Vienna 1913: Monumental Historical Figures

The modern world and its philosophy, psychology, literature, music, painting and politics were conceived in Vienna in 1913:

Ludwig Wittgenstein, 24, ruminated about the distinction between language and truth, thoughts that will revolutionize western philosophy.

Sigmund Freud, 57, finished his essay "Totem and Taboo," while Alfred Adler, 43, developed his theory of inferiority that precipitated his split with Freud two years earlier.

Trained at the same medical school as Freud, Arthur Schnitzler, 51, has written "La Ronde" but will wait seven years for the first performance. Hugo von Hoffmanstahl, 39, turned to shorter poems after the librettos for "Rosenkavalier" in 1911 and "Ariadne auf Naxos" in 1912.

Arnold Schoenberg, 49, outraged listeners by conducting "Five Orchestral Songs," atonal pieces composed by his student Alben Berg.

Leon Trotsky, 34, published the Vienna-based monthly Pravda, and collided with another temporary resident, Joseph Dzhugashuili, 34, who recently adopted the pseudonym Stalin. Josip Broz, 21, who will later change his name to Tito, worked at the Daimler auto plant near the capital.

Oskar Kokoshka, 26, encouraged by his mistress Alma Mahler (widow of composer Gustav Mahler), shocked the Viennese art world with his morbid expressionism. Gustav Klimt, 51, neared the end of his career. His pupil, Egon Schiele, 24, finished a painting he will exhibit in his first one-man show in 1915.

Another young painter, also ignored by the art world, peddled watercolors on the street. Eleven years later, at age 35, Adolph Hitler will write Mein Kampf.

Historians believed these monumental historical figures never interacted.

But an amazing recent discovery reveals that these luminaries knew each other intimately. Demolishing a small house of the outskirts of Vienna, workmen found a handwritten diary from 1913. Written by Fritz Wielder, a caddy at the Vienna Country Club, the diary recorded conversations of the golfers for whom Wielder caddied. Most of the pages were unreadable but the few fragments that remain give historians an astonishing new view of the interaction between the historical giants Wielder had recorded.

Contrasting the penetrating brilliance of Freud, Adler and Wittgenstein, the ruthless realpolitik of Hitler, Stalin, Trotsky and Tito, and the artistic sensibility of Schoenberg, Berg, Kokoschka, Klimt and Schiele, these conversations display an intellectual incandescence, an encyclopedic breadth, a piercing political acumen, and a restless creativity. They crystallize the social, political, psychological, and artistic issues that will dominate the rest of the century.

The fragments are presented in their entirety below:

Time: April 22, 1913
Place: Vienna Country Club, 1st Tee, 404 Yards, Par 4

Berg: I've played only twice since fall.

Freud: Listen to him. He's played only twice!

Klimt: He's been at golf camp the last six weeks. (laughter)

Freud: Hold on to your wallet when Berg is around.

Berg: Why don't you lead off, partner.

Stalin: Tee it high and let if fly. (hits his drive)

Klimt: Great drive.

Berg: You caught it on screws, partner.

Freud: You really crushed it.

Stalin: Yeah, I got all of that one.

Berg: Is that a new driver, Joe?

Stalin: I bought it a year ago. It's lighter than normal. Let's me get my right side through.

Berg: Maybe I should try one. I've been slicing a lot.

Klimt: Try closing your stance.

Berg: (hits his drive) Damn, another slice. Did that make the trap?

Stalin: You're on the beach.

Klimt: Long and wrong.

Freud: You're in the sand. It's Sheik Berg. (laughter)

Stalin: Hit a mulligan.

Berg: (hits another drive) That's better.

Freud: Great drive.

Klimt: You hit it large.

Freud: Split the fairway.

Stalin: You really stayed with that one. You quit on the first.

Time: June 5, 1913
Place: Vienna CC, 5th Tee, 170 yards, Par 3.

Schiele: Show the way, partner. We've still got the honor

Trotsky: Five or six iron?

Schiele: Slightly downhill, a little wind behind you -- hit the six. Freud hit a five yesterday and was over. He and Schnitzler lost to Hitler and me three and two. Schnitzler had a bad case of the yips. He three putted everything.

Trotsky: (hits his shot) What a rotten bounce.

Adler: You were robbed.

Trotsky: I can't get a break today.

Schiele: (hits his shot) damn.

Schoenberg: Splash!

Trotsky: You're in the drink.

Adler: It's a nice day for a swim. (laughter)

Schiele: I left my game on the practice range. I tried to muscle it.

Trotsky: Let the club do the work.

Schoenberg: I think you peeked.

Schiele: Golf is a good walk spoiled. (laughter)

Schoenberg: Do I sense an opening, partner?

Adler: Knock it stiff, Arnold.

Schoenberg: (hits his shot) Bite!

Adler: Sit!

Trotsky: Great shot.

Adler: You're on the dance floor.

Adler: Another greenie.

Schoenberg: Even a blind squirrel finds acorns. (laughter)

Time: August 23, 1913
Place: Vienna CC, 12th Green, 389 Yards, Par 4

Tito: (to Wittgenstein): Nice chip. That was a tough lie.

Hitler: Golf shot.

Wittgenstein: I'll take it.

Kokoschka: That's as good as you could do from there.

Hitler: Am I away?

Tito: I think it's Oscar.

Kokoschka: (hits his putt) Damn, these greens are faster than a speeding bullet.

Tito: Boldly struck, Oscar

Hitler: You've got a real tester coming back. There's some meat left on that bone.

Wittgenstein: Don't give up your day job, Oscar. (laughter)

Tito: I think it's you, Adolf.

Hitler: (hits his putt) Oh hit it, Alice.

Tito: Never up, never in.

Kokoschka: That's what Alma says. (sustained laughter)

Tito: Yours is good, Adolf. Do you lie three, Ludwig?

Wittgenstein: Yes

Tito: We need it to halve.

Wittgenstein: (hits his putt) One time!

Tito: Let him in!

Hitler: Right in the heart.

Kokoschka: Great putt.

Hitler: You the man.

Kokoschka: Do you want that one over? (laughter)

Hitler: Great up and down.

Wittgenstein: Compensates for the three-putt on two.

Kokoschka: Drive for show and put for dough.

Tito: Ain't that the truth.

Wittgenstein: No blood. We're still one up.