Weimar Germany & Its Legacies
This course examines the brief and intense period of artistic creativity and political upheaval in Germany's first democracy, the Weimar Republic. Beginning with Germany's humiliating defeat in World War I, we will cover the implications of the Versailles Treaty, the Dolchstoß (stab-in-the-back) theory, the stillborn revolution of 1918-1919, and the growing political polarization and apathy leading to Hitler's rise to power. Contrasting the political decline with the increase in cultural productivity, we will discuss the artists' outcry for spiritual rebirth, examining the development of Expressionism, Dadaism, and New Objectivity in literature, visual arts, theater, and film. Readings include texts by Lasker-Schüler, Toller, Fallada, Kafka, Brecht, and Thomas Mann.