The source under debate consists of a section from a letter written by František Palacký in response to an invitation by the Vorparlament (pre parliament) to discuss the national constitution of assembly. The letter itself had been written on the 11th of April 1848, in the midst of the European revolutions.
The debate surrounding Palacký’s response was mainly concerned with the formation of nation states. Specifically, whether or not Austria should or would form a political alliance with Germany. Would Germany remain small with a Prussian leadership or become larger by the unification with Austria. In fact the purpose of the initial invitation was to gain the support the Czechs in order to build a superior nation state. During this period the Austrian Empire saw a variety of diverse ethnicities, some of which held a dominating majority, such as Germany. The Czechs at this time were also a predominant ethnic group and had been encouraged to hold a sense of pride in relation to their language and literature almost as a means of separating them from Germans, a reminder of sorts of their heritage and refusal of ‘German manners and regimen’.
Considering that the Czechs did not feel united or well in corporate with the Germans, Palacký’s refusal to join the constitution is not unexpected. In fact Palacký highlights toward the beginning of the letter that he was not ‘a German- at least I do not feel myself to be one’ and therefore should not be included with the proceedings, his lack of German heritage made him irrelevant to the situation. Palacký does, however, include reasons as to why Austria and Germany should merge together as well as suggesting how they should go about doing so. He states that it makes sense for Germany to ‘enter the Austrian Monarchy’ instead of the two uniting ‘nationally’.
According to the letter, Palacky appears to be very protective over the Austrian empire, arguing that it Austria would ‘commit suicide’ if they were to unite with Germany. It is clear that both countries hold a strong sense of nationalism and that factor alone may be what compromises their potential unification. As previously mentioned individuals already in Austria spoke German and therefore had a link to the nation, decreasing the strength and independence of Austria...