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Racial Realities In Europe Contents

Chapter 7


BETWEEN the open plains of Northern Europe and the broken mountain country of the Balkan Peninsula lies the great inland basin of the Danube. The Danube river-basin is the heart of Central Europe. It is a well-defined geographical area. Bounded on every side by highlands or mountain-ranges, it possesses a distinct general unity. Internally, however, the Danube basin is divided into two portions of unequal size. The smaller western portion is mainly hilly or mountainous country; the larger eastern portion is a vast plain.
Nature thus seems to have designed the Danube basin to be politically either one nation or two nations in more or less intimate association. That has, in fact, been the tendency during much of its history -- a tendency which was fairly well realized in the" Dual" Empire of Austria-Hungary. But the recent break-up of that empire at the close of the late war reveals dramatically the presence of other factors hostile to the geographicaf trend. If the Danube basin had been isolated by more inacessible barriers, political unity would probably have been a certainty. The Danube basin, however, lies in the heart of Europe, and its natural boundaries, while well defined, have not been sharp enough to keep out penetration from all sides. The result has been a confused series of invasions, conquests, and settlements which have overlaid natural unity



with human diversity. Instead of being inhabited by one or, at most, two races building up a home-made culture and political organization, the Danube basin has been a battle-ground of diverse stocks, streaming in from different directions and seeking either to conquer their rivals or to annex their particular part of the Danube basin to homelands lying beyond its natural frontiers. These conflicts of race, language, and nationality have disrupted the haIf-formed political unity of the Danube basin more than once in the past, and they have just done it again. The peace treaties which closed the late war shattered the Dual Empire of Austria-Hungary and remade the Danube basin into a political crazy-quilt, with frontiers running in defiance of geography and economics, and only imperfectly. corresponding even to those divisions of language and nationality which were the excuse for making the new borders.
Of the Dual Empire two diminished remnants are left: the Republic of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Dual Empire was one of the largest and most populous states in Europe. It had a total area of 260,000 square miles and a population of 52,000,000. Of this total, Austria possessed about 116,000 square miles of territory with 29,000,000 population, while Hungary had 125,000 square miles with 21,000,000 people. In addition, there was the dependency Of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- a federal territory held in common by the two halves of the empire, with an area of 20,000 square miles and about 2,000,000 population. Contrast these figures with the present situation: the Republic of Austria has an area of 32,000 square miles and a population of 6,500,000, while the


present Kingdom of Hungary has an area of 35,000 square miles and a population slightly under 8,000,000. In other words, as a result of the late war, Austria has lost three-fourths of her territory and four-fifths of her population, while Hungary has lost over two-thirds of her territory and almost two-thirds of her population. These lost lands and people have gone chiefly to Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Poland, and Rumania-states which we will discuss in subsequent chapters, since they are linked with Eastern Europe or with the Balkan Peninsula as well as with the Danube basin. In the present chapter we will limit our survey to Austria and Hungary, which are distinctly Danubian states.
The foundations of Austria and Hungary were laid in the period following the fall of the Roman Empire. In that same period likewise originated the germs of their present misfortunes. The fall of Rome was followed by centuries of turmoil. All over Europe mighty movements of population took place. And nowhere were these movements more violent than in the Danube basin. Wave after wave of conquest and migration swept across its broad surface, causing endless complications. Race, speech, and culture became overlaid and confused.
The racial changes were especially sweeping. In very ancient times the Danube basin and the adjacent mountainous regions were alike occupied by populations belonging to the round-skulled Alpine race. Later on, blond Nordic tribes seem to have expelled the Alpines from most of the Danube basin, though the surrounding high-lands appear to have remained largely in Alpine hands. This was particularly true of the mountainous region to


