Culture of the 1910s

 
Franz Ferdinand.jpg

Ascent: 1910

Decline: 1919

Cultural Hallmarks: Neoplasticism, Suprematism, Dadaism, Constructivism, ragtime, jazz, expressionist music, modern literature, imagism, disillusionment in literature, silent films, talkies, black-and-white films, color films, feature films, impact on the world from World War I

The second decade of the 20th century, the 1910s saw the climax of Europe’s militarism. In just a little over a month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on June 28, 1914, Europe found itself in a war which would engulf the entire world for four years. The end result caused the collapse of the Russian, German, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian Empires. In addition to what became known as the Great War, there were multiple revolutions across the world, such as those in Portugal and Mexico in 1910, the Irish Easter Rising in 1916, a pair of Russian revolutions in 1917 and the Xinhai Revolution overthrowing the Chinese Qing Dynasty in 1912, ushering in the Republic of China. Meanwhile, the United States did not officially enter the war until 1917 and the temperance movement brought about the 18th Amendment and a nationwide prohibition on alcohol in 1919.

Technologically, Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in 1913 and others found new uses for electricity, one of which was the electric refrigerator revolutionizing the storage and preservation of food. The war also permitted technological advancements as both sides found new ways to engage in combat. Sonar was used to detect submarines; airplanes began to carry weaponry and drop bombs; and lightweight machine guns, flamethrowers, tanks, sea mines and poisonous gasses were developed.

Even though the world found itself fighting a great war, art continued to thrive and a number of movements popped up in the 1910s. Cubism, Fauvism and Expressionism continued through the end of the decade while Futurism continued to grow. Within the decade, Neoplasticism, Suprematism, Dadaism and Constructivism found life.

Generated as a reaction to World War I in Switzerland, artists of the Dada movement expressed their discontentment with logic, reason, violence, nationalism and war in favor of irrationality and nonsense. The movement saw works from Marcel Duchamp, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Beatrice Wood, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven among others who created visual, literary and sound works.

Abstract Composition  by Kazimir Malevich

Abstract Composition by Kazimir Malevich

Focusing on basic geometric forms painted in a limited range of colors, Russian painter Kazimir Malevich established Suprematism in 1913 as opposition to Constructivism and its concern with adapting art to function. Artists like El Lissitsky, Ilya Chashnik, Alexandra Exter and Sergei Senkin were associated with this movement.

Short, catchy tunes continued to be the norm when it came to popular music in this decade. Ragtime eventually gave way to jazz. with the first recording coming from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917. The child of blues and swing music, jazz is distinctly American and some would argue it’s the only truly American art form created in the 20th century.

Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg

Symphonic music remained popular. Expressionist composers worked to convey powerful feelings in music and featured high levels of dissonance and extreme contrasts of dynamics in their works as they constantly changed textures and distorted melodies and harmonies. A key expressionist figure was Arnold Schoenberg who composed an influential piece called Pierrot Lunaire.

Where modernist literature was in its infancy a decade prior, the 1910s saw it mature. In the first half of the decade, modernists were idealistic, stimulated by anthropology, psychology, philosophy, political theory, physics and psychoanalysis as Ezra Pound’s imagist movement wrote poetry favoring precision of imagery, brevity and free verse.

Siegfried Sassoon 

Siegfried Sassoon 

Following World War I, however, modern writers became more cynical, writing works reflecting their disillusionment and mistrust of institutions of power, rejecting the notion of absolute truth. The war itself spawned poetry from its combatants, notably Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon who described the trenches and gas warfare and satirized the patriotism they saw as responsible for the conflict.

As was with the decade’s literature, the 1910s was when film expanded into its formative years. Hollywood replaced the east coast as the home of the movie industry, Charlie Chaplin debuted his “Little Tramp” character and four brothers named Harry, Albert, Samuel and Jack Warner opened the first Warner Brothers studio on Sunset Boulevard.

