The Dada movement, which originated in Switzerland during the First World War, would bring about lasting changes in the nature and technique of collage. Prior to the War, collage had been used by Cubists like Picasso, Braque, and Juan Gris as a device to extend the picture plane into three dimensions, and to aid further in the abstraction of objects in space. Wallpaper, pages from newspapers, cloth, and small pieces of wood or string functioned as the elements of rather simple collage compositions that supplemented paintings.
The Dadaists expanded collage methods to include the use of individual words, letters, and halftone photographs cut from newspapers, magazines, and catalogues. And collages were no longer merely descriptive, abstract adjuncts to painting; they now stood on their own as savage satires of politics, society, and war, in keeping with the revolutionary and anarchist currents tearing apart the old world of the pre-war Belle Epoque. Collage had become a weapon to be used against the bourgeoisie.