The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/What the Alliance is doing


It is very fortunate for people of Bohemian race in this country that the entrance of the United States into the European war finds them so well organized. For theirs is a difficult position. Coming from Austria, as they do, they might be suspected of attachment to the German cause, if they were not in a position to make their real sentiments known to the American people in unmistakable terms. The work performed by the Bohemian National Alliance since its organization shortly after the outbreak of the war has made the public authorities and intelligent citizens of this country well acquainted with the point of view of men who came from Bohemia. The officers of the Alliance, however, realized the need of still greater activity on their part now that the United States under the leadership of President Wilson decided to take a hand in the fight for humanity and democracy.

From every city where there is any considerable number of Bohemian people telegrams poured upon the president commending his vigorous stand and assuring him of absolute loyalty of citizens of Bohemian birth. And what goes for more, officers of the Alliance appealed to their membership to prove their patriotism by enlisting their young men in the army. What has been done in Chicago in this respect, is told elsewhere in this issue. Mr. Vojta Beneš, organizer of the Alliance, proceeded on a circular tour through Bohemian settlements in the western states, and in his addresses emphasized the fact that now the cause of the United States and the cause of Bohemia are one and the same and that fighting for America is fighting for the liberation of Bohemia. He lectured in the following cities and towns: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Omaha and Aberdeen, S. D. Mr. Joseph Tvrzicky, the Bohemian secretary of the Alliance, made shorter trips from Chicago to deliver stirring appeals in favor of enlisting promptly, so as to get to the trenches before the war was over. He spoke in St. Louis, Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Paul. Fráňa Klepal, before joining his batallion in Canada, gave several talks in Cleveland, Chicago and St. Paul, calling especially on the members of the Sokol societies to enlist. Bohemian newspapers in every city publish lists of recruits of their race who have put on the uniform.

Considerable interest has been aroused among the Bohemian-speaking people of this country by the introduction of a resolution in the House of Representatives calling upon the parliamentary bodies of the Allied Powers to make a declaration in favor of re-establishment of Belgium and Serbia, and of freedom for Poland and Ireland. This resolution was introduced by Congressman Medill McCormick from Illinois and is known as House Resolution No. 41. Those who ardently desire freedom for Bohemia are sorely disappointed by the indifference of America to this just demand, the more so as the United States has in the past been the foremost champion of nations struggling for freedom. Representative McCormick and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs before whom the resolution is pending have been deluged with telegrams and petitions asking the inclusion of Bohemia within the scope of the resolution. As no action has as yet been taken on this resolution, it is not too late to address to Congressman McCormick additional appeals in behalf of Bohemia.

In accordance with the recommendation of the Cleveland conference the local branches voted unanimously to have the Central Committee of the Alliance in Chicago for a further term of two years. The committee organized itself on April 4 by the election of the following officers: Dr. L. J. Fisher, president; Dr. Joseph P. Pecival, Mrs. Anna Štolfa and Charles Pergler, vice-presidents; Joseph Tvrzicky, Bohemian secretary; Dr. J. F. Smetanka, English secretary; Vojta Beneš, organizer; Jas. F. Štěpina, treasurer; Adolph Lonek, financial secretary, and J. V. Votava, assistant financial secretary.

The eastern branches of the Alliance had a very successful, enthusiastic and harmonious conference in New York, April 14 and 15. Over three hundred delegates were present and the spirit of the meeting is best expressed in the motto adopted by it: One million dollars before the end of the year.