History Of Vienna

History of Vienna

History Of Vienna

Vienna coat of arms
Vienna coat of arms

The History of Vienna; The City of Vienna constantly changes and was long which starts from the Roman era when the Empire formed a military base where the city’s center was found. In the 11th Century, the city from such a meek start then grew from that Roman entity to be known as Vindobona and was a significant trading site. I was then the capital city of the Dynasty of Babenberg and further became the capital city of the Austrian Habsburgs when it then became one of the hearts of European culture. It was then one of Europe’s biggest cities when it was the capital city of the Austrian Empire in the 19th century which later on became Austria Hungary. This city was once one of the biggest cities in Europe. This city has been the capital of the Austrian Republic since the First World War.

Vienna: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)Vienna: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for EuropeThe Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for EuropeAfter the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied OccupationAfter the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied OccupationVienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural HistoryVienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History

BEGINNING AND EARLY MIDDLE AGES

Vindobona is a name gotten from the Celtic dialect which proves that this area was first occupied before the time of the Romans. During the 1st Century, there was a Roman military base formed on this area (inhabited by the Legio X Gemina) which is now the central city of Vienna presently. In 212, this city was increased to the rank of Municipium. There are still First District streets which show where the walls and canals of this military base were built. The area was inhabited by the Romans until the 5th century.

RUINS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AT MICHAELERPLATZ
RUINS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AT MICHAELERPLATZ

Roman Vindobona was always a victim of  Völkerwanderung chaos due to the fact that it was located on the border of the Roman empire. There is proof of that at the beginning of the 15th century, a disastrous fire ravaged this city even though the whole camp wasn’t destroyed because there was a still small town remaining in the area. All the houses in Vienna during this Medieval period were built following the pattern of the Roman walls. This made people conclude that the settlers of this area used part of this stronghold to build their houses.

There has been the discovery of 6th century Byzantine copper coins many times in the region where the city’s center was found. This was an indication that a lot of trading activity took place in this area. During excavations, graves peculiar to the 6th century were also found in the area closest to Berghof, a town found around the region of Salvatorgasse. The Lombards were in control of the area throughout this period later followed by the Avars and the Slavs. Berghof was the area where the center of Medieval Vienna was found. A Jewish Historian, Josephus was one of the first people to mention the name Vienna. He recorded that in Gaul, Caesar exiled the King of Judea (ca. 23 BCE – 18 CE) to Vienna.

The first written down record about the city of Vienna in the middle ages was in the Salzburg Annals dated to 881 when there was a battle against the Magyars known as the Apud Wienam. There is a still a mix up in this records as to whether the name was attributed to the city or to the River Wien. In the year 955, the Magyars were conquered by Emperor Otto I in a battle known as the Battle of Lechfeld. This paved the way for the development of the city towards the Middle Ages.

BABENBURG RULE

VIENNA WAS ELEVATED TO THE CAPITAL OF BABENBURG BY DUKE HENRY II IN 1155
VIENNA WAS ELEVATED TO THE CAPITAL OF BABENBURG BY DUKE HENRY II IN 1155

The Babenberg family was handed the Margraviate of Ostarrîchi in the year 976. The city of Vienna was located at its border with Hungary.

As far back as the 11th Century, the city of Vienna was a significant trading site. The city was first termed a Civitas which means a well-established settlement during the Exchange of Mautern which took place between Margrave Leopold IV and the Bishop of Passau. Duke Henry II of Austria then made the city his capital in 1155. The city was further ranked as a duchy through the Privilegium Minus making Vienna the seat of the Duke in 1156. This was the time during which Schottenstift was founded.

A large ransom of 50,000 Silver Marks was brought in by the circumstances leading to the eventual discovery and capture of King Richard the Lionheart by King Leopold V the Virtuous which occurred two days before Christmas in Erdberg close to Vienna during the year 1192. This further led to the building of the walls surrounding the city and the creation of a mint in the years leading up to the year 1200. There are still some ruins of the city walls found presently at the U-Bahn station Stubentor. Pope Celestine III excommunicated King Leopold V due to the fact that he violated a protected crusader. He died during a tournament when he fell down from a horse.

