Golden Twenties

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Tea dance in the garden of the Esplanade hotel, Berlin 1926

Golden Twenties or Happy Twenties is a term, mostly used in Europe, to describe the 1920s in which most of the continent had an economic boom following the First World War and before the Wall Street Crash in 1929.

The term is often applied to Germany (Goldene Zwanziger), which experienced a healthy economic growth and a liberal, creative and experimental phase in society and arts.[1] After the economic reforms of the Weimar Republic ended the extreme levels of inflation by the introduction of a new currency, the Rentenmark, with tighter fiscal controls and reduction of bureaucracy, lead to a relative degree of political and economic stability. Before that period, the Weimar Republic had experienced record-breaking levels of inflation of one trillion percent between January 1919 and November 1923. The inflation was so severe that printed currency was often used for heating and other uses, and everyday requirements like food, soap, and electricity cost a wheelbarrow full of banknotes. Such events, among many other factors, triggered the rise of fascism in Italy, as well as the ill-fated Beer Hall Putsch, masterminded by a young Adolf Hitler.

In France, the period was called Les Années folles.[2]

The Golden Twenties in Germany[edit]

The Golden Twenties in Germany is often referred to as a borrowed time, meaning that this time of exploring the arts, humanities, sexuality, freedom and financial stability would soon end. It was the calm before the storm.America was the only country to come out of World War One having had no debt or reparations to pay. Germany owing a gross sum had to take a loan out from the US just to survive. No one had any inclinations that there would be a world stock market crash and how this crash would ruin Germany and set the stage for Hitler to come into power. Thus, the expression of a "borrowed time" came to being.

Germany shared many similar social trends with France and America at this time, such as women wearing the short hair cut known as "The Bob" or "Bob cut", the fashion, exploring sexuality (especially for women), cabaret dancers and performances and dancing the "Charleston".

Art during this time was "Expressionismus Kunst" Expressionism Art. "Die Welt unter einer äußerst individuellen Perspektive zu präsentieren" meaning Individuals expressed/presented their selves and their art through a unique and individual way and this is how they saw the world.


Cabaret dancing was the first form of a "Strip Tease". The customers would often sit at a table in a night club or pub and wait to be entertained by the naked girls' performances. These were much like the Moulin Rouge in Paris France during this time.

Anita Berber[3] was a very famous cabaret dancer, during this so called borrow time, and was very infamous as well. She was known to have danced naked on top of her customers tables, often while peeing on them and the table and/or hitting them with champagne bottles.[4] The audience loved this crazed spectacle and would often travel for miles and miles to Berlin to see this naked woman accost her customers. She was beautiful, she was wild and most of all she was crazy. This craziness most likely stemmed from her overt drug abuse and alcoholism. She was also known to have been a bi-sexual woman and was quite often the public target for gossip.

Prominent Figures[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bärbel Schrader, and Jürgen Schebera. The" golden" twenties: art and literature in the Weimar Republic (1988).
  2. ^ "Weisse Maus Cabaret | Cabaret Berlin". Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  3. ^ "Weisse Maus Cabaret | Cabaret Berlin". Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Weisse Maus Cabaret | Cabaret Berlin". Retrieved 2016-04-22. 

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