Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.757 million (2.4 million within the metropolitan area, more than 20% of Austria's population), and its cultural, economic, and political centre.
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- In Vienna, it's impossible to be overlooked. You can only be ignored.
- After Germany was defeated Austria fell into the Western camp and was assigned the status of Hitler's 'first victim'. This stroke of doubly unmerited good fortune authorized Vienna to exorcise its past. Its Nazi allegiance conveniently forgotten, the Austrian capital—a 'Western' city surrounded by Soviet 'eastern' Europe—acquired a new identity as outrider and exemplar of the free world. To its former subjects now trapped in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia, Vienna stood for 'central Europe': an imagined community of cosmopolitan civility that Europeans had somehow mislaid in the course of the century. In Communism's dying years the city was to become a sort of listening post of liberty, a rejuvenated site of encounters and departures for eastern Europeans escaping West and Westerners building bridges to the East.
Vienna in 1989 was thus a good place from which to 'think' Europe.
- Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005), Introduction