Joseph Roth was born into a Jewish family in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and served in the Imperial army in World War I. After the war, he became a journalist and travelled widely, including making numerous trips to Russia. During this period he wrote several novels, novellas, and short stories, including the family saga The Radetzky March (1932). His socialist-leaning political views forced him to flee Germany permanently after Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Thereafter he lived and worked alternately in Amsterdam and Paris. He died in the latter city in alcoholism and poverty in 1939.