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Shell Shock 1919: How The Great War Changed Culture

Originally Aired: Thursday, November 7, 2019

Photo of Sara Fishko

WNYC's Sara Fishko

Photo by Marco Antonio


The First World War presented civilization with violent, global confrontation and destruction on an unprecedented scale. A look at the cultural response to the war reveals many things we now take for granted — from our obsession with beauty and body image, to the birth of jazz, to the invention of Public Relations, to the Harlem Renaissance.

Think technology has led to the downfall of humanity? World citizens of 1919 and the years following had early and ample evidence to make that case.  But they also looked to the machine for salvation.

WNYC’s Fishko Files host and producer Sara Fishko traces the parallels and lingering cultural influence of The Great War, shedding light on history’s cycle. Joining her on this exploration will be author David Lubin, MOMA Chief Curator Ann Temkin, and New School Assistant Professor and Director of Race and Ethnicity, Rich Blint. Pianist Uri Caine will also perform special selections for the evening.

The event will feature previews from the upcoming one-hour program Shell Shock 1919, produced and hosted by Sara Fishko for broadcast on WNYC during Veteran’s Day Weekend, November 9-11.

Shell Shock 1919 is supported by the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family.

The Spirio by Steinway & Sons is the official piano of The Greene Space.


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