Marion was further radicalized by her time at the University of Vienna, in Berlin (Post Wolcott Chronology). Being in Europe, and particularly in Austria, to witness the rise of Nazi fascism had a profound impact on Marion's political sensibilities. Although she was never "a 'joiner,' nor was she ever particularly attracted to the more extreme ends of the political spectrum," (Hurley 13) the extreme environment of pre-WWII Europe did stimulate reformist tendencies in her:

...out in the countryside, I'd seen swastikas burned in the front yards of peasants, crosses torched in grainfields. Again, it was just so terrifying to me. It's true I attended some meetings of extreme left-wing student groups. I suppose they were Communist in nature. I think it was a perfectly legitimate idealism. I suppose it was my urge, the urge of any of us, to try and discover alternative political systems. The world seemed in economic ruin and here was this very real possibility of global war. I remember at night lying awake and listening to bombing out in the Floridsdorf district of the city. Eventually they closed the university- it was the so-called February Revolution- and then some months later Chancellor Dollfuss was assassinated and then I and most of the other Americans had to go home. Everything just seemed so heightened in that period. (Hendrickson 35)

As she matured personally and politically, a synthesis was taking place within her between her sense of the injustices she had witnessed at home and the vision of fascist horror before her in Europe. Certainly, as this perspective on the world fell increasingly into place, she had to reconcile it with her own long-standing sense of purpose. Looking back on the effect of her time in Austria, and particularly her experience seeing Hitler speak at a rally a few months prior to assuming the Chancellorship of the country, she said:

I suppose this is why Nazism was so real to me. That experience, and what I saw when I got to Austria, made me very antifascist, as well as against all forms of racial intolerance for the rest of my life. So I'd say first it was my mother, the crusading social worker, all her personal pain, that helped shape my leftist-liberal views. And then witnessing Hitler's rise to power. Those two experiences were profound for me. (Hendrickson 32)



Juliet Gorman, May 2001