the northeast -- the region known as the Carpathians. In the Carpathian highlands the Alpines steadily amassed strength and numbers until, in the period following the fall of Rome, they burst out in all directions as the Slav-speaking peoples. In a previous chapter we saw how the Slavs overran the lands now known as Eastern Germany, Poland, and Western Russia. But while this was going on, another great Slav tide surged from the Carpathians over the Danube basin and into the Balkan Peninsula, which was thereby transformed into the predominantly Slav land that it has ever since remained. For a time the whole of Central and Eastern Europe became one vast Slavdom stretching unbroken from the Baltic to the Adriatic Sea.
This Slav supremacy was, however, of short duration. From east and west two new streams of conquest set in which soon deprived the Danube basin of its Slav character. Out of the remote East came a series of Asiatic nomad hordes, of Finnish, Turkish, and Mongolian blood. These wild horsemen, ranging far and wide on their shaggy ponies in quest of plunder, found the Hungarian plains (so like their Asiatic homelands) particularly attractive. Slaughtering or enslaving the Slavs, they settled down as masters. The last of these Asiatic invaders were the Magyars, or "Hungarians," who absorbed their nomad predecessors and built up a powerful state which was to endure. Such was the origin of modern Hungary.
While the Asiatic nomads were overrunning the Hungarian plains from the east, the other stream of conquest already referred to was flowing from the west down the valley of the Danube. These western conquerors were


the Germans. Having occupied western Europe, after the fall of Rome, the Teutonic Nordics turned their arms eastward, and the conquest of the Danube valley was merely part of the great eastward movement which was redeeming their old German homelands from the Slav invaders. The Germans and the Magyars presently collided with one another. After much fierce fighting they divided the Danube basin between them, the boundary being practically that which exists between Austria and Hungary to-day. This frontier is clearly traced by nature, being the place where the river Danube leaves the hilly country of Austria and enters the great Hungarian plain. Thus the Danube basin was partitioned between two conquering stocks: the Nordic Teutons and the Asiatic Magyars.
This dual conquest of the Danube basin had important consequences. In the first place, it dealt a terrible blow to the Slavs. The Slav world was thereby cut in twain, . the Slav peoples of the Balkans being thereby sundered f:om the main body of their kinsmen by a broad band of Germans and Magyars. Politically and culturally, the cleft remained absolute. Racially, however, the situation was not so definite. Here emerges a second point which must be remembered: the way in which, throughout the Danube basin, race-lines are blurred and cross-cut by non-racial factors like language, culture, and national consciousness. Neither the Teutonic Nordics in Austria nor the Asiatic Magyars in Hungary destroyed the earlier populations. Instead, they imposed themselves as conquerors and ultimately intermarried extensively with the subject elements. For this reason both


the Austrians and the Hungarians became racially mixed peoples, pretty thoroughly crossed by various racial elements. To be sure, the Teutonic and Magyar strains remained dominant and gave the political and cultural tone to their respective countries; nevertheless, the physical type and temperament of both stocks rapidly altered. The Austrian Germans differ distinctly from their kinsmen even of South Germany, and differ still more widely from the pure-blooded Teutonic Nordics of North Germany. As for the Magyars, they underwent an even profounder transformation. The modern Magyars are so saturated with Alpine and Nordic blood that they have lost most of their ancestral Asiatic traits and have become almost wholly "European" in appearance.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Austria and Hungary grew in power and prosperity. As yet they were entirely independent of one another, their political interests lying in different directions. Hungary was concerned chiefly with east European or Balkan matters, while Austria became linked more and more closely to Germany. Austria's fortunes presently came to be guided by a famous princely family, the House of Habsburg. The Habsburgs gradually raised Austria from a frontier district to the most powerful German state and made their capital, Vienna, one of the chief cities of Europe.
Habsburg Austria steadily prospered, but Hungary was destined to be stricken down by a terrible foe -- the Turks. At the close of the Middle Ages the Ottoman Turks burst into Europe, overran the Balkan Peninsula, and then attacked Hungary. In the fateful year 1526, the flower of the Hungarian nation was annihilated in a


