Roth was a major Austrian journalist and novelist. He grew up in the east Galician town of Brody, moved to Vienna after finishing school and began studying German in 1914. In May 1916, he volunteered for military service. He served in Galicia, where he was probably allocated to the Press Service up to the end of the war. Even during the war and in the years after, Roth worked for a number of newspapers in Austria and Germany to make his living, before emigrating to France in 1933. A central element of his work as a novelist is the collapse of Austria-Hungary.