The rights of a city were bestowed upon the city of Vienna as a staple port (Stapelrecht) in the year 1221. This was significant in the sense that goods were given to the city by all the merchants passing through. This then made the people of Vienna become middlemen in trade till the extent that Vienna created a network of extensive trade relations particularly in the area running through the Danube basin leading to Venice and made it become one of the most significant Holy Roman Empires’ cities.

That notwithstanding, it was deemed humiliating that there was no bishop in the city of Vienna. There are reports that the creation of a Bishopric was negotiated upon by Duke Frederick II as well as Ottokar Přemysl.

HABSBURG RULE

DUKE RUDOLF IV OF AUSTRIA “THE FOUNDER”
DUKE RUDOLF IV OF AUSTRIA “THE FOUNDER”

Duke Rudolf I after conquering the Ottokar II of Bohemia controlled the Austrian Lands and begun the development of Habsburg rule in 1278. It took quite a long period of time for the Habsburgs to setup their rule in the city of Vienna. This is due to the fact that the partisans of Ottokar were a hard nut to crack. Albert, I faced numerous revolutions. The most revolutionary family of this area was that of Paltrams vom Stephansfreithof.

The “Fürstenbuch” which was the first written history of the city was written down by Jans der Enikel in 1280.

During the reign of the Luxembourg Emperors, Prague was the most dominating city while the city of Vienna was a mere shadow in its paths. The Hapsburgs during that time tried to enlarge the size of the Vienna in order for it to be able to compete with Prague. A typical example is this is the construction of the Gothic choir of Stephansdom by Duke Albert III. Frederick the Handsome published a book listing all the privileges of the city in a book known as the Eisenbuch (iron book).

Duke Rudolf IV is dubbed “the Founder” due to his economic policy which raised the standard of the city during his rule specifically the creation of the University of Vienna in 1395 and he also began the construction of the Gothic nave found in Stephansdom.

There was a time when there were quarrels on inheritance between the patrician and artisan parties within the Hapsburgs which led to confusion, social uprisings and a fall in the economy. The artisans were followers of King Leopold IV while the patricians were followers of Ernest the Iron. Konrad Vorlauf who was the mayor and a member of the patrician party was killed in 1408.

Vienna was then made the Holy Roman Empire’s capital when Duke Albert V was elected German King Albert II. His name is remembered for expelling the Jewish people from Vienna in the years 1421 and 1422.

Vienna was then granted a bishop making the Stephansdom a cathedral in the year 1469. Vienna was on the side of the enemy (Albert IV followed by Matthias Corvinus) in revolutions during the reign of the weak Emperor Frederick III. Frederick was considered weak as he failed to keep the peace in his land against various gangs of mercenaries (from the Hussite Wars).

The Blood Judgement of Wiener Neustadt caused the execution of the prominent members of the opposing party in the city under the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I in the year 1522 which led to the destruction political structures. It was then under the direct control of the Emperor from that time.

Vienna was made the seat of the Emperor in 1556 with Bohemia and Bohemia were also incorporated into to the Habsburg empire in the year 1526.

The city was made a Catholic city rapidly after it was made a Protestant city during this period. The Jesuits then came into the town and were an influential part of the court in the year 1551. The bishop of Vienna from the year 1600 Melchior Khlesl, was the head of the counter-reformation.

TURKISH ATTACKS

ATTACK ON VIENNA (1683)
ATTACK ON VIENNA (1683)

Vienna was attacked by the Ottoman Turks in the year 1529 known as the First Turkish Siege in which they failed. The city tried to survive the attacks with its medieval walls till an early winter which was epidemic stricken caused the Turks to fall back. This attack on Vienna proved that the city needed more improvements. The city was then enlarged after Sebastian Schrantz made plans which then strengthened the city to a fortress. The city was enclosed by a moat was also equipped with eleven bastions. The city had a glacis around it, a vast area of land void of buildings, which made those who defended the colony to attack with freedom. These improvements which were what occupied the construction works in the 17th century was the main reason why they were able to fend off and eventually defeat the Turkish army in the Second Siege of 1683by King Jan Sobieski from Poland after two months of intensive battle. This the time when the tables turned in the Turkish wars as they caused the retreat of the Ottoman Empire in the years that followed.

