A Patriot For Me

By John Osborne




John Castle as Lt. Siczynski and Frederick Jaeger as Lt. Kupfer in the Lemburg gymnasium opening scene

The Royal Court Theatre

Official opening at the

Royal Court Theatre

on 30th June, 1965


Cast in order of appearance:

Alfred Redl…..
August Siczynski…..
Ludwig Max von Kupfer…..
Kupfer's Seconds…..
Lt.-Col. Ludwig von Möhl…..
Maximilian von Taussig…..
Waiters at Anna's…..
Col. Mischa Oblensky…..
Gen. Conrad von Hötzendorf…..
Countess Sophia Delyanoff…..
Judge Advocate Jaroslav Kunz…..
Hofburg Guests…..
Café Waiters…..
Group at Table…..
Young Man in Café…..
Baron von Epp…..
Lt. Stefan Kovacs…..
Lady Godiva…..
Dr. Schoepfer…..
2nd Lt. Viktor Jerzabek…..
Hotel Waiters…..
Mischa Lipschutz…..
Mitzi Heigel…..

Maximilian Schell
John Castle
Rio Fanning
Frederick Jaeger
Lew Luton, Richard Morgan
Tim Pearce, David Schurmann, Thick Wilson
Clive Morton
Timothy Carlton
Edward Fox
Sandor Eles
Peter John, Domy Reiter
Richard Morgan, Hal Hamilton, Timothy Carlton
Dona Martyn, Jackie Daryl, Sandra Hampton
Laurel Mather
Jennifer Jayne
Desmond Perry
George Murcell
Sebastian Shaw
Jill Bennett
Ferdy Mayne
John Forbes, Richard Morgan, Peter John, Tim Carlton
Cyril Wheeler, Douglas Sheldon, Dona Martyn
Anthony Roye, Domy Reiter
Dona Martyn, Laurel Mather, Bryn Bartlett
Paul Robert
Douglas Sheldon
George Devine
John Forbes
Thick Wilson
Hal Hamilton
Lew Luton
Domy Reiter
Peter John
David Schurmann
Franco Derosa, Robert Kidd
Vernon Dobtcheff
Franco Derosa
Tim Pearce
Bryn Bartlett, Lew Luton
Richard Morgan
David Schurmann
Virginia Wetherell
Anthony Roye

Edward Fox and Maximilian Schell celebrate in Anna's Cafe



  1. A gymnasium, the Seventh Galician Infantry Regiment, Lemburg
  2. Col. Von Mohl's office
  3. Anna's café, Lemborg
  4. An upstairs room
  5. Col. Oblensky's office, Russia
  6. Terrace of the Hofburg Palace, Vienna
  7. Countess Delyanoff's drawing-room
  8. Col. Oblensky's office
  9. A café, Prague
  10. A room, Prague



  1. A ballroom, Vienna
  2. Lecture room, Vienna
  3. Forest clearing near Dresden
  1. Redl's apartment, Vienna
  2. Sacher Hotel, Vienna
  3. Hospital ward, Vienna
  4. A hotel room, Dresden
  5. Redl's apartment, Prague
  6. Mohl's office, General Staff Head-quarters
  7. Hotel Klomser, Vienna
  8. A street outside
  9. Chamber of Deputies
  10. Oblensky's office

A PATRIOT FOR ME is based on fact; the story of Alfred Redl is true, if not fully known in Austria even today. To appreciate the forces at work during the last quarter-century of the Habsburg Monarchy--the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire--it is necessary to understand the place in that society of the Imperial and Royal Army. The following note was written for this programme by an historian with a special interest in the period.

The Austro-Hungarian army was one of the most remarkable institutions of modern times. It is almost completely forgotten because the whole basis of its existence was shattered at the end of the 1914 war. It was not simply that this army was ultimately defeated: defeated armies may live to create and preserve their own legends and myths. The Imperial and Royal Army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire no longer existed when that Empire was fragmented and destroyed.

The officers and men of this army were drawn from all the Habsburg lands--Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Magyars, Rumanians, Croats, Slovenes, Italians, Poles, Ukrainians, and others too. The army in a sense was the Empire, the first genuinely international standing army since Roman times. It was far more than an instrument of war; it was far more than the instrument of the central power, the Emperor in Vienna, for maintaining order and discipline through all the Habsburg domains. It was a unifying force, really the only unifying force.

