The Nowaks and the Jews

The Jews living in Berlin were some of the most assimilated Jews in all of Europe. Why, then, did the Nazis not face more resistance when they began to ship Jews off to concentration camps? The Jews were clearly different from other Berliners, but how were they viewed before the Nazis came into power? Did other German dislike the Jews and want them to be taken away?

In his short story, “The Nowaks”, Christopher Isherwood captures a few different German views toward Jews.… Read the rest here

The Berlin Stories: Mr. Norris Changes Trains

The Berlin Stories by Christoper Isherwood are two stories set in Berlin in the 1930s. The first story, entitled Mr. Norris Changes Trains, is based on the relationship between William Bradshaw, the protagonist, and Arthur Norris, the mysterious stranger he meets on the train. The story follows their relationship and the gradual development of Norris’ character. Norris is soon revealed to be a communist and ex-convict. His past and his present tend to create financial and political troubles for Norris, especially in the changing climate of the newly Nazi state of Germany.… Read the rest here

Nazis 25 points: Modern eugenics taken to the extreme.

The 25 points, is a document which outlined the main goals of the burgeoning Nazi party in the 1920’s. The party gained mass support for there extreme combination of nationalist,  militarist, and socialist ideas throughout Germany. The party was seen as an organization that would be able to rise Germany from the destruction that followed after the end of World War One. At this time the liberal minded government of the Weimar Republic was seen as weak.… Read the rest here

Spread of Nazism Throughout Europe

In Dark Continent, Mazower briefly discusses Germany’s view of Europe as a racial entity.  The movement to eradicate Jews from the population did not exist only in Germany—it was a genocide that aimed to span the entire continent. Mazower argues that racism was the driving force behind World War II, and the desire to improve and cleanse the population occurred throughout Europe. As the power of the Nazi party strengthened, it expanded outside of Germany and ultimately led to one of the greatest genocides in history.… Read the rest here

Industrialization of the Country

This article written by Joseph Stalin in 1928 is a examination of Soviet economic development, and the issues it faced in comparison to other western powers. Stalin wanted to combine the “backward” economy of the peasants with a “large scale and united socialist industry”. Stalin was aware of how far behind Russia was in relation to Germany, France and other large western countries, in regards to the technological advances in each country. Stalin believed that a combination of the Soviet system and Soviet power with advanced technology would trump any nation.… Read the rest here

Future of German Film

In Fritz Lang’s “The Future of Feature Film in Germany,” he describes the various forms of expression that were utilized in German film. Lang states that German filmmakers and directors continued to push the limits, and continued to push for creative success. He then argues that Germans, unlike Americans, had a special ability to create film that had a deeper meaning, and resonated with the audience.

When comparing this description to the films we have watched in class, it is clear that the intent of German filmmakers was to make the viewing experience thought-provoking for the audience.… Read the rest here

Weimar Sourcebook

The various articles, written by a number of Weimar intellectuals provide us with a snapshot into the cultural life of inter-war Germany. The final article on the death penalty written by E.M. Mungenast, is a pointed criticism of the death penalty that existed in most “civilized” European countries and in the United States. Mungenast calls the death penalty “a remnant of past times.” He argues against the death penalty not from a religious or even a humane standpoint; Mungenast states that the death penalty “contradicts all principles… of a modern civilized state.”… Read the rest here

“Boycotting French Fashion Goods”

The “Boycott of French Fashion Goods” excerpt from the Weimar Sourcebook focused on French Fashion’s place in German society. This piece encouraged a boycott of all French Fashion. Items could be inspired by French Fashion and made in Germany or other countries, but nothing bought could be of French origin.

It was interesting to discover that this boycott took place in 1933. This was about 15 years after the Treaty of Versailles. The fact that there was still such a level of animosity between the two countries at this point in time is very telling.… Read the rest here

Working Conditions in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

Fritz Lang’s 1927 science-fiction masterpiece Metropolis depicts a futuristic dystopia ridden with class-struggle. Made in Weimar Germany, the films follows Freder, the son of the city’s overlord, and Maria, his love interest, as they try to disenfranchise the classist nature of this urban society. Throughout the film, there is a stark contrast between the scene’s of the workers slaving endlessly to power the city, and the pleasured lives of rich. The city eventually crumbles due to the rocky internal nature and ends with a reconciliation (despite total destruction) of “head” and “heart.”… Read the rest here

“The Mediator Between Head & Hands”

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is a 1927 German science fiction film displaying the heavy influence of the impressionist movement.  The film portrays a dystopian future society (the eponymous “Metropolis”) in which the laborers that maintain the mechanical operations of the city are relegated to an underground living space while the upper classes enjoy a comparative utopia above.  The city’s leader, Joh Fredersen, attempts to augment his power by using the newly invented Machine-Man, who is made to look like the prophetic character Maria, to incite a rebellion in the working class which will simultaneously cripple their underworld home and justify any further punitive measures that he wishes to take against the laborers.  … Read the rest here