March 21, 2013
War has proven to be a major cause for change in our society throughout history. During the time of World War I (1914) and World War II (1939), an era emerged for artists to express themselves through the wars’ heart wrenching stories which fueled their poems, novels, and short stories. During the First World War some of our history’s greatest writes emerged.
American literature came about through writers’ emotions and responses to the war. Sentiments ranged widely. Some writers felt that the war kept peace within nations and believed dying for your country was a noble thing to do; while some became ...view middle of the document...
George Grosz mocked the German military through humorous drawings. He thought their ways of recruitment and officer positions were “corrupt and mindless…”. His artwork, named “Fit for Active Service”, depicted an army doctor approving a skeleton to be fit for combat. Grosz was only in the army for a very short time and was discharged in 1916.
The Great Depression soon followed the World Wars. The American economy became a victim to the consequences caused by their involvement in the War. The stock market took a huge hit that caused inflation and a spike in prices; this became known as the Great Depression. The economy wasn’t the only thing affected by the depression though. Many artists took the opportunity to develop and grow their ideas and opinions of the war through creative expression, such as books and murals. John Steinbeck, a famous author during the Great Depression, received his fame from the book The Grapes of Wrath. In his book, Steinbeck vividly depicts the misery and suffering that many people lived in to try and make it through the severe economic downturn. He provides a window into the desperate situations that many people found themselves in which no one wanted to confront. Steinbeck became known as the ‘Watchdog of Society’ because of how brutally honest he was in his book. Those who read his works became aware of these awful situations and used it as a way to express their political frustrations and protests. Not only did works such as the Grapes of Wrath come about during this time but also many works of visual art such as murals. These large images depicted scenes that questioned policies dealing with political and economic ideas that came before the Great Depression. Thomas Hart Benton created murals that represented the true American values of men and women whom he believed should be rugged and energetic. In a series of public murals, which Benton completed within a span of three years, he portrayed an astonishing picture of the history of the United States. In his pictures, Benton portrays activities such as mining, farming, gospel singing and other familiar American pastimes.
After World War I, the Russian Revolution began. Communist parties took over the country and developed the first totalitarian regime of the twentieth century. This subordinated every individual person to the needs of the state. When Joseph Stalin took over the communist bureaucracy in 1926, farms and private property were taken over by the government but still run by citizens. They worked long hours and were paid very little. All opposition to the new government was demolished when Stalin sent opposing citizens to prison, labor camps, or executed them. “The Great Terror” (1928-1936) took the lives...