Herbert Adams Gibbons.

The reconstruction of Poland and the Near East ; problems of peace online

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Author of "The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire,"

"The New Map of Europe," "The New

Map of Africa," etc.

I'VW i^ ' Vt Vrf'*




^1 Qld

Copyright, 1917, by
The Century Co.

Publiahed, July, 1917

Or 3^"








The chapters of this book were written
as a series of articles for the "Century
Magazine." At the time of the Russian
Revolution and the intervention of the
United States, the chapters on Poland
and Constantinople had already been pub-
lished and the others were in print.

The Russian Revolution has not
changed the general aspect of the prob-
lems of reconstruction in the Near East.
The principle of independent Poland still
needs to be insisted upon, and the plea for
the Balkan nationalities and the races of
the Near East still needs to be advanced.
The contest in Petrograd over changing
Russia's objects in the war nearly led to
the disruption of the Provisional Govern-


ment. The resistance of the Cadets and
Octobrists to the new poHcy of "no annex-
ations, no indemnities," cuhninating in JNI.
Mihukoff' s effort to rob the Revolution of
its significance in so far as Russian for-
eign pohcy was concerned, shows that
Russian imperialism was not destroyed in
March. The reactionaries will not fail to
try to overthrow the new regime. They
will look to imperialistic aspirations again,
as in the past, to win outside support: and
they know from the past that not a single
European power has ever hesitated to sell
out liberalism and democracy in Russia to
secure the diplomatic support of the oc-
cult powers. Only when secret diplomacy
is abandoned in Europe will democracy be
safe in Russia, and only then will the Poles
and the Near Eastern races be free to
work out their own destinies.

The problems of the reconstruction of


Poland and the Near East are of more
vital interest to Americans than when I
wrote these articles. The intervention of
the United States on the side of the En-
tente realizes a hope and longing I have
had from the beginning of the world con-
flict. But whether the great war goes
down to history as the struggle of ideal-
ism and democracy against materiahsm
and autocracy or as an economic and po-
litical conflict of rival states fighting for
European and extra-European territorial
expansion, depends very largely upon how
we play our role. We must not be drawn
by the heat of the struggle into the
espousal of terms of peace contrary to the
principles and ideals of American foreign
and internal policy.

We have gone into the war with all our
might and all our will, and we shall spare
no sacrifice of blood and treasure to de-


feat Germany's schemes of territorial ag-
grandizement and subjugation of other
nations. But we must be on oui* guard,
with our Allies, to avoid the pitfall of be-
ing conquered by those whom we conquer.
We go forth to destroy militarism. Let
us not set up another militarism. We go
forth to punish imperialism. Let us not
become imperialistic. We go forth to
free nations from their slavery to our ene-
mies. Let us not make them our slaves.

Herbert Adams Gibbons.

Paris, June 1, 1917.



I. The Future of Poland ... 3

11. Constantinople: Pawn or Prin-
ciple.? 54?

III. Europe and Islam 101

IV. Italy and the Balance of Power

IN THE Balkans 154

V. The Monroe Doctrine for the

World 203





The Poles no longer have a common country,
but they have a common language. They will
remain, then, united by the strongest and most
durable of all bonds. They will arrive, under
foreign domination, to the age of manhood, and
the moment they reach that age will not be far
from that in which, emancipated, they will all
be attached once more to one center. — Talley-
rand, after his return from the Congress of
Vienna, 1815.

GREAT BRITAIN and France, as
well as Russia, Austria, and Prus-
sia, were signatories of the Treaty of
Vienna, and were bound by their signa-
ture to e'lforce its provisions. The first
article ( the final act of the Congress of
Vienna eclared solemnly: "The Poles,


subjects respectively of Russia, Austria,
and Prussia, will obtain national repre-
sentation and national institutions."
Russia, in addition, undertook to preserve
separate and autonomous the kingdom of
Poland, which was to enjoy its own laws,
language, and constitution. During the
hundred years that Europe lived under
the regime established by the Congress of
Vienna, Russia, Austria, and Prussia con-
stantly and consistently regarded their in-
ternational obligation toward the Poles as
a "scrap of paper." British and French
diplomats of successive ministries never
lifted a finger to help the Poles to retain
those rights guaranteed to them at Vienna.
They were content to send notes of mild
remonstrance to Russia after the disgrace-
ful events of 1831 and 1863, and to Austria
when the Repubhc of Cracow was sup-
pressed in 184G. It is only since the be-


ginning of the present war that the surpris-
ing thesis has been developed in London
and Paris that a nation is materiahstic and
has no sense of honor when it does not wish
to rush into war over questions of principle
and humanity which do not vitally affect
its own national interests, and that it is a
sign of weakness, pusillanimity, and in-
decision for statesmen to send notes !