great battle and Hungary fell under Turkish rule. For nearly 200 years Hungary was a Turkish province. Then the Habsburgs drove out the Turks, but for the Hungarians this meant little more than a change of masters, since they now fell under Habsburg sway. Hungary was only the shadow of its old self. The best of the Hungarian stock had been killed by the Turks or had fled into exile, and when the Austrians expelled the Turks, the land lay half-depopulated. Herein was the root of Hungary's later misfortunes. Down to the time of the Turkish conquest the Hungarian plains had been inhabited almost entirely by a "Hungarian" people -- that is to say, by a population which, though of mixed Magyar and European blood, was Magyarized in speech and culture, and therefore felt itself Magyar in nationality. Only in the mountainous border districts had the old Alpine populations kept their Slav speech and self-consciousness. After the Turkish conquest, however, the situation radically altered. The non-Magyar mountaineers descended into the half-deserted plains, turning many regions once Magyar into Slav-speaking areas. Indeed, the Habsburg rulers of Hungary intensified this process by systematic colonization, inviting in settlers from many lands, who turned parts of Hungary into racial checker-boards, with almost every village differing in blood, customs) and language from its neighbor ..
The Magyars hated their Habsburg masters and longed for their old independence. However, Austrian rule did promote Hungary's material prosperity. The Danube basin is an economic whole, and now that it was politically united the natural economic tendencies could work


unchecked. Down to the middle of the nineteenth century the Habsburg Empire was in some respects the most powerful state in Europe. Steadily expanding, it annexed many territories lying outside the Danube basin, parts of northern Italy, Poland, and the Balkans being included within its frontiers. Furthermore, through its historic connection with Germany, it was the leading German state.
The nineteenth century, however, raised up an enemy to the Habsburg Empire which was destined to be its undoing. This enemy was not a rival state but an idea: the idea of Nationality. The nineteenth century has often been called the Age of Nationality. All over Europe men began thinking in nationalistic terms, and desiring to remould their political institutions on nationalistic lines.
Right here we should understand the true meaning of Nationalism, and should closely distinguish it from Race, with which Nationalism is so often confused. Nationalism is, at bottom, a state of mind. Nationalism is a belief, held by a large number of persons, that they constitute a "Nationality" ; it is a sense of belonging together as a "Nation." This "Nation," as visualized in the minds of its believers, is a people organized under one government and dwelling together in a distinct territory. When the nationalist ideal is realized, we have what is known as a body-politic or "State." But a state need not necessarily be a nation; its subjects may not possess national feeling. National feeling may be aroused by many things like blood-kinship, political association, language, culture, religion, or geography. Some of these elements must be present to make a nationality, but a strong national feeling may arise


even though some are absent. Blood-kinship ("Race") is one of the strongest factors which can go to make up a nation. It is not.indispensable, but its absence is always a hidden weakness, which may reveal itself at any time. It will undoubtedly become increasingly important for harmonious national life as men realize its full significance and come to think more and more in racial terms. However, that must not obscure the fact that Race and Nationality are, in themselves, two distinct things. Nationality is a state of mind. Race, on the other hand, is a physical fact, which may be accurately determined by scientific tests such as skull-measurement, hair-formation, and color of eyes and skin. In other words, Race is what people physically really are; Nationality is what people politically think they are.
The difficulty for the Habsburg Empire was that it took account neither of Nationality nor of Race. It was an old-fashioned "Empire," founded on the principle of loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty and on certain geographical tendencies, chief among these being the natural unity of the Danube basin, which promoted the material prosperity,of its inhabitants. To the principle of Nationality, in particular, the Habsburg Empire was not merely indifferent but positively hostile. Its ideal was the old Roman Empire, and the Habsburg monarchs called themselves "Emperors," and considered themselves the successors of the Roman Caesars. They long governed as absolute rulers, supported by a nobility, a bureaucracy, an army, and an established church, all "imperialist" in spirit, drawn from all parts of the empire yet united in common loyalty to the Emperor.


