Part 3 out of 3
no longer be maintained, they endeavour to translate all that they have
acquired into reality, so as to secure the spoils for themselves. Thus
the Germans conceived the idea of establishing a province
'Deutschböhmen' which must be prepared by the establishment of district
governments. From this a very interesting conclusion may be
drawn--_that the Germans themselves lost faith in the further existence
of Austria_, otherwise they would not be in a hurry to save their
province Deutschböhmen in the present Austria. Because they rather wish
for no Austria than for an Austria where they would not be able to
rule, _they are already counting upon the break-up of Austria:_ since
the Germans do not want to accept the solution of a free Danubian
confederation of nations, they prepare already their union with the
"But then we must ask the Germans to take nothing with them that does
not belong to them. It is more than questionable whether Deutschböhmen
really is German.
"There is another reason which speaks against the creation of a
Deutschböhmen. I am convinced that _if a plebiscite were carried out
among German people in Northern Bohemia, they would declare against
separation from Bohemia_. Why? Because the Germans are too clever not
to know that Bohemia forms not only a historical and geographical
unity, but that this unity has besides a historical basis, also a
practical foundation. The relation between the Czech part of Bohemia
and Northern Bohemia is to a large degree the relation of the consumer
and the producer. Where do you want to export your articles if not to
your Czech hinterland? How could the German manufacturers otherwise
exist? When after the war a Czecho-Slovak State is erected, _the
Germans of Bohemia will much rather remain in Bohemia and live on good
terms with the Czech peasant than be identified with Germany,
boycotted, opposed and hated by the whole world_, especially if we
guarantee, not only by promises, but by deeds and laws, full autonomy
to the German population within the Bohemian State.
"_The real question which puzzles us to-day is: How can Austria exist
at all?_ That is the question. And I again repeat solemnly Palacký's
word that _Austria may exist only so long as her nations wish for it_,
and that _she will cease to exist_ as soon as her nations do not want
her to exist. The Slav nations of Austria declared clearly and
emphatically their wishes and desires in their proclamations. If
instead of working for the conversion of the ruling factor in favour of
these wishes Dr. Seidler shows us Gessler's hat of Austria with a
German head and backbone, then let him remember that _we shall hate
this Austria for all eternity_ (loud cheers and applause) _and we shall
fight her, and God willing, we shall in the end smash her to pieces so
completely that nothing will remain of her_."
_The President:_ "I cannot admit such an expression about this state
and I call the deputy to order."
_Dr. Stránský_: "Excellency, I really do not deserve such a rebuke. It
would be sad if we could not speak freely and with proper emphasis
against a state form which has been imposed upon us.
"Let Dr. Seidler remember that _we regard Austria, whose integrity
according to him must not be questioned, as a centuries-old crime on
the liberties of humanity. Let him remember that it is not only our
political intention, not only our instinct of self-preservation, but
our highest duty and--do not hesitate to say so--our national religion
and our greatest moral mission to damage Austria wherever and whenever
possible, and that our loyalty to our own nation, to our native
country, to our history, to our future and to the Bohemian Crown,
prompts us to betray Austria which is backed up by Germany. We are
therefore determined faithfully to betray her whenever and wherever we
can_. I tell you further, gentlemen, that this state, this Austria
which Seidler talks about, is not a state at all. _It is a hideous,
centuries-old dream, a nightmare, a beast, and nothing else_. It is a
state without a name, it is _a constitutional monarchy without a crown
and without a constitution_. For what kind of a constitution is it if
it has not the necessary confirmation by oath and won the general
approval of nations because it was found to be untenable? _It is a
state without patriots and without patriotism_, it is a state which
arose by the amalgamation of eight irredents--the German one
included--it is a state which had no future and in which the dynasty
... (suppressed) ... in a word, it is a state which is no state at all.
_As a matter of fact, Austria no longer exists_, it is an absurdity and
an impossibility. If I spoke about Czech regiments which went to
embrace their 'enemies,' I must admit that personally I know nothing
about them except what I heard from my German colleagues who persist in
making complaints against us. We believe every word of what they say to
be true, but ... (suppressed by censor). Did you ever hear that a
husband conscious of his honour and respectability told the whole world
about the infidelity of his wife who left him because he ill-treated
her? No, because the husband knows that it is his shame and not hers.
_And if Czecho-Slovak brigades are to-day fighting against
Austria-Hungary it is only a proof that there is something very wrong
with Austria, that Austria is more rotten than Shakespeare's Denmark._
For what other state has soldiers who ran over voluntarily to the
enemy? You keep on saying that England has the Irish problem. _Did you
ever hear of Irish brigades, did you ever hear that any French legions
were fighting for the Central Powers against France_, or Russian
legions against Russia when we were at war with Russia? Indeed,
gentlemen, not even Turkey has any legions fighting with the enemy
against her. _There must therefore be some deep reason for
Czecho-Slovak, Polish and Yugoslav legions fighting on the side of the
We think that any comments on this explicit declaration, in which a Czech
deputy representing his whole nation openly expressed hope for the
dismemberment of Austria and praised the Czecho-Slovak troops fighting for
the Allies, are superfluous.
CZECHO-SLOVAK CO-OPERATION WITH OTHER NON-GERMAN NATIONS OF CENTRAL EUROPE
The Czechs have always clearly seen that one of the chief reasons which
enable the German-Magyar minority to rule over the Slav majority is the
lack of co-operation amongst the subject peoples. Already before the war
the Czechs were pioneers of Slav solidarity and reciprocity, wrongly called
Pan-Slavism. Thanks to their geographic position, they have no claims
conflicting with any nations except the Germans and Magyars who are their
In these efforts for promoting Slav solidarity the Czechs met serious
obstacles. In the case of some of their Slav friends it was lack of
internal unity which prevented co-operation. In other cases it was the
quarrels artificially fomented by Austria between her subject nations,
notably between the Poles and Ruthenes and between the Yugoslavs and
Italians. Finally, the Poles lacked a definite international point of view.
They were justly sceptical of Slav solidarity seeing that they were
oppressed by a government which claimed to represent a great Slav nation.
All these obstacles, however, have one by one disappeared as the war has
gone on. All the subject peoples of Central Europe saw that they were
persecuted and driven to be slaughtered by the same enemies in Berlin,
Vienna and Budapest. The oppressed races found at last that they have
common aspirations and interests, and the collapse of Russia to-day makes
even the Poles realise where their real enemies are. The Polish people may
to-day have only one orientation: against the Central Powers. It is an
inspiriting sign that even some Polish "Realpoliticians" begin to realise
that Austria is doomed and that it is bad politics to count upon Vienna, to
say nothing of Berlin.
_(a) The Congress of Rome_
In order to give practical expression to the growing sense of co-operation
amongst the oppressed nations of Austria-Hungary, their representatives
assembled in Rome at the beginning of April, 1918. In those days the great
spirit of Mazzini revived again in Rome, and from that moment Italy
definitely became the champion of the movement of the oppressed nations of
Austria-Hungary towards independence.
The congress was attended by numerous Italian senators, deputies, ministers
and other leading men. The Yugoslav Committee was represented by its
president, Dr. Trumbic, the Dalmatian sculptor Mestrovic, the Bosnian
deputy Stojanovic and others; the Czecho-Slovak Council by Dr. Benes and
Colonel Stefanik; the Poles by the Galician deputy Mr. Zamorski, and by
Messrs. Seyda, Skirmunt, Loret and others; the Rumanians by the senators
Draghicescu and Minorescu, the deputy Lupu and the Transylvanians Mandrescu
and De Luca. The Serbian Skupstina sent a deputation of twelve deputies and
a delegation of officers from the Yugoslav division at Salonica. Among the
foreign visitors invited to the congress were M. Franklin-Bouillon,
President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Chamber of
Deputies, the ex-minister M. Albert Thomas, M. Fournol, M. Pierre de
Quirielle, Mr. H.W. Steed, Mr. Seton-Watson, and Mr. Nelson Gay.
The congress unanimously adopted the following general resolutions agreed
upon between the various nationalities and the special Italo-Yugoslav
Convention concluded between Messrs. Torre and Trumbic:
"The representatives of the nationalities subjected in whole or in part
to the rule of Austria-Hungary--the Italians, Poles, Rumanians, Czechs
and Yugoslavs--join in affirming their principles of common action as
"1. Each of these peoples proclaims its right to constitute its own
nationality and state unity or to complete it and to attain full
political and economic independence.
"2. Each of these peoples recognises in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
the instrument of German domination and the fundamental obstacle to the
realisation of its aspirations and rights.
"3. The assembly recognises the necessity of a common struggle against
the common oppressors, in order that each of these peoples may attain
complete liberation and national unity within a free state.
