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>> Press photos: svdmzweb01.klassik-stiftung.de/pressebilder
>> More information about the exhibition: svdmzweb01.klassik-stiftung.de/2014 and www.blog.klassik-stiftung.de

From 1 August to 9 November 2014, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar is commemorating the beginning of the First World War one hundred years ago with the exhibition “War of Ideologies. Weimar as a Symbol of German Culture before and after 1914” at the Neues Museum Weimar. The events which led up to World War I, the “great seminal catastrophe of the 20th century” (George Kennan), were not only accompanied by military armament on all sides, but also increasing social, cultural and aesthetic conflicts. This exhibition by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar highlights the role of Weimar as the “trove of German culture” in the years leading up to and during the Great War.

The opening will take place on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 6 pm in front of the Neues Museum Weimar. The Minister President of the Free State of Thuringia, Christine Lieberknecht, and the State Secretary in the Thuringian Ministry for Education, Science and Culture, Roland Merten, will hold the welcoming speeches. Following the opening, visitors are invited to the Weimarhalle where philosopher Peter Sloterdijk and author Manfred Osten will discuss the reasons behind the intellectual calamity which manifested itself in 1914. The exhibition will open its doors to all other visitors between 8 pm and 11 pm.

About the exhibition
Europe’s intellectual elite vehemently supported World War I, albeit with controversial arguments. Their “war of ideologies” was especially fuelled by the self-proclaimed superiority of German culture – and in Weimar they found a symbol of national identity. With some 450 exhibits, the exhibition examines the intellectual mobilisation in the German empire in the years leading up to and during the war. “We concentrated on the role of Weimar, which, since Goethe’s and Schiller’s death in the 19th century, had increasingly become a ‘pilgrimage site of German culture’,” curator Gerda Wendermann explained. In their desire to participate in this legend, numerous representatives from all intellectual camps moved to Weimar after the turn of the century – in particular literary figures such as Ernst von Wildenbruch, the most successful dramatist of the German empire. “Opposing cultural attitudes and ideological discourse came to a head on the eve of World War I in Weimar,” said Wolfgang Holler, General Museum Director at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. “Our exhibition examines the public debates of that time, based on the examples of eight protagonists from Weimar and Jena – they were modernisers, conservatives, nationalists and democrats.” The exhibition focuses on Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, the sister of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the agitator Adolf Bartels, the nature researcher Ernst Haeckel, the philosopher Rudolf Eucken, the publisher Eugen Diederichs, the cosmopolitan Harry Graf Kessler and the women’s rights activist Selma von Lengefeld. The exhibition begins with a prologue depicting the moment of mobilisation at the farewell ceremony of Weimar’s battalion on 7 August 1914. The first part of the exhibition highlights the strategic orientation of the ducal residence as a national memorial site. The calls for a national culture significantly defined the intense debates on artistic modernity at the turn of the 20th century. The focus on Weimar’s classical heritage was especially exaggerated. The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to the actual “war of ideologies” which was almost completely influenced by the euphoria of war. The German elite portrayed the World War as a “holy war” waged in defence of German culture. Germans regarded their mission as one that would establish the predominance of German culture throughout Europe, while the “antiquated decadence” of French culture and the “trading spirit of the British” were disparaged and belittled. For their part, the Allies propagated the image of German “barbarianism”. The fact that the intellectual elite in the warring countries conducted a public debate on the justification of the war – a true cultural war in European dimensions – is an extraordinary phenomenon, something that had never occurred in any previous war. The exhibition concludes with a view to the ongoing development of ideological and socio-political debates following the revolution and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. In light of the newly formed factions and entrenched positions, the symbolic gesture of moving the constitutive session of the National Assembly from Berlin to Weimar at the beginning of 1919 was of central importance in strengthening the “spirit of unity, the common identity of the Empire” (Friedrich Ebert). Apparently unscathed by its instrumentalisation during the war years, contemporaries were able to re-invoke the “spirit of Weimar” in the interest of building a new German empire. The Klassik Stiftung Weimar has also released an extensive exhibition catalogue, published by the Sandstein Verlag, Dresden. The exhibition was designed by the Stuttgart-based agency VON M.

