Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nietzsche and the Adolph Hitler’s Nazis

Reflection Paper #8

Like many other dictators, Hitler did not start out as a servant of the devil, but as soon as he tasted the sweetness of power, his true nature came out.  As evidence from the movie, Hitler started out as a beloved son of his country Germany.  Hitler was an opportunistic leader who took advantage of the fall of the Weimer Republic to rise to power; this was a period when the German people really needed a leader who could restore pride to the German people, especially after the shameful defeat in the World War I.

When Adolph Hitler came into the scene, everyone was excited because they thought that he was that deliverer the country was so much in need of.  Being an ex-soldier, a hero, who fought in the WWI, Hitler immediately gained the support of a large number of the German People.  Instead of uniting the people, Hitler decided to take the path of division and destruction; the adopted and promoted Anti-Semitism, Anti-Communism.  Surprisingly, the majority of the German people praised him as a deliverer or Messiah; Hitler was praised and worshiped as though he was a God.

Thousands of soldiers praised Hitler obeyed his commands even though they knew that what he was doing was both illegal and inhumane.  Looking at the way Hitler was saluted and praised by his soldiers, one is left to wonder if those soldiers had any sense of pride.

From the video, we saw how manipulative Hitler was to the world and to the German people.  He promised to do so many things for the German people.  He promised them to bring pride and glory to the country; he promised them a future full of hope.  During this period, it was easy to manipulate people into believing anything.  Hitler was able to succeed because, the country was vulnerable and in need of a leader.  It is wise to say that Hitler knew what card to play to be able to succeed.  All he needed was convinced them that he was the right person who was able to bring change, have them trust him, work their mind out so they can start obeying him, and then rule them in any way he wanted.  Unfortunately for the German people, instead of giving them honey, Hitler gave them a thundering wave of destruction.

In Nietzsche’s view, Hitler represents change in value, changing the old values to create new values.  Hitler knew that the German people really wanted change, and when he came to power, he promised them change and new values.  But like they say, be aware of what you are really asking for.  The German people wanted very much to get rid of the old values, and Hitler was able to help them out, to help them brake away from the old traditions and replace them with new traditions, new values; he brought them terror and destruction. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The Third Chapter: The Reich President and Reich Government

The Reich President or the German head of the state under the Weimar Constitution was elected through a popular vote by the German people who qualified to vote.  In order to be eligible to vote, one had to be 20 years of age, and to qualify as a Reich presidential candidate, one has to be 35 years or older.  The Weimar Constitution gave the Reich president semi power; the president had to share power with the cabinet (ministers) and the parliament (Reichstag). 

The Reich president was responsible for appointing and dismissing the Chancellor and the ministers; the Reichstag did not vote to confirm the ministers or the Chancellor; the Reichstag, however, had the power to pass a vote of no confidence on any minister and on the Chancellor, and if the vote of no confidence is passed, the Chancellor or the minister involved had to resign from his or her position immediately.  The Reich president was also subjected for removal from office through a referendum to be determined by the Reichstag.  According Article 43 of the Weimar constitution, the Reichstag had the power to dispose a sitting Reich president through a majority vote that required a third members of the Reichstag to vote for the disposition.  According to the Reich constitution, if the disposition of the Reich president is passed, the Reich president ceases to be the president; the failure by the Reichstag to pass the disposition of the president signified a re-election of the president, and an immediate dissolution of the Reichstag itself.

The Reich president was required to consult the Reichstag on major issues; the president, however, had the executive power on many important issues without necessarily the obligation to consult with the Reichstag.  One example of that executive power was the power of the president to bring in the arm forces on any state of the Reich government that was not fulfilling its obligations laid upon it by the Reich constitution.  Now, even though the Reich president had executive power on several issues, the Reichstag had the power to reverse most of the president’s executive decisions.  The Reichstag also had the right to accused, to the Supreme Court, the president, the ministers, and the chancellor, of violating the Reich constitution.

Strengths of the Reich President Position:

The Reich president ensures that there is sharing of power; power was not concentrated in the hands on one man, one group, or in the hand of a few elites.  The president also ensures that the Reich government continues to function in orderly manner, and since he represented the German people the international communities; he was entitled to create alliances with foreign governments.

