Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.757 million (2.4 million within the metropolitan area, more than 20% of Austria's population), and its cultural, economic, and political centre.
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- Well, the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the whole problem faced by this was probably one of the causes which made me shift my interest from pure natural science to political problems. It meant observing the collapse of the society and more especially, the collapse of the intellectual society of Vienna. The Vienna was, as you said and remained for a number of decades one of the great intellectual centers of the world. Nothing could be more exciting than Vienna of the 1920s and early '30s.
- In Vienna, it's impossible to be overlooked. You can only be ignored.
- Austria-Hungary was a predominantly rural society, but Vienna was toasted as one of the most cultured and cosmolitan capitals on earth, beloved of Franz Lehar and Thomas Mann. Lenin thought it a 'mighty and vivacious city.' Irving Berlin's 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' was sung there in English, and in 1913 it played host to the world premiere of Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. It is an oddity of history that in the same year Stalin, Trotsky, Tito, and Hitler alike lived for some months in Vienna. The great American boxer Jack Johnson was star turn of that winter's season at the Apollo Theatre. Among a host of popular cafés, the Landtmann was the favorite of Sigmund Freud. The city represented a global pinnacle of snobbery: bowing, scraping, and even hand-kissing shopkeepers flattered their middle-class customers by adding an aristocratic 'von' to their names, and addressing them as 'Your Grace.' Domestic servants were subject to almost feudal routines: employment law entitled housemaids to only seven hours off a fortnight, every alternate Sunday. Aristocratic Viennese had a New Year's custom of pouring gobbets of molten lead into buckets of iced champagne, then trying to predict the future when they hardened.
- Max Hastings, Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War (2013) (p. 10)
- After Germany was defeated Austria fell into the Western camp and was assigned the status of Hitler's 'first victim'. This stroke of doubly unmerited good fortune authorized Vienna to exorcise its past. Its Nazi allegiance conveniently forgotten, the Austrian capital—a 'Western' city surrounded by Soviet 'eastern' Europe—acquired a new identity as outrider and exemplar of the free world. To its former subjects now trapped in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia, Vienna stood for 'central Europe': an imagined community of cosmopolitan civility that Europeans had somehow mislaid in the course of the century. In Communism's dying years the city was to become a sort of listening post of liberty, a rejuvenated site of encounters and departures for eastern Europeans escaping West and Westerners building bridges to the East.
Vienna in 1989 was thus a good place from which to 'think' Europe.
- Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005), Introduction
- I was born in Vienna, I grew up in Vienna, I went to school in Vienna, I graduated in Vienna, I studied in Vienna, I started my career in Vienna, I did theatre for the first time in Vienna, I did film for the first time in Vienna. There are also a few other Viennese details... But how much more Austrian can you get?
- Encyclopedic article on Vienna at Wikipedia