The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/Czech Representatives Defy Austria

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The Bohemian Review, volume 1, no. 10 (1917)
Czech Representatives Defy Austria
2921914The Bohemian Review, volume 1, no. 10 — Czech Representatives Defy Austria1917

The Bohemian Review

Jaroslav F. Smetanka, Editor, 2324 South Central Park Avenue, Chicago.
Published by the Bohemian Review Co., 2627 S. Ridgeway Ave., Chicago, Ill.

Vol. I, No. 10. NOVEMBER 1917

10 cents a Copy
$1.00 per Year

Czech Representatives Defy Austria.

The second war session of the Austrian parliament has demonstrated to the world even better than the first that the Czechs constituting more than one fourth of the population have severed all ties binding them to the empire and the dynasty. All offers of compromise have been rejected with scorn, and the world is presented with the strange spectacle of a block of more than one hundred deputies proclaiming defiantly anti-Austrian sentiments almost before the eyes of the Austrian emperor.

The latest rebel speech made on behalf of the entire Czech Parliamentary Club was pronounced in the Reichsrat on September 26 by Father Zahradník, member of the Order of Premonstrates. The choice of the spokesman indicates that every class of the Bohemian people, including the faithful Catholics, have turned against Austria. After the exposition of the minister of finance which could not hide the miserable condition of the Austrian finances, deputy Zahradník spoke as follows:

“Since the Austrian political system is aimed against the Czech people, it is but natural that the Czeche refuse to have their fate determined in this parliament. The right to self-determination must he reserved to every nation. The ten million Czechoslovaks claim it. Whatever the Magyars may say, the Czechs will not abandon the Slovaks after their sacrifices. They will demand for them also the right to a national culture. It is true that the Czechs would welcome peace with open arms. But you must not forget that our people did not shed their blood for imperialism or Germanism. When the millions of men return from the front, they shall claim freedom and equal rights for themselves and they will demand that the bloody bath of the present war shall never again occur. We yearn for speedy peace, but an honorable peace of men and nations with equal rights, not a peace that would leave us in fetters. (Stormy applause from Czech benches.)

“The situation today with regard to peace constitutes a satisfaction for the Bohemian people who felt anything but joy, when war broke out. We are sorry that the pope forgot us. He mentioned the Poles, and now he has called Irish bishops to Rome, but he seems to know nothing about our nation. We shall get our rights without foreign assistance. Just as the Germans solemnly declared that they would not give in to the majority in Bohemia, so the Czechs will not bow before the majority in the Reichsrat. They will adhere to the last to their declarations made here in May. Their program is the same as the demands made by the Czech socialist representatives in Stockholm. An independent Bohemian State with all the attributes of sovereignty.

“The Czechs are convinced that the Bohemian problem is far too great to be solved in Vienna. It cannot disappear, it must be solved at the world congress.”

In harmony with the bold speech of the deputies is the action of the University of Prague in conferring anew the degrees of Doctor of Law upon deputies Kramář and Rašín who had been deprived of the degree and with it of the right to practice law at the time of their sentence for high treason. This was incidentally the third time that Rašín received the doctor’s degree having been deprived of it for the first time twenty-five years ago, also for political reasons. At his recent promotion Alois Rašín pronounced an address in which the German National Deputies Club saw glorification of treason. Rašín said in part:

“We did not fight for a passing right, our right has been guaranteed for centuries and is based upon our entire national history. The negation of that right by Austria was a contributing cause of the present war and of all these high treason prosecutions. For that right all our great men fought up to this day. Death had no terrors for them. The Bohemian people fight in this war for the right to dispose of themselves and for the liberty of Slavs. For that ideal we have fought and suffered, and for it we shall go on fighting until the end.”

How proud are the descendants of Bohemia in these United States of the noble courage of their kinsmen in the old country. The same love of liberty that actuated the heroes of the American Revolution is at the bottom of the boldness and the sacrifices of the Czechs. They are the leaders in revolt of the other oppressed Slavs of Austria. The sympathy of every liberty-loving American should be extended to the rebels of Bohemia.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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