Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/84

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nation, the entire future of the nation depends on the physical soundness and mental enlightenment of its women. For the girls who look so attractive in their uniforms and march with so much verve at the Bohemian national festivals will be the mothers of the future generation. The Sokol training which they undergo will bear fruit in the sound bodies and the sound minds of their children.

It would not do to leave the impression that the entire activity of the great Sokol organization is exhausted by enumeration of its physical training classes or description of its wonderful public exhibitions, such as those which took place in Prague at the Sixth All Sokol Meet in 1912. Sokols are active workers in the cause of popular education, they combat vicious literature and coarse entertainments, they oppose everywhere reactionary tendencies, fight for equal rights and freedom of all men; they are champions of democracy, ardent patriots in the cause of free Bohemia, and their institution is the principal tie that binds together the various branches of the Slav race. For today the Sokol idea has outgrown the narrow confines of the Bohemian lands, and there are Sokols among the Slovaks, Poles, Russians, Croatians, Serbians and even Bulgarians. Is there any wonder that when Austria, recklessly declared war upon Serbia and Russia, Bohemian Sokols would not fight against brother Slavs and brother Sokols? Today to be a Sokol in Bohemia is to be a suspect.

Tens of thousands of Czechs who could not breathe freely under the despotism practiced by Vienna found new homes in the greatest republic of the world. They brought with them the heritage of Tyrš, the Sokol idea, and on the free soil of America it grew into an imposing organization. The Sokol Union of America comprises nearly twelve thousand members, both immigrants and children of immigrants. For it is fact that the ideals for which the famous Bohemian organization stands harmonize wonderfully with the ideals and institutions of the United States. And it is of interest to note here that the national president of the Sokol Union, Joseph Čermák, is the author of the first Bohemian history of the United States.

Bohemian Sokols will fight joyfully and manfully under the stars and stripes. They see the war, just as President Wilson defined it—a struggle of democracy against autocracy, of civilization against militarism, of government by the people against government by crowned despots. American victory means the sweeping away not merely of Hohenzollerns, but of Hapsburgs also; and when the accursed race of the Hapsburgs is swept away, Bohemia will again come into its own.

The Present Status of the Bohemian Question.

For Austria the chief problem through out the greater part of the nineteenth century and the years that have passed by of our new century has been the Bohemian problem. For Europe this question might be said not to have existed until January 10 of this year, when the Allies in their famous answer to President Wilson declared that among the changes that will have to be made upon the conclusion of war must be the liberation of Czechs and their nearest kin, the Slovaks. For the first time since the thirty years’ war the fate of Bohemia came to be discussed on the international forum.

In the five months that have elapsed since the Allies’ note several events of the highest importance have occurred which necessarily have a bearing on the question of Bohemian independence. The Russian revolution and the entry of America into the war aside from their world significance affect closely the fate of Austria. The war has become definitely one of democracy against autocracy, and that means that if democracy wins, there will be no room for “monarchies”, as Austria-Hungary is officially known, especially monarchies that hang together only through common subjection to a ruler by divine grace and that would fall to pieces the moment that the force majeure holding them together is overthrown.

The Russian revolution had a double effect on the internal situation in Austria-Hungary. It made it clear on the one hand to Emperor Karl that concessions must be made to the Slavs of his empire. There has been for generations a very close intellectual and spiritual connection between the Slavs of Austria and the tremendous mass of Slavs of the Russian empire. Since 1867, when a great pilgrimage of Bohemians and other Slav subjects of Francis Joseph went to Moscow as a protest against the division of the Hapsburg empire into a German and a Magyar sphere, every significant movement in Russia found an echo in the mon-