Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/65

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Prussia after the war. The greatest autocrat of them all, the Czar, had fallen, and even the Hapsburgs who, like the Bourbons, can learn nothing new, could read the warning.

It was the expectation of Charles that such a liberal offer on his part would bring promptly expressions of gratitude and loyalty from the richest parts of his dominions—the lands of the Bohemian crown. It should be kept in mind that attempts had been made previously by threats and promises to extort from the Czechs some public, authoritative pronouncement which could be used to stultify the campaign for Bohemian independence carried on beyond the boundaries of Mittel Europa. But even the promise of coronation did not bring the Czechs over to the side of Kaiser Karl.

The promise had been conveyed unofficially from the emperor himself to the two bodies which today have the right to speak for the Czechs—the Bohemian Club, comprising all deputies of Czech race to the Parliament of Vienna, with the exception of one social democrat and, of course, with the exception of the most prominent deputies who are in prison; and the National Council which consists of the big men of Bohemia and Moravia under the chairmanship of the veteran political leader Dr. Charles Matus. The offer was unanimously refused, or rather the message was received and no answer returned to it. It came too late.

War has made a chasm between the Bohemian nation and its rulers which cannot be bridged. The flower of Bohemian manhood, hundreds of thousands of them, have been sacrificed to the insane pride and lust of conquest of the degenerate family of Hapsburgs, thousands of cripples, of men maimed and blind, walk the streets of Prague: children are dying of want, and the leaders of the nation are in jail or on the gallows. Every Bohemian, be he rich or poor, professor or peasant, is convinced that all these horrors were foolishly and recklessly caused by the alien emperor and the archdukes and courtiers that surround him. To kiss the hand that smote them, when it offers alms? Never!

In all probability it matters little that the Bohemian nation spurned the rich bribe tendered them by the young emperor. He could not have carried out his word, even if we take it for granted that he would want to do so. Kaiser Karl is not a free agent; he is a dependent of Kaiser Wilhelm. Austria dances as Germany plays. There is no doubt, for instance, that Charles was anxious to avoid a break with the United States, but Germany needed a proof to convince the world that it can still dispose of the resources of Austria-Hungary, and Emperor Charles sent Penfield home. It is quite unlikely that Germany would have permitted Charles to establish a self-governing Bohemia on the road between Berlin and Vienna, and those who have lived in Vienna feel quite certain that the populace of the gay city would storm, the imperial castle and overthrow the monarchy before it would allow the “Czechische Hunde” to become masters in their own land. In fact, the latest cablegrams from Vienna state that pro-German ministers threatened to resign because they considered the German character of the monarchy endangered, but later they received guarantees that induced them to stay at their posts.

How long will it take America to realize the hopelessness of expecting any good to come out of the rotten empire of the Hapsburgs? The best intentions of the best ruler will not save him his heritage. The United States have much to learn from the experience of the Allies. Not the least is to acquire from them their view of the future of Austria-Hungary. It must pass away, in order that of its many races each may live under a government of its own choice.J. F. S.


Since the United States entered into the war, American editors pay somewhat more attention to the problem of reconstruction of Europe. Articles and editorials dealing with the changes which will have to take place in the international boundaries of Central and Eastern Europe are no longer rare events.

Looking at it from the Bohemian point of view we wish to record here several articles favorable to our cause. The Chicago Journal, a friend of Bohemia, has given again considerable space to news of the Czechs and their doings. The Dallas Evening Journal wrote editorially about the aspirations of Bohemians to independence, taking as its text Masaryk’s article in the Bohemian Review, and a really well informed and scholarly editorial appeared in the Detroit Journal, expressing sympathy in the aspirations of Czechs to independence.

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