On this old-fashioned dynastic empire the principle of nationality worked like a powerful explosive. Region after region began thinking "nationally," glorifying its particular language and culture, demanding local self-government or even dreaming of independence. In the year 1848 a series of revolts broke out, the most serious being the rebellion of Hungary. This was only natural, because, as already stated, the Magyars had always disliked Habsburg rule, and had never given up hopes of independence. After much bloody fighting these revolts were put down and the Habsburgs re-established their absolute government. But within twenty years a series of fresh misfortunes forced them to change their policy. Their old rival, Prussia, expelled Austria from Germany and transformed Germany from a loose federation into a modern nation-state. The rising tide of Italian nationalism likewise drove the Austrians from their north Italian provinces and forged Italy into another nation-state. Meanwhile, nationalist movements in other parts of the Habsburg Empire steadily grew in strength.
Weakened by these disasters, the Habsburgs bolstered up the tottering empire by compromise. Unable to resist entirely the nationalist principle, they took the two leading nationalities into partnership. In the year 1867, the Habsburg realm was transformed into the "Dual Empire" of Austria-Hungary. Though preserving certain common institutions like a single army, navy, and diplomatic service, the two halves of the empire were politically distinct. In Austria the Germans, and in Hungary the Magyars, were put in command to control the lesser nationalities such as Czechs, Croats, and Rumanians.



Under this system Austria-Hungary lived for half a century, until the Dual Empire was destroyed at the close of the late war.
It is interesting to speculate whether Austria-Hungary might have survived if the war had not taken place. Because the Dual Empire did in fact die in the war is not necessarily proof that it would have died anyway. Despite the nationalist disorders which racked its frame, the Dual Empire was a real political organism possessing many qualities that tended to keep it together. For one thing, the geographical unity of the Danube basin created ties of self-interest which were growing rapidly stronger as the country became more industrialized and its inhabitants more interlaced-by economic co-operation. Also, there was the old "imperialist" feeling of the powerful upper classes, and the almost fanatical loyalism of the populations of certain provinces like Tyrol, where historic devotion to the Habsburg dynasty survived unchanged. Lastly there were other unifying factors, less capable of exact definition, yet none the less existent. It must be remembered that the Habsburg Empire was not a sudden or recent creation; that, on the contrary, it was the product of many centuries of growth. Its inhabitants, therefore, were not. just so many Germans, Slavs, Magyars, and Rumanians, dropped down haphazard upon the map; they had all been modified by longstanding political, economic, and cultural association. These factors may have been subtle, yet they were certainly present. Anyone who knew Austria-Hungary' before the war will remember the distinctive "Austrian atmosphere," so intangible yet so self-evident wherever



you crossed the Austrian frontier. You could not precisely lay your finger on it, but you knew that it was there.
Of course, Austria-Hungary might have exploded even without the shock of the Great War, and at best it would have had to pass through a long and troubled transition period. Austria-Hungary could probably never have become a strong, harmonious nation-state, made up as it was of many national and racial elements. Still, some formula for such a loose federalism might have been devised by which these elements could have subordinated their nationalistic differences to their common economic interests.
However, it was not to be. The war destroyed the Dual Empire and the peace treaties cut Central Europe into a number of little nations. The results have been deplorable. Conditions in Central Europe to-day are far worse than they were before the war. Nationalistic passions have become even more inflamed, while economic considerations have been absolutely disregarded. Few treaties have ever been drawn more stupidly than those which pretended to "re-settle" the Danube basin. Mr., Lloyd-George, one of the chief treaty-makers, later confessed his error when he exclaimed ruefully: "We have Balkanized all that part of Europe!"
Lloyd-George stated the bald truth. That geographical unity, the Danube basin, has been slashed by a network of frontiers which are not merely fortified political borders bristling with soldiers but are also tariff-walls that strangle trade and kill prosperity. Raw materials are cut off from their factories, factories are cut off from their natural


