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In January 1933, on the very day Hitler seized power in Germany, Joseph Roth fled to Paris. There, in what he called the ‘hour before the end of the world’, he wrote a series of articles. The end he foresaw would soon come to pass in the full horror of Hitler’s barbarism, the Second World War and most crucially for Roth, the final irreversible destruction of a pan-European consciousness.
Incisive and ironic, the writing evokes Roth’s bitterness, frustration and morbid despair at the coming annihilation of the free world while displaying his great nostalgia for the Habsburg Empire into which he was born and his ingrained fear of nationalism in any form.