Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/56

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The Bohemian Review

made a pretext for the wholesale slaughter of Europe’s manhood. The responsibility for the horrors of the past three years belongs to Austria-Hungary fully as much as to Germany. Nor is the frightfulness confined to German military methods. In Serbia Magyar soldiers committed atrocities no less horrible and fully as well authenticated as the worst German excesses in Belgium. And while within the German Empire we have no record of executions of German subjects, in the Hapsburg monarchy in the first eighteen months of the war four thousand gallows have been erected.

The good-natured tolerance of Austria by the American people is less easy to understand, when one recalls the conduct of the diplomatic and consular representatives of that decrepit monarchy in this republic. Just as over there across the ocean Austrian ministers and generals took their orders from the German general staff, so in Washington the Austrian Embassy was employed to do the dirty work of Germany. Count Bernstorff took care not to become implicated personally in plots violating American neutrality and passed on this delicate work to his colleague, Dr. Dumba. The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to the United States subsidized editors of foreign language newspapers to keep alive sentiments of loyalty to Francis Joseph among their readers as against loyalty to their adopted country; he stirred up strikes in munition works and became implicated in acts of violence, until the long suffering President Wilson sent him home. It should not be forgotten in this connection that credit for uncovering the machinations of Austrian diplomatic representatives in this country belongs to that enterprising newspaper, The Providence Journal. In publishing confidential correspondence of the Austrian Embassy The Journal has done a great service to America and earned the gratitude of Bohemian and other immigrants from Austria-Hungary who were thereby put on their guard against intrigues financed by money supplied by the consuls.

But the American people forgot the Dumba incident, forgot that they had good cause to distrust Austria. Baron Zwiedinek took up Dumba’s work and carried it on with more circumspection. And in course of time Count Tarnowski landed here, a far more clever and dangerous man than the run of noblemen employed by the Vienna Foreign Office; the man who outplayed the Entente diplomats in Sophia and dragged Bulgaria into the war on the side of the Teutons.

Count Tarnowski comes of a well-known Polish family. He is a Slav by birth, and that was one of the main reasons why he was selected for the Washington post at this time. The fact is that Emperor Charles realizes the insecurity of his throne. Not that he fears much the chances of a revolution like the one which has just taken place in Russia. A revolution by the people is impossible without the co-operation of the army. The Hapsburg motto “Divide et impera”, setting soldiers of one race to watch the people of another race, works well in practice. Bohemians for instance cannot revolt, as long as their cities are garrisoned by German and Magyar soldiers. But the voice of ill-treated majority of the races of the monarchy has reached the councils of the Allies, and their peace terms note demands the disruption of the Hapsburg Empire; for in that step lies both the recognition of the rights of small nations, and the best safeguard against future aggression on the part of Germany.

This fear that the Allies will win and that their victory will put an end to the Hapsburg Empire dictates the new policy applied by Austria, of course with the full approval of Germany. The policy is this: to make it appear that a new regime has been installed in Austria by the new emperor, a regime of justice to all, recognition of the rights of subject races, a reconstruction of the Dual Empire on a federalistic basis. For that reason men with Slav names, Counts Czernin and Clam-Martinic, have been placed in the highest posts of the empire, and a Pole was selected to represent the monarchy in Washington. In addition to that a news bureau was organized in Vienna, copied after the Berlin Overseas News Agency, with the purpose of creating the impression that all is well on the Danube and everybody is satisfied with the existing Austrian rule. A branch bureau was opened in New York under the auspices of certain Jewish financiers whose sympathies are on the German side.

Deathbed repentance is proverbially suspicious. In this case the real facts contradict absolutely the claim that a rule of justice and equal rights for all has been inaugurated in Austria-Hungary under Emperor Charles. Political executions continue, parliamentary leaders of the Slavs are in jail;