Only today, when the same deplorable misery is forced on many millions of Germans from the Reich, who under foreign rule dream of their common fatherland and strive, amid their longing, at least to preserve their holy right to their mother tongue, do wider circles understand what it means to be forced to fight for one's nationality. Today perhaps some can appreciate the greatness of the Germans in the Reich's old Ostmark, who, with no one but themselves to depend on, for centuries protected the Reich against incursions from the East, and finally carried on an exhausting guerrilla warfare to maintain the German language frontier, at a time when the Reich was highly interested in colonies, but not in its own flesh and blood at its very doorstep.
As everywhere and always, in every struggle, there were, in this fight for the language in old Austria, three strata: The fighters, the lukewarm and the traitors.
This sifting process began at school. For the remarkable fact about the language struggle is that its waves strike hardest perhaps in the school, since it is the seed-bed of the coming generation. It is a struggle for the soul of the child, and to the child its first appeal is addressed: German boy, do not forget you are a German, and, Little girl, remember that you are to become a German mother.
Anyone who knows the soul of youth will be able to understand that it is they who lend ear most joyfully to such a battle-cry. They carry on this struggle in hundreds of forms, in their own way and with their own weapons. They refuse to sing unGerman songs. The more anyone tries to alienate them from German heroic grandeur, the wilder becomes their enthusiasm: they go hungry to save pennies for the grown-ups battle fund their ears are amazingly sensitive to un-
German teachers, and at the same time they are incredibly resistant; they wear the forbidden insignia of their own nationality and are happy to be punished or even beaten for it. Thus, on a small scale they are a faithful reflection of the adults, except that often their convictions are better and more honest.
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