In the midst of the upheaval created by military defeat, the collapse of the Hohenzollern and other German monarchies, and the threat of radical social revolution, a movement that had been taking shape for some time became a visible presence in German public life. Intellectuals, writers, visual artists, and numerous others declared that they would no longer remain aloof from the world of politics, social reform, and even revolution. On the contrary, they would seek to merge the arts and politics into a synthesis that would help to mold a new and greatly improved society. They issued manifestos and programs, founded organizations and journals, joined political parties — primarily on the left — and went to the streets, at least to observe if not also to act. The majority of the participants in this movement were, at some point in their careers, part of new artistic trends and, as such, contributors to the formation and advancement of aesthetic modernism in Germany.