The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 2/The great New York manifestation
THE GREAT NEW YORK MANIFESTATION.
Members of the oppressed races of Austria-Hungary filled to overflowing the auditorium of Carnegie Hall in New York on Sunday, September 15th and applauded speeches and resolutions demanding the break-up of Austria.
The speakers were Professor Thomas G. Masaryk, President of the Czechoslovak National Council, now recognized as the Czechoslovak Provisional Government; Ignace J. Paderewski, representative of the Polish National Committee to the United States; Lieutenant Vasile Stoica, President of the Rumanian National League of America; Pierre de Lanux of the French High Commission, and Dr. Hinko Hinkovitch, representative of the Jugoslav National Council.
Senator Gilbert M. Hitchcock, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was Chairman of the meeting, which was held under the auspices of the Four Minute Men, the Young Women’s Christian Association, the National War Savings Committee, the Young Men’s Christian Association, and the Mayor’s Committee on National Defense.
The meeting was of historic interest to the peoples of the oppressed nationalities of Austria-Hungary, for it was the first occasion on which representatives of the seven oppressed nations of Austria met on the common ground of war to the death against their common oppressor. The moment that Mr. Paderewski shook the hand of Professor Masaryk was of particular interest to the Czechoslovaks and the Poles, for it meant to them the realization of a dream of unity of the two great northern Slav peoples who once were free to govern themselves, but who both have been oppressed by foreign masters for many years. Denunciation of Austria-Hungary marked the addresses of all the speakers. President Wilson’s proclamation in favor of the rights of small nations to govern themselves was referred to many times and was always received with great applause by the audience.
Telegrams of sympathy were read from Secretary Franklin K. Lane of the Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, President Emeritus Charles W. Eliot of Harvard University and the Italian Ambassador, Count Macchi di Cellere. There was singing by the Rumanian Chorus and the Czechoslovak Chorus; Adam Didur of the Metropolitan sang a solo and a Serbian folksong was given by Obrad Djurin, a Serb.
A resolution was adopted calling for the dissolution of the present Austrian Empire, and the representatives of the oppressed nationalities pledged themselves to wrest from the aggressor the sovereignty unjustly and violently exercised over them.
“The primary object of this war is the dismem berment of Austria-Hungary,” asserted Professor Masaryk in his address. “There can be no solution of the Polish, Czechoslovak, Jugoslav, Rumanian, and other national questions if Austria continues to exist. There is an inner affinity between Austria and Germany. The spirit of Austria is the spirit of Germany, of which it has been said, by one of its poets, that it is a spirit-murderer. This spirit-murderer must be killed. That will be done if the Balkan nations form a barrier to Germany.
“You have read of the peace move of AustriaHungary. First Burian whined and cried for humanity. Where was Burian when 60,000 Slavs in Austria were decimated? This same Burian is the man who is credited with having aided in forcing the outrageous U-boat war.
“Now he and his fellows prate of humanity and of liberty. They will say to you that they accept President Wilson’s program. They will promise to and will pretend to make Alsace Lorraine semi-independent. But if you allow them to keep Austria intact and to exploit Russia they will go on and finish with the west as they did with the east. This war is not an isolated phenomenon, but is the push of Germany to the east.
Germany Must Be Crushed.
“Our Allies must not be bribed by this or by any other German and Austrian peace offers and the peace offers that are to follow. We will have to do a lot of fighting yet before Germany is crushed. Much must be done before Eastern Europe is reorganized. But it must be done. Every creation is difficult and so the restoration of humankind is a big and great task. The heads of the Allied govern ments must not shrink if they encounter difficulties. Thewell said that this war is the principle of Prussianism against the American principle. The war is a struggle for the rights and liberties of mankind. We accept this as your principle and we will fight with you to the end for this eternal principle.”
Mr. Paderewski made a fervent address in which he paid tribute to Professor Masaryk and to the Czechoslovak nation which is the first of the op pressed nationalities to be recognized officially by the United States and other Allied nations. On behalf of the Poles Mr. Paderewski said he was happy to see the re-entrance of “our brothers, the Czechoslovaks into the family of free nations.”
“We consider their success as our victory,” he added, “as the triumph of our own ideas and as an act of historic justice.” After speaking of the part played by the Czechoslovaks in the world of art, music, industry and poetry, the speaker turned to Professor Masaryk and exclaimed, “And we bow before their great illustrious leader, Thomas G. Masaryk.” The audience arose in tribute to the words of the representative of Poland.