Page:The Bohemians (Czechs) In The Present Crisis.djvu/11

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IN this war the Austrian government attempted to force the Czechs into a fratricidal struggle against kindred peoples and against those with whom the Czech people always were in sympathy.

Between the French and Bohemian peoples there always was a sympathetic understanding. These are days of many memories, and one of the occasions we should especially remember is last year's French offensive in the Champagne region where the French army attempted to throw back the German forces, and where in the fifteenth century also fell John of Luxemburg, King of Bohemia, fighting with the French at the head of a company of Bohemian nobles.

References to the battle of Cressy are frequent in Bohemian literature; it is always remembered whenever French and Bohemian sympathies are talked of. Czech members of the Bohemian diet in 1871 were the only members of any parliamentary body in the world to protest against the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine by Germany. There has always been an intellectual bond between the countries, and literature in the French language is perhaps translated into the Bohemian tongue more than that of any other.

Ernest Denis, the Frenchman, is also one of the greatest of historians of Bohemia.

These are matters of sentiment, of course, but this war has brought us to a realization that matters of sentiment and ideals have a practical value as well. It is really the sentiment of the world, perhaps as much as anything else, that makes today for the ultimate defeat of Germany.

French political ideals, as evolved during and as a result of the great French Revolution, have always been of importance in Bohemian political life, and as a matter of fact it may be said that the influence of the French encyclopedists was a potent factor in the revival of Czech nationality toward the end of the eighteenth and at the beginning of the nineteenth century.