There has been among enlightened lib-
erals in all nations, and especially in
France, deep sympathy for the martyrdom
of Poland, and a desire to see her historic
wrongs righted. But during the decade
preceding the outbreak of the European
War, the Poles learned that they had no
friends anywhere among the nations.
For when Germany and Russia entered
into a new era of persecution, more for-
midable than any experienced in the past,
there was no protest except from Austria-


Hungary, who had manifestly an ax to
grind. JNIore than tliat, old friends in
Great Britain and France, with an eye to
conciliating Russia, not only became in-
different in the hour of trial, but even at-
tempted to justify — or at least to condone
— the crimes of Russia. Long before the
events of August, 1914, proved the reality
of the "Triple Entente," the Anglo-
Russo-French alliance was foreshadowed
in the way London and Paris journalism
handled the Polish question. If there is
one lesson for Americans in the European
War and the events which preceded it, it
is that we must write our own history and
do our own reporting. Otherwise we are
sure to be misinformed about what has
been done, and is being done, in Europe.
Prejudice, hopeless bias, insincerity, spe-
cial pleading, are the order of the day
among European writers.



The violation of Russia's international
obligations to Poland and Finland has
been explained on the ground that the old
Russian policy was dictated by the bu-
reaucracy, and that all would be changed
when the will of enlightened Russian
liberalism began to make itself felt. The
inauguration of the Duma was hailed as
the beginning of a new era for Russia,
just as the reestablishment of Abdul-
Hamid's constitution was hailed as the be-
ginning of a new era for Turkey. There
seemed to be a curious failure — and there
still is — on the part of Occidental observ-
ers to realize that the attempt to graft
our constitutionalism upon these two Ori-
ental organisms could not bring forth the
fruit confidently predicted and imme-
diately expected. The democracy of
western Europe is a slow growth, born of
Rome, the Renaissance, and the Reforma-


tioii, nurtui-ed by the tears and blood of
our ancestors through many generations,
and made secure through universal edu-
cation. What can we hope for in east-
ern Europe and Asia in less than a

Poland and Finland fared far worse
at tlie hands of Russia since the Duma
came into being than before. The Rus-
sian liberals are nationalists of the
most virulent type, and they believe that
the full play of constitutionalism is pos-
sible only after the entire empire has un-
dergone thorough Russification. So they
have waged a bitter war against the Poles
by reducing Polish representation in the
Duma, by opposing local self-govern-
ment for municipalities, by refusing the
Poles the privilege of being educated in
their own language, and by searching for
the development of existing laws and the


invention of new laws to ruin the Poles
economically. It is the fashion to-day to
hold up Austria-Hungary under the
Hapsburgs as the shining example of
the oppressor of small nationalities that
have been seeking to lead their own life.
Certainly none can deny the oppression
of the Slavic nationalities in the dual
monarchy by the German and JNIagyar
bureaucrats of Vienna and Budapest. I
was in Agram, the capital of Croatia, dur-
ing that memorable spring of 1912, when
the iniquity of Austria-Hungarian offi-
cialdom was laid bare before the world.
Only three months later I was in Helsing-
fors, the capital of Finland, and it was
while I was investigating the Russian per-
secution of the Finns that I read an "in-
spired" news article from Petrograd
which attempted to justify the separation
of the province of Khehn from the king-


(loin of Poland. Never, in the worst days
of the iron heel, had the old Russian des-
potism gone so far as to inij^air the terri-
torial integrity of the Poland intrusted to
Russia l)y the Congress of Vienna!

Until we are sure that the hold of the
Socialists upon the Russian Provisional
Government is going to last until after the
Peace Conference, we can put no faith in
the proclamation promising independence
to Poland. In spite of the success of
Kerensky and his associates in ousting M.
Miliukoff from the IMinistry of Foreign
Affairs and from the Cabinet all together,
we must remember that the Duma still
exists, and that the Cadets and Octobrists
have little inclination to support the pro-
gram of the Socialists. When jNI. JNIihu-
koff was in Paris in 1916, he disappointed
and pained his old liberal friends by his
bitter hostility to Polish autonomy, let


