THOMAS NELSON PAGE
ITALY AND THE WORLD WAR
UNDER THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE
ITALY now, found herself constrained for cogent reasons to look beyond her borders to support her growing population and maintain her position as a Great Power. Thus, in 1885 she embarked on her ill-starred African colonial enterprise, which came to grief in Abyssinia, armed as the latter was with German guns and supported by French sympathy. She, however, laid the foundation of a Colonial System in the following years down to 1905, when she assumed the protectorate of Somaliland.
The war between the United States and Spain in 1898 threatened to set a spark in Europe, and Austria was strongly anti-American. The Emperor Francis Joseph was not unmindful either of the Monroe Doctrine, or of the fate of that other Austrian Emperor, his brother Maximilian, as a consequence of that doctrine; and Austria was for joint European action against the United States. Had she been able to bring Europe to the succor of Spain, the World War might have been hastened by sixteen years.
France and England clashed in Africa in 1898, and the Fashoda incident, when Major Marchand mounted the French flag on the White Nile, might also have precipitated the World War, had France not feared her continental neighbors and under this apprehension settled with Great Britain the question of conflicting African interests (March 21, 1899).
The leading Italian statesman of the period covering the earlier years of the Triple Alliance, Francisco Crispi, had had experience of the Bourbon rule in his native region of Sicily, and France's occupation of Tunisia in the light of her relation to the Vatican had incensed him. The Ministry of Francisco Crispi came into power in 1887, and he continued to guide for nearly a decade. Following the example of Cavour, he had visited ten years before the principal Capitals of Europe to inform himself personally of the attitude there regarding Italy, and had made the personal acquaintance of the leading public men of those countries. He appears to have returned satisfied that Italy's best chance lay with Germany, and he adopted a policy which would strengthen the bonds between Italy and the other members of the Triple Alliance, even should it create a wider division between Italy and France. One of his first steps was a visit paid to Bismarck within two months after he had assumed the reins of leadership. It placed him immediately, and on his return to Italy he declared the Triple Alliance one of the strongest safeguards of the peace of Europe. He believed France was ever ready to plot the restoration of the Temporal Power of the Papacy, and do everything else that would weaken Italy. He believed in the Triple Alliance and confided in Bismarck's friendship or, at least, in the sanction of a common enmity to France to prove of permanent service to Italy. French hostility to Italy's ambitious Colonial Policy in Africa furnished palpable grounds for his enmity, and the riots in which Italians were injured in Marseilles, and rumors of the French designs against the Italian Coast (1888) served to keep Italy in a state of tense exasperation, the more acute because Italy was not in a position to go to war. Italy, on her part, however, was far from supine under the aggravation. She repudiated the Commercial treaty with France, and a tariff war began which lasted some ten years. Its consequences were disastrous, but this only served to increase the bitterness. French archives in the consulate at Florence were seized with a view to ascertaining the ramifications of French intrigues. One of the consequences was the increased German commercial penetration into Italy, which took the place vacated by France, who withdrew some 700,000,000 francs from investment in Italian industries.
Crispi secured the visit of the new German Emperor to Italy only a few months after his accession and a great reception was accorded him and in May, 1889, the King of Italy, attended by Crispi, returned the Emperor's visit. Bismarck was dismissed from power by his Royal Master, March 8, 1890, but his successor, Count Caprivi, visited Italy at the earliest possible moment, and soon afterward Crispi took occasion to declare that the irredentist agitation was detrimental to Italy's interests. Furthermore, he took steps to bring it to an end. Also he set to work definitely to increase Italy's armament, as the budget for this purpose clearly showed.
Under these circumstances the feeling between France and Italy began to show tension. A number of "incidents" occurred. Stories calculated to increase the tension were widely circulated, and the feeling of the Italian people began to be turned from Austria toward their Western neighbor. This was possibly not undirected, but nothing availed to change Austria. She remained as ever, obdurate and truculent.
The trouble with France was happily averted, and eventually more friendly relations were renewed. But meantime Crispi turned the aspiration of the Italians for. expansion toward Africa, where, after a period of success, a great disaster was to befall, which pulled him down and left the fruit of his labors in this direction to be reaped by others.
With the fall of Bismarck (March, 1890), the immediate peril of the Triple Alliance appeared to France somewhat diminished, and when a few years later the collapse of the Italian Protectorate in Abyssinia followed consequent on the crushing Italian defeat at Adowa in 1896 (March 1), France felt the opportuneness of reducing the growing antagonism between her and Italy and of arriving at an adjustment which would remove a bitterness that might contain the seeds of future disaster. Crispi's government fell immediately on the failure of the Abyssinian enterprise, and Italy was ready to meet France in a more conciliatory spirit.
In September (1896) negotiations between the two governments were concluded by a Convention by which Italy accepted a revision of the Tunisian Treaties, and thereby implied a recognition of the French Protectorate over Tunisia. The accession of Delcassé to power in France marked a new departure in French foreign policy and the substitution of a colonial policy nearer home, and better relations with Italy as a Mediterranean power than had existed since France had driven Italy into Germany's net. In November, 1898, a new commercial treaty was negotiated between Italy and France. This was followed, under Delcassé's influence, by negotiations which were concluded by a treaty between the two governments, according to which France would abstain from interference with Tripoli, where it was provided that Italy should be left free to pursue her policy, and Italy would refrain from interfering with the French policy in Morocco. Italy gave assurances that so far as France was concerned the Triple Alliance on Italy's part was wholly defensive, and that she would not be "either the auxiliary or the instrument of aggression against France." She bound herself not to unite with the other signatories to the Triple Alliance should France be attacked or be provoked herself to attack by the necessity to defend her honor or her vital interests.
Thus, in 1902, fell one of the pillars on which Germany had so carefully counted to carry through her policy of acting as the Clearing-house of European Diplomacy. Within two years followed the entente between France and England, and so within four years of the perilous incident of Fashoda fell another of the props. The convention between Great Britain and Russia, regarding their zones of influence and a modus vivendi in Western Asia was negotiated in 1907, and the Triple Entente thus established was further reinforced by the understanding arrived at with Japan by France and by Russia in July of the same year. So fell the last of Germany's schemes for divisions among the Powers.
Germany, meantime, had been far from yielding meekly to a trend of events which crossed so directly her own policy, and she made more than one bold move to counter them. She had, however, disclosed too plainly her aims, and each move that she made only resulted in cementing the relations between the powers threatened.
Germany viewed---and not unnaturally---with profound distrust the changes in the relations of the European nations, especially those in which France was concerned. That Italy and France should lay aside their bitterness was tolerable, provided it did not go too far, and the German Chancellor expressed, however hollowly, his view that Germany had no interests in the Mediterranean and was pleased to see that France and Italy had come to an understanding on the question. Germany, he declared, had "no gable-front on the Mediterranean."(13)
That France and England, however, should bury their age-long and apparently immortal enmity was intolerable. At first, it was apparently not taken too seriously, but a little later, the authoritative German mouthpiece, the Kaiser, sounded the note when at the dedication of a bridge he declared that the bridge "designed to develop more peaceful relations might have to serve for more serious purposes." He had just declared in another speech that "Present events invite us to forget our present discords. Let us be united in our preparations for the occasion when we may be constrained to intervene in the policy of the world."
The time appeared auspicious for Germany to move. Russia was deeply involved in her war with Japan, which was going worse and worse for her; England was not bound by her Understanding to fight---certainly if France began; Italy had too important ties with Germany and had too recently burdened herself with the expenses of a war to enter willingly into another, and France had immersed herself so deeply in her colonial expansion that she had not kept pace with Germany in military preparation. So the stars appeared in conjunction. Moreover, M. Delcassé was proving himself a man who might have to be reckoned with if he remained in control of French foreign policy long enough. He might even counter successfully the Bismarckian policy of preventing a European equilibrium and keeping Germany the guardian of European interests. He had already come to an accommodation with Italy, and now he had followed it by arranging an entente with England and an accommodation with Spain. The danger was that instead of France being isolated, Germany would be.
On the other shore of the Mediterranean was the side where France was weak, yet might in time acquire potent strength. So on this point Germany struck. She had great interests beyond Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia---why not supplant France in those countries and thus become dominant on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean? Germany would take a step that would show that she was the mistress of Europe. She would put France in her place and would lay the foundation of a world policy. Only the year before, she had acquiesced in the arrangements and ententes negotiated between France and England, and France and Spain, and had admitted that her only interests in Morocco were commercial, which were safeguarded in the arrangements mentioned. The instant, however, that Russia was rendered powerless by the decisive defeats in Manchuria, Germany struck her blow. The defeat of Mukden occurred the last of February, 1905; on the 12th of March announcement was made that the German Emperor would visit Tangier during his Mediterranean cruise, where a welcome was prepared for him by the denunciation a week before by the German Consul at Fez of the "aggressive colonial tendencies of France."
On the 31st of March, 1905, the Kaiser's yacht anchored at Tangier, and the Kaiser made the declaration to the representative of Sultan Aziz that he visited "the Sultan in the character of independent sovereign"; that he hoped that "under the Sultan's sovereignty a Free Morocco would remain open to the pacific competition of all nations without monopoly and without annexation"; that he intended to make known that he was resolved to do all in his power properly to safeguard the interests of Germany, since he considered the Sultan an absolutely Free sovereign, and that it was with him that he intended to come to an understanding.
The step was a public offer of German protection to the Sultan, and this was promptly accepted, as it would dispose of France. It was much more than this. It was directly in line with the Kaiser's policy disclosed in his visit to Constantinople some years before when he had made a bid for the Friendship of Islam. To avoid a coalition, however, of the Powers against Germany, it was necessary for Germany to secure the preponderant acquiescence of European Powers to so far-reaching a change. Accordingly, a conference of the Powers was requested on the 12th of April to pass on and settle the questions involved. France consented to it, though grudgingly (July 8), and the conference assembled at Algeciras on January 15, 1906, and was participated in by the Powers signatory to the Convention of Madrid of 1880, which had settled the jurisdiction of the Foreign Legations. In the call Morocco united. The summoning of an International Conference was in itself a blow at France, who claimed rights independent of such jurisdiction; yet France yielded. But a more humiliating step lay before her. Through the mouth of a special representative,(14) Germany demanded the dismissal of M. Delcassé from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claiming that the object of France was the isolation of Germany, and that the disposition of the empire of Morocco without warning or consulting Germany had wounded her and the Emperor to the quick. France was called on to dispense with the services of her Minister for Foreign Affairs, and to give her conduct of Foreign Affairs a new direction, under the threat that Germany would not wait to have Delcassé's policy realized, and that should she prove the victor the peace would only be signed in Paris.(15)
Under this threat the French Government was forced to yield and M. Delcassé resigned. It was a humiliation whose bitterness France could not forget, and which apparent concessions by Germany could not ameliorate.
The conference at Algeciras assembled the middle of the following January, but the result was far from that which Germany strove to attain. In addition to the European Powers the United States was also represented. The Powers were conscious of their danger and the German proposals were rejected by them, including Italy, and, as to some, even by Austria. The German manoeuvre had failed.
