AN ITALIAN VIEW OF AUSTRIA.*
THE subjects discussed in Signor Gayda's volume are so numerous and important that it is impossible to deal with them adequately within the compass of a newspaper review. It should he noted, also, that the book was originally pub- lished in 1013, and although a revised edition was issued early this year Signor Gayda here maintains his ante-bellum point of view, with the exception of a chapter on Italia IrrecIonia, written for the English edition after the outbreak • of the European War, but before the entrance of Italy into the struggle. These facts do not detract from the value of the book. They are a guarantee of the honesty of the writer. We do not propose, however, to test his judgments in the light of the events of the last year, but rather to content ourselves with a brief summary of his views on the chief questions under consideration.
Signor Gayda is a brilliant writer, and his vivacious and incisive style is admirably reproduced in the excellent version of Messrs. Gibson and Miles. His knowledge of Austria, again, is not the result of occasional or flying visits. He does net belong to the class of journalists in search of " copy " of which the typical example is to be found in the writer who arrived in Khartoum a few years ago and explained that he wanted to "get at the back of the Arab mind "—in forty- eight hours. Signor Gayda spent five years in Austria, and travelled widely throughout the Empire. His estimates and judgments are therefore entitled to respect, even if they do not always carry conviction. For allowance must necessarily be made for a certain amount of part' prix. An Italian capable of writing about Austria in an absolutely dispassionate and judicial strain would be a miracle of detachment, and Signor Gayda is a patriotic Italian of Radical, rationalist, and anti-clerical views. Again, the enormous com- plexity of the subject has to be taken into account as well as the racial-prepossessions and the temperament of the author. Five years is all too short a time for arriving at definite con- elusions on the problems involved, and as a matter of fact the views expressed in different chapters are not easy to reconcile. For example, one derives the impression from certain passages that the Austrian Government is essentially stupid, senile, and 'nefficient. Yet it is not difficult to pick out from other passages notable evidences of the patience, shrewdness, and well-organized methods of the Austrian system ; e.g., in the eursuit of the traditional policy of Germanizing the Slav provinces by colonization. Again, we get two pictures of the Austrian bureaucracy—one which represents it as the apotheosis of pedantic officialdom, the other as a remark- ably efficient means of absorbing. and assimilating dis- integrating influences and utilizing them for the mainte- nance of centralism. In the early chapters one gains an impression that in the vitality, the exuberance, and the persistence of the non-Germanic nationalities may be found the means of regenerating the Empire. Later on we are almost converted to the belief that the dead weight of monarchism, feudalism, clericalism, and militarism must prevail when applied with such amazing persistence to • Modern Austria : her Racial and Social Probloins, with, a Study of Italia Iryadseta. By Virginie Gayda. Translated by Z. M. ()Ibsen and C. A. Miles. London T. Fisher Unwin, [10s. 6d. net.] realizing the principle of Divide et invent, The future
of Austria," writes Signor Gavle, "depends on the fate of Stavism." The South Slav problem is the most critical of all. But ho denies that there is as yet a true Pan-Slav move- ment which would unite all the Slav races in Austria in a common purpose. Geographically and politically, the North and South Slays are in his view distinct, and the Austrian Government has availed itself of these distinctions to servo its own ends. In an interesting passage Signor Gayda, describes the reversal of history that is already taking place i-
" Formerly the southern Slays were a strong support of the Empire ; they were a living fkune of Austrian patriotism. In '43
and '49 they saved the monarchy, fighting against the Magyars and the Italians, and many of the best generals whose names adorn tho modern military history of Austria are Slays, like Jella6iii, who tamed the Magyars, or Maroicio, Rothe, and
Filippovio, who occupied Bosnia. To-day, on the contrary, they are rather rebellious, and their battalions have sometimes to be transferred from north to south. New men have sprung up,
bringing with them new ideas, Fifty years ago there was as yet no intellectual youth ; the flame which lights and heats was wanting. In Austria the truth is always discovered and under- stood very tardily ; to-day they are speaking vaguely of a southern Slav problem which must be solved speedily and thoroughly ; before the Balkan war they ignored it. The policy of the Dynasty has been hitherto marked in this matter by ceaseless vacillation between concession and denial, between kindness and the bayonet.
