Bertolt Brecht’s Radical Contribution to Pacifist Children’s Lyrics in Interwar Germany: “Die drei Soldaten” (The Three Soldiers) and “Kinderkreuzzug 1939” (Children’s Crusade 1939)

Bettina Kümmerling Meibauer, Jörg Meibauer


This paper focuses on German poetry for children published during the interwar period and written by left-wing authors such as Bertolt Brecht, Ernst Friedrich, and Edwin Hoernle. Their poems propagated socialist and communist ideals, in line with antifascist and anti-imperialist views that call for class struggle as well as fighting against fascist ideology. Moreover, many poems supported pacifistic ideas which turned against the glorification of war. In this regard, Bertolt Brecht played a significant role. His poems “Die drei Soldaten: Ein Kinderbuch” (The three soldiers: A children’s book), with illustrations by George Grosz, and “Kinderkreuzzug 1939” (Children’s crusade 1939) present prime examples of radical publishing and aesthetics in the interwar period, since they express a sharp critique of the destructive power of war and its effect on afterwar society.


Bertolt Brecht; communist children’s literature; George Grosz; Germany; interwar children’s literature; lyrics for children; pacifism; radical aesthetics

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Barnboken – Journal of Children's Literature Research eISSN 2000-4389
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