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Cultural and Intellectual Trends. Mass Communication Revolution. Radio:

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mass communication revolution
Mass Communication Revolution
  • Radio:
    • Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, proved the feasibility of radio communication. He sent and received his first radio signal in Italy in 1895. By 1899 he flashed the first wireless signal across the English Channel and two years later received the letter "S", telegraphed from England to Newfoundland. This was the first successful transatlantic radiotelegraph message in 1902.

1920 - 1926

    • Musical concert is transmitted and broadcasting facilities were built in the US, Europe, and Japan
    • Mass production of radios begin
    • By the end of the 1920’s there were more than 9 million radios in Great Britain alone
motion pictures
Motion Pictures
  • First emerged in the 1890’s (short films)
  • Full-length appear just after WWI
    • Birth of a Nation (American film)
    • Quo Vadis (Italian film)

By 1939 about 40% of adults in the more industrialized countries were attending a movie once a week…increases to 60% by the end of WWII

  • ***the first “talkie” “The Jazz Singer”
political use
Political Use
  • Radio and movies were used for political purposes:
    • Hitler – “Without motor-cars, sound films, and wireless , [there would be] no victory of Nazism.”
    • Radio is able to reach the masses and had a great impact – noticeable when Hitler is heard and his fiery speeches made just as great an impact on people when heard over the radio as it did hearing him in person
    • Nazi regime encourage radio listening by urging manufacturers to produce inexpensive radios that could be bought on an installment plan.
film and propaganda
Film and propaganda
  • Propaganda minister of Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels believes that film is one of the “most modern and scientific means of influencing the masses.” He creates a special division in his Propaganda Ministry
  • Propaganda Ministry supports the making of documentaries and films that carried the Nazi message

The Triumph of the Will – documentary of the 1934 Nuremberg party rally

  • It coveys the message of the power of National Socialism
more goods more leisure
More Goods, More Leisure
  • After WWI, the assembly line and mass production took hold in industry. More consumers goods were available, and more people could buy them because they had more income or credit. By 1920, the 8 hour work day had been established for many and this becomes the norm

New work pattern meant more free time

    • Professional sporting events
    • Travel – trains, buses, cars – to the beaches or resorts
    • The Nazi regime adopted a program (Strength through Joy) to fill the free time of the working class (used really to control the people)
      • Concerts, operas, films, guided tours, sports, and inexpensive vacations
strength through joy
Strength through Joy
  • The first was to ensure that no one had too much time on their hands to get involved in untoward activities against the state. There was a belief that idle hands might get involved in anti-state misdemeanors. The second main purpose of Strength Through Joy was to produce an environment within Nazi Germany whereby the average worker would be grateful to the state for providing activities and holidays that in ‘normal’ circumstances they could not afford as individuals.
artistic and literary trends
Artistic and Literary Trends
  • 4 years of devastating war had left many Europeans with a profound sense of despair. To many people the horrors of WWI meant that something was dreadfully wrong with Western values, that human beings were violent animals who were incapable of creating a sane and national world.
art nightmares and new visions
Art: Nightmares and New Visions
  • After 1918, artistic trends mainly reflected developments made before the war. Abstract art became ever more popular
  • Prewar fascination with the absurd and the unconscious content of the mind seemed even more appropriate in light of the nightmare landscape of the WWI battlefields.

“The world does not make sense, so why should art?”

  • This sentiment gave rise to both the Dada movement and surrealism.
  • Dada was, officially, not a movement, its artists not artists and its art not art.
  • Confused???????

Dada was a literary and artistic movement born in Europe at a time when the horror of World War I was being played out in what amounted to citizens' front yards.


Dadaists were pretty ticked off that modern European society would allow the war to have happened. They were so angry, in fact, that they undertook the time-honored artistic tradition of protesting.


writers and artists used any public forum they could find to (metaphorically) spit on nationalism, rationalism, materialism and any other -ism which they felt had contributed to a senseless war. In other words, the Dadaists were fed up. If society is going in this direction, they said, we'll have no part of it or its traditions…especiallyartistic traditions. We, who are non-artists, will create non-art - since art (and everything else in the world) has no meaning, anyway.


Using an early form of Shock Art, the Dadaists thrust mild obscenities, scatological humor, visual puns and everyday objects (renamed as "art") into the public eye.


Marcel Duchampperformed the most notable outrages by painting a mustache on a copy of the Mona Lisa (and scribbling an obscenity beneath) and proudly displaying his sculpture entitled Fountain (which was actually a urinal)


Dada art is whimsical, colorful, wittily sarcastic and, at times, downright silly. If one wasn't aware that there was, indeed, a rationale behind Dadaism, it would be fun to speculate as to just what these gentlemen were "on" when they created these pieces.

hannah houch
Hannah Houch
  • Photomontage ( a picture made of a combination of photographs)
  • Her work was part of the first Dada show in Berlin 1920
  • More important the Dadaism was Surrelaism. This movement sought a reality beyond the material world and found it in the world of the unconscious
  • Portraying fantasies, dreams, and even nightmares, the surrealist sought to show the greater reality that exists beyond the world of physical appearance
salvador dali
Salvador Dali
  • Spaniard
  • Painted everyday objects but separated them from their normal contexts. By placing recognizable objects in unrecognizable relationships, Dali created a strange world in which the irrational became visible

Not everyone accepted modern art forms.

  • Decay in the arts
  • Most evident of this denouncement was Nazi Germany – saw it as degenerate
  • ///