Between 1918 and 1933 the German interwar avant-garde was a primary force driving European cultural innovation and modernism. These innovations continue to influence artistic practice, theory, and arts education today, thus making a comprehensive study of the relationship between individual war experience and the immediate response of avant-garde architects after the war all the more important.

The Break with the Past pursues several important, interrelated questions. What were the disparate war experiences of German architects, and did they have different effects on Weimar cultural production? Did political orientation play a part in support for the war? In aesthetic choices? What changes occurred in avant-garde architectural practice after 1918? How do they compare with pre-war positions and practices, and expectations for post-war outcomes? In order to address these questions, the book uses individual case studies of four leading architects: Bruno Taut, Walter Gropius, Erich Mendelsohn, and Hans Scharoun.

This is a valuable resource for academics and students in the areas of Art and Architecture History, German history and Cultural Studies, European Culture and Modernism.

chapter 1|18 pages


Architecture in transition: Germany’s avant-garde in World War I and the Weimar Republic

chapter 2|18 pages

Bruno Taut

Before the war

chapter 3|13 pages

Bruno Taut

War years’ resistance

chapter 4|17 pages

Bruno Taut

Leading the avant-garde

chapter 5|13 pages

Walter Gropius

Career beginnings

chapter 6|9 pages

Walter Gropius

War service on the Western Front

chapter 7|19 pages

Walter Gropius

Rise to prominence

chapter 8|14 pages

Erich Mendelsohn

A born revolutionary

chapter 9|13 pages

Erich Mendelsohn

The war years

chapter 10|20 pages

Erich Mendelsohn

After the war

chapter 11|6 pages

Hans Scharoun

Bremen and Berlin

chapter 12|13 pages

Hans Scharoun

On the Eastern Front

chapter 13|18 pages

Hans Scharoun

The interwar years

chapter 14|13 pages

Art and the revolution