Still from  The Story of the Kelly Gang

Still from The Story of the Kelly Gang

Notable films in this decade include J. Searle Dawley’s 1910 film Frankenstein, starring the first film version of the iconic monster, and D.W. Griffith’s infamous 1915 film The Birth of a Nation, the first to feature innovative techniques in camerawork and editing. The latter was not the first feature film, a distinction going to Charles Tait’s 1906 film The Story of the Kelly Gang, nor was it even the first feature film in the United States. In fact, more than 600 feature films had been released in the United States by 1915.

Sociological Timeline

  • Jan. 10-20, 1910 - The 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet becomes the first aviation meeting in the United States
  • Jan. 13, 1910 - The first public radio broadcast takes place
  • Feb. 8, 1910 - William D. Boyce founds the Boy Scouts of America
  • March 10, 1910 - Slavery made illegal in China
  • May 6, 1910 - King Edward VII dies, George V becomes King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
  • May 31, 1910 - The Union of South Africa is created
  • June 25, 1910 - Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird premieres in Paris
  • July 4, 1910 - African-American boxer Jack Johnson defeats white American boxer James J. Jeffries
  • August, 1910 - The Pan-American Union is formed
  • Aug. 22, 1910 - The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty signed
  • Aug. 28, 1910 - Montenegro becomes an independent kingdom
  • Aug 29, 1910 - Emperor Sunjong of Korea abdicates, monarchy is abolished
  • Sept. 1, 1910 - Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, the first Fifa World Club Championship club is formed
  • October, 1910 - first infrared photographs published
  • Oct. 5, 1910 - 5 October 1910 Revolution, the First Portuguese Republic proclaimed
  • Oct. 23, 1910 - Philadelphia Athletics defeat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 in 1910 World Series
  • Nov. 7, 1910 - the first commercial freight air flight
  • Nov. 14, 1910 - the first takeoff from a ship by a fixed-wing aircraft
  • Nov. 20, 1910 - Mexican Revolution begins
  • Dec, 3, 1910 - Modern neon lighting first demonstrated
  • January 1911 - The first Industrial Airplane Show
  • Jan. 18, 1911 - Eugene B. Ely lands the first aircraft on a ship
  • Jan. 26, 1911 - The United States and Canada announce the successful negotiation of their first reciprocal trade agreement
  • Feb. 11, 1911 - The Lincoln Memorial Commission established to find an ideal site for proposed Lincoln Memorial
  • Feb. 18, 1911 - First official airmail flight
  • March 8, 1911 - International Women’s Day first celebrated
  • March 25, 1911 - Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146
  • March 29, 1911 - United States Army adopts M1911 as service pistol
  • April 3, 1911 - Jean Sibelius premieres Symphony No. 4
  • April 8, 1911 - Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovers superconductivity
  • Aug. 21, 1911 - Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa stolen from the Louvre
  • Sept. 29, 1911 - Italy declares war on the Ottoman Empire
  • Oct. 26, 1911 - Philadelphia Athletics defeat New York Giants 13-2 in 1911 World Series
  • Nov. 1, 1911 - World’s first combat aerial bombing mission during Italo-Turkish War
  • Nov. 3, 1911 - Chevrolet founded
  • Dec. 18, 1911 - First exhibition by Der Blaue Reiter group of painters
  • 1912 - Casimir Funk identifies vitamins; Scoville Units devised
  • Jan. 1, 1912 - The Republic of China established
  • Jan. 6, 1912 - New Mexico becomes the 47th state; geophysicist Alfred Wegener presents theory of continental drift
  • Feb. 14, 1912 - Arizona becomes 48th state
  • Feb. 29, 1912 - Serbia and Bulgaria sign secret treaty of alliance for eight year term
  • March 1, 1912 - Albert Berry makes first reported parachute jump
  • March 12, 1912 - Juliette Gordon Low founds Girl Scouts
  • April 14-15, 1912 - RMS Titanic sinks after striking an iceberg
