A Greater Germany? The request of the Austrian Germans for admission into the German Empire meant the fulfilment of the dreams of several generations of Germans and Austrians. But not everywhere was this request met with joy. The Germans already had severe problems with the 3.5 million Poles in Germany, they had no wish to add 6.2 million Czechs to the empire. Seperating Germans and Czechs in Bohemia and Moravia was almost impossible without committing acts of violence. The Austrian Germans were all catholic, they would turn the inner-German balance of confessions into a catholic preponderance. That also meant that the SPD would gain less voters than the Zentrum. Although the Austrian Social Democratic Worker’s Party, the equivalent of the SPD, had been the strongest parliamentary group in the Reichsrat, the equivalent of the German Reichstag, before the war it was clear to the SPD leaders that the Zentrum would attract more voters in the less industrialised Austro-German states. It was therefore with mixed feelings that Friedrich Ebert’s cabinet met on August 28th. The foreign minister was absent, signing the Treaty of Elsinore. As could be expected, vice chancellor Erzberger was completely in favour of accepting the request. But discussion soon reveiled that a solution would not be easy to be found. The SPD ministers were ready to accept that the Zentrum might gain more voters from the annexation. But the Czech problem had to solved. The FVP ministers were of the same opinion. Only Konstantin Fehrenbach, the minister for economy, and Felix Porsch, the post minster, the two other Zentrums representatives, backed Erzberger, although their enthusiasm was much reduced in comparison to Erzberger. Hermann von Eichhorn, the war minister, who did – like Richard von Kühlmann – not belong to one of the three ruling parties, had had his confidant Robert Katzenstein, a Jewish solicitor, examining the situation. “Traditionally, Czech was spoken by the countrymen, while the towns talked in German. This has changed since the mid of the last century. Today, Czech is spoken everywhere. There is a complete mix. The only solution that might be possible is autonomy for the Czechs within a German state. – But then, we would have to grant this to our Poles and French too, and to the Italians in Southern Tyrolia. – The other solution would be a Czech state with an autonomous German minority. But do we really want a Czech state in the midth of Germany?” After three hours of animated discussion, the cabinet parted without having reached a decision.