The Effects of World War One on French Theatre Essay

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The Effects of World War One on French Theatre At the turn of the century Paris was one of the capitals of culture and art to the outside world. However, the truth of the matter was that this taboo-ridden society was being run by an aristocracy that was repressing the arts. Naturally, when World War 1 broke out, the suppressed French society finally had a release and a rebellion against order arose. WWI specifically affected the theatre of French and it’s aftermath. From the ashes of war the avant-garde theatre grew and styles such as Dadaism and Surrealism were born. It was both the climate of culture before the war and the devastation of the war that lead to the outbreak of avant-garde theatre in France. Beginning around 1890, France …show more content…

In reference to Ubu Roi one historian notes that, “things are of more significance for what they lead to than for what they are.” (Hobson, p.1) On June 28th, 1914, the Belle Époque came to a halting ending when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. Because of the new technological advances such as tanks, aircrafts, and submarines, WWI was unlike any other. However, one of the greatest weapons of war Europe had created was nationalism (Shevin-Coetzee, p.98). Nationalism is the concept where one feels that their country is superior to others, it is taking patriotism to another level, and it was fostered during the Belle Époque. In France, this patriotism was centered on the Church, so much so that the denominations banded together to enhance the patriotism. In The Great War and the French People Jean-Jacques Becker states, “We have ceased dividing ourselves into Catholics, Protestants, Socialists and Jews. Suddenly something more basic has emerged, something all of us share: we are Frenchmen”(Shevin-Coetzee p.105). While this seems like a sentimental moment for the people of France, this was a weapon of war in the development of WWI because every country held some sort of nationalism and that was the fuel that kept the fire burning. The Great War was mainly fought through trench warfare, a brutal and retrospectively

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