Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/46

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The Bohemian Review

German and Polish minority in these provinces, the terms used to designate the whole country, the State, are “Bohemia” and “Bohemian”. The Czechs themselves do not adopt this distinction but use the word “Czech” in both senses. When writing German or Latin, however, they do use the words “Böhme”, “Bohemus”, but the French have adopted the Slav designation, and this is also used by the Germans.

The Slovaks extend from the southeast corner of Moravia far into Hungary. They are part of the Czech nation. Incorporated in Hungary as early as the tenth century, and being thereby separated from the Czechs, they have formed a national unit against the Magyars. In the eighteenth century they adopted their own dialect as their literary language; but the language question does not play a prominent role, inasmuch as every Czech understands Slovak quite well, and vice versa.

There has always been a party among the Slovaks who, though adhering to their own dialect, are in favor of the union of these two branches of the same nation. The word “Czecho-Slovak” or “Czechoslovak” (the latter form being intended to designate a closer union) is very widely used, although it is not accepted by the radical Slovaks, who claim an absolutely distinct nationality. The political relationship between Bohemia and Slovakia can be variously formulated in terms of the nomenclature. The same questions may arise as those which are discussed in fixing the relation ship of Austria to Hungary. It will depend, for instance, how close the union is as to whether the name “Czechoslovak”, “Czecho-Slovak”, or “Czech and Slovak”, will be decided upon. There is no doubt that the union of the two branches will grow. So far, the political spokesmen of the Czechs and Slovaks in the European and American colonies (in Bohemia and Slovakia the people cannot publicly express their opinion) have agreed to claim one common, united State, and it is taken as a matter of course by both parties that the Slovaks of Slovakia will freely use their language as they choose. There will, in deed, be no language question; the political interest of the problem is concerned only with the financial organization of Slovakia and her economic and educational development. And, in that respect, the interests of Slovakia are best served by the closest possible union, because the Magyars have purposely neglected her, and have tried as far as possible, to keep her, economically, at the old primitive stage of development.

It will therefore be generally agreed that the best designation for the State, which is to be composed of the Czechs and Slovaks, and of the non-Slav minorities, will be Bohemia. This will almost certainly be the name adopted for international use, for, in this case, terminology need take no account of internal qualifications, and will inevitably choose the simple term, especially as it happens to be the one by which the country is generally known.

3. Constitution and Government.—Bohemia is projected as a monarchical state, though the more radical politicians advocate a Bohemian Republic. It must be admitted that the experience of foreign dynasties in the Balkans induces even the more conservative politicians to admit the expediency of the republican constitution.

The dynastic question is left to the Allies, who might perhaps give one of their own princes. There might be a personal union between Serbia and Bohemia, if the Serbs and Bohemians were to be neighboring countries. A personal union with Russia or with Poland, if the latter were to be quite independent has also been suggested. (German and Austrian princes must eo ipso be excluded.) The Bohemian people are thoroughly Slavophil. The Russian dynasty, in whatever form, would be most popular; and, in any case, Bohemian politicians desire the establishment of the kingdom of Bohemia in complete accord with Russia. The greatest of the Slav States could then assume the initiative in the solution of any Slavonic question.

Bohemian politicians, though alive to the difficulties of reconstituting Bohemia, do not shrink from the responsibility of the work to be done. If they wish for complete independence, it is because they desire to use all the political forces of the nation to build a strong State. Russia and all the Allies will be best served by strong Slav States and nations, and this aim can be best attained if these nations themselves bear the full responsibility for their policy.

Bohemia will of course be constitutional and demcoratic. The regeneration of Europe will be achieved, not only by the reform of foreign policy, but, above all, by the active furtherance of liberty and progress in the inner life of the European na-