Independent Bohemia
Vladimir Nosek

Part 1 out of 3

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Kline and PG Distributed Proofreaders

[Illustration: Professor Thomas G. Masaryk]




Secretary to the Czecho-Slovak Legation in LONDON



In the following pages I have attempted to outline the story of our
movement for independence. The manuscript of this book was completed over
four months ago. Since then many important changes have occurred in the
international situation. Chapters in which we dealt with the then still
existing Dual Monarchy must of course be read in the past tense, since
Austria exists no more. And again, many things which we anticipated and
hoped for in the future have already become accomplished facts. However, I
trust that the story itself has not only lost none of its value thereby,
but has acquired an additional interest from a historical point of view.
Our aim of national independence, only quite recently declared by our
adversaries to be "an empty dream of moonstruck idealists," has become
to-day not only a practical proposition, but an accomplished fact. We have
our own army, which is by no means the smallest Allied army, and we also
have our own Provisional Government in Paris, recognised not only by the
Allies and by all Czecho-Slovaks abroad, but even by Czech leaders in
Bohemia, with whom we have since the beginning of the war worked in
complete harmony and understanding. The organisation of our independent
State is rapidly proceeding. Austria-Hungary, exhausted economically and
bankrupt politically, has fallen to pieces by the free-will of her own
subject peoples, who, in anticipation of their early victory, broke their
fetters and openly renounced their allegiance to the hated Habsburg and
Hohenzollern rule, even before Austria had actually surrendered to
the Allies.

Events have moved rapidly in Austria, especially since the momentous
British declaration of August 9, 1918, recognising the
Czecho-Slovaks--those resident in the Allied countries as much as those in
Bohemia--as an Allied nation, and the Czecho-Slovak National Council--in
Paris as well as in Prague--as the Provisional Government of Bohemia.
British statesmen already then foresaw the coming collapse of Austria and
acted accordingly. It is also no more a secret to-day that because of the
promulgation of the British and United States declarations our Council was
able to conclude special conventions with all the Allied Governments during
September last, whereby all the powers exercised by a real government have
been granted to it.

In the meantime Germany had been losing more and more control over her
allies, being herself hard pressed on the Western front, and the
consequence of this was a growing boldness on the part of the Austrian
Slavs. On October 2 deputy Stanek declared in the name of the whole Czech
deputation that the National Council in Paris were their true spokesmen and
representatives with whom Austria would have to negotiate. Soon afterwards
the Austrian Poles went to Warsaw, where they formed a new all-Polish
Government, and the Southern Slavs entrusted the government of their
territories to their National Council in Zagreb. Similar councils were
formed also by the Ruthenes and Rumanians. On October 14 the Czecho-Slovak
National Council in Paris constituted itself as a Government of which the
Council in Prague acts as an integral part. The latter took over the reins
of government in Bohemia a fortnight later. On October 19 the Czecho-Slovak
Council issued a Declaration of Independence which we publish in the
Appendix, and from which it will be seen that Bohemia will be progressive
and democratic both in her domestic and foreign policy. A glorious future
is no doubt awaiting her. She will be specially able to render an immense
service to the League of Nations as a bulwark of peace and conciliation
among the various peoples of Central Europe.

The break-up of Austria will, of course, affect enormously the constitution
of the future Europe, and in our last chapter we have tried to give an
outline of these impending changes of conditions and international
relations. The break-up of Austria was bound to come sooner or later,
whether some misinformed critics or prejudiced pro-Austrian politicians
liked it or not. We ourselves were always convinced, and we declared
openly, that Austria could not survive this war, because she was at war
with the majority of her own subjects, who wished for nothing more than for
her destruction. Unfortunately the fact that the sympathies of the thirty
million of Austrian Slavs and Latins were on the side of the Entente,
constituting such an incontestable moral asset for the Allies as it does,
has not always been fully appreciated by Allied public opinion. We
ourselves, however, never doubted for a moment that the Allied cause would
ultimately triumph and that we would achieve our independence, because we
knew that in struggling for this aim we were only carrying out the
unanimous will of our whole nation. Without waiting for any pledges,
without regard as to which side would be victorious, our nation has from
the beginning staked its all on the Allied victory and has contributed with
all its powers to hasten it. Despite all adverse circumstances, our people,
at first completely at the mercy of their enemies, ruthlessly persecuted
and tortured by them, nevertheless remained firm and resolute. Their
attitude was most outspoken and courageous at all times, and they have also
rendered the Allies active assistance, which is being duly appreciated by
them. It is chiefly due to the efforts of the subject peoples themselves,
of whom the Czechs have certainly been the most outspoken, that the
collapse of Austria has occurred, which finally sealed the fate of
Kaiserism and of the Pan-German plans of Mitteleuropa.

To-day our hopes for a better future are at last being fulfilled as a
result of the Allies' complete victory, assuring the creation of a new and
just international order. Our much-afflicted yet undaunted people already
consider themselves as independent. The Peace Conference, at which the
Czecho-Slovak Government will be represented, will only confirm the
existence of an independent Czecho-Slovak State.

In conclusion, we should like to express our deep gratitude to all our
English friends for their valuable assistance in our struggle for the
realisation of our ideals. We especially wish to thank once more the
British Government for the generous step taken by them in recognising us as
an Allied and belligerent nation. It was chiefly because of this
recognition and of the gallant deeds of our army that we achieved all our
subsequent diplomatic and political successes. We may assure Great Britain
that the Czecho-Slovaks will never forget what they owe to her, and that
they will endeavour to do their best to merit the trust so generously
placed in them.


_November_, 1918.

[Illustration: The International Position Of The Czecho Slovak Republic In
Future Europe]


_(a)_ Czech Deputies and Leaders imprisoned and sentenced to Death;
_(b)_ Monster Trials, Arbitrary Executions, Internment of Civilians,
_(c)_ Persecution of the Press;
_(d)_ Reichsrat Interpellations.
_(a)_ Czech Declaration of May 30, 1917;
_(b)_ Courageous Speeches delivered by Czech Deputies in the Reichsrat;
_(c)_ After the Amnesty;
_(d)_ During Peace Negotiations with Russia;
_(e)_ The Constituent Assembly of Prague on January 6, 1918;
_(f)_ The Oath of the Czecho Slovak Nation;
_(g)_ The Slovaks' Attitude;
_(h)_ The Czecho-Slovak National Council in Prague.
_(a)_ The Congress of Rome;
_(b)_ The May Manifestations in Prague.





1. The Habsburg Empire is built upon centuries-old traditions of reaction
and violence. Its present power is chiefly based on the alliance which
Bohemia and Hungary concluded with Austria against the Turkish peril in
1526. The Czechs freely elected the Habsburgs to the throne of Bohemia
which remained a fully independent state, its alliance with Austria and
Hungary being purely dynastic. But soon the Habsburgs began to violate the
liberties of Bohemia which they were bound by oath to observe, and this led
finally to the fateful Czech revolution of 1618. At the battle of the White
Mountain in 1620 the Czechs suffered a defeat and were cruelly punished for
their rebellion. All their nobility were either executed or sent into
exile, and their property confiscated. The country was devastated by the
imperial hordes, and its population was reduced from 3,000,000 to 800,000
during the Thirty Years' War.

In 1627 Ferdinand II. greatly curtailed the administrative rights of
Bohemia, yet he did not dare to deprive her entirely of her independence.
In his "Renewed Ordinance of the Land" Ferdinand declared the Bohemian
crown to be hereditary in the House of Habsburg, and reserved legislative
power to the sovereign. But otherwise the historical rights of Bohemia
remained valid, notwithstanding all subsequent arbitrary centralising
measures taken by the Habsburgs. Bohemia's rights were repeatedly
recognised by each succeeding Habsburg. Legally Bohemia is an independent
state to-day.

The heavy persecutions inflicted upon Bohemia had a disastrous effect upon
her intellectual life and national development which were completely
paralysed until the end of the eighteenth century, when owing to the
humanitarian ideals of those times, and as a reaction against the
Germanising centralistic efforts of Joseph II., the Czechs again began to
recover their national consciousness. This revival marked the beginning of
the Czecho-Slovak struggle for the re-establishment of their independence.
The movement was at first literary, and only in the forties became
political. It was a continuous struggle against reaction and absolutism,
and if the Czecho-Slovaks to-day can boast of an advanced civilisation, it
is only owing to their perseverance and hard endeavours, and not because of
any good-will on the part of the Austrian Government which put every
possible obstacle in their way.

2. _The present Austria-Hungary_ is primarily a dynastic estate, for the
crown was always its supreme political driving force, although at present
the Habsburgs are mere slaves of their masters, the Hohenzollerns. It is
this characteristic which justifies us in concluding that Austria is an
autocratic state _par excellence_. If there were no other reason, this
should be sufficient to make every true democrat an enemy of Austria.
Furthermore, it is this characteristic which makes us comprehend why the
Habsburg monarchy is fighting side by side with German autocracy and
imperialism against the allied democracies of the world.

Notwithstanding the so-called constitution which is a mere cloak for
absolutism, the monarch in Austria is emperor by "Divine Right" alone, and
is the absolute master of his subject peoples in virtue of his privileged
position which confers on him an inexhaustible amount of power and
influence. The internal as well as the foreign policy of the monarchy is
directed in the real or supposed interests of the dynasty. The principle
_divide et impera_ is its leading idea in internal politics, and the
increase of dynastic power in foreign policy. The question of war and peace
is decided by the emperor, to whom it also appertains to order matters
concerning the management, leadership and organisation of the whole army.
And though in Hungary the power of the monarch largely depends on the
Budapest Parliament, yet even here the constitutional power of the dynasty
is enormous, the King of Hungary being a governing and legislative factor
by no means inferior to that of the parliament.

Even when attempts were made at enfranchising the masses (as in 1896 and
finally in 1905), the motive again was purely dynastic. Such constitutional
measures as were taken, only strengthened racial dissensions and were
equally insincere and inefficient. The present constitution of 1867, as
well as the previous constitutions of 1849, 1860 and 1861, was granted by
the crown, to whom it was reserved to reverse or modify the same. The
parliament is absolutely powerless in Austria. It is a mere cloak for
absolutism, since the famous Paragraph 14 provides for absolutist
government by means of imperial decrees without parliament in case of
emergency. The dynasty took ample advantage of this clause during the first
three years of this war when absolutism and terrorism reigned supreme in
the Dual Monarchy. While since 1861 up to the beginning of the war 156
imperial decrees had been issued, fully 161 have been passed during the
first three years of the present war.

The arbitrary power of the dynasty is based: upon the organisation of the
army, the leadership of which is entrusted to the Germans; upon the feudal
aristocracy who are the only real Austrians, since they have no
nationality, though they invariably side with the dominant Germans and
Magyars; upon the power of the police who form the chief instrument of the
autocratic government and who spy upon and terrorise the population; upon
the German bureaucrats who do not consider themselves the servants of the
public, but look upon the public as their servant, and whose spirit of
meanness and corruption is so characteristic of the Austrian body politic;
finally, the dynasty relies upon the Catholic hierarchy who hold vast
landed property in Austria and regard it as the bulwark of Catholicism, and
who through Clericalism strive for political power rather than for the
religious welfare of their denomination. In alliance with them are the
powerful Jewish financiers who also control the press in Vienna and
Budapest. Clearly Austria is the very negation of democracy. It stands for
reaction, autocracy, falsehood and hypocrisy, and it is therefore no
exaggeration to say that nobody professing democratic views can reasonably
plead for the preservation of this system of political violence.

