ROLAND G. USHER
THE GREAT REPULSE: THE BALKAN CRISIS
THE great success of the war in Tripoli, as a method of extorting territory from the Turk and of preventing the interference of England and France with the execution of the plans for the rearrangement of the Mediterranean without the employment of actual force, promptly suggested to the diplomats and statesmen in Berlin and Vienna the prosecution of war in the Balkans. The Turk was unexpectedly reluctant to resign to Italy, even at the instigation of his new masters, the rich province of Tripoli. It seemed to the Young Turks the last straw, that, at just the moment when they were seeking to rouse in Turkey a national spirit, and to secure control of the government for a national party, whose policy should be based upon the interests of Turkey and not upon those of Europe, they should be forced at the very outset to consent to the dismemberment of Turkey as the condition of their longer continuance in power. It seemed to them, in fact, that, if they must yield in Tripoli, autonomy would never be a reality in Turkey, and the visions they had long cherished, and the material privations they had endured for the last decade or more, would be all rendered futile. The Triple Alliance obviously needed some lever with which to pry Tripoli from the clutches of the Young Turk without the necessity of actually taking it. It was, furthermore, highly essential that the Young Turk should not execute a coup d'état and desert them for the old alliance with England and France. That, above all, must not be risked. Some method must be found which would put pressure upon him without permitting him to desert and without allowing England or France an opportunity to interfere. The obvious method was war in the Balkans, where the military movements could be undertaken by the states, whose relations with the Turk were always tense, and whose private grievances were so familiar and so adequate in the eyes of Europe as fully to justify a resort to arms. The Turk would thus be between two fires. With war in Europe and war in Africa and only one army, he would be compelled to preserve Tripoli at the risk of defeat in Europe, or to renounce Tripoli and conclude peace with Italy on Italy's own terms, in order to insure the safety of his dominions in Europe. The moment also was most opportune for an attempt to rearrange affairs in the Balkans, and to attempt the realization of the Balkan Confederacy, on whose creation the final success of Pan-Germanism absolutely depended. The tense situation in Europe; the dangers to which the English and French were obviously exposed in the Mediterranean by the inability to use their previous naval dispositions for regaining control of the eastern Mediterranean; the time which must necessarily elapse before a force sufficient to regain that control could be assembled in the Mediterranean, all these factors made their actual interference improbable. The Germans calculated that, the odds being against England, she would not dare risk action. Therefore, with the probability of a free hand, the opportunity seemed ripe for the prosecution of the schemes for the reorganization of southeastern Europe.
The programme was practically made public by Austria, who advocated decentralization in Turkey along the lines already suggested, but never executed, in the Treaty of Berlin. The notion was to break up European Turkey by creating independent states in Albania and Macedonia and to make a new state out of the remains of Turkey in Europe. These three states, with the older communities of Rumania,. Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, and perhaps Greece, should form a new confederation, governing the whole of the district between the Austrian and Russian, frontiers and the Ægean and Mediterranean seas.(21) Asia Minor would become the seat of the old Turkish Empire and should be bound tightly to Germany or Austria, and, if that were not possible, to the new confederation, by bonds which practically would compel the Turk to renounce control of policy and resources. In some way or other, by commercial agreements, if no more direct method was available, Austria was to secure Saloniki as a naval base from which to control the Ægean and the whole eastern Mediterranean, and either Austria or Italy was to secure the remainder of the eastern shore of the Adriatic. The allies calculated that a little show of force by the Balkan States would put enough pressure upon the Turks to compel the cession of Tripoli, and might also drive the Young Turks from power and reinstate the old bureaucracy, whom Austria and Germany already owned body and soul. Then the Treaty of Berlin could be interpreted in such a manner as to enable the allies to claim that the other Powers had already given their consent to the new scheme of reorganization, would permit them to insist that no European Congress was necessary, and that the execution of the Treaty ought completely to satisfy all parties. The irony of the situation would be that they would thus possess the Turk's own consent to his own destruction before they conquered him. When these arrangements were finished, and it seemed hardly doubtful but that they could be completed, Pan-Germanism would be practically a reality. There would be much yet to do, but formally it would have come into existence.
There were also vital reasons for attempting action in the fall of 1912. The death of the Emperor Franz Josef has been expected at any moment during the last few years and becomes more probable each month. Inasmuch as his death has been confidently expected to give the signal for a general revolt throughout the Dual Monarchy, it was highly essential to move before such a catastrophe deprived Austria of the possibility of action. Indeed, his death might force the allies to devote their time for some years to the reorganization of Austria-Hungary before they could proceed further with the scheme. Success in the Balkans and in Turkey, the actual creation of a Pan-Germanic chain, would not improbably so impress public opinion as to insure the continuance of the present arrangements and thwart the schemes of the irreconcilables. Should worst come to worst, a third monarchy could be created out of the Croatian and Slavonic and Serbonian communities in southwestern Austria which would have the same relations to Austria as Hungary, would satisfy the most dangerous malcontents and enable the Empire to deal effectively with Bohemia and Galicia. Such an eventuality, however, raised many possible questions and would be certain to rouse suspicion in the Balkans. The adoption by England and Russia of the scheme for the Trans-Persian Railway, obviously a military road to circumvent the Baghdad Railway, -to retain control of the Persian Gulf and render ineffectual the seizure of Suez, proved to the Germans that no time was to be lost, if the conquest of India, as the ultimate aim of the great confederation, was not to become impossible. The loss of India, Germany could not consider calmly, for the creation and maintenance of the Pan-German Confederation would compel her to hand over to her allies practically all the gains in the Mediterranean and in Europe, and her own share was to be India. The Panama Canal, moreover, another military road to the East, was nearing completion, would probably be practical as early as January, 1914, and its completion is expected to render the control of the Mediterranean and Red Sea infinitely less important to England than before. The risks of immediate action did not seem too great; the probable gains were undeniable; and the allies therefore decided upon action.
The Balkan States, who received intimations of the desirability of war from Berlin and Vienna, were astounded to receive, almost simultaneously, suggestions of the desirability of war with Turkey from London, Paris, and St. Petersburg. The Triple Entente had made up its mind that the moment was opportune for an attempt to erect a barrier in the way of Pan-Germanism which should not improbably postpone its execution at least a decade. Only in the Balkans could they hope in the long run successfully to oppose the Triple Alliance, nor could there be, from their point of view, a more favorable spot for opposition. The Balkan peoples had long hated Austria for racial and religious reasons, were determined, if possible, to win their own national independence, and, presenting, therefore, unusual difficulties to the statesmen seeking to amalgamate them with the Triple Alliance, furnished the latter's enemies the most favorable field in which to work. The strategic position of the Balkans, controlling all the roads between Europe and Asia Minor, controlling the Ægean and the Adriatic, was so necessary to Pan-Germanism, that no more deadly blow could possibly be dealt that scheme than the creation of a Balkan confederacy under the ægis of the Triple Entente, pledged to independence for the Balkan peoples of both coalitions. The stronger the confederation, the more independent, the greater obstacle it would be in the path of Pan-Germanism. The very qualities and resources, which would lead the Balkans to desire freedom from entangling alliances with the Triple Entente itself, would be the very qualities which would render improbable any agreement with the Triple Alliance, and would animate them with a patriotism and a determination to resist which could not fail to work for the benefit of the Triple Entente. For it is not necessary that the latter should itself control them. Its dispositions in the Mediterranean will be equally benefited if their possession by the Triple Alliance is rendered improbable. From the point of view of England and France, moreover, who necessarily distrust somewhat their ally, Russia, because of her ambitions in the Black Sea, the stronger the confederation, the more independent, the greater would be their own safety from possible treachery on the part of Russia.
