successes.
The Machine as Inspiration and Threat.
The worldwide depression that followed the stock-market crash of October 1929 had a surprisingly limited impact on scientific research. In fact, substantial progress was made in atomic physics, and even scientific applications to industrial and business fields continued at an accelerated pace. The belief in the positive impact of technology remained strong...
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