The Algeciras Conference was of far more importance than its immediate results indicated, and caused far more extended consequences. The immediate results were the rejection of Germany's insolent contention at the hands of the Great Powers assembled in conference, and the rebuff of her attempt to assert her uncontrolled will wherever she desired. The less immediate, but not less direct, consequences were the weakening of the Triple Alliance and the strengthening of the Triple Entente in the European equilibrium. The hegemonic aim of Germany was so manifest that even her allies were appreciably repelled from her, rather than drawn toward her, by her domineering act. During the progress of the Conference Germany's action tended to increase this diffidence on the part of her allies. To say the least, her course was extremely tortuous. Both the French and Italian Ministries fell during the Conference. The Fortis Ministry in Rome fell February 1 (1906), and with it went its Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Marquis di San Giuliano, who tended to be very friendly, if not toward Germany, toward the Triple Alliance. They were succeeded by Baron Sonnino as Premier with Count Guicciardini at the head of the Consulta, the former of whom was considered as very friendly toward England, and the latter of whom had helped negotiate the French-Italian Convention of 1902, whereby Italy bound herself not to unite in any attack on France, and France and Italy arrived at an agreement regarding their respective rights in Morocco and Tripoli.
Fortunately for the Entente Powers, the new Ministry retained, as Italy's chief representative at Algeciras, the Marquis Visconti-Venosta, who had been sent there by San Giuliano, but had consented to go only on condition that he should have a free hand. And when on the change of Ministry, the German Ambassador at Rome applied himself with fresh energy to the attempt to align Italy on Germany's side, with the assertion that Germany was championing the common cause of Europe against France, and that all the other countries were standing by Germany, he was referred to the Italian Plenipotentiary at Algeciras as the person having the whole matter in his hands. France was kept also informed of the work that was going on, and naturally Italy was able to gauge precisely the value of Germany's policy. England and France were equally desirous to prevent a fortunate issue of this policy, and kept the Consulta fully informed of their attitude. Thus France and England were brought closer together at Algeciras, and Italy, "who acted as a conciliator and intermediary,"(16) also was drawn closer toward them. At the same time Russia, who had been approached along the same lines by Germany, was like Italy drawn into closer relations with both France and England by Germany's unconscionable manoeuvring to interpose in a sphere which manifestly appertained to France and, after France, to the other Mediterranean Powers.
Another important consequence of the Algeciras Conference was that through the participation of the United States therein they broke the tradition of a century which had kept them from participation in any International affairs beyond the Atlantic.
A hundred years previously the United States, finding their interests seriously affected and their honor deeply touched by the insolence of the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean, had declared war against them and had sent a Naval Squadron to the Mediterranean, where it had rendered efficient service in clearing that important International highway of the pest of Piracy that infested it. Their boldness had long been a menace to the commerce of all Christian nations, and their truculence had reached a point when even England had been fain to sign a Convention estopping her from demanding the liberation of Christian slaves. The part played by the United States had contributed largely to the emancipation of the Mediterranean and the eventual opening of the Barbary States to European penetration and control.
Mr. Roosevelt, fresh from his important International act of helping to bring about the peace between Russia and Japan, just signed at Portsmouth, and filled with the idea that the United States had now enlarged International responsibilities which her people must recognize, determined to take part in the International Conference which assembled to deal with the same regions thus once before dealt with. He accordingly sent the American Ambassador to Italy, the Honorable Henry White, as the American Plenipotentiary to Algeciras, where he took an active and by no means unimportant part in the Conference. And the President himself took the important step of proposing to the Emperor of Germany a plan for the settlement of one of the most serious differences between the two countries chiefly involved. Moreover, when his proposal was promptly rejected by the Emperor, the President stood firm, and eventually his determined stand had an important bearing on the final settlement of the controversy, which had threatened to plunge Europe into war.
ITALY AND THE ANNEXATION OF
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
THE Status quo in the Balkans was considered one of the pillars of the European Equilibrium, and every Power watched it with care and, at times, with anxiety. Whatever tended to disturb it was frowned on save by the Power that believed it saw an opportunity to better its own position. The danger zone was recognized as that where Austrian and Serb interests clashed.
Austria had undoubtedly long looked forward to bringing the southern Slav regions within her Sphere of influence. The accession of the Karageorgevitch House in Serbia after the assassination of King Alexander and Queen Draga of the Obrevitch Dynasty (June 10, 1903) swung the balance over to the side of Russia, though it was apparently considered that the Karageorgevitch held as a principle not to quarrel with Austria or Turkey. The relations between Serbia and Austria, however, which had at one time been excellent, remained tolerably good until the end of 1905, when a Customs union was arranged between Serbia and Bulgaria.
The Austrian Government thereupon declared a tariff war against Serbia, which excluded from Austrian markets Serbian cattle, pigs, and other agricultural products. This punitive measure, which resulted in what was known as "the Pig war," stirred up much resentment among the, Serbs, who turned from Austria: their nearest market and neighbor, to seek markets elsewhere and find elsewhere also the stores and supplies that they needed. Thus, they turned to France for their military supplies and opened the way to their future financing at the hands of that provident country. Austria, not to be beaten in the conflict, took steps to break up the coalition between the Serbs and the Croatians in the Croatian Diet, by enforcing what was known as the Agram Treason Act to extirpate, in her old way, the pro-Serbia tendencies among her southern Slavs.(17)
Then came the Young Turk Revolution in July, 1908, and Austria acted decisively and annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. The way in which this Annexation was effected was eminently characteristic.(18) Austria had obtained at the Congress of Berlin the right to occupy the two provinces and administer them. Her desire to annex them immediately had aroused such universal opposition that she had been forced to desist at the time, and content herself with their administration. This Administration was, however, shaped with a view to their complete Annexation when she should feel herself sufficiently strong to accomplish it. The situation was one in which many vices inhered. The population was not Austrian nor Magyar, but predominantly Slav, and both historically and racially it tended to affiliate with those who possessed the same traditions and blood, rather than with Austria. It fought them, for this was their nature; but it recognized the conflicts as family quarrels. The title to the provinces still remained in the Porte, whose suzerainty, since Austria had taken charge, began to be regarded with more complacency than when Turkey was actually collecting taxes. Among a certain element these differences were accentuated by differences in religion. But the principal reason was that these provinces lay in a commanding position. If they remained as they were, they offered a great field of exploitation to others than Austria. Turkey and Serbia both had claims to them, or at least nourished certain aspirations.
The Croat and Serb parties had in 1905 drawn closer together and formed a political alliance with the Hungarian opposition to the Crown, which had served to forward the liberation of Croatia and Slavonia from the vassalage to which they had been reduced since 1868.(19)
Russia regarded herself and was regarded by them as having a relation to them nearer than Austria. And Italy maintained a relation to a certain part which might not always be merely academic.
All of these various counter-currents Austria found most inconvenient.
Moreover, Turkey appeared to be beginning to awaken. The spirit of Progress was beginning to breathe even on the face of that chaos. Serbia was arousing and the other Balkan states were showing signs of increased restlessness. Italy's gaze was becoming more and more directed to this quarter. Austria was the protagonist of Reaction. Her method of Occupation was the only one she knew. It was the one she had tried in Italy and Hungary. She had lost Italy; but she had saved Hungary, and she would save the Slav provinces, which she now considered her own, by the same means. But to accomplish this it was necessary to be in full possession of them, and she awaited only an opportunity to annex them.
A step was taken in this direction when a suggestion was made in 1908 to the Young Turkish Committee at Salonika that the Emperor was proposing to grant a Constitution to the provinces. The suggestion was received with the reply that "the right which the Austro-Hungarian monarch proposed to exercise belonged exclusively to the suzerain of the provinces: the Sultan."(20)
The Turkish Constitution, however, had been restored, and some step was necessary to pacify these provinces in this regard.
Moreover, steps were being taken to internationalize the question of Macedonian Reform for which Austria and Russia, as the two "most interested Powers," had under the compulsion of the situation taken upon themselves to provide a scheme in 1903, to which Austria had looked as a means of creating a zone of influence which might help open the way to her to Salonika with a decisive increase of her power in the Balkans. This internationalization, desired by both Russia and England, would have prevented this aim, and have tended to strengthen both Turkey and Serbia to the extent that it countered Austria's designs. Accordingly, Austria decided to mollify Turkey and to abandon or, at least, modify her attitude toward Macedonian reforms, and a little later on she obtained from Turkey the railway concession to run a railway through the Sanjak of Novi Bazar to connect her Bosnian railway with the Turkish line, which it was announced later would constitute a new and important route from Central Europe to Egypt and India.
A proposal was also made by Austria to Russia (1907) to take Germany and France into the Russian-Austrian Entente on a basis of mutual compensation, which included for Austria the annexation of the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This proposal probably included the Dardanelles as Russia's reward, and the support of the German Bagdad railway plan by France. Italy seems not to have been considered in the matter. Russia, however, declined it, possibly seeing in it more peril than profit, and soon afterward the Russian-English Entente of August 31, 1907, was entered into.
Another cause was the break between Austria and Russia which followed a few months later, and widened from then on.
Italy, whose interests were deeply involved in the Austrian movement to enlarge her influence in the Balkans, began to bestir herself to prevent what would have been a perpetual menace to those interests, and eleven months later, in the midst of the excitement caused by her next step: the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria abandoned to Turkey the Novi Bazar concession and applied herself to the work of consolidating securely her newly annexed territories.
None of the Great Powers appear to have been informed of Austria's intention to take this step, though with some of them certain informal and vague conversations had been held containing references thereto, such as Germany and Russia. Some had been actually deceived. Bulgaria appears to have been informed of it and brought into the scheme by Baron von Aehrenthal, the Austrian Premier, by an arrangement under which she declared herself Independent the day preceding that on which Austria announced the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, October 6, 1908. The representative of the Russian Government received notice only two days before, through a private letter addressed to him in Paris by Baron von Aehrenthal, who had pledged himself that "Russia should receive considerable previous notice of the intended date of annexation."(21) England, France, and Italy were kept in the dark as to the contemplated step until it was a fait accompli.
It was known that Austria looked forward to this annexation. The matter had been discussed between the Austrian and Russian Emperors as far back as 1897, but had been deferred. It had been taken up later between their Ministers; but the time set for its accomplishment was not known, and the Powers all expected that some compensation would be provided for those Powers concerned, which would prevent the disturbance of the Equilibrium contained in the Status quo. Russia and England, indeed, were ready to support a claim prepared by Serbia for compensation with this intent, and Italy looked forward to a compensation which should maintain at once the Equilibrium that was menaced, and restore to her, at least, a part of her irredentist provinces.
The Austrian Premier, however, had no intention to take a road which might prove so inconvenient. He preferred to take a short cut and arrive at his objective before it was known that he had really started, thus avoiding obstacles on the way. Such difficulties as he might encounter after arrival would be met duly.
