Mother Courage and Her Children was originally a play written in 1939. It was authored by the German poet Bertolt Brecht, who was known for his dramatic plays and theatrical productions. One of his lovers, Margarete Steffin, is noted for her collaboration on this piece.
It had four theatrical productions, in Switzerland and Germany, from the years 1941 - 1952. Brecht served in a supervisor/director role in only the last three. A little over three years after his 1956 death, it was filmed. The leading actress was his widow, Helene Weigel.
While its setting is the Thirty Years’ War of Central Europe, which took place between 1618 and 1648, it is said to have been written in opposition to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Brecht attempted to show the devastation wrought upon an entire nation when one person attempts to control and profit.