During the 1920’s Brecht established his reputation in Berlin with a series of popular political plays that attacked capitalism. These included The Threepenny Opera (1928) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930). As the National Socialist (Nazi) Party rose to power, he began writing openly Marxist plays, such as The Mother (1932). After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of the country in 1933, Brecht fled to Denmark. In Germany his writings were burned and his citizenship was withdrawn. Although he was a Marxist, Brecht did not join the Communist Party because he disagreed with the official aesthetic of Socialist Realism and he felt betrayed by the Soviet Union’s intraparty purges.
As German military power grew, Brecht fled again in 1939—first to neutral Sweden, later to Finland. He remained in Finland until 1941, when his family fled to the United States. During his exile years Brecht wrote anti-Nazi plays, such as The Private Life of the Master Race (1945), and drafts of several of his most important works, including Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) and his anticensorship play, The Life of Galileo (1943).
Brecht spent the war years with German compatriots in California, writing for Hollywood, but without significant success. These efforts focused on adapting an English version of The Life of Galileo for actor Charles Laughton and in drafting The...
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