  • April 16, 1912 - Harriet Quimby becomes first woman to fly across the English Channel
  • April 20, 1912 - Fenway Park opens in Boston
  • April 30, 1912 - Carl Laemmle founds Universal Studios
  • May 5, 1912 - Olympic Games open in Stockholm
  • May 8, 1912 - Adolph Zukor founds Paramount Pictures
  • July 30, 1912 - Emperor Meiji of Japan dies, succeeded by Emperor Taisho; Taisho period of Japan begins
  • Aug. 4, 1912 - United States occupation of NIcaragua
  • Aug. 21, 1912 - Boy Scouts of America’s first Eagle Scout earns his rank
  • Sept. 28, 1912 - W. C. Handy publishes “The Memphis Blues”
  • October 1912 - Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character Tarzan first appears; Sax Rohmer’s character Fu Manchu first appears
  • Oct. 8, 1912 - The First Balkan War begins, Montenegro declares war against the Ottoman Empire
  • Oct. 16, 1912 - Boston Red Sox defeat New York Giants 4-2 in eighth game of the 1912 World Series
  • Oct. 18, 1912 - Italo-Turkish War ends
  • Nov. 8, 1912 - Woodrow Wilson elected president
  • Nov. 11, 1912 - William Lawrence Bragg creates the field of x-ray crystallography
  • Nov. 28, 1912 - Albania declares independence
  • 1913 - Camel cigarettes introduced as the first packaged cigarettes; Mario Prada and his brother establish Prada as a leather goods dealer
  • Jan. 12, 1913 - Bolshevik activist Josef Dzhugashvili publishes first article, adopts the name Joseph Stalin
  • Feb. 1, 1913 - Grand Central Terminal in New York City becomes the world’s largest railroad station
  • Feb. 3, 1913 - 16th Amendment ratified, authorizes Federal government to impose and collect income tax on all sources of income
  • Feb. 23, 1913 - Stalin arrested by Russian secret police, exiled to Siberia
  • March 4, 1913 - United States Departments of Commerce and Labor established
  • April 5, 1913 - United States Soccer Federation formed
  • April 8, 1913 - 17th Amendment passed, dictates direct election of senators
  • April 24, 1913 - Woolworth Building opens as the tallest building in the world
  • May 3, 1913 - Raja Harishchandra released as India’s first full-length feature film, Indian film industry established
  • May 14, 1913 - New York Governor William Sulzer approves charter for the Rockefeller Foundation
  • May 24, 1913 - Marriage of Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia and Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, the last great gathering of European sovereigns
  • May 26, 1913 - Igor Sikorksy the first person to pilot a 4-engine fixed-wing aircraft
  • May 29, 1913 - Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring premieres, provokes a riot
  • May 30, 1913 - Treaty of London signed, First Balkan War ends
  • June 1, 1913 - Greek-Serbian Treaty of Alliance signed, paves the way for the Second Balkan War
  • June 11, 1913 - Women’s Suffrage enacted in Norway
  • June 29, 1913 - Second Balkan War Begins
  • July 10, 1913 - Death Valley hits 134 degrees Fahrenheit, highest temperature ever recorded on earth
  • Aug. 10, 1913 - Treaty of Bucharest signed, Second Balkan War ends
  • Aug. 13, 1913 - Harry Brearley invents stainless steel
  • Aug. 20, 1913 - Adolphe Pégoud becomes the first person to bail out from an airplane and land safely
  • Aug. 31, 1913 - Bloody Sunday, Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union strike escalates, one killed and 400 injured
  • Oct. 7, 1913 - Ford Motor Company’s Highland Park Plant becomes the first automobile production facility to implement the moving assembly line
  • Oct. 11, 1913 - Philadelphia Athletics defeat New York Giants 3-1 in 1913 World Series
  • Oct. 16, 1913 - HMS Queen Elizabeth launched as the first oil-fired battleship
  • Oct. 31, 1913 - Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road across the United States, dedicated
  • Nov. 6, 1913 - Mohandas Gandhi arrested leading a march of Indian miners in South Africa
  • Dec. 12, 1913 - Vincenzo Peruggia arrested after attempting to sell the Mona Lisa
