The comparisons between Donald Trump’s political success and Hitler’s rise, so numerous even before the election, have intensified since the former won the electoral vote in November 2016. Historians have weighed in with differing opinions and analyses about the two phenomena. This is an on-going collection of articles on the topic, all suggestions welcome! Continue reading “Trump and Weimar Germany”
The Wiener Library’s summer exhibition showcases the remarkable work of German Jewish photographer Gerty (Gertrud) Simon, and features many of her original prints from the 1920s and 1930s. Simon was a once-prominent photographer who captured many important political and artistic figures in Weimar Berlin, including Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya, Käthe Kollwitz, Max Liebermann and Albert Einstein. In the 1930s, as a refugee from Nazism in Britain, Simon rapidly re-established her studio, and portrayed many significant individuals there, such as Sir Kenneth Clark, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Aneurin Bevan. Continue reading “#FindingGerty”
WEIMAR: THE ESSENCE AND VALUE OF DEMOCRACY runs until September and highlights the central challenges in politics and society faced by contemporaries of the Weimar Republic. The exhibition is expressly addressed at “current debates about the crisis of liberal democracy” and features a Democracy Lab, aiming “to build awareness for the fact that this form of government lives on the participation and engagement of all citizens, is marked by the continuous negotiating of different opinions and positions, and in this way is constantly able to further develop itself.”
Sabina Becker, expert on the “New Objectivity” movement and the long-standing editor of the Jahrbuch zur Kultur und Literatur der Weimarer Republik, has published a new cultural history of the period 1928-33. Experiment Weimar presents the culture of the Weimar Republic in its manifold forms, from sport and mass culture to avant-garde theatre and modern art, seeking to explain these aspects not with the endpoint of National Socialism in mind, but with WWI as its starting point.
The New Yorker has published a short text about the brilliant 1920’s flapper cartoons by illustrator Barbara Shermund, reflecting a changing image of femininity: “The women in Barbara Shermund’s New Yorker cartoons seemed to be in charge of their lives and talked about their dreams and ideas. They were confused, too, because the roles for women were changing, often not fast enough.”
In 2019 Germany celebrates 100 years of Bauhaus. The centenary year is packed with events and exhibitions, including the opening of two new museums, a Bauhaus festival, and even a major TV series based on the romantic relationship between Walter Gropius and Dörte Helm.
There is a dedicated website listing all events all over Germany, from Ulm to Weimar.
Last year, 75 years after is ceased publication, the legendary Weimar magazine Die Dame returned to German newsstands. Since then, the magazine has been published only three times, with the fourth issue due to appear on 22 November.
According to the Axel Springer publishing company, which took over all Ullstein titles after WWII, the magazine combines ‘the elegance and intelligence, the spirit and extravagance of 1920s Berlin with the attitude and culture, the style and the fierceness of today.’
The German Bundesarchiv (Federal Archives of Germany) has launched the portal Weimar: Die erste deutsche Demokratie. The portal is a one-stop-shop for all Weimar-related sources held by the Archives, from government records to sound recordings of Ebert’s speeches, posters, newsreels and historical maps.
The HREF blog, run by the GHI Washington, has interviewed Vera Zahnhausen, the project leader of the portal at the Bundesarchiv, who explains the various uses of the new website.
The Haus der Weimarer Republik – an initiative that seeks to build a permanent museum and information centre about the history of the Weimar Republic – has launched a portal for the centenary celebrations, including a collection of all related celebrations and events.
During the anniversary year, they also present a primary source covering each day of the tumultuous founding of the Weimar Republic 100 year sago.
The Humboldt University Berlin, the Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam and the Topography of Terror museum are hosting a lecture series on the legacy of the Weimar Republic in German culture. Speakers include Sebastian Ullrich, Andreas Wirsching and Peter C. Caldwell.
On 9-10 November, the University of Oxford hosts the conference Make Revolution Great Again, exploring the social and intellectual context and legacy of the German Revolution.
The conference “seeks to re-examine the reception of the Revolution, as well as the Weimar Republic and the interwar period, across a range of disciplines, including but not limited to European history, intellectual history, political theory, and political science.
To commemorate the centenary of the German Revolution, the Staatsbibliothek Berlin has opened its archive of flyers, posters and special newspaper editions from November 1918 to the “Kapp-Putsch” in 1920.
The exhibition Druckerschwärze Roter Stern: Revolution an der Litfaßsäule focuses on five topics: the revolution in Berlin from November 1918 to January 1919, the revolution in Braunschweig in November 1918, the elections to the constitutional assembly in January 1919, the Munich Soviet Republic in April 1919, and the Kapp-Lüttwitz coup in March 1920.
The exhibition runs from 9 November – 15 December and is opened on 8 November with a lecture by Mark Will Jones, author of Founding Weimar: Violence and the German Revolution of 1918-19.
“Monitor”, Germany’s flagship investigative news programme, recently broadcast a segment about the “lessons of Weimar”: “Babylon Berlin. Die ARD-Serie über die Weimarer Republik – vier Jahre bevor die Nazis die Macht übernehmen. Deutschland 1929: Straßenkämpfe gegen die verhasste Republik und eine neue Partei vor ihrem Aufstieg an die Macht. Deutschland 2018: Rechtsextremisten demonstrieren neue Stärke. Und wieder träumt eine nationalistische Partei von der Machtübernahme. Was sollten wir aus Weimar lernen?”
Adding to the recent “rediscovery” of the German Revolution, the volume Allemagne 1917-1923. Le difficile passage de l’Empire à la république adds a French perspective to the founding years of the Weimar Republic.
The contributions approach the topic by covering the responses by intellectuals such as Ernst Troeltsch and Max Weber, radical feminists and artists like Ernst Toller.
If you find yourself in London over the next few months, make sure to visit the free exhibition MAGIC REALISM: ART IN WEIMAR GERMANY 1919-33 at the Tate Modern. The exhibition draws on paintings from The George Economou Collection and many of the artworks not ordinarily on public display. The Guardian calls it “a truly revelatory voyage through art and history”.
Nadine Rossol has unearthed a treasure trove of student essays written between late November and early December 1918 and addressing their experiences of living through the end of WWI, the revolution and the collapse of the monarchy in Essen.
Kartoffeln, Frost und Spartakus. Weltkriegsende und Revolution 1918/19 in Essener Schüleraufsätzen is a collection of 35 of these essays, with comments and context. It provides a fascinating insight into young people’s view of the beginning of the Weimar Republic and a welcome contribution to the recent “rediscovery” of the German Revolution.