The effect of the Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was far-reaching in Europe, and nowhere more so than in Italy, which, in a way, was more affected by it than any of the Countries, unless it were Serbia. The Annexation had brought Austria down to the Adriatic along a long stretch of coast filled with fine harbors, connected by inner waterways and guarded by islands and a coast as defensible as the rest of Austria's Italian frontier. The Annexation changed completely the Italian and Austrian relation in the Adriatic and gave Austria, at least, a potential preponderance there, which placed the entire Italian coast, from Venice to the mouth of the Adriatic, under an immediate menace. Even Germany professed indignation at the step Baron von Aehrenthal had taken which threatened such a change in the Status quo. She, however, in action sided with Austria. The other Powers were seriously angry. Russia felt that she had been overreached, and her interests were so seriously affected that her representative, who had been duped by Aehrenthal into complete inaction, demanded a European Conference to readjust the threatened overthrow of the Equilibrium. This Austria rejected unless the action of the Conference should be limited, so far as the annexed provinces were concerned, to a simple acceptance of the fait accompli. In this, Germany united with Austria. England and France, the other Powers in the Entente, began with backing Russia in the demand for a European Conference, but when Germany appeared, as the Kaiser phrased it, "in shining armor," to back her ally, Great Britain and France yielded, and Germany and Austria had scored a victory for the Triplice over the Triple Entente which bore far-reaching consequences. Serbia was thrown into a condition of mingled anxiety and rage, from which she never recovered, and Italy was aroused to a state of watchfulness which was to bear much fruit in the next few years. All the long-bound suspicion and animosity was suddenly unbound and broke loose, and the rivalries of the two nations were stirred to pristine force. Turkey boycotted Austro-Hungarian merchandise and practically suspended Austro-Hungarian trade with Turkey. Turkey and Serbia, under the spur of a common wrong and a common peril, drew closer together. Russia and Austria both began to mobilize their armies. Austria, to forestall the serious uprising threatened in the annexed provinces themselves, filled them with troops and concentrated large forces in the Croatian and Slavonian provinces and in Southern Hungary, in anticipation of the bursting of the storm. Germany prepared to stand by her ally should Russia attack her, as appeared more than possible.(22)
In view of the threatening situation and of the drawing together of Serbia and Turkey, Austria decided to divide the two and to conciliate Turkey. Accordingly in 1909 (February 10) Austria-Hungary concluded a Convention with Turkey, under which she yielded to Turkey and renounced all rights acquired or claimed by her in the Sanjak of Novi Bazar under the Treaty of Berlin, and by previous agreement in 1899 (April 21) touching the Occupation of the Sanjak. She consented to various other contentions on Turkey's part relating to the Moslems and the free exercise of their religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to sundry provisions which aided Turkey financially, such as an increase of Turkish customs and the creation of Turkish monopolies. And, finally, she agreed to a Treaty of commerce with Turkey; to suppress the Austrian Post-Offices in Turkey as soon as the other powers should do the same, and last, but not least, to support Turkey before any European Conference or otherwise in her demand that she should be released from the Capitulations.
By this Convention Turkey, at least, was eliminated from the list of those who were ready to make common cause against Austria, and was drawn closer toward the two chief members of the Triple Alliance, if somewhat estranged from the third. Before Austria, however, could settle down to the consolidation of her newly seized provinces, she was obliged to make further concessions to meet the general feeling that had been aroused against her. She had to yield to the pressure of Italy and Russia, and consent to the modification of the Article (XXIX) in the Treaty of Berlin, giving Austria the right to police the Montenegrin waters, which was a strong limitation on Montenegrin sovereignty over her own littoral and a standing menace to Italy. Montenegro was thus released from such Austrian dominance. Her waters were, by an understanding with her, opened, and her port, Antivari, became a free port to the war-ships of all nations; and soon afterward, on New Year's day, 1910, by virtue of an agreement on the part of France, Italy, and Russia, a French squadron attended the celebration of the opening of Montenegrin waters and of the fiftieth year of the reign of King Nicholas. A little later, August, 1910, an Italian squadron escorted the King and Queen of Italy to Antivari to attend the Diamond Jubilee of King Nicholas and the proclamation of Montenegro as a Kingdom.
Under these conditions, while not in any sense satisfied with the action of Austria in the Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other powers were brought to a condition of more or less acquiescence in the new situation. Only Serbia was left out completely. The interests of Serbia and Austria might have conflicted in any case; under the policy of Austria they must have conflicted.
Serbia had, at times, dreamed of a pan-Serb movement which should reach the seas, both the Adriatic and the Ægean, and in which Serbia proper should be the controlling factor. Austria had not only her own dream, but her own very practical plan. And this led her to the open sea, both to the Adriatic and the Ægean, and if Serbia lay across the way, so much the worse for her. Serbia was the lamb in the stream below the wolf. Let her not trouble the water. She would do well if she herself were not gobbled up. Her relationship to the Serbs already under Austrian Rule was in itself a peril for her. It impeded Austria's absorptive process.
Austria, who had not found the process of assimilation easy in her dealing with the Southern Slav provinces and was jealous even of Hungarian influences there, had a profound suspicion of Serbia and Serbian intrigues, which she feared might counter her own plans. And doubtless there were elements on both sides of the border that ardently desired whatever might strengthen the pan-Serb sentiment.
At least Austria apprehended that there were such, and her long-tested Spy system was in full force and vigor to detect and root out anything tending thereto.
There were produced, in justification of Austria's annexation, documents revealing an alleged Serbian plot in connection with a similar Croatian-Serb plot to establish a Greater Serbia at the expense of Austria-Hungary; and a prosecution for High Treason was instituted in Agram. by the latter against some three-score Serbs. "The proofs," which were published in the official organ of Baron Aehrenthal by his friend, Doctor Friedjung, in the spring of 1909, were proved in a trial, which was caused by the publication, to be forgeries executed by a certain Vasich, who was employed for the purpose by a member of the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade. and were eventually repudiated by Baron Aehrenthal.(23)
The situation, however, was at one time so critical that the World War appeared to be within twenty-four hours of breaking out five years earlier than it actually did, and only Germany's notification to Russia that she would, in case of war, take the field on the side of her ally, prevented Russia from attacking Austria in support of the Southern Slavs.
Such was Austria's attitude toward Serbia and all Jugo-Slavia in the crisis of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Annexation, which was presented as a present to her Emperor, Francis Joseph, on an anniversary occasion. But after Serbia the effect on Italy came next.
Austria, however linked with Germany by the necessities of her surroundings, where Russia and Turkey or countries within their influence bounded her to the Italian line, had never ceased to chafe under the prepotency of the country which had supplanted her among the Germanic states, and Germany's attitude during the Bosnian and Herzegovinian affair had not tended to reassure her in her new step. Her leading statesmen, with Aehrenthal at their head, were simply desirous to gain a greater independence of Germany than had existed for some time under the Triple Alliance, and the means of accomplishing this were only through bettering relations with other powers. The Three Emperors' League had come to naught; the proposal for an Austro-Russo-Franco-German Entente had fallen through, and Austria was left with only Germany and Italy as her allies, and between the two her position was far from satisfactory. She recognized that Italy was nearer to Germany than she was to her, and that it was necessary to improve this situation. This was undoubtedly one of the motives that induced her to enter into the arrangement with Italy, first for the abstention of both Governments from an attempt to obtain territorial acquisitions in Albania, and then for the mutual compensation provided for in Article VII of the Triplice relating to the Balkan and Adriatic Equilibrium.
The advent of Tommaso Tittoni to power in the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs toward the end of 1903 had opened the way for a relation of less poignant bitterness between the two Countries, and of more friendly relations between the two Governments. Signor Tittoni was a cool, clear-headed, capable man, sincerely desirous to raise Italy to a more important position in the category of nations, and convinced that it would be done better by promoting peace and good-will with her neighbors than by rash attempts to force her way by a policy of persistent Irredentism. A clear and cogent speaker, he was moderate in statement and tactful in expression, and inclined to temporize where great difficulties existed. He believed firmly in the Triple Alliance as the sheet-anchor of Italy's foreign policy; but desired at the same time to keep fair with England and France. He began his career as Minister for Foreign Affairs by a statement in the Italian Chamber (December 15, 1903) on the relations of Italy and Austria, with reference to the recent riots which had occurred in Innsbruck between Austrian and Italian students, with a repercussion in certain Italian universities. In this speech he defended, against the attacks of the champions of Irredentism, the Austrian Government, which he declared had acted in accordance with the principles of International Law, and he stated that he looked to Peace as the supreme end of his policy. He defended warmly the Triple Alliance, which he declared "an efficient instrument for Peace," and announced that the fundamental policy of the Governments was "to uphold firmly the Triple Alliance; to uphold and consolidate our sincere friendship with England and France."(24)
This programme of peace was reaffirmed some months later when the Minister for Foreign Affairs, again meeting the criticism of the Irredentist element that his policy was inherently vicious in that it undertook to combine irreconcilable relations, amplified the statement of the Government policy. He referred with pride to the visits exchanged by the Royal and Imperial chiefs of State of Italy and England as a reaffirmation of their traditional close friendship---of England and Germany, and of the visit to Sicily of the German Emperor, who was declared to have been "greeted unanimously everywhere as the friend and faithful ally of Italy." His own visit to the Austrian Premier, Count Goluchowski, had, it was declared, given occasion for the exchange of opinions as to the policy of Italy and Austria in the Balkans; and finally the visit of the President of the French Republic, with his enthusiastic reception, had shown how greatly Italy valued the friendship of France.
The German Chancellor, Count von Bülow---not yet a Prince---was referred to as having "always shown affection for Italy."
For himself, the Minister for Foreign Affairs declared that the relations between Italy and France were friendly and would always remain so, as far as depended on him. As to England and Germany, he declared that it was necessary to conform Italy's action to the greatest sincerity and loyalty and he asseverated that there were in the Italian policy "no reservations, no hidden meaning, no ambiguity."
Dealing with the Italo-Austrian situation, the spokesman of the Government referred with apparent assurance to the improved relations between the two rivals for Balkan favors, and reprobated the efforts made to arouse the doubts, the suspicions, the diffidence, the passions of the people of Italy, and declared that his visit to Goluchowski had resulted in entire mutual confidence. Italy, he declared, had the position in the Balkans which was due to her, and her "disinterested action in the East was viewed with confidence by Turkey, and at the same time with sympathy by the Balkan states." Austria, in her relation to Macedonia, the Minister stated, was controlled by the convention between her and Italy, as she was in her relation to Albania, whose ports were "all-important, as they would assure to Austria or Italy, if either of the two powers possessed them, the incontestable military supremacy of the Adriatic."(25)
"Now, neither can Italy allow to Austria such a supremacy," pursued the Minister, "nor could Austria to Italy, and if either of them should claim it, the other would have to use every means to oppose it."
