Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/102

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peace with the emperor on conditions acceptable to him, sixty-five per cent of the population would feel that they were betrayed, and the thirty-five per cent of the Austrian Germans would approve of it only if separate peace would Austria would fall in with the plans of Germany.

But what sort of peace would that be? It is impossible to deny the Polish people the reunion of their three fragments. The Italian provinces of Austria with Trieste must go to Italy. Eastern Galicia and Bukovina with their Little Russian and Roumanian population is definitely lost to the Hapsburgs.

That would leave only the Germans and Magyars who would gravitate toward Germany, and against them the irreconcilable enemies of the Pangerman Central Europe plan, the Czecho-Slovaks and the Jugoslavs. Is it likely that tens of thousands of these men who fight today in every Allied army would peacefully submit once more to the yoke of Germans and Magyars? Bohemians and Slovaks, Serbians, Croatians and Slovenians will never rest, will keep Europe eternally in turmoil, until they also are free.

The empire of the Hapsburgs must go. Out of its ruins will be erected free democratic states, and then only will Europe and the world be in a state of stable equilibrium.

Address of Bohemian Authors
to the Parliamentary Representatives of the Bohemian People[1]

We address you, gentlemen, at a great period of our national life, at a time for which we shall all be held responsible to future centuries. We address you, the delegates of the Czech people, well knowing that we, the literary men of Bohemia, known and active in our public life, have not the right only, but the duty also to speak for the overwhelming majority of the cultural and spiritual world of Bohemia, nay for the nation itself, unable to speak directly.

The Reichsrat is to meet shortly, and the political representatives of the Czech nation for the first time since the war began will have the opportunity to express from the parliamentary tribune all that could not be expressed through the print or any other public manner. We regret, of course, that this parliamentary tribune will not be the ancient diet of the Kingdom of Bohemia, and we declare expressly that the diet is the only rightful place in which the wishes and needs of our nation should be discussed. But at present, alas, there is no Bohemian diet; the only free forum of Bohemian representatives at this time can be the parliament in Vienna. There at least, gentlemen, be the true spokesmen of your nation, there at least tell the state and the world what your nation wants and what it insists upon. There at least do your sacred duty and in a spirit of determination and self-sacrifice defend Bohemian rights and Bohemian claims in this most fateful time of the world’s history, for now the fortunes of the Bohemian nation are being moulded for centuries to come.

But you can do your duty fully only when all constitutional conditions which parliamentary life presupposes in every case are fully satisfied in advance. That means not only actual freedom of assembly before the parliamentary session, so that the people’s delegates might hear the wishes and complaints of their constituents, not only the abolishing of press censoring in all non-military matters, but also complete freedom and inviolability of all parliamentary speeches in the Reichsrat and in the print, and above all complete inviolability of the representatives of the people. Many Czech and Jugoslav deputies were deprived of this privilege, this exemption, many were sentenced to jail and even to death, others were interned, and it is not known yet of what they were guilty. Political persecution has grown enormously during the war, and if a new civic life is to begin, the necessary foundation of all parliamentary proceedings, it is surely imperative that you first obtain general amnesty for all who have been condemned by military courts for political and non-military reasons. The Bohemian nation cannot concede to its present delegation the right to speak and act in its name in the Reichsrat, until complete civic freedom of our public life is first secured. And further we are opposed to the

  1. The Austrian parliament met May 30, 1917. Bohemian representatives broke off definitely with Austria and announced their program to be the creation of a democratic Czech-Slovak State.