1920s Berlin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Golden Twenties, in Berlin, Germany, were an exciting and extremely vibrant time in the history of the German avant-garde and European history in general. This "fertile culture" of Berlin extended onwards until Adolf Hitler rose to power in early 1933 and stamped out any and all resistance to the Nazi Party, which was never very popular with many Berliners. Likewise, the Nazis decried Berlin as a haven of vice. A sophisticated, innovative culture developed that was centered around Berlin and included architecture and design (Bauhaus, 1919-33), literature (Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz, 1929), film (Lang, Metropolis, 1927, Dietrich, Der blaue Engel, 1930), painting (Grosz), music (Weill, Threepenny Opera, 1928), criticism (Benjamin), philosophy/psychology (Jung), and fashion. This culture was generally considered as decadent and socially disruptive by rightists.

This modern Renaissance occurred throughout the Weimar Republic where art, music, film, and other art-forms flourished, but was firmly rooted in Berlin. Berlin was the centerpiece of European culture from about 1923-1932. It caught on fully once the hyper-inflation and other economic problems of the very early 1920s were brought under control by the newly elected government.

Film especially was making huge technical and artistic strides during this period of time in Berlin, and gave rise to the influential movement called German Expressionism. "Talkies" were also becoming more popular with the general public across Europe but especially in 1920s Berlin.

Radical ideas on both the right and left floated through the wild and exciting streets of Berlin throughout the post-World War I years, with open-clashes between the left-wing Communists and right-wing Fascists not at all uncommon.

The heyday of Berlin began in the mid-1920s. It became the largest industrial city of the continent. People like the architect Walter Gropius, physicist Albert Einstein, painter George Grosz and writers Arnold Zweig, Bertolt Brecht, and Kurt Tucholsky made Berlin the cultural and intellectual center of Europe. Night life was blooming in 1920s Berlin.

Tempelhof Airport was opened in 1923 and a start was made on S-Bahn electrification from 1924 onwards. Berlin was also the second biggest inland harbor of the country; all of this infrastructure was needed to transport and feed the over 4 million Berliners throughout the exciting yet hectic 1920s.

The Humboldt University of Berlin (formerly The University of Berlin) became a major intellectual center in Germany, Europe, and the World. The sciences were especially favored -- from 1914 to 1933, Albert Einstein served as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, only leaving after the anti-Semitic Nazi Party rose to power.

The so-called "mystical arts" also experienced a revival during this time-period in Berlin, with astrology, the occult, and esoteric religions and off-beat religious practices becoming more mainstream and acceptable to the masses, who were now more open-minded to spiritual alternatives after witnessing the horrors and traumas of World War I.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "1920s Berlin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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