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Diary of visit to Vienna, Prag and Buda Pesht

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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Jan 2011 13:14    Onderwerp: Diary of visit to Vienna, Prag and Buda Pesht Reageer met quote

Diary of visit to Vienna, Prag and Buda Pesht, December 1918 - January 1919
W.H. Beveridge

Hier gevonden:

Beveridge and the Inter-Allied Commission on Relief of German Austria
[size=9August 27th, 2010, Nick White[/size]

William Beveridge’s “Diary of visit to Vienna, Prag and Buda Pesth, December, 1918-January, 1919″ (Beveridge/11/1) has been digitised and is now available for downloading as a pdf (18MB). The diary relates to his involvement as a British delegate of the Inter-Allied Commission on Relief of German Austria.

Since December 1916, William Beveridge had been a civil servant at the Ministry of Food, working on food control within the UK. This diary commences on Friday 20 December 1918, when Beveridge agreed to be one of the British delegates of the Inter-Allied Commission. He started his travels the following day.

The diary includes personal details, such as Beveridge’s travel arrangements, accommodation, meals, etc. – he seems particularly interested in the dice game, “craps”.

However, the document also gives an insight into the Commission itself. At times it appears rather chaotic, although that is not surprising since it is working within just a few months of the end of the First World War. One of the main problems related to the fact that there wasn’t a common language which all the delegates could speak (the Mission consisted of delegates from the UK, America, Italy and France).

The diary contains details about Beveridge’s fellow delegates and the people he met. He also provides outline details of some of the meetings themselves. His first meeting with the Austrian representatives (”the enemy”) occurred in Berne on Christmas Eve 1918:

“Introduction was an odd business in which we partly bowed and partly shook hands”. They were, “Altogether as sad men as ever I have seen… I am ashamed before them as ever I used to be at going to interview beggars at the door at Toynbee [Hall]” (pp 4-5).

The Commission arrived in Vienna on 2 January 1919 and, following a few days of meetings, the group viewed some markets in the city:

“We went first to the meat market where there was a certain quantity of unpleasant meat hanging about and a fair crowd of people buying. Many of the stalls were quite empty. At others there were fairly long queues (these were for pig’s eye-pieces, offals, and other unrationed kinds of meat)” (p.19).

The Commission also visited Prague and Budapest to find out if food supplies could be obtained from Czechoslovakia or Hungary. However, it seems the situation was poor in those countries too. One of the people Beveridge met in Hungary was the President, [Mihaly] Karolyi. He wanted to discuss political matters, wheras the Commission was authorised to deal only with food.

“Karolyi found it difficult to understand the statement that the war was not yet ended, except as a piece of pedantry. Hungary had disbanded her Army and clearly could not fight again. I found myself explaining to him and others as tactfully as possible that I did not think that the Entente had any particular dislike for Hungary or any deliberate intention to harm in leaving them so long unnoticed: the Entente Governments had many more important things to think about than the fate of 10,000,000 people in Hungary, and Hungary must wait her turn for political attention. Meanwhile our sole business was food.” (9 January 1919, pp.32-33).

The diary is a good introduction to the workings of the Commission, but other sources need to be used for details. In all, there are seven boxes of material in the Beveridge collection relating to Austria and central Europe, 1918-21 (Beveridge/11/1-19). These haven’t yet been listed in detail, but include Beveridge’s report on the Commission, other official memoranda, correspondence, notes and photographs. It also contains Beveridge’s pamphlet, “Peace in Austria: a study of social and industrial conditions with a programme for re-construction based on a personal visit to Austria” (Fight the Famine Council, 1920).

“I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you are not, l hope you have the strength to start all over again.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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