Edward Raymond Turner.

Europe since 1870 online

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of German

The indem-



of the

Treaty of St.
with Austria,

time when Rome conquered Carthage, was viewed with
dismay by others as not sufficiently binding Germany
as to make impossible another aggression, and by no
means commensurate with the evil and suffering she
had caused. There was no doubt that the provisions of
the settlement reduced Germany to poverty and weakness.
It took from the generation of Germans who accepted it
the very hope of prosperity and greatness such as they had
known before 1914. But there was also no doubt that
the people of England, Italy, and France, despite all
indemnities that Germany could pay, would for gene-
rations remain crushed under burdens of taxation such as
they had never known before, made necessary by ex-
penditures caused by the war. Severe as the terms were
they were far less terrible than the Germans had, in their
moments of triumph, boastfully proclaimed that they
would impose. The indemnity required was not plun-
der, but merely compensation for the ruin that Germans
had wrought; and the reparation thus made would be
very incomplete. The terms of disarmament imposed
made the beginning, it was to be hoped, of general re-
duction of armaments, which the people of the democratic
countries had long much desired. The populations sur-
rendered were largely Polish or Danish and partly French,
and the territories now to be given up had all previously
been taken away from Poland or Denmark or France.
The results of the war being what they were, and the evil
conditions which had come from the war being so great
as they were, the peace was probably as good a one as
in the circumstances was to be made. All in all, it had
not been formulated in a spirit of hatred or revenge, nor
with desire to destroy the German people.

With the allies of Germany separate treaties were made.
As a result of the war Austria-Hungary had fallen to
pieces. From the ruins had arisen Czecho-Slovakia, and
the state of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, whose in-

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;mpire in 1920


dependence the Allies hud acknowledged. Accordingly,
the Dual Monarchy had ceased to exist. With Austria
and with Hungary arrangements were made which stipu-
lated that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk should he re-
nounced and also rights in Egypt, Morocco, Siam, and
China; the navy should be surrendered, and an indemnity
paid. No state suffered more fearful fate than Austria-
Hungary. Austria, once the leading state in Europe, and
long the principal member of the Dual Monarchy, which
in 1914 had a population of 51,000,000 and an area of
260,000 square miles, was now reduced to the petty inland
state of German Austria, with 40,000 square miles and a
population of 9,000,000. The splendid old capital, Vienna,
left with too little territory to support its greatness, soon
became a sad, .shunned, famine-stricken place, while the
Austrian people, because of the destruction and rav-
ages of the war, and because their former economic con-
nections had been severed, were soon in such terrible
straits that they had no recourse but to beseech the
charity of the world. By a later treaty Hungary likewise
was bereft of much of her territory and all of the non-
Magyar populations so long held in subjection. She also
was left a minor inland state, of 35,000 sc{uare miles, con-
taining 8,000,000 people; and she was soon overrun and
plundered by Rumanian armies, which now took terrible
vengeance for the a\\'ful miseries put upon their people two
years before. With Bulgaria a treaty was made which
imposed upon her an indemnity, and took from her the
territories she had seized from Servia, Rumania, and
Greece, during the war, while the disposition of the
territory gi\'ing her access to the .^gean was to be decided
by plebiscite of the local population. Bulgaria was left,
therefore, the least important of the Balkan States, in the
midst of rivals who had grown great by the war. By the
Treaty of Sevres (1920), agreed upon after much difficulty
and dela\', Turkey was stripped of most of her possessions.

The Dual
already in






of the Treaty
of Versailles,

The United
States fails
to ratify

Nominally Constantinople was left to the sultan, but the
straits were internationalized, the European territory of
the Porte was given mostly to Greece, and the Ottoman
dominions in Asia were largely divided among Great
Britain, France, Italy, and Greece.

The more important part of the work done in Paris was
the treaty with Germany embodying the Covenant of the
League of Nations. It was signed at Versailles, June 28.
A few days later it was ratified by the German Republic.
At the end of July it was ratified by Great Britain and by
Poland, in the following month by Belgium, and in October
by the British dominions, by Italy, and by France, and at
the end of December by Japan. Meanwhile, the sur-
rendered German fleet, which had been interned at Scapa
Flow, in the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland, having
been sunk by the German crews, the Supreme Council
issued a protocol containing provisions for making good
the loss by surrender of additional German shipping.
Considerable negotiation and some delay followed, but
January 10, 1920, the protocol having been accepted by
the German Government, ratifications were exchanged at
Versailles and the Treaty put into effect. On this day,
then, formally, the Great War came to an end.

