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1. Who were the revolutionaries in Germany in 1918 and early 1919?


The French occupation of the coal-mining region in western Germany, the Ruhr, ... This is important because of Dada s rejection of expressionism. 9. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 1. Who were the revolutionaries in Germany in 1918 and early 1919?

1. Who were the revolutionaries in Germany in
1918 and early 1919?
  • The text talks about two different sources. The
    Independent Socialists -- who have broken off
    from the Majority Socialists (both are branches
    of the pre-war German Social Democratic party, a
    Marxist party that claims to represent the
    industrial working-class) -- want to set up a
    system of Councils based loosely on Bolshevik
    Soviets that have sprung up in the wake of the
    February 1917 revolution in Russia. The
    Spartacists--headed by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl
    Liebknecht--rejected gradualist solutions and
    believe that a revolution--following a Bolshevik
    model that would involve seizing state power--is

2. Who are Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg?
  • These are the leaders of the Spartacus League
    (that will become the German Communist Party or
    KPDKommunistische Partei Deutschland). In
    January 1919, the Spartacists attempt a violent
    coup in Berlin, and they are quickly defeated by
    Free Corpsparamilitary groups of demobilized
    soldierswho are working in collaboration with
    the provisional government of Friedrich Ebert.
    Ebert is head of the Majority Socialists. The
    rift between Social Democrats and Communists is
    put solidly in place and wont be patched up
    before 1933. Many of the artists well study are
    either members of the KPD or very sympathetic to
    the KPD and critical of the SPD.

3. Who is Friedrich Ebert and what does he want?
  • Ebert is the head of the pre-1914 SPD. After
    November 1919, he wants to move swiftly to
    elections to a national assembly that will draft
    a constitution. Ebert becomes the first elected
    president of the Weimar Republic.

4. What are some of the most important provisions
of the Treaty of Versailles?
  • Loss of colonies, reduction in the size of the
    army, demilitarization of boundary region with
    France, agreement to pay war reparations

5. What is the Kapp Putsch?
  • This is important as context for The Art Scab.
    In March 1920, a right-wing group of Free Corps
    adventurers led by Wolfgang Kapp and Hermann
    Ehrhardt attempted to seize control of the
    government in Berlin. A nation-wide strike and
    the willingness of Communist and Social Democrats
    to take up arms in defense of the republic led to
    its speedy defeat.

  • 6. Why would the author of the Britannica text
    call the cultural and intellectual developments
    of the 1920s the Weimar Renaissance? What do you
    know about the Renaissance that could be used to
    describe culture and the arts in Weimar?

7. What triggered the hyperinflation?
  • The French occupation of the coal-mining region
    in western Germany, the Ruhr, which led to
    passive resistance the government paid workers
    by rolling the printing presses. Many students
    will think the inflation leads directly to
    Hitler. My point will be that its remarkable
    that the inflation doesnt lead directly to

8. What are the main characteristics of the
artistic movement called Expressionism?
  • Go to Grove Art Online or maybe just Wikipedia
    for this, but the text says its depicting their
    emotional responses to reality rather than
    reality itself. This is important because of
    Dadas rejection of expressionism.

9. What was the economic impact of the Great
  • Collapse of the German economy, triggered by
    stock market crash in the US, massive
    unemploymentdepicted in Kuhle Wampecollapse of
    domestic production and foreign trade.

10. Why do you think President Hindenburg would
resist making Hitler chancellor in late 1932?
  • Speculate

11. What do Nazis and German Communists have in
  • Both are not supporters of Weimar Democracy

12. How does the Manifesto explain the First
World War?
  • Emphasis on imperialism, capitalist profit drive

13. Why do the Spartacists not like Socialists
who are part of the Second International? What is
the Second International?
  • They think Socialist have abandoned
    internationalism in favor of the nation in 1914.
    The Second International is defined in the
    glossary, so they should look there to get the

14. How do the Spartacists think they can achieve
a successful revolution in Germany?
  • (Speculate) Emphasis here is on a global
    proletarian revolution

15. Why do the Dadaists dislike Expressionism?
  • They see it as a retreat from reality, a turn to
    inwardness, abstraction, renunciation of all
    objectivity instead of an engagement with
    political reality

16. Speculate
  • The Dadaists wanted to make a political
    revolution, but in many ways they were also
    irreverent about politics. In the list of things
    Dadaism wants (50-51), which ones do you think
    are realistic demands and which ones are meant to
    be ironic and playful?

17. Why are Grosz and Heartfield so critical of
  • Kokoschka is critical of the violence surrounding
    the Kapp Putsch because its led to the defacing
    of a painting in a Dresden art gallery. Grosz and
    Heartfield use this as an occasion to denounce
    outmoded conceptions of art and celebrate the
    revolutionary politics of the present.

18. Speculate
  • As Professor Lupton explained, Shakespeare was
    suggesting in MSND that the creative work of the
    playwright was on a higher plain than the manual
    labor of the Rude Mechanicals. What is the
    relationship between manual labor and artistic
    creativity that is outlined in the Bauhaus

19. Speculate
  • Friedrich Wolf argues very explicitly that art
    should be used to intervene directly into
    politics. What do you think of his argument?
    Should makers be just makers? Or must a maker be
    a doer if what s/he makes is to have any
    significance or meaning?

20. Photomontage
  • Look at the Heartfield images in the outline for
    Professor Moellers second lecture. Can you find
    anywhere in print an interesting image from the
    current presidential primary campaigns? If not in
    print, on the web? Bring examples with you to

21. According to Münzenberg, what function should
film play for a revolutionary political movement?
  • See the Zetkin quotation

22. What made it more difficult for Communists to
produce films than to produce an illustrated
  • Münzenberg makes much of the high costs of film
    and the capitalist control of the film industry.
    Possible to contrast this with the situation in
    the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany where the state,
    not the market, determines what gets produced by
    whom. Think about the constraints on making, and
    a next step might be to consider the
    possibilities of political film-making in the age
    of the digital revolution.

23. Why does Young Bönike commit suicide?
  • Sense of worthlessness because he cant find
    work, he is the symbol of the worker who in
    isolation cant solve her/his problems, by the
    end of the film, the answer will lie in
    organization in the Communist youth organization

24. Why does Young Bönike take off his watch
before he leaps from the window?
  • An interesting footnoteSoviet film authorities
    didnt want to distribute this movie in the
    Soviet Union because of this scene, because they
    thought it made it seem as if the German
    working-class was too affluent.
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