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Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914 by…

Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914 (1989)

by Frederic Morton

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In the end it peters out but this is an interesting look at 1913 to early 1914 in Vienna as war becomes likely and how the killing of one man led to it. There is also an echo of the nationalistic jingoism that led to the 1916 revolution in Ireland (and the Irish Question does crop up occasionally too). It is interesting to me how the early 20th Century had so many things happening that still have echoes. The mess that is Syria etc are parts of this too, the failure to create a good idea of nationalism that doesn't other people is still echoing through today.

Vienna was the hub of the society that led to this war, a place where philosophers and composers found inspiration and where there were a lot of various people, including Hitler, a place where change was coming fast and often being resisted. Ironically Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a man who was arguing for better treatment of Serbs, he was a man frustrated by some of the limits of his role but determined to do the best job he could with what he had.

We still haven't fixed some of the issues, maybe in this period of remembrance of the First World War we should rip the sticking plasters off some of these wounds and see what the root causes are and start to mend them properly.

I did check what happened to Archduke Franz Ferdinand's kids, they were taken in by a family member and at one stage, because the two boys spoke out about the Anchluss they were interned in Concentration Camps during World War II but survived.

A recommended read to understand the period, a companion book and sequel to A Nervous Splendour.
  wyvernfriend | Feb 26, 2015 |
An accessible read about Vienna in the 18 months before the start of the first world war. The action mostly involves the politicians and Hapsburgs, with occasional nods towards what other Viennese inhabitants are up to. The information is clearly presented and follows a chronology. ( )
  Tifi | May 7, 2013 |
This book evokes a vivid and comprehensive portrait of the time and place. ( )
1 vote MHelm1017 | Sep 25, 2009 |
Presents a good account of Vienna leading up to WW1. No great revelations but still good reading. Brings together info from different sources and presents it clearly. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Jul 23, 2009 |
2918 Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914, by Frederic Morton (read 12 Oct 1996) This book is all based on secondary sources, a number of which I have read, but it tells well the story of Vienna from 1913 till after the war started. Hitler, Trotsky, and even Lenin and Stalin were in Vienna for a time during this time. The account herein of how war came in the last week in July is fast-paced and oversimplified but not misleading--it puts the blame on Austria, deservedly, though of course there were other things which helped. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jan 24, 2008 |
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To M.C.M.
To my two dearest Viennese: My parents, Frank and Rose Morton
and to Elisabeth and Lester Coleman, for so much
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In July 1916, Fritz Mandelbaum, a junior officer in Austria's Seventh Army on the Russian front, near the river Dnjestr, was shot in the abdomen and died shortly thereafter.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0306810212, Paperback)

Thunder at Twilight is a landmark of historical vision, drawing on hitherto untapped sources to illuminate two crucial years in the life of the extraordinary city of Vienna—and in the life of the twentieth century. It was during the carnival of 1913 that a young Stalin arrived on a mission that would launch him into the upper echelon of Russian revolutionaries, and it was here that he first collided with Trotsky. It was in Vienna that the failed artist Adolf Hitler kept daubing watercolors and spouting tirades at fellow drifters in a flophouse. Here Archduke Franz Ferdinand had a troubled audience with Emperor Franz Joseph—and soon the bullet that killed the archduke would set off the Great War that would kill ten million more. With luminous prose that has twice made him a finalist for the National Book Award, Frederic Morton evokes the opulent, elegant, incomparable sunset metropolis—Vienna on the brink of cataclysm.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

What do Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Tito, Freud, the Emperor Franz Joseph and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand have in common? They were all in Vienna during the carnival of 1913, living within a square mile of each other. Here, in this laboratory of cultural, social and political experiment, some of the key figures of the twentieth century met and collided Stalin on a mission for the revolution, Trotsky publishing the first edition of Pravda - and establishing a feud with Lenin in nearby Hapsburg, Hitler, still just a failed artist, spouting tirades at fellow drifters in the flophouse, Tito, a car mechanic, taking dancing and fencing lessons; and Freud, completing an essay he would use in his duel with Jung. He called it 'Totem and Taboo', and it dealt with the myth - ancient and prophetic - of the slaying of a prince by the crowd. As, just twenty months later, the bullet that killed the Archduke would set off the war that killed ten million people across Europe. Frederic Morton brilliantly explores the conscience and seedbed of disaster, in a perspective that includes a mercurial Churchill, the posturings of Kaiser Wilhelm and the waverings of Tsar Nicholas. But above all, he evokes Vienna with the eye of a master novelist - the elegant, opulent, divided, incomparable sunset metropolis: the volcano of the twentieth-century Zeitgeist. History Of Specific Subjects.… (more)

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