When we remember the enormous power of the dynasty and the political system
which supports it, we understand why in the past Austria has always played
the part of the most reactionary, autocratic and tyrannic state in Europe.
Hopes have indeed been expressed by some Austrophils in the good-will of
the new Austrian Emperor on account of his amiable character. The Slavs
have ample reason to distrust the Habsburgs who have proved to be
treacherous autocrats in the past, and whose records show them as an
incapable and degenerate family. As a political power Kaiser Karl is the
same menace to his subject Slavs as his predecessors. Above all, however,
he is of necessity a blind tool in the hands of Germany, and he cannot
possibly extricate himself from her firm grip. The Habsburgs have had their
chance, but they missed it. By systematic and continuous misgovernment they
created a gulf between the Slavs and themselves which nothing on earth can
remove. Every Habsburg believes he has a "mission" to fulfil. The only
mission left for Kaiser Karl is to abdicate and dissolve his empire into
its component parts. There is no reason whatever why Austria should be
saved for the sake of the degenerate and autocratic Habsburg dynasty.

3. Let us now examine the much misunderstood racial problems of the Dual
Monarchy. There is no Austrian nation, since there is no Austrian language.
Austria is a mere geographical expression. In fact the Slavs, constituting
the majority of Austrian subjects, would think it an insult to be called
Austrians. During the war they have been treated as subjects of an enemy
state, and to-day they have no part or lot with Austria. The Czech
statesman Rieger once declared that when the Slavs no longer desired the
existence of Austria, no one would be able to save her. And indeed, the
claims raised by the majority of Austria's population to-day mean the death
warrant of the Dual Monarchy.

To get a clear idea of the racial issue, we will quote the official
Austrian statistics, which tell us that in Austria-Hungary there are:

SLAVS: Million. Million. Million. Million. Million.

Czecho-Slovaks 6.4 2 -- 8.4
Yugoslavs 2 3 1.8 6.8
Poles 5 -- -- 5
Ruthenes 3.5 0.5 -- 4
-- 24.2
Italians 0.8 -- -- 0.8
Rumanians 0.3 2.9 -- 3.2
-- 4
GERMANS 10 2 -- 12
MAGYARS -- 10 -- 10
OTHERS 0.6 0.4 -- 1

28.6 20.8 1.8 51.2

Thus it appears that the Slavs alone (without Italians and Rumanians) form
about 48 per cent. of the total population. The Germans form only 24 per
cent. of the population of Austria-Hungary, while in Hungary proper the
dominant Magyars do not form quite 50 per cent. of the population. The
predominance of the German and Magyar minorities is apparent not only from
the fact that they hold the reins of government, but also from their unfair
proportional representation in both parliaments. Thus instead of 310 seats
out of 516 in the Reichsrat the Slavs hold only 259, while the Germans hold
232 instead of 160. By gaining 83 Polish votes in return for temporary
concessions, the Germans have thus always been in the majority in the
Reichsrat in the past. In Hungary the proportion is still more unjust. The
Magyars hold 405 seats instead of 210 in the parliament of Budapest out of
the total number of 413, while the non-Magyars, entitled according to their
numbers to 203 seats, have in reality only five representatives in the
"democratic" parliament of Budapest.

All the above calculations are based upon official statistics which are
grossly exaggerated in favour of the Germans and Magyars. The picture would
be still more appalling if we took into consideration the actual number of
the Slavs. The Austrian census is not based upon the declaration of
nationality or of the native language, but upon the statement of the
"language of communication" ("Umgangsprache"). In mixed districts economic
pressure is brought against the Slavs, who are often workmen dependent upon
German masters and bound to declare their nationality as German for fear
they should lose their employment. From private statistics it has been
found that the percentage of Germans in Bohemia can hardly exceed 20 per
cent, as against 37 per cent, given by the official census. Still greater
pressure is brought to bear against the Slavs by the Magyars in Hungary,
who are famous for the brutal methods in which they indulge for the purpose
of shameless falsification of their official statistics. Thus the actual
strength of the rival races of Austria-Hungary may with every justification
be estimated as follows:

Czecho-Slovaks 10 million \
Yugoslavs 7-1/2 " |
> 27 million
Poles 5 " |
Ruthenes 4-1/2 " /
Italians 1 million \
> 5 "
Rumanians 4 " /
GERMANS 10 " \
> 18 "
51 million

4. The rule of the German-Magyar minority over the Slav and Latin majority,
finally established by the introduction of dualism in 1867, was made
possible only by the demoralising system of violence described above. One
race was pitted against the other in Austria and this enabled the Germans
to rule them better, while the Magyars in Hungary, by keeping their subject
races in the darkness of ignorance and by using the most abominable methods
of violence, succeeded in securing for themselves the entire monopoly of
government. The Magyars, who are a race of Asiatic origin, are truly the
faithful descendants of the ancient Huns, and true allies of the Huns
of to-day.

When Kossuth came to England in 1848, he was hailed as the champion of
freedom and liberty, and entranced his audiences in London and other
English cities by his remarkable oratory. As a matter of fact Kossuth,
though called "the father of the Magyars," was himself a denationalised
Slovak; instead of a "champion of liberty," he might with much greater
justification have been called the champion of the greatest racial tyranny
in Europe. For even then, while fighting for their own liberty and for the
independence of Hungary, the Magyars denied the most elementary political
and national rights to the other peoples living in Hungary.

In 1910 there were 2,202,165 Slovaks in Hungary according to the official
census. These two million Slovaks had only two deputies (Dr. Blaho and
Juriga), while the 8,651,520 Magyars had 405 seats, so that every Slovak
deputy represented one million electors, every Magyar deputy, however,
21,000. As regards administration, all civil service officials in Hungary
have to be of Magyar nationality. The cases of persecution for political
offences are innumerable: Slovak candidates were prevented from being
elected by being imprisoned. Corruption and violence are the two main
characteristics of all elections in "democratic" Hungary. Even to-day when
some Radicals in Budapest talk of electoral reform, they want suffrage to
be extended to Magyar electors only, and also stipulate that the candidates
shall be of Magyar nationality. No Magyar politicians will ever abandon the
programme of the territorial integrity of Hungary, their aims being
expressed in the words of Koloman Tisza: "For the sake of the future of the
Magyar State it is necessary for Hungary to become a state where only
Magyar is spoken. To gain the Slovaks or to come to a compromise with them
is out of the question. There is only one means which is
effective--Extirpation!" And this aim the Magyars have faithfully kept
before them for at least the last hundred years.

In the same way also the economic development of the non-Magyar
nationalities has been systematically hampered, because the Magyars know
that economic dependence means also political subservience. The Slovaks and
Rumanians are not allowed to found co-operative societies or banks on the
ground that such institutions "are opposed to the interests of the elements
which hold the Magyar State together."

But it is not only the non-Magyars who suffer. The Magyar working classes
and the majority of the Magyar country people themselves are deprived of
political rights, for Hungary is ruled by an oligarchy and scarcely 5 per
cent. of the population has the suffrage right.

We may say, therefore, without exaggeration that to-day Hungary is the most
reactionary country of Europe. Nowhere else (not even in Prussia) have the
people so little power as in Hungary, where the Socialists have not a
single seat in parliament. The "politics" in Hungary are the privilege of a
few aristocrats. Hungary is a typical oligarchic and theocratic state.

When the Magyars plead to-day for "peace without annexations" and for the
integrity of Hungary, they want to be allowed to continue to oppress and
systematically magyarise the Slavs and Rumanians of Hungary. The triumphant
allied democracies will not, however, stoop before autocratic Hungary. The
dismemberment of Hungary, according to the principle of nationality, is a
_sine qua non_ of a permanent and just peace in Europe.

5. The four strongest races in Austria-Hungary, then, are the Germans,
Magyars, Czecho-Slovaks and Yugoslavs, numbering from eight to ten million
each. The Austrian Germans and the Magyars occupy the centre, while the
Czecho-Slovaks inhabit the north (Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakia),
and the Yugoslavs ten provinces in the southern part of the monarchy. In
order to facilitate German penetration and domination and to destroy the
last remnants of Bohemia's autonomous constitution, the Austrian Government
attempted, by the imperial decree of May 19, 1918, to dismember Bohemia
into twelve administrative districts with German officials at the head, who
were to possess the same power to rule their respective districts as had
hitherto appertained only to the Governor (Statthalter) of Bohemia, legally
responsible to the Bohemian Diet.

But not only are the Czecho-Slovaks and Yugoslavs divided between both
halves of the monarchy and among numerous administrative districts which
facilitate German penetration. Dissensions were fomented among the
different parties of these two nations and religious differences exploited.
The Yugoslavs, for instance, consist of three peoples: the Serbs and
Croats, who speak the same language and differ only in religion and
orthography, the former being Orthodox and the latter Catholic; and the
Slovenes, who speak a dialect of Serbo-Croatian and form the most western
outpost of the Yugoslav (or Southern Slav) compact territory. It was the
object of the Austrian Government to exploit these petty differences among
Yugoslavs so as to prevent them from realising that they form one and the
same nation entitled to independence. At the same time Austria has done all
in her power to create misunderstandings between the Slavs and Italians,
just as she tried to create dissensions between Poles and Ruthenes in
Galicia, and between Poles and Czechs in Silesia, well knowing that the
dominant races, the Germans and Magyars, would profit thereby. Fortunately
the war has opened the eyes of the subject peoples, and, as we shall show
later on, to-day they all go hand in hand together against their common
enemies in Berlin, Vienna and Budapest.



In order to understand fully what is at stake in this war and why the Slavs
are so bitterly opposed to the further existence of Austria-Hungary, it is
necessary to study the foreign policy of the Central Powers during the past
century. The "deepened alliance" concluded between Germany and
Austria-Hungary in May, 1918, resulting in the complete surrender of
Austria's independence, is in fact the natural outcome of a long
development and the realisation of the hopes of Mitteleuropa cherished by
the Germans for years past. The scares about the dangers of "Pan-slavism"
were spread by the Germans only in order to conceal the real danger of

1. The original theory of Pan-Germanism was the consolidation and unity of
the whole German nation corresponding to the movement of the Italians for
national unity. In fact it was a German, Herder, who first proclaimed the
principle of nationality and declared the nation to be the natural organ of
humanity, as opposed to the idea of the state as an artificial
organisation: "Nothing seems to be so opposed to the purpose of government
as an unnatural extension of territory of a state and a wild confusion of
holding different races and nations under the sway of a single sceptre." It
was this humanitarian philosophy recognising the natural rights of all
nations, great or small, to freedom which inspired the first Czech
regenerators such as Dobrovský, Jungman and Kollár.

The legitimate claims of the Germans to national unity became unjust and
dangerous for Europe when the Germans began to think of subduing the whole
of Central Europe to their hegemony, which meant the subjugation of some
100 million Slavs and Latins. At first it was Austria which, as the head of
the former Holy Roman Empire, and the traditional bulwark of Germany in the
east (Osterreich--an eastern march), aspired to be the head of the
Pan-German Empire. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Austrian Emperor
became the head of the German Confederation. Prussia at that time entirely
gave way and left the leadership to Metternich's system of absolutism.

By and by, it became obvious that Austria was, on account of her non-German
population, internally weak, condemned to constant employment of violence
and reaction, and therefore unfit to stand at the head of a strong modern
Pan-Germany. Prussia therefore, as the greatest of the homogeneous German
states, became Austria's rival and was accepted by the Frankfurt Assembly
as the leader of the Confederation. The rivalry between Austria and Prussia
ended in 1866, when after Austria's defeat the clever diplomacy of Bismarck
turned the rivalry between Austria and Prussia into friendship. Since the
Germans in Austria began to feel their impotence in the face of the growing
Slav power, a year later the centralising efforts of the Habsburgs were
finally embodied in the system of dualism which gave over the Slavs and
Italians in Austria to German hegemony and the Slavs and Rumanians in
Hungary to Magyar tyranny. For the support of this hegemony the Austrian
Germans and Magyars, whose ambitions are identical with those of Germany,
were entirely dependent on Berlin. Thus Austria-Hungary became inevitably
Germany's partner and vanguard in the south-east. Finally, the present war
was started by the Germans and Magyars with the object of achieving the
ambitious plans preached and expounded by Pan-German writers for years
past. The Germans wanted at all costs to become the masters of Central
Europe, to build an empire from Berlin to Bagdad, and finally to strike for
world domination.

