And so, we’re going back to the usual schedule.
It’s been a very busy couple of months, but I really enjoyed the AtoZ Challenge. I loved researching the Weimar Republic, and I’m already putting my new knowledge at work. In fact, I’m now working on the story set somewhere near the Black Forest in Germany in 1924. You’ll hear about it!
While researching the Weimar Republic I stumbled upon so many fantastic articles, so I thought I’d share a few with you this month.
I hope you’ll enjoy it.
The 1914-1918 Online – International Encyclopedia of the First World War is a fantastic place to discover facts about the Great War and about that time of the Great War. Most articles are long and in-depth and still easy to read. I will certainly go back and read more material from this site.
Finding more general info about society at that time (at any time, to be honest) is one of the hardest thing in researching about any era, so I was so happy to find this article covering just this topic and is such length.
They say the past is a foreign land and sometimes, like in this article, you realise it is true. These facts either relate to the Great War or happened at the same time as the war and they are sometimes surprising (did you know that soldiers took up knitting and embroidery to distract in the long periods waiting for their turn to fight?), or true social history, as the fact that the war meant proper dentistry for the first time. You know, my father still tells me that his granddad – who fought WWI – recounted that many of his fellow soldiers, very young men, wore fake teeth. It’s so weird when history matches your family’s history.
Alpha History is another great site to discover history. They have a section completely dedicated to the Weimar Republic and if you have a look to my resources for the series you’ll see many entries from Alpha History.
Most of the articles are relatively short, but to the point. Factual and precise and it covers specific matters that isn’t easy to find elsewhere. Here’s the Introduction to Weimar.
I knew even before starting my research and I learned it even better during the researching process that many artists and writers took part in the war. Otto Dix is one of the most influencial artists on the post war time in Germany and you have probably see his work even if you might not know his name.
One thing that I didn’t know is that the post war arts celebrated the noble, brave soldier. This was common in many places (here in Italy too), and in part it was the same in Germany. But in Germany the artists that would then be defined as ‘degenerated’ took a completely different stance, one that wasn’t explored as intimately in other nations: the horror of the war. They depicted war not as a mystic experience, they didn’t idealise it (which was a way to cope with it) but rather depicted it realistically in all its horror. Otto Dix was a prominent figure in this field.
This is a great if short exposition of the history of Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP. It’s very easy to read and honestly it was very insightful for me. I didn’t know a great deal about the NSDAP before starting to research and I understood quite a few things just by reading what happened.
Robert Beachy is the author of the book Gay Berlin, about Berlin queer culture in the 1920s and 1930s. This interview covers a great part of the book and it was my main resource for my Queer Culture posts.
This is one of those topic that are often misrepresented, especially in historical fiction. Like it happens so often with flappers, authors attach a modern sensitivity to characters who are supposed to live one hundred years ago. The reality of the time was often very different, but certainly not less interesting. Works like Beachy’s, who look at the time with the glance of the historian, trying to recreate what it was rather than give it a new, modern dress, are invaluable, in my opinion. I haven’t read the book yet, but I will.
This is an article about a BBC show which was actually produced in the 1960s, where many WWI veterans were interviews. As it turned out, these veterans mostly told about their everyday life, no heroic or special story there, but just the quite existence of people who just tried to do their best in the midst of horrible events.
This is exactly what it makes it invaluable today, when these veterans had long since left us.
The true life of soldiers are also so incredibly touching.
An in-depth look at facial disfigurement and the way it was treated after WWI, and especially the practice, which wasn’t as common as sometimes we think, of the masks.
As always, the Smithsonian Institute articles present a personal angle, different from any other article on the same subject I’ve read even when the basic matter is the same.
Speaking about flappers, this is the true life of one. Lois Long was a journalist in New York City in teh 1920s who certainly lived the wild life. I really enjoyed reading this accounts , which sometimes feels as wild as any fictional account.
Sweeping, evocative and sumptuously told, The Hunters is a dramatic coming-of-age story, a complex portrayal of first love and family loyalty and a passionate reimagining of the Happy Valley set in all their glory and notoriety.
Theo Miller is fourteen years old, bright and ambitious, when he steps off the train into the simmering heat and uproar of 1920s Nairobi. Neither he, nor his earnest younger sister Maud, is prepared for the turbulent mix of joy and pain their new life in Kenya will bring.
Their father is Director of Kenyan Railways, a role it is assumed Theo will inherit. But when he meets enchanting American heiress Sylvie de Cro and her charismatic, reckless companion, Freddie Hamilton, his aspirations turn in an instant.
Sylvie and Freddie’s charm is magnetic and Theo is welcomed into the heart of their inner circle: rich, glamourous expatriates, infamous for their hedonistic lifestyles. Yet behind their intoxicating allure lies a more powerful cocktail of lust, betrayal, deceit and violence that he realises he cannot avoid. As dark clouds gather over Kenya’s future and his own, he must find a way back to his family to Maud before it is too late.
During the AtoZ Challenge many bloggers chose to tell stories and as it happened, quite a few related to the two World War. Here are a couple of my favourites
Now or Never – Colin D. Smith