Weimar: A Cultural History
Transaction Publishers, 2011 - History - 308 pages
The term "Weimar culture," while generally accepted, is in some respects unsatisfactory, if only because political and cultural history seldom coincides in time. Expressionism was not born with the defeat of the Imperial German army, nor is there any obvious connection between abstract painting and atonal music and the escape of the Kaiser, nor were the great scientific discoveries triggered off by the proclamation of the Republic in 1919. As the eminent historian Walter Laqueur demonstrates, the avant-gardism commonly associated with post-World War One precedes the Weimar Republic by a decade.
It would no doubt be easier for the historian if the cultural history of Weimar were identical with the plays and theories of Bertolt Brecht; the creations of the Bauhaus and the articles published by the Weltbühne. But there were a great many other individuals and groups at work, and Laqueur gives a full and vivid accounting of their ideas and activities. The realities of Weimar culture comprise the political right as well as the left, the universities as well as the literary intelligentsia. It would not be complete without occasional glances beyond avant-garde thought and creation and their effects upon traditional German social and cultural attitudes and the often violent reactions against "Weimar" that would culminate with the rise of Hitler and the fall of the republic in 1933.
This authoritative work is of immense importance to anyone interested in the history of Germany in this critical period of the country's life.
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