In January 1917, Richard Huelsenbeck, a 25-year-old writer, arrived in war-torn Berlin to spread word of a new art movement called <em>dada</em>. A year earlier, Huelsenbeck had helped found the movement at Cabaret Voltaire, a ‘little bar’<sup>1</sup> in Zurich, Switzerland.<br><br>Dada was based on the philosophy of ‘art for art’s sake’. However, in Berlin, Huelsenbeck knew he would need ‘entirely different methods’<sup>2</sup> to appeal to the people. Unlike neutral Zurich, Berlin had endured three years of war, and there was a revolutionary zeal in the air, stirred by hunger and poverty. <br><br>In Berlin, dada became activist, developing riskier political overtones and overtly critiquing society through its artforms.<br><br>Next year (1918), following Germany’s military defeat, the November Revolution ushered in the Weimar Republic. The revolution was seen as a beacon of hope amidst the prevailing social unrest. However, the dadaists remained sceptical of the new era. Fearing the old bourgeois values would continue to dominate,<sup>3</sup> they sided with left-wing radicals, wanting to ‘destroy the moral, hypocritical bourgeois world.’<sup>4</sup><br><br>The dadaists turned on (the prevailing) German expressionism, which they saw as a bourgeois art movement. They attacked its emphasis on emotional expression, arguing that this promoted ignorance of societal realities.<br><br>From the throes of their protest, a radical innovation was born: <em>photomontages</em>, created from Germany’s newly photo-illustrated press. Photomontages were innately modern and embodied the revolutionary spirit of the time, allowing for a more honest illustration of society. Hannah Hoch’s <em>Dada Review</em> (1919), which emasculates President Ebert with a strategically placed flower, is a notable example.<br><br>By the end of 1920, Huelsenbeck would declare, with remarkable accuracy, that ‘Dada is eternal and destined to achieve undying fame’<sup>5</sup>.