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A Minor ApocalypseWarsaw during the First World War$
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Robert Blobaum

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705236

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705236.001.0001

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Warsaw’s Wartime Culture Wars

Warsaw’s Wartime Culture Wars

(p.199) 6 Warsaw’s Wartime Culture Wars
A Minor Apocalypse

Robert Blobaum

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Warsaw's wartime culture wars. Before the war, Warsaw was a busy metropolis, a city in a hurry with coach traffic comparable to that of the largest of European urban centers, proud of its high culture dominated by the classical performing arts and boasting a lively nightlife revolving around its many cafes and restaurants. This Warsaw was assaulted almost immediately by the exigencies of war, as disruptions of public transportation, the imposition of curfews, and a ban on alcohol sales undermined the efforts of the city's cultural elites to maintain “business as usual.” At the same time, the exacerbation of existing social, ethnic, and gender tensions found expression in the public discourse on culture and propriety during wartime, reflected in heated debates about horseracing and legalized gambling, temperance and prohibition, the emerging new venues of cinema and cabaret, and radical changes in fashion.

Keywords:   Warsaw, wartime culture, curfews, alcohol ban, cultural elites, cinema, legalized gambling, fashion, cabaret

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