2. In this turn of events Magyar influence played a greater part than might
be thought. Already in 1848 Kossuth defined the Hungarian foreign policy as

"The Magyar nation is bound to maintain the most cordial relations with
the free German nation and help it in safeguarding Western

And while the Hungarian Slavs were prohibited from attending the Pan-Slav
Congress held in Prague in 1848, the Magyars sent two delegates to
Frankfurt in order to give practical expression to the above Magyar policy.

The value of Hungary for the Pan-German plans has been expressed by
Friedrich List who, in 1862, dreamt of "a powerful oriental German-Magyar
Empire," and declared:

"The way towards the realisation of this plan runs through Hungary, and
while without Hungary we can do nothing, with her aid we can do
everything. Hungary is for Germany the clue to Turkey and the Near
East, and at the same time a bulwark against a superior power from the

The Magyars realised from the beginning the importance of an understanding
between themselves and Prussia, and they directed their foreign policy
accordingly. The setting up of dualism in 1867, which finally established
the German-Magyar hegemony in Austria-Hungary in the interests of Prussia,
was the work of two Magyars--Julius Andrassy and Francis Deak, who took
advantage of Austria's defeat at Sadova to further their interests. In
1870, when Vienna contemplated revenge against Prussia, the Magyars again
intervened in favour of Prussia. When questioned as to Hungary's attitude,
Andrassy, then Premier, declared in the Hungarian Parliament that under no
circumstances would he allow any action against Prussia, and exerted all
his influence in Vienna to that effect. It was also due mainly to Magyar
influence that all attempts of the Czechs to weaken German influence in
Austria were frustrated. Francis Joseph always promised to be crowned King
of Bohemia when he wished to placate the Czechs in times of stress for
Austria: in 1861, 1865, 1870 and 1871. But he never carried out his
promises. In this he was guided not only by considerations of dynastic
interest, but also by the advice of the Magyars.

But the most decisive and fateful exercise of Magyar influence upon
Austria's foreign policy occurred in 1879, when the Austro-German Alliance
was finally concluded. This was equally the work of Bismarck, who spared
the defeated Austria in order to make an ally of her, and of a
Magyar--Count Andrassy--who from 1871 to 1879 was the Austro-Hungarian
Foreign Minister. It was this Magyar help which made Bismarck utter words
of gratitude and declare in 1883:

"Our political judgment leads us to the conviction that German and
Magyar interests are inseparable."

It is true that there always was a Magyar opposition against Austria
(though never against Prussia). But this opposition was used as a weapon to
extort concessions from Austria. At the bottom of their hearts, however,
the Austrian Germans were always at one with the Magyars in their common
desire to oppress the Slavs. And the responsibility of Count Tisza for the
present world catastrophe is just as great as that of the Kaiser himself.

3. The Czechs saw clearly the progress of events. Bismarck was well aware
of the importance of Bohemia, for he declared that the master of Bohemia
would become the master of Europe. He did not desire to annex any Austrian
territory, since he knew that sooner or later Germany would swallow the
whole of Austria, as she has done in this war. Indeed, at the Congress of
Berlin in 1878, Bismarck did not conceal his intention of using
Austria-Hungary in Germany's interests. At the bottom of his heart he was
at one with the radical Pan-German writers, like Lagarde, Treitschke,
Mommsen, Naumann and others, who openly declared that the Slavs should be
subjugated and the Czechs, as the most courageous and therefore the most
dangerous of them, crushed.

The Slavs always bitterly opposed the encroachments of Germanism, and saw
in it their chief enemy. The Czech leader Palacký rejected the invitation
to Frankfurt in 1848 and summoned a Slav Congress to Prague. It is true
that Palacký at that time dreamt of an Austria just to all her nations. He
advocated a strong Austria as a federation of nations to counterbalance
Pan-Germanism. Yet at the same time Palacký has proved through his history
and work that Bohemia has full right to independence. He was well aware
that a federalistic and just Austria would have to grant independence to
the Czecho-Slovaks. But later on he gave up his illusions about the
possibility of a just Austria, when he saw that she abandoned the Slavs
entirely to German-Magyar hegemony, and declared that Bohemia existed
before Austria and would also exist after her. In 1866 he wrote:

"I myself now give up all hope of a long preservation of the Austrian
Empire; not because it is not desirable or has no mission to fulfil,
but because it allowed the Germans and Magyars to grasp the reins of
government and to found in it their racial tyranny."

Exasperated by the pact of dualism which the Czechs never recognised,
Palacký went to Moscow and on his return declared:

"I have already said that I do not cherish any hopes of the
preservation of Austria, especially since the Germans and Magyars made
it the home of their racial despotism; the question therefore as to
what will happen to the Slavs hitherto living in Austria is not without
significance. Without attempting to prophesy future events which for a
mortal man it is difficult to foreshadow, I may say from my inner
conviction that the Czechs as a nation, if they fell under the
subjection of either Russia or Prussia, would never rest contented. It
would never fade from their memory that according to right or justice
they should be ruled by themselves, that is by their own government and
by their own sovereign. They would regard the Prussians as their deadly
enemies on account of their germanising rage. But as to the Russians,
the Czechs would regard them as their racial brothers and friends; they
would not become their faithful subjects, but their true allies and, if
need be, vanguards in Europe."

Moreover, modern Czech politicians always clearly saw what the Germans were
aiming at. Dr. Kramár, for instance, foresaw the present situation with
remarkable perspicacity. In the _Revue de Paris_ for February, 1899, he
wrote on "The Future of Austria," declaring that her subject nationalities
should be on guard lest she should become a vassal of Germany and a bridge
for German expansion into Asia:

"The Austrian Germans wish to see Austria subordinated to German
policy, and with the help of a subordinated Austria, the sphere of
German political and economic activity would extend from Hamburg to
Asia Minor."

Similarly also he warned Great Britain in the _National Review_ for
October, 1902, that if Pan-German plans were realised,

"Austria would become an appanage of Germany as regards international
relations, and the policy of Europe would be obliged to reckon, not
with a free and independent Austria, but, owing to Austria's
unconditional self-surrender, with a mighty, almost invincible
Germany.... The Pan-Germans are right, the Czechs are an arrow in the
side of Germany, and such they wish to and must and will remain. Their
firm and unchangeable hope is that they will succeed in making of
themselves an impenetrable breakwater. They hope for no foreign help;
they neither wish for it nor ask for it. They have only one desire,
namely, that non-German Europe may also at last show that it
understands the meaning of the Bohemian question."

In 1906 Dr. Kramár wrote again in detail on the plans of German domination
in Central Europe, in the Adriatic and in the Near East. In a book on Czech
policy he declared that to prevent the realisation of these plans was the
vital interest of the Czech nation: "A far-seeing Austrian policy should
see in the Czech nation the safeguard of the independence of the State."
And then followed the famous passage which formed part of the "evidence"
quoted against him during his trial for high treason:

"If Austria-Hungary continues her internal policy by centralising in
order to be better able to germanise and preserve the German character
of the State, if she does not resist all efforts for the creation of a
customs and economic union with Germany, the Pan-German movement will
prove fatal for her. To preserve and maintain a state the sole ambition
of which was to be a second German State after Germany, would be
superfluous not only for the European Powers, but also for the
non-German nations of Europe. _And if, therefore, a conflict should
break out between the German and the non-German world and the definite
fate of Austria should be at stake, the conflict would surely not end
with the preservation of Austria_."

And on November 10, 1911, he admitted that his former hopes for the
destruction of the Austro-German Alliance and a rapprochement between
Austria and Russia proved to be in vain:

"... _I had an aim in life and a leading idea. The events of the
annexation crisis have proved calamitous for the policy which I
followed all my life_. I wished to do everything which lay within the
compass of my small powers, to render my own nation happy and great in
a free, powerful and generally respected Austria ... _I have always
resented the fact that when they talked about Austria people really
meant only the Germans and Magyars, as if the great majority of Slavs
upon whom rest the biggest burdens did not exist_. But now--and no
beautiful words can make me change my opinion on that point--an
entirely independent policy has become unthinkable, because the only
path which remains open to Vienna leads by way of Berlin. Berlin will
henceforward direct our policy."

4. To offer any proofs that the present war was deliberately planned and
provoked by the Governments of Berlin, Vienna and Budapest seems to me
superfluous. Who can to-day have any doubt that Austria wilfully provoked
the war in a mad desire to crush Serbia? Who can doubt that Austria for a
long time entertained imperialist ambitions with respect to the Balkans
which were supported by Berlin which wished to use Austria as a "bridge to
the East"?

No more damning document for Austria can be imagined than Prince
Lichnowsky's Memorandum. He denounces Austria's hypocritical support of the
independence of Albania. In this respect he holds similar views to those
expressed in the Austrian delegations of 1913 by Professor Masaryk, who
rightly denounced the Austrian plan of setting up an independent Albania on
the plea of "the right of nationalities" which Austria denied her own
Slavs. Professor Masaryk rightly pointed out at that time that an outlet to
the sea is a vital necessity for Serbia, that the Albanians were divided
into so many racial, linguistic and religious groups and so uncivilised
that they could not form an independent nation, and that the whole project
was part and parcel of Austria's anti-Serbian policy and her plans for the
conquest of the Balkans. Prince Lichnowsky admits that an independent
Albania "had no prospect of surviving," and that it was merely an Austrian
plan for preventing Serbia from obtaining an access to the sea.

He apparently disagrees with the idea of "the power of a Ruling House, the
dynastic idea," but stands up for "a National State, the democratic idea."
That in itself seems to indicate that he is in favour of the destruction of
Austria and its substitution by new states, built according to the
principle of nationality. He admittedly disagrees with the views of Vienna
and Budapest, and criticises Germany's alliance with Austria, probably
knowing, as a far-sighted and well-informed politician, that
Austria-Hungary cannot possibly survive this war.

Prince Lichnowsky frankly admits that the murder of the Archduke Francis
Ferdinand was a mere pretext for Vienna, which in fact had resolved on an
expedition against Serbia soon after the second Balkan war by which she
felt herself humiliated. In scathing terms he denounces the Triple Alliance
policy and thinks it a great mistake that Germany allied herself with the
"Turkish and Magyar oppressors." And though he says that it was Germany
which "persisted that Serbia must be massacred," he makes it quite clear
that it was Vienna that led the conspiracy against Europe, since on all
questions Germany "took up the position prescribed to her by Vienna." The
policy of espousing Austria's quarrels, the development of the
Austro-German Alliance into a pooling of interests in all spheres, was "the
best way of producing war." The Balkan policy of conquest and strangulation
"was not the German policy, but that of the Austrian Imperial House." What
better testimony is required to prove that Austria was not the blind tool,
but the willing and wilful accomplice of Germany?



The Czech policy during the past seventy years has always had but one
ultimate aim in view: the re-establishment of the ancient kingdom of
Bohemia and the full independence of the Czecho-Slovak nation. From the
very beginning of their political activity Czech politicians resisted the
Pan-German scheme of Central Europe. They preached the necessity of the
realisation of liberty and equality for all nations, and of a federation of
the non-Germans of Central Europe as a barrier against German expansion.

