There is a super little article here from the BBC website by Andy Walker. It highlights the apparent coincidence that in 1913 Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived Vienna at the same time. The article rightly suggests that this in part was a reflection of the city at that time stating that – “Vienna was its own kind of cultural soup, attracting the ambitious from across the empire”…and continuing “you didn’t have a tremendously powerful central state… If you wanted to find a place to hide out in Europe where you could meet lots of other interesting people then Vienna would be a good place to do it.”
Perhaps. It is certainly attractive to see Vienna fulfilling the role filled in part by the internet in intellectual debate today. I would add however that perhaps this article misses a point. A lot of these soon to be famous men would have remained in the footnotes of history if it was not for the war that broke out in Europe the following year. This not only ended Vienna’s role as the melting pot capital of a multi-national empire, but it also, to quote Trotsky himself acted “as the locomotive of change”.
Have read and see what you think.