The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 2/The Prague National Council
The Prague National Council.
While the Czechoslovak National Council under the presidency of Professor Masaryk has now been recognized by the four Great Allied Powers, a similar body has been formed in Prague, not in opposition to the Paris Council, but in full harmony and complete understanding with it, to play within the Czechoslovak lands the same role which the other Council under Masaryk’s leadership plays within the lands of the Entente. The formal constitution of the Prague body is merely one more step on the road to open rebellion in Bohemia. When the proper time comes, a body of men will be sitting in Prague whose authority every Czech will recognize.
We give an account of the formation of the Council and its program.
The inaugural meeting of the Czechoslovak National Council has been held in the House of Representatives in Prague. The proceedings were opened by the president of the Agrarian Party, M. Švehla, who gave a report as to the preparatory work and the program which led to the constitution of the committee. On the proposal of M. Staněk, the president of the Union of Czech deputies, Dr. Karl Kramář, the leader of the Independent Democratic Party, was elected president of the committee, M. Klofáč, leader of the National Socialists, and M. Švehla, vice-presidents, and Dr. Soukup, leader of the Socialists, secretary. Subsequently Staněk greeted the National Council in the name of the Czech Union as the supreme representative of the whole Czechoslovak nation, of all its classes and parties, and thereupon Dr. Soukup proposed a resolution which was carried unanimously and which read as follows:
“To the Czechoslovak nation:
“On the decision of all political parties, representing the united will of our whole nation, the Czechoslovak National Council has been formed today. The immense gravity of the present times and our common concern for the future fate of the Czechoslovak nation have united us in a common all-national organization.
“The ultimate aim of the Czechoslovak National Council in Prague is postulated by demand of these times to enlist for systematic work, to organize and lead the great spiritual, moral and national resources of the nation to that goal which is the sacred and inalienable right of every nation, and which cannot and will not be denied also to our nation—the right of self-determination in a fully independent Czechoslovak state with its own administration and its own house and under its own sovereignty.
“The Czechoslovak National Council wishes to interpret this will of the nation and to be the executive organ of all common historical declarations of its deputies which culminated in the solemn oath of April 13, 1918.
“Our work will not be easy. We shall have to suffer much more effrontery and we shall have to undergo another great test. But no obstacles are able to arrest our nation’s progress. In full mutual agreement with our delegates and with the whole cultural and economic Czech world, the Czechoslovak National Council will faithfully fulfill its difficult and responsible task, so that it may be truly said before the conscience of the nation and its history that we have done everything for the future of our nation that was in our human power.
“The unprecedented period of these historic times must find every man and woman of the Czechoslovak nation in their place, determined to help each other, imbued with the spirit of brotherhood in the present sufferings of these terrible days, and prepared for every sacrifice which the common national cause will require.
“We know that our whole nation stands behind the Czechoslovak National Council as one united rampart. Full of joy at the great political act which the constitution of the National Council represents, full of confidence in the victory of our common cause, we address today the whole Czechoslovak nation with an urgent appeal to support our work with all its strength, to obey all orders of common discipline and to follow firmly our common national aim.
“We hail our beloved nation which has been resurrected after many centuries by its own strength, and which will rise again as a free nation, equal to all other nations of the liberated humanity of the future.”}