History of the Times
The history surrounding the time Saint Joan of the Stockyards is one full of events. This play’s writing was begun in 1929 and finished in 1932; though, it never saw a stage until 1959. Historically Bertolt Brecht, though a citizen of Germany, was fascinated by the United States and contrary to the beliefs of the country, communism as described by Karl Marx. 1929 through 1932 saw many worldly events in the United States, Germany, and the world as a whole that may have influenced Brecht. Germany was still recovering from what we now call World War I, the United States was experiencing one of the greatest economic depressions ever known, and the philosophies of Karl Marx were spreading throughout parts of the world.
Tuesday, October 29, 1929, better known as “Black Tuesday” initiated a dark period for the United States. Many events lead up to this day, but the most predominantly known was the decline and final collapse of the stock market. This decline started on September 4, 1929 ending with the collapse on Black Tuesday. Though the United States bore much of the financial stress initially, within a year the entire world was affected. Many lost their incomes, savings, homes, and some their lives. It is easy to speculate why this event may have helped boost the communist movements, as Karl Marx’s predictions were appearing true; capitalism was failing. Many people exploited these events, and while to this day President Franklin R. Roosevelt, through his “New Deal” projects, is traditionally thought to have ended this crisis, the economic boom brought by World War II has proven to be the solving case.
Germany, already suffering great losses from the World War I, was further devastated by the economic collapse of the rest of the world. Germany was split into many factions including multiple socialist parties and wealthy industrialists. At this time a prominent character in history, Adolf Hitler was rising to power within...