The Weaknesses of the Reich President Position:

The Reich president is somehow what the French called a poseur; he was in a position of power, but had no power at all.  He had the right to appoint his ministers and chancellor, but these people were subjected to a vote of no confidence by the Reichstag any time; the Reich constitution did not protect them from being removed from office.  The president’s fate itself was in the hands of the Reichstag who had the power to dispose him from office.    If the Reichstag decided to dispose a sitting president, they were required to obtain a third majority vote for the disposition to be effective.  If on the other hand they failed to obtain the third majority, they were required to dissolve immediately; their failure to dispose the president also signified a re-election for the Reich president.  Now let’s get real here, if the Reichstag had a chance to actually vote on disposing the president, and knowing that their failure to dispose him meant the end of their political careers (at least for some), what are the probabilities that they were going to fail to dispose the president?  I don’t think the Reichstag were going to take a chance to vote in a way that would lead to their dissolution, that’s just human nature.


Reflection Paper on Rosa Luxemburg

The world is full of greedy people who think of nothing, but ways of hanging on to power through domination; this has been going on for centuries, and it’s unfortunate for the world.  Yet even at its waste time, the world has always has great thinkers who care less about their own fate, but the wellbeing of mankind.  Rosa Luxemburg is an example of those selfish souls who came to the world to seek the betterment of mankind.

Unlike popular leaders like Lenin and many other authoritarians, Rosa Luxemburg believed in the power of the masses; she believed that the people, and not the few elites, had the right and the power to control their own fate and destination.  While leaders like Lenin and his kind believed in the power of the elites to control the masses, Rosa Luxemburg, believed in learning process, she believed that through learning system the masses can build their own functional social democratic system, and that only the masses can decide how they should be governed and by who. 

Rosa Luxemburg also believed that, contrary to the authoritarians’ belief of dominance, the power of the few elites to dominate the majority had no place in society.  She believed that when power is in the hands of a few elites, it had potentials of being subjected to abuse. 

In a way, Rosa Luxemburg was thinking just like Nietzsche because like Nietzsche, Rosa Luxemburg also believed in the power of individuals as rulers of their own domain.  Rosa Luxemburg believed that each individual was responsible to reshape his/her own destination, hence the right of the masses to decide on how to be governed.

It is unfortunate that the world has fewer people that think like Rosa Luxemburg.  A lot of evils have happened in the world because of selfish leaders who try to impose their will on the masses.     

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Toward the end of 1914, a group of left-wing socialists, led by Karl Liebknecht, in Germany established an underground political organization that came to be known as the Spartacus League or Spartakusbund.  Liebknecht was the son of the founder of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and most members of the Spartacus League originated from the left-wing of SPD.  Other notable leading members included Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, and Leo Jogiches.


The Spartacus League was born out the betrayal by the SPD to support Germany’s involvement in World War I; they saw World War I as an imperialist war.  Inspired by the Bolsheviks in Russia, members of the Spartacus Leagues turned the nationalist conflict into a real revolutionary war.  Luxemburg and Liebknecht emerged as leaders of the Spartacus League; they maintained the revolutionary methods in opposition to the leadership of the SPD. 

At first the Spartacus League were using underground methods to push for the revolution, but in about May of 1916, they decided to come out and started, openly, organizing demonstration against the war in Berlin.  Several leaders of the Spartacus League including Luxemburg and Liebknecht were eventually arrested and imprisoned from 1916 to 1918 because of their involvement in helping organized demonstrations against German involvement in the First World War.  Their release came as a result of the amnesty given to all political prisoners by Max Von Baden in 1918.

Early in 1919, things went from bad to worse in German history.  During this period, members of the Spartacus League organized, in Berlin, what became to be popularly known as the “Spartakist Rising”.  Unfortunately, the governing party (SPD) led by the new chancellor (Friedrich Ebert) called in the German Army for reinforcement.  The Army’s involvement was a blow to the revolutionary war; the army crushed the rebellion, and several members of the Spartacus League were arrested, and eventually executed.  Among those who were put to death included Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, and Leo Jogiches; these leaders and several hundreds of their followers were executed without giving them a trial.  This I believe was the beginning of the darkest days that followed the German people, the rise of Adolf Hitler and the evil empire.     

