Zubrowka was, at the time, the center of the greatest cosmopolitan culture in the Western hemisphere.
Before the war, the top hotels in Europe grew suddenly and spectacularly. A newly-flush clientele flooded the beaches, boardwalks, promenades, and dining rooms. Zubrowka's spa towns boomed -- and the Klubeck (which only a few seasons before had become literally less valuable than the paper it was printed on, itself only pulp) nearly doubled in value.
Economic advancement of the tourism boom was, at once, socially beneficial, and immensely profitable. With a plethora of spa locations extending far beyond the offerings of the Grand Budapest and environs, all manner of royalty and celebrity flocked to the country, from the top of the Zubrowkan Alps to the valleys of Augenzbürg and Zilchbrück.
The Lutz School: Beaux Arts, Literature, and Culinary Evolution
The early years of the century saw a migration towards grand, exceedingly long-form fiction (see Drubovski, Dworantink, and Yölks) -- but also poetry. The burden of occupation and and propaganda-colored works fell heavily on the shoulders of the men of letters. Many fled to the spartan but atmospheric artists' colony in the Maltese Riviera.
As the approaching threat of war matured into immediacy, the government of Zubrowka fell into financial and, less apparently, authoritative disrepair. Local officials took part in increasingly illicit activity, including embezzling of state funds and perfidious dealings with opposition forces. Combined with the corresponding growth in indifference amongst the Police Militia (with select notable exceptions), this left the door open for a swift and rather imperious occupation.
The Mayor of Lutz at the time of occupation was found to have embezzled more than thirty thousand Klubecks from the Bureau of Transportation-- the case discovered, investigated, and closed by one Deputy Kovacs. For many years, he was known to be on the retainer of the family Desgoffe und Taxis. The results of this employment, of course, are widely known.
The impotence of the Lutz Police Militia led to an exponential rise in privatized enforcement during this time. Once-marginalized bodyguards and gunmen were hired out of their hookshops and hopjoints and elevated into the proxy hegemony. So-called “Inquiry Agents” and “District Representatives” ran illegal investigations and enforced unofficial codes. Some were actually elected in unauthorized public hearings. One result: the so-called “Gabelmeister Men”, those terminally unlucky characters found frozen en masse beneath the peak of the same name.
A Word About the War
Already within Zubrowka's ranks and borders an ideology had taken root which would, in itself, bring a sudden and permanent end to domestic security. The invaders were, of course, her neighbors to the north (accepted, as you know, by the unanimous decree of the Lutz government itself). But, truth be told, what Zubrowka suffered was, in fact, Völksangstpsychose -- the suicide of its independence.