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The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/Dismemberment of Austria

For works with similar titles, see Dismemberment of Austria.

Dismemberment of Austria.

 

The note of the Allies communicating the terms on which they are willing to make peace has been received in America on the whole very favorably. Many voices welcomed it as a second proclamation of emancipation announcing the coming of freedom to the submerged small nations of Europe. President Wilson’s move in the interests of peace, looked upon at first as bound to result to the advantage of the Central Powers, has actually strengthened the sympathies of the neutrals for the Allied cause. The Teutons made an evasive answer, while the Allies announced freely their program which, radical though it be, finds approval in the eyes of all freedom-loving citizens of the country of liberty.

It was, however, inevitable that newspapers sympathizing with the Germans would twist certain demands of the Allies into unjust, wicked designs of rapacious would-be conquerors. In particular the intention of the Allies to liberate Italians, Slavs, Rumanians and Czecho-Slovaks from foreign domination has been emphasized by friends of Germany in this country as a proof that the enemies of Germany want to commit the great crime of dismembering a nation. It is true that the liberation of the races just enumerated implies the dismemberment of Austria. Nothing would be left of the present empire of the Hapsburgs, numbering over fifty million subjects, except eight or nine million Germans and about the same number of Magyars, and these two fragments would be separated and would no longer form even a dualistic state. But when people talk about the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary as if it were a crime, they either totally misunderstand or wilfully refuse to understand the nature and composition of the queer monarchy on the Danube. For Austria is not a nation, like the other great powers of Europe, it is not a living organism that could be dismembered; it is a handful of provinces and races acquired by the Hapsburgs through lucky marriages and more or less clever diplomacy, held together only through common subjection to one family enforced by a great army. When Poland was partitioned nearly 150 years ago by Austria, Russia and Prussia, that was indeed a crime, for a living nation was cut into three pieces; the civilized world now asks unanimously that Poland be reunited and only the Teuton powers object. If the Allies proposed to make the dismemberment of Germany one of the conditions of peace, the neutrals would be justified in protesting against the idea as unnatural and pregnant with menace for the future. But the disappearance of Austria from the family of nations is in reality necessary if Europe is to enjoy permanent peace.

Fifteen years ago a writer in “The World’s Work” described conditions in Austria-Hungary as follows:

“The fundamental fact of the realm of the Hapsburgs is that its development has been one long exception to the ordinary rules of national growth. The races that compose it never fused as the Celts and Gallo-Romans, Franks and Iberians have fused in France, as nearly every nationality under the sun is fusing in the United States today. No dominant type has arisen to master its weaker neighbors and weld them into a homogeneous nation. Indeed, as the late Professor Freeman used to insist with lofty impatience and somewhat rasping iteration, the word “nation” has no application to Austria, and very little to Hungary. To talk of either state so as to give the impression that it can act or think as a unit, is, to use his own shattering conclusion, to talk nonsense. It is this variegated contradictoriness of Austria-Hungary that makes up its fascination for the political student. There is hardly a problem of those that are common to all modern countries with which it is not faced, and in addition it is an inexhaustible problem itself—a paradox, a mosaic without obvious cement, a Tower of Babel erected into a system of government, everything, in short, that is abnormal, unreasonable and impossible. The nationalities that inhabit it have owned a common sceptre and jostled side by side for centuries in an area smaller than Texas, and yet never mingled. Each race has lived its own life, made its own history, produced its own literature, preserved, and, of course, tried to extend, its own nationality.

“Austria today is what Metternich with less truth called Italy, little more than a geographical expression. Three bonds, to be touched on later, do indeed unite its discordant nationalities; but for the too hasty observer the country might well seem in the last stages of decomposition. There is nothing really Austrian in Austria—no Austrian interests, no Austrian language, or literature, or patriotism, no Austrian nobility, no Austrian standard of civilization, nothing except the Emperor, and the army, and the cockpit of Reichsrat that the races share in common.”

The foundations for the present Austrian empire were laid in 1526, when Ferdinand, to whom his elder brother Charles conveyed the Hapsburg dominions on the Danube and in the Alps, secured his election to the thrones of Bohemia and Hungary made vacant by the death of his brother-in-law Louis. Austria-Hungary of today contains in addition to these three elements only the Polish-Ruthenian provinces of Galicia and Bukovina on the northeast and smaller districts inhabited by Italians and Croatians on the southwest. The two Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, annexed recently, are purely Serbo-Croat in race and language.

