Europe Under Attack?

VIENNA – We are in Vienna, the home of some of the world’s greatest economists. We will come back to that in a minute. First, it was here where Jan Sobieski, the elected king of Poland, beat back a Muslim attack on Europe.


atak-husarii-stanisc582aw-kaczor-batowskiWinged Polish Hussars at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. 57,000 soldiers of the “Holy Roman Empire”, led by Count Ernst Rudiger Von Staremberg of Austria,  Charles V (the Duke of Lorraine), Leopold I (the Holy Roman Emperor) and Polish king Jan Sobieski III, fought against 120,000 Janissaries and Tartars led by the Ottoman grand vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha. It was the second time the Ottomans had attacked Vienna (the first siege of Vienna took place in 1529 under Suleiman the Magnificent – the first siege actually turned the tide and marked the beginning decline of Ottoman power. The second siege was a final attempt by the Ottoman Empire to reassert itself. Luckily it failed as well).

Painting by Stanisław Kaczor Batowski


In the summer of 1683, an army approached Vienna. It was the Ottoman Turks. Sobieski rushed to defend the city with about 25,000 men. After leading a massive charge of Polish hussars, he won what is described as a “brilliant victory,” thus saving Europe from Islam.

Is Europe threatened again? But wait… where is the attacking army? Where is its artillery? Where are the invaders’ planes? Their ships? Where are the thousands of troops who will rape and ravage?

In historical terms, the attacks so far are trivial. There is no serious army approaching. And even the few terrorists who have made the headlines seem like amateurs.

If there were really an army of committed, trained terrorists, there would be an explosion every day. Europe is a target-rich environment – with subways, restaurants, theaters, airports, buses, and trains.

There is no way to protect all these targets from determined attacks. Yet, most of the carnage has been perpetrated by people driven mad by job loss, wrecked marriages, suppressed homosexuality, and so forth.

Largely isolated and autonomous, Muslim fanatics can kill hundreds… maybe thousands… of people in the West. But there is no unified Islamic power capable of challenging the West’s elected governments or its “Parasitocracy.”

This is no fight to save Western civilization. Instead, the hapless terrorists and the terror fighters (politicians and the “security” industry) have joined forces against civil society; both gain power and wealth, while the rest of us lose it.


Calm and Safe

Here in Vienna, we walked past the home of Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises, talking to a couple of local economists. We noticed many women with head scarves, or their entire bodies covered up.


Inside-Hotel-SacherInside the Hotel Sacher in Vienna (which, according to Paul von Wittgenstein, nephew of the famous philosopher Ludwig von Wittgenstein, offers a nice view of the “ass of the opera house”)

Photo credit: Tom Chesshyre


“There are lots of Muslims in Vienna,” we commented.

“Yes, we have many refugees… and many people who just live here because it is calm and safe.”

“Have there been any terrorist attacks?”

“No, why should there be? We are neutral, like Switzerland. We do not meddle in the Middle East. We have no business there. It’s very calm here. There is almost no crime at all, except pickpocketing tourists.

“It’s very safe. But Americans have a completely false impression of Austria. They’ve seen the movie The Sound of Music. They think the country is an alpine paradise full of handsome men and beautiful women who love freedom and music.

“But look around you. Do you see any mountains? The mountains are in the East of the country where almost no one lives. And that business about fleeing the Nazis? Not many Austrians fled.”


Österreich kam wieder heim zum Reich. Am Dienstag, dem 15. März 1938, sprach Adolf Hitler zum ersten male vonder Rampe der Winer Hofburg zu seinem Volk und zur Welt. Dankbar konnte er die Erfüllung dieser grossen, ihm vom Schicksal auferlegten Aufgabe als vollzogen vor der Geschichte melden. ADN-ZB/Archiv Einmarsch der faschistischen deutschen Wehrmacht in Österreich und Annexion des Landes im März 1938.Vienna, Heldenplatz, March 15, 1938: Adolf Hitler is given a rousing welcome by the crowd. Although Austria was technically “invaded” by Germany, the population seemed to be quite fine with it.

Photo credit: ADN-ZB/Archiv


Unhappy Period

Hitler – an Austrian – wanted to unify all German speakers into a great empire. His troops entered Austria in 1938 and met no resistance. Instead, crowds lined the streets to cheer.

Behind the troops was the Führer himself. Later, he reflected on the experience:


“Certain foreign newspapers have said that we fell on Austria with brutal methods. I can only say: Even in death they cannot stop lying. I have in the course of my political struggle won much love from my people, but when I crossed the former frontier [into Austria] there met me such a stream of love as I have never experienced. Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators.”


“It was an unhappy period in Austrian history,” concluded our host.

“At first, it must have seemed like a great adventure – joining with millions of other ‘Germans’ to make a better world. But it ended badly. And we learned something. We learned to mind our own business.”


Munich-reacts_2719442bMunich, Odeonplatz,  August 2 1914: a young Hitler (at the time a homeless bum) is jubilant as Germany declares war on Russia.

Photo credit: Heinrich Hoffmann


Image captions by PT


The above article originally appeared at the Diary of a Rogue Economist, written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.




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