Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/153

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The Bohemian Review

Jaroslav F. Smetanka, Editor, 2324 South Central Park Avenue, Chicago.
Published by the Bohemian Review Co., 2627 S. Ridgeway Ave., Chicago, Ill.

Vol. I, No. 9. OCTOBER 1917

10 cents a Copy
$1.00 per Year

Permanent Peace and Austria-Hungary.

(From an address delivered by Charles Pergler on September 6th at the Minneapolis Conference on Labor and Democracy).

Austria-Hungary is organized violence. There is no common bond between the various elements forming this empire except the person of the sovereign and the bureaucracy, and in modern times this is not sufficient to justify the existence of any state. Indeed, the Austrian problem is the crucial problem of the war, and without its solution the war will have been fought in vain. The fact that it has becomes somewhat obscured, that the world, in its abhorrence of Prussian militarism, is forgetting that older than the despotism of the Hohenzollerns is the autocracy of the Hapsburgs, does not do away with the correctness of this contention. It calls simply for more stress upon the Austrian phase of the various questions fronting the world. It would be height of inconsistency to smash Hohenzollern rule and to permit the even worse Hapsburg government to continue.

“Until Germany is made either powerless or free, I do not think the peace of Europe can be secured,” declared recently Lord Balfour. Until Austria is dismembered, until the Hapsburgs are sent to oblivion, just so long the peace of the world is not secure.

Before the Hohenzollerns came to real power, the Hapsburgs had been engaged in their trade of murder and robbery for centuries. Their attempted Germanization of Bohemia in the seventeenth century and suppression of the last semblance of freedom of thought in Central Europe at the same time, prepared the ground for the modern German schemes of Middle Europe and world dominion.

The Hapsburgs not only permitted, but actually encouraged a division of the Austro-Hungarian empire into two parts, in one of which the non-German nationalities were turned over to the untender mercies of the German minority, while in the other, the Magyars reigned supreme, Magyarizing the Slavs and Roumanians, and endeavoring to make veritable slaves and helots of them. It is a partnership in crime on a tremendous scale. This partnership in crime will not be voluntarily dissolved, for Germans and Magyars will never surrender the position of privileged and ruling nations in Austria-Hungary. Even if they should give way partially and concede a measure of autonomy to the non-German and non Magyar nationalities, this would be merely temporary. As soon as the Allied armies disband, what is there to prevent the Germans and Magyars in resuming their old methods with the support of Berlin? If there is to be permanent peace, the Hapsburgs must go, and Austria must vanish from the roll of existing states.

In some ways, the Hapsburg dynasty is much more conservative than the House of Hohenzollern. The latter at least endeavored to aid the economic and social development of the German nation by means of social amelioration and economic improvement. But the Hapsburg policy was ever dictated by empty dynastic ambitions, resulting in all sorts of intrigues with the military and court camarilla, this in turn again resulting in the disruption of the economic life of the monarchy and impoverishment of the various Austrian nationalities.

If the Hohenzollerns are uncompromisingly opposed to modern democratic ideas, it cannot be maintained directly or indirectly that the Hapsburgs even remotely favor anything savoring of democracy.

The Hapsburgs are adepts in juggling with constitutions and in making promises, but they are still more expert in violating their pledges and oaths. The short-lived relatively democratic constitution of 1848