100 Year Anniversary of World War I

100 Year Anniversary of World War I

Exhibitions and events in Berlin

Flüchtende Einwohner auf der Überschwemmungsstraße / Refugees at flooded area, Fotografie, Deutschland 1914-1918 – © Deutsches Historisches Museum
Armprothese / arm prosthesis, 1920/1930 – © Deutsches Historisches Museum
Gefallene Engländer / fallen British soldiers, Fotografie, Deutschland 1914-1918 – © Deutsches Historisches Museum

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918). It is considered the first occurrence of worldwide conflict and shaped the history of the world until well into the 20th century. Around 40 countries around the world were involved. Fought in the Middle East, Africa, on the world’s oceans and in Europe, the War cost over 17 million people their lives.

Even today, the First World War continues to influence the political landscape of Europe. In the English-speaking world it is known as The Great War, and in France they speak of La Grande Guerre. To mark the anniversary of the War, Berlin is organising numerous exhibitions presenting the many different aspects of the world’s first example of mass warfare.

1914–1918. The First World War

The central exhibition of the German Historical Museum1914-1918. The First World War” tells the story of 15 specially chosen locations, including Berlin, Brussels, Petrograd and Verdun, which together illustrate the course of the War, along with its range of social ramifications. You can see the escalation of violence over the course of the War, through to the industrialised mass destruction of human life and the invention of new methods to commit mass murder, such as aircraft bombs or poison gas.

Most of the civil population of Germany were advocates of the War; the rhetoric of warfare meant dissidents faced violence and death. The many exhibits analyse and question the structures of the War.

Exhibition period: 06.06.2014 - 07.12.2014

War Horse (Gefährten) – West End hit

The National Theatre of Great Britain’s world-famous theatre production War Horse has been translated into German as “Gefährten” and can be seen at Theater des Westens as of October 2013. It tells the story of the unconditional friendship between the young English boy Albert and his horse Joey in the midst of the turmoil of World War I. The life-size horses on the stage are truly one of a kind and look convincingly real right down to the slightest detail.

Exhibition: "Wien Berlin. Kunst zweier Metropolen" (Vienna Berlin. The Art of Two Cities)

The exhibition “Wien Berlin. Kunst zweier Metropolen“ (Vienna Berlin. The Art of Two Cities) at Berlinische Galerie (Berlin Gallery) juxtaposes major works of art from Berlin and Vienna. Berlin’s significance as a city of art increased in the 1910s. Vienna, on the other hand, was threatened with the loss of major artists to the vibrant, lively city on the River Spree. World War I then brought the first artistic creations to an abrupt end before the Golden Age was ushered in by the 1920s.

Exhibition period: 24.10.2013 - 27.01.2014

Photography in World War I

Photography is exploited in various ways for use in global war propaganda. Between 1914 and 1918, in addition to private photography, photography flyers and propaganda material were mass-produced at a rate never seen before. The exhibition presented by the Museum of Photography will elucidate the many uses of photography in war, with displays filled with items from its own collection and other items borrowed from numerous World War I collections in both Germany and overseas.

Exhibition period: 17.10.2014 - 01.02.2015

War and Clothing. Fashion and Imagery during World War I

The Kunstbibliothek (Art Library) presents the state of fashion at the time of the First World War as a harbinger of the twenties that brought the emancipation of women from the strictures of long skirts and corsets. At the heart of the exhibition are examples of avant-garde fashion images, which are complemented by magazines, posters and company publications from Europe in the 1910s.

Exhibition period: 25.09.2014 - 18.01.2015

Images between Propaganda, Art, Welfare and the Real Life of a Soldier

In the exhibition The Great War 1914-1918: images between propaganda, art, welfare and the real life of a soldier, the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (Museum of European Cultures) explores the mechanisms of war propaganda. You can see graphic prints that were popular at the time, German war illustrated broadsheets and silk ribbons printed with patriotic messages, called Vivat ribbons, made by artists such as Lovis Corinth or Heinrich Vogeler. In sharp contrast, the real life of soldiers on the battlefield is retraced, with diaries, letters, army postcards, soldiers’ kits and photographs.

Exhibition period: 01.08.2014 - 31.12.2014

Käthe Kollwitz

The Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum pays tribute to the 100 year anniversary of World War I with the exhibition “Mahnung und Verlockung - Die Kriegsbildwelten der Käthe Kollwitz und Kata Legrady,” (“Warning and Enticement – the War Imagery of Käthe Kollwitz and Kata Legrady”). Käthe Kollwitz is particularly renowned for her sculptural work and paintings. She lost her son in World War I and her work often dealt with the subject of the evils of war.

Exhibition period: 27.06.2014 - 30.09.2014

More information on: Berlin's locations on world history