THE 18th CENTURY

THE CITY VIENNA IN THE BAROQUE ERA
THE CITY VIENNA IN THE BAROQUE ERA

This period was filled with lots of building activities. During this rebuilding of the city, it was transformed into a baroque city. The influential architects in this reconstruction were Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt alongside Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. The interior parts of the city (Vorstädte) had the most construction works as the those of the noble class occupied the land around with what was known as Palais (garden palaces). The most renown of these palaces is the Palais Schwarzenberg, the Palais Modena, the Palais Liechtenstein, the Belvedere ( which belonged to Prince Eugene of Savoy) and the Schönbrunn Palace. An outer enhancement was constructed around the Vorstädte known as the Linienwall in the year 1704.

The population then increased at a stable rate after the severe plagues and epidemics which ravaged the city in 1679 and 1713. This was the times during which the first factories were constructed beginning with the Leopoldstadt which later on became a site inhabited by many Jews as there were expelled for their previous location in 1670.

THE 19TH CENTURY

THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA

Vienna was conquered twice by Napoleon twice, in 1805 and 1809 in the course of the Napoleonic wars. The first success occurred without a fight. Three French marshals crossed the strongly safeguarded Taborbrücke (Tábor Bridge), which was the only bridge over the Danube, and persuaded the Austrian leader to think that the war was finished already. Meanwhile, the French armed force effortlessly entered the city and was welcomed by the people with intrigue instead of rejection. Napoleon permitted 10,000 men of the Vienna national monitor to stay equipped and left the weapons store to them when he exited.

Vienna was occupied the second time by Napoleon only after a fierce battle. At Aspern close to Vienna, Napoleon was then defeated for the first time. His army then crossed the Danube where he initiated the Battle of Wagram in the same area as the Battle at Aspern in which the French were now victorious and this further led to the surrender of the Austrians which signaled the end of the War of the Fifth Coalition. In 1823, the five Rothschild brothers were then made barons by the Emperor of Austria. This Rothschild family then became known throughout Europe as bankers and this family remained prominent until the coming of the Creditanstalt bank created in Vienna was seized in 1938 by the Nazis.

The Congress of Vienna held from September 18, 1814, through to June 9, 1815, after Napoleon was finally defeated in which the redrawing of the Political map of Europe was done.  There were many social events held by the members of the congress which led the brilliant Prince of Ligne, Charles to who quoted that “Le congres danse beaucoup, mais il ne marche pas” which meant “the congress dances, but does not progress”. The Austrians lost a lot of money during these events and this created mockeries about the main members who participated in the congress which was:

Alexander of Russia: Loves for All

Frederick of Denmark: Speaks for All

Frederick William of Prussia: Thinks for All

Frederick of Württemberg: Eats for All

Maximillian of Bavaria: Drinks for All

Emperor Francis of Austria: Pays for All

EXPANSION UNDER THE REIGN OF EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH I

Franz Joseph Schonbrunn Palace
Franz Joseph Schonbrunn Palace

 

ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE UNDER EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH I
ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE UNDER EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH I

 

BIG EXPANSION HOUSES UNDER EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH
BIG EXPANSION HOUSES UNDER EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH

 

NEWLY COMPLETED RINGSTRAßE WITH PARLIAMENT (1900)
NEWLY COMPLETED RINGSTRAßE WITH PARLIAMENT (1900)

 

VIENNA CITY HALL BALL WITH MAYOR KARL LUEGER (1904)
VIENNA CITY HALL BALL WITH MAYOR KARL LUEGER (1904)

The city extended its territory in 1850, generally to incorporate the zone inside the Linienwall. The Vorstädte was then turned into the second to ninth districts, and the ancient city was the turned into the first. In 1858, the fortresses were decimated, and the expansive Ringstraße avenue was then constructed and took their places in the year 1858. They also constructed numerous historical buildings around it. The style of the Ringstraße (Historicism) portrays the architecture type of buildings in Vienna right up till the present time. In 1861, At the end of neo absolution, the Liberals won the first free election The Danube was constantly checked and regulated after the Great Flood which took place in 1830. In the 1860s, this was finally put into practice. They removed the numerous branches of the Danube and a straight course was made far away from the center of the city. The branch close to the center of the city was made smaller and has been known under the fairly deceptive name Donaukanal (Danube Canal) from that point up till now.

