Press Reporting of the Czech & Slovak Legion, and Related Items
The Pittsburgh Gazette-Times
Friday Morning Edition
May 31, 1918, page 5
URGED TO AID
Ten Thousand Parade Before
Meeting Addressed by
Czecho-Slovaks of Pittsburgh and vicinity united yesterday afternoon in patriotic demonstration and welcome to Prof. Thomas G. Masaryka, a distinguished Bohemian educator, who fled from Austria at the opening of the war in 1914 and since been heading a movement to free his country men from the domination of Austria-Hungary.
Ten thousand strong the paraded the downtown streets and then filled Exposition hall to capacity to hear Prof. Masaryka tell of the progress being made to obtain the freedom of Czecho-Slavs. They were told of an army of 50,000 men that has been organized in Russia from among the Czecho-Slavs captured by the Russians. These men who were forced to fight for an autocracy they hated, are now on the way to the western front to fight for the allies, knowing that if they are taken prisoner by their former masters, certain death awaits them. Another army, 50,000 strong, is being organized in Russia. Prof. Masaryka stated and thousands of Czecho-Slavs are fighting with the Italian armies, having made their escape from the Austrian ranks.
AMERICANS IN SPIRIT.
In opening his address, the first part of which was in English and the last part in Bohemian, Prof. Masaryka expressed his appreciation for the statement issued by the state department in which our Government expressed its sympathy with the Czecho-Slovak and Jugo-Slav national aspirations.
“We Bohemians of Austria receive with joy this declaration, because in spirit we're all Americans. All nations must in time accept these principles of independence and national liberty declared by Lincoln and Wilson and all Americans. We accept those principles and therefore have a right to claim to be Americans,” he said.
“The protection of the small nations from the aggression of the central powers is the motive of the allies in the war,” the speaker said.
“That is why we Bohemians and Slovaks at the very outbreak of the war joined in with the allies wherever we could,” he said.
He declared that from 30,000 to 60,000 Bohemians and Slavs have been executed by the Austrian government for expressing sympathy for the allied cause, and told of Hapsburg oppression in the past.
WILL BE LOYAL TO END.
“The Hapsburg dynasty could exist only by executing these hetacombs of our people. That is why we are with the allies and will be loyal to the end.” he said.
In conclusion Prof. Masaryka made a plea for American assistance in the efforts of his fellow countrymen to get their independence.
“President Wilson has said that you Americans can afford to be generous. You must be generous. That is the sense of your history, the meaning of your nations life, to help the weak and oppressed.”
At the conclusion of his address Prof. Masaryka was presented with the two large bouquets of roses by Miss M. Rebak and Miss A. Pergler, on behalf of the local Czecho-Slavs.
The mass meeting in Exposition Hall commenced at 4 o’clock, after the participants in the parade had been seated. Among the invited guests on the platform were, Judges John D. Shafer, J. McF., Carpenter, John Cy Haymaker, John A. Evans and Henry G. Wassou, of the common pleas cont: Colonel J.C.W. Brooks, U.S. A. and Commodore Denig, U.S.N.
As the band which provided the music for the meeting played the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ Prof. Masaryka was escorted to the platform by Albert Mamatey, president of the Slovak National League of America. The educator received an ovation, the audience remaining standing after the national anthem was finished and applauding for minutes. Mr. Mamatey acted as chairman of the meeting and introduced the several speakers. The first of these was M. Hoke Gottschall , secretary of Mayor E.V. Babcock who represented the latter at the meeting. Mr. Gottschall expressed the mayor’s regret at being unable to return from the east to attend the meeting, and stated that more than ever he realized how close the people of this country are bound together by bonds of patriotism after seeing the size and enthusiasm of this meeting.
Judge Joseph Buffington, of the United States circuit court followed Mr. Gottschall.
“I want to say to you that the sight of these united races gathered here together is a spectacle which it would be impossible to see in the old world. I have always felt that one of the basic ideas of old world rulership has been to keep you divided and that here in the United States alone could such a meeting as this be possible,” he said.
CARRY ON WAR WORK.
The speaker urged his listeners to use the utmost efforts in carrying on the war work. The men in the munition factories and in the mines have as important a part to play in the war as the ones in the trenches, “ he said.
“Let the inspiration that goes out today here to every lodge, a??, and home, be that there is no place in America for any man who wastes any time at his work. Every idle here is one spent in the interests of the Potsdam gang.” the judge declared.
Prof. Ferdinand ??? of the University of Iowa, whose father was a political refuge from Austria, spoke after Judge Buffington. He ??? ?? ?? done to the Bohemian and Slavish nations by the Hapsburgs and the Hohenz?ems, and declared that wherever the German has gone there has been usurpation of human rights. He spoke for the aspirations of these nations for liberty.
PARADE TO HALL.
Professor S. B. McCormick of the University of Pittsburgh also spoke a few words of greetings to the audience, and addresses in Russian, Slavish, and other languages were made. On the program were musical selections by Hrabaka Bohemian-American Orchestra band and a chorus of Russian girls.