At the same time both nations realized that the Tripolitan War had completely changed their own policies in regard to Turkey. Their objection to Russia at Constantinople had been based upon the desire to exclude from the Mediterranean all possible rivals; but the loss of Tripoli, the loss of Turkey, both of which had fallen into the hands of their enemies, and the fear of the creation of a confederacy of states in the Balkans under German or Austrian protection, thoroughly disposed of their objections to Russia's ownership of that same territory. If they must have a rival in those seas, a thousand times better that it should be Russia than the Triple Alliance. Russia's Black Sea fleet has still to be made powerful enough to be able to interfere in the Mediterranean; she is so dependent upon their assistance to preserve her present position in northeastern Europe that she is not likely to take action elsewhere which would be contrary enough to their interests to cause a rupture of the Entente. On the other hand, the mere possession of the Balkans by Russia would be as permanent a guarantee as could well be imagined of the failure of Pan-Germanism for all time, and would, more than any other one thing, render Morocco, India, and even England itself safe from aggression. In the Black Sea, Russia could create, safe from interference, a fleet which could issue forth from the Straits in time of need and fall upon the rear of the Austro-Italian fleet operating from the Adriatic or Tripoli. Should Russia be able-to secure possession of all the Balkans, she would also control the Ægean and the Adriatic, would occupy in Servia a post in the rear of Hungary, highly dangerous to the Dual Monarchy, from which an invasion, simultaneous with an attack through Galicia, could hardly fail to have fatal consequences. Russia in the Balkans, in other words, would promptly compel Germany and Austria to take up the defensive and to do so under distinct disadvantages. Once Russia occupied such a position, England and France could promptly overrun the Mediterranean, take Trieste, conquer the Adriatic, isolate Italy, compel her at the very least to cede Tripoli. Thus they could secure a firmer hold upon the Mediterranean than ever before. From Russia's point of view, an independent confederation in the Balkans, coupled to the right of freedom of passage through the Straits and the permission to create a fleet in the Black Sea, would be practically as advantageous a solution as she could ask. Aside from the plains of the Lower Danube, the Balkans themselves are of little value to her, and so vitally threaten Austria that war could hardly be avoided. Russia is more anxious to open the Black Sea and to obtain naval control than she is to force the issue with Austria at present. An independent Balkan confederation would protect the Straits from Austria, and would in practice, whatever treaties and agreements might say, give her control.
Should the war succeed, the Turk could certainly be driven from Constantinople, and even if it were expedient to leave him there he might be compelled or induced to create a Khalifate in Egypt or Arabia to rule the Mohammedans in the English and French possessions. The latter are extremely desirous of quieting the religious ferment which has so hampered their actions on more than one occasion, by substituting for a religious head of the Mohammedans, held in the clutches of Germany, a religious head in their own control. They wish to remove the excuse for a Holy War, or, at any rate, to prevent the declaration of a Holy War by the Sultan in Constantinople which Mohammedans throughout the world would feel bound to recognize. Pan-Islam is a spectre terrifying to them in the extreme. Moreover, should the Germans achieve anything like further success in the reorganization, so-called, of southeastern Europe, it would become absolutely necessary for some member of the Triple Entente to take possession of Constantinople, to say the least, and, not improbably, to put an end to the nominal independence of Turkey. Such a blow at the Sultan would certainly be resented in India, Egypt, and Morocco, and the statesmen are extremely anxious either to remove the Sultan from the danger zone or to shear him of his religious headship.
The Balkan States scarcely believed in the verity of these communications. The splendor of the opportunity fairly dazzled their eyes. It had long seemed to them that there was really a chance to free themselves from the shackles of both coalitions and of winning from the Turk, without much difficulty, their freedom and that of their compatriots in the Turkish Empire, so long as the two coalitions did not actually support Turkey. Of that fact they were apprehensive. While the Turk had been the Sick Man of Europe, maintained by the Powers because of the incurable nature of his disease, the sovereignty of the Turk over the Macedonians and Albanians was purely nominal and the sufferings of the people under his rule practically confined to the reprisals of the soldiery upon the populace. As a neighbor of those Balkan States who had achieved nominal independence, the Sick Man was not very dangerous. His very incompetence was a practical guarantee of their own safety. The strengthening of Turkey, the organization of a really efficient administration and army, whether by the Young Turks or by the Germans, would certainly diminish the probability of securing the actual autonomy which the Balkan peoples had long ardently desired. As fast as Turkish government grew better, to that degree would disappear the grievances which made plausible the demands of the alien peoples for freedom from his rule. Indeed, if many more officers were appointed of the stamp of Hussein Kiazim Bey, the people would have very little to complain about, and the Powers would certainly need some strong arguments to convince them of the expediency of permitting the Balkan States to change the existing dispositions. The continuance, therefore, of the present situation meant that the probability of eventual independence diminished annually and might soon disappear.
The moment, chosen by the two coalitions as opportune for war from their point of view, was singularly advantageous from the point of view of the Balkans themselves. Turkey was at war with Italy; the real Turkish army was in Africa and would stay there as long as the Italian fleet controlled the sea; moreover, they were assured by both coalitions of the nominal character of the resistance with which the Turk would oppose them; the war was to be a sham battle arranged for theatrical effect. The Turks themselves were gravely divided between the party willing to cooperate with the Germans and the Young Turks, anxious to strike a blow for Turkish independence before it was too late. The Balkan States had, moreover, been most kindly supplied with arms, money, and instruction in tactics and in the strategy of war by their "friends," and would therefore enter the struggle with literally every circumstance in their favor. The ease, therefore, of playing the game for themselves, of rushing upon the Turk with all possible speed, of dealing him as many deadly blows as they could as soon after the beginning of war as possible, was so apparent that there was little doubt in Sofia and Athens that the Turk would be brought to his knees before the Powers could realize that they had been betrayed. Once victorious, once possessed of the military control of Turkey, they would have their greatest chance of maintaining their independence that they ever hoped to have. If half a million men, natural soldiers, in a natural fortress, well equipped with other people's resources, could not maintain themselves against assault, independence for the Balkans was a vision which would never be attained. If they must fight to attain it, they could never have a better chance than this. But they were fully aware that the chances of their needing to fight were small. The existence of the two coalitions and the identity of their plans would convince them both that the Balkans were acting in their interests, and neither was at all likely to interfere until too late; for, when the truth of the situation should dawn upon them, it was more than likely that they would both see it simultaneously, realize that they had been hoodwinked, and be too much afraid of each other to dare to interfere. At any rate, diplomacy could be depended upon to play off the Powers one against the other. If the Balkan States could only get into their hands the strategic places, their assistance would be too vital to the completion of the schemes of both coalitions to make doubtful their ability to secure their own price. In any case, they would not be again subjected to the Turk. If they must resign themselves to the protection of one coalition or the other, they could undoubtedly secure for themselves infinitely better terms than they could otherwise have had.
Under these circumstances, the Balkan States began the war with a vigor and an energy which astounded Europe, began it, too, in the fall, contrary to the advice of both coalitions, and pushed it to a successful conclusion within a few weeks. The first result was that anticipated by the Triple Alliance, peace between Turkey and Italy, and the cession to the latter of unconditional sovereignty over Tripoli. The next results were unexpected. The war was too realistic. It was entirely undesirable for the Balkans to destroy the Turkish army which the Germans had created with so much difficulty and expense to control Constantinople and the Baghdad Railway. The Triple Entente by no means desired to hand over, even for a time, to the Balkan States Constantinople and the Straits. The first successes were probably due to the fact that the Turk was not prepared for that type of an attack, had been ordered to fall back upon Adrianople which was to be besieged. He accordingly fell back on Adrianople; the Bulgarians promptly marched round him, and fell upon the disorganized forces behind, who were as yet unprepared for operations of such magnitude. Before the Turk had time to take breath, before Berlin and Vienna recovered from the first shock, the Bulgarians were almost within sight of Constantinople, and their allies were pushing the war in the west and south to a successful conclusion with great rapidity.
