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Bertolt Brecht

             Bertolt Brecht lived through a period of European History which witnessed massive economic, political and social upheavals. He saw the carnage of two world wars, the destruction of empires through revolutions in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Russia, the surfacing of mass communist and fascist movements throughout Europe, the misery of the third Reich, the division of Germany and the cold war.
             Germany's second Reich, the period in which Brecht was born, was a very turbulent time. It was a episode in history whose social, economical and political pressures influenced many artists and writers to become more vocal in their opinions with regard to their political views.
             It is evident from the outset that Brecht was no stranger to voicing his opinions. At the age of fourteen he began writing for his school publication, "The Harvest"" by the age of sixteen he was writing for a local newspaper. Two years later, at the age of eighteen, he was almost expelled from school for disagreeing on whether it was necessary to defend his country in a time of war. .
             During the First World War Brecht found himself working as an orderly in an emergency hospital until he was released from service having openly expressed a serious lack of conviction for the war.
             Brecht was exiled and travelled almost all over Europe, followed by the Nazi's until eventually, via Russia, he reached America. In America, politics again became a theme for Brecht's life and writings. He was investigated by the FBI and in 1947 was brought before the House of Un-American Activities to help with the investigation of the subversion of Hollywood. .
             It is the political aspect of Brecht's life that I intend to examine. I would like to develop a broader understanding of the unstable political period which were prevalent during Brecht's early days. I would like to understand the influences that the politics had on his writings. In particular I would like to satisfy the question, was Brecht a communist? What prompted Brecht to develop an interest in communism? And I would like to understand the influence that communism played on his work.

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