• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
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  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
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  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
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  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
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  • T
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  • T
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  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
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  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
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  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
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  • blank check
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  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
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  • LITERATURE
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  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
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  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Brecht, Bertolt

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(18981956)

    playwright

    Born on February 10, 1898, in AUGSBURG, Bertolt

    Brecht was the son of a Catholic businessman

    and Protestant mother. He studied medicine and

    philosophy at the University of MUNICH. During

    the war he served in a military hospital, which

    made him vehemently opposed to war and sympathetic

    to the Socialist revolution of 1919. After

    the war he wrote plays and as a resident of the

    Munich Kammerspiele had some of his plays

    staged. Before moving to BERLIN in 1924, Brecht

    gradually freed himself from the idealistic expressionist

    conventions of the avant-garde. In Berlin

    he was associated with Max Reinhardts theater.

    His style turned more terse and intellectual and

    from Erwin Piscator he learned the techniques of

    experimental theater, such as the use of film and

    slides. During this period he also began his study

    of Marxism.

    The first play to make Brecht famous was The

    Threepenny Opera. It was based on a translation

    of the 18th-century Beggars Opera, which he

    transformed through the use of his own special

    language containing street-colloquial, Marxist,

    and biblical diction. He borrowed heavily from

    others such as Rudyard Kipling. He wrote several

    more plays with music in collaboration with

    Kurt Weill and Paul HINDEMITH. Brechts term for

    his theatrical innovations was epic theater,

    through which he hoped to awaken the minds

    of spectators and speak truth to them. He

    opposed the hypnotization of the audience.

    Brecht also tried to create alienation in his audience

    through the elimination of most conventional

    stage props and the involvement of the

    audience. Brecht was highly critical of the politics

    of Germany, and he used his plays as a

    medium of criticism of social and political issues.

    The day after the REICHSTAG fire on February

    28, 1933, Brecht left Germany until 1948. It was

    his exile that established him as a prominent

    playwright in Great Britain and the United

    States. Before coming to the United States in

    1941, he resided for a while in Scandinavia and

    then in the Soviet Union. In 1933 his books

    were publicly burned by the Nazis, while he

    directly attacked Hitlers regime in Fear and Misery

    of the Third Riech and the Private Life of the Master

    Race. His greatest plays, however, opened

    with The Life of Galileo and The Good Person of

    Szechuan. In Mother Courage, which takes place

    during the THIRTY YEARS WAR, he demonstrated

    the folly of collaborating with the social system,

    which destroys the main character.

    During WORLD WAR II when Brecht was in

    Hollywood, he worked as a screenwriter but was

    largely ignored. Because he was an outspoken

    anti-Nazi, his plays were not staged in Germany,

    but some were staged in Switzerland. In summer

    1947 The Life of Galileo was finally staged in California.

    Returning to Berlin in 1948, he and his

    wife founded the Berliner Ensemble, a group

    that became the most famous theater group in

    East Germany. With the exception of The Days of

    the Commune he wrote no new plays.

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