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thesis Statement

Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha describes a world in which people struggle to find the spiritual meaning of life when the only way to learn is by questioning the traditional teachings of spirituality and holiness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quiz 1

Q1. What were the difference between 'Greco-Roman' values and 'Judeo-Christian' values according to Nietzsche? Why did he think Christianity was nihilistic in contrast to conventional definitions of nihilism?
According to Nietzsche, the difference between the Greco-Roman’s values and Judeo-Christian Values was in the lifestyle of the two groups, especially when it comes to religious belief.  It was Nietzsche view that the fundamentalist Christianity was not an open minded religion as Greco-Roman paganism mainly due to its involvement in politics, and practicing rituals that were somehow hateful; the early Christians believed that other religions were unholy, and those who practiced these religions had to be converted to Christianity or be killed, and this is one reason that led to the Crusade.  The reason why Nietzsche felt that Christianity was nihilistic in contrast to conventional definitions of nihilism is because the early Christians did not want to associate themselves with the rules and culture of the Romans.  The Christians wanted to create something different from what the Romans had, but still it was something that also had rules that people were supposed to follow.  In a way, the Christians destroyed the Romans’ values to create the Christians’ values, and this was nihilistic.

Q2.  Choose one of the Dada artists and explain (interpret) how they depicted social, political, and economic conditions in Germany after the first World War? You can refer to your assignment on this.

John Heartfield was an artist who fought Hitler and his way of life; most of the arts that Heartfield created depicted Hitler as inhumane, evil, a monster, and a distraction to mankind.  Heartfield’s work defined the political, social, and economic conditions of Germany under Hitler as worthlessly, nothing to be proud of.  In terms of politics, Heartfield depict Hitler, who many thought was a savior, as power angry and destroyer.  In terms of economic conditions, he depicted Hitler and his regime as greedy people who only thought of enriching themselves.  Most of the arts that Heartfield produced showed the cruel side of the war and the way of life that the Hitler regime imposed on the people.

Q3.  How does Siddhartha's search to find meaning relate to what was going on in Germany in the 1920s?

Siddhartha search to find meaning relate to what was going on in Germany in the 1920s in a sense that during the 1920s, like Siddhartha, the people of Germany felt that it was not making any sense to believe in the God there were being told to believe in.  The people in Germany witnessed a lot of cruel things happening in their culture, and started asking how God can allow things like the holocaust and the war to take place.  Siddhartha was raised to believe in a higher power, but felt that that was not enough because no one was able to tell him anything that he did not already know.  The war that was going on in Germany made a lot of people to start questioning things they felt did not make sense.
Q4.  What are some of the major psychological themes in either The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or The Blue Angel?

Dr. Caligari had several psychological themes, and one important or major psychological theme was the power of the unconscious mind.  The all movie was a narration that was taking place in the mind of Francis who was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Caligari.  As the movie kept playing, the narrator convinced the viewers that Dr. Caligari was indeed the murderer, and it was until at the end of the movie when the viewers realized that the narrator was actually a patient, and his depiction of Dr. Caligari as a murderer was untrue.  It is amazing how expressionism achieved its intended goal of bringing to life the director’s goals and objective, especially as far as the roles of the characters are concerned.  The backgrounds and the all set up brought agony, and sadness.  The mind is a powerful too, that can be used for both positive and negative purpose.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari & The Blue Angel (Reflection Paper 3 & 4)


Have you have gone go a movie and take minutes later you feel like you are in a wrong movie?  Or have you ever bought a movie that after about five to ten minutes of watching you feel like going back to the store to exchange for anything?  That is how I felt when I started watching “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”.  Somehow I thought the movie was going to be like every other movies, but it wasn’t.  What’s unique about this movie, however, is the way the movie helps in making us engage in imaginative composition.  While reading the notes that precede the images, to fully understand this movie, one needs to engage some mental focus or enter the world of imagination.  As the movie progress, however, I became move and more interested, and I started focusing more and pushing the backward button whenever I felt that I needed to get more meaning.

The movie itself is not easy to follow and understand.  The movie has no voices, the characters are talking, but their voices are not coming heard, and there is loud music throughout the movie.  The movie is in black and white, and as a result some scenes or pictures are not clear.  The images are not sharp; sometimes the characters faces look blurry.