It is impossible not to concede to the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs entire good faith in these declarations of confidence in the friendship between the several powers alluded to, including Austria. During the entire period of his tenure of office, whether dealing with Italy's policy in the Balkans, in Tripolitania, or in Eastern Africa, he dwelt on the same theme of established friendly relations with the same high intention. Aehrenthal succeeded Goluchowski, and Austria kept on with her policy of absorption down to the end; but the Italian Minister held firmly to the "precious guaranty of Peace: the Triple Alliance Treaty," and to the declaration of "mutual confidence and friendship." Was it only meant for home consumption to keep the people quiet? It could not have been consciously this, for he often took the unpopular position and defended it boldly. Yet Baron Aehrenthal took occasion, in 1909, to send him a biting message to the effect that he would appreciate more Italian declarations of friendship in the Chamber if Italian Diplomacy at Belgrade were more in conformity with them. Tittoni was equal to the occasion. He satisfied the emissary who conveyed the message as to his sincerity, and sent Aehrenthal the message that if he really wished to promote friendliness between the two countries, he had better return at Rome the visit he had paid him, and that sooner or later the question of returning the visit of the King of Italy to the Emperor would have to be settled. The Austrian Minister, however, met the suggestion with a challenge of Italy's relation to Greece, and with a complaint that the visit of the King of Italy and of Signor Tittoni to the King of Greece had complicated the situation so far as concerned Austria, and though he returned the visit, he returned it at Desio and not at Rome, and neither did the Emperor return King Umberto's visit at Rome, which gave the opponents of the Triplice ammunition for their irredentist campaign, which it took all the address of the Ministry to meet.(26)
Notwithstanding the discouragement of Austria's persistent intransigeance in the Balkans, and even in face of her avid cupidity for enlarging her power, the head of the Consulta kept on with unflagging courage, maintaining that only friendliness inspired the relations of the two powers. It required a certain intrepidity to withstand the bitter resentment caused among the advanced Italian elements by Austria's treatment, which varied between indifference to and contempt of Italian sentiment and, in certain respects, Italian rights. But Signor Tittoni, like most of those who have presided in the Consulta, held that the Triplice was the foundation-stone of Italy's foreign policy, and he defended it against all assaults as an "austere duty." The waters in which they fished were generally muddy and sometimes turbid, but the Italian Statesmen appeared reasonably satisfied so long as they could feel the Triplice under them. Tripoli, the Balkans, Turkey, Albania, Asia Minor were all bound up with Italy's future development, and the Triple Alliance related to all of them directly or indirectly.
The announcement of the Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria (October, 1908) aroused in Italy a feeling of mingled anxiety and resentment, which expressed itself in a press polemic so violent as to demand all the address of the Government to neutralize it. The Italian Foreign Affairs Minister in diplomatic phrase referred to it as having "so deeply perturbed the Italian political atmosphere." It was generally demanded that Austria should meet the requirements in the Triple Alliance Treaty for compensation to Italy under such circumstances by ceding to her at least the Trentino, and it was declared later by some that certain statesmen, like Prinetti, stood for insisting on this cession, but were overruled by the Consulta when Austria refused firmly to admit that the casus foederis had arisen. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, while reprobating earnestly the action of Austria in "creating a difficult situation in Europe," having "a considerable repercussion on the internal condition in some states" and deeply perturbing the Italian political atmosphere, yet opposed a protest on Italy's part. He justified his position by giving the very sound reason that "the protest to be serious and efficient should have been accompanied by the determination to enforce it by coercive means should it have passed unheeded."
The speech of the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs was, in fact, a strong presentation of the history of the Austrian movement which resulted in the Annexation of the Jugo-Slav provinces. With firm hand he traced the steps by which Austria-Hungary, having secured the mandate from the Congress of Berlin, had proceeded inexorably to her goal with the assent of the other great powers and the acquiescence of his predecessors in the Consulta. He pointed out the difficulties and dangers that any other course on Italy's part than that pursued by her would have brought on her, standing, as she would have done, alone, and he reiterated his conviction that Italy's true policy lay in adhering to the Triple Alliance and at the same time cultivating the friendship of England and France.
No reiteration of friendly sentiments, however, nor expressions of confidence in Austrian good faith availed to stay the onsweep of Austria's policy of dominance and absorption. She knew too well the deep-seated antagonism of the Italians to her policy and the profound causes of the Irredentism that made Governmental conventions a feeble palliative. The Emperor, Head of the House of Hapsburg, had been despoiled of something of his power; a portion of his patrimony had been ravished from him by a stronger power. He should be compensated from those that were weaker, and as to what remained, it should be bound to Austria by stronger chains than ever. So Austria set herself to the task, on the one side, of rooting out the spirit of Irredentism and rendering her Italian provinces permanently Austrian, in fact, and, on the other, of pushing southward and extending her power into the Balkans, where she proposed to herself to become the heir of their former Suzerain, the Sultan of Turkey, and reaching the seas from which new acquisitions would await her.
To achieve the first she proposed to Austrianize the Schools. She would cut up Italianism. at the root. The Italian tongue was discouraged, and eventually, where it was necessary to accomplish her end, the Schools were suppressed, as in the case of the Italian University of Trieste.
That there would be great and bitter hostility on the part of the Italian element to this policy was foreseen, and arrangements were made to meet it with inexorable resolution, as was done on the other side in her Jugo-Slav provinces. With some, the unworthy cajolery of local office was attempted, or a concession of office was made, though usually only as the last resort. Thus, for example, when the Emperor was informed that he would be received in silence at Agram on a proclaimed imperial visit unless he restored two Croatian-Serb officials who had been supplanted, he abandoned his visit rather than yield; but finally yielded and sent his nephew, the Archduke Ferdinand.
Those who were obdurate were made to feel the crushing weight of the Government's hand; those who were too recalcitrant were chased away to swell the list of irredentist Italians harbored in Italy, and gradually Austria felt that she was able to see the desired effect of her imperial policy.
But however Italian Ministers might labor to prevent Irredentism, or at least any public expression thereof, the feeling had become too deep-rooted in the Italian mind to be eradicated, and the spirit too widely diffused throughout Italy to be suppressed. The Trentino and Trieste especially were deemed integral parts of Italy, separated from her by violence and bound in foreign servitude by force. Istria and the Dalmatian coast were likewise considered so by some; but the feeling about Trent and Trieste was universal. Even could it have been suppressed in one age, it contained the elements of an immortal Spring, ever ready to burst forth anew. There was no more chance of their ever being forgot, or left permanently in peace as a part of Austria, than there was of Rome's being forgot or abandoned. The lapse of time had, according to the Italian mind, nothing to do with it. It was simply a question of power. What were Alsace and Lorraine to France as compared with Trent and Trieste to Italy? Had they been long in Austria's hands, it was simply a longer servitude. Had the Italian population dwindled, it was merely a proof of Austria's suppressive and ruthless rule. They had been long under Austria's dominion and the Italian elements had dwindled; but Italy knew the reason therefor, and of late Austria, aroused to the situation, had taken steps to make her policy thorough. The direction of the policy was placed in charge of the Grand Duke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the Imperial throne and to the traditional Austro-Hungarian Policy of Imperial subjection.
Seditious societies were dissolved; their members were prosecuted or chased away. Public meetings were forbidden, and the conditions resembled those in Lombardy in the old days of Austrian Occupation.
No amount of discouragement on either side of the line, Austrian or Italian; no amount of repression, and no amount of concession availed to discourage or suppress, much less to cajole the irredentists on either side. The fact was that they were Free in spirit and Italian, and wanted, on the one side, to be a part of Free Italy and not of Imperial Austria, and, on the other, they wanted to help them to be free. Thus, nothing could extinguish their aspiration. As the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church, so the blood of Patriots is the seed of Liberty. Irredentism had its birth the moment after Garibaldi, on July 25, 1866, sent his laconic reply: "Ubbidisco" to King Victor Emmanuel's announcement to him that the armistice was signed and he must evacuate the Trentino. Immediately, municipal councils had began to send memorials declaring their right to become a part of Italy, and secret organizations were formed to effect this end. An abortive Revolutionary movement was attempted in the Trentino immediately to bring, at least, that part which Garibaldi had won within the new confines of Italy. It was followed in August by appeals from Trieste and Istria to be brought within the Ægis of Italian protection, and urging their Rights on historic and ethnic grounds which have found an echo throughout Italy. The Treaty of Prague (August 24, 1866), however it may have settled the boundaries, failed to settle the question involved, and in every movement, military or civil, since against Austria the Irredentist Provinces have been represented.(27) They were volunteers under three generations of Garibaldis, and fought as exiles fight to rescue their country. Italy was not able to continue the war for their deliverance, but "all Italians of the Provinces which do not yet form a part of the Kingdom of Italy" were admitted to the rights of Italian citizens on duly registering as such in any Italian town they might select. Many of them have held high positions and some of them have been Ministers. On the first occasion when one became a Minister, Austria protested formally, and the Ministry resigned rather than submit to the domineering demand of Austria.
Against the Irredentists of the Italian Provinces Austria pitted the Tyrolese to the westward and, to the eastward, around the Adriatic, the Croats and other Jugo-Slavs, who, however they may have disliked Austria, were always ready to oppose the Italians. They were, indeed, ever among the fiercest soldiery of Austria, and under their leader, Marshal Radetsky, himself a Jugo-Slav, they were noted as being especially brutal in the revenge taken on Milan at the time of the Revolution of 1848.
There were many conflicts between the Italian Irredentists and the Jugo-Slavs in the long struggle for the redemption of the Irredentist Provinces.(28)
Austria pursued a policy of firm repression without avail. No policy would have availed. After the Triple Alliance was entered into, the Italian authorities endeavored to distract the attention of Italy from the Irredentist regions; but this, too, was without permanent results. The numerous Associations on both sides of the line represented a profound and fundamental conflict of sentiment. The Irredentists went into mourning for the death of great Italian leaders, and celebrated great Italian events as though they were not outside the Italian confines. Thus, for example, they commemorated the death of Victor Emmanuel, of Garibaldi, and of Humbert.
In the year 1896 the Italians of the Irredentist Provinces erected a great monument to Dante: "The Father." They participated as sons of Italy in the ceremony of placing a perpetual taper at Dante's tomb in Ravenna, and Trieste claimed the honor of presenting the lamp and the fire. In every way imaginable they strove to keep alive in their hearts the unquenchable flame of Italian patriotism. They labored to establish schools for their children where the language and teaching were both Italian. And though it was done under great difficulties, the result was sufficient to keep the movement in full vigor. The question of Higher Seminaries was yet more productive of trouble. Austria, finding the Italian Universities Seminaries of Sedition, as she deemed them, undertook gradually to change their character, and when this did not succeed, she did what was tantamount to abolishing them. The consequences were such a recrudescence of Irredentist feeling, both in the Irredentist Provinces and in Italy herself, that she agreed to make certain concessions to this aroused sentiment, and promised to substitute an Italian Faculty of Law at Trent, Rovereto, or Trieste. It was on the occasion of this new explosion of Irredentism that Signor Tittoni, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, made his memorable speech reaffirming that Italy's policy was to stand by the Triple Alliance Treaty as one of the greatest safeguards of peace in Europe.
