Germans of all political persuasions greeted the outbreak of war in August 1914 with nearly universal patriotic enthusiasm, and German artists fell in line with their compatriots. Cultural, art, and political historians see World War I—at once the "seminal catastrophe of 20th century" and "birth of modernity"—as a turning point in German history, German cultural production, and course of avant-garde art and architecture in Germany. Long before the Great War, German artists and intellectuals had the sense that their cultural production lagged far behind that of other Western countries. Artists turned to Italy during the Renaissance and to Paris and Rome in the eighteenth century for innovative ideas in painting, sculpture, architecture, and art education. Despite their differences in political orientation, members of the avant-garde largely reacted positively to the outbreak of war in 1914. Artists, cultural critics, poets, novelists, and others put forth a flood of pro-war propaganda that continued until disillusionment began to set in early in 1916.