Once you convince your mental receptor to by pass the annoyance of the loud music and the lack of voices, and also convince yourself to just focus, the movie becomes meaningful and interesting.  The movie has themes of fantasies, delusions, guilty, and insanity; the main character “Francis” is experiencing all the four elements.  The viewers are brought into Francis’s nightmarish world through story telling.  The movie started with Francis entering his dream world, and started narrating.  He narrates the story of one mad Dr. Caligrari and Caesare.  The movie has an unnatural and a dramatic backgrounds; the landscape is not real too.  The movies interchange between the hospital and Francis’ vision of the small town “Holstenwall”.  Francis narration is that the arrival of his doctor, Dr. Caligrari, and the somnambulist Caesar brought acts of murder; Francis believed that Dr. Caligrari was using the somnambulist to commit murder.  Based on Francis’ narration, Dr. Caligrari was hypnotizing the somnambulist making him to subject to all Dr. Caligrari’s commands.  Francis’ narration got me going too, thinking and believing that Dr. Caligrari was indeed behind the killing; it was until the end when I realized that everything that Francis was narrating was not true, there were all fantasies and delusions.  To some ways, it might not be wrong for a viewer to conclude that Francis was psychologically guilty and insane.    

What is interesting about this movie is the role that creative writing played, especially at the end of the movie.  The creative writing made the movie looks like it was actually taking place in Francis’ unconscious mind or in Francis’ world of imagination; the creative writing also made Dr. Caligrari appears as though he is just a fantasy and not real.  The main symbol that I got from this movie is how it is possible to control people’s minds. 

Sometimes back, about four years ago, I watched the movie about the mind control experiment; the mind control experiment tried to explain what exactly happened during the holocaust.  The objective of the experiment was to prove that people are more likely to obey authority figures.  Francis’ narration is somehow saying that, “yes” people are more likely to obey authority without even thinking about their actions.  Caesare is an example of the thousands of people who obeyed order from the German authorities to commit murder of innocent people.  But again, this was just a movie, and at the end of the movie, reality checked in and characters were seen for who they were really are, and it turned out that Francis was the insane one and his story was nothing, but an illusion.  


In “The Blue Angel” Josef Von Sternberg tells a tragic story of Immanuel (Emil Jannings), a crusty professor who is corrupted by beautiful, exotic, and sexy nightclub singer and dancer Lola Lola (Marlen Dietrich).  Immanuel discovers that his students have been frequenting a nightclub to see Lola Lola performing at the Blue Angel.  Determined to stop his students from going to the night club, the professor decided to go to the nightclub, but only to be impacted and corrupted by Lola Lola on the first encounter.  Overpowered by Lola Lola’s nature and beauty, the professor decided to quit his job and marry Lola Lola.  After living off his savings reality finally checked in, they got broke, and Immanuel is forced to become a clown.  Immanuel and Lola Lola eventually went back to the Blue Angel where appeared on stage where he experienced the most humiliating moments of his life.  The professor went from being a feared and respected and a pillar of the community to being reduced next to nothing.
The character of Immanuel represents the corrupted and hypocritical world in which the angel becomes a devil.  Immanuel disapproved of his students’ frequent visit to the Blue Angel nightclub; he felt that it was immoral for his angels to be visiting that place and vowed to stop them from going there.  Being in the club just once changed Immanuel’s mission; he was no longer interested in stopping his students from going there anymore, but he started falling in love with the place and with Lola Lola.  It seems the professor fall in love with Lola, just the same way his students had fallen in love with her.
Some people might say that Lola’s lifestyle is like a magnet that can attract everyone to their destruction.  As for me, I don’t think this is true; not everyone can give up everything that they have worked for all their lives just to fall for someone like Lola.  Lola is nothing, but a poseur; her life is not natural, and only people with low integrity can lower themselves for her.  The professor is a victim of luck of exposure; all his life he was never exposed to the life in the cabaret, and seeing Lola acting was like experiencing life in another planet.  This was a man that society was counting on as the educator, the moral guider, and in a way, a man that everyone should look up to as an example of success, but he never experienced life outside his cycle.  My grandpa used to tell me that “before you judge anyone, first allow yourself to see the world through his/her eyes…don’t judge anyone before you get to really know who him or her”.  What the professor did was judging his students as corrupt for going to the Blue Angel, but when he started going there himself, he felt that everything was normal.
Is the movie such as the Blue Angel and Caligari irrational, destructive, and dangerous?  It all depends on what type of society one is from.  Perhaps back then it was considered as destructive to live such life as Lola’s.  But nowadays, with the exposure that everyone is experiencing from different sources, that kind of life is actually as normal as any other.  In New York for example, the gentlemen bars can be found just anywhere; some gentlemen bars and exotic nightclubs are even in residential places, and sometimes near places of Worship.  Of course the communities try to fight these clubs, but most of them are protected by the law, hence everyone has learned to live with them.