But whatever the Government might proclaim, the People were not appeased. Societies sprang up, or those existing received new impulse to free Trent and Trieste, and "incidents" were of frequent occurrence. The old Mazzini spirit seemed to have revived. Appeals and proclamations were circulated secretly calling for the rescuing of the Irredentist Provinces from Austrian rule.(29)
THE ITALIAN-TURKISH WAR
AND THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE
GERMANY, however repulsed at Tangier and Algeciras in her first essay, was far from ready to accept the decision, and she soon made another attempt to block France in Morocco and "obtain her place in the sun" in Africa, with whatever further advantages such a position might import. In August, 1907, French marines were landed at Casablanca to preserve order and protect the Europeans in Morocco, who appeared in considerable peril at the time. The German Consul undertook to give an asylum to a number of German deserters from the French Foreign Legion, and the tension once more tightened. The trouble, however, was settled by referring the matter to the Hague Tribunal, and a special Convention was entered into by France and Germany, under which Germany declared her recognition of the fact that her interests in Morocco were only Economic, and France, on her part, engaged to recognize the equality of all Economic interests in that Country. This relieved the tension, and for a time it looked once more as though the peril from that quarter had been tided over, especially as Germany appeared now immersed in more easterly affairs. The appearance, however, was fallacious.
The results of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian crisis appeared to have been all in favor of Austria and Germany. Austria, backed up by Germany, had taken a long step toward the goal at which she aimed. She had, it was true, felt it prudent to make the Basi Bazar concessions to Turkey, and otherwise to mollify the new and supposedly progressive Party of Young Turks; but this brought to her counterbalancing advantages toward the South, and she had, on the other hand, with Germany's aid, stood off both Russia and Italy, and was now both territorially and politically stronger than ever; so that she might now proceed calmly on her course of absorption. Germany, on her part, had shown Europe that the Dual Alliance, if not the Triple Alliance, was an actuality and that when she spoke, Europe knew that it must hearken. Russia had been faced down, and the Triple Entente had proved a broken reed before the German Alliance. For a time, however, it looked as though Europe had settled back into a period of simple commercial and industrial rivalry, and the idea of War had been, at least temporarily, relegated to the background. Germany particularly interested herself in her commercial enterprises toward Asia Minor and Mesopotamia. Russia, which had lost through the Bosnian-Herzegovinian crisis more prestige than any other country, was gradually brought into better relations with Germany, and the Tzar visited the Emperor of Germany at Potsdam in November, 1910, with the result that the latter was reassured regarding his Berlin-Bagdad Railroad enterprise, and Russia was reassured as to her Interests in Persia. England and France, Austria and Italy, alike appeared to have been overlooked in this cousinly arrangement, and the Triple Entente would certainly have been fundamentally weakened had the arrangement been founded on the realities of mutual interest and good faith. As it was, the cross-currents that existed after as before the Potsdam Agreement prevented the current which it was attempted to set in a new direction from attaining any great force. Its chief practical effect appeared to have been the renewing in the mind of the Kaiser of his old idea of German Hegemony.
In the spring of 1911 Delcassé was once more brought into the French Ministry, this time to exercise his powers in building up the French Marine. His presence in the Ministry was in itself in some sort a challenge to Germany.
A revolt having occurred in Morocco in April in which the French were attacked by the Indigenes, a French column was despatched to Fez, which was taken possession of in May (21), and the protection of the Sultan proclaimed.
This was a blow to Germany, who had manifestly cherished hopes of recouping her rebuff regarding Morocco in 1905-6. The French Ministry fell and M. Monis was succeeded by M. Caillaux. France had just passed through a great strike and her internal difficulties had formed the subject of universal comment in the press of Europe. She had, how ever, prospered greatly financially and had loaned large sums abroad---indeed had loaned large money in Germany but her political position was considered insecure. She had fallen out with the Pope some time before, and between the Clericals and the Socialists the Government was the general subject of baiting. The Royalists were beginning to look up. England also was going through a period of transition and new men were coming to the front, whose measure had not yet been fully taken. They were less imperialistic than their predecessors, and the new leader, Mr. Lloyd George, had been an open pacifist and had boldly opposed the Boer war. Moreover, the perennial Irish Question was still acute. Russia had shown, as was believed, her readiness to refrain from interfering with Germany. Austria could be counted on.
As to Italy, she was already occupied sufficiently with Turkey, which knew of and resented her designs touching Libya and Asia Minor and had, for some time, shown herself inclined to grant, for due compensation, concessions to Germany which might enable her to act more independently toward the Entente powers.
Thus, the time for a new move appeared auspicious, and in the beginning of July the German gunboat, Panther, appeared at Agadir, and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs (M. de Selves) was informed that it had been despatched there to protect the interests and lives of German citizens. It was the move of Tangier and Casablanca over again, with an added defiance to the Entente Powers.
For a time it looked like war. The world held its breath. France, perhaps to the surprise of Germany, withstood her insolence firmly. Germany mobilized her army on the French frontier. England despatched a flying squadron under sealed orders, and in Parliament all parties got together and served notice on Germany that the British Empire was still intact and had no intention of abdicating her international position. At the same time the French Bankers, creditors of Germany, called in their German loans, with the result that Germany found herself facing at once the possibility of a war the limits of which were unknown, and of a panic equally vast and unmeasured. It was said that the German bankers sought and obtained an audience with the Emperor and satisfied him of the perilous position in which Germany stood.
Certainly there was such an audience, and the following day the German Ambassador called on the French Minister and with a quite new demeanor announced that he was the bearer of good news. Germany had, on study and reflection, arrived at the conclusion that the French position was unassailable.
Germany's action, however, had brought Italy up standing on her feet. Where would the Panther appear next?
It was now apparent to all but the Blind that Germany was not likely to give up her dream of German Hegemony without a final contest for it, and those Powers on which the brunt of this was likely to fall began to draw closer together.
The next point where Germany was due to make an effort was the Tripoli Coast, the only remaining strip of the North African Littoral which was not yet in possession of a European State. This, however, had long been considered as designed for Italy's occupation. And Italy knew that the way to occupy it was to occupy it. She had had experience of the other method, and even with all the assurances that had been given her, France had taken over the region promised her. Germany, through her Kaiser, was manifestly deeming herself on the way to becoming the protector not only of the Sultan of Morocco, but of the Sultan of Turkey, as well. And her past actions had shown that she was not serving him for naught. The concessions that she had obtained were an irrefutable proof of this. Another evidence of it was the growing insolence of the Turkish Government In its attitude toward Italian interests and Italian citizens in the regions under its dominion. On top of this came the rumor that Germany had obtained from the Porte certain concessions in the regions on the North African Coast where Italian interests were paramount. And Italy moved.
The relations between Italy and Turkey had for some time been becoming more and more strained, as those between Turkey and the other Members of the Triplice had grown more intimate, if not more friendly. Italy's interests in Tripoli, which had been recognized by the Powers at the Algeciras Conference, and in the Adalia regions where she had secured railway and incident concessions, were becoming more and more established, and Turkey began to pursue, whether under the instigation of her new friends or of her own motion, a policy more and more hampering. Whatever might appear on the smooth outer surface, Italy's part in the Algeciras Conference had been distinctly opposed to Germany, and none too consonant with that of the other member of the Triplice, who Germany declared had "played the part of a brilliant second on the field." Italy had proceeded busily with the design of carrying through in Tripoli a successful commercial penetration, which would, she hoped, meet the just wishes of the Indigenes, and spare her the labors and expenditures of a military conquest. She had many emigrants there and she had established there not only trading-posts, but had set to work to develop the resources of the country in a way which she anticipated would reconcile the Indigenes to her Occupation by satisfying them that it was to their material interest to yield to her. She started Banks, established an Italian S. S. line, projected a Railway, and endeavored to open up the back country by connecting the oases with the settlements on the coast.
The advent to power of the Young Turks in the Autumn of 1908 had, however, changed this whole situation. They proposed, if not to modernize Turkey, as was claimed, at least, to establish a new régime under which the Turkish Empire would no longer permit its dominions to be exploited by the Great Powers of Europe, but would be exploited for itself. They had lost Bosnia; but they had got back Basi Bazar, and they had no intention of losing Libya. Accordingly, they stepped in and, sending new officials into Tripoli, instituted a policy of systematic opposition to Italy's work throughout the country. It was not difficult to accomplish where, to the natural opposition of bold native races like the Arabs and Berbers, were added a traditional enmity to the White and the bitterness of Religious antagonism.
Italy soon found her enterprises obstructed, her citizens subjected to what she considered deliberate persecution, obstacles thrown in her way in all directions, and her progress systematically impeded. Moreover, Turkey was engaged in taking certain military measures which indicated plainly that she purposed to hold Libya herself and not permit herself to be dispossessed of it.
How far Germany and Austria were implicated in this action was a matter rather of conjecture; but subsequent events would appear to justify the charge that they were not strangers to Turkey's plans, and certainly not averse to her policy. A strong press campaign followed the recognition by the Italian People of the obstructive programme pursued by Turkey and, after a period of apparent hesitation, natural in face of so grave a move which might disrupt the Triplice and topple over the whole structure of the European Equilibrium, Italy declared War on Turkey. To do this, however, without bringing the whole nest of adverse and hostile interests about her ears, it was necessary to reassure her allies in the Triplice that such a move was not a preliminary to further steps that might and, indeed, would almost certainly change the Status quo in the Near East. Germany, with her now recognized intentions regarding Mesopotamia and the Berlin-Bagdad Railroad, was constituting herself in a way the guardian of, the Sublime Porte, and Austria was eagerly watchful of anything that might tend to affect adversely her aspiration for the extension of her power over the Balkans. Accordingly, Italy was in the very beginning obliged to yield to their demand that no step should be taken which would affect the Status quo.
Every step taken by Italy had been jealously watched by her allies and, indeed, by the other Powers also; for none of them was over-eager to see Italy occupy a position which would strengthen her greatly in the Mediterranean, and give her a decidedly more potent voice in the Concert of the Nations of Europe.
The decision to declare War on Turkey was arrived at suddenly. It was believed that Germany was on the way. Another Agadir was apparently in sight. The People responded with eagerness to the plain lesson of the exigency, and the Government took the requisite step.
Italy's final decision was made in a few hours, and War was Declared September 27, 1911. Her Government, through her Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued on September 30 to the World the grounds of her momentous step, and on the same day, her hope having been dashed that Turkey might yield on her Declaration of War, she bombarded Tripoli, and within a week it capitulated and she landed troops sufficient to hold it securely.(30)
Italy proceeded promptly to consolidate what she had gained by her first dash. On November 5 she annexed her North African acquisitions---which included Tripoli and Cirenaica---and thus, after nearly fifteen centuries, became once more the possessor of a part of what had once been, possibly, Rome's most cherished possession.
She hoped and may have intended to keep her war---to employ a technical term---localized and thus avoid the dangers of complications with her nearest ally across the Adriatic. But events proved stronger than forecast intentions, and Italy soon found herself facing a more extended Field of operations than had at first appeared necessary for her chief object. Although Turkey had no navy, her situation in the eastern Mediterranean, if supported by outside aid, would menace Italy in her new position.
