European Network Remembrance and Solidarity

After the Great War - Vienna: The capital of a declining empire longs for order

Episode Summary

Two worlds collided in Vienna at the end of the war. The new one, not yet fully known, was just arriving, and the old one, visible most fully in the rich, representative architecture of the imperial palaces, opera house, art galleries, magnificent public buildings, was passing into history after 650 years. After an empire that lasting over six centuries, the capital was now "too big" for the new Austria.

Episode Notes

Today, Vienna is one of the best cities in the world to live in. In a number of rankings, it usually takes the top spot, but always somewhere on the podium. A well-developed system of flat rentals, six underground lines, a developed labour market, as well as a lot of greenery and excellent museums - all of these attest to the city's rank today. Prosperity can also be seen in the period at the end of the third wave of the pandemic - every few hundred metres in the very centre you can take a free coronavirus test.

The word that dominated the period after the Great War was rationing. The journalist and writer Joseph Roth captured the atmosphere of the winter of 1918 and the spring of 1919 in a series of newspaper columns. Describing the man of those times, he noted that he was a person "in shock with a broken back". Vienna was not only ill, but also starving.