Overall, the movie was really enjoyable to watch; great experience and a lot of laughing.     

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Believing Without Questioning

Siddhartha, Religion, Spirituatilty, and Nihilism 

This is probably my fifth time to read Siddhartha, and it is my first time to actually starting to get the meaning out of this book.  Nihilism in German class has helped me to understand what this book is about; it has also helped me to reflect on my own life.  It is not until two weeks ago that I even started thinking the fullness of existence.  Like Siddhartha said, it’s not possible to put in words the fullness of being and existence.  I cannot describe the meaning of fullness, and I don’t think anyone can do.  The oneness of the universe and the oceanic feeling to me re simply imagination; different people can look at them in a different way, and there is no one that can describe them in an understanding way.  What Siddhartha was describing about the rivers sounded like words of a poet, I did not get the meaning of what he was saying.

I can now proudly say that I am a spiritual wonderer like Siddhartha, actually I have been a spiritual wonderer for a few years now, but reading Siddhartha, once more, has re-enforced my quest for true meaning of spirituality.  I was born in a Catholic family, my parents believe only in the teaching of the Catholic Church, and believing in other faith was not acceptable to them.  I was baptized in the catholic faith when I was ten year old and the same day I started to receive the Holy Communion.  During the time I was attending classes for my baptism, I was told to obey every ritual practiced by the church.  I was told that the catholic teaching is the only true teaching because it is the only church that Jesus Christ himself created before he went back to heaven.  I was taught that the priests are holy people, and that the saints should be worship.  I was told that I have to confess my sins to the priests because they have been given the power, by God, to forgive sins.  As a young girl and even in my late teenage, I thought all these teaching were true and should be observed and follow as required by the church.  I never questioned them and I learned so much about the church faith and practice.  Three years ago during my first year in college, and through mixing with people from other faith, I started having so many questions not only about the Catholic faith, but also about other religion. 
In the past three years, I have learned about Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, the Ancestral Spiritual Practice movement, and other religious practice.  Like Siddhartha, no one these religious or faith group can teach me anything that I do not know, and all of them cannot answer the most fundamental questions that I have.  Last summer, I had the privilege to talk to one assistant Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.  I asked him to tell him where exactly can I find God, his answer did not surprise me.  He said that God is everywhere, especially in our hearts.  I asked him how can I talk to him, and he said through prayers.  I also ask him what is the benefit of going to Church, and he said it’s because the church is the house of God.  I told him that I wanted to know when God was going to come back to His Home because every time I visit His House, He’s never there.  At this time the assistant Bishop told me that I needed more prayers for my soul, because I seemed lost.
Two weeks after I spoke with the assistant bishop of Brooklyn, I had an opportunity to speak to three evangelical pastors who volunteer at my husband’s work place.  I asked them why no pastor is able to do any miracle that Jesus said they will be able to do if they believe in Him, and no one was able to give me any concrete answer.  All of them however continue to claim that miracles are performed in the evangelical churches allover the world.  I told them that I have been to so many sermons, and I have never seen any miracle.
Siddhartha is a good example of how we should not believe in anything that we do not understand, and we should always ask questions when we are not clear about something.  Just because our family belong to this faith or that faith should not mean that not mean that we have to follow in their footsteps blindly.  We should also distinguish religion from spirituality, and to know that it is the spirituality that is the more important between the two because the spirituality deals with inner development of an individual.  Siddhartha did not confined himself on one group or faith, he moved from one to another, and in the end he realized that he needed to know who he was inside and not accept what he was taught by different teachers.  I do not in evolution, and I have to believe in something, and at this time my journey continues.       

