1900-1950

Events

Post-Impressionism

1880 - 1914

Art Nouveau

1890 - 1905

Fauvism

1900 - 1908

Ashcan School

1900 - 1915

Commercial Art is Copyrightable

1903

First airplane flight

1903

Subway inaugurated in NYC

1904

Expressionism

1905 - 1933

Cubism

1907 - 1922

Assembly line is developed by Henry Ford

1908

19th Amendment - Women's Right to Vote

1909

NAACP is founded

1909

Nestor Company opens first film studio in Hollywood

1910

The Titanic Sinks

1912

Suprematism

1913 - 1927

World War One begins

1914

Constructivism

1915 - 1933

Dada

1916 - 1924

Bolshevik revolution in Moscow

1917

De Stijl

1917 - 1931

World War One ends

1918

Bauhaus

1919 - 1933

League of Nations founded

1919

First Radio Broadcast

1920

Prohibition

1920 - 1933

Hitler becomes leader of National Socialist (Nazi) Party

1921

György Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness is published

1922

Arguing for a distinction between the ascribed and actual consciousness of the proletariat - the higher ascribed consciousness was embodied in the revolutionary party, while actual consciousness of the proletariat may not be able to grasp its historic role. Inspirational text for the Frankfurt School.

Death of Lenin

1924

Leader of the Russian Revolution and, subsequently, of the Soviet Union, dies in January. On June 22, the Institute for Social Research opens at Victoria Allée 17 in Frankfurt am Main, bankrolled by Hermann Weil following the apparent success of the Erste Marxistische Arbeitswoche under the directorship of Marxist philosopher Carl Grünberg. In the same year, Frankfurt elects its first Jewish mayor. At the time, the city was more renowned as the headquarters of the world’s largest chemicals conglomerate IG Farben, which would later develop Zyklon B, the cyanide-based killing agent used in Nazi concentration camp gas chambers to murder Jews.

Surrealism

1924 - 1966

Mein Kampf published

1925

Max Horkheimer publishes The Impotence of the German Working Class

1927

Dismally arguing for the lack of likelihood of his country’s proletariat to deliver socialist revolution.

Penicillin invented

1928

Social Realism

1929 - 1955

Henryk Grossman publishes The Law of Accumulation and Collapse of the Capitalist System

1929

Arguing that because capitalism increases the productivity of human labour and accelerates the production of use values, there is a tendency for the rate of profit to fall and, ultimately, for capitalism to create the conditions of its own demise. In spring, the American-led Young Plan to allow Germany to pay its debt of 112 billion gold marks over 59 years seems to offer a lifeline to the Weimar Republic struggling under punitive world war one reparations and hyperinflation. But the plan is scrapped following the the Wall Street Crash the following autumn. Only the Nazi party seems capable of capitalizing on the capitalist crisis.

Stock Market Crash

1929

Television invented

1929

The premiere in Leipzig of Brecht and Weil’s opera The City of Mahoganny

1930

Branded by Nazis the embodiment of the “Jewish-Bolshevik threat”, but hailed in a review by Adorno: “The present system, with its mores, rights and order, is exposed as anarchy; we ourselves live in Mahoganny, where everything is permitted save one thing: having no money.” Following Grünberg’s retirement in the previous year, Horkheimer becomes director of the Frankfurt School, radically changing its intellectual trajectory - encouraging its thinkers to reflect on issues it would not have done under Grünberg. Under Horkheimer, the Frankfurt School will study horoscopes, movies, jazz, sexual repression, the sado-masochistic impulses at the heart of fascism, and reconfigure Marxist theory in the light of the publication in the early 1930s of Marx’s early Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts.

Franklin Roosevelt elected president of US

1932

Nazi Party declared Germany's only political party

1933

Hitler elected Chancellor of Germany

1933

Benjamin flees Berlin into exile, never to return to his homeland. Horkheimer closes the Institute and moves first to Geneva and then to New York. Erich Fromm, during a trip to the United States, persuades Columbia University to give the Institute refuge, and a large contingent of its membership—including Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse— will move to Morningside Heights in New York, where they will establish the Frankfurt School in exile.

Germany leaves League of Nations

1933

Nuremberg Laws strip German Jews of citizenship

1935

Benjamin writes The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

1936

Typifying the interest of Frankfurt School-associated thinkers with the revolutionary potential - and counter-revolutionary possibilities – of new mass forms of culture.

Civil war erupts in Spain

1936

Franco declared head of Spanish State

1936

Mussolini's Italian forces take Ethiopia

1936

Olympic games begin in Berlin

1936

Soviet leader Josef Stalin begins a purge of Red Army generals

1937

Blood Plasma Preservation Invented

1938

Kristallnacht

1938

Jewish homes, hospitals, synagogues and schools were destroyed, hundreds of Jews killed and tens of thousands arrested to be imprisoned in concentration camps. In the same year, Adorno leaves Oxford, where he has been studying, for 11 years of exile in the United States.

Soviets invade Poland

1939

Nazis sign 'Pact of Steel' with Italy

1939

Soviet Union expelled from the League of Nations

1939

Spanish Civil war ends

1939

World War Two begins

1939

Germany invades Poland. Britain declares war on Germany.

Battle of Britain begins

1940

Military Conscription Bill passed in US

1940

Benjamin dies on the run from the Nazis

1940

Benjamin dies on the run from the Nazis in the Catalan seaside town of Port Bou, most likely by committing suicide with a massive overdose of morphine. He was attempting to leave Europe for New York, where exiled members of the Frankfurt School had prepared an apartment for him.

Color Field Painting

1940 - 1969

The Holocaust

1941 - 1945

Six million Jews are murdered by the Nazis. Among them is Walter Benjamin’s brother Georg, killed at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in 1942. During this time, exiled Frankfurt School thinkers Marcuse, Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer work as intelligence analysts for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, while Pollock and Löwenthal also support the war against Nazism by working in other US government departments.

US enters World War Two

1941

Following Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbour.

Abstract Expressionism

1943 - 1965

Adorno and Horkheimer publish Dialectic of Enlightenment

1944

Seminal text of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory in which they pessimistically consider the possibility of human emancipation and freedom.

D-Day invasion of Normandy

1944

Allied forces invade Normandy in largest amphibious assault in history.

The US drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

1945

Resulting in Japanese surrender and the end of World War Two

Nazi Germany unconditionally surrenders to the Allies

1945

Microwave invented

1946

The Berlin Airlift

1948

Adorno returns to Frankfurt and re-establishes the Institute of Social Research with Horkheimer

1949

The previous year Henryk Grossman, becomes professor of economics at the University of Leipzig in Germany’s Soviet-occupied zone which. In October 1949, that zone becomes a separate state called East Germany, and Berlin, too, is divided between communist east and capitalist west: Germany is, as a result, divided for the first time since 1861.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

1949

Grossman dies in Leipzig

1950

North Korea invades South Korea

1950

Adorno co-authors The Authoritarian Personality

1950