At one time and another all able-bodied citizens of that immense and polyglot society did their service in it. Segmund Freud as a young doctor, a Jew from Moravia, a genius, did his service as a medical office, living with the officers and men of the career army, marching with them on maneuvers, participating in what for so many of the most intelligent conscripts were the golden days of their lives: in the army they found a mystique which had nothing to do with warlike intentions; they were one in a cosmopolitan brotherhood with a loyalty to a Crown which was supranational.

For the career officers and men, the army was their second home. They might be Czechs serving in the Adige, Germans serving in the Hungarian borderlands, Croats serving in Galicia. In their profession they were all one, K.u.K. (Imperial and Royal) officers and men, acknowledging allegiance not to a country but to a man, the Emperor. The army was their country. The ruler was the Emperor and Commander-in-Chief. Thus it was in the army that the Habsurg Monarchy discovered that perfect fusion of identity between men as a sort of United Nations force in embryo, which in civilian life was never achieved--only the Magyars with their irrepressible nationalism demanded privileges based on a narrower conception of nationality.

It was the Emperor Francis II who first used the term "A Patriot For Me". One day, when a distinguished servant of the Empire was recommended to him for special notice, his sponsor remarked that he was a staunch and loyal patriot. The old Emperor looked up sharply: "Ah! But is he a patriot for me?" the Habsburgs had created, largely through marriage and treaty, rarely through conquest, this vast amalgam of areas in Europe torn by hereditary jealousies and rivalries. They were interested in only Imperial patriotism. The army was a body of Imperial patriots.

It was also democratic, in a sense which few outside the Empire have ever understood. The Emperor stood above all. His family and the families of a handful of the highest nobility provided senior commanders--but these, on the whole, were kept under control. The real commanding was done by they those who had risen to the top more often than not by merit. Of course good connections helped fools to rise; but obscure birth was no bar to the highest appointments. We have heard so much about the rigid stratification of Austro-Hungarian society under the Habsburgs that the idea of the K.u.K. army being democratic may come as a shock. But it was essentially a meritocracy. For certain social purposes, largely to do with the Court, protocol was rigid in the extreme. But not in the army, or for that matter, the civil service. Below the Emperor all men were equal, very much as all men are said to be equal in the eyes of God.

This then was the institution in which Lt. Redl, a young Jew lacking wealth, influence, or connections, began his career. And it is impossible to understand the development of his career without some appreciation of the remarkable nature of the closed society in which he found himself. It was a society which held, as all societies must hold, men of all types and characters. But one thing was taken absolutely for granted: total and unquestioning loyalty to the head of that society.

There is another point. The action of this play begins in 1890 and continues until shortly before the 1914 war. Because the army was so respected and privileged an institution, because its members were proud of their uniforms, because it was large, because in the end it was the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia which started the 1914 war--it was all too easy for Austria's opponents in that war to believe that the Habsburg Monarchy was militaristic in character. It was not. Since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 the Austro-Hungarian army had fought twice, with the greatest reluctance, and had been defeated twice, partly because of poor generalship, largely as a result of Treasury parsimony on a scale unthinkable in a militaristic society--by the militaristic Napoleon III in 1859 and by the militaristic Prussians in 1866. Between Sadowa and 1914 there lay forty-eight years of peace, interrupted only by the virtually bloodless (though direful) annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908.

But there was an enemy, and the enemy was Imperial Russia. At the time of the Crimean War there were General Staff officers who argued that Austria had better join England and France and help defeat Russia once and for all before the colossus grew strong enough to dominate Europe. War was avoided then, though in a manner which filled Petersburg with hatred of Vienna. It was averted later, largely by the diplomatic skills of Bismarch and Disraeli. But it was never far away. Russia was a restless power, not militaristic by nature, but constantly seeking to extend her influence, her effective boundaries, by intrigue and quasi-colonial expansion. There were times when she was concentrated on Asia; then Vienna could relax; there were other times when she turned her energies to intrigue in the Balkans; and this directly affected the security of an Empire seeking to preserve its cohesion in face of the rise of Balkan nationalisms. It is not too much to say that through the whole period covered by the action of this play there was a state of cold war between Petersburg and Vienna---and as we know, the cold war became in 1914, the first world war. It is only if this is understood that we can appreciate the depth of outrage and shock which would result from any betrayal of the Monarchy's interests to the Russians.

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