  • Dec. 23, 1913 - Federal Reserve System created as the central banking system of the United States
  • Dec. 30, 1913 - Italy returns Mona Lisa to France
  • Jan. 5, 1914 - Ford Motor company announces eight hour workday and $5 daily wage
  • Feb. 2, 1914 - Charlie Chaplin debuts in Making a Living
  • Feb. 12, 1914 - First stone of the Lincoln Memorial placed
  • Feb. 13, 1914 - American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers established
  • April 11, 1914 - Margaret C. MacDonald appointed Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian Nursing Service Band, the first woman in the British Empire to reach the rank of major
  • April 21, 1914 - United States occupation of Veracruz
  • May 14, 1914 - Woodrow Wilson signs Mother’s Day proclamation
  • June 28, 1914 - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip; World War I begins
  • July 11, 1914 - Babe Ruth makes major league debut with Boston Red Sox; USS Nevada launched as United States Navy’s first “super-dreadnought” battleship
  • July 18, 1914 - Signal Corps of the United States Army formed
  • Aug. 15, 1914 - Panama Canal inaugurated
  • Sept. 1, 1914 - Last known passenger pigeon dies
  • Sept. 26, 1914 - Federal Trade Commission established
  • Oct. 13, 1914 - Boston Red Sox defeat Philadelphia Athletics 3-1 in 1914 World Series
  • Nov. 21, 1914 - Yale Bowl officially opens, Harvard defeats Yale 36-0
  • Dec. 24, 1914 - World War I Christmas Truce
  • 1915 - Alfred Wegener publishes theory of Pangea; first stop sign appears in Detroit
  • Jan. 191, 1915 - Georges Claude patents neon discharge tube for advertising purposes
  • Jan. 21, 1915 - Kiwanis founded in Detroit
  • Jan. 25, 1915 - First United States coast-to-coast telephone call between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson
  • Jan. 26, 1915 - Rocky Mountain National Park established
  • Jan. 28, 1915 - United States Congress designates United States Coast Guard as a military branch
  • February, 1915 - Typhoid Mary infects 25 people as a cook at Sloane Hospital for Women
  • Feb. 8, 1915 -D.W. Griffith premieres The Birth of a Nation
  • March 19, 1915 - Pluto photographed for the first time
  • March 27, 1915 - Typhoid Mary placed under quarantine for life
  • April 11, 1915 - Charlie Chaplin’s film The Tramp released
  • May 6, 1915 - Babe Ruth hits first career home run
  • May 7, 1915 - German Navy sinks RMS Lusitania
  • June 5, 1915 - Women’s Suffrage introduced in Denmark and Iceland
  • Sept. 6, 1915 - Prototype military tank first tested by British Army
  • Sept. 7, 1915 - John B. Gruelle given patent for Raggedy Ann doll
  • October, 1915 - Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis first published
  • Oct. 13, 1915 - Boston Red Sox defeat Philadelphia Athletics 5-4 in 1915 World Series
  • Nov. 24, 1915 - William J. Simmons revives Ku Klux Klan at Stone Mountain, Georgia
  • Nov. 25, 1915 - Albert Einstein presents part of his theory of general relativity
  • Dec. 12, 1915 - President of the Republic of China Yuan Shikai declares himself emperor
  • Feb. 9, 1916 - Tristan Tzara founds Dadaism
  • Feb. 11, 1916 - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presents its first concert in the United States
  • March 7, 1915 - BMW founded in Munich
  • March 8-9, 1915 - Pancho Villa leads about 500 Mexican raiders to attack Columbus, New Mexico
  • March 16, 1915 - John J. Pershing crosses Mexican-American border with 7th and 10th Cavalry regiments to hunt for Villa
  • April, 1915 - Toggle light switch invented
  • April 20, 1915 - Chicago Cubs defeat Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in first game at Weeghman Park
  • April 24-30, 1915 - Easter Rising occurs in Ireland
  • 1916 - Gustav Holst composes The Planets; Bray Studios releases the first Terrytoon, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is founded; 1916 Summer Olympics cancelled
  • May 16, 1916 - United States Marines invade the Dominican Republic
  • July 15, 1916 - William Boeing incorporates Pacific Aero Products in Seattle
