Atom Splitting /Atomzertrümmerung: Austrian Manhattan Project Scientist Otto Robert Frisch in Los Alamos, 1943-1945

Atom Splitting /Atomzertrümmerung: Austrian Manhattan Project Scientist Otto Robert Frisch in Los Alamos, 1943-1945

By Kristina Poznan

The U.S. government’s World War II Manhattan Project benefitted from the work of several scientists born in Austria-Hungary, from physicists to chemists to mathematicians. Elizabeth Rona, Leó Szilárd, Edward Teller, John von Neumann,[1] and Eugene Wigner were all from Budapest, George Placzek from Brno, and Stanislaw Ulam from Lviv. Among those born in Vienna were Victor F. Weisskopf and, most significantly for our purposes, Otto Robert Frisch.

Frisch arrived in the United States to work on “Project Y” in Los Alamos in1943 as part of “British Mission” cohort of scientists (Frisch had hurriedly been made a British citizen to participate). Frisch’s scientific work had already taken him from Vienna to Germany, Denmark, and England before the United States, including the laboratory of his renowned aunt, Lise Meitner, with whom he theorized the fission of uranium. Although Frisch returned to Europe in 1946 after the war, his three years in New Mexico are indicative of a wide contribution of Austro-Hungarian scientific training to Allied victory in World War II.

READ MORE
Atom Splitting /Atomzertrümmerung: Austrian Manhattan Project Scientist Otto Robert Frisch in Los Alamos, 1943-19452021-04-29T16:03:13+00:00

Raptured and demonized: Josephine Baker in Vienna

Raptured and demonized: Josephine Baker in Vienna

By Mona Horncastle

In 1928, after two successful years in Paris, Baker starts her first tour of Europe with great expectations. Yet her victories are always accompanied by controversy. In Vienna, the first stop on her journey, Baker is omnipresent: posters advertising her second film La Revue des Revues show the almost naked Baker in pearls and feather jewelry throughout the city. The poster for her revue Black and White is no less revealing. Vienna is not Paris, and the entertainment culture of the Music Hall is still completely foreign to the city, which leads to agitation among cultural conservatives: Catholic circles mobilize before Baker even arrives in Vienna. When her train from Paris arrives, the church bells of the Paulanerkirche are chiming to warn the population of the "Black Devil." However, an unfazed crowd gathers to cheer enthusiastically as Baker arrives on the platform of the train station. The authorities are also ambiguous: on the one hand, Baker is promised police protection for the duration of her stay in Vienna, on the other hand, the Ronacher Theater is not permitted to show the announced revue.

READ MORE
Raptured and demonized: Josephine Baker in Vienna2021-03-09T14:42:53+00:00

VOICES

VOICES

Leaving Siegfried Behind: Reimagining Monuments in Austria and the American South By Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand

A solitary stone figure occupies a prominent space at the institutional heart of the university. The statue commemorates the lives, primarily of students, tragically cut short on the battlefields of a war that ended in defeat. The memorial testifies to the continuing significance of that lost cause; the figure’s presence allows that past to intrude constantly into the present, allows that past to insist on keeping its narrative and its problematic memory current for successive generations. Each generation, in its respective present, must wrestle with the legacy of the past for which the memorial stands, a past that becomes increasingly contentious over time, as times change.

READ MORE
VOICES2021-03-09T01:52:22+00:00

The Fiume Crisis: Made (But Not Primarily) in the USA

The Fiume Crisis: Made (But Not Primarily) in the USA

By Dominique Kirchner Reill

What would have happened if Woodrow Wilson and his corps of American experts had focused less of their post-WWI energy on the northeastern Adriatic port town of Fiume? Perhaps the Paris Peace Conference would not have collapsed in diplomatic deadlock, leading to the only Great Power walk-out of the entire proceedings. Perhaps Japan would have been denied the mandate over mainland China. Perhaps two successive Italian governments would not have fallen apart. A charismatic dictator-poet might not have founded a rogue republic in the city. Italian pirates might have idled on the Adriatic, instead of attacking ships and scoring booty to fund the poet’s Fiume regime. Peace might have reigned then, in Fiume, over the 1920 Christmas holiday with no need to chase out said poet and his followers. Perhaps Fiume would not have become the smallest successor state of post-WWI Europe. And perhaps all the nationalist extremism that percolated around this upheaval wouldn’t have convinced so many Italians that only Mussolini with his militaristic takeover would deliver Italy the expansionist, national grandeur so many believed it deserved. And, finally, perhaps today the city, today’s Rijeka in the Republic of Croatia, would not have witnessed heart-wrenching histories of nationalist erasure where Slavic speakers and Jews suffered exclusionary politics and violence at the hands of the Fascist and Nazi regimes, followed by tens of thousands of Italians fleeing after Fascism’s fall in order avoid a similar fate.

READ MORE
The Fiume Crisis: Made (But Not Primarily) in the USA2021-03-22T20:31:16+00:00