Accompanying programme
The exhibition is supplemented by a multifaceted accompanying programme. In a serie of performances titled “Stimmen Weimars” (Voices of Weimar), actors from the DNT Weimar will read letters and diary entries by well-known historical figures of Weimar at various venues from 14 August to 16 October (admission is free). On 4 October, the Klassik Stifung invites the public to a staged evening reading titled “Die Geister des Krieges” (The Spirits of War) at the Neues Museum Weimar. In his satirical play “Wunder um Verdun” (Miracle at Verdun), Hans Chlumberg envisions what would happen if the fallen of World War I were to suddenly rise from the dead. Based on Chlumberg’s text, actors, singers and musicians from the DNT will revive the spirits of war in the museum. The Klassik Stiftung has invited the renowned scholars and journalists Philipp Blom, Gangolf Hübinger and Ulrich Sieg to investigate the role of Weimar as the “trove of German culture” in a lecture series from 25 September to 30 October. Étienne François and Herfried Münkler will examine the role of the European cultural elite starting in 1914 in a podium discussion on 5 September. The discussion will be moderated by Hellmut Seemann, President of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. Special tours and programmes for teachers and pupils will round off the programme.

Sponsors of the exhibition
The exhibition “War of Ideologies. Weimar as a Symbol of German Culture before and after 1914” has received generous support from the Cultural Foundation of German States and the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung. The Klassik Stiftung Weimar also extends its thanks to the Weimar City Archive, the Thuringian State Archive in Weimar, the Political Education Authority of the State of Thuringia, the Stadtmuseum Weimar, the cinema mon ami, the Liszt School of Music Weimar and the University Archive/Thuringian State Music Archive.

Fri | 1 August 2014 | 6 pm
In front of the Neues Museum Weimar
Weimarplatz 1 | 99423 Weimar

Fri | 1 August 2014 | 7:30 pm
Discussion with Peter Sloterdijk and Manfred Osten
Weimarhalle conference building
Unesco-Platz 1 | 99423 Weimar
Admission is free, entrance ticket is required. Tickets are available at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar info stand at the Tourist Information Office.

Fri | 1 August 2014 | 8 pm – 11 pm
All visitors are invited to view the exhibition. The entrance is free.

Exhibition details
“War of Ideologies. Weimar as a Symbol of German Culture before and after 1914”
1 August – 9 November 2014 | Wed – Mon 10 am – 6 pm
Neues Museum Weimar
Weimarplatz 5 | 99423 Weimar

Admission prices (incl. audio guide)
Adults Euro 5.50 | Concession Euro 3.50 | Pupils (16–20 yrs.) Euro 1.50

“War of Ideologies” combo ticket
Adults Euro 9 | Concession Euro 6
Valid for the exhibition “War of Ideologies”, admission to the Nietzsche Archive, the exhibitions “Democracy Made in Weimar. The National Assembly of 1919” and “FUROR TEUTONICUS. A Postcard Album from 1914” at the Stadtmuseum Weimar, and the exhibition “From Old Weimar. Monumental Paintings on the Eve of the First World War” at the Kunsthalle Harry Graf Kessler.

Regular tours
Sun | 11 am

Curator tours
Sun | 10 August, 7 September, 28 September, 26 October | 11 am

Theme-based city walking tour
Sun | 24 August, 14 September, 19 October | 2 pm Adults Euro 3 | Concession Euro 1
Meeting point: Weimar City Castle, museum ticket counter
Duration: approx. 120 minutes

Exhibition catalogue
»Krieg der Geister. Weimar als Symbolort deutscher Kultur vor und nach 1914«
“War of Ideologies. Weimar as a Symbol of German Culture before and after 1914”
Edited by Wolfgang Holler, Gerda Wendermann and Gudrun Püschel with assistance from Manuel Schwarz
Sponsored by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung
352 pp. | 285 ill.
Price Museum edition: Euro 39
Sandstein Verlag | ISBN 978-3-95498-072-7

Visitor information
Klassik Stiftung Weimar info stand at the Tourist Information Office
Markt 10 | 99423 Weimar
TEL +49 (0) 3643 | 545-400
FAX +49 (0) 3643 | 41 98 16

Vorhaben der Klassik Stiftung Weimar werden gefördert durch den Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) und den Freistaat Thüringen, vertreten durch die Staatskanzlei Thüringen, Abteilung Kultur und Kunst.

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