The chief reason for the failure of their efforts was the fact that they
sometimes had illusions that the Habsburgs might favour the plan of such an
anti-German federation, although the Habsburgs always mainly relied on the
Germans and Magyars and could not and would not satisfy the Czech
aspirations. The Czechs were greatly handicapped in their political
struggle, because they had only just begun to live as a nation and had to
face the powerful German-Magyar predominance, with the dynasty and the
whole state machinery behind them. Moreover, the Czechs had no national
aristocracy like the Poles or Magyars, and their leaders lacked all
political experience and all sense of reality in politics which was so
marked in a state built on deceit and hypocrisy. They continually defended
themselves with declarations about the justice of their claims, satisfied
themselves with empty promises which Austria has never kept, and cherished
vain illusions of obtaining justice in Austria, while Austria was _via
facti_ steadily depriving them of all their rights. On the other hand, it
should be remembered that they were faced with a government that had the
whole powerful German Empire behind it, and that they had to struggle for
freedom in a state where genuine constitutional government and democracy
were unknown. The Czech efforts to obtain some measure of freedom by
struggling for democratic reforms were consistently opposed by the dominant
Germans. To-day, of course, the situation has greatly improved as compared
with the situation seventy years ago. The Czecho-Slovak nation, through its
own work and energy, is a highly advanced and economically self-supporting
and rich nation, and in its struggle for a just resettlement of Central
Europe it has the support not only of all the other non-German nations of
Central Europe, but also of the Entente on whose victory it has staked its
all. The Czecho-Slovaks are resolved not to let themselves be fooled by
Austria any longer and claim full independence from Berlin, Vienna and
Budapest, which alone will safeguard them against the possibility of being
again exploited militarily, economically and politically against their own
interests for a cause which they detest.

1. Although as early as 1812 the Bohemian Diet (then a close aristocratic
body) demanded the restitution of the rights of the kingdom of Bohemia, the
political activity of the Czechs did not really begin until 1848 when, on
April 8, the emperor issued the famous Bohemian Charter recognising the
rights of Bohemia to independence. It was that year which marked the end of
Metternich's absolutism and in which revolution broke out in Western and
Central Europe, including Hungary and Bohemia. Already at that time the
Czechs counted on the break-up of Austria. Havlícek, who in 1846 began to
publish the first national Czech newspaper, wrote on May 7, 1848, when
inviting the Poles to attend the Pan-Slav Congress in Prague:

"An understanding between us--the Czecho-Slovaks and the Poles--would
be to the mutual advantage of both nations, especially under the
present circumstances when everything, even the break-up of Austria,
may be anticipated. I am sure that if the government continues to
pursue its present policy, Austria will fall to pieces before next
winter and the Czechs are not going to save her. The Czecho-Slovaks,
Poles and Yugoslavs, united politically and supporting each other, will
surely sooner or later attain their object, which is to obtain full
independence, national unity and political liberty."

It is characteristic of Austria that during the present war she has
prohibited the circulation of this article written seventy years ago.

Similarly, also, Palacký in his letter to Frankfurt, explaining why the
Czechs would not attend the Pan-German Parliament, made it clear that he
had no illusions about the good-will of Austria to adopt a just policy
towards her nationalities:

"In critical times we always saw this state, destined to be the bulwark
against Asiatic invasions, helpless and hesitating. In an unfortunate
blindness this state has never understood its true interests, always
suppressing its moral duty to accord to all races justice and equality
of rights."

At the Pan-Slav Congress presided over by Palacký, Bakunin, the Russian
revolutionary, openly advocated the dismemberment of Austria in the
interests of justice and democracy, and proposed a free Slav federation in
Central Europe.

The Pan-Slav Congress, in which also the Poles and Yugoslavs participated,
issued a manifesto to Europe on June 12, 1848, proclaiming the "liberty,
equality and fraternity of nations." It ended prematurely by the outbreak
of an abortive revolt in Prague, provoked by the military, which resulted
in bloodshed and in the re-establishment of reaction and absolutism.

2. In the first Austrian Parliament of 1848, eighty-eight Czech deputies
formed a united _Nationalist Party_ (later on called the _Old Czech
Party_), led by Palacký, Rieger and Brauner. They formed the Right wing
which stood for democratic and federalist ideals. The Left was formed by
the Germans who stood for centralism and a close union with Germany. Only
an insignificant number of Germans formed the Centre which stood for the
preservation of Austria.

In October, 1848, fresh troubles broke out in Vienna, partly directed
against the presence of the Czechs. On November 15, the parliament was
summoned to Kremsier, in which the Czechs, Ruthenes, Yugoslavs and some
Poles formed a Slav _bloc_ of 120 members. On December 2, Francis Joseph
ascended the throne, and a constitution was proposed by a parliamentary
committee of which Rieger was a member. The proposal was opposed by the
government, because it defined "the people's sovereignty as the foundation
of the power of the State," and not the dynasty. On March 6, 1849, the
parliament was dissolved and a constitution imposed by an imperial decree.

The _Czech Radical Democrats_, led by Fric, Sabina and Sladkovský, who
already in 1848 stood for a more radical policy than that of the Liberal
Nationalists led by Palacký, now again thought of organising an armed
revolt against Austria. But the leaders of the conspiracy were arrested and
sentenced to many years' imprisonment. After the Austrian victories in
Italy and the collapse of the Hungarian revolution, absolutism again
reigned supreme.

During the ten years that followed, Bach tried, relying upon the army and
the hierarchy, to centralise and germanise the empire. In January, 1850,
Havlícek's _Národní Noviny_ was suppressed and later, also, three of the
other remaining Czech journals. Palacký openly declared that he abandoned
political activity and Rieger went abroad. Havlícek continued to work for
the national cause under great difficulties, until he was arrested in
December, 1851, and interned without a trial in Tyrol where he contracted
an incurable illness to which he succumbed in 1856. Even as late as 1859
the Czechs were not allowed to publish a political newspaper.

3. After the defeats at Magenta and Solferino in 1859, Austria began to see
the impossibility of a continued rule of terrorism and absolutism. Bach was
obliged to resign, and on March 5, 1860, a state council was summoned to
Vienna. Bohemia was represented only by the nobility who had no sympathy
with the Czech national cause, and on September 24 the Rumanian delegate,
Mosconyi, openly deplored the fact that "the brotherly Czech nation was not

The era of absolutism was theoretically ended by the so-called "October
Diploma" of 1860, conferring on Austria a constitution which in many
respects granted self-government to Hungary, but ignored Bohemia, although
formally admitting her historical rights. This "lasting and irrevocable
Constitution of the Empire" was revoked on February 26, 1861, when
Schmerling succeeded Goluchowski, and the so-called "February Constitution"
was introduced by an arbitrary decree which in essence was still more
dualistic than the October Diploma and gave undue representation to the
nobility. The Czechs strongly opposed it and sent a delegation on April 14
to the emperor, who assured them on his royal honour of his desire to be
crowned King of Bohemia.

In the meantime Dr. Gregr founded the _Národní Listy_ in Prague in
November, 1860, to support the policy of Rieger, and in January, 1861, the
latter, with the knowledge of Palacký, concluded an agreement with
Clam-Martinic on behalf of the Bohemian nobility, by which the latter,
recognising the rights of the Bohemian State to independence, undertook to
support the Czech policy directed against the centralism of Vienna. The
Bohemian nobility, who were always indifferent in national matters and who
had strong conservative and clerical leanings, concluded this pact with the
Czech democrats purely for their own class interests This unnatural
alliance had a demoralising influence on the Old Czech Party and finally
brought about its downfall.

The Czechs elected two delegates to the parliament summoned for April 29,
1861, while Hungary and Dalmatia sent none, so that the parliament had 203
instead of 343 deputies. In the Upper House the Czechs were represented by
Palacký. In the Lower House the Slavs, forming a united body, again found
themselves in a hopeless minority which was absolutely powerless against
the government. In June, 1863, the Czechs decided not to attend the chamber
again, seeing that all hopes of a modification of the constitution in the
sense of the October Diploma were in vain. The government replied by
depriving them of their mandates and by suspending the constitution in
1865. A period of "Sistierung," that is of veiled absolutism, then set in.

4. In the meantime, a new political group came to the front in Bohemia,
called the Young Czechs. The party was led by Sladkovský, and had more
democratic leanings than the Old Czechs. In the diet, however, the Czechs
remained united in a single body. The Young Czechs opposed the policy of
passive resistance which the Old Czechs pursued for fully sixteen years,
that is up to 1879. The Young Czechs clearly saw that it enabled Vienna to
rule without the Czechs and against them. The Czechs, of course, still
reckoned upon the break-up of Austria, although, as we shall see later on,
they failed entirely to profit from Austria's difficulties in that period.
In 1865 Rieger openly warned Austria:

"Those who direct the destinies of Austria should remember that
institutions based on injustice and violence have no duration. If you
desire to save Austria, the whole of Austria, you must make justice the
basis of your policy towards the Slavs. Do not then say that we did not
warn you. _Discite justitiam moniti_."

In the same sense also Palacký warned the government against dualism,
pointing out that if it were introduced it would inevitably lead to the
break-up of Austria. Seeing that Austria did not listen to his warning, he
later on declared that he no longer believed in the future of Austria, and
added: "We existed before Austria, we shall also exist after her."

The greatest mistake the Czechs made was when in 1866, after the battle of
Sadova, they thought that Austria would cease to be the bulwark of
Pan-Germanism and would do justice to her subject Slavs, and thus become a
protection against Germany. It is true that Austria did cease to be the
head of the Pan-German Confederation, but instead of becoming a bulwark
against Prussia, she became her faithful ally and obedient tool. The
Czechs, who feared lest they should be annexed by Prussia, failed to grasp
the subtle plans of Bismarck who in a short time succeeded in converting
Austria into Germany's bridge to the East.

When the victorious Prussians entered Prague in 1866, they issued a
proclamation to the Czechs recognising their right to independence. This
proclamation was probably drafted by the Czech exile J.V. Fric, an ardent
democrat who fled abroad after the abortive revolution of 1848. Fric, who
was a man of keen sense for political reality and a great friend of the
Poles, exerted all his influence with the Czech leaders to proclaim Bohemia
independent, without an armed revolt, simply by means of a plebiscite, as
he was aware that the masses were always thoroughly anti-Austrian and
desired nothing more than independence. He proposed to his
fellow-countrymen to establish a monarchy, with some other dynasty than the
Habsburgs on the throne, preferably the youngest son of the Italian king,
Victor Emmanuel. Even while peace negotiations between Prussia and Austria
were going on, he conducted an active propaganda and distributed a
proclamation all over Bohemia in which he declared himself as "the deadly
enemy of the Habsburg dynasty and of Austrian militarism and bureaucracy":

"The Hungarians are preparing, the Yugoslavs are ready. Let us come to
a common agreement with them and we shall succeed. And when all the
Austrian nations have been freed they may form a great federation on
the basis of international law which will be an example to Europe. _A
federation without the freedom and independence of the nations who form
part of it is an empty dream. Let him who desires a federation work for
the independence of his nation first_. It is not a question of a
revolution, it is a question of a public proclamation of the Czech
nation so that Europe may realise that we live and what we want. Europe
will surely lend us a helping hand, but she expects us to ask for it.
Let us therefore, my brother Czecho-Slovaks, proclaim aloud, so that
the whole world may hear us: '_We do not want Austria because we
realise that she not only does no good to us, but directly threatens
our very existence. We are able to and want to maintain an independent
state existence without Austria_."

Unfortunately, however, the Czech leaders at that time did not follow
Fric's advice and, as we have already pointed out, they fell into
Bismarck's trap.

In November, 1866, the Bohemian Diet uttered a warning against the danger
of dualism, pointing out that Bohemia had the same right to independence as
Hungary. Relying upon the support of the other Slav races of Austria, the
Czechs declared they would never enter the Reichsrat.