Friday, February 18, 2011

Siddhartha & Nihilism

Exildah Chishala
February 18, 2011

Siddhartha as as Nihilist

1. The last passage of Siddhartha first part is nihilistic in a sense that Siddhartha came to realized that everything that he was taught or made to believe were meaningless, they did not make sense at all.  Where many, including his best friend, Govinda, accepted the conservative teaching of the priests and the monks, Siddhartha on his part rejected these teachings.  Nihilism see things differently from everyone else, they believe that the world that many see as meaningful is actually with no meaning.  Like many nihilists, Siddhartha did not want to accept concepts that did not make sense to him; he needed to be convinced that what he was learning was actually meaningful; unfortunately nothing made sense to him.  I have to say that I admire his stance on many issues.  For his spiritual wellbeing, he questioned everything that his teachers, including his own father taught him.  They are very few people in the world that can do that.  A lot of people are raised to believe in a particular tradition or religion, and yet even when they do not fully understand what they are being taught, go ahead an accept those teaching.  Siddhartha concluded that in order for him to learn about the world, he must learn about himself, and no teacher was qualify to teach him about who he was, but himself.  Convinced that he has to learn about himself, he started seeing things in his own way, different from what he was taught to look and see things, and this is the wisdom of nihilism, and this is why the last passage is in a sense a nihilistic passage.  

2. Nietzsche & the Samanas

2. What would Nietzsche think of the Samanas?
In the Western Societies, Nietzsche saw a lot of people who were practicing nihilism without knowing it.  I think if Nietzsche was to mingle with the Samanas, he will classify them as somehow semi nihilists.  Samanas, also known as the wondering monks who renounce their world in order to abstain from all sorts of worldly pleasures for the purpose of spiritual development and liberation, are popular are in many Indian’s traditions.  They believe that each human being is responsible for his or her own deeds, and that each human being will reap what he/she sows.  I say that Nietzsche will classify the Samanas as semi nihilists because although they renounce their world to lead a simple or ascetic life, they still follow and abide by what their spiritual leaders teaches them.  When Siddhartha and his friend Govinda joined the Samanas, they had higher expectations; they thought that they were going to learn things that they did not know.  When they realized that the Samanas did not offer anything new or valuable, they started questioning, and eventually left the group all together.  Most of the Samanas are satisfy with the teaching of their teachers, and most of them don’t even questions these teaching.  Renouncing the worldly things is not enough for one to be classified as a nihilist; it is simply one step in the path of nihilism.  Siddhartha is a nihilist because he questioned when was not satisfied, he looked for more meaning and classification for things that everyone thought was well explained.  He believed that “neither yoga-veda shall teach him anything more, or the ascetics, or any kind of teachings.  Like many nihilist, he wanted to learn from himself, he wanted to be his own student, he wanted to know himself.    

Nietzsche believed and emphasized that there was no meaningful substance to political, moral, social, and religious values.  He argued that every traditional value that was imposed on society was indeed meaningless, and not worthy to believe in.  Where many believed in the higher power, and the spiritual world, Nietzsche questioned the meaningful of these practices; to him, the old values and morality didn’t make sense and they did not possess any power as believed.  On Spirituality, Nietzsche believed that some of the traditional values many thoughts to be essential were actually harmful to society and humanity.  On religion Nietzsche believed that “God was dead”; he argued that the belief that God is the only source of everything was useless because God didn’t really matter in the modern world.  Apparently what, Nietzsche was implying is that in order to believe in something, one has to know that something in and out, it is not wise for one to believe in something withou knowing or understanding it. 


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

John Heartfield

Exildah Chishala
February 15, 2010
LEH 300
John Heartfield

John Heartfield was a prolific artist, a pioneer of modern photomontage who was born Helmut Herzfeld in Berlin in 1891. When he was about 7 years old he lost both his father and mother.  When he was about 15 years old, he worked as a book seller in Wiesbaden; he later moved to Munich for studies.  Heartfield changed his name as a way to protest the World War I; he field ashamed and embarrassed to be a German.  Heartfield hated the war so much that he even feigned madness to avoid returning to the military service.  He later joined the Dada group of Berlin, and he’s remembered for being the first person to organize the first international Dada Fair in Berlin in 1920.  Like many German Artist of his time, Heartfield was anti-fascist and a communist.  His art was also revolutionary when it came to technique and taste. Most of Heartfield's art was targeted at Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Germany.  Heartfield uses is skill of photomontage to expose the contradiction between Adolf Hitler's anti-capitalist rhetoric and his pro-capitalist practices.