"The representatives of the Italian people and of the Yugoslav people
in particular agree as follows:
"1. In the relations between the Italian nation and the nation of the
Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes--known also under the name of the Yugoslav
nation--the representatives of the two peoples recognise that the unity
and independence of the Yugoslav nation is of vital interest to Italy,
just as the completion of Italian national unity is of vital interest
to the Yugoslav nation, and therefore pledge themselves to employ every
effort in order that at the moment of the peace these decisions
_(finalita)_ of the two nations may be completely attained.
"2. They declare that the liberation of the Adriatic Sea and its
defence against every present and future enemy is of vital interest to
the two peoples.
"3. They pledge themselves also in the interest of good and sincere
relations between the two peoples in the future, to solve amicably the
various territorial controversies on the basis of the principles of
nationality and of the right of peoples to decide their own fate, and
in such a way as not to injure the vital interests of the two nations,
as they shall be defined at the moment of peace.
"4. To such racial groups _(nuclei)_ of one people as it may be found
necessary to include within the frontiers of the other there shall be
recognised and guaranteed the right of preserving their own language,
culture, and moral and economic interests."
The Polish delegates laid before the congress a special memorandum of their
own from which we quote the following:
"The Polish question admits of no cut-and-dried solution and of no
compromise. Poland will either be saved by the Allies or she will
become dependent upon Germany, whether the latter is associated with
Austria or not; above all, upon all-powerful Prussia.
"There is only one way of avoiding this latter alternative, and that is
by countering the plans of the Central Powers with regard to Poland by
the proclamation of the Polish programme, which is that of the Allies.
This programme is the restitution to Poland of the mouth of the
Vistula, of Dantzig and of the Polish portion of the Baltic coastline.
This programme will prevent Lithuania and the Ukraine from becoming
instruments of Prusso-German oppression and Austrian intrigue. It is
only such a Poland as this which will be able to fulfil its historic
mission as a rampart against the Germans.
"Its resistance will be still more effectual when united with that of
an independent Czecho-Slovak State, and of a strong Rumania, healed of
all the wounds inflicted by the war, and if, at the same time, the
Yugoslav peoples achieve their unity and independence. The Poles, in
claiming the Polish districts of Austria, declare themselves
categorically for the complete liberation of Bohemia, which would
otherwise be left at the mercy of the German-Austrians. _The
independence of neighbouring Bohemia is as necessary to an independent
Poland as a great independent Poland is necessary to the very existence
of Bohemia._ The united forces of the Polish, Czecho-Slovak and
Rumanian nations, forming a great belt from the Baltic to the Black
Sea, will prove a barrier against the German 'Drang nach Osten.' For,
since the collapse of Russia, these are the only real forces upon which
the Allies can depend."
On the day following the congress its leaders were officially received by
the Italian Premier, Signer Orlando, who conveyed to them the warm
greetings of the government:
"We have seen with keen satisfaction this assembly here in Rome, where
for centuries the representative spirits of all peoples and races have
always found refuge, and where hard facts seem to assume a prophetic
form and ideal meaning.
"These neighbouring nationalities are, in their turn, subjected to
Austria, and it has only been the traditional astuteness of this state
which has unchained the ethnic passions of the oppressed races,
inciting one against the other in order more easily to rule them.
Hence, it seems natural and necessary to follow the opposite policy
from that which has so greatly helped the enemy, _and to establish a
solidarity sprung from common suffering_. There is no substantial
reason for a quarrel, if we sincerely examine the conditions of mutual
existence, remember the mutual sacrifices and agree in our
determination to grant just guarantees to those racial minorities which
necessity may assign to one or the other of the different state groups.
"Italy should be able to understand better than any other country the
aspirations of the nationalities, since the history of Italy, now
completed, is simply your history now awaiting completion.... No other
people, before forming itself into a free and independent state, had to
undergo so long an apprenticeship, so methodical an oppression, such
varied forms of violence. Like generous Poland, Italy was shattered,
partitioned by strangers, and treated for centuries as a _res nullius.
The firm resolve of the Bohemian people to revive the glorious kingdom
which has so valiantly stemmed the onset of the Germans is the same
resolve which moved our ancestors and our fathers to conspiracy and
revolt, that Italy might become a united state_. The impetuous and
vigorous character of the Southern Slavs and the Rumanians of
Transylvania already has led to the making of heroes and martyrs; and
here they are met by the endless stream of our heroes and martyrs; who
across time and space fraternise on the scaffold erected by their
"For your nations 'To be or not to be' is the inexorable choice at this
moment. Here cautious subtleties are of no avail, nor the adroit
reservations borrowed from diplomacy, nor discussions more or less
Byzantine, 'while the Turk is at the gates.' The necessities are Faith
and Work; it is thus that nations are formed."
We have already mentioned that the U.S. Government identified themselves
with the resolutions adopted by the Rome Conference. As regards Great
Britain, Lord Robert Cecil made the following declaration on May 23, 1918:
"Above all _I welcome especially the recent congress at Rome_, which
has done so much to strengthen the Alliance of which Italy is a part. I
believe that the congress was valuable for its wisdom and its
moderation. I believe that it was valuable for the spirit of
brotherhood which it displayed. But above all I welcome it because it
showed that the Italian Government, as expressed by the speech of the
Italian Prime Minister (Signor Orlando), recognise to the full that the
principles on which the kingdom of Italy was founded were not only of
local application, but extend to international relations. (Cheers)
_Italy has shown herself ready to extend to the Poles, to those gallant
Czecho-Slovaks, to the Rumanians, and last, but not least, to the
Yugoslavs, the principles on which her own 'Risorgimento' was founded_,
and on which she may still go forward to a greater future than she has
ever seen in the past. (Cheers.) _That is a great work, and those who
have borne any part in it may well be proud of their accomplishment_.
"People talk sometimes about the dismemberment of Austria. I have no
weakness for Austria; but I venture to think that that is the wrong
point of view. The way to regard this problem is not the dismemberment
of Austria, _but the liberation of the population subject to her rule.
We are anxious to see all these peoples in the enjoyment of full
liberty and independence; able by some great federation to hold up in
Central Europe the principles upon which European policy must be
founded,_ unless we are to face disasters too horrible to contemplate.
The old days of arbitrary allotment of this population or that to this
sovereignty or that are gone--and, I trust, gone forever. We must look
for any future settlement, to a settlement not of courts or cabinets,
but of nations and populations. _On that alone depends the whole
conception of the League of Nations,_ of which we have heard so much;
and unless that can be secured as the foundation for that great idea, I
myself despair of its successful establishment."
_(b) The May Manifestations in Prague_
A direct re-percussion of the Rome Conference was the great meeting which
took place in Prague on May 16, on the occasion of the jubilee celebration
of the foundation of the Czech National Theatre.
The manifestations took pre-eminently a political character, especially as
they were attended by numerous distinguished foreign guests. These included
delegates from all parts of the Southern Slav territories, Poles, Rumanians
and Italians. The Russians, although invited, could not take part, because
of the obstacles placed in the way by the Austrian Government. As regards
the Yugoslavs, there were over 100 delegates from the Slovene districts
alone, including Dr. Pogacnik, deputies Ravnicar and Rybár, the Mayor of
Lublanja, Dr. Tavcar, President of the Chamber of Commerce, J. Knez and
others. The Yugoslavs were further represented by Count Vojnovitch and M.
Hribar, by delegates of the Croatian Starcevic Party, the Serbian
Dissidents, Dr. Budisavljevic, Mr. Val Pribicevic, Dr. Sunaric, Mr. Sola
from Bosnia, representatives of the national, cultural, economic
institutions, and representatives of the city of Zagreb, with the mayor,
Dr. Srpulje, at the head.
There were seventeen Italians with deputies Conci and De Caspari at the
head. The Rumanians from Hungary and Bukovina also arrived. The Slovaks of
Hungary met with the most hearty welcome. They were led by the poet
Hviezdoslav. An inspiring feature was the presence of the Poles, of whom
about sixty took part in the manifestations, the majority of them from
Galicia, three from Silesia and one from Posen.
The delegation from Galicia included prominent representatives of the
Polish Democratic Party, Count Dr. A. Skarbek, deputy and ex-minister
Glombínski and deputy Witos, the Socialist leader Moraczewski whose father
took part in the Pan-Slav Congress of Prague in 1848, deputy Tetmajer,
representatives of the cities of Lvoff and Cracow and of the University of
Cracow, members of municipal and county councils, journalists, artists,
painters, sculptors, authors and others.
At a meeting arranged in honour of the Slav guests, Dr. Kramár declared
that "the Czech nation is stronger to-day than ever before. There is no
worse policy than that which gives in before danger. I am sure that our
people will not give way. We have suffered so much that there is no horror
which could divert us from the path we follow. Happily enough, we see that
what we want is also desired by the whole world. We see that we are not
alone. To-day the representatives of other nations, which have suffered in
the same way as ourselves, have come to us. Of course, they did not come to
us only to take part in our festivals, but also to express on the Bohemian
soil their determination that their nations want to live freely. We are
united by the same interests. Our victory is theirs and theirs is ours."
