The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 2/The United States of Cisleithania

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The Czechoslovak Review, volume 2, no. 10 (2)  (1918) 
The United States of Cisleithania

The United States of Cisleithania.

In view of the present loudly proclaimed intentions of the Austrian Government to realize at once that one of the fourteen demands of President Wilson relating to full self government for the nations of Austria-Hungary, an article published in the Czech paper Lidové Noviny more than two months ago (August 21, 1918) will be found of considerable interest. The article is entitled: The United States of Csileithania (Austria), and it reads as follows:

The daily “Czech” prints a report that Hussarek has in preparation a far-reaching change of the constitution in the direction of federalizing Cisleithania; according to this account Austria is to be changed into a federation of several national states. German papers reprint this and German deputies declare that there is nothing to it; everything is to remain the same, crown lands (provinces) will remain as they have been, only Bohemia will be divided, and stories of Hussarek’s radical plans, so all the Germans say, have as their only source the pious wishes of the Czechs.

We do not know the origin of these reports, and it may be that the Germans are right, and it may be that they arose simply out of pious wishes, but we know much that these pious wishes cannot be Czech, because the program described in the reports of Hussarek is far more unsatisfactory and unacceptable to the Czech nation than to the German.

If there are such pious wishes, they may be found only in the significant group of Czech activists among whom the clericals are the most numerous. Perhaps these opponents of the poltiics of our “Declarations” flew an experimental balloon to try out the domestic and Vienna air currents and to prepare the public for a new attempt at settlement between the Czechs and Vienna. The Germans turned it down, and the Czech public ignored the clerical report altogether which in this case amounts to something more than repection.

But however these stories may have arisen and whatever plans Hussarek might have, there must be something to these stories and that something, which happens to be two years old, is worth mentioning. Vienna has for sometime been willing to negotiate with Czech statesmen and this willingness has not disappeared in spite of all Czech refusal; on the contrary it grows and will grow still more through the effect of foreign happenings. Negotiations were possible even during Seydler’s administration, and they are possible with Hussarek, and the time is swiftly approaching, when Vienna will bend down to the Czech traitors with surprising condescension. Czech activists with clericals at their head have been looking for a long time to this negotiation and they look upon it as their coming hour. Several times they attempted to bring this hour nearer and to induce the Czech Club to meet the government half way, they negotiated behind the scenes in Vienna with all kinds of persons to enable Czech politics to reestablish the torn-down bridges; at meetings and in their press they systematically limited the Czech program and expounded it in a manner which breaks it down and makes it noxious. But Vienna and German politics are, thank God, so stupid that not only did they not support the endeavors of the Czech activist speculators, but crossed them and made them impossible, but this only strengthened the Czech nation in its determination not to abate a single letter, but to fight out this great fight finally and completely.

The possibility of negotiating with Vienna is here, it has been here for two years. All that is needed is for the Czech nation to give up Hungary and Slovakland, and it becomes possible at once to take seats around the green table. It is now even possible to lay down on the green table the demand for the Czech state; no one will any more jump up excitedly and no one will call it high treason (four lines confiscated).

We can get the Czech state within the frame of Cisleithania. We would have to leave forever the Hungarian third of our nation to the Magyars and give up all our claims to it, but in return for that the justice of the Czech state-rights purogram would be admitted and negotiations for its execution would be carried on with us. In the negotiations we would of course, be only one party, Vienna being the second and the Germans the third. And against the project of the Czech State the first condition to offset it would be the separation from the Czech lands of districts nationally mixed, having German character or merely German varnish. But what Vienna and the Germans consider to be German territory is very plainly shown by Seydler’s and Hussarek’s partition decrees. After we shall have thus permitted the cutting up of Czech lands, it would then be understood as a matter of course that the German minority in Czech territory would have to be safeguarded in all ways and endowed with every thing that they may still lack, under the guarantee of the Cisleithanian Empire. And of course it would be equally well understood that the language of the imperial authorities would be German, that Czech authorities would have to talk German with the empire, and that the speech of the empire could not be a foreign language in Czech territory but that Czech would be foreign in the Cisleithanian-German state. Foreign policies, politics, army, the most profitable taxes and economic interests connected with international economy would necessarily be within the scope of the empire—as to that it would be superfluous even to argue, and after we had conceded these few conditions we would reach our national ideal—the Czech state!

It does not matter, whether Hussarek has plans or not; if he has no such plans he will be ordered to have them when the right moment comes, or if not he, then his successor. The trap has been prepared for some time in Vienna and long ago agents were sent out to lead Czech politics to it. The present leaders of German politics are not opposed to this plan as strenuously as might seem, and their anxiety to get changes done by way of illegal decrees is nothing but an attempt to drive the Czechs to participate in the revision of the constitution unwillingly, when they refuse to do it willingly. They still fear the expression “Czech State” (four lines confiscated).

They will get reconciled with the horrible term and will support the attempt of the Government to give it such contents as the Germans need. The Czech traitors will be approached respectfully and kindly and will be offered a Czech State. And a handful of Czech activists will get busy with hands and feet, and supported by the government will make trmeendous noise crying that the time has come when our national aims are within reach. Then the statesmanship of Czech politicians will be on trial, then decisions will be made for centuries as to the fate of the Czech nation. Then all will depend as to whether the nation will answer firmly and unanimously: we speak only with him who will help us to obtain a sovereign Czechoslovak state within its historical boundaries. (One line confiscated). With him who will accept this foundation we are ready to negotiate about everything else, full of eagerness and good will; but with him who wants only to mutilate this program we do not speak, we cannot speak, we must not speak.

Even the word state may be an ambiguous word like the German phrase self-determination of nations. Vienna has already learned to speak of national self-determination, although she takes it for granted that she will determine the fate of Austrian nations for all ages. She will also learn to talk of the Czech and Jugoslav States, although it will never give up the Cisleithanian state. She will come late as always for even now it would have been too late for her to come. Nevertheless it is necessary that the people should be prepared. (The last 12 lines of this article confiscated).

This work was published before January 1, 1928 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 95 years or less since publication.