Əsas səhifə Austrian History Yearbook Dagmar Hájková, and Šedivý Ivan, eds. Korespondence T.G. Masaryk—Edvard Beneš, 1914–1918. Prague:...

Dagmar Hájková, and Šedivý Ivan, eds. Korespondence T.G. Masaryk—Edvard Beneš, 1914–1918. Prague: Masaryk Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2004. Pp. 353.

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Austrian History Yearbook
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Giustino is less convincing in the second part of her argument. As scholars such as Gary B. Cohen,
Hillel Kieval, and Michal Frankl have shown, anti-Jewish hostility was widespread in Czech society
around 1900, and certainly Nove listy (The new pages), the anti-Semitic newspaper that is Giustino's main
source of information on sentiments among lower-middle-class strata in Prague, attacked the sanitation
project in its diatribes against Jews and their alleged allies at City Hall. But Giustino does not demonstrate
a clear link between sanitation and any growth in anti-Semitism. Like elsewhere, the Czech liberal elites
of Prague were blind to the social needs of the lower social strata, but this blindness was hardly caused
exclusively by the debt stemming from ghetto clearance—electrification, for example, was an even bigger
source of municipal debt. Also, the ongoing construction was a major source of employment for the poor,
an aspect of the project that deserves more attention.
Here, the focus on Prague municipal politics prevents Giustino from contextualizing her discussion
sufficiently in the larger framework of Czech, German, and Habsburg politics. Sometimes Giustino's own,
strongly expressed normative position distracts from the analysis of the historical actors' motives, and in a
few cases she stretches her points beyond what is documented in the sources. This is most evident in the
epilogue, where Giustino uses a short quote from a Prague Holocaust survivor to suggest that the "way or
the manner in which ghetto clearance was implemented was a force contributing to the horrible treatment
of Jewish men, women, and children during the period of Nazi domination" (308). "Domination" seems a
euphemism for the situation in occupied Bohemia, and neither Giustino's account, nor Hana Volavkovas
statement, support this radical claim.
A more careful editing could have eliminated numerous minor errors and repetitions, and an index
should have been added; . Still, these objections subtract only marginally from the merits of what is
throughout a well-researched and highly interesting study.
Peter Bugge
University of Aarhus

Hajkovd, Dagmar, and Ivan Sedivy, eds. Korespondence T. G. Masaryk—Edvard Benes, 1914-1918. Prague:
Masaryk Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2004. Pp. 353.
Two men were chiefly responsible for the creation of the Czechoslovak state in 1918: philosophy professor
Thomas G. Masaryk (1850-1937), and a generation younger aspiring sociologist, Edvard Benes (18841948). Both of them served the new country as presidents in subsequent years. This collection of 259
meticulously edited documents, however, covers the years of World War I, when both men were fugitives
working abroad for the defeat of the Central Powers, the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, as a
necessary precondition for the independence of Czechoslovakia. Theirs was to be an entirely new country,
consisting of the historical lands of the Czech Crown, ruled by Austria since 1526, and, for the first time,
united with the adjoining Slavic nation of Slovaks, who had been under direct Hungarian administration
for centuries, and were close to a gradual linguistic extinction.
The present volume represents the definitive edition of 259 documents, in the form of letters written
in Czech, and telegrams, written in English or French because of wartime censorship regulations. The
correspondence between the two men started only in September 1915, when Benes joined Masaryk in
exile, having successfully escaped from Bohemia to neutral Switzerland. In detailed footnotes, the editors
have painstakingly acknowledged their debt to previously published editions of documents. The most
important among these are Benes's memoirs, Svetovd vdlka a nase revoluce (3 vols., Prague, 1928), the third
volume of which consists entirely of documents. The first volume of Dokumenty ceskoslovenske zahranicni
politiky: Vznik Ceskoslovenska 1918 (Prague, 1994) is also useful. Even more valuable is the collection
prepared by Frank Hadler, Weg von Osterreich! Das Weltkriegsexil von Masaryk und Benes im Spiegel ihrer
Briefe und Aufzeichnungen 1914-1918 (Berlin, 1995). This volume includes at least 74 pieces that are in
the Hajkova-Sedivy volume; although Hadler translated all Czech documents into German, some of them
were read incorrectly and mistranslated.



