The New Europe/Volume 3/Racial Demands in the Reichsrat

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3860257The New Europe, vol. III, no. 36 — Racial Demands in the Reichsrat1917

Racial Demands in the Reichsrat

The meeting of the Austrian Reichsrat on 30 May, after being suspended for over three years, was made the occasion for declarations of policy by all the leading racial groups in the House. All the groups—and especially the Jugoslavs—were aware that the conditions of the moment made it impossible for them openly to claim union with their brethren outside the Monarchy (e.g. with Serbia); hence the deliberate, but very perfunctory references to the Habsburg dynasty. We supply the full text of these declarations to show the difficulties which confront racial reconciliation in Austria-Hungary under its present constitution.

(1) Mr. Stanek, speaking in the name of the Czech League (in other words, of all the Czech parties in the Reichsrat, including the Social Democrats), read the following pronouncement: “The representatives of the Czech people from all three provinces of the Crown of St. Wenceslas, on entering the Reichsrat at a moment of world-historic importance in the war, in which the movement for removing the rule of one people over another has become generally accepted, make the following declaration:—

“The delegation of the Czech people is profoundly convinced that the present Dualistic form (of government) has, to the obvious injury of the general interest, created ruling and oppressed peoples, and that, with a view to removing every national privilege (Vorrecht) and ensuring the unhampered development of every people, it has become absolutely necessary in the interest of the Empire as a whole and of the dynasty to transform the Habsburg-Lorraine Monarchy into a federal State of free and equal national States. While taking our stand at this historic moment on the natural right of peoples to self-determination and free development—a right which, in our case, is further strengthened by inalienable historic rights, fully sanctioned by the State—we shall, at the head of our people, work for the union of all branches of the Czecho-Slovak people in a single democratic State, not neglecting that branch of the race which lives adjoining to the historic frontiers of our Bohemian Fatherland.”

(2) Mr. Korošec, in the name of the newly-formed Southern Slav Parliamentary Club (consisting of the Slovene, Croat and Serb deputies in Austria) read the following statement: “The undersigned deputies, united in the Southern Slav Club, declare that they will demand, on the basis of the national principle and of Croatian constitutional law, the union of all territories of the Monarchy inhabited by Slovenes, Croats and Serbs in an independent State organism, free from the rule of any foreign nation and resting on a democratic basis, under the sceptre of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty; and that they will devote all their energies to the realisation of this demand of their nation, which forms a single unit. With this qualification the undersigned will take part in the work of Parliament.”

(3) Dr. Petruszewycz, in the name of the twenty-four Ukrainian deputies from Galicia, read the following declaration: “With regard to the conditions created by the war and the new situation announced for Galicia by the Imperial Decree of 4 December, 1916, the representatives of the Ukrainian people in Austria consider it necessary to enter the following constitutional protest.

“‘1. The present Crown land of Galicia is an artificially-created administrative unit which conflicts with historic and national rights. By the October Diploma of 1860 and the February Patent of 1861 the historic Ukrainian Kingdom of Galicia and of Lodomeria was welded with the Duchy of Cracow and the principalities of Auschwitz and Zator into a constitutional unit; and this has always been regarded by the Ukrainian people as illegal and as a national outrage. In view of the historic events of to-day the representatives of the Ukrainian people lay special emphasis upon the inalienable constitutional rights of Galicia and Lodomeria; they demand the restoration of the Ukrainian territories as a constitutional unit within the framework of the State as a whole, and they solemnly protest against the intention of forcing these Ukrainian territories into further constitutional union with the Polish territories or of providing the latter with a special autonomy of its own.

“‘2. The representatives of the Ukrainian people protest against even the smallest portion of the Ukrainian territories of Cholm, Podlachia and Wolhynia ever being added to the kingdom of Poland which is in process of formation, and regard any attempt in this direction as an outrage upon the living body of the Ukrainian people, as a violation of its historic rights and a mockery of the principle of the self-determination of peoples.

“‘3. The representatives of the Ukrainians of Austria greet most heartily the efforts of the Ukrainians of Russia to secure the right of constitutional self-determination, and declare that they in Austria, too, will not abandon the struggle, so that the great Ukrainian nation may acquire the fullest rights upon the whole of its national territory.’”

(4) Herr Pacher (a member of the Pangerman group of Herr Wolf) read the following statement in the name of the German National League of the Christian Socialists and of those German Bohemian deputies who do not belong to any party club: “Bohemian constitutional law, by which millions of Germans in the Sudeten lands would be forced against their will into a new State formation, is not merely for them, but for all Germans of all countries and all parties, finally obsolete. Every attempt to revive Bohemian constitutional law, which above all conflicts with the rights of the Germans in Bohemia to national self-government, will meet with the sharpest possible resistance from all Germans. Further the constitutional aims openly revealed in the declarations of the Southern Slav deputies will meet with determined opposition from all Germans in Austria. That this question should have been raised at such a moment as the present, when the need of a strong unitary central State (Gesamistaat) has been demonstrated by the world-war, meets with our sharpest condemnation. The Reichsrat, which is called to work at the reconstruction of the State in the sense of unity and of solid fronts, must not have its time and energy used up by a dispute which has been proved to lead to nothing. Now more than ever all have to submit themselves to the State. We Germans do this, and will allow nothing to turn us from this duty, least of all the constitutional pronouncements which have been made to-day.”

This work was published before January 1, 1929 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.

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