Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/100

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could be present. For the budget were cast the votes of 230 Germans. Poles, with their 80 deputies, abstained from voting. Against the budget voted the Czechs, Jugoslavs (Serbians, Croatians and Slovenians), Roumanians and Italians. The total opposition vote was 150, representing a numerically larger population than that voting for the government.

The fact is that the Austrian government is supported solely by the German minority of the Hapsburg subjects, and even this element will stand back of Emperor Charles only in so far as he stands back of Germany. The attitude of the rest of the people is best expressed in certain public pronunciamentos of the Czech people which are given herewith.

Bohemian deputies of all parties, combining in the United Czech Club, addressed the Reichsrat upon its opening in these words: “Relying in this historical moment upon the natural right of each nation to self-determination and free development, fortified further by irrevocable historical rights and state papers of undoubted validity, we shall demand at the head of our people the union of all branches of the Czecho-Slovak people into one democratic Bohemian State, which shall include the Slovak branch connected geographically with the historical Bohemian fatherland”. In addition to this general and common demand a separate declaration was made on behalf of the independent Czech deputies. Their leader before the war was Professor Masaryk, who is at present at the head of the movement laboring in the Allied countries for the independence of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakland. This declaration states: “The elected representatives of the Bohemian people reject emphatically all responsibility for this war. . . . The government calls together only now, after three years, that parliament which the Bohemians never recognized as legal and against which, as well as against the so-called constitution, they once more enter a protest. The splendid Russian revolution compels the government and the men in power to create an appearance of constitutional life. The Bohemian people welcome with boundless admiration and enthusiasm the liberation of the entire Eastern Europe which has been accomplished by victory of the Russian nation. The leading principles of this ever memorable revolution are closely akin to our own ancient traditions, namely the principle of liberty, equality and fraternity of all nations. Bohemia is a free country. In the days of its liberty it did not accept laws from foreigners or its neighbors, however powerful they might have been. Liberty of men, liberty of nations, is again our rallying cry, the same cry that the Hussites victoriously sounded over all Europe. At the historical moment, when from the blood of battlefields new Europe arises and the idea of sovereignty of all nations and nationalities marches triumphantly through the world, the Bohemian nation declares solemnly before all world its determination to have the liberty and independence enjoyed by the ancient Bohemian crown. While demanding political independence, the Bohemian nation in accordance with the new democracy postulates for the entire Czecho-Slovak race the right of self-determination.”

Not only on the floor of the parliament, but in the cities of Bohemia revolutionary declarations were issued. The national socialist party, the party whose leader Klofáč is in jail and most of whose deputies are charged with treason, published a statement on May 29th which defies the terrorism of the Austrian government. It says: “We greet with joy the liberation of the Russian nation which together with the great democracy of the United States and the democracies of the whole world desires the end of this terrible war and wants to construct universal peace on the basis of liberty and free self-development of all nations. The Bohemian National Socialist party expects of its deputies that in accordance with the principles of the party they will faithfully interpret the indestructible hopes of our suffering nation. It expects of the whole people, and of its deputies especially, that they realize that the honor of the Bohemian name and of the Bohemian flag is concerned and that by the convocation of parliament the time for passivity has gone by, that to be silent now would mean sharing the guilt.”

All these declarations have been correctly classed by the Austrian government, by Germans and Magyars as demands for the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary. The Frankfurter-Zeitung called on the German population of Vienna to silence Bohemian deputies by mob attacks and urged the Austrian government to treat all Czech deputies as traitors. In the Hungarian parliament the Czech attitude provoked a