Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/208

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“These Czechoslovaks, shamefully abandoned by our infantry at Tarnopol, fought so that we should all fall on our knees before them. One brigade held up several divisions. The best men of the Bohemian nation fell there. Teachers, lawyers, engineers, authors, public men, fought and died there. The wounded begged their comrades to kill them so that they might not fall into the hands of the Germans, who are known to torture helpless Czechoslovaks who get into their hands alive.”

Russia needs generals like Brusiloff and fighters like the Czechoslovaks, if she is to work out her own salvation. Brusiloff will be heard from again, and so will the Czechoslovaks, former Austrian conscripts, now eager fighters in the cause of freedom and real democracy. Two full divisions of them are now under arms in Russia, and patriotic Russians know that they they count on them.


The naturalization law, as it now stands, forbids the conferring of citizenship upon alien enemies. Different courts have interpreted differently this provision. All apply it to German subjects, some few apply it also to subjects of Germany’s allies with whom we are still nominally at peace. Thus in Chicago Bohemian applicants for citizenship who made their application in the state courts were naturalized, if otherwise qualified, while those who happened to file their application in the federal court were held to be alien enemies and their cases were continued until the end of the war.

War upon Germany’s allies cannot be delayed much longer, and then all the Bohemian applicants, as well as many Poles, Italians, Roumanians and other races of immigrants hostile to the German cause and anxious to assume the duties and burdens, as well as the privileges, of American citizenship, will be ineligible for it during the war. Now it is true that naturalization should not be conferred lightly, particularly in time of war, and that the government examiner, as well as the judge, should have clear proof of the candidate's loyalty to the United States, before conferring upon him the rights of a citizen and exempting him from the restrictions placed upon aliens, especially enemy aliens. But former political subjection is not a fair test of a resident alien’s attitude toward America’s political institutions and ideals, and it is no test at all of his sympathies in this war. A French Alsatian or a Pole from Prussia is probably far more determined on complete defeat of Germany than the average native-born American. And of immigrants from Austria-Hungary by far the larger part hate the Germans and are thoroughly loyal in their sentiments to this country.

Repeal the provision prohibiting the naturalization of alien enemies and give every alien, eager to become an American, a chance to prove that his heart is with this country. Should war be declared on Austria, as seems most likely at the time of this writing, a provision of this sort will be necessary in order to make hundreds of thousands of Austrian and Hungarian subjects available for service in the field. There are many thousands of Bohemian, Polish, Slovak and other soldiers in the first select army who will be placed by the declaration of war upon Austria in the category of alien enemies without an opportunity to become citizens. Do not take away from them their chance to become American citizens.

Under this title, Dr. Edward Beneš, general secretary of the Czechoslovak National Council of Paris, has just published a book setting forth the demands of the Bohemians and Slovaks. It is an excellent presentation of arguments with which readers of this Review are familiar. After a brief account of the Bohemian history, with a special chapter devoted to the wrongs of the Slovaks, the author describes the Pan-German plans which included the crushing of the Czechoslovaks as the first great obstacle to the German dreams of Central Europe. The chapter on Czechoslovaks and the War gathers together the most startling instances of oppression to which Bohemia has been subject since the war began. As the book was published in London and was intended primarily for English readers, a chapter has been added on the relations of England and Bohemia. A very full bibliography is a valuable feature of this little book of 132 pages.

Henry Wickham Steed, for many years correspondent of the London Times in Vienna, author of the “Hapsburg Monarchy”, writes the Introduction. He makes a strong argument for the dissolution of Austria-Hungary and quotes an old parody from Macmillan’s Magazine of 1866:

Who is Austria? What is she?
That all our swells commend her?
Dogged, proud and dull is she;
The heavens such gifts did lend her
That she might destroyed be.

But what is Austria? Is it fair
To name among the nations
Some Germans who have clutched the hair
Of divers populations,
And having clutched, keep tugging there?

We commend this book most warmly to our readers. If you want an American friend ignorant of Bohemia to take interest in Bohemia’s independence, present him this book. It may be ordered from the Bohemian National Alliance, 3639 West Twenty-sixth street, Chicago; the price is 75 cents.

The famous Pilsener beer has ceased to be. No more barley can be spared for the making of beer. The great burghers’ brewery is now making soft drinks, just like the breweries in the dry states, and the hops are fed to cattle.