Before the mass meeting the Czecho-Slavs held a parade that formed on the north side and passed over the principle streets of the city and disbanded at Exposition Hall. Patriotic Red Cross and paternal societies were in line, many delegations coming from surrounding towns of Western Pennsylvania. A feature of the parade was the banners carried by the marchers on which were printed such sentiments as “God Bless America, the friend of the Weak,” “Finish Austria-Hungary,” “Austria-Hungary, the Oppressor. The freedom of the enslaved nations shall be thy grave.” and “Russians of Hungary, arise and throw off the Magyar yoke.”
(NYT June 26, 1918, page 1)
Russain Paper Now Affirms
Ex-Czar Has Been Murdered
Special Cable to The New York Times
COPENHAGEN, June 25-
The Russian newspaper Vjia is quoted by the National Tidende’s Stockholm correspondent as stat-ing that the Red Guards have murdered the ex-Czar at Ekater-inburg. When it was reported that Czechoslovak troops were advancing disturbances took place there, and it was declared there was a project to free the ex-Czar. The Red Guards broke into the ex-Czar’s residence and killed him with a revolver.
A dispatch received in Berne on Saturday quoted the Zeitung Am Mittag of Berlin as saying that the former Russian Emperor had been transferred from Ekaterinburg to Moscow for safekeeping. The former Emperor and the Empress and one of their daughters weree transferred to Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk on May 4. Czechoslovak troops, who have been operating on the Siberian railway, have been reported in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg.
San Francisco Chronicle
October 1, 1918, pages 1 & 2
U.S. SOLDIERS TAKEN
PRISONER BY COSSACKS
Hostilities Narrowly Averted, Japanese at Imam Siding With Kalmikoff’s Men
CAPTORS FLOG CORPORAL
Ordered Released on Demand of Americans Who Carry Off Three Hostages
VLADIVOSTOK, Friday September 19-
(by the Associated Press),
Major General William S. Graves, commander of American forces in Siberia, has demanded an apology from General Rozanoff, in command of Russian troops in Prismur province, for the arrest of Captain L. P. Johns of the 27th Regiment and Corporal Benjamin Sperling of the 31st and the flogging of Sperling by cossacks commanded by General Kalmikoff. An investigation of the conduct of a Japanese officer at Iman, the place where the arrests took place has also been begun by the Japanese high command. The incident, which occurred September 5, is considered one of the most serious since the allies landed in Siberia.
American Officer Escapes By Boarding Moving Train
The two Americans in uniform and on official business, went to Imam, a town 170 miles north of this city, on the section of the railroad guarded by Chinese troops, passports being unnecessary by agreement between the Allies. While they were at a hotel there, a detachment of Cossacks entered and arrested the Americans, claiming they were not provided with identification papers.
Captain Johns escaped and catching a moving train, went to Spasske, where he reported to the American officer in command. A detachment of 150 Americans from the 27th Regiment at once entrained and went to Iman to effect Sperling’s release and on arriving there took three Cossacks as hostages.
Japanese Officer Sides With Cossacks
They found General Kalmikoff’s men entrenched near the station and were prepared to use force against them when a japanese Major interceded for the Cossacks, stating, it is alleged, that in the event of hostilities between the Americans and Cossacks, the Japanese troops at Iman would side with the latter. He at last told the Americans that Sperling had been taken to Khaborovsk, where General Kalmikoff has his headquarters. A telegraphic demand for Sperling was sent to Khaborovsk and a reply was received that he would be released at once. The Americans then returned to Spasske, taking their hostages with them.
American Corporal Flogged by Cossack Captain
A preliminary investigation of the incident shows, it is said, that Sperling was flogged, a punishment that usually meted out to a recalcitrant Cossack. General Kalmikoff, who is considered by Americans here as a “Siberian Villa,” has, with his band, been a constant source of trouble, it is charged, his raids being marked by cruelties and atrocities. He was recently appointed military commander of Khaborovsk district by General Rozanoff, and it is alleged this had brought about an increase in his activities.
NO NEWS IN WASHINGTON OF
WASHINGTON, September 30-
Secretary Baker said today that Major General Graves commanding the ...
... interference by a Japanese officer with American troops sent to effect the release of the enlisted men.
“Department records,” said the Secretary, “only show that an officer and an enlisted man were held by Cossacks and were released on the demand of General Graves.
“We have not heard of the Japanese incident. The matter has been referred to the State Department for subsequent action.”
KOLCHAK ASKS PEOPLE TO DROP PARTY FIGHTS
OMSK, Thursday, September 18
(Russian Telegraphic Agency) - Coincident with the issuance of a decree calling for the convening of a Zemstvo congress, Admiral Kolchak, head of the all Russian Government, made an appeal to the population to drop party struggles and unite around the Government. He asked the people through the work of Congress to make ready for the replacing of the military regime by one fitted to deal with peace conditions.
Tuesday November 18, 1919
CZECH ARMY CHARGES
ATROCITIES IN SIBERIA
Says Crimes Permitted by Omsk
Government Will “Stagger the
World” - Wants to Get Home.
