bare white legs can be seen sticking out of the putrid morass
in the upper right corner, and a desiccated corpse impaled on
twisted steel bars hovers above the scene of carnage and despair.
Dix created many such artworks based on his wartime memories,
and rarely has the world seen such brutally honest statements
concerning war's reality.
At the time
Dix painted Der Kreig, the ruling elites of Germany were
attempting to popularize war. German fascists were promising to
rebuild Germany with "Blood and Iron"... it was not
a time for pacifist images. A year after Dix created this painting
Adolf Hitler came to power. Dix was accused by the Nazis of creating
art that sapped "the will of the German people to defend
themselves." The artist was immediately fired from
his teaching position at the Dresden Academy of Art and
he was prohibited from exhibiting his works. Instead, the Nazis
included the works of Dix (and other Expressionist artists) in
a propaganda exhibit designed to denigrate modern art. Dix had
the honor of being ridiculed in no less than three pro-fascist
art exhibits... the "Reflections of Degeneracy"
show (Dresden 1933), "Art in the Service of Demoralization"
(Stuttgart 1933), and the infamous "Degenerate Art"
exhibition of Munich 1937.