In 1939, on the eve of the Nazi Holocaust, the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote Mother Courage and Her Children. For the setting of his play, he chose the Thirty Years' War, the senseless 17th century European conflict that pitted Protestants against Catholics and laid waste to whole lands and peoples. Spanning the years 1618-1648, it was the most destructive war in European history until modern times. It was a war which seemingly no one
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of all of us in similar circumstances. With a single mindedness that produces real heroism, she negotiates the wake of the war. Ruthless, fiercely selfish, clever and conniving in defense of her small moveable turf, she is completely understandable. In her bawdy humor, tenderness and rue, she is utterly human and sympathetic. In the end, like in any tragedy, it is her great will and indomitable spirit which is both her ruin and her triumph.