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15.1 - Postwar Uncertainty

Reading notes from Ch 15.1

Mike Brooks

on 20 March 2016

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Transcript of 15.1 - Postwar Uncertainty

And one more thing...
is here
15.1 - Postwar Uncertainty
The Impact of Einstein's Theory of Relativity
The brutality and senseless slaughter of WWI gave writers and thinkers reason to think about humanity and the society we have created. What they thought was not always nice.
T.S. Eliot wrote a poem describing our world as a
In his poem "The Second Coming" W.B. Yeats describes a world disintegrating... "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold..."
Kafka wrote about people stuck in strange situations they could not control... no clear reason why they are in the situation.
James Joyce tried to write in a way that shows how the mind works...
Artists Rebel Against Tradition
A New Revolution in Science
Literature in the 20's
Revolution in the Arts
Something to think about...
It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates.
Candidate A -

Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two Mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.
Candidate B -
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.
Candidate C -
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.
Which of these candidates would be your choice?
Candidate A
Candidate C
Candidate B
- Reaction to realism in art
- depicts inner world of emotion and imagination
rather than what something really looks like.
Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky
, Otto Dix,
George Grosz, Oscar Kokoschka
- invented by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso (1907)
- inspired by African masks (and Einstein's Relativity)
- breaks image into geometric forms
- multiple perspectives (see front and side at same time)
- "Beyond real"
- Taps into subconscious
- Dream-like images that often mess with your head
- Freudian?
- Andre Breton,
Salvador Dali
, Man Ray
Composers Try New Styles
Igor Stravensky's "The Rite of Spring"
- caused a riot on opening night 1913
- iIrregular rythem, dissonances (harsh sounds)
Arnold Schoenberg
- rejected traditional harmonies and musical scales
- an American Music
- freedom from traditions
- improvisation = made up as you play, interacting
with and reacting to the other musicians. You create the
music in the moment. (existentialism?)
- seemed to fit the age
Please read pages 463-467 first...
Paul Klee
Pablo Picasso
Marcel Duchamp
Georges Braque
Wassily Kandinsky
Otto Dix
George Grosz
Man Ray
Salvador Dali
Influence of Freudian Psychology
Albert Einstein
- German-born Scienctist
- published paper on his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905
* speed of light is constant
* time is variable (goes slower when you move faster,
relative to a relative, of course... The Twin Paradox)
* distance is variable (a train is longer sitting at the station
than it is when moving down the track. Really.)
- This tosses the comfort and predictability of a Newtonian Universe
right out the window of a fast moving train full of short people who
are not aging as fast as we are... Man! I love physics!
The difference between Special and General Relativity?
What you have to remember is that this all makes sense to them.
The Twin Paradox
Sigmund Freud
- Austrian Psychologist
- his work dealt with the universe between our ears
- The Mind
* unconscious mind = driven by desires (many of these desires would
be considered "not school appropriate" for discussion)
* Our behavior/personality (ego) is shaped by a constant struggle between
our id (animal instincts and urges) and superego (follower of rules)
- Freud's suggestion that the unconscious and irrational part of our minds
have so much influence on us was very unsettling to many, but seemed
justified by our experiences from WWI.
limits on Freud's usefulness?
ego, id, superego...
unconscious mind...
W.B. Yeats - "The Second Coming"
T. S. Elliot's "Wasteland"
Spoiler Alert! A reading of the ending of James Joyce's

= there is no universal meaning to things. We each create our own meaning to the world through our choices and actions.
Jean Paul Sartre
Friedrich Nietzsche
Bad Stuff...
belief in progress..
Good Stuff...
heroic values
Social Structures
Franklin Roosevelt
Winston Churchill
Adolf Hitler
Society Challenges Convention
Women's Roles Change
After WWI, things could not go back to the way they were before... for many people it meant they were free to try something new, to challenge the old ways of behaving and misbehaving!
The interesting thing here is that many of the social changes that became huge after the war, were started before the war...
= the right to vote - It is often suggested that women won the right to vote after they "proved" themselves during the war as nurses and factory workers...but the suffragette movement was quite active before the war.
a bit silly.
Flapper Girls
- The 1920's were called the "Roaring 20's" because it was a decade of roaring good times. We might not think it particularly shocking for women to wear "fashionable" clothes, drive cars, smoke (though you relally shouldn't), and drink alcohol in public... but many back then did.
But even if you weren't "keeping up with the Kardashians" back then, Things got much better for women working as homemakers... The miracle of the washing machine!
Technological Advances Improve Life
War is destructive, obviously, but it is also a great nursery for technological advances that can often be put to commercial use after the war is over.
- Cars were around before the war, but they became affordable after the war. Thanks to Henry Ford's production line, many people could have a car and travel for fun. We've built our whole world around cars!
Air Travel
- In 1919, a team of men flew across the Atlantic ocean in flying boats. In 1927,
Charles Lindbergh
flew solo from New York to Paris. By the end of the 1920's, regular commercial flights made the whole world smaller.
Popular Art...
Full transcript