WWI and the Rise of Modernism

The years surrounding World War I saw great social, political and economic upheaval. Meanwhile, an international community of Modernist artists, authors and musicians responded to a rapidly changing world. Follow the story of cause and effect—scroll through this timeline comparing geo-political proceedings with artistic and cultural events.

Background image credit: Alvin Langdon Coburn, English, 1882-1966, b. United States. Vortograph, 1917, Gelatin silver print. Image: 10 7/8 x 8 inches. Framed: 25 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches. Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.3920

1904-04-10 00:00:00

French-Russian Alliance forged

1904-08-01 00:00:00

Women’s suffrage movements launched in Great Britain and the United States

1904-10-20 00:00:00

Triple Alliance renewed, uniting Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy

1904-11-01 00:00:00

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art movements emerge

1905-01-01 05:01:58

Physicist Albert Einstein publishes first papers on Theory of Relativity

1905-06-01 00:00:00

Fauvism, an early expressionist art movement, rises in Paris

1905-06-01 05:01:58

The German Schlieffen Plan designed to first defeat France on the Western Front, and then Russia on the Eastern Front

1905-09-01 05:01:58

Trench warfare, used extensively in World War I, employed during Russo-Japanese War to great effect

1905-10-17 02:30:05

German Expressionist artist group, Die Brücke (The Bridge), forms in Dresden, Germany

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1907-01-11 03:55:50

Triple Entente alliance unites France, Great Britain and Russia

1907-03-01 00:00:00

American artist Alfred Stieglitz photographs "Steerage"

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1907-10-01 09:15:48

Cubism, an art movement that represented the world from multiple perspectives, emerges in Paris

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1908-06-19 23:10:34

Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina

1908-12-19 23:10:34

First Model “T” Fords produced in the United States

1909-03-24 01:17:25

Sigmund Freud lectures in the United States on psychoanalysis

This psychological theory would later influence many modern artists.

1909-11-05 09:15:48

"Futurist Manifesto" authored, defines the art movement that values speed, aggression and vitality in the modern age

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1911-03-01 00:00:00

Munich’s Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) artist group forms, includes expressionist artists Wassily (Vasily) Kandinsky and Franz Marc

1911-03-01 00:00:00

Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Hamburg speech asserts Germany’s “Place in the Sun”

1912-01-01 03:34:43

British Royal Flying Corps established in April, later becomes Royal Air Force (R.A.F.)

1912-01-03 16:49:42

French artist Georges Braque creates "Cubist Still Life II"

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1912-04-15 03:34:43

S.S. Titanic sinks on maiden voyage on April 15; more than 1,500 drowned

1912-06-30 03:34:43

Turkey closes Dardanelles (a strategic shipping strait) in April, increasing tensions in the region

1912-09-25 03:34:43

Montenegro declares war on Turkey on September 25, sparking First Balkan War

1912-11-30 03:34:43

Woodrow Wilson elected U.S. President in November

1913-03-01 03:34:43

New York’s “Armory Show” introduces European Postimpressionist, Expressionist and Cubist art to the United States

1913-04-29 03:34:43

New York’s Woolworth Building and Grand Central Terminal open

1913-05-29 03:34:43

Russian Composer Igor Stravinsky’s symphony the “Rite of Spring” premieres in Paris on May 29, audience riots in response

1913-09-29 03:34:43

Suffragette demonstrations in London

1914-01-01 08:49:48

Italian composer Luigi Russolo creates “The Awakening of a City,” a noise-based work

A portion of this composition is present in the exhibition "WWI and the Rise of Modernism."

1914-01-28 17:34:49

Bosnian Serb nationalist assassinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo on June 28

1914-04-28 17:34:49

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia on July 28

1914-06-10 17:34:49

War erupts

Alliances activated. Nations divide into Allied and Central Powers. Allied Powers: Great Britain, France, Russia, later Japan, Italy and Portugal. Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and later Bulgaria.

1914-08-01 22:27:19

First Battle of the Marne takes place in France in early September

1914-10-01 17:39:24

A “Race to the Sea” occurs from September to October

Each side attempts to reach the North Sea first; Germans advance toward Dunkirk and Calais, encounter British troops at Ypres, Belgium

1914-12-31 11:53:45

Unofficial "Christmas Truce" takes place on Western Front

1915-01-01 17:39:24

American artist Marsden Hartley completes "Himmel" in Berlin

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1915-04-01 17:39:24

Germany introduces chlorine poison gas at Second Battle of Ypres in April-May

1915-05-01 08:49:48

Canadian writer and military doctor John McCrae pens “In Flanders Fields”

Read the full text at Poets.org: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/flanders-fields

1915-07-15 13:46:53

German U-Boat (submarine) sinks the Lusitania passenger vessel

Attack kills 1,198 British and American civilians on May 7

1915-08-01 17:39:24

Dada art movement erupts in Zurich, spreads to Berlin, Hanover and New York

1915-10-06 08:54:22

Tetanus epidemic spreads through the trenches

1915-12-01 17:39:24

French artist Claude Monet begins painting "Water Lilies"

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1915-12-06 08:54:22

Largest railroad station in Europe completed in Leipzig, Germany

1916-03-01 04:46:59

Over 700,000 French and German casualties in the Battle of Verdun in February-December

This work is part of the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1916-03-04 19:01:58

German artist Franz Marc killed in the Battle of Verdun on March 4

1916-07-01 04:46:59

Tanks introduced at the Battle of Somme

1916-08-04 19:01:58

English composer Gustav Holst completes "The Planets" symphony

A portion of the first movement of this symphony, "Mars: Bringer of War," is playing in the exhibition "World War I and the Rise of Modernism."

1916-09-01 04:46:59

Margaret Sanger opens first birth control clinic in New York on October 16

1916-11-01 19:01:58

English Poet Robert Graves writes “The Trenches (Heard in the Ranks)”

Read the full text at the First World War Poetry Digital Archive (University of Oxford): http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/item/3464?CISOBOX=1&REC=1

1916-11-01 19:01:58

Woodrow Wilson reelected President of U.S. in November

WWI and the Rise of Modernism

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