It now became clear to the Balkans that the moment had come to deal with the Powers. No doubt, before the war began, the confederates had a reasonably clear idea of the terms they could expect from both coalitions, and they did not need to contemplate them longer to see that the Triple Entente was prepared to offer them vastly more satisfactory conditions. At the best, all they could hope from the Triple Alliance was the control of their local affairs; the international relations must be delivered over to the allies. The Triple Entente, on the other hand, while it would also expect to direct their international policy, found its own interests best suited by increasing the strength and independence of the Balkans themselves. Pan-Germanism, in fact, depended for its success upon their absorption by Germany and Austria, while the defeat of Pan-Germanism by the Triple Entente would depend upon the extent to which Balkan independence of Germany and Austria could be made a reality. This was certainly as virtual independence as it was probable that the possessors of such important strategic points would ever be likely to secure from the Powers. The fact that Russia's right of free passage through the Straits would in large measure satisfy her ambitions and put into her hands, without danger to the Balkan Confederation, what she chiefly valued, and what she would expect to obtain from the conquest of the whole territory, nay, what she had believed could be obtained only after the conquest of the whole territory, would give them a greater degree of assurance against aggression from her, than they could ever have from Austria. Money was another desideratum. The supply from Berlin and Vienna would obviously cease; there was no money in the Balkans and no resources which could be turned into money. To get the money, therefore, necessary to finance their independence, and, in particular, the money with which to maintain it, should they have to fight longer for it, they must sell themselves to the Triple Entente. This, they proceeded to do with dispatch, and announced in consequence that they would deal only with Turkey and would deal with her only upon the unconditional acceptance of their maximum terms. The King of Greece was to become President of the Federation, and the territory conquered from the Turk --- except for Constantinople and Saloniki --- was to be divided among the existing states. The Bulgarians claimed Thrace; the Greeks, Macedonia; the Servians, Albania, including the seacoast on the Adriatic. Constantinople, Saloniki, and the Straits they expected to see internationalized, the Turkish Empire relegated to Asia Minor, a freedom of passage accorded every one through the Straits. That these terms could finally be obtained, neither the Balkans nor their new allies probably believed, but that was no reason why they should not be demanded.
Undoubtedly, the war has been a great victory for the Balkans themselves in their long crusade against the Turk. They now hope to drive the Infidel out of Europe and thus permanently to rescue their co-religionists from his clutches, both of which achievements would be supremely gratifying to them. For the present, at any rate, they are actually independent and, unless a renewal of the war should bring with it unexpected reverses, they are likely to remain so.
The chief results of the war, however, have not accrued to them but to their new allies, who have thus effectively retrieved the disaster in Tripoli. Not only will the Balkan Confederation be a stumbling-block in the path of Pan-Germanism, which is hardly likely to be moved for the present, but temporarily the alliance between the Balkans and the Triple Entente has restored the balance of power in the Mediterranean. The Greeks have driven the Italians out of most of the islands of the Ægean; Crete, which hitherto has had an anomalous existence, as an international possession, has been united to Greece and will give the Triple Entente a powerful naval station east of Malta. Above all, the loss of the islands, the certain strengthening of the English and French fleets in the Mediterranean, the improbability of Austria's taking possession of Saloniki for some time to come, have greatly reduced the chances of the use of Tripoli as a military and naval base. Certainly, until the Austrians and Italians are prepared to contest the supremacy of the Mediterranean, the Italians will have only such relations with Tripoli as the English permit. The latter are not likely to bring the question of Italy's right to Tripoli to a test of force, but they will no doubt feel themselves justified in preventing her from attempting anything beyond the commercial development of the country.
The interposition of the Balkan Confederation between Austria and Turkey has for the time being deprived the Germans of communication with Turkey and has jeopardized their control of the Baghdad Railway. The Turk, excluded from Europe, robbed of his most valuable possession, the Straits, would not be as available material from the German point of view as he was. The new Turkish army, if we suppose that it was safe and sound in Tripoli and was not shot to pieces in the war, would no longer be as valuable as when it could hope to guard the trade route from Constantinople well through the mountains, protecting Constantinople itself and the Baghdad Railway. The importance of protecting the railway may still be great, but the commercial importance of its protection can amount to very little so long as the trade route has been cut apart in the middle. Not improbably commercial treaties can be signed with the Balkans, but if the latter are able to maintain their present position either by extorting favorable terms from the reluctant Turk or by a renewal of the war, such treaties will be subject to rupture at a moment's notice. The expediency may well be questioned of spending money in the development of Asia Minor by a power which can obtain access to the district only by the sufferance of states hostile to her ambitions.
These significant changes of strategic position led both the Triple Alliance and the Turks to offer terms of peace so remote from the demands of the Balkan States as to evoke from the latters' representatives at the negotiations opened at London in December, 1912, the excited cry that the Turkish proposals did not even provide a basis for compromise and practically ignored the victories of the allies. The Turkish proposals were in very truth nothing more nor less than the salient features of the plan of the Triple Alliance for the reorganization of south-eastern Europe which would have been executed had the Balkan States remained faithful and conquered Turkey as at first arranged. Such terms would, indeed, rob the victors of the spoils; would create new autonomous states out of the territory just conquered, and, injury of injuries, would actually leave the new states under Turkish suzerainty. Such offers were rightly interpreted as defiance, as unwillingness to accept the most obvious facts of the military situation.
In addition, the Albanians were persuaded by Austrian promises of support to declare themselves independent, and Servia saw her access to the Adriatic, the dearest of her ambitions, her chief reason for joining in the war at all, snatched from her. At Vienna, however, it was felt that immediate war would be preferable to the surrender of Albania and the shores of the lower Adriatic to any such confederation supported by the Triple Entente. Vigorous diplomatic representations were followed by the mobilization of Austrian army corps and of the Danube fleet. In the face of this determination, both the Triple Entente and Servia judged it best to agree to the independence of Albania, and for Servia to obtain access to the Adriatic by means of a railway whose neutrality would be secured by international agreement.
But upon the destruction of the Turkish power in Europe, the Balkans insisted, and were secretly supported by the Triple Entente, which hoped thus to destroy one more link of the chain of Pan-Germanism. The Balkan States, therefore, demanded the surrender of most of Thrace and in particular of the great fortress of Adrianople, whose possession would expose Constantinople to assault at any time and leave the Turk a bare foothold on the Bosphorus, of which he could at any time be deprived. Besides, unless Thrace were obtained, there would be no territory to be won by the Bulgarians, who had done most of the fighting, for the Greeks obstinately declined to share Macedonia with them. If Adrianople could not be secured without further fighting, it was clearly to the interests of the Balkans and their allies to renew the war.
On the other hand, for the Turks to yield Adrianople, without further fighting, would mean, for Germany and Austria the unresisting acquiescence in the virtual failure of Pan-Germanism by permitting the interposition of a permanent barrier between them and Asia Minor, which would compel them to relinquish Turkey, Constantinople, the control of the Straits, the Baghdad Railway, and the commercial route to the East at one fell swoop. To have lost the Balkans was disastrous; to lose Constantinople as well would be the death-knell of Pan-Germanism. They are therefore in favor of allowing the Turk to fight again.
Nor is the Turk unwilling. The Young Turks are well aware that the new Turkish army, trained by Von der Göltz, has not yet been in battle, and, until it has been defeated, they decline to surrender as much as they might lose if their whole army had been annihilated in a long, hard-fought war. Have they not already beaten the Greeks? Have they not checked the Italian advance in Tripoli? Above all, these fresh troops, well equipped, will meet an army decimated by its recklessness in earlier battles, with resources seriously impaired by a long campaign and a long armistice, and with its lines of communication blocked by snow and ice.
At the moment of writing, therefore, January 19, 1913, the renewal of the war seems more likely to further the interests of all concerned than the adoption of any terms yet proposed. The actual inability of Germany or Austria to finance the war for Turkey or to supply her with arms and ammunition may force the latter to yield, and will in all probability prevent prolonged resistance. Certainly, Austria's inability to float a relatively small loan in Europe and the sale of the bonds in New York at an interest rate of seven per cent, demonstrates conclusively the financial stringency in Austria, Germany, and Italy. It really seems as if the control of the financial world by the Triple Entente had again defeated the Triple Alliance, for the latter is recommending the Turks to cede Adrianople.
For all these reasons, it is highly unlikely that the Triple Alliance will attempt in the immediate future any movement to alter the situation by direct intervention in the Balkans. The Confederation is too strong in men, too strongly entrenched to make military operations anything but hazardous, even had they no aid to expect from Russia. The whole of Europe is too well prepared to risk a general war at present. Modern warfare is of such character that the element of surprise in an attack is almost certain to conclude the war in the aggressor's favor, while an attack upon a nation fully prepared to receive it becomes under modern conditions inevitably hazardous. Besides, it is by no means clear at the present moment that the Triple Alliance is strong enough in armies and navies to boast an even chance of victory in a contest with the Triple Entente. They will, therefore, if again defeated after the renewal of war, be likely to conceal their chagrin as best they can, accept such losses of strategic position as diplomacy cannot avoid, and hope that some opportunity will appear in the near future of discovering a price, which they can afford to pay the Balkans, and which the latter will consider a sufficient inducement, to make it worth their while to change sides. Indeed, the stronger the Balkan Confederation, the more independent, the greater factor it will become in European affairs, the more difficult it will become for either coalition to act without its support, the more active will become their bidding for its favor, the more difficult it will become for either of them to interfere in that district by force.
