Black Vienna, Red Vienna: The Struggle for Intellectual and Political Hegemony in Interwar Vienna, 1918-1938

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2010

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation attempts to rectify the imbalance of interwar Viennese studies by exploring both sides of the intellectual divide. Both the “red” and the “black” elements of Viennese intellectual life are examined, not as discrete entities or static, monolithic ideological formations, but as dynamic, interactive constellations of thought that reflected the rapid changes taking place in Austria, Europe and the world.32 Intellectuals were not only affected by historical events, but their ideas also helped to shape the world around them. In fact, one of the striking features of interwar Viennese was the radicalism of thought. On both the left and right, intellectuals pressed for social and economic changes that often went far beyond the demands of the Austrian political parties. The success of intellectual movements could be measured by the pervasiveness of a given group’s ideas in the public sphere and in social and political discussions. In this way, science and politics were profoundly entwined. The politicization of knowledge was dynamic and complex, however, with levels of engagement ebbing and flowing based on external factors. In “Red Vienna,” intellectual radicalism led to a gradual disillusionment with the Austro-Marxists as their socialist revolution failed to take root and the party failed to implement their ambitious scientific plans. The growing fatalism of the party did not correspond well to the progressives’ demands for action.33 Intellectuals on the right were not satisfied with Austrian developments, either. While some ultimately came to support the Austro-Fascist Ständestaat after 1934, most did not feel the government was authoritarian enough, thereby paving the road for Hitler in 1938.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Gerald Izenberg

Committee Members

Howard Brick, Malachi Hacohen, Hillel Kieval, Paul Michael Luetzeler, Vincent Sherry, Corinna Treitel


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7N29TX8

This document is currently not available here.