Page:The New Europe - Volume 4.djvu/69

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26 July 1917]

[The New Europe


of confederation reduced to their own population of eight millions, and exceeded in numbers by the others. Consequently, they will fight with the utmost energy against real and effective federation.

The Austrian Germans, on their part, are even more incensed against political concessions, in the federalist sense, to the Slavs than the Germans of the Empire. They understand very well that the real federation of Austria would, as matters stand, give great predominance to the Slav element in opposition to the German, which is scattered in small fractions everywhere over the Slav territories, and which would necessarily be sacrificed to the majority principle. That is why the Austrian-Germans have always been much more uncompromising towards the other nations in Austria-Hungary than the Germans of the Empire themselves, and also why they are now defending themselves against real federation and ready rather to separate from the Monarchy altogether. Thus it has been easy for the Germans and Magyars to make the ruling circles in Vienna understand that the plans of the Slavs—whether they aim at federation or at independence—mean the end of the Monarchy. All the more, everyone knows that Galicia is from this day finally lost, even if the Emperor were to try a Slav federalist policy. It is clear at present that the Poles will not form part of a federal Austria, and the same thing is true of the Jugoslavs, who lean towards the Balkans, and finally of the Ruthenes, who after the secession of the Poles could not remain in Austria. The Czecho-Slovaks alone would remain in it. And what would their position be? Ten millions of Czecho-Slovaks beside 20 million Austro-Magyars; that is to say, a position infinitely more dangerous than before the war. In these circumstances they would not wish to remain in Austria-Hungary for anything in the world.

Again, to satisfy the Slavs and to initiate any process of constitutional reform inevitably opens the road to the dissolution of the Monarchy. The Germans, the Magyars, and the ruling classes thoroughly understand the position. They know that the Slavs cannot and will not yield. They know also that to attempt to establish a real federation would inevitably lead the uncontrolled force of the Slavs to strip their enemies first of all their privileges and then ultimately to quit the Monarchy. It is for that reason that they will