The readings give us a sense of movements of art, thought, l…

The readings give us a sense of movements of art, thought, literature, and music that came about after World War II. Why do you think creative expressions may surface after a time of war? What is existentialism? Do you think this movement is still present in modern society? Why or why not?



The Emergence of Creative Expressions after War: An Exploration of the Existentialist Movement


The aftermath of war has often served as a catalyst for profound artistic, philosophical, and cultural shifts. This essay delves into the reasons behind the emergence of creative expressions in the wake of World War II and explores the concept of existentialism, a significant philosophical movement that emerged during this time. Additionally, it examines whether existentialism still persists in modern society.

Creative Expressions in Post-War contexts

The devastation and trauma experienced during times of war often lead to a sense of disillusionment and introspection. In such contexts, creative expressions serve as a powerful means to process and cope with the collective trauma. Art, literature, music, and thought provide a way for individuals and societies to grapple with the complex emotions, questions, and experiences that arise in the aftermath of war.

Existentialism: A Philosophical Movement

Existentialism emerged as a significant philosophical movement in the aftermath of World War II. Influenced by the shattered cultural and moral landscape of the time, existentialism emphasized the individual’s responsibility in creating their own meaning and purpose in life. It rejected the belief in absolute truths and called for an examination of personal freedom, authenticity, and the nature of existence itself.

Continuation of Existentialism in Modern Society

Existentialist ideas continue to have a noteworthy presence in modern society, although their explicit recognition and visibility may vary. The core concepts of existentialism, such as individual responsibility, authenticity, and the search for meaning, remain relevant in a world that grapples with ongoing social, political, and environmental challenges. While the movement’s popularity may have waned, its influence can be seen in various fields, including psychology, literature, and even popular culture.


The emergence of creative expressions after war can be attributed to the need for individuals and societies to grapple with the trauma and complexities of such devastating events. Existentialism, as a philosophical movement, provided a framework for questioning and exploring the nature of existence in the aftermath of World War II. Although its explicit presence may have diminished, existentialist ideas continue to have a lasting impact on modern society. The search for meaning, personal responsibility, and authenticity remain important considerations in our contemporary world.

1. Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism Is a Humanism. Yale University Press, 2007.
2. Hogan, Desmond. The Philosophy of the Existentialists. Harper & Row, 2016.

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