April 1, 2020

April 1913 - Chronicles Of The Year Before The Great War

Vienna State Opera House by A. Hitler
The Woolworth building, the tallest building in the world (and will remain so for nearly 20 years), is finally completed after three years of construction. "At exactly half-past seven in the evening of 24 April, the American President, Woodrow Wilson, presses a button on his desk in the White House and sends a telegraphic signal to New York. This triggers the simultaneous illumination of 80,000 light bulbs in the newly finished building. ... Thousands of onlookers are waiting in the New York darkness for the moment of illumination. The tallest lighthouse in the world can be seen from far inland, and by great ships up to a hundred miles at sea."

In contrast to this moment, across the Atlantic ocean, Adolf Hitler's seen his 24th birthday come and go in the dingy, dark insides of his small bedroom. He's been rejected by the art academy, his dream demolished. "But when the talk turns to politics, a spark rushes through him. He throws his paintbrush aside, his eyes flash and he holds blazing speeches about the immoral state of the world in general, and of Vienna in particular. It can't go on, he screams, there are more Czechs living in Vienna than there are in Prague, more Jews than in Jerusalem and more Croats than in Zagreb. He flings back his strand of black hair. He sweats. Then, all of a sudden, he breaks off from his diatribe, sits back down and turns his attention to his watercolors."

Source: Florian Illies's 1913 - The Year Before The Storm

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