The number of inhabitants in Vienna increased at a rapid rate, for the most part on account of the influx of people into the city during that period. From 1869 onwards, numerous censuses were conducted, which demonstrated a record high population in the year 1910 of 2,031,00 people.

Vienna turned into a focal point of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) around the year 1900, mostly with Otto Wagner and the artist organization known as Vienna Secession (which is the name of the building found in Karlsplatz).

The was a second extension of the city in the year 1890. It was divided into the rural areas (Vororte) past the old Linienwall were incorporated as part of the town as the districts 11 to 19 (the tenth district had already been by the 4th division in 1874). In the year 1900, Leopoldstadt was partitioned making the northern part the twentieth region (Brigittenau). Floridsdorf was incorporated in the city as the as 21st district in 1904.

Karl Lueger was the most influential figure in politics in the city during that time. His commitment to social policies and various works for the districts cannot go unnoticed. (for example, the Wiener Hochquellwasserleitung, which conveyed fresh water from the mountains to Vienna and the formation of woodlands and meadows all-around the city). All these positive contributions alongside the fact that he was a promoted anti-Semitism were well known and appreciated.

THE FIRST WORLD WAR

ITALIAN PAMPHLETS DROPPED ON VIENNA IN 1918

The First World War wasn’t an immediate threat to Vienna, but rather it prompted an absence of provisions in view of the financial ban forced by the Entente powers, which brought about a lack of clothes and food. The very high expenses of the war, generally gotten through borrowing, caused severe inflation which wiped out the savings of those in the middle-class people in Vienna. One intriguing idiosyncrasy is that the 1916 Rent Control in 1916 was never formally canceled.

The Flight over Vienna propaganda flight motivated by Gabriele D’Annunzio was done on with 11 Ansaldo SVA on August 9, 1918. He flew over the city undisturbed for more than 1,200 km in a round trip to Vienna and dropped around 400,000 pamphlets, written both in German and Italian, soliciting the general population from Vienna the break off from the alliance created between Prussia and Austria-Hungary.

KARL- MARX-HOF MUNICIPAL TENEMENT COMPLEXES OF 1920

THE FIRST REPUBLIC

The end of WWI also signaled the end of Austria-Hungary. the Republic of Deutsch-Österreich, or German-Austria, was declared before the Parliament on the 12th of November 1918. The worldwide press had questions about the feasibility of Vienna as a prominent European city after Austria-Hungary was disintegrated.

Vienna was disintegrated from the encompassing Lower Austria and it was transformed into an independent state in the year 1921. The left-wing Social Democrats, who had ruled since the end of WWI, were currently to be held accountable for the organization of the city. “Red Vienna” was viewed as a model worldwide.

Due to the increasing economic difficulties in the city, there was political polarization and radicalization. The left-wing Republican Protective Alliance (Republikanische Schutzbund) was created on the social democratic side in 1923 and 1924, which was an efficient and very much prepared paramilitary enterprise. It faced opposition from the “Home Guard” (Heimwehr) of the right wing which was created after the war ended made up of similar combat units and local guards.

AUSTRIAFACISM

In the year 1927 after violent shows, there was the fire of the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice) which led to the destruction of the biggest bank of the nation, the Creditanstalt and the eventual disintegration of the Parliament in the year 1933 and paved the way for the February 1934 civil war. After the rebuking of the Communist party, Schutzbund and Nazi Party by Engelbert Dollfuß a former Chancellor of Austria and the foreign minister from the year 1932, he further stretched out the band till it to include the Social Democratic Party in 1934 after the revolutions in February 1934. There was only one political association which was a new party he created known as Vaterländische Front. he then formed a dictatorial administration which was called the Ständestaat and ruled without the consent of his Parliament.

