A Rapprochement With The Little Entente
The Chief Obstacle
Front Our Austrian Correspondent The chief topic of interest in Central Europe at the moment is the Austrian Chancellor's recent visit to Prague and its itnplications.
In most quarters it is taken to be the first indication of the long-heralded change in Austrian foreign policy, which, if genuine, will mean severing the hitherto almost complete dependence upon Italy and turning, not, as might be surmised, in the direction of Germany, but towards closer and more cordial co-operation with other Danubian countries under the shelter once again of the League of Nations.
Nor are signs lacking that this is to be the case. The Christmas amnesty in Austria was granted to far more socialists than nazis, and, indeed, representative Austrian figures such as Cardinal lnnitzer and Prince Starhemberg have been far stronger in their condemnation of the latter than of the former.
This was taken as a gesture towards Czech socialism, and Dr. von Schuschnigg's speech at Prague definitely indicated that a close understanding with Czechoslovakia, particularly with regard to economic questions, was indispensable for Austria.
Restoration of Hapsburgs It is understood in official circles in Prague that great progress was made in this direction.
The main obstacle is thought to be the the restoration of the Hapsburgs upon which the Austrian government appears bent, if not immediately, at least in a not far distant future.
/ was told as recently as this autumn in Prague foreign-office circles that, of the two dire alternatives. Prague would prefer to see Hitler rather than a Hapsburg installed in Vienna.
For Hitler's influence would, it was stated, extend only to German elements in Czechoslovakia, while Hapsburg influence might extend far beyond the Germans, many of whom would in any case remain hostile, as there are many Slays in the new Danubian countries who still hanker after the old Empire.
There is little reason to believe that this attitude has changed and this, combined with Hungarian passivity, will certainly hamper the Austrian Chancellors policy.
Hungary's ruler, General Goemboes, appears wedded to Hitlerism and is very unlikely to be other than extremely hostile to the apparent new trend in Austrian policy, although there are many in Hungary who are in turn bitterly opposed to Goemboes's somewhat too marked sympathies with nazi Germany.
Looking To "Kaiser" Otto At the national rally of officials of the Patriotic Front, the political organisation of the Austrian government, the vicechancellor, Prince Starhemberg, declared that he would by every means oppose "unity with Germany, or Austrian absorption in a centralised Reich."
Austrian history, he continued, could not be separated from the house of Hapsburg. Rumours that he himself aspired to the throne were rubbish. If the monarchy came back to Austria it could only be a Hapsburg monarchy.
As to the rumour that he intended to proclaim the monarchy, only the Austrian people could do that. A monarchy born in a coup d'etat had no appeal for clearthinking monarchists, and Kaiser Otto (Prince Starhemberg seems to speak here for the first time of "Kaiser" Otto) would have nothing to do with such an adventure.