The vital difficulty in perpetuating the new Balkan Confederacy is that the governmental lines as they are now drawn do not coincide with the most important racial and religious lines. Bosnia, Herzegovina, and the Illyrian coast, which are now part of Austria, belong racially, religiously, and geographically with Servia. Much of Hungary similarly ought to be connected with Rumania, while Albania contains so many races and creeds that it does not really belong anywhere. It must not be forgotten, too, in considering the ease of separating the Balkan Confederation into its component parts by the diplomacy of either coalition, that the Balkans have long been the scene of a blood feud between the Mohammedans and Christians, many of whom will inevitably remain in their present positions, and that in the Balkans continues at present the active struggle for supremacy between the Greek and Latin branches of the Christian Church. The hatred of the Greeks in Servia and in Bulgaria was until recently intense, and, however these varied states may have compromised at present their various jarring ambitions, or have buried for the time being their traditional hatreds, once the Turk is thoroughly disposed of, and they settle down to the difficult task of living with each other, they are more than likely to fall at loggerheads over the inevitable administrative and governmental questions involved in the institution of a permanent settlement. If the treaty of peace hands over Macedonia to Greece, it is hardly likely that the diplomats will succeed in demarcating the limits of that hitherto elastic province in a fashion which will satisfy more than a fraction of those interested. There are so many quasi-logical and reasonable methods of separating it from Servia, Bulgaria, and Greece, that none of them are likely to meet the wishes of all concerned. The present Balkan unity is based upon their hatred of the Turk and their fears of European interference. When once their autonomy is definitely assured, both of these bonds will disappear, and the lack of geographical, religious, racial, administrative, economic unity of any kind, sort, or description will inevitably begin to manifest itself in ways which cannot be foreseen, and which cannot fail to test to the utmost the sanity and ability of the native statesman.
THE JUSTIFIABILITY OF PAN-GERMANISM
ANY consideration, however slight or casual, of the justifiability of so far-reaching a plan as Pan-Germanism must necessarily begin with the validity of the standard to be employed in judging it. Even a comparatively slight acquaintance with history will make sufficiently evident the existence in the world of politics and business of a different standard from that criterion of absolute truth which we ordinarily apply to the conduct of individuals. We find, in fact, that same double standard in existence in international politics which is so perplexing to the majority of men in connection with every-day business, where the usual conception of ethics declares it right for one man to best the other by any means he can, short of actual violence and the actual breach of the letter of the law. The majority of men, whatever professions they are willing to make verbally, do not practice the Golden Rule or the Sermon on the Mount. If we apply to the situation in international politics the ethical and moral tenets, frankly professed by the community, and, as frankly, disregarded in every-day life, we shall necessarily conclude that Pan-Germanism is not and never can be justifiable. If we proceed, too, in attempting to evaluate the moral and ethical aspects of Pan-Germanism, from the position in regard to war assumed by the numerous societies advocating international peace or arbitration, we shall also be in danger of assuming the truth of our conclusion as our premise. The advocates of peace declare that war is cruel, brutal, economically wasteful, and, from every point of view, opposed to the true interests of the community as a whole and of the individuals who compose it. They declaim against it as foolish; who would really be so lacking in reason as to suppose that the truth and justice of great questions could be established by fighting? Such men must still be dwelling mentally in the darkness of remote antiquity. They insist that war is void of good result; who can be so lost to all sense of proportion and value as to suppose that destruction can be constructive? To argue from any such premises as these will be necessarily to establish that any such scheme of aggression as that proposed by Germany is not only lacking in morality but in sanity.
The candid student, however, who is not anxious to support a propaganda, and who seeks rather to explain and expound the real reasons which have led men into such paths as they are now following than to cavil and blame, will recognize in Pan-Germanism the expression of a national determination to preserve and strengthen the corporate life of a great people. Its basis is greed from one point of view, ambition from another, but its effective cause in both cases is the expression of nationality. Germany, in fact, has attained a national consciousness, a national individuality, and seeks to insure the continued existence of this corporate individual for all time. Pan-Germanism is merely self-preservation. This new individual, who entered the world through the travail of the nineteenth century, is conscious of his sturdy strength and of his growing needs, is ambitious to improve his own condition and to leave to those who come after him a solid guarantee of immunity from the suffering and privation that he has endured. Above all, he is filled with an uncontrollable determination to establish his economic well-being. With growth have come new economic wants, which have in turn revealed the existence of hitherto unexpected desires, clamoring for satisfaction and to be satisfied only by the increased wealth which depends in its own turn upon the possibility of national expansion. Unquestionably, the creation of this corporate individual is the result of the working of natural forces, present in the life of every European community, and to whose operation every nation in Europe owes that degree of prosperity and corporate consciousness which it possesses. To a greater or less degree, all are actuated by the motives which influence Germany. It is by no means clear that, if their circumstances were identical with hers, they would fail to employ all the methods of which she is ready to avail herself. Whether or not we are willing to admit that there are moral and ethical principles of permanent value, absolutely binding upon all individuals and communities from century to century, we cannot deny that the record of the past amply proves that no nation has yet refrained, because of moral scruples, from advancing its economic or national welfare by any means it could. If Germany is wrong, others too have been wrong; indeed, if her conduct is unjustifiable, no country in the world can establish its moral and ethical right to existence. At the same time that we recognize the recrudescence of certain factors familiar to all situations, we must not be blind to the vastly more important fact that the present situation is literally without precedent in the history of the world.
The present international situation is the result of the economic progress of the last half-century. The improvements in agriculture, in manufacturing, in transportation, have for the first time since man began to write the record of his deeds made the world capable of more than keeping itself in existence. The increased production of food and clothes, entirely beyond any immediate needs of the existing community, has stimulated to an unprecedented degree the growth of population, while the progress of industry and agriculture has as constantly out-distanced the increasing population. The satiation of the old economic wants of the individual, for food, clothes, and shelter, produced inevitably new standards of well-being which declared subsistence to be something more than the ability to keep alive, and which insisted upon a certain excellence of quality in the food and clothes, a certain amount of leisure for amusement and self-culture, a certain degree of education. The luxuries of preceding centuries became necessities. More economic wants appeared. Men whose ancestors had been well content with one good meal a day and a thatched cottage of one room are demanding a house with glass windows and three liberal meals a day, including fresh meat, beverages, sugar, and butter. While few will claim that the new standard is excessive, no candid student can deny the astonishing increase in the number of economic wants never before felt by so large a proportion of the community.
To continue to feed and clothe the growing multitudes, to meet the demands imposed upon industry and agriculture by the new standards of living, an approximate utilization of all the resources of the community became necessary. In the past the vastness of the resources of the globe had never been suspected; agriculture had merely scratched the ground; mines had been worked only where large deposits of comparatively free metal lay near the surface; manufacturing, so far as the majority of the community was concerned, had been confined to the production of rough cloth and the absolute essentials of existence. The substitution of machines for the thousands of hands needed in the past for the performance of the same task, the utilization of the resources of the community in anything like an adequate way for the first time, enabled a part of the community to supply the whole with the necessities of life, even according to the new standard of living, and, therefore, enabled the remainder to devote their time to less essential tasks. Many of them turned their attention to meeting the new economic wants, others occupied their time by still further developing the economic possibilities of the community. And for the first time in history, it became possible for vast numbers of men to turn their attention solely to the furtherance of the community's ambitions. Hitherto no standing army of considerable size could be maintained in Europe, for the simple reason that so large a number of hands could not be spared from the fields from which the community derived its maintenance. Nor were the transportation facilities adequate to provide these men with a steady supply of food and clothes during the necessary period of training. A standing army of hundreds of thousands of men, who devote their whole time to learning the art of war, and who are maintained by the state during their apprenticeship, is a phenomenon which nothing short of the economic progress of the last half-century could have made possible. For the first time enough men can be spared from the task of keeping the community alive to devote themselves to the prosecution of a war founded only in aggression. Pan-Germanism has been made possible by the economic growth of the nineteenth century.