In February, 1867, Beust concluded an agreement with Hungary, and on
December 21 the "December Constitution" was introduced. Thus _dualism_
became a _fait accompli_.

5. Exasperated by this step, the Czech leaders visited Moscow in the same
year and fraternised with the Russians, thus showing their hostility to
Austria. In 1868 they published an eloquent declaration, written by Rieger,
declaring that they would never recognise dualism and emphasising Bohemia's
right to independence. When Francis Joseph visited Prague in the same year,
people left the city in crowds, anti-Austrian demonstrations were held
throughout the country, and flowers were laid on the spot where prominent
members of the Bohemian nobility had been executed by the Austrians
in 1621.

Vienna answered by fierce reprisals. Baron Koller was sent to Prague where
a state of siege was proclaimed. Czech papers were suppressed, and their
editors imprisoned. This only strengthened Czech opposition. The passive
policy of the Old Czechs gained popularity and the Czechs did not even
attend the Bohemian Diet. Finally, when the Franco-Prussian War was
imminent, the dynasty was forced to yield, and Potocki began to negotiate
with the Czechs.

Meanwhile the Czechs again entered the Bohemian Diet on the day of the
battle of Sedan, August 30, 1870, and issued a declaration of rights with
which also the Bohemian nobility for the first time publicly identified
themselves. On December 8, 1870, the Czechs (without the nobility)
presented the Imperial Chancellor, Beust, with a memorandum on Austrian
foreign policy, declaring their sympathy with France and Russia and
protesting against the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine and against an
alliance of Austria with Germany.

In February, 1871, Hohenwart was appointed Minister President with the
object of conciliating the Czechs, and Francis Joseph addressed to them an
imperial proclamation, called the "September Rescript," in which he

"Remembering the constitutional ('Staatsrechtliche') position of the
Crown of Bohemia and the glory and power which the same has lent to Us
and Our ancestors, remembering further the unswerving loyalty with
which the population of Bohemia at all times supported Our throne, We
gladly recognise the rights of this Kingdom and We are ready to
acknowledge this recognition by Our solemn Royal Oath."

It is well known, of course, that Francis Joseph did not keep his word and
was never crowned King of Bohemia.

6. In answer to the rescript, the Czechs formulated their demands in the
so-called "fundamental articles," the main point of which was that the
Bohemian Diet should directly elect deputies to the delegations. The
_Národní Listy_ declared that the "fundamental articles" meant minimum
demands, and that the Czechs would in any case work "for the attainment of
an independent Czecho-Slovak state, as desired by the whole nation."

At this stage Berlin and Budapest intervened. The emperor yielded to the
advice of William I. and Andrassy, and signed an unfavourable reply to the
Czech address on October 30, 1871. Czech opposition was now openly directed
against the dynasty. Hohenwart resigned on October 27. In November, Baron
Koller was again appointed Governor of Bohemia and repressive methods of
administration were once more introduced.

In 1873 elections were held, marked by violence and corruption.
Notwithstanding the passive resistance of Czech deputies, the parliament
continued to meet in Vienna. In 1878 Austria occupied Bosnia and thus
inaugurated the conquest of the Balkans for Germany. In 1879 Count Taaffe
at last induced the Czechs to abandon their policy of "passive resistance"
and to enter the parliament in return for some administrative and other
concessions, including a Czech university. On September 9, the Czechs,
united in a party of fifty-two members, entered the Reichsrat to maintain
their protest against the dual system.

7. In parliament it became clear that the Old Czech Party, now led by
Rieger, was inclined to be too conservative and too opportunist. In 1887
the Young Czechs left the national party and entered into opposition. Their
party grew steadily, and during the elections in 1889 gained a decided
victory in the country districts. The Old Czechs finally sealed their fate
when, in 1890, they concluded an unfavourable agreement with the Germans,
called the _punctations_, to the detriment of Czech interests and of the
integrity of Bohemia. This roused popular indignation throughout Bohemia
and brought about the complete collapse of the Old Czech Party.

At the same time the so-called _"Realist" movement_ originated in Bohemia,
led by Professor Masaryk, Professor Kaizl and Dr. Kramár. It was not a
separate party movement, but a philosophic effort for a regenerated
democratic national policy. The Realists demanded a practical, forward
movement, such as would at last secure independence for the Czechs. In 1890
the Realists published their programme and joined the Young Czechs. This
meant the end of the political career of Rieger and the Old Czechs.

8. In parliament the Young Czechs inaugurated a radical anti-German policy.
In 1891 they openly attacked the Triple Alliance, and in 1892 Dr. Menger
called Masaryk a traitor for his outspoken defence of the right of Bohemia
to independence.

A _Radical movement_ was also started at this time in Bohemia, mainly by
students and advanced workers of the Young Czech Party, which called itself
"Omladina" (Czech word for "youth"). Its object was to rouse the young
generation against Austria. In 1893 anti-dynastic demonstrations were
organised by the "Omladina." A state of siege was proclaimed in Prague and
seventy-seven members of this "secret society" were arrested; sixty-eight
of them, including Dr. Rasín, were condemned for high treason, and
sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

In 1893 Professor Masaryk, realising the futility of his efforts against
the encroachments of Germanism, resigned his mandate and devoted his
energies to scientific and philosophical work. In 1900, however, he founded
a party of his own, with a progressive democratic programme.

In the elections to the Bohemian Diet in 1895, the Young Czechs gained
eighty-nine seats out of ninety-five; in the Moravian Diet seventeen seats
were held by the _People's Party_, corresponding to the Young Czech Party
in Bohemia, thirteen by the Old Czechs and five by the Clericals. In 1896
Badeni made an attempt at enfranchising the masses; seventy-two additional
deputies were to be elected by universal suffrage. In these elections the
Young Czechs again won in Bohemia. In Moravia the People's Party concluded
a compromise with the Old Czechs and gained fifteen seats, the Socialists
gained three seats and the Clericals one. On entering the parliament the
Czechs again made a declaration of state right. In 1897 Badeni, a Pole,
issued his famous Language Ordinances, asserting the equality of the Czech
and German languages in Bohemia and Moravia. The Germans raised a fierce
opposition, supported by the Socialists, and the Reichsrat became the scene
of violent attempts on the part of the Germans to obstruct sittings by
throwing inkstands at the leader of the House and using whistles and bugles
to make all proceedings impossible. Badeni lost his head and resigned, and
his decrees were rescinded. The dynasty, afraid of a repetition of German
obstruction, gave the Germans a completely free hand in all matters of

9. Owing to the rapid cultural, economic and industrial development of
Bohemia, the Czech party system began to expand. The _Czecho-Slav Social
Democratic Party_, founded in 1878, began to acquire increasing influence.
At first it was based on purely international socialism, and in 1897 it
even opposed the national Czech demands. Later, seeing the duplicity of
their German comrades who recognised the state right of Finland and
Hungary, but not that of Bohemia, and who openly preached the necessity of
assimilating the Slavs, the Czech Socialists began to identify themselves
more and more with the national struggle for independence. They organised
their own trade unions, which brought them into open conflict with the
Austrian Socialists. This question was discussed at the Socialist
International Conference at Copenhagen in 1910. It is, moreover, on account
of these differences on nationality questions that the various Socialist
parties of Austria have not met since 1905.

In April, 1898, the _Czech National Social Party_, led by Klofác, was
formed in opposition to the Socialists. It was radically nationalist, and
consisted mainly of workmen, as it was evolved from the workers'
organisation in the Young Czech Party.

On January 6, 1899, the _Agrarian Party_ was formed. It was chiefly
composed of farmers and peasants. It defended the interests of their class
and acquired considerable influence among them. In national matters it
subscribed to the programme of Bohemian independence, and its organs have
during the present war adopted a courageous anti-Austrian attitude.

In 1900 the so-called _State Right Party_ was founded by some of the
members of the former "Omladina." It had a radical programme and stood
uncompromisingly against Austria, demanding independence for Bohemia
chiefly on the ground of her historic rights.

In the elections of 1901 the United Czech Club gained fifty-three seats,
the National Socialists four and the Agrarians five. But the real influence
of the various new parties began to appear only in 1907, after the
introduction of the universal suffrage which deprived the Young Czechs of
their predominance. The Reichsrat elected in 1907 consisted of 257 non-Slav
and 259 Slav members, of whom 108 were Czechs. The result of the election
in Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia was as follows:--

28 Agrarians
24 Social Democrats
23 Young Czechs
17 National Catholics
9 Radicals
4 Moravian People's Party
2 Realists
1 Independent Candidate.

This result showed that the Young Czechs, owing to their deficient
organisation, had lost ground, especially among the country population,
which formed the bulk of the nation. Among the workers Socialist doctrines
were spreading with remarkable rapidity.

The parliamentary activity of the Czechs soon revealed to them how vain
were their hopes that a new era of democracy was dawning in Austria. They
soon found out that in Austria parliamentary institutions were a mere cloak
for absolutism and that all their efforts were doomed to failure.

The Czechs were strongly opposed to the annexation of Bosnia. In 1909
Professor Masaryk gained a world reputation by his courageous defence of
the Yugoslav leaders, who were accused of high treason at Zagreb (Agram).
During the Friedjung trial it was again chiefly due to Professor Masaryk's
efforts that forgeries of the Vienna Foreign Office, intended to discredit
the Yugoslav movement, were exposed and the responsibility for them fixed
on Count Forgach, the Austro-Hungarian minister in Belgrade. Professor
Masaryk clearly saw that Austria aimed at the conquest of the Balkans and
intended at all costs to crush Serbia.

10. In 1911 new elections to the Reichsrat took place with the following
result for the Czechs:--

40 Agrarians
25 Social Democrats
14 Young Czechs
13 National Socialists
7 Radicals
7 Clericals
1 Old Czech
1 Socialist (Centralist).

The Radicals (four Moravian People's Party, two State Right Party, one
Realist) formed a party of independent deputies with Professor Masaryk at
their head. They demanded full independence for Bohemia, some of them
laying greater stress on her historical rights, some on the natural right
of Czecho-Slovaks to liberty.

The whole group of Czech deputies stood in opposition against Vienna with
the exception of Kramár, who tried to imitate the Polish positivist policy
in the hope of obtaining concessions in return. But, as we have already
shown in a previous chapter, Dr. Kramár abandoned this policy even before
the war, when he saw how completely Austria was tied to Germany. The bulk
of the Czech people were, of course, always solidly anti-Austrian. During
the Balkan War the Czechs openly showed their sympathies with their brother
Slavs who were struggling for liberty.

The _Clerical Party_ had comparatively little influence and prestige. All
their deputies (seven) were elected in country districts of Moravia, where
civilisation is comparatively less developed than in Bohemia. In Bohemia
and in the more developed districts of Moravia, people resist the efforts
of the clergy to mix religion with politics. The three million Slovaks in
Hungary, who speak a dialect of Czech and who form with the Czechs a single
Czecho-Slovak nation, had only two deputies (Dr. Blaho and Father Juriga),
and were without any influence in the Budapest Parliament.

11. Although many Czech politicians foresaw that Austria's anti-Serbian
policy in the Balkans and her increasing dependence on Germany must lead to
war, yet on the whole the Czechs were not prepared for this contingency.
The Reichsrat was closed when war broke out, and the Diet of Bohemia had
been replaced by an Imperial Commission in 1913. War was declared by
Austria against the will of the Slavs, and yet they did not dare to
protest, as an organised revolution was impossible in view of the presence
of German troops and of the perfect police spy system in Austria. Two
German divisions would have been sufficient to suppress the best organised
revolutionary movement in Bohemia.