Returning victorious from Berlin, after having gained Bosnia- Herzegovina, Count Andrhssy announced solemnly to the Emperor, ' Your Majesty, the gate of the Balkans is open to you!' Yet from that day an anti-Slav, and therefore an anti-
Balkan, policy was inaugurated, both within and without the Empire. In occupying Bosnia-Herzegovina, Austria's first care
was to prevent Serbia and Montenegro from planting their flag there and thus forming another large Slav State in the south. With this idea intrigues have continually been woven in
Vienna to separate Belgrade from Cettinje, and they have attempted as far as possible to preserve the Sanjak of Novi Bazar from the Serbian invasion. But a ceaseless policy of denationalization and .of persecution has fostered to the utmost discontent, Irredentism, and the spirit of rebellion among the Slav subjects of the south. It is well known what happened in Bosnia, where, even to-day, it is the power of the bayonet which rules, and the last changes of government have placed the whole network of civil administration under the supreme military commander, General Potiorek. In Croatia the Magyar policy, up to the present time, has attempted simply to destroy, to extirpate
the Slav race. A university student, Luke Juikie, a year or two since, wished to outrage this system, and be fired several shots from his revolver at the representative of the Hungarian Govern- ment, Commissioner Cuvai, wounding instead his secretary, Hervoic, who died a few days later. Only in Dalmatia have the Slays, up to now, had any Government protection, and then in
order to destroy the remaining Italian population, which is con- sidered, apparently, extremely dangerous. But now the Slave of
the south must be pacified; the problem is an urgent ono ; the whole future of Austria lies here. In Vienna they cannot yet grapple with a problem so vast, so revolutionary. In the military
and Court circles, which, with the Church and the nobility, shape the policy of Austria, they merely talk about Trialism—a now plan of arrangement there are now two Kingdoms, Austria and Hungary ; there is to be a third one gathering all the Slav pro- vinces of the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia, under the sceptre of the Emperor. During the crisis of the Bosnian annexation they thought of adding Serbia to it. It is the ancient Illyrian Kingdom dreamed of by the old
Croatian patriot Gaj. In Vienna they consider it a useful method of counterbalancing the Magyar arrogance and at the same time arresting the southern Slav movement and detaching it front Serbia. It is to be a kingdom under the Croatian flag, rather Conservative, Clerical, bigoted, and military, with all the tradi-
tional spirit of the ancient Austrian Croat. And it is just the Austrians of the old regime, with the Archduke Francis Ferdinand at their head, who wish for it. Not long since, a mysterious anonymous pamphlet, advocating Trialiam, apparently inspired by 'high circles,' was sent to all the Croatian deputies and to several Croatian officials ; but even this with all its suggestive arguments, cannot solve the problem. If an entire kingdom is given to the Croats, the Czechs, who claim, and not without reason, to be among the most highly developed races of the Empire, will certainly demand one in their turn. On the other hand, the Serbs are against it, as they think that the Croatian masses are still too mach under the domination of the priests, and on this account they dread a Catholic State, which would be Clerical, fanatical, against the Orthodox Greeks, submissive to the orders of Vienna. And what can the Magyars think of it, who, for the new Slav Kingdom, must give up Croatia and Slavonia, their only road to the sea P And could such a quasi-independent kingdom of Serbs and Croats, placed between Serbia and a mass of Germans, and strong in a renewed national consciousness, really long remain loyal to its Emperor P This problem of the Slays is no longer one which can be decided by a stroke of the pen, by a formula, brief surgical operation, or a paragraph of law. It has ripened in the consciousness of the people ; it has deep and intangible elements, far-roaching consequences, and a great future. Some formula will certainly bo discovered to solve it: the rulers are
already considering it, feel the need of it. But will it not be too late ?"