Paradoxical as it may sound, the internal peace of Europe since 1815, except for sporadic outbreaks here and there, has intensified in degree this new phase of national activity. Hitherto, the resources of every country, in men and in food, were periodically reduced by famine and pestilence, and, above all, by the destructive nature of war as it was necessarily prosecuted before the modern railway made it possible to supply an army from a distance. The same lack of transportation, which forced the soldiers to forage on the country, also forced each district of the country to depend, almost entirely, in time of peace upon its own efforts for its own subsistence. Floods, drought, blight, various diseases of cattle, produced famine and the inevitable reduction of the population, often in the same little community not less frequently than twice or thrice within a generation. Under these circumstances the ability of a country to go to war, to put men into its army, to divert them from the fields, even during the continuance of the war, depended upon its comparative freedom from these artificial methods of losing its strength. The comparative peace of the last century and the progress of medical science, as well as the advance in agriculture and industry, have enormously strengthened the nations of the world by giving them a surplus of men and materials, which they can now devote to the prosecution of a war of aggression without endangering the lives of those already in existence. Moreover, this same peace, which has greatly contributed to the unprecedented increase of population and of wealth, and which has permitted the devotion of so much time and labor to the satisfaction of economic wants which past centuries would have considered superficial, is in no small measure responsible for that very economic pressure of population, that need of an outlet for the swelling surplus of manufactures which is driving Germany, Austria, and Italy into this great scheme of aggression. Their present resources, their ability to support themselves by the labors of a fraction of the community, which permit them to undertake such aggression, are the very factors which make expansion inevitable. The interaction and the interrelation of these varied economic factors have produced not only the impulse but the means of satisfying it.
The unprecedented growth of population in all countries of Europe, which has compelled them to utilize their resources as never before, has not expanded their boundaries. Germany has substantially no more arable land available than in 1815. The erasure of traditional boundaries, the disappearance of administrative and legal factors familiar to the past, does not alter the vital fact that the Germanic race still occupies to all intents and purposes the same territory it held in the year 1500. It is, in fact, in the feeling of limitation, engendered by the extent to which the present natural resources of Europe have been drawn upon to maintain the economic life of the community, that we find the effective explanation of the present frenzied desire for expansion. The benefits which have accrued both to the individual and to the community in well-being, mental as well as physical, from this development, are so vast that no nation can view, except with dismay, the probability of the retardation of its present rate of growth. They realize not only that the present rate of development cannot be continued in Europe, but that it must necessarily stop altogether unless the various European nations can extend their activities into other portions of the globe. It is far from improbable that, at the rate of growth during the last century, all land in the temperate zone suitable for the home of the present European races may be developed within the next century to the point which Europe has already reached. Who would have imagined in the year 1700 that the continent of North America could by any possibility have been brought within the succeeding two hundred years to practically the same point of economic, political, and social development which the European nations had attained in thousands of years? In fact, it is pretty generally felt among the statesmen of the leading powers of the world that the present rate of expansion cannot continue, and that inevitably some nation or nations must fall behind in the race for national and individual well-being.
The progress of transportation, resulting in an interdependence of the world and an ease of communication between the various parts of it which has brought all countries into close relations with each other, made possible for the first time the clash of interests between nations whose territories were not contiguous. In the old days a nation was intimately concerned only with the policies of its immediate neighbors. France, Germany, and England were vitally interested in the condition of the Netherlands because there all three found their common meeting-point. Russia, however, cared little for the fate of the Netherlands. Now the whole world is necessarily interested in the fate of Belgium and Holland, because its parts are interdependent and are related to each other by the mere fact that they exist on the same sphere. There is no limit to the number or location of one's rivals. The spread of national interests throughout the world, due to the fact that the flag has followed the nation's trade, has further increased the possibilities of disagreement; while the interdependence of the economic world has multiplied for each country the number of interests with which other nations may easily interfere. As soon as communication with distant parts of the world was perfected by means of the telegraph, every nation was able to extend its interests throughout the globe without losing that immediate contact upon which the efficient control of dependencies rests. It is literally possible for England to govern India, for France to rule Morocco, for Russia to direct affairs in Manchuria, with a degree of certainty which would have astounded Marcus Aurelius or Louis XIV. No country, even the smallest, was ever governed before the nineteenth century with the degree of certainty and efficiency now possible in regulating the affairs of the most distant dependencies. The steamship and the railway have made it a simple matter to reach these remote places, with an expenditure of time and effort less than used to be necessary for the prosecution of trade or war in Europe. England provisioned her army in South Africa with greater efficiency and dispatch than Napoleon fed his armies, operating in Germany, from the fields of southern France. Transportation, therefore, has not only produced the ability of nations to quarrel, but it has allowed them to fight their battles in the uttermost parts of the world.
From these same developments in communication and in transportation has resulted a great increase in administrative efficiency in the home countries. The government is now able to locate with exactitude the whereabouts of all materials and men useful in any emergency. It can measure with considerable accuracy the degree of the national progress, the amount of surplus strength which the nation can probably afford to expend; it can foresee with some certainty the probable resources of the country for a considerable number of years in advance. Louis XIV, on the other hand, who is the stock example of an absolute monarch employed by most historians, never could tell when there would be any money in the treasury, nor knew with certainty what his officials were doing a hundred miles from Paris. It is this possibility of measuring and foreseeing that makes possible the formation and execution of plans like Pan-Germanism. Without the telegraph, how could an army of a million men possibly be summoned to a certain spot for a certain date a week distant; without the railway, how could they possibly be brought there, fed, sheltered, and maintained during even the few days preceding action; how could they possibly be maintained without the services of the complex modern economic fabric? It is modern science, in fact, which makes modern international politics a possibility.
What is more, the telegraph, the printing-press, the newspaper, have created the modern nation of whose ambition and strength these schemes of aggression are merely the expression. The peoples of the past centuries lived in isolation, never conscious of what was happening at that same moment elsewhere, rarely able to act in concert for lack of that knowledge. The great movements of history have been limited to small areas, to a few men, because of the impossibility of securing the cooperation of a greater number. Time used to be absolutely a prerequisite for any movement whatever, and there was no means of promptly communicating with every one, or of discovering, soon enough to be of practical value, the sentiments of different sections of the community. The intensification of national feeling, --- one might almost say the creation for the first time of a truly national feeling, --- the possibility for the first time of so large an aggregation of individuals having anything resembling unity of thought and feeling, has created the present crisis and is its most salient feature. Each nation, thus more acutely conscious of itself and more keenly conscious of the conditions which support it, has become more acutely conscious of others and has felt more keenly the differences in development, in economic status, in intellectual progress, in artistic achievement, which distinguish it from its neighbors. The extent and possible variety of interests are dawning upon the national consciousness for perhaps the first time with anything like adequacy, and with it, also for the first time, there is dawning in the minds of all nations some faint adumbration of the glorious national future before a people capable, really and literally, of acting, thinking, and feeling as one. Indeed, the vision has roused men from the contemplation of their own petty doings and lifted them into a sphere broader and more impersonal. For a great people, who had become conscious of such a unity of feeling, of such a dependence upon each other, and of the possibilities of united action, nothing is more normal than to attempt, by the exercise of forethought, to increase the strength, capacity, and influence of this corporate body, to knit it more firmly together, to place it upon a still more solid basis of economic prosperity. Nor is it strange that the first ecstasy of national consciousness should have brought with it fears for its own continuance and a passionate desire to insure that continuance for all time. Indeed, it is probably no exaggeration to claim that the present aggressive schemes of most European nations are soberly intended to preserve what exists rather than to increase it, even though by preservation they mean no mere continued existence, but the absolute assurance of the existence of a prosperous, enlightened nation for the rest of time.
