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Europe Post WWI  AP European History- Chapter 28
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Europe Post WWI AP European History- Chapter 28


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  • 1. Post WWI Europe “The Age of Anxiety” Chapter 28 Part 1
  • 2. Key Questions • In what ways did new ideas in philosophy, psychology, and literature reflect the general crisis in Western thought? • How did modern thought impact art? • In what ways did new media such a motion pictures and radio become a part of modern culture? • How did nation-states and their leaders use media as part of their political programs?
  • 3. Background • New ideas and new scientific discoveries caused many to question traditionally held assumptions about reality, truth, life and meaning. • “crisis of the mind” – intellectual crisis • Unrestrained industrialization • dehumanizing effect of mechanization and unrestrained capitalism • Growing militarism and brutality of WWI • Marxist ideology • atheistic and violent • Questioning of traditional religion- seen as hypocritical and ineffectual
  • 4. Modern Philosophy • Characteristics: • Attack on the idea of progress and complete confidence in human reason (Enlightenment thinking) • Attack on religious institutions, beliefs, and values (Christian) • Greater emphasis on passions, emotions, senses • Greater emphasis on the power of the individual • Growing sense of despair and alienation
  • 5. • Nihilism – Friedrich Nietzsche • “God is dead; we have killed him….” • Life has no meaning- there is no eternal truth or value • Man must face the reality of a cold and cruel existence with no hope • Atheistic Existentialism – if life has no meaning we must create meaning through our ACTIONS (existence) • Martin Heidegger • Jean Paul Sartre • Albert Camus
  • 6. New Science • Discovery of subatomic energy and particles (Max Planck) – Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – time and space are relative • Scientists split the atom • Subatomic particles were discovered (quantum mechanics) • Newton’s idea of an ordered and clockwork universe was challenged • The universe lacked a fixed and absolute objective reality • There are only tendencies and probabilities
  • 7. Psychology • Sigmund Freud proposed that human behavior is essentially irrational • Driven by the irrational unconscious • Driven by sexual desires and aggressive pleasure seeking desires • Freud believed that religion was nothing was wishful thinking • Traditional beliefs and moral values crippled people with guilt which developed into neuroses
  • 8. Literature • Characteristics • Pessimism • Relativism • Sense of alienation • Complexity • Random stream of emotions and thoughts -”stream of consciousness” – new style of writing • Major authors- • James Joyce, Virginia Wolfe, George Orwell, Franz Kafka
  • 9. Art- new styles • Impressionism • Expressionism • Cubism • Surrealism • Dada • Art Nouveau
  • 10. Duchamp’s The Fountain
  • 11. Media • Radio • National broadcasting networks developed • Most households owned a radio • Motion pictures • Escapism for the masses - mass entertainment • New media became a propaganda tool for governments and political leaders • Examples- The Triumph of the Will – • Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the Nuremburg Rallies in Nazi Germany • Walt Disney was enlisted by the US Government to create a series of propaganda cartoons