VIENNA’S INTELLECTUAL REVOLUTION
From London to Vienna, the 19th century witnessed a volcano of ideas erupting across Europe. But the Viennese intellectual revolution was the most impressive, intense, powerful and spread across a wide range of creative platforms. The climax of the era began long before the arrival of Hitler in Vienna from Linz in upper Austria in 1908, where he developed his political theories of fascism there. The Austrian capital was thus the epicentre of the modern ideology that shaped western civilisation after the decline of Venice. What gave Vienna the edge over other European capitals was that it was an imperial city, rather than a capital controlled by a national government. When Rudolf, the first king of the Romans of the Habsburg dynasty declared himself the count king of Austria in the 13th century, he vowed to make Vienna nothing less in splendour than the Bohemian capital Prague. He and king Ottokar II of Bohemia were mighty enemies. Rudolf hence began developing the capital intellectually by establishing the University of Vienna - one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe.
Vienna is nestled below the foothills of the Alps and faces the banks of the almighty Danube River. With Germany docked just upstream, and the city surrounded by a hotbed of Eastern European empires, Vienna was thus where Europe's most radical and controversial thoughts were born. The rapid spread of intellectual exchange was further aided by the fact that the Austrian capital was the cradle of a Dual Monarchy, ruling under the Austro-Hungarian empire, with a mega population of about 50 million people. Its vast territory stretched from Innsbruck in the west, to the edges of the Black Sea in the east. Hence, the diversity of the social fabric and liberalism of Vienna gave science the momentum to apply advanced methods of research to verify facts. This in return paved the way for scientists to take an intellectual leap, which resulted in the emergence of revolutionary studies that impacted the field. And in a span of 500 years, Vienna would see the evolution of the Golden Age with an explosion of innovations that would concrete its name as the cosmopolitan capital of Europe.