One trouble which most students seem to experience in attempting to judge the present crisis arises from the tendency to assume that the greatest good is to be insured by the preservation of the conditions now in existence. One might almost say that the advocates of peace tend to regard the present status quo as the end and object of the process of evolution. They seem, in fact, to oppose, or at least to deprecate, the persistent attempts of mankind to accelerate the pace of civilization, and to desire to limit the tools which men are to use in the future to economic weapons. Probably this phase of contemporary thought is a part of the natural reaction from the logical consequences of the doctrine of evolution as expounded by Spencer. To their thinking, the relegation of the influence exerted by moral and ethical forces to the second rank proceeds from a failure to appreciate their real force, and they are consequently drawn into an aggressive assertion of the superiority of mind over matter, of the spiritual over the physical, among those varied forces to whose operation the development of society has been due. One can hardly study the modern situation, however, without becoming keenly aware that the difference between war and peace, as the words are ordinarily used, is rather one of degree and of outward form than of purpose. The nations of the world have unquestionably been busy for the last half-century with the determined attempt to surpass each other, to get possession of things which they did not have already, by methods which rest certainly upon the same ethical foundation that war does, and whose results upon the individual, and even upon nations, are not necessarily different in kind from those of actual warfare. To be sure, the financial operations known as peaceful penetration are not exactly what we have been accustomed to consider methods of violent conquest; but by such means large numbers of the inhabitants of the smaller countries have just as certainly lost their land and the products of their labor as if an army had destroyed them. There is perhaps a nice discrimination to be drawn by some logician between taking a man's property away from him or stealing a nation's independence by means of an army and by means of high finance; but if the individual or the nation suffers the same loss from both processes, and if the intent is essentially the same, it is difficult to see where the ethical grounds supporting them differ. If it would be wicked for Germany to enter Belgium with an army and take possession of the country, seizing the revenues and compelling the Belgians to accept from them loans of money at such terms that the Belgians would practically lose possession of their own government for half a century to come, why is it more moral for France to obtain the same results in Morocco, or for the United States in a similar manner to secure possession of Mexico and Central America, so that the inhabitants have scarcely anything left to call their own but their very lives? Indeed, there are more ways of conquest than fighting, and more methods of robbery than the Middle Ages were familiar with.
It must be admitted in all candor that the impulses behind Pan-Germanism exist at present in all nations, and that no nation is likely at present to forego the possibility of future development because of even the most plausible ethical or logical pleas. The three nations, who have entered into the promotion of Pan-Germanism, are not different from the others in morals or in aims. Their geographical position, their peculiar economic fabric, the traditions of their past, all force upon them the aggressive part and make immediate action desirable. England, France, Russia, and the United States already possess the choice places in the world; their position is already everything they could reasonably hope to have it; and they scarcely deserve to be praised for unselfishness when they insist upon preserving a situation which is so very much to their advantage. Obviously, their national existence and ambition will be best furthered by the continuance of the status quo, because they will thus be able to keep what they already hold. Nor is it proved that they have obtained it by the observance of the ethical precepts which they would now be glad to apply to Germany; they secured their empires, in fact, by precisely those methods which Germany wishes to use against them. It is as selfish for them to insist upon peace as it is for the Germans to demand war. In reality, the difference of opinion as to the proper procedure for settling the difficulty is not based upon ethical concepts at all. It merely means that the Triple Entente prefers to employ in the struggle only the economic and financial weapons in whose use they are already adepts and of which they already possess so many more than their rivals as to make the outcome of the struggle, if fought on this basis, practically positive to be in their favor. The Triple Entente, in fact, like the good Doctor Franchard, have derived their philosophy from their desires, and have painted a picture of the millennium of peace whose lineaments are necessarily those of their present condition. Germany, Austria, and Italy, conscious of their disadvantage on the economic plane, are anxious to employ in the coming duel a different type of weapon, in whose use they believe themselves more expert than are their enemies.
One might almost compare the two coalitions with a trained swordsman and a countryman who have somehow gotten into a quarrel. The swordsman wishes to settle the point of honor by a duel with rapiers under limitations which require the combatants to employ only one arm and to use only the point, to attack only after due warning, and not to press the adversary to the utmost. These conditions condemn the countryman to defeat. He wishes to fight with his fists, to hit wherever he can and as often as possible, to give no quarter, and to continue the fight until one or the other is exhausted. The swordsman, gazing upon the brawny figure of his opponent, is afraid that, in a struggle of that nature, he might not be successful, and hesitates to stake his all upon a rough-and-tumble battle. He insists upon fighting like a gentleman, and talks about honor, and ethics, and the obligations of civilization. The countryman sees plainly enough that all this is intended to rob him of an advantage, and he, therefore, declines to be bound by a variety of ethics or a code of morals which necessarily condemn him to defeat.
So of the two coalitions; the Triple Entente, with so much to lose, is most anxious to avoid an appeal to fisticuffs, and wishes, if possible, to limit the weapons, and thus the extent of defeat. The Triple Alliance, with little likelihood of succeeding, but with nearly everything to gain if it should succeed, is a great deal more willing to appeal to the ultimate arbitrament of war. As a matter of fact, they regard war as their last chance. They have fought the Triple Entente with economic weapons for a good deal more than a generation and are not yet within measurable distance of victory. If, then, we regard the truth as a concept which becomes gradually visible as we study the record of the past, if moral concepts are not those which men proclaim but those by which they live, we shall be forced to admit that the Triple Alliance is not morally worse than the Triple Entente. Certainly, the validity of such standards in such circumstances as their adversaries wish to apply has never yet been admitted by any nation within the ken of history. The Germans refuse, therefore, to accept an adverse judgment based upon standards which cannot claim general acceptance by the Congress of Nations.
THE PROBABILITY OF THE SUCCESS OF PAN-GERMANISM
I. Internal Weaknesses
THE most interesting phase of the present international situation to the vast majority of people comprises those considerations which serve in one way or another as indications of the probable success or failure of the schemes at present advocated by the two great coalitions. As has already been said, the success of Pan-Germanism will depend upon the truth or falsity of the German notions of the situation in Europe, upon the verity of their ideas regarding the proportional strength of the various nations and the adequacy of the methods they have devised for taking advantage of what they believe to be a superior position. In the chapters devoted to an exposition of the German view of the present situation, the factors in their favor were described as fully as is possible in so brief an account as this. Nor is there a great deal of doubt in the impartial student's mind regarding the substantial truth of the propositions there laid down. The strong points of the German case are naturally those whose truth is not likely to be contested, and, in order to put the case forcibly enough to carry conviction to the ordinary Anglo-Saxon, it seemed better to group strong facts and to postpone for the time a discussion of weaknesses. While it is probable that the Germans exaggerate the degree of their own strength and the extent of England's weakness, while it is probable that they rely too much upon the assumed difference in efficiency between their administration and that of France and Russia, it cannot be gainsaid by a candid observer that on the whole the Germans' notion of the proportional supremacy of the various nations and in particular their ideas of English history are substantially correct. Indeed, no one has stated these propositions with greater force than Professor Seeley, whose "Expansion of England" appeared at just the time when Pan-Germanism was in the making. England is no longer defended by the Channel as she once was; she certainly never took possession of her dependencies by actual conquest, nor does she retain possession by means of physical force; the self-governing colonies are manifestly without geographical contiguity, and have been independent in all but name for the better part of a century. The weakness of England's long chain of strategic points has always been apparent to its possessor; but, so long as it served the purpose for which it was constructed, there was no reason for abandoning it simply because certain conditions might render it vulnerable.
The Germans also correctly appreciate the fact that an English victory in a naval war will simply maintain the position which she already holds; a defeat they also see will be fatal to her; in a naval war she has comparatively little to gain, while they may win everything. To their thinking this balances the scales very much in their favor. To reach them, the English must have recourse to land warfare for which they are not really fitted, and not well placed, since the true base of the English position against Germany, so far as the offensive is concerned, is the frontier between Germany and Belgium and Holland. From a military point of view, the seizure of these two countries by Germany at the moment of the outbreak of war would move the Germans into what is properly speaking English territory and demolish important obstacles in the way of an attack upon England's most vital spot. There seems to be some truth in the German view that Russia and France are not as capable as she of utilizing their full resources with promptitude. It is extremely probable that most nations in the world would be very glad to assist in looting the British Empire. Certainly the German scheme for taking possession of her own lands and factories, which have been developed with borrowed money, has been executed before in similar cases with undoubtedly disastrous results to the borrowers. It has never been consciously attempted on so huge a scale. The potency of the economic weapons which she believes can be brought to bear upon England and France is undoubted, but there seem to be a good many difficulties in the way of putting such forces into effective operation. In short, on its face the German scheme is not only feasible but conclusive. Theoretically there are no flaws.