The Yugoslav deputy Radic thanked the Czechs, in the name of the Yugoslavs,
for unity and solidarity. The Polish deputy Moraczewski expressed his
thanks not only for the welcome accorded to the Poles in Prague, but also
for the proclamation of the watchword: "For your liberty and ours!"
The main celebrations took place in the Bohemian Museum on May 16. Since
the speeches delivered on that occasion were of such significance and are
sure to prove of great international importance in the near future, we
propose to quote at least the chief passages from them.
The first speaker was Dr. Kramár who declared:
"You know that they are in vain trying to crush us. Every wrong will
come back to the authors. That is our firm belief, and therefore you
will find no despondency in Bohemia, but only _firm determination not
only to defend to the last the integrity of our kingdom, but also to
accomplish the unity of the whole Czecho-Slovak nation. We firmly
believe in the ultimate victory of the right of nations to liberty and
self-determination._ And we therefore welcome you in our beautiful
golden city of Prague, because we know that your presence here to-day
is the best proof that our faith is the faith of all nations who have
hitherto been clamouring in vain for right and justice.
"Allow me to make a personal remark. We were far away from public life,
confined in prison, and only very little news reached us. Various
events filled us with anxiety and despondency. Bohemia seemed to be
like a large, silent and dead churchyard. And all of a sudden we heard
that underneath the shroud with which they tried to cover our nation
there still was some life. Czech books were read more than ever, and
the life of the national soul expressed itself in the performances in
the National Theatre. When we heard about the storm of enthusiasm which
greeted the prophecy in Smetana's opera _Libusha_, we felt suddenly
relieved, and we knew that our sufferings were not in vain.
"We placed everything that we want into the prophecy of Libusha--a new
life, free, not constrained by disfavour or misunderstanding. _We do
not want to remain within the limits prescribed to us by Vienna_
(applause), we want to be entire masters of our national life as a
whole. We do not need foreign spirit and foreign advice; our best guide
is our past, the great democratic traditions of our nation. We have
enough strength and perseverance not to be afraid of anything that
threatens us, because _we want the full freedom for the whole nation,
including the millions of our oppressed brothers beneath the Tatra
Mountains_. (A stormy applause.)
"That does not depend on any circumstances outside our scope; it
depends entirely upon ourselves, upon our will. _We must show that we
are worthy of liberty and of the great future which we are striving
for_. It must not be left to the generosity of individuals to support
our peoples who under oppressive conditions are awakening national
consciousness in their countrymen. _We must mobilise our whole nation_.
All of us will be required to assist in the great tasks which are
"I think we may confidently look into the future. The war has united us
internally, and it has taught us that all party politics which for a
long time past have poisoned our life, are insignificant in view of the
great issues of our national future which are at stake. We have lived
long enough to see our whole people united in the demand for an
independent Czecho-Slovak State, although the modern times have
deepened class differences.
"We recollect our past to-day with a firm hope for a better future. The
hearts of all are to-day filled with joyous confidence and expectation
that we shall live to see the day when in our National Theatre we shall
rejoice over the victory of liberty, justice and self-determination of
nations. _Our golden Slav Prague will again become a royal city, and
our Czech nation will again be free, strong and glorious_."
After Dr. Kramár had finished, the aged Czech author Jirásek described the
history of the National Theatre during the past fifty years, and concluded:
"To-day as fifty years ago our nation is united without party
distinction. _We form a single front, and follow a single policy. We
all demand our natural and historic rights, and strengthened by the
co-operation of the Yugoslavs, we firmly believe that as we succeeded
in erecting our National Theatre, so shall we also obtain our rights
and be able to rejoice with a song of a full and free life_."
When the enthusiasm which followed Jirásek's speech subsided, the great
Slovak poet Hviezdoslav "conveyed the greeting from that branch of the
Czecho-Slovak nation which lives in Hungary," and assured the assembly that
after going back he would spread everywhere the news of the enthusiasm
animating the Czechs so as to cheer up his sorely suffering
fellow-countrymen, the Slovaks of Hungary.
Professor Kasprovicz from Lemberg, who followed, declared in the name of
"We are united with you not only by blood affinity, but by our united
will, and we can reach the goal only by co-operation and by joint
"This co-operation is perplexing to our enemies who, therefore, do all
in their power to disrupt this union. Their endeavours are in vain.
_All of us believe that neither the Czech nor the Polish nation will
perish_, that even a great war cannot bring about their extirpation;
that besides the war there is something greater than all human efforts,
that the day of justice will also come, and that the _Czech and Polish
nations not only must be but already are victorious_."
A tremendous applause ensued, and the people sang "Jeszcie Polska
niezgynela" ("Poland has not perished yet"). And when the chairman
announced that the next speaker was to be the Italian Irredentist deputy,
Signer Conci, another storm of applause and cries of "Eviva!" burst out.
Signor Conci declared:
"I convey to you the expression of the heartiest greetings from all
Italians who are participating in this brilliant manifestation, and
from all those who, like myself, follow with great sympathy everything
that concerns the fate of the noble Czech nation.
"An old verse speaks about 'Socii dolorum' ('Friends in suffering'),
and I must say that this consolation for the different nations of this
state has been amply provided for. _But nothing helps the union and
brotherhood better than the common misfortune and common persecutions_
which strengthen the character of the nation. In defence against this
menace, we and you have written on our shield: 'Fanger, non flector'
('I can be broken but not bent').
"When I saw with what indomitable firmness you withstood all unjust
persecutions, and with what a fervent devotion and enthusiasm the whole
nation supported your best and unjustly persecuted leaders, I realised
that _this nation cannot die_, and that when the time comes its just
cause will triumph. And I bring you our sincere wish that this may be
as soon as possible. _It is a wish from one oppressed nation to
another_, from a representative of an afflicted nation which has
suffered and still is suffering intolerable oppression. May the roaring
Bohemian lion soon be able to repose in peace and fully enjoy his own
Dr. Tavcar, representing the Slovenes, declared:
"We Yugoslavs are deeply feeling how much the Czech culture is helping
us and how great is its influence upon us. _We are the most faithful
allies of our brother Czechs_, and at the same time their assiduous and
I dare say very gifted pupils. At a moment when our oppressors want to
build a German bridge over our bodies to the Slav Adriatic, we come to
you as your allies. We shall fall if you fall, but our victory is
Two other Yugoslav leaders, Dr. Srpulje, Mayor of Zagreb, for the Croats,
and V. Sola, President of the Bosnian Sabor, for the Serbs, expressed the
After the speech of the Czech author Krejcí, M. Stanek, President of the
Bohemian Parliamentary Union, concluded the meeting.
Stormy demonstrations then took place in the streets of Prague, where the
people loudly cheered Professor Masaryk and the Entente.
On the same day also the Socialists had a meeting in which prominent Czech,
Polish and Yugoslav Socialists took part.
The Polish Socialist deputy Moraczewski, from Cracow, declared that "the
Poles, like the Czechs, are fighting for self-determination of nations."
Comrade Kristan, speaking for the Slovene workers, emphasised the idea of
Yugoslav unity. The spokesman of the Social Democrats from Bosnia, comrade
Smitran, hailed the Czecho-Yugoslav understanding, and said that, although
living under intolerable conditions, his nation hopes for deliverance, and
like the Czecho-Slovak nation, demands liberty and independence. After the
Polish comrade Stanczyk, the leaders of the two Czech Socialist parties,
Dr. Soukup and Klofác, delivered long speeches in which they emphasised the
solidarity of the three Western Slav nations, the Poles, Czecho-Slovaks and
Yugoslavs, and their identical claims for liberty and independence. Dr.
Soukup declared that "Socialism is to-day a great factor not only in
Bohemia, but in the whole world." The manifestation was concluded by the
Czech Socialist deputy Nemec, and by the singing of the Czech
On the day following, fresh manifestations were held in Prague, and a
meeting was arranged, described by the Czech press as the Congress of
Oppressed Nations of Austria-Hungary. Among those who supported the
resolutions were representatives of Czecho-Slovaks, Yugoslavs, Rumanians
and Italians, as well as Poles. The resolution carried unanimously by the
assembly reads as follows:
"The representatives of Slav and Latin nations who for centuries past
have been suffering under foreign oppression, assembled in Prague this
seventeenth day of May, 1918, have united in a common desire to do all
in their power in order to assure full liberty and independence to
their respective nations after this terrible war. They are agreed that
a better future for their nations will be founded and assured by the
world democracy, by a real and sovereign national people's government,
and by a universal League of Nations, endowed with the necessary
"They reject emphatically all steps of the government taken without the
consent of the people. They are convinced that the peace which they,
together with all other democratic parties and nations, are striving
for, will only be a just and lasting peace if it liberates the world
from the predominance of one nation over another and thus enables all
nations to defend themselves against aggressive imperialism by means of
liberty and equality of nations. All nations represented are determined
to help each other, since the victory of one is also the victory of the
other, and is not only in the interests of the nations concerned, but
in the interests of civilisation, of fraternity and equality of
nations, as well as of true humanity."
