The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 2/Austrian Slavs United
Austrian Slavs United.
The most cheering news received from Austria refers to the convention held in Laibach at the end of August by official delegates of Jugoslavs, Czechoslovaks and Poles. It was in a manner a continuation of the Prague manifestation of May 13th. This time the Jugoslavs were the hosts, and the Poles and Czechoslovaks were distinguished and welcome guests. The occasions of the meeting was the dedication of a memorial tablet to the Slovenien leader Krek, who had advocated in the Austrian parliament the idea of a union among the Slavs. Following the example of the Czechs the Jugoslavs elected a national council; its present seat is Laibach, but it will be transferred to Agram, as soon as the Croatians will elect their representatives. Just as in Bohemia, this council is intended to take charge of the situation in southern Austrian lands, when the expected revolution breaks out.
Polish representatives were as outspoken as the Czechs and Slovenians. Deputy Glombinski discussed the constitution of the future independent Polish, Czechoslovak and Jugoslav states, while Count Skarbek argued that the three Slav states must be erected in order to limit German aggression. Deputy Klofáč for the Czechoslovaks assured the assembly that the Czechs were getting ready for all eventualities, that they were absolutely united and that no one among them thought of negotiating with Vienna.
Although the British and American acts of recognition of the Czechoslovak National Council were received with a howl of indignation and sarcasm in the official Austrian press, it is evident that Vienna and Budapest are badly scared. In the hands of the pan-Germanists this feeling is expressed by threats of frightfulness. So Wichtl, a leading member of the German Radical Party, said in a speech in Styria: “What shall we do with the Slavs? Decimate them and break them up. The war is the best means to that end. That is why every German-thinking man must stand for the continuation of the war. . . .
The war annihilated at least 20 million Slavs. The Germans suffered relatively less owing to the fact that war is being exclusively fought on non-German soil. That was the greatest strategic and political move made by Emperor William and Hindenburg. If now war were carried to Czech soil, no German would burst into tears over it. The war will destroy Slav race to such an extent that they will not be able to recover within perceivable time. We Germans have annihilated Serbia, Montenegro and Russia. So shall we also deal with the Slavs of Austria-Hungary.”
The government, too, practices frightfulness as far as it dares. It knows now that it is useless to deny the fact of disaffection in the Austrian Army, as was its practice during the first three years of the war. Recently the Vienna papers published the names of 74 soldiers who were executed for treason, nearly all of them were Slavs. The paper also states that 17 men of the Czechoslovak Army in Italy captured by Austrians were executed, and a standing reward of 450 crowns and 14 days’ furlough is offered to any soldier who captures a member of the Czechoslovak Army.
At the front it may still be possible to enforce discipline, but in the interior the process of disorganization has gone so far that the most treasonable talk and open preparations for rebellion are ignored by the authorities. There is no class of the people on whom the helpless ministers can any longer rely. Government officials of Czech race and even the Catholic clergy in Bohemia, in spite of the pressure of German bishops, openly endorse the Czechoslovak Committee as the real Government of the people. Deputy Mashtalka who a year ago was opposed to a total break between the Czech deputies and the Government now returns to the emperor the order of the Iron Crown, being unwilling to wear any longer an Austrian decoration. In the country soldiers are stationed everywhere to watch the growing crops with orders to shoot hungry people who at night and even in daytime dig up a few potatoes.
The parliament is to meet early in October and the Austro-Hungarian delegations are also to deliberate on the common interest of the monarchy. We shall hear some revolutionary talk and shall probably see the Polish deputies under force of Polish public opinion make a common front with the rest of the Austrian Slavs. Austria is ripe for an explosion.
This work was published in 1918 and is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 104 years or less since publication.