1913: Vienna’s Cultural Soup

Vienna in 1913 was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire | Photo: da-i-net

Vienna in 1913: The capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had seen the likes of Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Tito and Freud | Photo: da-i-net

A century ago, Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Marshal Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin all lived in central Vienna. This week on the BBC, Editor in Chief of The Vienna Review, Dardis McNamee explained why 1913 Vienna attracted these zealous individuals.

“While not exactly a melting pot, Vienna was its own kind of cultural soup, attracting the ambitious from across the empire,” explains McNamee.

“Less than half of the city’s two million residents were native born and about a quarter came from Bohemia (now the western Czech Republic) and Moravia (now the eastern Czech Republic), so that Czech was spoken alongside German in many settings.”

“Officers in the Austro-Hungarian Army had to be able to give commands in 11 languages besides German, each of which had an official translation of the National Hymn.”

“Part of what made the cafés so important was that ‘everyone’ went. So there was a cross-fertilisation across disciplines and interests, in fact boundaries that later became so rigid in western thought were very fluid.”

Beyond that, McNamee added, “was the surge of energy from the Jewish intelligentsia, and new industrialist class, made possible following their being granted full citizenship rights by Franz Joseph in 1867, and full access to schools and universities.”


The Radio Version will be available until Thursday 25 April

Or read the full article by Andy Walker on the BBC website



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