Before Europe exploded into war in 1914, there was a peaceful but no less powerful explosion of creativity in the arts and sciences in many parts of the world. The age of Einstein, Freud, and Rutherford, probing relativity, the unconscious mind, and the atom was also the age of Picasso, Kandinsky, and Schoenberg. And artists knew this to be true. In the years before the war, they managed to break down old certainties and to move in directions no one had ever gone before. Here was an astonishingly creative moment, set firmly in the context of the threat and reality of violence, domestic and international, which both constituted and threatened to destroy the world in which such daring experiments emerged. My contribution aims to explore this transnational moment, one in which violence and creativity lived in vigorous incompatibility together, for a passing moment, before the storm of war swept their dreams away.