The war has ended, and the streets erupt in celebration. Montparnasse swings to the rhythms of jazz and hops to the buzz of lively cafes. Paris is a movable feast. Conceived as reactions against the absurdity of war, the Dadaist and Surrealist revolutions are underway. Leading the charge are the three musketeers: Breton, Aragon, and Soupault, backed by Man Ray, Desnos, Tzara, and many others. In 1919, one of the major works of the Surrealist movement is unveiled: Les Champs magnetiques. The model Kiki, revered by every painter of the day and poised to be crowned queen of Montparnasse, has a tumultuous love affair with Man Ray before he takes off with Lee Miller.
The interwar period is significant for its tumults of enthusiasm and illusion. Communism is a tempting alternative, and the desire for social, moral, artistic, and political revolution hangs in the air. In 1936, war erupts in Spain. Malraux and Hemingway are covering the Republicans' struggle as journalists, and photos by Capa and Gerda Taro get published in the international press, fostering a broader awareness of the conflict. In April 1937, the Guernica massacre inspires Picasso to create a monumental canvas symbolizing the violence perpetrated by Franco's supporters and by fascism more generally. The Spanish Republic is lost, and one war ends as another begins.