In the ratification the United States took no part. She
had exerted enormous, if not decisive, power in the later
stages of the war, and during the negotiations in Paris
her president had taken a prominent part. It was due
particularly to his efforts that a League of Nations had
been formed and the Covenant embodied m the Treaty.
But he had been unable to secure its ratification by his
country. The Constitution of the United States provided
that the assent of two thirds of the Senate was necessary
for the acceptance of any treaty, and this it had been im-
possible to obtain. All sorts of objections were raised.
The extreme idealists and reformers believed that a harsh
and evil treaty had been made, and that this was sane-


tioned by the Covenant. There was a lar^e number of
Americans who were still unwilling to have their country
enter into close relations with other i)owers, and wished
to continue the old isolation. It was probable that most
of the people of the United States earnestly desired that
some sort of league be made for tlic purpose of preventing
wars in the future. But a considerable number of senators
refused to accept the Covenant without amendments which
the president was unwilling to have made, so the Cove-
nant was not accepted and the treaty with Germany not

The war and the settlement in Paris made immense
changes in European relations and altered the map of the
world more than it had ever been changed at one time
before. In Europe itself France became again, what she
had once been for so long, the first of the Continental
powers. A great number of her best men had been killed
and her resources so drained that she was now left
thoroughly exhausted, but she had acquired such re-
sources and such position that if she recovered at all she
would most probably have a splendid future before her,
and her colonial empire remained intact. Italy had at last
got the "unredeemed lands," the head of the Adriatic at
Trieste and also the outlet of the Adriatic by establishing
a protectorate over Albania. For the time, at least, this
sea was entirely under Italy's domination. Across on the
other side was the new Jugo-Slavic state. The age-long
enemy, Austria, had been removed from all rivalry in the
future. Belgium, slightly enlarged, and enormously en-
hanced in prestige, at once began to recover from the
disasters which had fallen upon her.

In central Europe the changes were greater. The
German Empire had fallen with the final disasters to its
armies in eastern France, just as fifty years before the
Second French Empire had been overthrown when the
news of Sedan came to Paris. Just before the Germans




The new
era: France



The end of
the German


Flight of surrendered there were outbreaks in many places; the

the Kaiser kaiser and some of the lesser rulers fled from the country,
socialist republics were hastily set up, and in Berlin and
especially in INIunich there were communist disorders much
like those of Paris in 1871. For a moment it seemed that
Germany was about to split mto pieces and sink into the
chaos of ruin and disorder into which Russia had just
gone before her. But, temporarily at least, the strong and
solid qualities of the German people reasserted themselves ;
the disorders were suppressed; the separatist movements
checked; and in place of the German Empire there pres-
ently appeared a federation of republics much like the
United States of America, except that constitution and
organization were socialized, less, indeed, than in Russia,
but more thoroughly than anywhere else in the world.
In the midst of national disorganization and disaster,
liable for an indemnity of vast and indefinite amount, this
government maintained itself with increasing difiiculty.
It probably had the support of most of the German people
for the time, but in any event, such were the general
conditions existing, it would probably be harder to uphold
this, new government than it had been to perpetuate that
over which Thiers had presided in France. This Ger-
man government, under President Ebert, was constantly
threatened on the one side by reactionaries and Junkers,
who hoped to see the older forms soon restored, and on the
other by radicals and "Spartacides," as the extreme
communists were called, who wanted a complete revolution
more like the one in Russia. It would be some years
before the outcome could be accurately foretold.
Position of The German state was vastly reduced in power and

the German reputation; its old industrial prosperity was gone, its
Repubhc commerce had vanished, its colonies were completely lost.

Most of its European territory it still retained, but its im-
mensely important districts on the upper Rhine and in
Posen were gone, and with them great stores of iron-ore



and coal. If the parts of ihc R(>[)ul)li(' rcniaiiicd to^'clher
through the lean and hard years to come, there was hope
that Germany later on might recover and grow great
once more, and, next to France, be the greatest Conti-
nental power, or in the end even recover her primacy once
more. All this lay hid in the future.

For the old Dual Monarchy there was no hope of a better
day. In what had been the realm of Austria-Hungary the
servants of other days had become masters, and set up for
themselves. In the north was Czecho-Slovakia, with its
capital at Prague, apparently with a great industrial
future before it. To the east a new Poland had appeared,
w^hich might later be one of the strong European stales if
only it could live now through the period of death-like
weakness in which war and famine had left it. To the
south, on the western side, was the new state of the once-
despised South Slavs, with Italy holding the Adriatic;
while to the south on the eastern side was the greater
Rumania, which statesmen had so often dreamed of,
doubled in size by ha\ang taken Transylvania from the
Magyars. In the midst of these newcomers were Hun-
gary, poor and surrounded, without access to the sea, and
with uncertain future, and Austria, poorer and weaker,
and similarly cut off, having, perhaps, as her greatest
hope, future incorporation with Germany. The old Dual
Monarchy, whatever its faults, had held these peoples
together. Now economic ties were severed and barriers
erected, so that hunger and misery were added to the
desolation of the war. Here the principal task of states-
men would be to bring the various districts into economic
association once more.