BOHEMIA AS A BULWARK AGAINST PAN-GERMANISM
From the foregoing chapters it is clear that:
_(a)_ The Austro-Hungarian Government represents only the Habsburgs, and
the Austrian Germans and the Magyars, who form a minority of the total
population of the monarchy. The majority, consisting of Slavs and Latins,
is opposed to the further existence of Austria-Hungary.
_(b)_ The Austrian Germans and Magyars, who exercised their hegemony in
Austria and Hungary respectively, will always be bound to look to Germany
for the support of their predominance as long as Austria-Hungary in
whatever form exists. The collapse of the Habsburg Empire in October, 1918,
practically put an end to this possibility.
_(c)_ The Habsburgs, Austro-Germans and Magyars, just like the Bulgars,
became the willing and wilful partners of Prussia in this war, while the
Austrian Slavs, especially the Czecho-Slovaks, have done all in their power
to assist the Allies at the price of tremendous sacrifices. Under these
circumstances, the only possible policy for the Allies is to support the
claims of those peoples who are heart and soul with them. Any policy which
would not satisfy the just Slav aspirations would play into the hands
_(d)_ The restoration of the _status quo ante bellum_ of Austria or Hungary
is out of the question. The Allies have pledged themselves to unite the
Italian and Rumanian territories of Austria with Italy and Rumania
respectively. The aim of Serbia is to unite all the Yugoslavs. Deprived of
her Italian, Rumanian and Yugoslav provinces, Austria-Hungary would lose
some twelve million Slavs and Latins. The problem of Poland also cannot be
solved in a satisfactory way without the incorporation in Poland of the
Polish territories of Galicia. If the _status quo_ were re-established, the
Czecho-Slovaks, whom Great Britain has recognised as an Allied nation,
would be placed in a decisive minority and would be powerless in face of
the German-Magyar majority. This the Allies in their own interests cannot
allow. They must insist upon the restoration of Bohemia's full
_(e)_ The disappearance of Austria-Hungary therefore appears to be the only
solution if a permanent peace in Europe is to be achieved. Moreover, as we
have already pointed out, her dissolution is a political necessity for
Europe, and is to-day already an accomplished fact.
The dismemberment of Austria does not mean a destructive policy. On the
contrary, it means only the destruction of oppression and racial tyranny.
It is fundamentally different from the dismemberment of Poland, which was a
living nation, while Austria is not. The dismemberment of Austria will, on
the contrary, unite nations at present dismembered, and will reconstruct
Europe so as to prevent further German aggressive attempts towards the East
and South-East. A close alliance between Poland, Czecho-Slovak Bohemia,
Greater Rumania, Greater Serbia (or Yugoslavia) and Italy would assure a
stable peace in Central Europe.
The issue really at stake was: Central Europe either Pan-German or
anti-German. If Germany succeeded in preserving Austria-Hungary, the
Pan-German plans of Mitteleuropa would be a _fait accompli_, and Germany
would have won the war: the Germans would, with the aid of the Magyars and
Bulgars, directly and indirectly control and exploit over one hundred
million Slavs in Central Europe. On the other hand, now that Austria has
fallen to pieces the German plans have been frustrated. The Germans will
not only be unable to use the Austrian Slavs again as cannon-fodder, but
even the economic exploitation of Central Europe will be barred to them.
From the international point of view, Bohemia will form the very centre of
the anti-German barrier, and with the assistance of a new Poland in the
north, and Italy, Yugoslavia and Rumania in the south, she will
successfully prevent German penetration to the East, Near East and
Austria and Hungary, reduced to their proper racial boundaries, will be
states of about eight million each. The Magyars, being situated in the
Lowlands, which are mainly agricultural, hemmed in between Bohemia, Rumania
and Yugoslavia, will be in a hopeless strategic and economic position. They
will be unable to attack any of their neighbours, and they will be wholly
dependent on them for industrial products. Hungary will thus be forced to
come to an understanding with her neighbours. Austria will be in a similar
position: deprived of her richest provinces, she will no longer be of any
great economic or military value to Germany.
Let us now examine the probable future relations between Bohemia and her
1. The formation of a strong _Polish-Czech block_ is the only means of
arresting the German expansion towards the East. To-day, when Russia has
collapsed, the liberation of the non-Germans of Central Europe can alone
save Europe from the hegemony of the German Herrenvolk. The creation of a
strong and united Poland with access to the sea at Gdansk (Dantzig) and an
independent Czecho-Slovak State has become a necessity for Europe.
The understanding between the Poles and Czechs is of vital interest to both
peoples concerned, and to Europe as a whole. It is by no means
hypothetical, considering that geographically the Poles and Czechs are
neighbours, that they speak almost the same language, and that their
national spirit, history and traditions bear a close resemblance. The
history of Poland offers many strange parallels to that of Bohemia. It is
specially interesting to note that in the fifteenth century, as to-day, the
Poles and Czechs together resisted the German "Drang nach Osten." The Czech
with their famous leader Zizka participated in the splendid Polish victory
over the Teutonic knights at Grünwald in 1410, while on the other hand,
there were many Poles in the Hussite regiments who so gloriously defended
the Czech religious and national liberties in the fifteenth century. Poland
and Bohemia were also united several times under a common dynasty.
After Bohemia lost her independence at the battle of the White Mountain in
1620, she became the prey of Austrian barbarity. The Habsburgs have done
their best to extirpate the Czech heretics and abolish and destroy the
Bohemian Constitution. With Bohemia's loss of independence her contact with
Poland also ceased. And Poland herself became the prey of Prussia, Russia
and Austria some 170 years later, notwithstanding the constitution of May 3
and the heroic resistance of Kosciuszko.
The regeneration of the Czechs at the end of the eighteenth century meant
the resumption of friendly relations between Czechs and Poles. The Czechs
desired to come to an agreement with the Poles because the latter are their
nearest kinsmen in race and language, and like themselves have suffered
terribly from alien oppression. There were many Polonophils amongst the
first Czech regenerators, and the Polish revolutions always evoked sincere
sympathy in Bohemia. The modern Czech writers were all sincere friends of
the Poles. Thanks to their efforts, Sienkiewicz and Mickiewicz are read in
every household in Bohemia, and the dramas of Slowacki, Krasinski,
Wyspianski and others are frequently played on the stage of our National
Theatre in Prague.
The present interests and aspirations of Poles and Czechs are identical.
Like the Czechs, the Poles are threatened by the Pan-German schemes of
Mitteleuropa and "Drang nach Osten," to which they are bitterly opposed.
These plans can be checked effectively only by the establishment of a
strong and united Poland with access to the sea, a strong Czecho-Slovak
State, and a united and independent Yugoslavia and Rumania.
It was proved by events that Russian imperialism and oppression was never
so dangerous to Europe as Pan-Germanism, since the former was built upon
sand and opposed by the Russian people themselves; while Pan-Germanism
rests upon effective organisation, and its brutal principles of domination
are supported by the bulk of the German people. The Central Powers are
to-day Poland's only enemies, and are a danger to her as to all Europe.
Poland's interests lie only in one orientation: in absolute opposition to
The alliance between Poland and Bohemia will provide the latter with an
outlet to the sea (Gdansk). This will draw the two countries still closer
together. Economically such an alliance would be to the mutual interests of
both countries. Since Bohemia has not, like Poland, been devastated during
this war, she could greatly assist Poland in rebuilding her trade and
industries, and this would prevent German economic penetration to the East.
On the other hand, Poland could supply her with oil and salt from Galicia.
The Czecho-Polish block would prevent German penetration in Russia, which
would thus be able to set her own affairs in order. The Czecho-Polish block
would also frustrate the German plans of creating a Polish-German-Magyar
combination by means of a small Poland, completely dependent on the Central
Powers, or by means of the so-called Austro-Polish solution. The
Czecho-Slovaks, owing to their geographic position and past traditions, and
owing to their advanced civilisation, may be fully relied upon as the
pioneers of peace and stability in Central Europe.
2. The Czecho-Slovak State will probably have a common frontier with
_Rumania_. The Rumanians-and Czecho-Slovaks will have common interests, and
their mutual political and economic relations will be of great importance.
Economically, agricultural Rumania and industrial Bohemia will complete
each other. Prague will have direct railway connection with Bukarest and
Jassy, while the Danube will connect the Czecho-Slovaks both with the
Yugoslavs and the Rumanians, under the protection of the League of Nations.
