That figure indicates a view of history that goes beyond the progression of everyday time, to one called remembrance.
The paper suggests that the work of mourning effects such remembrance, but simultaneously points to hope through the emergence of weak messianic power.
The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. Walter Benjamin Although there was a relatively optimistic mood about the future at the end of World War I ( the bloodiest conflict in the history of the world at the time was believed to be ‘ the war to end all wars’) , social cohesion in the Weimar Republic began to rapidly disintegrate.
This was due the vindictive nature of the Treaty of Versailles which essentially destroyed the German economy, and thus many peoples lives, as well as the subsequent home grown attacks on left leaning workers organizations and ethnic minorities that led to the final ‘defeat’ of the socialist movement in Germany by 1923 as well as the persecution of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and other minority groups that eventually led to the horrific crescendo of the holocaust less than 20 years later.
The “Lost Generation” of 1920’s era Germany were disillusioned not only with the traditional creeds of nationalism and religion, but also with collective associations as a whole- nothing was sacred and everything was open to question .
For many young people living in Germany at the time, the nation itself seemed to be the source everything that had gone wrong with their lives.
The Jewish writer and mystic, Gershom Scholem, was the first owner of the painting and it was proudly displayed in his apartment in Munich, Germany.
Scholem was a close friend of Walter Benjamin, a German Jewish literary critic and philosopher whom, after viewing the painting in a major exhibit of Klee’s work at a gallery in Munich, purchased it for a mere .
Daily life in cities like Berlin began to be dominated by self-interest and divisiveness as opposed to anything resembling egalitarian principles or civic mindedness as Weimar capitalism, much like modern capitalism, scarcely concealed the ugly fact that its real purpose in the world was to benefit the wealthy.
This situation consequentially led to an entire generation of disenchanted and marginalized youth on one end of the spectrum and an increasingly militaristic right wing faction (eventually leading to Fascism) on the other-two divided factions left fighting over scraps of a ruined economy.