The Rest Is Noise: Berlin in the '20s and '30s

2/3 Mar: Cabaret, paranoia and Fascism. The Rest Is Noise looks at Germany's centre of political and artistic dramas.

By: The OpenLearn team (Programme and web teams)

  • Updated Wednesday 23rd January 2013
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Events
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Creative commons image Work found at en.wikipedia.org / CC BY-SA 3.0 under Creative-Commons license Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932) This is the fourth weekend in a series of events at the Southbank Centre exploring 20th Century music.

During the 14 years of the Weimar Republic, Germany lurched from chaos to fragile democracy and towards the catastrophe that was to come.

In contrast to the prosperity of Paris, the Berlin of the 1920s was ravaged by financial turmoil and political disorder.

The Weimar Republic, forged in the aftermath of the First World War and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, was full of coups and counterrevolutions, playing host to Communists, Social Democrats and nationalists.

After the catastrophic hyperinflation that saw Germans pushing wheelbarrows full of million-Mark notes through the streets, a period of stabilisation also saw the ominous rise of the Nazi party and their terrifying stormtroopers.

For a brief moment, however, Berlin was a city of possibility and excitement.

The all-night city danced to the biting satire and seductive decadence of the cabaret theatres where art, fashion, classical music, jazz and musical theatre all rubbed shoulders.

However as the darkest chapter of the 20th century drew near, many of the city’s artistic innovators would soon be forced to leave.

Listen to recordings from across the weekend

Cabaret. Inflation. Glamour. Fascism. Reparations. Satire. Decadence. Weimar Germany was a wounded nation struggling to reassert itself.

Explore the many different facets of Berlin: Germany’s centre of political and artistic dramas in our two-day programme of talks, films and performances.

Visit the Southbank Centre to learn more.