The editors are aware that a number of letters and telegrams have been lost, and some important messages were delivered by messengers and remained unrecorded. This compels the editors to burden the
documents with excessive footnotes, without which, however, due to the larger context of the Czechoslovak action Masaryk and BeneS pursued, readers would be lost. Furthermore, in May 1917, Masaryk sailed
to Russia to take charge of the legionaries recruited from POWs and became virtually incommunicado.
He then traveled across Siberia to Japan and further to America. He was to return to Europe as president
of Czechoslovakia only after the end of the war. This conspicuous gap in the frequency of messages is
clearly visible in the collection. It was only in July of the following year that Masaryk resumed his correspondence with BeneS from the United States. Several of the letters from this period witnessed the
awesome weight of responsibility from the political decision making that would decide the fate of millions
(see, for example, nos. 249, 250, 251, 253, and 257).
In the last section of the introduction, the editors have thrown in some useful thoughts about the vicissitudes of exile life. It is only here, for instance, in a tiny microscopic footnote, that one learns about the
existence of Masaryk's letters to his American-born wife, Charlotte—letters that were never dispatched
(Mrs. Masaryk was left behind, infirm, in Prague) and served as depository of Masaryk's private thoughts
and anxieties in exile. For the first time, they have been effectively exploited in the Hadler collection,
mentioned above. There are other small details that surprise the reader with their level of perfection: the
exhaustive name index is certainly one of them.
As a rather long introduction, the editors inserted two substantial texts on the impact of the Great War
upon Czech society. The first text juxtaposes resistance with collaboration (activism). Czech historians
tended to overstate the anti-Habsburg activities at home, which were confined to a rather small group of
conspirators {Maffia), whereas the majority of Czech political leaders, especially the Social Democrats,
remained kaisertreu. Among those arrested, however, was the lion of Czech politics, Karel Kramaf, who
advocated the creation of a vast Panslavic empire under Russian leadership. The Kingdom of Bohemia,
restored to its medieval proportions, plus Upper Hungary containing the Slovaks, would have counted,
according to Kramaf's ambitious scheme, more Germans and Magyars than Czechs and Slovaks. Rejecting the idea of fleeing abroad and "squatting in foreign hotels," Kramaf proudly awaited arrest in his giant
villa overlooking Prague.
The second contribution analyzes the activities of Masaryk and Benes abroad. It mentions the complicated relationship between the Masaryk-BeneS team and Josef Durich, the conservative pro-Tsarist
politician, and Milan R. Stefanik, the leading Slovak among the exiles. Their work, expensive travels, and
especially raising the "legions," which consisted of volunteers, and later, in increasing numbers, of POWs,
required money. Lots of it. Until the first substantial loan of $10 million could be directly negotiated by
Masaryk in Washington in late 1918, most of the money that sustained the Czechoslovak action abroad
had come from voluntary American contributions.
With regard to the central argument of whether external or domestic forces brought about independent Czechoslovakia, the authors concede that until 1917, the center of activities was concentrated
abroad around the Masaryk-BeneJ-Stefanik trio, whereas in 1917-18 it shifted toward the domestic
scene because of increasing domestic unrest. That may have been so, but the hungry protesters seemed
to have been driven by other motives, such as shortage of food, rather than some vague ideas about
independent Czechoslovakia. Surprisingly, the editors have not taken up BeneS's boastful statement
from his memoirs, in which he sums up his and Masaryk's contribution to the independence of
Czechoslovakia as follows: "If we do not include Mr. Wilson's later utterances ... it was only among
us that the total synthetic view of the world was concentrated.... We won the game, because we knew
how to place our cause exactly in the general frame of the universal trend of events. We were right in
connecting our efforts [i.e., as the vanguard in the emancipation of small nations] with those of the
European and World democracies" (2:553).
Milan Hauner
University of Wisconsin—Madison