It has been said by many people, in many places, over many years that having a Fulbright is a life-changing experience. That has certainly been the case for me. Serving as the Distinguished Chair of the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Alpen Adrian University in 2011 provided me the opportunity to teach and to do the research that led to Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Fuhrer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals, published by Diversion Books.
The book tells the story of the five youthful years Adolf Hitler spent in Vienna and how his obsession with the Habsburg imperial family turned into a vendetta against a vanished empire, a dead archduke, and his royal orphans. The conflict between Hitler and the Austrian royal family culminated in the sons of the dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand becoming the first two Austrians arrested by the Gestapo, deported to Germany, and imprisoned at the Dachau Concentration Camp. It also documents the heroic story of how the courageous women in the family, including the Archduke’s daughter, declared their own war on Hitler and fought to sustain the family during the war and the years that followed.
My Fulbright award allowed me to interview members of the Archduke’s family, other Habsburg descendants, and people across Austria and Germany impacted by the Second World War and the Holocaust. Since my Fulbright, Washington and Jefferson College has become one of the top producing institutions of US Fulbright grantees.
James Longo was a Fulbright scholar during the 2010–11 program year. He is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Education at Washington and Jefferson College.