  • August 1916 - Robert Baden-Powell establishes Cub Scouts
  • Aug. 25, 1916 - Woodrow Wilson signs legislation creating the National Park Service
  • Sept. 13, 1916 - A circus elephant named Mary hanged in Erwin, Tennessee for killing her handler
  • Oct. 7, 1916 - Georgia Tech and Cumberland College football game ends in a score of 222-0
  • Oct. 12, 1916 - Boston Red Sox defeat Brooklyn Robins 4-1 in 1916 World Series
  • Oct. 16, 1916 - Margaret Sanger opens the first United States Birth Control Clinic, a precursor to Planned Parenthood
  • Nov. 1, 1916 - The first 40-hour work week officially begins in the Endicott-Johnson factories of Western New York
  • Jan. 28, 1917 - United States ends search for Pancho Villa
  • Feb. 24, 1917 - United States ambassador shown the Zimmerman Telegram
  • March 2, 1917 - Jones Act grants Puerto Ricans United States citizenship
  • March 7, 1917 - “Livery Stable Blues,” recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band becomes the first jazz recording commercially released
  • March 8, 1917 - February Revolution begins in Russia
  • March 15, 1917 - Emperor Nicholas II of Russia abdicates his throne and his son’s claims, Russian Empire ends after 196 years.
  • April 6, 1917 - Woodrow Wilson declares war on Germany, United States enters WWI
  • July 7, 1917 - Lions Clubs International formed in the United States
  • Sept. 14, 1917 - Russia declared a republic
  • Oct. 15, 1917 - Chicago White Sox defeat New York Giants 4-2 in 1917 world series
  • Nov. 7, 1917 - Women given the right to vote in New York State; Russian Civil War begins
  • January 1918 - Spanish flu first observed in Kansas
  • Jan. 8, 1918 - Woodrow Wilson delivers his Fourteen Points speech
  • Jan. 27, 1918 - Finnish Civil War begins
  • Feb. 8, 1918 - Women given the right to vote in the United Kingdom
  • Feb. 21, 1918 - Last breed of parrot native to the eastern United States dies
  • Feb. 24, 1918 - Estonia declares independence from Russia
  • March 12, 1918 - Moscow becomes capital of Soviet Russia
  • March 19, 1918 - United States Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight savings time
  • April 1, 1918 - Royal Air Force established as the first autonomous air force in the world
  • May 2, 1918 - General Motors acquires Chevrolet
  • May 15, 1918 - Finnish Civil War ends
  • June-August, 1918 - Spanish flu becomes a pandemic
  • July 17, 1918 - Execution of the Romanov family
  • Sept. 11 - Boston Red Sox defeat Chicago Cubs 2-1 in 1918 World Series
  • Nov. 11, 1918 - WWI ends
  • Nov. 12, 1918 - Austria becomes a republic
  • Nov. 14, 1918 - Czechoslovakia becomes a republic
  • Nov. 16, 1918 - Hungarian Democratic Republic declared, marking independence from Austria
  • Nov. 18, 1918 - Latvia declares independence from Russia
  • Dec. 4, 1918 - Woodrow Wilson departs to the Paris Peace Conference, is the first United States President to travel to Europe while in office
  • 1919 - Women’s Suffrage enacted in Germany and Luxembourg
  • Jan. 16, 1919 - 18th Amendment ratified, prohibition authorized
  • Jan. 25, 1919 - League of Nations founded in Paris
  • Feb. 5, 1919 - D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks found United Artists
  • Feb. 25, 1919 - Oregon becomes first state to levy a gasoline tax
  • Feb. 26, 1919 - Grand Canyon National Park established
  • April-June 1919 - 1919 United States anarchist bombings
  • June 28, 1919 - Treaty of Versailles signed, WWI formally ends
  • July 27, 1919 - Chicago Race Riot of 1919 begins
  • Aug. 19, 1919 - Afghanistan gains independence from the United Kingdom
  • Oct. 9, 1919 -  Cincinnati Reds defeat Chicago White Sox 10-5 in 1919 World Series
  • Oct. 16, 1919 - Adolf Hitler gives first speech for the German Workers’ Party
  • Nov 1-Dec. 10, 1919 - Coal Strike of 1919
  • Nov. 9, 1919 - Felix the Cat appears in Feline Follies, becomes the first popular cartoon character
  • Nov. 30, 1919 - Spanish flu pandemic declared over