The drama of Austria as interpreted in these pages resolves itself into a conflict between the centralizing and the dis- integrating influences. The nationalities stand for youth, the democratic spirit, industrialism, and education. They increase and multiply more rapidly than the German element. Yet so far their triumphs have been largely neutralized, according to Signor Gayda, by particularist and racial jealousies, religious differences, and in general a lack of broad views. Universal suffrage, which seemed likely to prove an irresistible weapon, has proved impotent against the Constitutional prerogatives of the Emperor. Parliarnentarism has been paralysed by the squabbles of the different groups. The Christian Socialist Party appeared at one moment to have the ball at their feet, but collapsed from lack of leadership, honesty, and toleration. "The people have not yet acquired effective power, and possess no influence. The ancient traditional elements which have always controlled the external history of Austria, remain in power: a mediaeval aristocracy and an intransigent Church, surrounding a Court which has a law of iron, supported by its two immense armies, on which it has always leaned, the
bureaucracy and the military power." Signor Gayda gives us a vivid picture of the Austrian noblesse, still preserving the barriers of the most exclusive caste system in Europe; still drawing princely revenues from great estates; primarily
addicted to sport and pleasure; no longer the patrons of the arts, but still magnificent in their arrogant seclusion. The Church for him stands for intellectual coercion, obscurantism, and a ceaseless warfare against popular education, positivism, and the new science—in which she finds a constant and unwavering support from the State :—
" She stands in the breach : ever active and ever immune. Her violence and intransigence divest her of the sacred robe, deprive her of the mystical spirit which makes her lofty and sublime in other countries. She is no longer the refuge of faith, mild, serene, and sweet, but a small narrow world occupied with politics alone . . . and possessing a vast multiform organization almost entirely directed to material ends. . . . The eternal intel- lectual coercion, which does not yet recognize the liberty of criticism and of science, has forced the people back on themselves. All the modern thought and culture of Austria come from Germany. The Kulturkampf as Bismarck conceived it has never really affooted Austria. There is in every Austrian soul, even a rebellious one, something indefinable and insuperable which subjects it unconsciously to the power of the Church."
And the Army is equally intolerant and reactionary—over- generalled, strangled with red-tape and formalism, devoted for years past in its Service papers to a campaign of insult and aggression against Italy, and willingly lending itself to the policy by which the Trentino was converted into an armed camp, the Italian inhabitants systematically persecuted and oppressed, and the great economic resources of the district wasted or sterilized. But the chapter on Italia Irredenta, though it contains a formidable, and in many ways an un- answerable, indictment of Austria's external policy, must be read with a certain amount of reserve in regard to the Dalmatian problem, Signor Gayda's facts and figures being difficult to reconcile with those of other authorities who have studied the question at close quarters.
We may close this notice of a remarkable and suggestive book with a few words on Signor Gayda's treatment of the position of the Jews in Austria-Hungary. He believes that Anti-Semitism has its roots in economic pressure rather than in racial or religious antagonism. The Jews are steadily increasing in numbers and, within certain limits, in influ- ence. They almost monopolize high finance, banking, and journalism. They have fastened on the land as middlemen, gombeen men, and agents. Though still boycotted socially by the nobility, they are prominent in artistic, literary, and dramatic circles. But Signor Gayda's final judgment is adverse. They remain " eternal emigrants " ; they work little with their hands, but earn much. They are never pro- ductive, they have no technical skill, but they are incomparable speculators. In politics they are purely opportunist, and their racial tenacity is offset by the lack of a national ideal. He admits that the Jewish expansion cannot but affect the whole political and social life of the Empire. But while apparently destined to conquer a large share in the future government of society, " the Hebrew army does not display in political life, any more than in the economic world, any really and solidly lonstructive, organized, and collective force."