Thoroughly up-to-date, skillfully written, and strikingly illustrated, Weimar Germany brings to life an era of unmatched creativity in the twentieth century—one whose influence and inspiration still resonate today. Eric Weitz has written the authoritative history that this fascinating and complex period deserves, and he illuminates the uniquely progressive achievements and even greater promise of the Weimar Republic. Weitz reveals how Germans rose from the turbulence and defeat of World War I and revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. He explores the period’s groundbreaking cultural creativity, from architecture and theater, to the new field of "sexology"—and presents richly detailed portraits of some of the Weimar’s greatest figures. Weimar Germany also shows that beneath this glossy veneer lay political turmoil that ultimately led to the demise of the republic and the rise of the radical Right. Yet for decades after, the Weimar period continued to powerfully influence contemporary art, urban design, and intellectual life—from Tokyo to Ankara, and Brasilia to New York. Featuring a new preface, this comprehensive and compelling book demonstrates why Weimar is an example of all that is liberating and all that can go wrong in a democracy.
University of Minnesota history professor Weitz takes readers on a walk through Weimar Republic era Berlin in the footsteps of a 1920s fl neur, an urban ambler. Wandering among cafes and department stores, Weitz notices the "New Women," the jazz bands, the prostitutes, the beggars, the war wounded. He considers how radio and motion pictures changed public gatherings, internationalizing mass entertainment. Separate chapters, with a wealth of well-chosen illustrations, explore Weimar's new theories of architecture, graphic arts, photography, theater, philosophy and sexuality. Weitz selects key exemplars of each discipline Brecht, Weill, Mann, Bruno Taut, Erich Mendelsohn, August Sander, L szl Moholy-Nagy, Hannah H ch, Siegfried Kracauer, etc. for in-depth focus before turning to the backlash that their radicalism aroused. In his closing discussion of the collapse of the republic, Weitz elaborates on the right's resistance to modernization, as well as the overall fragility of the democratic spirit. A lively style and excellent illustrations make this intellectually challenging volume accessible to both academics and armchair scholars. 8 color (not seen by PW) and 52 b&w photos.