VLADIVOSTOK, Nov. 15 (Associated Press.)-
A memorandum embodying the Czechoslovak views on the Siberian sit-uation was delivered to the allied rep-resentatives today. It says:
“The unbearable conditions cause us to ask the Allies to consider a means of safe conduct to the motherland, which return the Allies have approved. The Czechs were prepared to guard the rail-road sector allotted to them and have conscientiously fulfilled the task, but now our presence along the Siberian railroad for the purpose of guarding it becomes impossible by virtue of its uselessness and also in consequence of the most primitive demands of justice and humanity.
“By guarding and maintaining order, our army has been forced against its convictions to support a state of absolute despotism and unlawfulness which has had its beginning here under defense of the Czech arms.
“The military authorities of the Government of Omsk are permitting criminal actions that will stagger the entire world. The burning of villages, the murder of masses of peaceful inhabitants and the shooting of hundreds of persons of democratic convictions and also those only suspected of political disloyalty occurs daily. The responsibility for this before the peoples of the world will fall on us, inasmuch as we, possessing sufficient strength, do not prevent this lawlessness.
“Thus our passiveness appears as a direct consequence of the principles of neutrality and non-interference in Russian internal affairs, and we are becoming apparent participants in these crimes as a result of our observing absolute neutrality.”
PAGE 9 Saturday July 25, 1953 SECTION TWO
Father of Czech Republic Defamed on Flimsy Charges
Reds Rewrite History to Smear Masaryk
So-Called ‘Secret File’ So Twisted As to Seem Frivolous and Facetious
Father of Czech Republic Defamed on Flimsy Charges
Reds Rewrite History to Smear Masaryk
So-Called ‘Secret File’ So Twisted As to Seem Frivolous and Facetious
By PETER LISAGOR, Chicago Daily News Service
WASHINGTON, July 25 - Prague
Communists have embarked upon a campaign to defame the memory of Thomas G. Masaryk, father of the Czechoslovakian Republic.
They have cynically reversed their earlier position in which they tried to convince the world that the Communist regime really was “Masaryk’s state.”
In a book of documents claimed to have been found in “a secret file,” they are now picturing the first Czech President in blackest terms.
He is accused in the new book, titled “T. G. Masaryk’s Anti-Popular Policies,” of taking part in a plot to murder Lenin, of warmongering against the Soviet Union, of a “sellout” to American capitalism, and of fascist activity.
A detailed study of the book made here discloses that Communist “proof” of Masaryk’s villainy is so flimsy on almost all counts as to seem frivolous or facetious.
The so-called documents scarcely support the charges, but with a defamatory introduction and captions, the Communists apparently expected a few of those they wanted to impress to read very deeply into the material.
As one instance of its twisted purpose, the book seizes upon the history of the Czech Legions and Masaryk’s negotiations with Woodrow Wilson and other Western statesmen to “prove” his war mongering against the USSR.
Attacked by Reds
Those legions, former soldiers of the Hapsburg monarchy, had fallen into Russian hands in 1918 and had been organized to fight against the Central Powers.
In May, 1918, the were attacked by the Bolsheviks and fought their way across Siberia to Vladivostok. Thence they were shipped back to Europe.
Masaryk wanted aid for the legions, not to meddle into Russian affairs but to help defeat the Central Powers. Czechoslovakia’s fate depended upon Allied victory.
U.S. Help Asked
Masaryk urged Washington to intervene in force in Russian to end the “inhuman slaughter and stupid butchery.” But he was not choosing up sides. He was interested only in not jeopardizing the position of the new Czech government.
On Aug. 28, 1918, Masaryk sent to Washington this balanced picture of what was happening in Russia:
“Bolshevism is amateurish in everything, but the tragedy of Russian in that the anti-Bolshevik forces are amateurish too, a legacy of czarism.
“The Bolsheviks now are holding on to power only thanks to the weakness and incompetence of their adversaries. I and our army wanted to work in Russia without difficulties, but with these fools and criminals peaceful dealing seems impossible. Their aggressiveness must be energetically checked. That’s the only thing they would understand.”
Curious About Face
The most curious aspect of the affair is the complete about face in attitude of the Communists toward Masaryk.
In 1948, 11 years after his death, Prime Minister Gottwald and a host of other Communist bigwigs placed wreaths on Masaryk’s grave and proclaimed “today’s republic is Masaryk’s state,” so as to feed on the love and esteem in which Masaryk was held by the Czech people.
Now they have published the vicious book and ordered all Masaryk monuments removed from the country.
Kowtow to Moscow
Students of Communist behavior believe that the change represents an effort to kowtow before the Kremlin with the alleged anti-Soviet charges and to promote the anti-American phase of Red propaganda.
(Masaryk married an American girl and used her maiden name -Garrigue- as his middle name.)
But the chief factor, it is felt, is typical of totalitarian regimes - blacken the pre-Communist regime of Masaryk and Edouard Benes as despicable, weak and anti-social in contrast to the Communist millenium.
Observers here regard it as one of the most cynical and brazen efforts to rewrite history undertaken by the Communists.