Olga Popper Misař to Jane Addams, October 20, 1921


Vienna, Oct. 20th, 1921

Dear Miss Addams,

You will know what has been going on in West-Hungary for the last months and that Austria was quite lately in imminent danger of an Hungarian invasion. During this time we had an Assembly in which Frau Hertzka impressed our option of “No resort to arms.” It was not by any means easy to arrange this assembly, as some of the best pacifists had serious doubts as to the expediency of our policy and as it certainly must be said that the case is about as difficult as it can be, because the quarrel is between a politically free country and a reactionary one.

Now we wish to inform our friends of what is going on and we feel sure they will want to help us. At present there was the Conference of Venice, which has warded off the danger just for the moment. Austria has agreed to a [plebiscite] in a part of West-Hungary and to a session of Oedenburg to Hungary (if the population should so decide) but on condition that the country is first cleared of Hungarian irregular troops and army and put under control of an international government and army. Now it seems that the [Oostenburg?] detachments of soldiers are to be considered as part of this [inter-allied] army and we want all our friends to know that these are part of the troops of the white terror and their stay in the country turns all voting into a mere comedy. We pacifists are of course indifferent to the question of how national aspirations are gratified, but is enormously important for us, that every injustice in the [plebiscite] will give the nationalist parties reasons for [clamoring] about national oppression and calling for armed [defense]. There is a danger of exactly the same state of affairs as in Silesia, without any actual need of all the difficulties.

The cause of the whole trouble is the fact that the Entente-powers have left Hungary a powerful army of 200,000 men (while the neighboring Austria is disarmed to 30,000) so as to have an imperialism and capitalistic hold on the frontier of Russia. The militarists in Hungary have become so powerful and cause continued trouble by working for the return of the monarchy in their country and Austria. Now the working-classes of Austria are strong enough to hold their own against the monarchists at home, but if they are attacked by brute force of a larger army there is a danger of the political freedom of our revolution (which was attained without bloodshed) being trodden down and it might take centuries to gain it again. We stand for “no force of arms” in any case, but if things come to the worst, we shall lose very many of our adherents and friends and it lies very much in the interest of pacifism in the whole world, that the moral losses which we suffer by our faith to pacifism should not be so great. [page 2]

We ask all our friends to try to influence public opinion and government in their country, that the will of the population of West-Hungary must not be violated by the presence of the terror-troops when they vote; that the allied powers must insist on the disarming of monarchistic Hungary, just as they did with the socialist neighbors (we pacifists going further and desiring complete disarmament); and that serious steps must be taken at once to settle the conflict of West-Hungary, which will otherwise cause a war in Central Europe.

The only way of securing that aim would be the dismissal of the Entente officers from Budapest who play a double game and agree to Negotiations and peace in theory, while they allow the Hungarians to arm and collect troops and rob and murder without reproach and the nomination of completely reliable officers.

We ask all our friends to influence their governments in this direction and to rouse public opinion in the same line, letting us know what they are doing, so that we may report it in our assemblies and in the papers.

Could you mention these things in the Disarmament week?

Yours sincerely,

Olga Misař