Hitler's Vienna

A Dictator's Apprenticeship
  • Citation: Hamann, Brigitte. Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship. Oxford University Press, USA, 2000.
    • Topics:
    • Great Power Conflict
    • Keywords:
    • Europe
    • Germany
    • Austria
    • Hitler
    • World War II
    • Nazi Germany
    • dictator

Hitler’s Vienna explores the critical years that the young Adolf Hitler spent in Vienna, the city that in so many ways furnished the future dictator’s education. It is both a cultural and political portrait of the Austrian capital and a biography of Hitler during his years there, from 1906 until his departure for Munich in 1913 at the age of twenty-four. Hitler’s was not the modern, artistic “fin-de-siecle Vienna” we associate with Freud, Mahler, Schnitzler, and Wittgenstein. Instead, it was a cauldron of fear and ethnic rivalry, a metropolis teeming with “little people” who rejected Viennese modernity as too international, too libertine, and too Jewish. It was a breeding ground for racist political theories, where one leading member of parliament said, to the cheers of his colleagues, “I would like to see all Jews ground to artificial fertilizer.” Brigitte Hamann vividly depicts the undercurrent of disturbing ideologies that flowed beneath the glitter of the Hapsburg capital. Against this background, Hamann tells the story of the moody, curious, intense, painfully shy young man from the provinces, Adolf Hitler. Drawing on previously untapped sources that range from personal reminiscences to the records of homeless shelters where the unemployed Hitler spent his nights, Hamann gives us the fullest account ever rendered of this period of Hitler’s life and shows us how profoundly his years in Vienna influenced his later career. Hitler’s Vienna is a major addition to present Hitler scholarship.

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