World War I
World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global war centered in Europe that began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. More than 70 million military personnel were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history. Over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war, a casualty rate exacerbated by the technological innovations and the tactical stalemate caused by trench warfare. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes.
World War I Propaganda
Over There - George M. Cohen
Dulce Et Decorum Est - Wilfred Owen
Click HERE for the text to this poem. You can also hear a professional dramatic reading of the poem on this site.
Der Krieg - Otto Dix
We see what we want to see. Because Dix’s Der Kreig
is so awful, most people see it as an expression of a
pacifist sensibility: he must have been a pacifist,
therefore they are propaganda for pacifism. Yet, as we
have seen, Dix said he volunteered for the war, ‘I
wanted it. I’m therefore not a pacifist at all – or am I?
To explore more of Dix's art, click HERE. (Warning: some images are quite graphic.)
Choose from the following quotes/prompts and create an outline of a 3 point, 5 paragraph essay using the template found in CLASSROOM.
"Art is exorcism. I paint dreams and visions too; the dreams and visions of my time. Painting is the effort to produce order; order in yourself. There is much chaos in me, much chaos in our time." ~Otto Dix
- Does Dix succeed in finding order? are his visions still chaos? In other words, is Der Kreig an "orderly, organized" artwork, or it is full of "chaos and confusion?"
"Otto Dix is one of modern painting's most savage satirists." ~The Art Story
- Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
"I had the feeling that there was a dimension of reality that had not been dealt with in art: the dimension of ugliness." ~Otto Dix
"I'm not that obsessed with making representations of ugliness. Everything I've seen is beautiful." ~Otto Dix
- Is Der Kreig beautiful or ugly? Explain your answer.
"You have to see things the way they are. You have to be able to say yes to the human manifestations that exist and will always exist. That doesn’t mean saying yes to war, but to a fate that approaches you under certain conditions and in which you have to prove yourself. Abnormal situations bring out all the depravity, the bestiality of human beings . . . I portrayed states, states that the war brought about, and the results of war, as states."
- Do you think the painting is a pacifist, anti-war painting that focuses on the "depravity of human beings" or do you think it is a story celebrating the heroism that can emerge when soldiers are called to "prove" themselves?
"I had to experience how someone beside me suddenly falls over and is dead and the bullet has hit him squarely. I had to experience that quite directly. I wanted it. I’m therefore not a pacifist at all – or am I? Perhaps I was an inquisitive person. I had to see all that myself. I’m such a realist, you know, that I have to see everything with my own eyes in order to confirm that it’s like that. I have to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths of life for myself; its for that reason that I went to war, and for that reason I volunteered.…there was something awe-inspiring about it. There was no question of me missing out on that! You have to have seen people out of control in that way to know anything about man." ~Otto Dix
- Dix stated you have to see people out of control to know anything about man. What do you think he learned about man?