2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Many events are taking place to commemorate the war that changed the world and especially Europe so fundamentally.
It is not really surprising that a number of new books have been published on the topic during the last few months, as there are still so many unanswered questions that are being researched by historians.
Before the outbreak of the Great War, Vienna, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was one of the most thriving cultural cities in Europe. At a time when the Hapsburg Monarchy consisted of many different states and regions, the capital was more ethnically and religiously diverse than ever before. Great minds were prolific in the various disciplines and fin-de-siècle-Vienna produced many of the greatest artists, intellectuals, and scientists Austria is so proud of today. Think Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig, Gustav Klimt, Arnold Schoenberg, Karl Kraus, to name but a few.
The following books, most of them recently published, will allow you to relive this moment in time, when great things were achieved in Vienna, change was in the air, and the Hapsburg Monarchy drew its last breath.
available in English:
The World of Yesterday, Stefan Zweig’s autobiography is considered
the most famous novel on the Habsburg Empire and its demise.
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, by Margaret MacMillan
The Viennese Café and Fin-de-siècle Culture, by Charlotte Ashby
The Kraus Project: Essays by Karl Kraus, by Jonathan Franzen
available in German:
Der erste Weltkrieg und das Ende der Habsburgermonarchie 1914-1918, by Manfried Rauchensteiner
1914 das etwas andere Lesebuch zum 1. Weltkrieg, by Rudolf Agstner
Franz Ferdinand – der eigensinnige Thronfolger, by Jean-Paul Bled
1913 – Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts, by Florian Illies
Schöne Tage 1914, by Gerhard Jelinek
Vienna is also the topic of a three-week citywide festival here in New York.
The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is partnering with New York’s Carnegie Hall to present the large-scale “Vienna: City of Dreams” festival in February and March (carnegiehall.org/vienna).
The Austrian Cultural Forum opens the mind and senses to Vienna today. Building upon the vast artistic, intellectual, and cultural legacies of Vienna in 1900, the ACFNY explores the vibrant creative fabric of the ‘city of dreams’ in the 21st century with a festival of contemporary music, a symposium, a film series, and a major visual art exhibition titled “Vienna Complex.”
Don’t miss this great festival and get your reservations at acfny.org/viennacomplex.