markets, rich harvests are kept from starving cities; yet so fanatically jealous are the new nations of one another that they are ready to keep themselves poor if tbey can thereby prevent their neigbbors from growing rich. That is, indeed, good "Balkan" doctrine, as we shall see in a later chapter when we come to examine the affairs of those troubled lands. Meanwhile, let us here observe what has happened to post-war Austria and Hungary -- the diminished remnants of the Dual Empire.
We have already seen how both countries have shrunk in area and population, these cessions involving also the loss of most of their raw materials and other sources of wealth. Austria and Hungary have alike passed through terrible times since the war. Austria rapidly collapsed into bankruptcy and the impoverishment of her city population, as Germany is now doing. Hungary had an even worse experience. She was cursed with a Bolshevik revolution which developed into a bloody reign of terror and ended with a combined counter-revolution and foreign intervention, leaving her half ruined and utterly disorganized. Though alike afflicted by misfortune, it is interesting to observe how different are the attitudes of the two peoples, the Austrian Germans being apparently broken in spirit, whereas the Magyar spirit is most emphatically unbroken. This difference in attitude is due partly to racial differences in the two stocks and partly to the fact that the Austrian Germans never possessed a real national consciousness while the Magyars have been a true nationality for centuries.
We have already seen that Old Austria was in many ways a survival from another age. With its ideals founded


on Roman and Medireval Imperialism, it was a sort of political dinosaur living on in an increasingly nationalist Europe. Though Austria was trying to adapt itself to modern conditions, the Great War caught it in transition, and it perished. Now Old Austria centred in the German-speaking provinces, its heart being the capital-city -- Vienna. The Austrian Germans were practically untouched by nationalism. They were not, and never had been, a "nation." Instead, they were the favored element in a dynastic empire. Their political creed was, therefore, not national patriotism, but rather a curious blend of feudal and imperial loyalty to the reigning House of Habsburg. This attitude was most marked in Vienna. Habsburg Vienna, like ancient Rome, was an "imperial" city; its inhabitants prided themselves on being citizens of the capital of the Habsburg Empire, with its traditions stretching back through the Middle Ages to the Roman Caesars. They were distinctly "cosmopolitan" in spirit and they were also cosmopolitan in blood, because Imperial Vienna had for centuries attracted people not only from all parts of the Habsburg Empire but from all parts of Europe. The Viennese show their varied ancestry by their lively quickness as well as by their superficial instability, both being characteristic of highly mixed populations.
Such was the people upon whom descended the catastrophe of 1918. Almost without warning their empire was shattered and the Habsburgs disappeared. This sudden disaster acted like a blow in the solar plexus. The Austrian-Germans were stunned-paralyzed. Then came fresh misfortunes: financial collapse, bankruptcy, starva-


tion. Beneath the force of these terrific blows the Austrian spirit broke. No more amazing transformation has probably ever occurred than that between the Vienna of ten years ago and the Vienna of to-day. The soul of the city has basically altered, and "Imperial" Vienna is as dead as the Caesars. Few Austrians even dream of regaining their former greatness. The Viennese, in particular, have renounced their past, have resigned themselves to their loss, and limit their hopes to a modest future. One feels of the Viennese that here is a people which has ceased to struggle; which has, so to speak, "thrown up the sponge."
The past being not only dead but buried, the interesting question arises as to what shall be German' Austria's future. The catastrophe of 1918 left the Austrian Germans in a sort of political vacuum. Of course, as always happens in such cases, the Austrian Germans began casting about for new gods to take the place of the old. Never having possessed a national consciousness of their own, the " nationality" artificially imposed upon them by the peace-treaties seemed to most Austrians little short of an absurdity. Feeling that the "Republic of Austria" was a mere paper creation which could not stand alone, the overwhelming majority of the Austrian Germans instinctively turned to the idea of political union with their kinsmen to the northward, their programme being the entry of. German Austria as a federal state, a sort of second Bavaria, into the German Reich. This seemed the most natural thing to do, not only owing to present circumstances but' also because German Austria had formed part of the old Germanic Federation down to the year 1866, when, as the result of a war between Austria and Prussia, the loose-


