Europe of 1900 -- 1910 saw the rise of several cultural meccas, including Vienna and Paris. Vienna was a center of literary, cultural and artistic advancement in "middle" Europe, enjoying booming population and innovative developments in all those spheres, even as it endured the rising tide of anti-liberal, anti-Semitic Christian Social forces. In keeping with this innovation, Vienna's music enjoyed avant garde developments of Art Nouveau from Paris, notably represented in Vienna by the works of composers Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schonberg. As Vienna became the literary, cultural and artistic center of "middle" Europe, Paris became the literary, cultural and artistic center of the World. Drawing exceptionally gifted people from the entire globe, Paris boasted the first Olympics to include women and the World's Fair of 1900. Reveling in its invention of Art Nouveau, Paris also exerted worldwide magnetism on artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, who already were or eventually became household artistic names. Parisian music also flourished during this time in the Art Nouveau-engendered form of "Impressionism," notably represented by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. In sum, the literary, cultural and artistic developments in Vienna and Paris of 1900 -- 1910 made them renowned centers of human endeavor.
Vienna, Austria of 1900 was a population and cultural center of "middle" Europe. Before and during that first decade of the Twentieth Century, the city expanded and absorbed surrounding suburbs four times to accommodate its burgeoning population: the city was expanded twice before the turn of the century; in 1900, the northern section of neighboring Leopoldstadt became the 20th district of Vienna and was renamed Brigittenau; the 21st district of Floridsdorf was added in 1904. In addition, travel and movement restrictions were eased by the ruling Emperor, Franz Joseph, allowing residents of the Austrian Empire's farthest reaches to relocate in Vienna. Due to the city's enlargement and loosened travel restrictions, the population of Vienna significantly increased at the turn of the century and continued growing until it reached a high of 2,031,000 in 1910 (Schorske, 1981, pp. 5-6).
Immediately before and during the decade of 1900-1910, Vienna's political life showed a marked rise in anti-Semitism. Though considered a "liberal bastion," Vienna was engulfed by a Christian Social wave leading to the election of Karl Lueger in 1895. Lueger was admittedly an effect social and municipal reformer; however, he was also a raving and influential anti-Semite. Backed by the Roman Catholic Church, Emperor Franz Joseph initially refused to ratify Lueger's election as mayor; however, even the Emperor's opposition was eventually crushed by Christian Social pressures, and the Lueger's election was ratified two years after the fact, in 1897. Lueger dominated Viennese city politics for the next decade, both for the good and bad. Lueger was largely responsible for the "Wiener Hochquellwasserleitung," which eased Vienna's water problems by routing fresh water from the surrounding mountains; in addition, he beautified the areas surrounding the city with newly-planted meadows and forests. Simultaneously, Lueger loudly and effectively supported the mass movements of Christian Socialism, anti-Semitism and nationalism, in direct contrast to Vienna's classically liberal heritage (Schorske, 1981, pp. 5-6).
Against the backdrops of a swelling population and rising anti-liberalism, Vienna was a mecca for middle Europe's avant-garde in psychiatry, literature, architecture and the arts. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), widely known as the "Father of Psychoanalysis" lived and worked in Vienna, publishing The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901) and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) during that first decade of the Twentieth Century (Notable Names Database, 2012). A lifelong liberal, Freud reportedly smoked a cigar to celebrate the Emperor's initial refusal to ratify Lueger's election (Schorske, 1981, p. 6). The painter, Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), also flourished in Vienna during this period, having co-founded in 1897 the "Vienna Secession," an association of Viennese painters, architects, furniture designers, craftspeople and sculptors who resigned from the Vereinigung Bildender Kunstler Osterreichs ("Union of Austrian Artists") in protest against its conservatism and rigid classic style of recopying famous artistic masters (Notable Names Database, 2012). Klimt and his fellow artists of the Secession created the Jugendstil ("Art Nouveau") around 1900, experimenting with the daring, including sexually erotic portraits and landscapes. Freud and Klimt were just two of the many intellectual and artistic figures who made Vienna of 1900-1910 a focal point of new, exciting concepts across literary, cultural and artistic spheres (Brandstatter, 2006, pp. 343-362).