ANNEXATION BY THE GERMAN THIRD REICH AND SECOND WORLD WAR

THE FLAK TOWER IN THE AUGARTEN

Austria was colonized and occupied by Nazi Germany in what was known as the Anschluss in March of 1938. Adolf Hitler was joyfully welcomed by hordes of admirers in Vienna and he made a popular speech welcoming his native land as part of the Reich. His anti-Jewish ideology was very much welcomed in the city of Vienna where the promotion of anti-Semitism had been augmented throughout the early 20th century. The Jewish synagogues were destroyed during what was called the Reichskrillnacht on the 9th November of 1938 alongside all their centers of social life A central office for Jewish emigration was also created in August known as the KZ Oberlanzendorf Wien. Vienna wasn’t in total support of the rule of the Nazis even though there were some cases of anti-Semitism even though this did not amount to any concrete resistance. Hitler nurtured hatred for the city of Vienna and instead wanted to develop Linz which was his town where he spent his childhood days and downgrade Vienna back to a lower status.

SECOND WORLD WAR

This city lodged 12 of the sub-camps under the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp which were scattered throughout the city during the Second World War.

By the year 1943, The city was then attacked by bombers in Italy even though it was out of range of the Allies who were based in England originally. There was the construction of large flak towers on Vienna to defend against these bombers. These structures are still located in Vienna till date due to the fact that they had large and thick foundations which could cause damage to the other buildings around it if destroyed. Due to the intense and severe bombing of the city in the years 1944 and 1945 and the eventual victory of the Soviet Army in April of 1945 the city was destroyed severely. A number of Historical buildings, fortunately, survived this destruction though many were reconstructed after the war.

SECOND REPUBLIC

Allied Occupation

A temporary government and administration was created in the city immediately after the 2nd World war. There was also the recreation of most political parties. The parliament building was then changed for the occupation force to the new Austrian Government on April 29, 1945, and the reinstitution of the Democratic Republic of Austria was announced by Karl Renner. Vienna was then divided into five zones shared amongst the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and the UK and the city center was controlled by all four Allied Powers.

In November 1945, the city had its first municipal election.  The 100 seats in the municipal council were shared as follows; the right-wing Austrian Peoples Party got 36, the left-wing Social Democratic Party got 58, and the Communist Party got 6.  It was further agreed upon that the expansion of the city area of 1938 should be reversed but his decree wasn’t immediately put into practice by the occupying powers until 1954. Vienna remained with two of the districts which were 22nd known as the Donaustadt found North of the Danube and the 23rd known as Liesing Located in the South of the Danube.

MODERN HISTORY OF THE CITY SINCE ITS INDEPENDENCE IN 1955

VIENNA INTERNATIONAL CENTER WHICH WAS HOME TO UN AGENCIES.
VIENNA INTERNATIONAL CENTER WHICH WAS HOME TO UN AGENCIES.

The country regained its independence on the 15 May, 1955 as stipulated in the Austrian State Treaty. This treaty was amended immediately by the Austrian parliament which was aimed a t creating future neutrality of the country as is the case with Switzerland. This treaty was called a state treaty because, in the year 1938, there was no Austria.

The Public Transport in the City was greatly improved with the construction of the U-Bahn network which was first opened in the year 1978. The second Strategic Arms Limitation Talks treaty was also signed in the city in the year 1979. Vienna then became the 3rd official seat of the Un during the 1970s and building of the UNO-City took place. The Andromeda tower was then built on the left side of the Danube while the Millennium Tower was built on the right side of the Danube during the construction of Several Skyscrapers during the 20th Century.  There are about 17,000 diplomats in this city who are assigned to various international organizations. Vienna then became a significant area for espionage because of their presence and the Neutrality of Austria. As it was called The Third Man. The spies in this city outnumbered the number of Austrian soldiers in this city. The was also the capital of the Lower Austrian Bundeslands until the year 1986 when Sankt Pölten replaced it.

The Social Democrats in the city were the absolute majority after the municipal elections held in the year 2001 Since the liberal Forum did not have sufficient votes during that election, the municipal council has been represented by only four parties from that time. There was a further increase of the majority by the Social Democrats in the elections held in 2005.

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