knit Germanic Federation had been transformed into a modern nation-state from which Austria haa been excluded. In addition to this historic reason, the Austrian Germans also felt that their desire to join their German kinsmen was based on clear moral right, because the peace treaties had been drawn ostensibly according to the principle of "self-determination." The Austrian Germans, however, were in for a rude awakening. Their plea to be allowed to join their German kinsmen was sternly denied by the victorious Entente Powers, particularly by France. The Austrian Germans were given clearly to understand that union with Germany would under no circumstances be permitted; that logic must yield to Allied self-interest; and that .the principle of "self-determination," however fine in theory, did not apply to the vanquished.
Thus thrown back upon themselves, surrounded by hostile neighbors, and with no patriotic faith to give them moral strength, the Austrian Germans fell into despair, covered their debts by inflating their currency, and plunged into a slough of misery and bankruptcy from which they were rescued only by the unique expedient of an international receivership. This is one of the most interesting experiments which have been tried in post-war Europe. It began in the autumn of the year 1922, when Austria was granted an international loan supervised by the League of Nations. At that moment Austria's situation seemed hopeless; she was bankrupt and literally starving. Her government had solemnly warned the world that it could no longer carryon and that, unless something were speedily done, collapse and probably chaos would ensue. The loan averted bankruptcy, stabil-


ized the currency, and improved the general economic situation. Austria is to-day in fairly good shape, its inhabitants enjoying an increasing measure of moderate well-being. Vienna, in particular, has been saved from threatened ruin and is fast reasserting its position as the natural financial and commercial centre of Mid-Europe.
But all this has to be paid for, and the price is a practical loss of independence. We must remember that Austria is no longer an independent state; that it has passed under international control exercised by-the League of Nations. The real ruler of Austria is the League, acting through its commissioner in Vienna. The commissioner is an able Dutchman who uses his power most tactfully. He is not formally part of the Austrian Government, his position being "merely" head of the League Commission to protect the international loan. But, of course, in reality he has the last word, because he makes the loan payments which alone keep Austria from bankruptcy, and since these payments are made monthly he has the power to
close the purse-strings if the Austrian Government should decline to follow his recommendations.
It is really an extraordinary situation, this spectacle of a people only a few years ago the heart of a great empire now fallen under an international receivership. Notliing like it has been seen since Lord Cromer became" financial adviser" to the bankrupt Khedivial Government of Egypt a little less than half a century ago. So far, the strange experiment has proved a success. But even should it continue to be a success, that should not blind us to the peculiar circumstances of the case. In Austria we have a people with no real national consciousness, whose historic


past has suddenly been shorn away. In the dark days before the League took control it is literally true that nobody cared whether the "Republic of Austria" lived or died. In this frame of mind, the Austrians were quite ready to barter away an independence for which they cared nothing in return for financial assistance coupled with international control. This situation cannot be duplicated anywhere else in Europe. To peoples with real national consciousness, loss of independence is a supreme disaster. Therefore, even if other peoples should be tempted by suffering to follow Austria's example, the chances are that they would try to shake off foreign control as soon as their condition had slightly improved, while from the very beginning they would not give that moral assent which alone could insure the lasting success of the undertaking.
Assuming that German Austria does acquire enough economic strength and political stability to exist as an independent state, what is to be its future? This raises one of the most interesting and important questions that the Europe of to-morrow will have to face. The blotting out of Austria's past leaves something like a clear field and opens up several possible lines of development.
The most likely possibility still seems to be ultimate union with Germany. Not to-day, of course: the veto of the victors in the late war is absolute, while in addition Germany's present condition is so bad that few Austrians would under existing circumstances care to join Germany even if the Entente veto were removed. Even the leaders of the "Pan-German" party in Austria, the champions of political fusion with the Reich, admit frankly that their


programme is "Zukunftsmusik" -- "music o£ the future." Yet sooner or later the chances are that Germany will regain stability and strength, while the diplomatic line-up in Europe shifts almost from year to year. Should Austria get the chance to join Germany under such altered conditions, would she do so?
The chances are that she would. History, language, culture, and to a lesser degree blood-kinship arid geography, all point that way. However, it is not a certainty. Another possibility presents itself: the possibility that German Austria may continue to stand alone and may ultimately develop an individual political consciousness, part national, part international, which will make of Austria a permanently neutralized state -- a sort of second Switzerland. Although the Austrians do not to-day possess a national consciousness, they have long had a local consciousness and a culture in many ways distinct from that of their kinsmen of the Reich. Also, it must not be forgotten that their racial make-up differs somewhat even from their south German neighbors, and differs markedly from that of North Germany. This shows clearly in the Austrian temperament, particularly the temperament of the Viennese. If Austria should remain independent for even ten or twenty years, these factors might engender a real national consciousness on the Swiss model. Such an Austria would probably be safe from attack, because it would menace no one, while its neighbors are so jealous of each other that they might welcome a neutral Austria in their midst.
Even these two alternatives do not exhaust the list of possibilities. German Austria might conceivably join


