The New Europe/Volume 2/Another German "Scrap of Paper"
Another German “Scrap of Paper”
Prussia’s Proclamation to Bohemia in 1866
At the moment when the Allies have solemnly committed themselves to the liberation of the Czecho-Slovaks as one of their war aims, it is worth recalling the words of the proclamation issued by the Prussian High Command on 8 July 1866, the day of their entry into Prague during the Seven Weeks’ War against Austria. It will be seen from this document that the Germans were ready enough to recognise Bohemia’s nght to national independence when it suited their own ends to do so:—
To the Inhabitants of the Glorious Kingdom of Bohemia!
As the result of the war unchained despite us by Austria we set foot on the soil of your country, not as enemies, but with full respect for your historical and national rights.
We come to offer to all the inhabitants without distinction of rank, religion, or nationality, not war with its ravages, but a considerate friendship. Do not allow yourselves to be persuaded by our enemies and calumniators, that we have produced the present war by our desires of conquest. It is Austria who forced us to accept the combat, for she wished to attack us unexpectedly, in concert with the other German Governments. But we, on the contrary, will do nothing to oppose your just desive for independence and free national expansion. . . .
We leave the rest in full confidence in God the Omnipotent. If our just cause is victorious, the moment will perhaps come again, when the inhabitants of Bohemia and Moravia can freely dispose of their fate. A happier star will illumine this war and will establish your happiness for ever.