Golden Twenties

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

The Golden Twenties, also known as The Happy Twenties, is a term that refers to the decade of the 1920s in Europe, during which most of the continent experienced an economic and cultural boom. The era began with the end of World War I and ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

The German term (Goldene Zwanziger) is often applied to that country's experience of healthy economic growth, expansion of liberal values in society, and spurt in experimental and creative efforts in the field of art. Before this 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 as domestic fuel and everyday requirements such as food, soap, and electricity cost a wheelbarrow full of banknotes. It was only after radical economic reform measures initiated by the Weimar Republic, such as introduction of a new currency, the Rentenmark, tighter fiscal control, and a reduction in bureaucratic hurdles led to an environment of economic stability and prosperity in Germany.

In France, the period was called Les Années folles.[1]

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 was untypical and would soon end. America was the only country to come out of World War I without debt or reparations to pay. Germany owed a gross sum and had to take a loan from the US just to survive. No one had any hint that there would be a stock market crash with worldwide repercussions and that 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. It was the calm before the storm.

Germany shared many similar social trends with France and America at this time, such as the famous women's haircut called "The Bob" or "Bob cut", clothing fashions, exploring sexuality (especially for women), cabaret dancers and performances, and dancing the "Charleston".

The art movement known as Expressionism originated in Germany during this time. It presented the world from a decidedly individualistic perspective.

Cabaret[edit]

Cabaret dancing was the first form of "strip tease". Customers often sat at a table in a night club or pub and waited to be entertained by the performances of nearly naked girls. These were much like the productions of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France, during this time.

Anita Berber[2] was a famous, even infamous, cabaret dancer during this so-called borrow time. 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.[3] The audience loved this crazed spectacle and oftene traveled 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]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Weisse Maus Cabaret | Cabaret Berlin". www.cabaret-berlin.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  2. ^ "Weisse Maus Cabaret | Cabaret Berlin". www.cabaret-berlin.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  3. ^ "Weisse Maus Cabaret | Cabaret Berlin". www.cabaret-berlin.com. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 

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