The Emperor's Tomb

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The Emperor's Tomb, although not a truly accurate and detailed account of World War 1 does depict the rise and fall of both the Austria-Hungarian Empire and an influential name, the Trotta's in a meaningful manner. Joseph Roth, in his novel, uses a key descendant of the Trotta family to show how war changed their lives but does not erase centuries of Austria-Hungarian pride. Rich and poor alike go to war in hopes of preserving their country, pride and power. None of them knew that the cost of war could be so harmful to everything that they fought so hard to preserve in their beloved country. For them the cost of war was something far bigger than they planned for it to be. War for them was a way to show how much they truly loved and appreciated their country. War turned out to be a turning point in everyone's life. The profound effect of World War 1 on the Austria-Hungarian society helped to divide a nation that seemed to be flourishing. Lands were destroyed through the war and lives were forever changes. For both the Austria-Hungarian Empire and the Trotta name the cost of war was far greater than anyone could have imagined; the cost of war was tradition, love, power, and a sense of pride for their beloved country, Austria-Hungary.

As the narrator prepares to go to war, with "no time to lose," he begins to realize the role that tradition and his name meant to his young life. No longer did he care about his rich snobby friends but his "true" friends Joseph Branco the chestnut roaster and Manes Reisiger the fiaker. His relationship with these two men is his only link to the old way of life in the Austria-Hungarian society. Through the two men, the narrator is able to live in the past and keep away from the new way of society. Even after the war in a new and undetermined world that greets him, he "was still not anxious about the new life which awaited him."(Roth pp. 99) He holds on to hope that tradition will prevail in the Austria-Hungarian society. No longer did the wealthy have the most money and no longer could the narrator sit around and do nothing all day. He is forced to get up early and work something that he is not used to doing.
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