A roleplaying forum set in the mid-late 1880s in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. A dying empire is preserved in the amber of 19th century glamour.
 
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PostSubject: Please Read!   Please Read! EmptyWed Aug 10, 2011 5:14 pm

The 1880s was an important time for Europe at large, in social change, technology, the sciences, art, and music. Nowhere was this more apparent than Vienna, where it was compacted and oppressed, only to resurface a few decades later into the great War. Here I will outline the important movements and changes.

Political:

Austria-Hungary was almost in it's 40th year of rule by Kaiser Franz josef I, who was notable conservative and carrying on the tradition of absolutist (and quite obsolete) rule that had distinguished (for better or for worse) the Hapsburg name since the 1200's. While the rest of Europe and the first world was well into the industrial age, Austria-Hungary was sticking with the tried-and-true agrarianism, the aristocrats and royals living in fearful denial of the fact that the 18th century was well over and not returning. Times were changing and were going to drag Vienna along with them, whether the people were ready or not.

Franz Josef was getting older and older and the only one who was able to succeed him was his alcoholic, syphilitic, all-too-liberal son Rudolf, who could either be called the harbinger of technology for the Hapsburgs or simply a deluded idealist. He charmed the aristocracy but they would rather listen to the charisma with which he said things than what he was actually saying at all.

On top of that, Franz Josef was being puppeted by his trusted advisor and childhood friend the Prime Minister Eduard Taaffe, who passed regulations like forcing the empire's poor children to work on farms after 12 years of age instead of getting schooling.

"Other large states generated a bureaucracy that could keep pace with technics and with the times. Hapsburg still preferred to govern by legend; by the loyalty of its princely vassals; and as the years passed, by an intricate, picturesquely costumed backwardness. That is, 'by a standing army of soldiers, a sitting army of officials, and a skulking army of informers.'" --Morton, "A nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889"

Georg Von Schönerer, leader of the Pan-German League (which Hitler's mother was a member of) appealed to much of the lower class Viennese, blaming the Jewish merchants and intellectuals for their poverty and gaining a large following. Eventually members of the pan-german league attached and destroyed the office of the Tagblatt, the Viennese newspaper, owned and operated by Jews.


Economic:

The rich lived in luxury while the poor could barely afford anything at all. Unlike in most other european states, Austria-Hungary had no middle class; the bourgeoisie was simply absorbed by the aristocracy. A few of the nouveau-riche tried to make their niche in that upper atmosphere, the owners of factories on the city's outskirts where the poorest of the poor worked (skilled artisans still scraped by somehow in the outer ring of the city, as well), but were always shunned by old-money as less than.

It's a musical but some parts are very accurate and it's probably easier to understand than these drabbles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQcYNoYNXck


Science and Art

--Sigmund Freud began practicing and studying his neuroscience on the disillusioned and wealthy Viennese youth
--Gustav Klimt painted classical murals for the new court theatre while pioneering the Vienna Secession art movement
-- Viktor Adler was creating Austrian Socialism
-- Mahler, Strauss, and Brahms were creating music
--Electricity had finally come to Vienna, but it was only accepted in the new Court Theatre. The population regarded it as just a passing fad, nly used for light shows and games where men could prove their strength by seeing how electrocuted they could be without dying.

Culture:

Vienna was a city frozen in time but quickly melting away with boiling contempt from all walks of life-- no where else in Europe could fathom how the empire was still around.

Strange suicides spiked among the young and rich, those seemingly without stress. Perhaps death was the one thing that could distinguish them from the generations of nobles that had come before, perhaps they could escape an "uncontrollably failing life"(Morton) with a carefully planned and controlled death. "...Fifty-two bands from fifty-two of the biggest clubs began their parade by marching across the Reichs Bridge. A man in an officer's cape, ostensibly a parade official, led the procession. Briskly he stepped to the trumpet's blare until, just as briskly, he scaled the bridge rail and jumped into the river...A few weeks [prior], for example, an elegant young woman had boarded the Budapest express, taken a small suitcase into a toilet, emerged in a bridal gown with veil and train, opened the car door and leaped out of the speeding train" (Morton).

Fashion:

Women wore bustled dresses and corsets, evening gowns had low necklines while day dresses were worn with coats and usually had high collars.
Evening Gown: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IBebgQkv2mQ/SqCDFOKkthI/AAAAAAAAApY/IZcuNy8WswI/s1600/1884_jan26.jpg
Day Dress: http://trulyvictorian.com/history/85img1.jpg

Men wore:
Frock Suits: http://walternelson.com/dr/sites/default/files/imagepicker/w/walter/frockman.jpg
Sack Suits: http://walternelson.com/dr/sites/default/files/imagepicker/w/walter/cowlick.jpg
And morning coats, which are still seen today.

Vienna was deciededly an Austrian city, far too fairytale-like to be considered a modern Metropolis like London or Paris, but was populared by quite a few foreigners. Here was a short synopsis of what is happening where your character was either born and raised, moved to, or landed by their own strange circumstances from another country. Have fun!
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