Politically the alliance between a united Poland, Bohemia and Greater
Rumania is of paramount importance, because if Poland and Rumania remain as
small as they are at present, and if the Czecho-Slovaks and Yugoslavs are
left at the mercy of Vienna and Budapest, the Germans will be masters of
3. The relations between _Czechs and Yugoslavs_ have always been cordial,
since both of them have always had the same anti-German and anti-Magyar
orientation. By way of the Danube the Czecho-Slovaks would be in direct
communication with Belgrade. The Czechs could further also be accorded an
international railway connecting Pressburg with the Adriatic. The Czechs,
being well developed industrially and commercially, could greatly assist
the Yugoslavs in organising a state sufficiently strong to arrest German
and Magyar penetration in the Balkans.
The Czechs, being good friends of the Yugoslavs and Italians, will at the
same time exert their efforts to prevent all misunderstandings between
these two Adriatic nations from which only the Germans would profit. A
close alliance between Bohemia, Italy, Yugoslavia and Rumania will form an
effective safeguard against German penetration in the Near East. Since
Rumania will border both on Bohemia and Yugoslavia, the Germans will be
completely encircled by a strong Latin-Slav barrier, of which Bohemia will
form the centre, working for stability in Central Europe and safeguarding
Europe from a repetition of the German attempts at world domination.
4. The Czecho-Slovak State itself will be strong both strategically and
economically. It will number over twelve million, and its territory,
comprising Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian-Silesia and Slovakia, will be about
50,000 square miles, that is a territory as large as England (without
Scotland, Ireland and Wales).
Surrounded by high mountains, Bohemia forms a veritable fortress in the
heart of Europe. Economically, too, she will be strong and self-supporting.
In the past Bohemia was the richest part of the Habsburg Empire, with
well-developed agriculture and industries. Bohemia produced 829 lbs. of
grain per inhabitant, the rest of Austria 277 lbs. The Bohemian lands are
responsible for 93 per cent. of Austria's, production of sugar, most of
which has been exported to England. Hops of remarkable quality are produced
in Bohemia, and Pilsen beer is known all over the world. Bohemia
manufactures over 50 per cent. of all the beer produced in Austria. Bohemia
has also abundant wealth in minerals, the only mineral which is not found
there being salt. Bohemia produces 60 per cent. of Austria's iron and 83
per cent. (26 million tons) of her coal. As regards trade, almost all the
business between Bohemia and Western Europe has always passed through
Vienna, which of course greatly profited thereby. This will cease when
Bohemia becomes independent.
Two-thirds of the total Austrian exports, the value of which was over
£63,000,000 in 1912, come from the Bohemian lands. To England alone Austria
exported £9,000,000 worth of Bohemian sugar annually. Bohemian beer, malt
and hops were exported especially to France, textiles and machines to
Italy. On the other hand, Germany and German-Austria imported from the
Bohemian lands especially agricultural products (butter, eggs, cheese,
cereals, fruit), also coal and wood manufactures.
In 1905 Austria exported 425,000 metric tons of wheat and 186,000 metric
tons of malt, which were mostly produced in Bohemia. The export of Bohemian
beer brings Austria 15,000,000 kronen annually (£625,000), of malt
55,000,000 kronen (£2,290,000). The Bohemian lands further export
130,000,000 kronen (£5,430,000) worth of textiles annually.
The Austrian import trade is also largely dependent on Bohemia. All French
articles bought by Bohemia come through Vienna, two-thirds of the whole
French export being destined for that country.
As regards England, in 1914 £2,676,000 worth of goods were exported to
Austria-Hungary, the greater part of which again was destined for Bohemia,
the chief articles being printing and agricultural machines and textile
manufactures. England will after the war find a good market in Bohemia, and
valuable assistants in Czech banks and business men in the economic
competition against the Germans in the Near East, since the Czechs
boycotted German goods even before the war. Prague is a railway centre of
European importance, being situated just midway between the Adriatic and
the Baltic Sea. An agreement with her neighbours (Poland, Yugoslavia and
Rumania) and the League of Nations arrangement would secure her an outlet
to the sea by means of international railways, while the Elbe and Danube
would also form important trade routes. Bohemia would become an
intermediary between the Baltic and Adriatic as well as between East
Also the future relations of Bohemia with the British colonies are not
without importance. More than half the trade of Austria with the British
colonies was transacted by the Czechs, and Austria-Hungary exported to
British colonies £3,500,000 and imported from them £10,500,000 worth of
5. One of the most important reasons why the Czecho-Slovaks, when
independent, will be able to render such valuable services to the Allies,
is the high degree of their civilisation. Despite all efforts of the
Austrian Government to the contrary, the Czechs have nevertheless been able
to attain a high standard of education, and they also excel in literature,
music and the arts.
The Czechs are not only the most advanced of all Slavs, but they are even
the most advanced of all nations of Austria-Hungary. In Austria as a whole
6.7 per cent. of the children do not attend school; in Bohemia only 1-1/2
per cent. The standard of education of the Czechs compares with that of the
Austrian-Germans and Magyars, according to the _Monatschrift für Statistik_
of 1913, as follows:
Czechs. Austrian Magyars.
Persons knowing how to write
and read 95-1/2% 92% 40%
Persons knowing how to read
only 3% 1% 4%
Illiterates 1-1/2% 7% 56%
The Czechs have accomplished this by their own efforts, as is shown by the
fact that 151 Czech schools are kept up by a private Czech society. These
151 schools have altogether 287 classes and 522 teachers, and are attended
by more than 15,000 children. The unjust treatment of the Czechs in regard
to schools is further shown by the fact that 9,000,000 Germans in Austria
had five universities, 5,000,000 Poles two universities, while 7,000,000
Czechs had only one. The German University in Prague had 878 students in
1912, the Czech University 4713. The Germans in Prague number some 10,000
(_i.e._ 1-1/2 per cent.), yet they have their public schools and even a
university; while the Czechs in Vienna, numbering at least some 300,000
(_i.e._ over 15 per cent.), are deprived even of elementary schools, to say
nothing of secondary schools and universities.
The Slovaks of Hungary were, of course, in an absolutely hopeless position
in view of the terrible system of Magyar oppression. The Magyars consider
the schools as the most effective means for magyarisation. In the 16
counties inhabited by the Slovaks there are only 240 Slovak schools, and
even in those schools Magyar is taught sometimes fully 18 hours a week. The
number of Slovak schools has been systematically reduced from 1921 in 1869
to 440 in 1911, and 240 in 1912, and these are attended by some 18,000
children out of 246,000, _i.e._ 8 per cent. The Slovaks opened three
secondary schools in the early seventies, but all three were arbitrarily
closed in 1874. They have, of course, no university. Thus they were
deprived of intellectual leaders and are doomed to complete
denationalisation, unless liberated and united with the Czechs in an
In literature the Czechs may rightly range themselves side by side with the
great nations of Western Europe. Practically all the most important works
of foreign literature have been translated into Czech. The Czechs have many
good dramas, novels, and much excellent poetry which can be fully
appreciated only by those knowing their language. They are also very
musical, and their composers such as Dvorák, Smetana, Novák or Suk, singers
such as Emmy Destinn, and violinists such as Kubelík, are known all over
the world. They are also developed in all other arts, and their folk-songs,
peasant arts and industries, especially those of the Slovaks, bear ample
testimony to their natural talents and sense for beauty and art.
6. It is obvious that the cause of Bohemia is of very great importance to
the very existence of the British Empire. If Germany succeeded in
preserving her grip on Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Turkey, she would
soon strike at Egypt and India, and thus endanger the safety of the British
Empire. Germany would control vast resources in man-power and material
which would enable her to plunge into another attempt at world-domination
in a very short time. On the other hand, when the non-German nations of
Central Europe are liberated, Germany will be absolutely prevented from
repeating her present exploits, Great Britain will be no more menaced by
her, and a permanent peace in Europe will be assured. Thus with the cause
of Bohemia the cause of Great Britain will either triumph or fall. Bismarck
truly said that the master of Bohemia would be the master of Europe.
Bohemia has many traditions in common with England, and she will become her
natural ally and friend. In the Czecho-Slovaks, the most democratic,
homogeneous and advanced nation of Central Europe, Great Britain will find
a true ally and fellow-pioneer in the cause of justice, freedom and
APPENDIX OF SOME RECENT DOCUMENTS
THE CZECHO-SLOVAK RESOLUTION OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1918
The following is the text of the resolution passed by the Czecho-Slovak
National Council in Prague, in conjunction with the Union of Czech
Deputies, on September 29, 1918, and suppressed by the Austrian censor:
"Our nation once more and with all possible emphasis lays stress on the
fact that it firmly and unswervedly stands by the historical
manifestations of its freely elected representatives, firmly convinced
of the ultimate success of its highest ideals of full independence and
liberty. _Our silenced and oppressed nation has no other answer to all
attempts at a change of the constitution than a cool and categorical
refusal_, because we know that these attempts are nothing except
products of an ever-increasing strain, helplessness and ruin. _We do
not believe to-day in any more promises given and not kept_, for
experience has taught us to judge them on their merits. The most
far-reaching promises cannot blind us and turn us away from our aims.