As other literary, cultural and artistic areas developed new ideas for redefining the Viennese individual's self-identity, the area of Music flourished with the same quest for inner truth and identity. Composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860 -- 1911), director of the Hofoper ("Vienna Court Opera"), was prolifically composing music in Vienna and beyond during 1900 -- 1910. This Viennese decade saw the creations of his 5th Symphony in 1902, his 6th Symphony in 1904, his 7th Symphony in 1905, his 8th Symphony in 1906, his 9th Symphony in 1910 and the beginning of his 10th Symphony in 1910. In addition, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde ("The Song of the Earth") was written in Vienna during this period, though it premiered in Munich in 1911. Dedicated to ultra-modern exploration of humanity and inspired by ancient Chinese Poetry, Das Lied von der Erde consisted of six movements: Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde ("The Drinking Song of Earth's Misery's); Der Einsame im Herbst ("The Lonely One in Autumn); Von der Jugend ("Of Youth"); Von der Schonheit ("Of Beauty"); Der Trunkene im Fruhling ("The Drunken Man in Spring"); Der Abschied ("The Farewell") (International Gustav Mahler Society, n.d.). Arnold Schonberg (1874 -- 1951), among the avant garde of Vienna's music and painting spheres, also composed and taught in Vienna during 1900-1910. Drawing from and enhancing the ultra-modern artistic, literary and cultural movements of that time, Schonberg led the Second Viennese School of Music, pioneering modernist atonal music and teaching such prominent fellow musicians as Alban Berg and Anton Webern (Brandstatter, 2006, pp. 343, 352).
Infused with Art Nouveau influences from France and with modernist movements across multidisciplinary spheres of thought, culture and art, Vienna of 1900 -- 1910 became a middle-European center of artistic patronage and ultra-modern ideas, art and music. (Bonyhady, 2011). Borrowing heavily from the Art Nouveau of Paris, the most gifted literary, cultural and artistic minds of "middle" Europe enjoyed a golden age. This golden age would be short-lived in several respects, as Vienna already saw the signs of an anti-liberal, anti-Semitic tide that would engulf Europe in World War within the next decade.
As Vienna of 1900-1910 was a cultural center of middle-Europe, Paris was a cultural mecca of the World and was squarely in the middle of La Belle Epoque ("The Beautiful Period"), a time of unrivaled artistic development in France (Bloy, 2011). An acknowledged industrial center by the early 1900's, Paris' population exceeded 2,500,000 people, approximately one out of every five people living in the entire country of France. In a partial answer to the transportation problems created by such a huge population and by global celebrations set in Paris, in 1900 the city introduced Metro de Paris, Paris' mass transit system. One of the world's earliest mass transit systems, Paris' Metro de Paris became a platinum standard of dense city-wide transportation systems (George, 2008).
Paris also enjoyed a relatively rare period of peace from 1900-1910. In fact, Paris hosted the signing of The Treaty of Paris in 1898 between the Spanish Empire and the United States, ending the open warfare known as "The Spanish-American War." Parisian politics of the time were significantly influenced by an uneasy leftist alliance called the "Left Block," comprised of Socialists, Radicals, and left-wing Opportunist Republicans. In partial reaction to the Affaire Dreyfus, the wrongful conviction of a Jewish officer for espionage and the resulting political fallout that nearly destroyed France's Parliament, the Left Block was swept into power in 1902 and dominated the political landscape in Paris and beyond during this historical period (Bloy, 2011).
Since Paris was a hotbed of leftist thought and innovation, thinkers, journalists, poets, painters, sculptors, architects, composers and musicians came from the Globe's far reaches to live and flourish in Paris. The result was a rich explosion of avant garde ultra-modernism in thought, literature, art, architecture and music. 1900 was a banner year for the city in many aspects. An acknowledged cultural center, Paris hosted both the 1900 Summer Olympics -- the first Olympics to allow female athletes' participation (International Olympic Committee, 2009). Paris also hosted the 1900 Exposition Universelle ("World's Fair), celebrating the past achievements of the 19th Century, eagerly anticipating the future achievements of the 20th Century, and dominated by Art Nouveau ("New Art") (McCully, 2011, pp. 15-16).
Political discourse was significant in Paris of 1900 -- 1910. Anatole France (1844-1924), a French poet, journalist, and novelist and renowned free thinker (who eventually won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921), wrote of…