On October 1, the day after Italy announced to the other Powers the reasons for her move against Turkey, the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Aehrenthal, said to the Italian Ambassador at Vienna that Italy's "military operations had impressed him most painfully and that they could not be permitted to continue; it was most necessary that they should cease and that they (the Italian ships under the Duke of the Abruzzi, who were threatening the Turkish torpedo-boats) were given orders to remain no longer in the waters of the Adriatic or of the Ionian Sea."
The following day the Italian Ambassador at Vienna was informed by the German Ambassador that Aehrenthal had begged him to telegraph his Government to say to the Italian Government that "if it had continued in its naval operations in the Adriatic and the Ionian seas, the Italian Government would have had to deal directly with Austria."(31)
Indeed, Austria had already taken steps to mobilize her fleet for eventualities. Truly it might have been said: "See how these brethren love one another."
A month later, Count Aehrenthal, having effectively stopped Italy's action against the Turkish torpedo-boats at Prevesa, extended his obstruction to any action she might contemplate toward the Ægean Sea. On November 5 he informed the Italian Ambassador that he understood that several Italian battleships had been sighted in the vicinity of Salonika, where they made electric-light projections, and he notified him that "not one single action on the Ottoman coasts of European Turkey, or even on the islands of the Ægean Sea, would be permitted by either Austria-Hungary, or Germany, because it was contrary to the Triple Alliance."
Aehrenthal's dealing with Balkan and all other mundane matters came to an end soon afterward. He was succeeded by Count Berchtold in the early part of 1912. But Austria's policy continued the same. In March, 1912, Berchtold, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, following Aehrenthal's example, notified Italy that if she attempted to pursue her policy of attacking the coast, the consequences might be very grave, for she would have Austria to deal with.
The political situation precipitated by the war was, at best, one of peril, and every new step might shake down the already tottering edifice of the European Equilibrium. Turkey's strength was in sitting still. However incapable of expelling Italy from North Africa, she knew that the other Powers were too intent on securing their portion of the coveted booty to permit her substantial dismemberment at the hands of one Power. She accordingly applied her efforts to keeping up such a defiance as she might in Africa, while she stirred up as much commotion as possible elsewhere. In both of these aims she was measurably successful. In the latter she was so successful that Italy, finding that the war in Africa was not a definitive success and might drag on indefinitely, took the step, however fraught with complications, of attacking Turkey directly, and thus compelling her submission to the North African situation. She accordingly in the Winter transferred her operations to the Ægean Sea, and as a first step she took possession of the dozen or more islands which Turkey had taken from the Greeks and still held, and she proceeded to threaten Constantinople itself.
The bombardment of the forts at the mouth of the Dardanelles began on the 18th of April, 1912, and the Dardanelles were at once closed. A couple of small Italian war-vessels, however, under command of Captain---afterward Admiral---Millo, penetrated the Dardanelles and returned without serious injury, and the important island of Rhodes and the rest of the dozen Ægean islands were seized.
It was clear that Italy was now seriously bent on reducing Turkey to a position where she must accept her terms, and all the conflicting Interests were aroused. Should Italy's success prove too great, much if not all that they had counted on, and waited for, and striven and intrigued for so earnestly through the years, might be lost irretrievably. The very Equilibrium of Europe, the palladium of European peace and power and opportunity for plunder, was imperilled.
The absorption of Turkey in her war with Italy had offered the Balkan States an opportunity which might not occur again in this generation, or possibly in many generations, and which the latter were prompt to take advantage of. It even induced them to lay aside temporarily their historic enmities and unite in a Balkan League to overthrow their age-long oppressor, and not only emancipate themselves, but take from her certain regions, such as Macedonia and Crete, which, while beyond their actual confines, were populated by people of their races, and had in the past been an integral part of one or another of them. They might have been content to wait under the old régime until it rotted to its fall, but the accession to Power of the Young Turks had changed the situation radically. These exhibited much more energy and determination, but were not a whit more modern or liberal than their predecessors. If anything, they were more repressive. Instead of putting through the long-expected Reforms in Macedonia, they had definitely abandoned the promised policy, and the persecution of the Christian subjects had been so atrocious as to inflame the people of Greece and Bulgaria, of whom the population for the most part had originally formed elements. They had taken away the Autonomy of both Macedonia and Crete, and were proceeding to rule both in the old Turkish way, only informed with and carried out with a new vigor. Moreover, instructed by their recent lesson, they were reorganizing their military establishment and apparently proposed to render it an efficient weapon.
It happened that the Prime Minister of Greece at this juncture was a Cretan, and was, moreover, a man of extraordinary ability and a statesman of the highest order, Eleutherios Venizelos. More than to any other one man Crete owed to him such progress as she had made toward Liberty, and Greece such as she had made toward a position of strength among the Balkan States. He had fought Turkey from his youth, and, like Themistocles, he could "make a small city a great one." No man since Cavour had manifested such vision and grasp, and he exemplified in himself the power of racial feeling. Also he was happy in his time. The oppressor of Hellenism was tottering.
To Venizelos' determination to extort from Turkey the restoration of Cretan Autonomy was due in large part the beginning of the Balkan League. For the moment the enmities were laid aside to fuse all forces in a common weapon against the common enemy. Without Greece it could not have had a chance of success, for the participation of the Greek fleet was essential to prevent Turkey from transferring her troops from Asia Minor. Among his motives was doubtless also the ultimate obtaining of the Dodecanese Islands for Greece, as should Greece and her allies go to war with Turkey, Italy would hardly return the islands with their Greek population to their common enemy.
The Balkan League once formed, War was inevitable, for the Turkish Government was blind to the new power constituted and, as usual, refused any concessions until too late. The Balkan peoples were already inflamed by the massacres of the summer (1912), and were ready to fight to avenge their age-long grievances. Even Italy, exasperated beyond measure by Turkish delay and equivocations, might join in. Montenegro moved first.
On October 8, 1912, Montenegro Declared War. A week later Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia issued an ultimatum, demanding the Autonomy of the Turkish European provinces. Turkey, which at the last minute had offered to the League the Reforms demanded in Macedonia, and to Greece the Autonomy of Crete, rejected their ultimatum and Declared War (October 18) on Bulgaria and Serbia, and Greece Declared War on her.
In the beginning, the general opinion was that Turkey, relieved from her war with Italy, which was at the moment closing, would win. In some quarters "the wish was father to the thought," and the European Powers placed little faith in Balkan co-operation. Yet the war lasted only six weeks and Turkey was decisively beaten. The Young Turks were turned out and Kemel Pasha, representative of the older elements, once more resumed the reins of power, and requested an armistice, which was signed December 3.
The Allies' demands were tantamount to the surrender by Turkey of all her European possessions save Constantinople, the Gallipoli peninsula, and a strip of territory sufficient to protect Constantinople and its approaches.
The Peace Treaty between Italy and Turkey was signed at Ouchy, October 15, 1912, and immediately afterward Count Berchtold visited Italy, where he held an important Conference with the Marquis Di San Giuliano (the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs), who a little later in early November visited Berlin, and the Triple Alliance was renewed (two years before the date set for its expiration) for the fourth time (November 5).
The first Balkan War broke out on October 12, and Turkey was defeated by the middle of December, before Austria-Hungary could intervene. The London Conference opened December 16.
The German Chancellor, Doctor von Bethmann-Hollweg, declared in an address on December 2 (1912) that "Germany will stand by the side of her Ally, Austria; and if need be, will fight." In fact, when all the evidence is taken into consideration, it is manifest that Austria-Hungary was at this time earnestly engaged not only in preparing for the eventuality of a war on Serbia and a move on the Balkans; but in seeking for a casus belli against Serbia.(32)
Serbia was bent on securing an outlet on the Adriatic, and this Austria was equally bent on preventing. Montenegro had need for expansion, and while Serbia was heading for Durazzo, Montenegro was addressing her plans toward the acquirement of that portion of Albanian territory which contained her ancient Capital.
Italy was felt out and was invited to occupy Valona---an invitation which she entertained with a pleasure doubtless mitigated by the reflection that Austria might interpret somewhat broadly the term "Compensation" in Article VII of the Triple Alliance Treaty. Austria, in fact, was bent on one aim: to compensate herself for previous losses.
The Balkan Entente was subjected to every assault that intrigue could suggest. An Albanian Convention was assembled in Austrian territory to take measures for the creation of "a Greater Albania"---all under Austrian auspices. And, finally, an arrangement was entered into by which Albania was to become an Autonomous Kingdom under a German Prince, who should be offered the Crown by both Austria and Italy. These were to have respective spheres of influence, the former in northern, the latter in southern, Albania.
While Germany was thus earnestly engaged in extending her power, whether to the Southeastward and to the Eastward, or toward regions which she coveted beyond the Mediterranean, Austria was preparing to reinstate and extend her power in the regions she coveted. She had a common ground with Germany of antagonism against Russia, though for a somewhat more immediate reason. She coveted dominion over the Balkan States, as yet largely unexploited by the other Powers, and especially she coveted possession of Montenegro and Albania and control of Serbia. These would give her control of the Adriatic and indirectly over Italy. Thus, she would solve the Balkan question and restore the prestige of the Empire, which had been shaken at Sadowa and had lost in Venetia a part of what the Emperor considered his patrimonial estate.
Her policy, as has been stated, had ever been to keep the Balkan States divided and in a condition of antagonism with each other, and thus prevent any consolidation of them.
Russia's aim was just the opposite. Her solution of the Balkan question was a Confederation of the Balkan States, which she would protect as being of the same Race and Religion-thus, she would have a great Panslavic region which should stretch to the Adriatic. A Serbian-Bulgarian agreement war, arrived at and the Convention was already signed (March 13, 1913). It provided that each State should support the other, were either attacked, and by a secret agreement, a division of Macedonia was provided for with the Tzar as Referee, in case of dispute as to such division. Later a Military Convention was entered into to which Greece and Montenegro subsequently adhered.
The Victory of Italy over Turkey was a shock to the Austrian plan and also to the German plan of a great Middle Europe. Both had, to use the Kaiser's reported statement, "Placed their money on the wrong horse."
The Balkan Alliance was the next step toward the furthering of the Russian idea and the shattering of Austria's hopes. The next shock to Austria was the victory of the Balkan League over Turkey, and the final shock was the victory of the other Balkan Allies over Bulgaria. The entire German-Austrian plan was in danger of tumbling about their ears. The situation was such that Austria-Hungary began to prepare in earnest for eventualities and the increase of her armaments, both Military and Naval, to what she termed a "reinforced peace footing."(33)
It was declared by Count Berchtold that Austria had "vital interest in the Balkans which she was determined to guard under all circumstances."
All this time the War party of both Germany and Austria-Hungary were zealously working up the feeling of their respective Peoples to prepare for the great step that should let the World know the power of the Germanic Empires.