The hard experiences of our nation order us imperatively to hold firm
in matters where reality is stronger than all promises. _The Vienna
Government is unable to give us anything we ask for_. Our nation can
never expect to get its liberty from those who at all times regarded it
only as a subject of ruthless exploitations; and who even in the last
moment do not shrink from any means to humiliate, starve and wipe out
our nation and by cruel oppression to hurt us in our most sacred
feelings. _Our nation has nothing in common with those who are
responsible for the horrors of this war_. Therefore there will not be a
single person who would, contrary to the unanimous wish of the nation,
deal with those who have not justice for the Czech nation at heart and
who have also no sympathy with the Polish and Yugoslav nations, but who
are only striving for the salvation of their present privileged
position of misrule and injustice. _The Czech nation will follow its
anti-German policy, whatever may happen, assured that its just cause
will finally triumph, especially to-day when it becomes a part of the
great ideals of the Entente, whose victory will be the only good
produced by this terrible war_."
CZECH LEADERS REFER THE AUSTRIAN GOVERNMENT TO THE CZECHO-SLOVAK GOVERNMENT
AS THEIR AUTHORISED REPRESENTATIVES
Speaking in the Reichsrat, deputy Stanek declared in the name of the Union
of Czech Deputies on October 2, 1918:
"This terrible war, started against the will and despite the warnings
of the Czecho-Slovaks, has now reached the culminating point. Two
worlds have been struggling in this war. One of them stood for the
Middle Ages and has with daring impudence inscribed upon its banner
'Might is Right.' Inspired by this watchword, the spirit of German
Imperialism believed it had a mission to rule the whole world, and it
was voluntarily joined by the rulers of Austria-Hungary in the mad
desire of enslaving the whole world.
"It was not difficult to guess which side would win unless civilisation
were to be thrown back for centuries. On one side stood the mediaeval
spirit of autocracy; on the other, pure love of liberty and democracy.
And we who have been oppressed by Austria for centuries and who have
tasted Austrian 'education' have naturally not formed voluntary legions
on the side of Austria. In fact _the Czecho-Slovaks have not
voluntarily shed a single drop of blood for the Central Powers_. But
our compatriots abroad, remembering the centuries-old Austrian
oppression, have _formed voluntary legions in all the Allied armies_.
They are shedding their blood for the most sacred rights of humanity
and at a moment of the greatest danger for the Allies they saved the
situation. In Russia, too, they are fighting for democracy. Nobody will
succeed in arresting the triumphant progress of true democracy, not
even the Austrian and German Governments, nor any diplomacy, nor any
peace notes or crown councils. The world will not be deceived again and
nobody takes the Central Powers and their governments seriously any
"Your peace offensives will avail nothing to you, nobody will speak
with you again. _Even the Austrian peoples refuse to negotiate with
you, knowing the value of your words. We have no intention of saving
you from destruction_. Your aim is still the German-Magyar hegemony and
the oppression of Slavs and Latins. You must look elsewhere for
support. The fateful hour for you and the Magyars has come sooner than
"And the dynasty? Look at the electoral reform in Hungary sanctioned by
the emperor! This reform is intended to destroy completely the
political and national existence of the non-Magyars in Hungary. This is
how the emperor keeps his word.
"In view of these events we must ask ourselves: Are there any moral
guarantees in this empire? We do not see them and therefore we declare
that we _reject all community with the political system of this empire.
We want a single front of three Slav States extending from Gdansk
(Dantzig) via Prague to the Adriatic._ We protest against any partial
solution of the Czecho-Slovak question. The Czecho-Slovak State which
must also include the Slovaks of Hungary is our minimum programme. We
again emphasise our solidarity with our Yugoslav brethren, whether they
live in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar or Lubljana, and we ask for the
removal of those statesmen who wish to subjugate the remainder of the
Bosnian population. _A free Yugoslavia, an independent Greater Poland
and the Czecho-Slovak State_ are already in process of formation,
closely allied to each other, not only by the knowledge of common
economic interests, but also on the ground of the moral prerogatives of
"Peace is in sight. We wanted to be admitted to peace negotiations with
representatives of other nations. The Germans refused and replied: 'If
you insist you will be hanged.' Of course the Germans never kept their
word except when they promised to hang some one! But the Entente
replied by deeds recognising the Czecho-Slovak army as an Allied and
belligerent army. Thereupon _the Austrian Government asked us, Czech
leaders in Austria, to protest against it. But of course we refused._ I
said so openly to the Premier, and if you like, I will tell it to the
Austrian Emperor himself. _You would not admit us to the peace
negotiations with Russia, and now you will have to negotiate with Czech
leaders after all_, whether you like it or not. _These leaders will be
representatives of the same Czecho-Slovak brigades which Count Hertling
called rascals_ ('_Gesindel_'). _You will have to negotiate with them,
and not with us_, and therefore we will not speak with you. Our
question will not be solved in Vienna. If you accept President Wilson's
terms, if the German people, and not the German bureaucrats, accept
them, then you can have peace at once and save humanity from further
bloodshed. There is no other way out, and _we therefore advise you
honestly and frankly to surrender to the Allies unconditionally_,
because in the end nothing else will be left to you.
"In agreement with the whole Yugoslav nation, in agreement with Polish
representatives, voicing the will of the Polish people, the
Czecho-Slovaks declare before the whole world:
'Forward in our struggle for liberty and for a new life in our own
liberated, restored state!'"
PRESIDENT WILSON'S REPLY TO THE AUSTRIAN PEACE OFFER
In reply to the Austro-Hungarian proposal for an armistice of October 7,
1918, Mr. Robert Lansing addressed the following communication from
President Wilson to the Austrian Government through the medium of the
Swedish Legation in Washington on October 18, 1918:
"The President deems it his duty to say to the Austro-Hungarian
Government that he cannot entertain the present suggestion of that
government because of certain events of the utmost importance which,
occurring since the delivery of his address of January 8 last, have
necessarily altered the attitude and responsibility of the Government
of the United States.
"Among the fourteen terms of peace which the President formulated at
that time occurred the following:
"'The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we
wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest
opportunity of autonomous development.'
"Since that sentence was written and uttered to the Congress of the
United States, the Government of the United States has recognised that
a state of belligerency exists between the Czecho-Slovaks and the
German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, and that the Czecho-Slovak
National Council is a _de facto_ belligerent government, clothed with
proper authority to direct the military and political affairs of the
"It has also recognised in the fullest manner the justice of the
nationalistic aspirations of the Yugo-Slavs for freedom.
"The President therefore is no longer at liberty to accept a mere
'autonomy' of these peoples as a basis of peace, but is obliged to
insist that they, and not he, shall be the judges of what action on the
part of the Austro-Hungarian Government will satisfy their aspirations
and their conception of their rights and destiny as members of the
family of nations."
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE CZECHO-SLOVAK PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
On October 14, Dr. E. Benes addressed the following letter to all the
"By the declaration of the Government of the United States of September
3, 1918, the Czecho-Slovak National Council, whose seat is in Paris,
has been recognised as a _de facto_ Czecho-Slovak Government. This
recognition has been confirmed by the following Allied Governments: by
Great Britain in her agreement with the National Council of September
3, 1918; by France in her agreement of September 28, 1918, and by Italy
in the declaration of her Premier on October 3,1918. I have the honour
to inform you that in view of these successive recognitions a
Provisional Czecho-Slovak Government has been constituted by the
decision of September 26, 1918, with its provisional seat in Paris and
consisting of the following members:
"_Professor Thomas G. Masaryk_, President of the Provisional
Government and of the Cabinet of Ministers, and Minister of
"_Dr. Edward Benes_, Minister for Foreign Affairs and of the
"General Milan R. Stefanik, Minister of War.
"The undersigned ministry has subsequently decided to accredit the
following representatives with the Allied Powers:
"_Dr. Stephan Osuský_. Chargé d'Affaires of the Czecho-Slovak
Legation in London, accredited with His Majesty's Government in
"_Dr. Leo Sychrava_, Chargé d'Affaires of the Czecho-Slovak
Legation in Paris, accredited with the French Government.
"_Dr. Leo Borský_, Chargé d'Affaires of the Czecho-Slovak Legation
in Rome, accredited with the Royal Government of Italy.