In attempting to render judgment upon so stupendous an enterprise, we must not forget that, as students, we are really not in a position to render more than an approximate judgment, because we cannot be at all certain that we know all the essential details, or that we know the truth about factors of such evident importance as the efficiency of armies and navies, the real economic strength of the countries, the actual situation of forts and batteries. We cannot in the nature of things have more than an approximate idea of the scheme itself or of the conditions on which it is based, and we therefore must be content with a very approximate judgment. The really satisfactory evidence in favor of the feasibility of Pan-Germanism is to be found in the obvious fact that the statesmen and diplomats of Europe, who know more about the situation than historians ever will, believe that its success is probable. There can be no doubt that the leaders in Germany, Austria, and Italy have believed in the certainty of its eventual success for more than a generation. The evident fears and public avowals of imminent danger threatening the members of the Triple Entente is conclusive proof that they too consider it feasible.(22) Another earnest of its possibility is to be found in the degree of completion already attained. In the fall of the year 1912 it looked for a week or two as if the Pan-German confederation had actually come into existence. It was certainly within measurable distance of completion. Than this no better evidence is available.
When, however, we write of the success of Pan-Germanism, we mean something more complex than at first may appear. Pan-Germanism involves the creation of the confederation of states which it intends to make the controlling factor in international politics; it involves, in the next place, the ability of this confederation to get control of the world or at least to defeat England; it further assumes the feasibility of maintaining control and of preserving its own existence against internal as well as external foes. The Germans are apparently ready to assume the ease of creating the confederation and devote their attention chiefly to the possibility of securing control of the world, should they succeed in developing their own offensive strength in the manner proposed. All the conditions advanced about England's weakness and the inefficiency of France and Russia bear upon the second of these three propositions, and have little or nothing to do with the first and third. This is the real weakness of Pan-Germanism. If we are not led astray by the fact that we probably are not permitted to know as much about the German plans for accomplishing the first and third of these objects as they are ready to tell us about the premises upon which the second depends, it is upon this rock that the scheme will probably be wrecked. It cannot be too often said, however, that the statements in regard to the weakness of her enemies have been promulgated with a frequency and decisiveness, which lends color to the assumption that they were made with official sanction for the sake of the moral effect that they would have in Germany and particularly in other parts of the world. Undoubtedly, the difficulties of creating the confederation at all are better known in Berlin and Vienna than we can possibly envisage them; the certain difficulties of maintaining control of the world, once it is obtained, cannot fail to have caused the statesmen of the Triple Alliance many anxious hours. Naturally, they are less ready to call attention to such aspects of the plan than they are to the more obvious factors where the verdict of history and the testimony of their own enemies prove them to be right.
Pan-Germanism, in fact, is weakest at its centre. Its success is least probable at home. Without the cooperation of Austria and Italy, the scheme is impossible, and scarcely two generations ago the enmity between the three allies led them into war with each other. Austria and Prussia have hated each other throughout history with a vigor scarcely surpassed by the hatred which Prussia bears France. Indeed, when Bismarck was first in Vienna he doubted his own safety. The Italians have by no means lost their distrust of Austria, and it is really probable that the first successes gained by the alliance may result in such accessions of strength to one or more of the allies as to rouse the jealousies and apprehensions of the others. The notion of putting into Austria's hands the whole eastern coast of the Adriatic is extremely distasteful to Italy, and certainly would place Austria in a strong position, from which the conquest of the Po Valley would be undoubtedly feasible. There are vital differences, therefore, between the three contracting countries.
Moreover, Prussia and Austria are thoroughly well hated in southern Germany. The comic papers of Munich are fond of printing scandalous cartoons and squibs about the emperors; it is popularly supposed that neither emperor would dare venture into southern Germany without a large bodyguard. It must not be forgotten that the German Constitution gives the southern states important military privileges, which could not fail to be of consequence in time of war. Furthermore, southern Germany controls important approaches to Alsace, the passes through Switzerland, and the whole upper half of the Rhine and Danube valleys. In Alsace and Lorraine public feeling against Prussia is exceedingly strong; at a recent public meeting, an official openly turned the Emperor's statue with its face to the wall amid pretty general and open expressions of approval. The recent erection and dedication of a German statue at Metz, commemorating battles of the Franco-Prussian War, was, to say the least, unfortunate in its effect upon public opinion. The incidents given by Stevenson in his "Inland Voyage" are enlightening as to the sentiments of the people who occupy the strategic point of greatest importance to Prussia: "In the morning a hawker and his wife went down the street at a foot pace singing to a very slow, lamentable music, 'O France, mes amours.' It brought everybody to the door, and when our landlady called in the man to buy the words, he had not a copy of them left. . . . I have watched a forester from Alsace, while some one was singing 'Les malheurs de la France,' at a baptismal party.... He arose from the table and took his son aside, close by where I was standing. 'Listen, listen,' he said, bearing on the boy's shoulder, 'and remember this, my son.' A little after he went out into the garden suddenly, and I could hear him sobbing in the darkness. In what other country will you find a patriotic ditty bring all the world into the street?"
The efficiency of Austria in the coming generation, the possibility of maintaining its position in Europe and of contributing strength to the Triple Alliance, depend upon the ability of the present rulers to maintain the present relations between Austria and Hungary and between the various sections of the Austrian Empire. There is perhaps no part of Europe where racial feeling is so intense or where so many races are juxtaposited.
Their quarrels have filled the history of Europe with discord; the number of irreconcilables, who wish to overthrow the present government and to substitute for it anything else whatever, is extremely large, and seems to be increasing rather than decreasing. Hungary hates Austria; Bohemia wishes to be independent; the Slavs and Croatians in the southwest have agitated independence for generations; the Ruthenes and the Poles in the northeast are equally determined to submit to Austrian rule no longer than they must. In Hungary, the struggle of the Magyars to retain their racial supremacy is of the keenest, and constantly results in violent outbreaks and riots.(23) So slight a thing as the posting of a sign in one language or another over a railway station has been known to result in a riot of nearly the proportions of a civil war. Recently when the Italian students at the University of Vienna undertook to celebrate one of their national holidays, the German and the Austrian students attempted to put a stop to it by force. The police interfered; were met by armed resistance from the students; and it was for some days doubtful whether peace could be preserved by the military in one of the greatest capitals in Europe. Surely a pitched battle between Italians, Austrians, and Germans arising out of racial and national feeling, fought in the streets of Vienna, is a sinister omen in the path of Pan-Germanism. It has been widely proclaimed by both the initiated and the uninitiated that Austria-Hungary has been held together for more than a decade simply because the various warring elements have been waiting for the death of the present Emperor to give the signal for revolt. Surely, when the student considers the relative international weakness or national strength of the countries of Europe, it will be difficult for him to value Austria-Hungary at anything above the minimum figure.
The great district known as the Balkans is an absolutely essential factor of the Pan-German confederation, yet there is no part of all Europe which lacks more conspicuously geographical, political, and racial unity. The Balkans include all the land stretching from the water parting of the Tyrolese and Transylvanian Alps to the Mediterranean and the, Ægean, --- the rich plains of the Lower Danube, the tablelands and mountain valleys of Macedonia and Servia, the wild crags of Montenegro and Albania. The people range from stolid peasantry in the valleys to wild, scarcely civilized hillmen in the west and the intelligent cultivated citizens of Sofia and Athens.