The greatest changes of all had taken place in eastern
Europe. Not only had Russia broken to pieces, but the
lands, first ravaged by war, had in the end gone down in a
revolution so fundamental and sweeping that its outcome
for the present could not be predicted. It was to be

Austria and

Changes in



in Russia

The Slavs

Africa and

hoped that the excesses and terror of the time of change
would prove to be the things least striking in the end, and
that finally it would be seen that the principal result of
the Russian Revolution was the breaking of an obsolete
and oppressive autocracy and a great betterment of the
condition of the Russian people. But however that might
be in the end, Russia had, for the time, ceased to be one of
the Great Powers of the world. All the outlying parts
had dropped off. Finland, the Baltic Provinces, Poland,
Bessarabia, the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and a great part of
Siberia, It might be that all of these countries would
later on be brought together in a strong federation, though
it was more probable that the Russian Empire of the days
before the Great War was not to appear again ; but after
the e\nl days of dissolution and weakness the Russians
would almost certainly take their place among the principal
nations once more.

None the less, the standing of the Slavic peoples in
Europe had been for the time improved. If on the one
hand the Russian Empire had broken to pieces, yet the
fragments had set up autonomous governments, and on
the other hand the Slavs of central Europe, so long
held down by German masters, had got their freedom.
Whether Poland, lying between bolshevist Russia and a
vengeful Germany, could maintain herself, even with the
assistance of France, remained to be seen. The fate of
Czecho-Slovakia also lay hidden in the future. The new
state of the South Slavs would certainly encounter most
diflBcult problems in holding together such elements as
the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes. Yet Poland,
Czecho-Slovakia, Jugo-Slavia, and also Rumania were now
established as considerable states, and the prospects of
the West and the South Slavs were brighter than they had
been for five hundred years.

Africa had fallen practically into the hands of Britain
and France. In Asia all the northern part still belonged

THE S E T T L E M E N T OF 1020 52S

to Russia, but the far more important soutlicrn part,
all of it from Arabia to Malaysia, was now under the
control of Great Britain. In the east almost all the
important strategic positions and approaches to China,
from Sakhalin down to Formosa, had come into the hands
of Japan.

The results of the large forces at work in the modern
world and also now the results of the Great War had been
the formation of vast empires, nuich as huge industrial
combinations had appeared in the business world. For
a chance to be one of the greater empires Germany had
struck in 1914, and her defeat in 1918 had for the present
definitely taken from her the possil)ility of obtaining it.
Russia, if she recovered, might be one of the greatest,
as might Japan if she continued her remarkable expansion
and success, and succeeded in her aggressions on the main-
land. But the two powers now indubitably holding
first place were the British Empire and the United States.
In her large populaticm, intelligent and ])rosperous, in her
infinite wealth, her inunense resources, the United States
held unrivalled position. But more imposing, though in-
trinsically less strong, was the position of the British
Empire, which controlled most of Africa, and a great part
of Asia. Its colonies, its naval stations, its strategic posi-
tions were everywhere. Britain was mistress of tlie seas,
and held the approaches to the best routes, the entrance to
the Mediterranean, all the environs of Suez, and virtually
now the control of Constantinople. Together the British
Empire and the United States held assured control of the
seas, and had in their keeping so great a part of all the
world's wealth and resources, so large a part of all of the
earth's coal and iron, tin and copper and gold, so nuicli of
its meat and wheat and corn, that for the present to a
great extent the destiny of the world lay in their keeping.
Fortunate it might seem that such unparalleled greatness
and wealth had come to the peoples which, notwithstand-

The domi-
nant powers

of the

ing peoples


ing many errors, had most cherished democracy, human-
ity, and free development. The best of the Enghsh-
speaking peoples might well be humble in contemplation
of the mighty prospect ahead.
Solidarity For the British Empire and the United States one of the

of the Eng- greatest tasks of the future was maintenance of friendship
:l^„l!!!l^^I and cordial relations with each other. Neither of them,
probably, could be overthrown except by the other.
Together their safety was assured, and also their future
position. Their people spoke the same tongue and dealt
much with each other; hence there would often be rivalry,
some ill-feeling, minor conflict, and many disputes. But
the people of the United Kingdom, of the United States,
and of the commonwealths of the British Empire had a
common inheritance of speech, law, governmental system,
character, general outlook. And for some time an in-
creasing number of the English-speaking people had come
to believe that war between the British Empire and the
United States was inconceivable and outside calculation.
But however bright the future of the most fortunate
debt ° might seem, the outlook of most of the European nations,

