In this seminar we learnt about the Weimar republic, this was a short period of peace after world war one between Germany and Europe and it replaced the imperial government. Some of this was because of the Treaty of Versailles, which had reduced Germany’s power , the Weimar Republic was a democracy that technically lasted from 1918- 1945, but most people think it was over in 1933 when Hitler took over the country. Germany went through many problems in this period including hyperinflation that caused the German currency values to rise greatly, they also had problems with political extremists like the Nazi Party and issues with foreign relations. The decline of the Weimar Republic began in 1930 when the countries parliament began to fall apart. In the 1932 German elections, the Nazi party won 32% of the vote, replacing the democrats as the most popular party in Germany. This lead to the start of Hitler’s Third Reich in 1933, which began World War II.
Weimar Culture was the term used to describe how the arts and sciences thrived during the period , Germany and Berlin in particular were the cultural and scientific central’s and university became available to Jews in the country for the first time and education became more accessible. Albert Einstein was part of this thriving new mecca, 9 Germans won Nobel Prizes during the Weimar Years. The Bauhaus institution appeared and renaissance style appeared in films, literature and art. There was also a Dada group revived in Berlin including Hannah Hoch and Raoul Hausmann. There were also some great film companies during this time and Fritz Lang the silent film director who created Dr.Mambuse the Gambler in 1922 that portrayed the social chaos and corruption in Berlin at the time. German expressionism was also born at this time, films like “the Cabinet of Dr Caligari” was made in 1919.
Philosophy also came on in leaps and bounds during the Weimar Republic, women gained more rights by the creation of an International Women’s Union in Berlin and Marlene Dietrich became a famous German actress. Burlesque and Cabaret became popular but there was also a rise in prostitution in the 1920’s.
Once the Nazi’s had taken over Hitler deemed modern art as degenerate and Otto Dix’s “War cripples” painting was accused of dishonouring German War heroes. Hitler only saw Greek and roman art as untainted by Jewish influences. Otto was known for influencing costume design for Liza Minelli and film cabaret.
Bob Fosse was an American actor, dancer and choreographer, he wont 8 tony awards for his choreography. Notable distinctions of Fosse’s style included the use of turned-in knees, sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders, and jazz hands, he made new moves and poses using imperfections. He was influenced by Fred Astaire who was an actor and dancer at the time in the 1950’s, he moved to New York hoping to be his successor. He co-wrote and directed a semi-autobiographical film called “All that jazz” and he also choreographed for Michael Jackson.
He also developed a specific style with his movements, a style of dress that was very sleek with bowler hats , vests and black trousers. His movements focused on hips and shoulders and other isolated parts of the body rather than just the legs and feet.
He inspired Beyonce and many others and Beyonce’s song “single ladies” was a tribute to him with its elaborate dance routine utilizing many of Bob’s famous moves. His moves were also used in classic black and white films too as well as his popularity on Broadway with shows such as “Sweet Charity” and “Cabaret”. From reading about him I can see a link between him and the work of Liza Minnelli, she also tends to dress in this same sleek style so he clearly influenced her.