Hungary in some form of partnership, thereby reproducing the old Dual Empire on a small scale. Again, Austria might join some future "Danube Federation" or Danubian customs-union, should the states of Central Europe ever be able to harmonize their political and economic interests. Or, lastly, Austria may fly to pieces and be absorbed by its various neighbors. Which of these things will happen no one can say. The important point to remember is the fluid condition of Austria's state of mind, which makes anyone of these various developments a possibility.
Utterly different is the situation in Hungary. Unlike Austria, Hungary was one of the first states in Europe to acquire a national consciousness. Hungary's national life runs back for a thousand years, and its people feel an intense national patriotism. The Magyars are an unusually high-spirited folk. The fierce, warlike blood of their nomad ancestors still runs hot in their veins, and despite extensive intermarriage the Magyar stock differs perceptibly from the other Central European peoples. It is really extraordinary to see how boldly the Magyars confront ill-fortune. No broken spirit here! Partitioned, impoverished, burdened with debts and war-indemnities, disarmed by the peace treaties and surrounded by watchful enemies, the Magyars grimly refuse to resign themselves to their present fate and sternly resolve to right what they consider to be the wrongs inflicted upon them. High and low, rich and poor, noble and peasant, the Magyars denounce the peace-treaties and swear to obtain their revision in' one way or another. Everywhere one sees maps contrasting Hungary's pre-war and post-war


frontiers, these maps further bearing the significant words: Nem! Nem! Sohar! ("No! No! Never !")
This does not mean that Hungary is likely to start a war to-morrow. Though high-spirited, the Magyars are also an intelligent people, and their present leaders are capable men who understand the situation. They know that for the time being little can be done. But they will also tell you frankly that the Hungarian people will not permanently endure conditions deemed intolerable. Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that Magyar bitterness is constantly exasperated by the plight of their brethren who have passed under foreign rulee. Nearly one-third of the whole Magyar stock (about 3,000,000 people) to-day lives in Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, or Rumania, where their lot is a hard one. In Czechoslovakia the Magyars seem to be less harshly treated, but in Jugoslavia and Rumania they are badly persecuted) the position of national minorities in those two countries being probably the worst in Europe. And of course every story of injustice and suffering leaks across the frontiers (however closely guarded) further inflaming Magyar determination to aid their persecuted kinsmen.
All this is well known to Hungary's neighbors. Fearing the Magyars' fierce fighting qualities, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, and Rumania, who have alike profited so largely at Hungary's expense, have formed an alliance (the so-called "Little Entente") the main object of which is to uphold the peace-treaties, preserve intact the new frontiers, and keep Hungary down. For the moment the task is easy: the peace-treaties forbid Hungary to have more than the skeleton of an army, while the Little En-


tente Powers can arm as much as they choose--and are, in fact, armed to the teeth. But how about the future?
The Little Entente knows that the Magyar spirit is unbroken and that some sudden shift in European politics may give Hungary her chance of revenge. This naturally alarms and exasperates Hungary's neighbors, and tempts them to think of "preventive measures." The exceptionally cool-headed leaders who guide Czechoslovakia's destiny apparently frown on such proposals, but in Jugoslavia and Rumania sentiment is less restrained. In both the latter countries there is an influential body of opinion which would like to smash the Magyars and practically wipe Hungary off the map.
Thus we see a vicious circle of mutual hatred which may at any time plunge Central Europe once more into war. And we must also remember that to the southward lies the Balkan Peninsula -- a veritable powder-magazine of national feuds. A spark struck in the Balkans could easily touch off an explosion which would shatter Central Europe as well. Meanwhile Central Europe fails to attain either true peace or prosperity. The situation is frankly bad, and there are few signs of real improvement.




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