The Jews of Vienna and the First World War

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The First World War marked the final chapter in the history of Habsburg Viennese Jewry. In this book, the first study of Viennese Jews in this period, David Rechter explores the community's crises of ideology and identity during the traumatic war years. The book is also a study of modern Jewish politics. Viennese and Austrian Jewish political culture was a unique amalgam, combining the nationalism and radicalism of eastern Europe with the liberalism of the west. During the war, Zionism emerged the victor. The Jewish experience resembled that of other minorities in central and eastern Europe in this period, where ideologies of nationalism and ethnic self-determination became the prevailing norm. Despite this political transformation, Jewish world-views whether liberal, nationalist, or Orthodox survived the war remarkably intact. In analysing how Viennese Jews made the difficult transition from the Habsburg empire to the Austrian Republic, David Rechter offers a case study of Jewish politics and society in the crucible of war and brings to light an unexamined episode of modern Jewish history.