The racial admixture is extraordinary in its variety and distribution. There are many districts where no single race can boast predominance. For centuries the Balkans have been the seat of the most intense religious hatred in Europe and are the only states where active warfare still continues between the Christian and the Infidel and between the Latin and Greek Churches. There are not a few districts where, as in Albania, the Mohammedan, the Greek Christian, and the Catholic live so near one another as to result in constant reprisals which keep the community in a condition of alarm and anxiety. The problem of creating amid such conditions, out of such varied races, whose religious and racial hatreds and antipathies are so intense, a strong series of states which will act in concert with the Triple Alliance in the execution of so complicated a scheme as Pan-Germanism, would seem to the observer to border upon impossibility. The Balkans hate each other so cordially, the states which have attained political existence contain within their own borders so many elements of discord, that it might almost be claimed that the only elements of unity are the vigorous hatred that they all bear the Turk and the intense suspicion with which they all regard Austria and Russia.
Yet, through these defiles run the great roads connecting Europe and Asia, along which the trade of centuries has passed, and which must still continue to be the channels of overland communication with the East. The Balkans hold the eastern side of the Adriatic, the western shore of the Black Sea, the whole lower course of the Danube, and two sides of the Ægean. If the Triple Alliance ever expects to obtain a position of importance in the Mediterranean, it must possess them. Yet the dream of the peoples in those valleys and plains is for autonomy, freedom from European interference, the exclusion of the religious, strategic, political interests of other nations, the recognition of their right to live for themselves. To use these peoples in the formation of the Pan-German confederation means and will continue to mean their armament by Austria and Germany, the financing of their preparations for war, --- in fact, the placing in their hands of weapons which will be exactly as useful against the Triple Alliance as against the Triple Entente. The creation in the Balkans of a confederation of states of the type desired by Austria and Germany is perhaps possible and may be, indeed, feasible; but the preservation of the control of the Triple Alliance over those states, once created, the ability of the statesmen in Berlin and Vienna to rouse in those peoples any enthusiasm for Pan-Germanism, seems highly improbable. At the present moment of writing, it looks as if a confederation hostile to the Triple Alliance had been formed, which is probably strong enough to maintain itself for .some decades. The conquest of the Balkans by Austria would be no easy matter. The land itself is a natural fortress, improved by Austrian and German engineers in all those varied ways which modern warfare has made possible, and the batteries have been erected on the borders between Austria and the Balkans as well as on the south. This was the price which the Balkan States demanded in exchange for the cooperation which they promised: they must be provided with weapons which would assure their independence even of Austria. The people are natural soldiers, carefully drilled, well equipped, flushed at present with victory, and fired with the determination to maintain their independence against all comers. Nothing could possibly be more detrimental to the interests of Pan-Germanism, and it seems to be a difficulty which nothing short of years can remove. The position of the Balkans, should they maintain it, would be definitive in bringing about the failure of Pan-Germanism.
The last link in the German chain, the first one they attempted to create, is Turkey. The natural ineptitude of the Turkish Government has become a byword of statesmen; the Turks are alien in race and religion to the majority of the subject peoples; their hatred for the Christians is still intense; and the difficulty, therefore, of conducting operations through their hands is great. That, however, might be overcome had the Turk continued supine. The real difficulty which at present stands in the way of the establishment of German control in Turkey is the rise among the Turks of a national party whose chief aim is the exclusion of the foreigner and the government of Turkey solely in the interest of the Turk. Under this banner have been enlisted the majority, at any rate, of the Turks intelligent enough to be entrusted with the administration of their own country. The mere fact that they are an insignificant minority of the population, that the rest of the Turks have no effective desire for self-government and are certainly not capable of it, does not in the least change the significant fact that the only Turks who might govern their country, as the Germans wish it done, decline the task. Indeed, the Young Turks assisted the German plans and created the present government, with the idea that Germany would allow them to rule the rest of their countrymen. Their disappointment was exceedingly bitter when they learned that the real direction of policy and the control of finance was to rest with the German officials in Constantinople. The probable disappearance of European Turkey as a result of the Balkan War will certainly increase the difficulty the Germans have already experienced.
The problem of Pan-Germanism in Turkey is not as serious as it is in Austria, in Hungary, and in the Balkans. In fact, Pan-Germanism itself is a coalition of coalitions in the most literal sense of the word. Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Balkans, Turkey, are none of them states where the racial lines have been unified, the religious antipathies even minimized, and the state or administration able to rely upon the support and affection of the whole people. Out of such material, Pan-Germanism proposes to create another confederation, whose basis will be even more slender than that of any of the confederations out of which it is to be made, and whose continued existence will necessarily be daily exposed to the assaults of internal enemies. A vital change in any one of the confederations composing it would in all probability have fatal effect upon the greater entity.
It is not too much to say that the success of the whole scheme depends absolutely upon the stability and efficiency of Germany and Austria.
Nay, the continuance even of the attempt to execute the scheme is contingent upon the continuance in office of those who are at present directing the policy of those states and upon their ability to dictate the disposition of the national resources. The continuity of policy is an absolutely indispensable part of Pan-Germanism; yet there are no countries in Europe where the forces struggling to effect fundamental alterations in constitutional, administrative, and political conditions, are more persistent and more powerful, and which possess greater chances of success. The number of irreconcilables, which means to the European the number of those who regard the very existence of the state as a fundamental grievance which nothing except its destruction can remedy, is very large, and comprises considerable sections of the population, who occupy important strategic positions, and who elect without difficulty numerous representatives to the assemblies. The Socialists in Germany are exceedingly strong, are growing in numbers at a portentous rate, and are rapidly outstripping the other parties in the Prussian houses and in the Reichstag; they already practically control the city of Berlin and comprise the numerical majority in many other cities. The Opposition in the Austrian and Hungarian Parliaments is so strong that the business of the session frequently has to be suspended for days and weeks, and it has more than once been necessary to break the deadlock by calling in the military to remove the obstructionists, before any business could be done. The system of representation, provided by the constitutions of these nations, permits most of the people to vote, but evaluates the individual vote on the basis of property and education. The adoption of universal suffrage of the English, French, or American pattern would promptly throw into a hopeless minority the parties which now control those states and practically reverse their policies in every particular. The official proclamation of the Socialist Party in Germany declares the present aggressive stand of Germany wrong. It is perhaps not without significance that the most popular party in Germany takes upon the question of Pan-Germanism the attitude of the irreconcilable, and, because it involves war, declares the very nature of the scheme inexpedient and undesirable. All of these influences may not actually be powerful enough to prevent the present rulers from making the nominal alliances which will put Pan-Germanism in the arena, but it is scarcely probable that they will not have an exceedingly important effect upon its stability and its continuity of policy. That Pan-Germanism can be created is not perhaps to be gainsaid; that such a confederation could perhaps inflict a crushing blow upon the Triple Entente is quite within the bounds of probability; but that Pan-Germanism, resting upon such a basis, can long withstand the assault of its internal and external enemies seems utterly improbable.
The greatest genius of the English has been their skill in diplomacy, the keenness with which they have ordinarily analyzed the situation, and the great ability they have shown in expounding its various possibilities to the disorderly elements in Europe. They have won their present position, as the English historians have forcibly pointed out, by taking advantage of the mutual jealousies and rivalries of Europe. Time and time again a great coalition has been actually put into the field against them, only to be rent apart by English diplomacy. The Germans assume that the possibility of repeating such feats of diplomacy has been dissipated by the alterations in the political structure of Germany, Austria, and Italy, or by the reduction of England's relative strength. Yet, it is far from true that England is isolated in the world; she possesses three immensely powerful allies in France, Russia, and the United States; that coalition already holds in its hands the greater part of the habitable globe, and controls the oceans, the major part of the economic resources of the entire world, and practically its whole financial fabric. The fundamental error Germany has. committed has been to suppose, that because the position of England in the world is vitally altered, because England can no longer be maintained in her proud predominance by the factors which originally created it, that there are no factors of prime importance to maintain it. The truth seems to be that the English position has been changed in nature but not in essence. Because she does not rely upon factors to-day which were conclusive in their effect upon European politics three centuries ago, their present worthlessness must not be construed as the total absence of all strength. In this particular, however, nothing is changed. The condition of Europe itself, in which English diplomacy has so invariably found weapons for the defense of the island kingdom, to-day presents to as great a degree as ever before a tangle of conflicting interests and traditional antipathies, in which the English are more than likely in their habitual manner to find the solution for their present difficulties. If it is true that England's strength has been due to the balance of power in Europe rather than to her own physical resources, the prime condition for the continuance of her authority is still in existence.
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