Maximilien Harden, esteemed among the most independent thinkers of Germany, delivered an Address in Austria in which he pointed out that both Russia and France were unprepared for war, and declared that "all the difficulties that Austria-Hungary had had of late years and which it has to-day spring from the fact that it is the companion of the German Empire, both together forming the Greater Germany, which knows no frontiers. Should we not succeed this time in opening the way into the Ægean and the Black Seas for German Hegemony, then have we reached the beginning of the end."(34)
The whole drift of the military authorities of the "Greater Germany that knows no frontier" was toward preparation for a step which would further their ambition for the Hegemony of the Germanic Empires.
At this juncture the aim was principally directed against Serbia and consequently against her would-be protector: Russia. At the head of the Austrian-Hungarian war party was the Archduke Francis Ferdinand.
Austria had determined, at least, that Serbia should not under any circumstances have the Sanjak of Novi Bazar (Old Serbia) or get out to the Adriatic, a step which would add immensely to her strength and prestige with the other Balkan States and, moreover, would render her completely independent of Austria. To the political policy touching this was added a Religious policy which was voiced by the Clerical Austrian and German press and fitted in too well with the Secular policy to have been wholly a pious crusade. A great element of the population of the Balkan regions coveted by Austria were of the Orthodox Church, and another great element were Mohammedans. Especially in Albania were the latter preponderant, and Albania was eagerly coveted by Austria as the key to the Adriatic situation, whose possession would control not only Serbia and Montenegro, but Italy as well. The first step toward the accomplishment of the plans was the Declaration of Autonomy for Albania. As a preliminary to carrying through her plans, General Conrad von Hoetzendorf, who had fallen into some disfavor years before, but was reckoned the greatest of the Austrian Generals, was recalled to the command of the General Staff (December 10, 1912). He was hated in Italy, where it was understood that he had counselled Austria to attack her in 1908, when she was almost prostrated by the Messina and Calabria Earthquakes and the distress and disorganization consequent thereon, and again in 1911, when she was in the midst of her war with Turkey. He was very close to the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and was an advocate of War as ever Austria's best policy. When Serbia and Montenegro invaded Albania and began to establish themselves, the former at Durazzo, the latter at Cettinge, it looked for a time, in view of Austria's actions both in increasing her military forces and in an inspired Press campaign against Serbia, in which she was manifestly seeking "a cause of quarrel," as though she were arranging for immediate war. The Conference in London, however, arrived at a solution of the threatening situation, and by procuring the withdrawal from Albania of Serbia and Montenegro---which again shut Serbia off from the sea---staved off the war for a year and a half.
The Young Turks in January fomented a Revolution and, with Enver Bey at their head, assassinated the military head of the restored Administration, Nazim Pasha, and caused the reinstatement of an Administration pledged to the prosecution of the war. The negotiations were broken off and the war began again. This time also, however, Fortune was with the Allies, and after the capture of Adrianople, the sacred city; of Janina, the ancient capital of Hellenism, and of Scutari, and the threatened fall of Salonika, the situation of Turkey became so hopeless that Shefket Pasha, who had been brought into power by the Revolution of January, made a secret appeal to the Powers for their mediation. This they were quick to respond to, and negotiations began which resulted in proposals that Turkey accepted at once, and the allies also a little later (April 20, 1913).
From this, after negotiations not unnaturally somewhat protracted in view of the immense conflicting interests involved, came the Treaty of London, signed May 30, 1913. By this Treaty it was supposed that Turkey in Europe had been substantially eliminated as a power and left only occupying the Dardanelles as a sort of International porter, in the interest of all the Powers. She was permitted to retain Constantinople and to the westward only the region between the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and a line extending from Enos on the Ægean Sea to Midia on the Black Sea; but this, as was proved in the sequel, was enough.
Albania was taken over by the Powers for their future disposition, as was the question of the Ægean Islands. The rest of the former Turkish dominions were turned over to the Allies for partition among themselves. The division proved a costly one for all concerned.
Unfortunately for the plans of all, the war had not been sufficiently long or costly to the Balkan allies to give them a profound feeling of mutual interdependence and loyalty to a common cause---if, indeed, this last ever existed at all.
While the general strategic plan of the campaign had been carried out with the utmost success, each ally had fought in a separate field, and apparently what had been accomplished in any one direction had been the work of only one army. Thus, when the armistice came and finally the peace, each of the allies felt entitled to hold as its separate prize what it had taken, and each coveted also a portion of what the others had taken.
The Bulgarians, whose army was the best in the field, had marched boldly against the main Turkish army in Thrace where they, having invested Adrianople at the end of October, in a series of attacks made with intrepidity and pushed with resolution, defeated the latter first at Kirk Kilissi and then on November 1 at Luleh Burgas, forcing their precipitate retreat to the Tchatalja defenses of Constantinople. The Serbians attacked the Turks in Novi Bazar, and having forced their evacuation of this important territory, pushed on toward Monastir, which they captured, together with the large military force opposed to them.
The Greeks performed equally well their part of the general plan. They guarded by sea the approaches to the Turkish coast to prevent the arrival of reinforcements and military supplies, and by land, the Greek forces, under the titular command of the Crown Prince, later King Constantine, marched into Thessaly and, defeating the Turkish forces opposing them, pushed on to Salonika, which was captured on November 9. The following day the Bulgarian force, operating with the Greeks, also entered the city and took possession of the quarter of St. Sophia, on which they mounted the Bulgarian flag. Later on Adrianople fell.
Thus, when hostilities ended, the situation was sufficiently complicated to have disturbed relations even much more cordial than existed among the new allies. Adrianople, Monastir, and Salonika were all coveted by each ally, and Bulgaria, which had undoubtedly done the heaviest fighting and suffered the heaviest losses, claimed as her prize Monastir and the Bulgar section of Macedonia, which had been captured by Serbia; while Greece and Serbia asserted equal claims, and had the advantage of being in possession, with no intention of moving out.
Then there was Albania, on which, or parts of which, both Serbia and Montenegro had their eyes set, as it offered an outlet to the Adriatic.
In March, 1912, Serbia and Bulgaria had, as stated, signed a convention by which the latter was to have a large part of Macedonia, and the former was to meet her aspirations in Albania. Meantime, in the war Montenegro had marched in and captured Scutari, which constituted the coveted approach to the Adriatic.
When, however, the Treaty of London was made, through the instrumentality of the great Powers the settlement effected was completely satisfactory to none of the Allies. In fact, it was not made to satisfy them, but was made in the interests, in considerable part, of the great Powers. Albania was taken from both Serbia and Montenegro, and was constituted a Separate State, to be later by agreement of Austria and Italy placed under a German prince, Prince William of Wied. Bulgaria found herself in possession of Thracian territory which Greece desired and she did not care for, while Serbia and Greece were in possession of Macedonia, including both Monastir and Salonika, which Bulgaria ardently coveted.
With the renunciation of Albania, Serbia was thrown back for compensation out of Macedonia, and it soon became manifest that she proposed to hold on to what she had taken. Bulgaria attempted to secure the co-operation of Greece through yielding to her any claim she might have to Salonika. Greece's feeling, however, whether of apprehension or of enmity, was stronger against Bulgaria than against Serbia, and Venizelos declined Bulgaria's overtures. Whereupon Bulgaria, incensed at what she deemed intolerable ill usage on the part of her allies, and instigated to right herself by Germany and Austria, turned on the former, and without warning, on June 29, marched against Serbia and Greece, possibly thinking that a show of force would bring them to terms. Far from yielding, however, Serbia and Greece, who knew their danger and had prepared for this contingency, united in a counter-attack, and in a week had forced back the already exhausted and dejected Bulgarian armies.
Taking advantage of conditions which might not occur again, the Allies, especially the Greeks, pushed on until they were in some danger of finding themselves led by their ardor into serious difficulty. New factors, however, had come into the situation. The Bulgarian retreat began on July 6. Roumania declared war on Bulgaria, July 19. Her action settled the issue. Bulgaria, surrounded by enemies, was forced to ask terms of peace and they were severe. A wounded wolf might as hopefully have asked terms of his brothers of the pack whom he had just attacked.
Bulgaria, supported as she was by Austria, had too long been a menace to her sister Balkan States to be let off when so fair an opportunity was offered them.
Roumania stood somewhat apart from her Balkan neighbors, to whom she stood rather in the relation of a stepsister than a sister by consanguinity. She was measurably different in Race, claiming Latin descent through the colony that Hadrian settled beyond the Danube to guard the eastern borders of the Empire from its barbarian neighbors. This difference in Race she had been ready to exploit on occasion. As she had grown stronger and more independent, she had been drawn into the Triple Alliance, since when her royal House had been made much of in Austria.
Her history likewise had been measurably different from theirs. Like them, she had fallen under the Turkish yoke, but she had not fallen under it as completely as they. The Turks had overrun the principalities of Transylvania and Wallachia as they had done those south of the Danube, but had not subjugated them so completely. They had extinguished the aristocracy of Serbia and had almost destroyed that of Greece. But the Roumanian upper class had been more fortunate, and Roumanians had been assisted through their leadership in their resistance to foreign subjugation. Also, Roumania's geographic position, if it made her the coveted prize among her three powerful neighbors, tended to give her a position where she could on occasion play off one against the other of her jealous and truculent suitors. While to the south of the Danube a Christian Rayah ran the risk of his life if on meeting a Turk he failed to dismount from his horse, no such shameful condition existed in Roumania, and in the towns of Wallachia a Turkish mosque was not permitted.(35)
The French influence strongly affected Roumania, and from this came a consciousness of their Latin descent which increased their national consciousness.
The Greek colonies had likewise an effect on the spirit of the Roumanians, and the Greek struggle for freedom, which appealed so strongly in the West, found a repercussion in Roumania which eventually bore rich fruit.
The result of the Balkan war against Turkey had awakened in Roumania a fresh sense of danger from the quickened ambitions of the victorious Bulgarians. Her southern boundaries were ill adapted for defense should Bulgaria undertake to put into practical operation the apprehended idea of extending her borders and her power. Under this apprehension Roumania, requested of Bulgaria a readjustment of their frontiers, basing her proposal on the efficient aid she had rendered Bulgaria back in 1877, when she had saved the situation before Plevna, and also her benevolent neutrality in the preceding year. Bulgaria, still in the pride of her recent victory over Turkey, rejected the proposal, though a little later (April) she made a partial concession.
This, however, in Roumania's view did not meet the situation, and four days after Bulgaria began to retreat, Roumania declared war and, invading Bulgaria, advanced on its capital. The Bulgarian situation was manifestly hopeless, and on the 17th she sued for peace, and the Peace Treaty was signed on August 10 at Bucharest. Greece and Serbia formed an alliance for defense, which Greece subsequently claimed was limited to defense against the Balkan States only, and on September 25, 1913, Bulgaria and Turkey entered into an alliance. Turkey had meantime, under Austrian instigation, while her recent adversaries were fighting ferociously among themselves, marched back and quietly taken possession of Adrianople and fortified that region more strongly.