The immediate effect of the declaration of war was the unity of the whole
Czech nation. One of the leaders, Professor Masaryk, escaped abroad, and is
at the head of the Czecho-Slovak Government, recognised by the Allies as
the trustee and representative of the Czecho-Slovak nation.

Political activity was of course out of the question until the Reichsrat
reopened on May 30, 1917. Before that date there was an absolute reign of
terror in Bohemia. Some of the leading Czech newspapers were suspended soon
after the outbreak of the war. The few Slovak papers published in Hungary
were suppressed at the same time.

Those newspapers which survived were subject to strict censorship and were
compelled to publish leading articles written by government officials and
supplied to them by the police. Dr. Kramár, one of the most prominent Czech
leaders, his colleague Dr. Rasín, and five National Socialist deputies were
thrown into prison, and some of them even sentenced to death.

The effect of these persecutions was that all the Czecho-Slovaks became
unanimous in their desire to obtain full independence of Austria-Hungary.
Old party differences were forgotten and some of the Czech deputies who had
formerly been opportunist in tendency, such as Dr. Kramár and the Agrarian
ex-minister Prásek, now at last became convinced that all hopes of an
anti-German Austria were futile, that Austria was doomed, as she was a
blind tool in the hands of Germany, and that the only way to prevent the
ten million Czecho-Slovaks from being again exploited in the interests of
German imperialism was to secure their complete independence. On entering
the Reichsrat on May 30, 1917, all the Czech deputies, united in a single
"Bohemian Union," made a unanimous declaration that it was their aim to
work for the union of all Czechs and Slovaks in an independent, democratic
state. To-day Dr. Kramár is in complete agreement with the Radicals who
formerly were his most bitter opponents. In fact four Czech nationalist
parties (the Young Czech, Realist, State Right and Moravian People's
Parties) united in February, 1918, as a single body under the name of "The
Czech State-Right Democracy." The president of its executive is the former
Young Czech leader Dr. Kramár, who was sentenced to death in 1916, but
released in July, 1917. The executive committee of the new party included
all the leaders of the four former parties, namely, Dr. Stránský, Dr.
Herben, M. Dyk, Professor Drtina, and others.

In their proclamation published in the _Národní Listy_ of February 10,
1918, the executive declared that:

"The chief aim of the new party will be to engage in a common national
effort for the creation of an independent Bohemian State, the
fundamental territory of which will be composed of the historical and
indivisible crown-lands of Bohemia and of Slovakia. The Bohemian State
will be a democratic state. All its power will come from the people.
And as it will come from the Czech people, it will be just towards all
nationalities, towards all citizens and classes."

In a speech to the Young Czech Party before its dissolution, Dr. Kramár
openly declared that "at the moment of the outbreak of the war it became
quite clear that, despite all tactics of opportunism, our party remained
true to the programme of Czech independence. It became at once evident to
all of us that _the chapter of our former policy was forever closed for
us_. We felt with our whole soul that the Czech nation would not go through
the sufferings of the world war only to renew the pre-war tactics of a slow
progress towards that position to which we have full historical rights as
well as the natural rights of a living and strong nation...." And again, in
an article in the _Národní Listy_ of December 25, 1917, Kramár wrote under
the heading "By Order of the Nation":

"We have sought with utmost sacrifice to find a compromise between our
just claims and the international situation which was unfavourable to
us. The war has completely changed all our policy, removing the
possibility of a compromise to which we might have been disposed, and
we cannot once more roll up our flag now so proudly unfurled, and put
it aside for the next occasion."

As we shall show also later on, there is not the least doubt that the
necessity for the independence of Bohemia was proclaimed not by a few
extremists, but by all the Czech parties with the approval of the
entire nation.

When Kramár in 1917 again took over the leadership of the Young Czech
Party, which led to the amalgamation of four nationalist parties, a change
took place also in the leadership of the Czech Social Democratic Party
which hitherto was in the hands of a few demagogues and defeatists, such as
Smeral, who dominated the majority of the members. The return of the
Socialist Party to its revolutionary traditions and its entire approval of
the Bohemian state right and the national policy of Czecho-Slovak
independence means a complete and absolute consolidation of the whole
Czech nation.

As the Social Democrats became quite loyal to the Czech cause, the National
Socialist Party lost its _raison d'ętre_. Owing to the great sufferings of
the working class during the war, it became imbued with Socialist ideas.

On April 1, 1918, the Czech National Socialist Party held its eighth annual
conference in Prague, at which it adopted a resolution endorsing
international Socialism and changing its name to "The Czech Socialist
Party." The conference was attended also by two representatives of the
Czecho-Slav Social Democratic Party, J. Stivin and deputy Nemec. The
National Socialist leader, deputy Klofác, welcomed the representatives of
the Social Democrats "whom we have for years past been struggling against,
but with whom the trials of this war have united us." He declared that his
party accepted the Socialist programme and would join the new Socialist
International. On September 6, 1918, the executive committees of the two
parties elected a joint council. Its object is to work for the
consolidation of the Czech working classes and for the formation of a
united Czech Labour Party, composed of Social Democrats as well as of the
former National Socialists. A similar process of consolidation is taking
place also among the other parties, so that soon there will probably be
only three Czech parties, on the basis of class difference, viz.
Socialists, Agrarians and Democratic Nationalists (_bourgeoisie_), all of
whom will stand behind the programme of full Czecho-Slovak independence.

The most significant demonstration of the Czech national sentiment took
place at Prague on January 6, 1918, at a meeting of all the Czech deputies
of the Reichsrat and of the diets of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia,
with which we deal in another chapter, and at which a resolution was
unanimously carried demanding full independence and representation at the
peace conference.

Finally, on July 13, 1918, a National Council or Committee was formed in
Prague on which all the parties are represented and which may rightly be
described as part of the Provisional Government of Bohemia.

The whole Czech nation to-day is unanimously awaiting the victory of the
Entente, from which it expects its long-cherished independence. The
Czecho-Slovaks are only waiting for a favorable opportunity to strike the
death-blow at the Dual Monarchy.



Austria-Hungary declared war not only on her enemies outside her frontiers,
but also on her internal enemies, on her own Slav and Latin subjects. From
the very first day of war terrorism reigned supreme in Bohemia, where the
Austrian Government behaved as in an enemy country. Three political parties
(the National Socialist, Radical and Realist Parties) were dissolved and
their organs suppressed. Fully three-quarters of all Czech journals and all
Slovak journals were suspended. Political leaders were arrested,
imprisoned, and some of them even sentenced to death. Many leaders have
been imprisoned as hostages in case an insurrection should break out. Over
20,000 Czech civilians have been interned merely for being "politically
suspect," and about 5000 were hanged in an arbitrary way by military
tribunals, since juries had been abolished by an imperial decree. Other
Slav districts were no better off: the Polish Socialist deputy Daszynski
stated in the Reichsrat that 30,000 persons were hanged in Galicia alone,
and another deputy stated that the number of Slavs (Austrian subjects) who
were executed by Austria exceeded 80,000. Czech troops were marched to the
trains watched by German soldiers like prisoners of war. Thousands of them
were massacred at the front. The property of those who surrendered was
confiscated, while the families of those Czech leaders who escaped abroad
were brutally persecuted. It is impossible for us to give a detailed
description of all the persecutions committed by Austria on the
Czecho-Slovaks, but the following is a brief summary of them:--

_(a) Czech Deputies and Leaders imprisoned and sentenced to Death_

The most important perhaps was _the case of Dr. Kramár,_ one of the most
moderate of the Czech leaders. Dr. Kramár was arrested on May 21, 1915, on
a charge of high treason as the leader of the Young Czechs; together with
him were also arrested his colleague, deputy Dr. Rasín, Mr. Cervinka, an
editor of the _Národní Listy_, and Zamazal, an accountant. On June 3, 1916,
all four of them were sentenced to death, although no substantial proofs
were produced against them. Subsequently, however, the sentence was
commuted to long terms of imprisonment, but after the general amnesty of
July, 1917, they were released. Among the reasons for which they were
imprisoned and sentenced to death were the following, as given in the
official announcement, published in the Austrian press on January 4, 1917:

Dr. Kramár before the war was "the leader of Pan-Slav propaganda and of the
Russophil movement in Bohemia." He was also alleged to have kept up a
connection with the pro-Ally propaganda conducted by the Czecho-Slovaks and
their friends abroad during the war, and the Czech military action against
Austria on the side of the Entente. Dr. Kramár was further blamed for the
"treasonable" behaviour of Czech regiments who voluntarily surrendered to
Russia and Serbia, and for the anti-German sentiments cherished by the
Czecho-Slovaks for centuries past. Obviously in striking Dr. Kramár Austria
meant to strike at the Czech nation. The "proofs" for the high treasonable
activity of Dr. Kramár before and during the war were the following:[1]

(1) Dr. Kramár was (before the war) in communication with Brancianov,
Bobrinski, Denis, Masaryk, Pavlu and others, who now preach the
dismemberment of Austria-Hungary.

(2) In his articles in the _Národní Listy_, published during the war, Dr.
Kramár advocated the liberation of small nations as proclaimed by the
Entente. His organ, "the _Národní Listy_, laid special stress on news
favourable to our enemies and on the state of disruption of Austria, and
indirectly invited Czechs to passive resistance."

(3) A copy of _La Nation Tchčque_ was found in Dr. Kramár's pocket at the
time of his arrest.

(4) Dr. Kramár had a conversation with the Italian consul in April, 1915,
which is "an important cause of suspicion."

(5) In a letter to the Governor of Bohemia, Prince Thun, Dr. Kramár
admitted that, always faithful to his political principles, he refrained
from everything that might appear as approval of the war.

This was the evidence brought up against Kramár, on the ground of which he
was to be hanged. These are the "proofs" of his responsibility for the
distribution of treasonable Russian proclamations in Bohemia, repeated
manifestations of sympathy with the enemy, and the refusal of Czech
deputies to take part in any declarations or manifestations of loyalty.

Equally characteristic is also _the case of the National Socialist leader,
deputy Klofác_, who was arrested in September, 1914. Owing to lack of
proofs the trial was repeatedly postponed, while Klofác was left in prison.
A formal charge was brought against him only when the Reichsrat was about
to open in May, 1917, so as to prevent him from attending the meeting.
Nevertheless he was released after the amnesty of July, 1917. Writing in
the _Národní Politika_ about his experience in prison, deputy Klofác says:

"Many educated and aged political prisoners were not allowed out to
walk in the yard for five months or more, which is contrary to all
regulations. They were also not allowed to read books given to them by
the judge, and they had to do the lowest work. One student who refused
to wash the floor was beaten and confined to a dark cell. No wonder
that many committed suicide. Dr. Vrbenský could tell how he used to get
excited by the cry of the ill-treated prisoners. Even his nerves could
not stand it. It is quite comprehensible, therefore, that Dr. Scheiner
(the president of the 'Sokol' Union) in such an atmosphere was
physically and mentally broken down in two months. Dr. Kramár and Dr.
Rasín also had an opportunity of feeling the brutality of Polatchek and
Teszinski. In the winter we suffered from frosts, for there was no
heating. Some of my friends had frozen hands. We resisted the cold by
drilling according to the Müller system. This kept us fit and saved us
from going to the prison doctor, Dr. A. Prinz, who was a Magyar and
formerly a doctor in Karlsbad. If a prisoner went to this 'gentleman,'
he did not ask after his illness, but after his nationality, and for
the reason of his remand imprisonment. On hearing that a prisoner was
Czech and on remand for Par. 58_c_ (high treason), he only hissed: 'You
do not want any medicine. It would be wasted, for in any case you will
be hanged.'"

Besides Klofác, the following four National Socialist deputies were also
imprisoned: Choc, Burival, Vojna and Netolický. The accused were condemned
on July 30, 1916, for "failing to denounce Professor Masaryk's
revolutionary propaganda."

