Lecture three e meets h


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Lecture three e meets h

  1. 1. LECTURE THREE: Weimar History andPolitics and the German Film Industry in the 1920s
  2. 2.  1919-1924: Expressionist film born of lost war, failed revolution and rampant inflation 1924-1929: New Objectivity OR New Realism (Neue Sachlichkeit) born of increased economic stability and more realist approaches in film art embrace of technological advance
  3. 3. Georg Grosz
  4. 4.  ‘Yet what I found within me was alien to me. To my horror I found that my self was composed of innumerable ‘selves’, each of which stood lurking behind the other. Each seemed to me to be larger and more inscrutable than the one before it. Lost in shadows, those most distant from me could scarcely be apprehended.’From a novel by Alfred Kubin, The Other Side, 1909
  5. 5.  LOSS and TRAUMA 11 million German men called up Over 7 million killed, injured or missing 2 million dead
  6. 6.  trench warfare (mainly in France): men like animals crawling around in mud. Disease rife shell shock first use of technology in war (tanks, gas) – slaughter and trauma on an industrial scale Compulsory enlistment (led to stigmatism of refuseniks and a large number of men feigning madness)
  7. 7.  malnutrition/starvation 50% rise in child mortality disillusionment
  8. 8.  Bolsheviks seized power from Tsarist aristocracy: promise to create a classless society. Strong influence on Germany – growth of Communist party. Communist theory based on Karl Marx’s philosophy Used vampire imagery to describe how the rich and powerful drain life out of working people (Living labour is ‘bled’ to expand the wealth of those who control society’s productive resources) Analysis of war: consequence of competition between growing capitalist nations for economic power. Entwined with big business (weapons production for e.g.)
  9. 9.  defeat trauma decimation of (male) population (2 million men) anger
  10. 10.  28 October 1918: sailors in Kiel refused to obey orders and subsequently took over the town Nov 1918: workers and soldiers began to set up organs of popular power across the country (‘Workers and soldiers councils’)
  11. 11.  Nov 1918: new democratic government proclaimed by the SPD and ratified in Weimar because of revolution in Berlin.
  12. 12.  aristocrats industry managers, financiers etc. middle class: not a matter of wealth but of education and status-bearing work; range of political views proletariat or working class ‘Lumpenproletariat’: lowest class of prostitutes, criminals and drifters (characters in the film Threepenny Opera)
  13. 13.  Left and right wing hostilities to the Weimar Republic Very unstable Climate of conspiracy and political polarisation Series of political murders: Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht from the left (1920); Walter Ratenau (1923)
  14. 14.  Hyperinflation: Savings and indeed earnings of middle and lower middle classes were suddenly worth nothing. Ironically had a positive outcome for the cinema industry
  15. 15.  Hunger, death and disease Social as well as political instability Unemployment
  16. 16.  Demonstration against unemployment
  17. 17.  Contradictory experiences for women: new opportunities but also new pressures and dilemmas War efforts (work in factories etc) had led to destabilisation of gender relations. Women were given the vote in the new democracy but remained second class citizens. Small minority: liberated ‘new woman’ (new jobs in secretarial work etc) – threat to the conservative male elites (panic about the decline of the family etc). Majority still did not question their traditional role however.
  18. 18.  Crisis led to Allies renegotiations of payments Currency reform and stabilisation of currency foreign investment (credit above all from USA) withdrawal of French troops
  19. 19.  German Historical Museum in Berlin www.dhm.de Also short videos