"_Dr. Charles Pergler_, Chargé d'Affaires of the Czecho-Slovak
Legation in Washington, accredited with the Government of the
"_Bohdan Pavlu_, at present at Omsk, is to represent our Government
"Our representatives in Japan and Serbia will be appointed later.
"We have the honour to inform you that we have taken these decisions in
agreement with the political leaders at home. During the past three
years our whole political and military action has been conducted in
complete agreement with them. Finally, on October 2, 1918, the
Czecho-Slovak deputy Stanek, President of the Union of Czech Deputies
to the Parliament in Vienna, solemnly announced that the Czecho-Slovak
National Council in Paris is to be considered as the supreme organ of
the Czecho-Slovak armies and that it is entitled to represent the
Czecho-Slovak nation in the Allied countries and at the Peace
Conference. On October 9, his colleague, deputy Zahradník, speaking in
the name of the same union, declared that the Czecho-Slovaks are
definitely leaving the Parliament in Vienna, thereby breaking for ever
all their ties with Austria-Hungary.
"Following the decision of our nation and of our armies, we are
henceforth taking charge as a Provisional National Government for the
direction of the political destinies of the Czecho-Slovak State, and as
such we are entering officially into relations with the Allied
Governments, relying both upon our mutual agreement with them and upon
their solemn declarations.
"We make this declaration in a specially solemn manner at a moment when
great political events call upon all the nations to take part in
decisions which will perhaps give Europe a new political régime for
centuries to come.
"Assuring you of my devoted sentiments, believe me to remain, in the
name of the Czecho-Slovak Government,
_(Signed)_ "DR. EDWARD BENES,
Minister for Foreign Affairs."
CZECHO-SLOVAK DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
"At this grave moment when the Hohenzollerns are offering peace in
order to stop the victorious advance of the Allied armies and to
prevent the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and when the
Habsburgs are promising the federalisation of the empire and autonomy
to the dissatisfied nationalities committed to their rule, we, the
Czecho-Slovak National Council, recognised by the Allied and American
Governments as the Provisional Government of the Czecho-Slovak State
and nation, in complete accord with the declaration of the Czech
deputies in Prague on January 6, 1918, and realising that
federalisation and, still more, autonomy mean nothing under a Habsburg
dynasty, do hereby make and declare this our Declaration of
"Because of our belief that no people should be forced to live under a
sovereignty they do not recognise and because of our knowledge and firm
conviction that our nation cannot freely develop in a Habsburg
confederation which is only a new form of the denationalising
oppression which we have suffered for the past three centuries, we
consider freedom to be the first pre-requisite for federalisation and
believe that the free nations of Central and Eastern Europe may easily
federate should they find it necessary.
"We make this declaration on the basis of our historic and natural
right: we have been an independent state since the seventh century, and
in 1526 as an independent state, consisting of Bohemia, Moravia and
Silesia, we joined with Austria and Hungary in a defensive union
against the Turkish danger. We have never voluntarily surrendered our
rights as an independent state in this confederation. The Habsburgs
broke their compact with our nation by illegally transgressing our
rights and violating the constitution of our state, which they had
pledged themselves to uphold, and we therefore refuse any longer to
remain a part of Austria-Hungary in any form.
"We claim the right of Bohemia to be reunited with her Slovak brethren
of Slovakia, which once formed part of our national state, but later
was torn from our national body and fifty years ago was incorporated in
the Hungarian State of the Magyars, who by their unspeakable violence
and ruthless oppression of their subject races have lost all moral and
human right to rule anybody but themselves.
"The world knows the history of our struggle against the Habsburg
oppression, intensified and systematised by the Austro-Hungarian
dualistic compromise of 1867. This dualism is only a shameless
organisation of brute force and exploitation of the majority by the
minority. It is a political conspiracy of the Germans and Magyars
against our own as well as the other Slav and Latin nations of the
"The world knows the justice of our claims, which the Habsburgs
themselves dare not deny. Francis Joseph in the most solemn manner
repeatedly recognised the sovereign rights of our nation. The Germans
and Magyars opposed this recognition, and Austria-Hungary, bowing
before the Pan-Germans, became a colony of Germany and as her vanguard
to the East provoked the last Balkan conflict as well as the present
world war, which was begun by the Habsburgs alone without the consent
of the representatives of the people.
"We cannot and will not continue to live under the direct or indirect
rule of the violators of Belgium, France and Serbia, the would-be
murderers of Russia and Rumania, the murderers of tens of thousands of
civilians and soldiers of our blood, and the accomplices in numberless
unspeakable crimes committed in this war against humanity by the two
degenerate and irresponsible dynasties of Habsburgs and Hohenzollerns.
We will not remain a part of a state which has no justification for
existence and which, refusing to accept the fundamental principles of
modern world organisation, remains only an artificial and immoral
political structure, hindering every movement towards democratic and
social progress. The Habsburg dynasty, weighed down by a huge
inheritance of error and crime, is a perpetual menace to the peace of
the world, and we deem it our duty towards humanity and civilisation to
aid in bringing about its downfall and destruction.
"We reject the sacrilegious assertion that the power of the Habsburg
and Hohenzollern dynasties is of divine origin. We refuse to recognise
the divine right of kings. Our nation elected the Habsburgs to the
throne of Bohemia of its own free will and by the same right deposes
them. We hereby declare the Habsburg dynasty unworthy of leading our
nation and deny all their claims to rule in the Czecho-Slovak land,
which we here and now declare shall henceforth be a free and
independent people and nation.
"We accept and shall adhere to the ideals of modern democracy as they
have been ideals of our nation for centuries. We accept the American
principles as laid down by President Wilson, the principles of
liberated mankind of the actual equality of nations and of governments,
deriving all their just power from the consent of the governed. We, the
nation of Comenius, cannot but accept those principles expressed in the
American Declaration of Independence, the principles of Lincoln and of
the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. For these
principles our nation shed its blood in the memorable Hussite wars five
hundred years ago. For these same principles beside her Allies our
nation is shedding its blood to-day in Russia, Italy and France.
"We shall outline only the main principles of the constitution of the
Czecho-Slovak nation. The final decision as to the constitution itself
falls to the legally chosen representatives of the liberated and united
people. The Czecho-Slovak State shall be a republic in constant
endeavour for progress. It will guarantee complete freedom of
conscience, religion and science, literature and art, speech, the press
and the right of assembly and petition. The Church shall be separated
from the State. Our democracy shall rest on universal suffrage; women
shall be placed on an equal footing with men politically, socially and
culturally, while the right of the minority shall be safeguarded by
proportional representation. National minorities shall enjoy equal
rights. The government shall be parliamentary in form and shall
recognise the principles of initiative and referendum. The standing
army will be replaced by militia. The Czecho-Slovak nation will carry
out far-reaching social and economic reforms. The large estates will be
redeemed for home colonisation, and patents of nobility will be
abolished. Our nation will assume responsibility for its part of the
Austro-Hungarian pre-war public debt. The debts for this war we leave
to those who incurred them.
"In its foreign policy the Czecho-Slovak nation will accept its full
share of responsibility in the reorganisation of Eastern Europe. It
accepts fully the democratic and social principle of nationality and
subscribes to the doctrine that all covenants and treaties shall be
entered into openly and frankly without secret diplomacy. Our
constitution shall provide an efficient, national and just government
which will exclude all special privileges and prohibit class
"Democracy has defeated theocratic autocracy, militarism is overcome,
democracy is victorious. On the basis of democracy mankind will be
reorganised. The forces of darkness have served the victory of light,
the longed-for age of humanity is dawning. We believe in democracy, we
believe in liberty and liberty for evermore.
"Given in Paris on the 18th October, 1918.
_(Signed)_ "PROFESSOR THOMAS G. MASARYK,
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
GENERAL DR. MILAN STEFANIK,
Minister of National Defence.
DR. EDWARD BENES,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and of the Interior."
CHÉRADAME, A.: _The Pan-German Plot Unmasked_. John Murray, London, 1916.
NAUMANN, F.: _Central Europe_. King & Son, London, 1916.
For complete survey of Pan-Germanism and Pan-German literature, see Prof.
Masaryk's articles in the first volume of the _New Europe_, as well as
various articles in _La Nation Tchèque_.
BAILEY, V.F.: _The Slavs of the War Zone_. Chapman & Hall, London, 1917.
LEGER, Louis: _Etudes slaves_. Leroux, Paris, 1875, 1880 and 1886.
----_Le monde slave_. Hachette, Paris, 1910.
MASARYK, T.G.: _The Slavs amongst Nations_. London, 1915.
NIEDERLE, L.: _La race slave_. Hachette, Paris, 1910.
TUCIC, S.: _The Slav Nations. Daily Telegraph_ War Books, London, 1914.
See also _Le Monde Slave_, a monthly review published in Paris by Prof.
Ernest Denis at 19-21 rue Cassette.