_Professor Masaryk_, who escaped abroad in 1915, was sentenced to death in
Austria in December, 1916. Unable to reach him, the Austrian Government
revenged themselves on his daughter, Dr. Alice Masaryk, whom they
imprisoned. Only after an energetic press campaign abroad was she released.
A similar fate also met the wife of another Czech leader, Dr. Benes, who
escaped abroad in the autumn of 1915 and became secretary general of the
Czecho-Slovak National Council.

_Dr. Scheiner_, president of the "Sokol" Gymnastic Association, was
imprisoned, but was again released owing to lack of proofs. A similar fate
also met the Czech Social Democratic leader _Dr. Soukup_, who was for some
time kept in prison.

_(b) Monster Trials, Arbitrary Executions, Internment of Civilians, etc_.

A notorious reason for imprisonment, and even execution, was the possession
of the so-called Russian Manifesto dropped by Russian aeroplanes, being a
proclamation of the Tsar to the people of Bohemia promising them the
restoration of their independence. Mr. Matejovský, of the Prague City
Council, and fifteen municipal clerks were sentenced to many years'
imprisonment for this offence in February, 1915. In May, 1915, six persons,
among them two girls, were condemned to death in Kyjov, Moravia, for the
same offence. On the same charge also sixty-nine other persons from Moravia
were brought to Vienna and fifteen of them sentenced to death. One of the
Czech girls who were executed for this offence was a Miss Kotíková, aged
twenty-one, who, according to the _Arbeiter Zeitung_ of September 8, 1917,
refused to say from whom she had received the manifesto, and through her
heroic attitude saved the lives of others.

Without a fair trial and without evidence, the editor of the National
Socialist organ _Pokrok_ in Prostejov, Mr. Joseph Kotek, was sentenced to
death on Christmas Eve of 1914. The sentence was passed at noon, confirmed
at half-past four and carried out at half-past six. As no one could be
found to act as hangman, Kotek was shot. The reason given for the verdict
was that the accused editor of the _Pokrok_, which was suppressed as being
dangerous to the State, delivered a speech at a meeting of a co-operative
society in which he said that all Czechs were unanimous that they knew that
Austria was losing the war and that they prayed to God that her downfall
might be soon. He was further alleged to have said that it was doubtful how
Europe would be divided after the war, but that in any case the
Czecho-Slovak countries would be made independent as a wedge between
Germany and Austria, and that if Germany won the Czechs would be
germanised, like the Poles in Germany. The accused admitted that he did
speak about the reorganisation of Europe, but not in the words used by the
prosecution. But, as the _Arbeiter Zeitung_ said, even if he did say what
the prosecution alleged, as a civilian he should never have been sentenced
to death by a military tribunal. According to Czech papers, Kotek was
buried among ordinary criminals outside the cemetery. The grave of the
innocent martyr was not even marked with his name, and his wife was not
allowed to visit it, because the military authorities forbade the sexton of
the church to allow any one to see the graves of those executed for
high treason.

_Dr. Preiss_, the manager of the Czech bank, Zivnostenská Banka, which has
its branches in Galicia, Rumania, Serbia and elsewhere, and four of his
colleagues were imprisoned, because the Czechs would not subscribe to
Austrian war loans and Dr. Preiss had done nothing to induce them to do so.

As regards the horrors of the internment camps, in which over 20,000
innocent Czechs, men, women and children, were confined, we will only quote
the revelations of the Czech National Socialist deputy Stríbrný, who
declared in the Reichsrat on June 14, 1917:

"This war was begun by the Austrian Government without the consent of
the Austrian Parliament, against the will of the Czech people.

"In Bohemia, the most brutal cruelties have been perpetrated by the
Austrian authorities against the Czech population. An anonymous
denunciation suffices to bring about the arrest and imprisonment of any
Czech man, woman or child. Thousands of Czech citizens have simply been
seized and placed in internment camps on the ground that their
political opinions are dangerous to the existence of Austria.

"Such prisoners were led away from their homes handcuffed and in
chains. They included women, girls and old grey-haired men. They were
conveyed from their homes to internment camps in filthy cattle trucks
and were cruelly ill-treated with a strange persistence. On one
occasion forty-three Czechs, who were being conveyed to a camp of
internment, were killed on the way by a detachment of Honveds
(Hungarian militia) which was escorting them to their place of

"The conditions under which the Czechs were interned at the Talerhof
Camp, near Graz, were absolutely outrageous. They were beaten and
tortured on their way there. Immediately after their arrival many were
tied to stakes and kept thus day and night in absolutely indescribable
sanitary conditions. Many were done to death by their guards. When the
thermometer showed 20 degrees of frost, old men, women and girls were
left to sleep in the open air, and mortality increased amongst them to
a frightful extent. Two thousand unhappy victims of Austria's brutal
tyranny lie buried in the cemetery attached to the Talerhof Camp of
internment. Of these, 1200 died of epidemics."

Other information concerning the same camp of Talerhof fully corroborates
this statement. In a letter to his friends, a Czech interned at Talerhof
wrote as follows:

"Many of my friends died from bayonet wounds; out of 12,000 at least,
2000 have so perished. The majority of us did not know why we were
interned. Many were hanged without a trial on mere denunciation. Human
life had no value for them. The soldiers had orders to strike us with
bayonets for the slightest movement....

"We were covered with insects. One day an order was given that
everybody should undress to be rubbed with paraffin. Some ladies who
objected were undressed by force before our eyes, since men and women
slept together, and the soldiers rubbed them with paraffin.

"A Ruthene who protested against the ill-treatment of women, who were
forced to do the lowest work, was bayonetted. He was lying for five
days between two barracks more dead than alive. His face and body were
all green and covered with lice and his hands were bound. Then the
Austrian officers and soldiers ill-treated him till he died."

In consequence of the general political amnesty, over 100,000 political
prisoners in Austria were released. Thousands of them emerged from prison
or internment camps reduced to mere skeletons by the systematic lack
of food.

According to reports published in the Austrian press, one of the Ukrainian
prisoners, named Karpinka, was left in solitary confinement without any
fire in winter, so that his feet were frost-bitten and had to be amputated.

A Czech named Jarý, who was condemned to twelve years' hard labour, came
out with consumption contracted through the rigour of his imprisonment.
Many others were reduced to such weakness through starvation that they had
to be carried out of the prison.

(c) _Persecution of the Press_

Among the Czech journals suppressed in Bohemia at the beginning of the war,
the following deserve to be especially mentioned:

_Ceské Slovo_, organ of the National Socialist Party; the editors have been
imprisoned. _Cas_ ("Times"), organ of Professor Masaryk (Realist Party);
the editors Dusek and Hájek were imprisoned. _Samostatnost_, organ of the
State Right (Radical) Party; the editors were imprisoned or sent to
the front.

The _Národní Listy_ (Kramár's organ) was twice suspended, and in May, 1918,
suppressed altogether because it "fostered sympathies for the Entente."

The _Lidové Noviny_, organ of Dr. Stránský (Moravian People's Party), was
also several times suspended during the war.

All Socialist journals were suppressed except _Právo Lidu_ and _Rovnost_.

According to the _Wiener Zeitung_, seventy-eight Czech journals were
suspended during the months of April, May and June, 1916, alone. All Slovak
newspapers were also suppressed.

As regards censorship, we need only mention that even speeches delivered in
the Austrian Parliament were censored in the press. The sense of the
speeches delivered by Allied statesmen was invariably distorted and
declarations in favour of Czecho-Slovak independence were suppressed.
Foreign newspapers were not allowed to be quoted; and the journals were
forced to publish unsigned articles supplied to them by the police....

The Union of Czech Journalists declared on April 25, 1917

"We protest against the practice prevailing in Prague as against means
quite contradictory to the moral principles of modern journalism, as in
Prague the newspapers are forced to publish articles supplied by the
Official Press Bureau, as though written by the editor, without being
allowed to mark them as inspired. Thus the journals are not in reality
edited by the editors themselves, but by the Press institution of the

The same union again protested on November 16, 1917

"After the victorious Russian Revolution which brought about also the
opening of the Reichsrat, the fetters binding the Czech press were a
little relaxed, but only for a short time, and to-day we see the same
conditions prevailing in which we lived for the first three years of
war. Every free reflection in the Czech journals is confiscated. They
are even prohibited to publish articles which appeared in the German
and Austrian press. Furthermore, they are again compelled to publish
articles written by officials without marking them as such. They cannot
even inform their readers correctly about parliamentary debates, _as
speeches and interpellations delivered in parliament are suppressed_.
We ask the Union of Czech Deputies to protest again against this
violation of parliamentary immunity, and to obtain a guarantee that in
future the Czech papers will not be compelled to print articles not
written by the editorial staff and that the Czech press shall enjoy at
least the same freedom as the press in Berlin, Vienna and Budapest."

_(d) Reichsrat Interpellations_

To complete the picture of Austrian terrorism, we will quote some of the
interpellations addressed to the Austrian Government by Czech deputies in
the summer of 1917.

The Czech deputies_ Prokes, Jaros and Charvát_ (Socialists) have demanded
an explanation from the Minister for Home Defence respecting 300 Czech
teachers from Moravia who were interned in 1915, being suspected of
disloyalty, although there was no charge made against them either by the
civil or by the military authorities. They were first interned in Lower
Austria and then in Hungary, and had to do the hardest work. Though the
educational authorities reclaimed them they were not set free even to
attend to the burials of their relatives. The only exception made was when
one teacher was allowed to be married in Vienna, and even then he was
followed by the guard with fixed bayonets. In Hungary the conditions were
still worse, and many of these teachers died and many of them are still in

A long interpellation was addressed to the government by the Czech
deputies_ Binovec, Filipinský and Stejskal_ (Socialists) regarding the
outrageous and inhuman treatment of the Czech political prisoners. They
mentioned a vast number of appalling instances of deliberate torturing and
starving of the prisoners. All rights of the prisoners were suspended and
they depended entirely on the will of the commander: many of these
political prisoners were imprisoned together with ordinary murderers; they
were not allowed to read books or to write letters; their families were not
permitted to visit them or even to send them provisions from home, so they
starved in prison. Such cruel treatment did not affect only political
prisoners but even people on remand, and it was nothing extraordinary for
them to be imprisoned for years on remand only. The deputies asked whether
the authorities wanted these prisoners to die from starvation.

The most interesting document is the interpellation of deputies _Stanek,
Tobolka and Co_. on the persecutions against the Czech nation during the
war. The interpellation has been published as a book of 200 pages which has
been prohibited by Austria to be sent abroad, but a copy of which we have
nevertheless been able to secure. The following are short extracts from
the volume:

The Behaviour of the Austrian Government towards the Czech Nation during
the War

"YOUR EXCELLENCY,--At a time when it proved impossible to continue to
rule in an absolute way in this empire and when after more than three
years the Reichsrat is sitting again, we address to you the following
interpellation in order to call your attention to the persecutions
which during the past three years have been perpetrated on our nation,
and to demand emphatically that these persecutions shall be
discontinued. They were not done unintentionally or accidentally, but,
as will be shown from the following survey, this violence was committed
deliberately and systematically by the Austrian Government on our
nation, which took the abominable view that the present war is the most
suitable period for realising the plans and aims of German centralism
in the Habsburg Monarchy by curing the Czechs forever of all
hallucinations about equality among nations, and about the glorious
past of Bohemia and her relationship with other Slav nations. A general
attack was made upon the Czech nation during the critical situation
created by the war: our participation in civil service was curtailed,
German was made the official language of the state, the press was
muzzled, schools persecuted, the Sokol idea declared to be high
treason, men distinguished for service in the state arrested,
imprisoned, persecuted and sentenced to death, everything reminding the
population of the famous past of Bohemia removed, the ancient Czech
aspirations for political independence or even aims for a mere
reorganisation of the Habsburg Monarchy on a federal basis were not
allowed and were suppressed, even the name of the ancient kingdom of
Bohemia, which was the foundation stone to the Habsburg Monarchy in
1526, was to disappear for ever.

