THE END OF AN EMPIRE: REMNANTS OF AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
BY CHARLES SEYMOUR
"If Austria did not exist, it would be necessary to create her." This diplomatic aphorism, coined by a member of one of the very nationalities oppressed by the Hapsburgs, had rung in the ears of European statesmen for many decades. It had become almost axiomatic that the union of Danubian territories was essential to the economic welfare and political tranquillity of southeastern Europe. There were few who did not recognize the service performed for Europe by the Hapsburgs in holding together regions naturally interdependent, and in obstructing the advance up the Danube of that internecine strife which has characterized the political habits of the Balkans. The disruption of the Hapsburg empire would threaten economic dislocation at the same time that it would inflame the nationalistic jealousy and ambition of the peoples that had been crushed under the Hapsburg yoke. The prospect was regarded with a doubt that bordered upon dismay even by the nations that were fighting Austria in the Great War.
But the statesmen of the Peace Conference were confronted by a condition and not a theory. However clearly they recognized the dangers coincident with the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, it was not for them to decide. The question had already been settled by the