Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/20

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The Bohemian Review

the degree of enthusiasm and understanding with which the races of the empire fight in its desperate military adventure.

And then we heard a Bohemian song and it poured a new life into us. The last companies of the regiment were made up of Bohemian boys, marching in the heat of July with full equipment to the training camp at Mlada. What a different appearance! There were younger men and older men among them, some fathers of families with bearded faces, but all with an intelligent determined look. They accepted their bitter fate with a song. It was as if a soft hand had stroked our cheeks. Tears ran from our eyes and through them we, the onlookers, smiled at each other, as if to say that our nation after all has in it eternal life and energy. It can bear and survive whatever heavy burden the fate may deal out.

Our hope and confidence was strengthened that the Czech people would emerge even from this terrible catastrophe unscathed and would have a part in the true brotherhood and more human civilization of future ages.

Czernin and Clam-Martinic.

The murder of Count Stuergh, prime minister of Austria, hastened the death of Prince Thun, former premier and twice governor of the Kingdom of Bohemia. The death notices spoke of Thun as the last Austrian, and the term really was not much of an exaggeration. For Thun himself had been fully aware that men of his type, devoted to the Austrian monarchy, as embodied in the Hapsburg dynasty, were almost extinct. A year ago the story was current of a conversation which is said to have taken place between Prince Thun and Count Coudenhove upon the occasion of the assumption by the latter man of the governorship of Bohemia. Coudenhove inquired of the retiring governor “Tell me, how much is there in this talk of the revolutionary sentiments of the Czechs?” Thun answered, “Yes, it is true that the Czechs want to get away from Austria, but then the Germans aim to attach themselves to Berlin.” “Does then no one remain faithful to Vienna,” asked the count. “Only you and I”, replied sadly the faithful old servant of Francis Joseph.

If it be not literally true that Prince Thun was the last Austrian, he was at least the last Austrian statesman of ability and experience. He had courage to fight for Austrian, that is Hapsburg interests, when every one else in Vienna took orders from Berlin. He came forward as a witness in behalf of the Czech leader, Dr. Karel Kramar, to testify that documents seized among Kramar’s effects and produced by the government as evidence of seditious designs had their original wording altered. Thun was opposed to the reckless, wholesale death sentences pronounced daily by the military courts sitting in Bohemia, and advocated a policy of conciliation toward the Czech people; but the only result of his sincere endeavors to save Austria was his own removal from office in 1915. He died a few weeks before his sovereign and personal friend, Francis Joseph.

The new emperor, after casting around for a while for suitable servants, finally selected for the head of his Austrian ministry, and for the Austro-Hungarian minister of foreign affairs two members of the high Bohemian nobility. Count Henry Czernin of Chudenic, former minister at Bucharest, was entrusted with the conduct of such diplomatic business, as Germany would permit its weaker partner to handle, while Count Richard Clam-Martinic was given the difficult task of governing the Austrian half of the dual monarchy. These appointments aroused many speculations as to the intentions of Emperor Charles, and the fact that the new ministers had Bohemian names was taken as a sign that the policy of oppression, applied to the Czechs under the old monarch, would be reversed under Charles. But the deduction was far fetched; Czernin and Martinic are Bohemian in name only and have neither desire nor orders to make concessions to Bohemia.

The two names, to be sure, are well known in Bohemian history. The Czernins