THE AUSTRIAN PROBLEM
BENES, EDWARD: _Le problème autrichien et la question tchèque_.
Girard-Brière, Paris, 1908.
----_Détruisez l'Autriche-Hongrie._ Delagrave, Paris, 1915.
COLQUHOUN, A.R.: _The Whirlpool of Europe_. Harpers, London, 1907.
CHÉRADAME, A.: _L'Europe et la question d'Autriche-Hongrie_. Paris, 1900.
DRAGE, GEOFFREY: _Austria-Hungary._ John Murray, London, 1909.
EISENMANN, L.: _Le compromis austro-hongrois._ Paris, 1904.
FOURNOL, E.: _Sur la succession de l'Autriche-Hongrie._ Paris, 1917.
GAYDA, V.: _Modern Austria_. Fisher Unwin, London, 1914.
GRIBBLE, F.J.: _The Emperor Francis Joseph_. Eveleigh Nash, London, 1914.
LEGER, Louis: _Histoire de l'Autriche-Hongrie._ Hachette, Paris, 1888.
----_La liquidation de l'Autriche-Hongrie._
MITTON, G.E.: _Austria-Hungary._ A. & C. Black, London, 1915.
McCURDY, C.A., M.P.: _The Terms of the Coming Peace_. W.H. Smith & Son,
STEED, HENRY WICKHAM: _The Habsburg Monarchy_. Constable, 1914 and 1916.
SETON-WATSON, R.W.: _The Future of Austria-Hungary._ Constable, London,
SETON-WATSON, R.W., and others: _War and Democracy._ Macmillan & Co., 1914.
TOYNBEE, A.: _Nationality and the War._ Dent & Sons, London, 1915.
----_The New Europe._ Dent & Sons.
HUNGARY AND THE SLOVAKS
CAPEK, THOMAS: _The Slovaks of Hungary._ Knickerbocker Press, New York,
DENIS, ERNEST: _Les Slovaques._ Delagrave, Paris, 1917.
SCOTUS-VIATOR: _Racial Problems in Hungary._ Constable, 1908.
SETON-WATSON, R.W.: _German, Slav and Magyar._ Williams & Norgate, London,
DENIS, ERNEST: _Huss et la Guerre des Hussites._ Leroux, Paris, 1878.
----_Les origines de l'unité des frères bohèmes._ Angers, Burdin, 1881.
----_Fin de l'indépendance bohème._ Colin, Paris, 1890.
----_La Bohème depuis la Montagne Blanche._ Leroux, Paris, 1903.
FRICZ: _Table de l'histoire de la Bohème._
GINDELY, A.: _History of the Thirty Years' War._ Translation from Czech.
Putnam's Sons, New York, 1884.
GREGOR, F.: _Story of Bohemia._ Hunt & Eaton, New York, 1895.
HANTICH, H.: _La révolution de_ 1848 _en Bohème._ Schneider, Lyon, 1910.
----_Le droit historique de la Bohème._ Chevalier, Paris, 1910.
LEGER, LOUIS: _La renaissance tchèque en_ XIXe _siècle._ Paris, 1911.
LÜTZOW, COUNT FRANCIS: _Bohemia._ A historical sketch. Everyman's Library.
Dent & Sons, London, 1907.
----_The Story of Prague._ Dent & Sons, London, 1902.
----_Life and Times of John Hus._ Dent & Sons, 1909.
MAURICE, C.E.: _The Story of Bohemia._ Fisher Unwin, 1896.
SCHWARZE, REV. J.: _John Hus._ The Revel Co., New York, 1915.
SCHAFF, DAVID: _John Huss._ George Allen & Unwin, London, 1915.
WRATISLAW, A.H.: _John Hus._ Young & Co., London, 1882.
BOWRING, SIR JOHN: _Cheskian Anthology._ Rowland Hunter, London, 1832.
BAUDIS, PROF. JOSEPH: _Czech Folk Tales._ George Allen & Unwin, London,
FRICZ: _L'idée nationale dans la poésie et la tradition_ bohème.
GAMBERT, E.: _Poésie tchèque contemporaine._ Paris, 1903.
JELINEK, H.: _La littérature tchèque contemporaine_. Paris, 1912.
KOMENSKY, J.A.: _Labyrinth of the World_. Translated from Czech by Count
Lützow. Dent & Sons, London, 1900.
LÜTZOW, COUNT FRANCIS: _Bohemian Literature_. Heinemann, London, 1907.
MARCHANT, F.P.: _Outline of Bohemian Literature_. London, 1911.
MORFILL, W.R.: _A Grammar of the Bohemian (Cech) Language._ With
translations from Bohemian literature. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1899.
----_Slavonic Literature_. London, 1883.
NEMCOVÁ, B.: _The Grandmother_. A novel translated from Czech. McClurg,
SELVER, PAUL: _Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry._ Drane, London, 1912.
BAKER, JAMES: _Pictures from Bohemia_. Chapman & Hall, London, 1904.
HANTICH, H.: _La musique tchèque_. Nilsson, Paris, 1910.
MONROE, W.S.: _Bohemia and the Cechs_. Bell & Sons, London, 1910.
PROCHAZKA, J.: _Bohemia's Claim for Freedom_. Chatto & Windus, London,
TYRSOVA, R., and HANTICH, H.: _Le paysan tchèque_. Nilsson, Paris.
ZMRHAL, J.J., and BENES, V.: _Bohemia_. Bohemian National Alliance,
----_Les pays tchèques_, published by the Ligue Franco-Tchèque, Paris,
BENES, EDWARD: _Bohemia's Case for Independence_. George Allen & Unwin,
BOURLIER, JEAN: _Les Tchèques et la Bohème_. F. Alcan, Paris, 1897.
CAPEK, THOMAS: _Bohemia under Habsburg Misrule_. Chicago, 1915.
For reference _re_ the Czecho-Slovak movement, see its official organ _La
Nation Tchèque_, published at 18, rue Bonaparte, Paris. First two volumes
edited by E. Denis, the following by Dr. E. Benes.
Numerous useful articles on Bohemia and the Austrian problem from the pen
of H.W. Steed, R.W. Seton-Watson, L.B. Namier, Professor Masaryk, Dr.
Benes, V. Nosek and others will be found in the weekly review of foreign
politics, the _New Europe_, published by Messrs. Constable & Co., 10,
Orange Street, London, W.C.2.
The following list of some recent articles in the English (not American)
monthly and quarterly reviews is also recommended:
BARRY, The Very Rev. Canon WILLIAM: _Break Austria. Nineteenth Century_,
----_How to Break Austria. Nineteenth Century_, November, 1917.
----_Shall England save Austria? Nineteenth Century_, June, 1918.
CHÉRADAME, A.: _How to Destroy Pan-Germany. National Review_, January,
----_The Western Front and Political Strategy_. _National Review_, July,
FORMAN, JOSEPH: _The Liberation of the Czecho-Slovaks. Nineteenth Century_,
GRIBBLE, FRANCIS: _Czech Claims and Magyar Intrigues. Nineteenth Century_,
----_The Passing of a Legend. Nineteenth Century_, October, 1917.
LANDA, M.J.: _Bohemia and the War. Contemporary_, July, 1915.
AN OLD MAZZINIAN: _Italy and the Nationalities of Austria-Hungary.
Contemporary_, June, 1918.
NOSEK, VLADIMIR: _The New Spirit in Austria_. A Reply to Mr. Brailsford.
_Contemporary_, October, 1917.
----_Bohemia as a Bulwark against Pan-Germanism. National Review_, July,
POLITICUS: _Austria's Hour of Destiny. Fortnightly_, August, 1917.
_Round Table_, Quarterly Review of the Politics of the Empire: No. 16
(September, 1914): _Origins of the War._
----No. 17 (December, 1914): _Racial Problems in Austria-Hungary._
----No. 26 (March, 1917): _Methods of Ascendancy: Bohemia_.
SELVER, PAUL: _Brezina's Poetry. The Quest_, January, 1916.
----_Modern Czech Poetry. Poetry Review_, May, 1918.
SETON-WATSON, R.W.: _Pan-Slavism. Contemporary_, October, 1916.
----_Austria-Hungary and the Federal System. Contemporary_, March, 1918.
STEED, HENRY WICKHAM: _The Quintessence of Austria. Edinburgh Review_,
----_The Programme for Peace. Edinburgh Review_, April, 1916.
----_What is Austria? Edinburgh Review_, October, 1917.
TAYLOR, A.H.E.: _The Entente and Austria. Fortnightly_, May, 1918.
For a detailed and exhaustive list of all writings in the English language
on Bohemia and the Czecho-Slovaks, see _Bohemian Bibliography_, by Thomas
Capek and Anna Vostrovsky Capek, published by the Fleming H. Revell Co.,
Chicago, New York, Edinburgh and London, 1918.