"The persecutions against our nation were very cruel indeed.

"In the first place, _Dr. Kramár_ was attacked as the veritable leader
of the Czech nation. In return for his valuable services for this state
and for his nation, in return for his endeavours to educate the Czech
nation towards realism in politics, he was recompensed by being
arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death, although a member of the
delegations and therefore enjoying immunity. He was not brought up
before the ordinary tribunal, but before a judge who was absolutely
ignorant of Czech or foreign politics, so that his condemnation might
be assured.

"The same fate also met his political friends, deputy Dr. Rasín and the
editor of _Národní Listy_, V. Cervinka.

"Incredible proceedings were taken against the deputy Klofác. Although
being a member of the delegations and therefore enjoying immunity, he
was arrested on September 7, 1914, and has been imprisoned ever since.
A charge was hurriedly prepared against him on May 24, 1917, that is
when the Reichsrat was to be opened. Both Dr. Kramár and Klofác were
prosecuted by the Vienna court-martial under the direction of Colonel
Gliwitzki and Dr. Preminger in such a way that no ordinary judge would
dare to act.

"The way in which the military tribunals treated the ordinary
uneducated people is apparent from the following examples:

"The tailor Smejkal in Vienna was sentenced to six months' hard labour
for saying, 'The government does not want to give us Czech schools in

"For saying, 'I do not know whether the Emperor Francis Joseph was ever
crowned King of Bohemia or not,' a boy gardener named Tesar was
sentenced to six months' hard labour, which sentence was altered to
sixteen months by the High Court of Justice (the poor boy died in

"The shoemaker's assistant Hamouz, of Vienna, sixty-seven years of age,
ill and mentally stunted, served in his youth with the 28th Regiment.
He defended this regiment, therefore, by saying, 'It is a good
regiment.' He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

"Private Cepera from Moravia was sentenced to three years' hard labour
for saying, 'The German Kaiser is responsible for the war.'

"For saying that 'those of the 28th Regiment are our "boys,"' gunner
Purs, of Benatky, was sentenced to four years' imprisonment. He was
sent in chains to the military prison in Möllersdorf.

"The wilfulness of military tribunals, culminating in many cases in
apparent hatred against everything that is Czech, is shown by the
following, out of many examples:

"The editor of _Ceské Slovo_, E. Spatny, of Prague, was arrested on
September 26, 1914, and interned in Prague, without being told the
reason. In March, 1915, he was transferred to the internment camp at
Göllersdorf, in Lower Austria. The Czechs interned there arranged on
July 5 a Hus anniversary at which the editor E. Spatny and Dr. Vrbenský
spoke about the life and importance of Hus. Being accused by a certain
fellow-prisoner, Davidovský, that they had been speaking against the
Germans and that 'the speakers expected deliverance by a certain state
but were disappointed,' they were transferred to the military prison in
Vienna, and charged with high treason according to Par. 58_c_. The
latter was discharged for want of proofs, but the editor Spatny was
sentenced to fourteen years' hard labour.

"The Sarajevo prisoners were not allowed to be visited by their
relatives in contravention of the orders of the official statutes D 6.
Out of five of those prisoners, three have already died, the fourth is
dying, and the last one, a student Cubulic, was allowed a visit after
two years when it became certain that the Reichsrat would meet.

"The extent to which starvation and inhuman treatment is raging in the
state prisons is best shown by the conditions prevailing in the prison
of Möllersdorf. In the years 1915-16, 61 prisoners died there out of
350 to 450 prisoners on the roll. Between January 1, 1917, and May,
1917, 101 prisoners were doomed to death. The majority belong to the
sixth category of prisoners. The thieves, criminals and impostors, if
they had served previously in the army, enjoy special treatment in
Möllersdorf prison. They wear civilian clothes, and are treated with
consideration and well fed. On the other hand, political prisoners,
especially those classed as second category, are dying from
ill-treatment and insufficient nourishment. The judge, auditor A.
König, famous for his arbitrary verdicts against the Czech people, was
a solicitor's clerk in civil life, and now recommends to his wealthy
defendants his Vienna lawyer friends as splendid specialists and
advocates in political matters. Thus, for instance, he forced Dr.
Glaser upon Mr. Kotik as the counsel. Kotik was sentenced to death by
König, and Glaser sent him a bill for 10,000 kronen (Ł400) for the
'successful defence.'

_The Persecutions of the Sokols_

"Terrible persecutions were inflicted on the Sokol Gymnastic
Association during the war. The sphere of the Sokols' activity does not
touch political affairs at all, being reserved to gymnastics and
spiritual education. Their activity was public, open to official
inquiries and supervision. But this did not save them from
persecutions. The first persecution was already committed in 1914 in
Moravia, when some branches of the Sokol Association were dissolved for
various reasons. Numerous societies were afterwards dissolved
throughout Bohemia and Moravia.

"_On November_ 23, 1915, _the Central Czech Sokol Association (Ceská
Obec Sokolska) was dissolved_ as the centre of the Czech Sokol
movement, which before the war kept up lively relations with foreign
countries and manifested brotherly feelings of sympathy towards Serbia
and Russia. It was alleged that the Central Sokol Association had had
relations with the American Sokol branches during the war through its
president, Dr. J. Scheiner, and conducted an active propaganda against
Austria. The alleged relations were founded on a communication of the
American branches to the president, Dr. Scheiner, asking him whether he
would be willing to distribute money collected in America to people in
Bohemia afflicted by the war. Dr. Scheiner was arrested and kept in
prison for two months.

"Very characteristic was the way in which the military authorities
treated the members of Sokol societies. In many cases soldiers,
especially recruits, were questioned whether they belonged to the Sokol
Association. The authorities searched for Sokol badges or membership
cards, and those who were found to have these in their possession were
severely punished. The members of the Sokol societies as long as they
were in the army were invariably subjected to ill-treatment and
persecution. They were transferred to do heavy work, and not
recommended for promotion, and in every way treated more brutally than
other soldiers. In the case of both civil and military trials, one of
the most important questions asked, was whether the accused belonged to
any Sokol society, and if the accused did belong to a society this
always went against him.

_Bohemian History_

"Every possible means was employed to wipe out the memory of important
events in Bohemian history. Not only were historical books (like
Lützow's _Bohemia_ and others) confiscated, but even scientific
lectures on John Hus and the Hussite movement were prohibited. The
metal memorial plate with the names of Bohemian lords executed in 1621
inscribed upon it was removed from the Town Hall, and that part of the
square which showed the spot on which they were executed was ordered to
be repaved.

"In order to destroy the idea that the Czechs are of Slav origin, any
use of red, blue and white colours was prohibited. Varnishes in these
colours were not allowed to be used. The street plates of pre-war times
had to be repainted in black and yellow. Newspaper posters, match-boxes
and other articles were not allowed to be sold or exhibited, if they
were painted in the Slav tricolours.

_The Suppression of Czech Literature_

"More than two hundred books published before the war were confiscated.
The tendency of this action was clear. The government wanted to destroy
the memory of the glorious past of Bohemia, of John Hus and the Hussite
movement, of the suffering of the Czech nation after the defeat of the
White Mountain, to restrict all progressive and liberal movements and
to kill the 'Sokol' idea, and further to destroy the consciousness that
Czechs and Slovaks are the same nation and belong to the great Slav
family. The apostles of this idea were proclaimed traitors, especially
Dr. Kramár, J.S. Machar and others. These persecutions cover a great
period before the war, and the following is a list of the books
suppressed (follows a list comprising eleven foolscap columns). The
government treated the Czech nation with special brutality. The
persecutions in Bohemia were opposed not only to the liberal ideas of
Czechs, but especially to their national feelings. The anxiety of the
censor for the safety of the monarchy often bordered on absurdity. The
word 'shocking' was deleted from a play, for instance, because it was
English. _Henry IV_. was not allowed to be played 'until we reach a
settlement with England,' and it was only when it was reported by the
Vienna and Berlin papers that the prohibition was withdrawn.

_Persecution of the Czech Press_

"The Czech press was persecuted in a peculiar manner. Its editors were
not allowed to receive papers from neutral countries and to express
their own opinions as regards the propaganda of the Czechs abroad.
Under threats of suppression of the journals and imprisonment of the
editors, the journals were obliged to print and publish articles
supplied to them by the police, without mentioning the source from
whence they came. The articles had to be put in in such a way that they
appeared as if they were the editors' views. The articles betrayed the
low intellectual level of the authors who lacked any knowledge of Czech
affairs. Such articles which the Czech journals were compelled to
publish were, for instance: 'In Foreign Pay,' published March 25, 1916;
'The Czechs in America against Masaryk's Agents,' published in all
Czech papers on April 8, 1916; on January 16, 1917, the article 'Our
Answer to the Quadruple Entente.'

"The Police Directorate ordered first that such articles should appear
on the same day in all papers and in the same wording, but recognising
the stupidity of such an action, they compelled only one journal to
publish them and the others had to 'quote' from them.

"Preventive censorship was established and a number of articles were
passed by the censor for publication in Czech papers only when proofs
were supplied that the articles had already appeared in some other
journal in Austria. _Independent articles or reports were not allowed
to be published_. The _Národní Listy_ was treated with special spite by
the censorship.

"_Almost ninety important journals were suppressed by the government_,
the majority of them without any apparent reason or justification.

_The Suppression of Czech School and National Literature_

"Words, sentences or whole paragraphs in school books were found
objectionable, since they were alleged to propagate Pan-Slavism and to
encourage in the pupils hostile feelings against Austria's allies.
According to the official ideas about Austrian patriotism, purely
educational paragraphs were considered as wanting in patriotic feeling;
not only literary but also historical paragraphs were 'corrected,' and
official advice was issued as to how to write handbooks on patriotic
lines on special subjects, as for instance on natural history, physics,
geometry, etc. The foundations of all knowledge to be supplied to the
pupils in the public schools had to reflect the spirit of the world

"Numerous folk-songs with absolutely no political tendency in them were
confiscated, merely because they expressed the Czech national spirit.
All songs were suppressed which mentioned the word Slav--'The Slav
Linden Tree'--the army or the Allies. Even if the publishers offered to
publish new editions without the objectionable songs they were not
allowed to do so, and were asked to put in more 'loyal songs' and to
replace melancholy songs with cheerful ones.

"In every secondary school a zealous library revision was started and
many books were removed, so that these libraries lost all their value
for the students. The Czech youth must not know the principal works
either of their own or foreign literature. Certain libraries had to be
deprived of some hundreds of books. All this happened at a time when
the discussions here and abroad were taking place about the importance
of raising the standard of knowledge of the educated classes.

"The opening of Czech minority schools has been postponed since the
beginning of 1914. Consequently the Czech School Society must keep them
up and pay the expenses in connection with them, amounting to a loss of
more than two million kronen up till now. On the other hand, many
German schools have been established in Bohemia.

"The steps which are being taken against Czech schools in Lower
Austria, especially in Vienna, are not only contrary to the standing
laws but also to the decisions of the ministry concerned.

"We conclude by asking:

"Are the above facts of systematic persecution of the Czech nation
during the war known to your Excellency?

"Is your Excellency prepared to investigate them thoroughly?

"Is your Excellency prepared to stop the persecution of the Czech
nation and the wrongs suffered by us through these proceedings?

"_In Vienna, June_ 6, 1917."

[Footnote 1: For the full text of this document see Dr. Benes' _Bohemia's
Case for Independence_.]




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