 
Map of European states and nationalities in 1917 (without caption).jpg

Racial & National Boundaries
in

CENTRAL EUROPE

English Miles

Slavonic
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
a. Northern Slavs
Russians
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Russians
Latin
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
French, Walloons & Spanish
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
French, Walloons & Spanish
Poles
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Poles
Italian
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Italian
Racial Boundaries  
Ukrainians or Ruthenians
Ukrainians or Ruthenians
Rumanian
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rumanian
Czechs & Slovaks
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Czechs & Slovaks
Teutonic
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
German ——————
German
b. Southern Slavs
Slovenes
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Slovenes
Dutch National Boundaries  
Croats & Serbs
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Croats & Serbs
Flemish
Bulgars
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bulgars
Scandinavian
Ural-Altaic stock
Turks
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Turks
Letts & Lithuanians
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Letts & Lithuanians
Magyars
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Magyars

Out of this brief statement of the origin and growth of the Hapsburg empire one fact stands out clearly, namely, that this great power, second in area and third in population among the states of Europe, is not the product of the expansion of a single race occupying constantly new lands and assimilating new people. The races that the Hapsburgs gathered under their sway are still in existence, full of energy, conscious of their separate nationality, eager to live their own life, fighting bitterly all attempts to make them over into something else, whether it be into Germans or Magyars. The dynasty could have justified and made possible the continued existence of this collection of nations and fragments of nations only if it had allowed each race full opportunity for self-development and widest possible measure of autonomy. But the dynasty was German. Up to 1866 its ambition was to be the head of the entire German nation, of which the Hapsburg territories were to form an integral part. When the Prussian kings supplanted the rulers of Austria in the leadership of Germany, Francis Joseph hesitated for a while and was on the verge of making his empire a federal structure with equal rights for all races, but instead of that he put into effect a compromise by means of which he pacified the Magyars and sacrificed all the rest. He divided his empire into two parts. In the Austrian half of it the German minority was made the ruling race, while the Hungarian half with its Slav and Ruman majority, was turned over to the Magyars.

A few figures will show the galling injustice of this arrangement. But before Austrian official statistics are cited, it is necessary to mention that they are notoriously biased in favor of the two ruling races. In 1910 the racial figures for the Austrian half of the monarchy were as follows

 
Germans
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9,950,266
Bohemians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6,435,983
Poles
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4,967,984
Little Russians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3,608,844
Serbo-Croatians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
783,334
Italians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
768,422
Roumanians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
275,115
 

The German population, which numbers only 35.58 per cent, has a majority in parliament and treats the Slavs, who number more than 60 per cent, as “minderwertig”, inferior people.

In Hungary the Slavs and the Roumanians fared even worse, for the Magyars, an Asiatic race, proceeded ruthlessly to make the word Magyar and Hungarian synonymous. Everything non-Magyar was treason against the Hungarian state, and races that lived in Hungary, when the Magyars were still an unknown tribe wandering on the steppes of Central Asia, were condemned to extinction. This barbarous policy did bring results, for in 1910 the Magyars, according to their statistics, for the first time formed a bare majority of the people of Hungary. The figures for 1910 are as follows

 
Magyars
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10,050,575
Roumanians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2,949,027
Germans
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2,037,435
Slovaks
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1,967,970
Croatians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1,833,167
Serbians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1,106,471
Little Russians
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
472,587
 

The policy of oppression pursued by the two ruling races of the dual empire made the collapse of the whole crazy structure of the Hapsburg monarchy inevitable sooner or later. For years, as Francis Joseph was growing old, speculation was rife about the fate of Austria after his death. As it is, Francis Joseph preceded his empire into the tomb by only a year or so. When he declared war on Serbia, he signed the death warrant of the greatness of the Hapsburg dynasty.

Today not a single one of the eleven races subject to Emperor Charles desires the continuation of Austria-Hungary. Poles expect the restoration of Poland; Little Russians want to join twenty-five million of their kinsmen in Russia; Roumanians hope to form a part of greater Roumania; Croatians, Slovenians and Serbians plan the union of their race with Serbia and Montenegro in a great Yugoslav kingdom. Italians of Austria will naturally be joined to Italy. Bohemians and Slovaks want independence in a common Czechoslovak state. Magyars care for only one thing, to maintain their tyranny over all Hungary, while the Germans want the closest union with or even annexation to imperial Germany. The only Austrian left is the emperor. Dismemberment of Austria will hurt Emperor Charles in pride and pocket, but it will be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of the people of the empire.

During the nineteenth century the Turk was the sick man of Europe. Today that ignoble role is played by Austria. The sooner it is partitioned in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of its races, the better for the peace of the world.

 

 

The Bohemian National Alliance, 3639 West 26th St., Chicago, has published several pamphlets dealing with Bohemian and Austrian questions and presenting several distinct phases of the large problem of reconstruction of Europe. These pamphlets will be sent free on application.

 

 

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This work was published before January 1, 1924 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 96 years or less since publication.