John Heartfield Arts

Adolf, the Superman, Swallows Gold and Spouts Tin, 1932
© 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In this image, John Heartfield potrayed the German dictator as a greedy person who greedy and thirsty for power under any circumstances.  Here the dictator's hidden agenda is shown through the x-ray of his abdomen, which contains a lot of silver and gold.  I notice that the rest of his body is covered in shadows while the inner part is clearly exposed.  This image shows that athough the dictator was anti-capitalist, he was also a fanatic of capitalism, and it was his greedy for power and wealth that lead him to commit the horible deeds he committed.

In this art, Heartfield portrayed Hitler as someone who was not thinking properly, as someone who was not using his brain.

War and Corpses: The Last Hope of the Rich, 1932

War is not a good thing.  The German Dada movement was born out of hatred for war.  Many Dada members felt that the war would have been avoided had it not been for the greedy of the rich people.  The result of the the war is destruction to makind, and that include both rich and pooer.  This image represents the end results of greediness.  Here the hynna is stepping on the corposes of victims of the war.  The Hynna represents the powerful whose aim is to destroy mankind.

John Heartfield was forced out Germany by the Hitler's regime, and when he came back, he started creating arts as a way to fight back the system.  He spent a lot of energy antagonizing the image of Hitler.  The image above show Hitler as an ape with horns.  Many people considered Hitler to be the savior of the German people, but what many failed to see was that, Hitler did not care about anyone, but himself.  It's like he came from another planet to destroy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The German Dadaism

Dadaism Movement in Germany
Dadaism movement in Germany emerged mainly due to the influence of the socialist movement in Germany, which was also the largest and most sophisticated and advanced socialist moment in Europe.  Although socialism originally started in France, Karl Max, who was a German evolved as the greatest socialist thinker.  Max and his partner, Friedrich Engels helped create the socialist movement in Germany.  It was through this socialist movement that Max and his colleague helped create that the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) was born.  The SPD enjoyed strong support from the members of the socialist movement until it gave a blessing to the war and the German cause of 1914.  Giving blessing to the war and the German cause was a direct violation of the international purpose and cause of socialism.  Out of this discontent rose the German Dadaism, an artistic movement that regards itself as anti-art.  In German Dadaists had different objectives and purposes than their counterparts in other parts of Europe, these included:
·         Dissociation to the German militarism and nationalism
·         Criticism of the middle that that failed to prevent the break out of world war I
·         The discontent of the German socialism which was thought as a betrayer of socialism values and principles.
NB: it is easy to see how out of discontent with the German society came the rise of Dadaism in that country.  People have the ability within them to create systems that can fight and defeat even the most powerful system.  Dadaism is one such system; through Dadaism, people were able to express their frustration, discontent, anger against a system that care less about the ordinary people.

The Rise of Dadaism Across Europe

Contrary to popular belief, Dadaism is one of the greatest things that have contributed to human’s development.  Dadaism has also a beautiful history that is worth of knowing.  I used to look at the work of Dadaists and wonder what the artists were thinking were creating their arts; thanks to my nihilism I now know the history of Dadaism and have started understanding the message behind Dadaism arts.
Although Dadaism originated from Switzerland shortly after the beginning of world war in 1914, the German Dadaism was more intriguing than any other Dadaism movement due to its political consciousness.  It’s not easy to understand Dadaism movement without understanding the roots causes of this movement.  According to what I have learned about the roots causes of Dadaism, the movement emerged as a results of different issues that were taking place even way back before the World War I.  Apparently 20 years before the war, many observers of European society observed that the European Imperialists were getting to the verge of collapsing due to the inner conditions of European cultures and civilization.  According to these observers:
·         Socialist powers across Europe helped or encouraged the formational of nationalist movements with the aim of countering the liberal values
·         Ordinary people in several imperialist systems across Europe started resisting the system thereby making it difficult and costly for the imperialists to maintain these territories.
·         Competition for control of territories among imperialist systems became stronger
These issues and several others gave rise to the Dadaism movements across Europe.  In Germany, however, Dadaism emerged mainly due to the influence of the socialist movement which was also the largest and most sophisticated and advanced socialist movement in Europe.