By the Treaty of Peace Greece, of course, got Crete. She also extended her lines so as to take in Kavalla, the port of the small portion of Macedonia which Bulgaria possessed. Serbia extended her line to take in Monastir; Roumania secured what she wished. Bulgaria lost all she had just fought for, and also Adrianople and Kalessi, which she had captured before. Such a situation was hopeless so far as concerned any promise of permanent peace, especially as the war had been one of the most ferocious in history.(36)
If the Bulgarian extension and attitude alarmed Roumania and Roumania's allies and brought them into an accord based on the need of united defense, the unexpected result of the ferocious campaign alarmed, on the other hand, Austria, who had shared with her other German Ally the view that Bulgaria would prove as victorious in her second war as in her former one. It was a shock to her when she found that she had missed it in her calculations, and that Serbia, instead of being diminished and weakened, as she had expected her to be, had come out of the conflict strengthened and inspirited. Her own preparations to meet the situation had been too late. Serbia and Greece had drawn together, and Roumania also had been drawn closer to them by the necessities of the case, while Bulgaria had been decisively beaten and her power reduced.
The aim of Russia had been to emancipate the Balkan Powers from Turkey and get them united in some sort of confederation which, in virtue of their Slavic origin and history, would make them a useful auxiliary for Russia should trouble arise between her and Turkey or Austria. In this France also had become interested.
The aim of Austria, on the other hand, had, as has been stated, steadily been to prevent the Balkan Powers from forming a League which would act unitedly. Her policy was to keep them divided in two rival groups. To this she had addressed herself with such success that the result was a cleavage of the Balkan States into two almost equally strong opposing groups comprising, on the one hand, Turkey and Bulgaria and, on the other, the two Serbian States: Greece and Roumania.(37)
Russia, both before the second Balkan war and immediately after it, proposed to Bulgaria to come into an arrangement for a Balkan Confederation; but Bulgaria declined the overtures and proposed to Austria to be admitted within the Triple Alliance, an offer which was not accepted, apparently because the conditions would have jeopardized the good-will of Roumania, which, at the time, appeared of more value than Bulgaria. Notwithstanding this refusal the proposal was renewed oftener than once, but Bulgaria was at the moment not strong enough to command consideration.
From the time of the Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina the situation between Austria and Serbia had never been free from peril. Serbia was not only cut off from the sea, but had found her aspirations for the union of the Serb race extinguished by this act of Annexation, which was effected by Austria's one means---force; against which no national sentiment nor traditional solidarity availed.
Serbia's aspiration for a Pan-Serb Confederation ran sharply counter to Italy's interest, as it would embrace not only the Austrian-Serb provinces, but also Montenegro and, perhaps, even Albania. Serbia might, if successful, have turned toward Italy and have countered her interests. Moreover, Italy was tied up with Austria, and, as has been described, the Italian Government felt constrained to accept the annexation, even though Austria refused her any compensation to balance the unexpected change in the Adriatic Equilibrium. Russia had yielded and Serbia was powerless. Serbia, accordingly, was obliged in March (31), 1909, to recognize formally the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a fait accompli and to declare that it had not affected her rights; also to accept in advance the decision of the Powers with regard to Article XXV of the Treaty of Berlin. Further, she was to renounce thenceforth the attitude of protest and opposition to the annexation which she had held since it occurred the preceding autumn, and to change definitely her policy toward Austria-Hungary. This was to be cited later by Austria to Serbia as proof of her confession of wickedness, in the most tragic crisis of her history.(38)
Meantime, as stated, Austria-Hungary, even with the active backing of her Imperial Ally, had fruitlessly exerted her efforts to keep the Balkans divided into two rival groups, of which the stronger should be their friends.
The issue of the two Balkan wars was a rude shock to the Central Empires. They had miscalculated in both instances. First, Turkey had been defeated and partitioned; then Bulgaria had been defeated and despoiled. The result had favored the Entente and enfeebled the Triple Alliance. The Serb-Greek combination was decidedly strengthened, and Roumania was leaning toward them. They had barred Austria from the Ægean and held the islands guarding the outlet of the Dardanelles. Moreover, they were in a position to threaten the Berlin-Bagdad Railway, on which Germany counted to parallel the Mediterranean sea-route to the Orient and control both the outlet to the Bosphorus and the fertile regions of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia.
In this situation Austria moved to sweep away by a sudden stroke this new peril. She prepared to attack Serbia, and to do it without much notice. Immediately before the outbreak of the Balkan War she had arranged for a great increase of her armament budget. She could count on her Northern Ally, but she was not sure as to her Southern Ally. Her interests and Italy's were far from identical in the Balkans, and certain actions of her own in Italy's recent war with Turkey were still fresh in her mind. Accordingly, she felt out Italy. She did it boldly, but it did not avail.
On the 9th of August, 1913, the Italian Government received from the Austrian Government a communication of her "intention to take action against Serbia," which it defined as "defensive," hoping to bring "into operation the casus foederis of the Triple Alliance."
To this Italy replied that if Austria intervened against Serbia it was clear that a casus foederis could not be established, inasmuch as no one was thinking of attacking her, and it could not be a question of defense. This declaration was also made to Germany, with the expression of the hope that she would take action to "dissuade Austria from this most perilous enterprise."(39)
The following day the Peace of Bucharest was signed and, for the time being, the "action against Serbia" was postponed; but it was by no means abandoned. Austria proceeded quietly on her way, extending her tentacles into the Balkans and preparing for the hour when the enterprise of extending also her dominion would be less perilous.
At the Conference in London to settle the Balkan war trouble, Montenegro had been compelled to evacuate Albania and give up Scutari, which she had captured, and provision had been made to place Albania as a separate principality, under a Germanic prince, with separate zones of influence, the Durazzo region being allotted to Austria, and the Valona region to Italy. The choice, as stated, fell on Prince William of Wied, which in itself was a victory for Austria though the new ruler was a subject of Germany.
"Prince William of Wied" repaired to his kingdom in March, 1914, and mounted his throne with somewhat the same chance of success that the brilliant bird in his quarterings would have had dropped in an eyrie of eagles. He remained there only long enough for Essad Pasha to take his measure and gather his bands together to drive him out, whereupon he sought refuge on a small Italian war-ship in the harbor. The Italian Commander escorted him back to the royal palace, and there ensued the usual course of such Revolutions, and finally Essad Pasha asserted his power in Southern Albania, where later he was for a time supported by Italy as the only ostensible civil authority remaining in Albania, and King William returned home and became an officer in the German army.
The Treaty of Bucharest (entered into August 8, 1913), which determined, or was intended to determine, the status of the Balkan States from that time on, was the last blow to Austria-Hungary's hopes. From this time she set herself to destroy the arrangements accomplished. This aim was set forth definitely by the Ballplatz through the speeches of its leading public men and through the semi-official press. Moreover, no time was to be lost.(40) Germany was acquiescent and, like her, was at the top of her Power. But her vast Armament could not be indefinitely maintained. The Socialists were growing stronger and the People restive. Russia was not yet at the top of hers, but was growing stronger. Serbia was greatly strengthened and likely to grow more so, and a strong Serbia meant trouble for Austria among the Serb population of her recently subjugated provinces. Turkey and Bulgaria were both for the time being hors de combat, but might be resuscitated and be rendered useful if aided. And, finally, Italy was beginning to be more and more exigent in demanding the compensatory balancing of interests under the Treaty of the Triple Alliance.
A meeting of the Kaiser and the Archduke Francis Ferdinand was arranged and took place on October 27, 1913, and this was followed by a visit of the King of Bulgaria to Austria-Hungary. Bulgaria and Turkey were both encouraged to draw nearer to their friends of the Central Empires. Bulgaria was heartened by a loan and a suggestion of being taken into the Triple Alliance.
In the early spring (March) of 1914 the Kaiser visited the Emperor Francis Joseph and then proceeded to Trieste, where he visited the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. He also cruised to Venice and was visited on his Yacht by the King of Italy and members of the Royal Italian Government. It appears beyond question that at this time both Germany and Austria were looking forward to declaring War in the immediate future which should settle for a good while the questions which they had so long been concerting.
It was in May (1914) that the insurrection occurred in Albania and King William sought refuge with his family on board an Italian war-ship, in the Harbor. He was escorted back to the palace by the Italian Commander. But Kings who abandon their thrones never return to remain---at least, in Albania. Austria, who had had some part in its inception, sent her fleets to patrol the Coast, and the Kaiser sent his crack war-ship, the Goeben, to be on hand, and the insurrection was quelled. But King "William of Wied" reigned no more. Although a military force was recruited by Volunteers from Austria and other regions to hold King William on his Albanian throne, greater events were preparing, and a vaster war than ever Albania or Austria in all their history had ever dreamed of was drawing near with portentous strides.
Toward the middle of June (12), 1914, the Kaiser again visited the Archduke Ferdinand, accompanied now by Grand Admiral Von Tirpitz, and to meet him came the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Berchtold. From this conference the Archduke proceeded directly to the Austro-Hungarian Manoeuvres in Bosnia, which were set for June 25-27, and were conducted by General Potirik as the Army Inspector of Sarajevo.
Between the close of the Conference at the Archduke's Castle and the Manoeuvres, Count Berchtold prepared a Memorandum, laying down Austria-Hungary's political policy: which was to reduce Serbia to a condition in which she would be negligible politically.(41)
The Archduke was recognized as the protagonist of the Anti-Pan-Serb Spirit.
What happened at Sarajevo is known. On the morning of the 28th of June when the Archduke and his Duchess were passing through the streets of Sarajevo, the old Capital of Bosnia, an attempt was made on the Archduke's life, which failed of its object, but wounded a member of his staff. A little later in the day, while the Archduke and the Duchess were on their way to visit this officer at the hospital, a second and successful attempt on the life of the Archduke was made. A bomb was thrown and pistol shots fired by a young Serb, an Austrian subject, and both the Archduke and the Duchess were killed.
"The crime of Sarajevo" was the spark that lit the magazine which set the world aflame. The fuse apparently lay unlighted for a month and then the explosion came. The magazine had been stored by Austria-Hungary and she had only waited for the match to fire it.
It seems unquestionable that the conspiracy that resulted in the Archduke's assassination was wide-spread enough to include among its members a number of Serbians, who were filled with the Pan-Serb Spirit that had grown under Austria's repressive rule, and that several of these participated in the work that led up to the terrible deed. But the immediate actors were Serb subjects of the Austrian-Hungarian Emperor, who looked to Serbia as their Mother Country. And it is unthinkable that the Serbian Government or any member of it was in any way cognizant of the plot. Yet this was the plain implication of the Austrian Government in its action against Serbia, on whom it endeavored to fix directly the responsibility for the crime.
"The Iron Count," Tisza, the Hungarian Premier, in a letter dated July 1, 1914, wrote to the Emperor Francis Joseph protesting that they bad no sufficient, evidence to hold Serbia responsible.
It appears certain in the light of all the evidence that has come to light that Austria-Hungary, or, more specifically, the Rulers of Austria-Hungary were fixed in their resolve to destroy Serbia and extend Austria's power, no matter at what cost.
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