Cover image for Hitler's Vienna : a dictator's apprenticeship
Hitler's Vienna : a dictator's apprenticeship
Hamann, Brigitte.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Hitlers Wien. English
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 482 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1410 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DD247.H5 H281913 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Already a critically acclaimed bestseller in Germany and in Austria, Hitler's Vienna explores the critical, formative years which Hitler spent in Vienna, painting a fascinating portrait of the development of his ideas and career against the social, cultural, and political climate of thecapitol of the Hapsburg Empire. Hitler's Vienna was not the artistic and intellectual center normally associated with Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Instead, it was a cauldron of fear and indignation, a city teeming with the "little people" who rejected Viennese modernity as toointernational, too "Jewish," and too libertine. Indeed, Hitler's Vienna was a breeding ground for obscure political theories, usually propagated by disadvantaged men living together in hostels. To them, being "better" in this multinational city meant belonging to the "noble German people."Brigitte Hamann compellingly depicts the undercurrent of disturbing social and political ideologies that permeated this city of civil unrest. Drawing on previously untapped resources, she gives us the fullest account ever rendered of the young fuhrer. Hitler's Vienna reveals the vital connection between Hitler's indoctrination into the devastating racial politics that swept Germany's multinational state and the hotbed of nationalistic activity that was Vienna in the early 20th century. It is a profoundly important addition to present Hitlerscholarship.

Author Notes

Brigitte Hamann is a Ph.D. and specialist in nineteenth and twentieth century history, specifically of Austrian history. She is the author of many books in German. (In English: The Reluctant Empress: A Biography of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, and Bertha von Suttner: A Life for Peace.) She lives in Vienna.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The source of Hitler's political and racial ideologies will undoubtedly continue to be disputed among historians. Still, it seems likely that Hitler's pre^-World War I sojourn in Vienna (beginning in 1906) played a role in the development of his ideas. Hamann, a Viennese resident and specialist in Austrian history, captures the schizophrenic cultural milieu of fin-de-siecle Vienna. It was a cosmopolitan city that liberally nurtured revolutionary trends in the arts and sciences. Yet its hothouse political atmosphere also aided in the development of extreme political movements centered on racial animosity, particularly anti-Semitism. Within this milieu, Hamann tracks Hitler's movements as he flits about the underside of society, hobnobbing with a variety of political extremists and eking out a precarious existence painting postcards and carrying luggage while dreaming of personal grandeur. For specialists as well as general readers with an interest in the prewar period, this well-written and superbly researched work will be both interesting and revealing. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Usually, accounts of Hitler start with WWI and his subsequent rise to power in Munich. And usually, histories of Vienna in the early part of this century focus on the Secession, on Freud, on Viktor Adler. But in her carefully argued and smartly written book, Hamann (The Reluctant Empress) creates a portrait that shows the evolution of a far different city, one that for five years, between 1908 and 1913, shaped one young provincial. This is a Vienna of poor laborers who live in men's hostels and are the willing fodder of Social Democrats and Pan-Germans alike. Waves of immigrants (among them Jews fleeing Russian pogroms) and the introduction of equal suffrage in 1906 gave rise to a virulent crop of chauvinistic German politicians and theoreticians who shaped Hitler's worldview, from his racism to his use of "Führer" and "Heil," both adopted from Pan-German activist Georg Schönerer. Unlike many biographers, Hamann finds the roots of Hitler's anti-Semitism here, rather than in run-ins with Jewish professors at the Academy of Visual Arts (there were none), a Jewish grandfather (the evidence, she convincingly argues, is lacking) or a syphilitic Jewish prostitute (Hitler was inordinately afraid of both infection and women). Hamann also traces other crucial aspects of Hitler's development to his time in Vienna: his fascination with the mechanics of theater and the political symbolism of architecture, and his hatred of parliamentarianism. Hamann's deep knowledge of Vienna and her skeptical approach to previous sources results in a double-sided portrait that will help readers understand both the Dual Monarchy and WWI and the Third Reich and WWII. Photos. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1. From the Provinces to the Capitalp. 3
2. The Vienna of the Modern Erap. 60
3. The Imperial Cityp. 86
4. In Parliamentp. 116
5. The Social Questionp. 133
6. As a Painter in the Men's Hostelp. 158
7. Theoreticians of Race and Explainers of the Worldp. 200
8. Political Role Modelsp. 236
9. Czechs in Viennap. 304
10. Jews in Viennap. 325
11. Young Hitler and Womenp. 360
12. Before the Great Warp. 379
Notesp. 407
Selected Bibliographyp. 451
Indexp. 453