and even their present, was dark indeed. Seldom had
there been so much desolation and waste, so much misery
and woe. The total cost of the war, variously estimated,
had been, perhaps, at least $200,000,000,000, and perhaps
$300,000,000,000, of which nearly two thirds had been
incurred by the Allies. Such vast expenditures in four
years' time could in no wise be met out of income, and the
funds had been raised only in small part through taxation.
Great Britain and afterward the United States had pro-
cured through taxes the largest sums ever so obtained in
the history of the world; but France, and Italy, Austria-
Hungary, and especially the German Empire had issued
repeated loans, hoping to make the defeated enemy pay
sufficient indemnity to cover them later on. Had the con-
flict been short, it is possible that the victor might have



been able to do this; but wlicii the long struggle was over
it was evident that the ruined Central Powers had not
remaining sufficient substance to make good the damage
they had wrought and then reimburse to the victors the
expenditure entailed by the war. Hence the j)resent
generation found itself burdened with a terrible, crushing
mortgage which might be repudiated, which might be
paid off after many years of economy and toil, which
might remain as a veritable millstone about the necks of
weaker peoples indefinitely on in the future. In 1014 the
national debt of France was about $0,000,000,000; after
the war it was about $33,000,000,000, or more than half
of her national wealth. The debt of Great Britain
had risen from more than $3,000,000,000 to about
$40,000,000,000. The financial position of Germany and
of Austria was so utterly desperate that their future
salvation could be hoped for rather than understood and
explained. Hard work, meager living, crushing taxes
alone could get rid of these debts. The destruction
caused by the war had brought more economic confu-
sion and more widespread distress than the world had
ever known before. Everywhere prices were high and
supplies and materials scarce. Accordingly, the despair
and unrest, which unhappily had ahvays prevailed among
those least fortunate and stable, were immensely increased.
There were many demands for complete and innnediate
reform. Everywhere appeared those who proposed revo-
lutionary schemes. Hence radicals looked forward to
speedy dissolution of the existing social and economic
organization; many others feared that dangerous changes
were at hand; and the conservatives became more con-
servative until a great tide of reaction set in.

More terrible than the waste and the heritage of debt
was the loss of life and happiness and health that the
war had entailed. The number of men killed was esti-
mated at 9,000,000, and the total casualties of the struggle

and ruin




of woe



Loss of life

The old sys-
tem and the
hope for
things better

The tragedy
of the

at 33,000,000. Horrible were the losses of Germany
and Russia, and the very flower of the young manhood of
France was gone. For a generation it would be a ques-
tion whether France or Servia or Poland could ever re-
cover, and during all this time from the highlands of
Scotland to the great plain of Russia travellers would see
mutilated or weakened men dragging out the course of
their lives. MilHons of children were orphans, millions of
women widows. To other millions of women in England
and Germany and France it would seem that a curse was
upon the earth in the time that they lived, for many could
never expect to marry or hope to become mothers of

The direct cause of this War of Desolation had been
the actions of military leaders who guided Russia, Austria-
Hungary, and the German Empire. Much condemnation
and wrath had fallen upon the German people; and, as
matters were, this was well. But in larger sense, the war
came from the system of things that existed in Europe.
And as the passions of war time subsided it was evident
that in Germany and in Austria-Hungary, as in Russia
and France and Great Britain, a host of plain and simple
men had been torn from their homes to be devoured in
the death-jaws of battle. From all these countries, and
especially from Great Britain, Germany, and France, a
goodly company of gentlemen, who held in their lives and
their keeping the best of the present of Europe and the
best of her hopes for the future, had gone forth and given
themselves. Now they lay in the silence of unnum-
bered graves. War had taken the best. To an ancient
master of tragic tale it might have seemed that the air
was alive with innumerable spirits of slaughtered men,
hovering over the trenches and fortress towns, writhing
ghostly hands in an agony of woe and uttering mute im-
precations upon the evil thing that had touched them.
This system had developed not from the wickedness of


particular men, but during a lon^ tiiiit*, from immcnius and The task of
complex causes. It was to be tlie principal task now of all ^^^ future
the best people to displace it gradually with something
that was better.


The cost of the war: E. 1^. Bogarl, Direct and Indirect Costs
of the Great War (1910); A. Deinan^'con, Le Di-diti de ri'hirope
(1920); Oswald Spongier, Der Untcnjany des Abendlandes (1917).

The effects in Germany and Austria-Hungary: Graf Julius
Andrassy, Diplomatie und Welthricy (1920); Ferdinand Runkel,
Die Deutsche Revoluiiun (1919).

National asj)irations: Rene Johannet, Le Principe des Na-
tionalites (1919), critical of; R. W. Seton-Watson, Europe in the

Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerEurope since 1870 → online text (page 43 of 49)