alone Polish independence. The Petro-
grad Revolution was the work of the So-
cialists and the extreme Radicals, whose
principles — in every country in Europe —
are irreconcilable with nationalism and
imperialism. The bulk of the members of
the Duma, and most of the Russian lead-
ers who call themselves moderates, are
more Czarist than Czarism itself in their
views on foreign policy. If the extremists
ruin their prestige by excesses and inabil-
ity to cope with the situation, the moder-
ates, returning to jiower, will give short
shrift to Polish dreams of indej^endence.
During the last decade, the Prussian
Government, also without interference
from the imperial Reichstag, carried on a
brutal and cynical war against the Poles
of Posnania and Eastern Prussia. The
aim of German statesmen, like those of
Russia, was to stamp out Polish nation-


ality by every possible means. Some So-
cialists and a certain section of the Cath-
olic Center protested in the Reichstag and
in the press against Prussia's anti-Polish
measures, pointing out their folly as well
as tlieir illegality. But the great bulk of
the German lawmakers ^ profess the same
narrow nationalism as the Russian law-
makers. They are determined to give no
quarter to Poles who have the misfortune
to be German subjects until they abandon
their nationality and their language.
From 1848 up to the outbreak of the pres-
ent war, Germany has displayed complete
solidarity with Russia in her treatment of
the Polish question. The dictum has
been, "Poland is dead; she must never be

1 Let us keep in mind that the Duma, hostile to Polish
independence, is still the legal lawmaking body in Rus-
sia, until the project of a national election has beeo



Of the partitioners, Austria alone gave
the Poles autonomy, and allowed them
freedom in the development of their na-
tional life and their national institutions.
Galicia has enjoyed a peculiarly fortunate
geographical and political position since
the formation of the dual monarchy in
1867. To keep the Bohemians in check,
to prevent the spread of Russian propa-
ganda, to forestall the possibility of the
German element being put in a minority
in the Vienna Reichsrath by a Panslavic
combination, Austrian statesmen have con-
sistently curried favor with the Poles.
Thanks to the exigencies of Austrian in-
ternal politics, Galicia has become the
foyer of Polish nationalism, and from
Cracow and Lemberg has gone forth the
light to keep alive and foster the hope of
the ultimate realization of the aspirations
of the Polish people. Many Poles have


resented deeply what they call the Ga-
licians' indifference to, or, as it is some-
times more strongly put, betrayal of the
pan-Polish ideal. But is it not because
they refuse to put themselves in the other
man's place, and to realize that he who
gets must give? It would be strange in-
deed if the Galicians, comparing their lot
with that of Poles under the Romanoffs
and Hohenzollerns, should remain uncom-
promising and unwilling — if only for pol-
icy's sake — to give a certain measure of
loyalty and to show a certain measure of
a2:)preciation to the Hapsburgs.

But from an economic point of view, the
Poles under the Hapsburgs have suffered
serious handicaps for which political au-
tonomy is only a partial recompense. If
we believe in the principle that all sub-
jects of a state have a right to free and
unrestricted enjoyment of the advantages


accruing from membership in that state,
and are not to be discriminated against or
exploited for the profit of others, there is
ground for a serious indictment of the
Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy in the
treatment of the Poles, however favored
they may have been politically. Xearly
one third of Austria's grain, more than
two fifths of her potatoes, one half of her
horses, and one fourth of her cattle are
raised in Galicia. Hungary and portions
of Austria specialize in the same products ;
so the agriculture and stock-raising of
Galicia are not essential for the well-being
of the empire. And by refusing logical
railway and canal construction, Austria
and Hungary have kept Galicia in a posi-
tion of inferiority for export of agricul-
tural products and stock. There has been
equal malevolence in the way Austria has
blocked the development of Galicia's salt


to prevent industrial competition. Aus-
tria, enjoying free trade with Galicia, has
forced her manufactured products upon
the Poles, and they have been powerless to
compel her to take from Galicia a full
equivalent in Galician products. Only
the discovery of petroleum, which is not
found elsewhere in the dual monarchy, has
enabled Galicia to prosper in the face of
artificial economic disadvantages.

From the point of view of intention, and
in execution, the Russian exploitation of
Poland has been far worse. Since 1865,
Polish proprietors in Ruthenia and Lithu-
ania have been compelled to pay into the
Russian treasury a supertax of ten per
cent, on their income. The kingdom of
Poland, with only one fifteenth of the pop-
ulation, has of recent years been mulcted
for nearly one fourth of the entire revenue
of the Russian Empire! Besides sup-


porting between two and three hundred
thousand foreign functionaries, oppres-
sors, and criminals, the Poles have fur-
nished a large part of the funds for Rus-
sia's activities in Siberia and central Asia.
For the money raised by taxes is not spent
in the country. The Poles, powerless to
legislate for themselves and control the ex-
penditure of the tremendous taxes wrung
from them, have had to struggle against
the handicap of the most miserable roads
in Europe. In this day of international
commerce, when transportation facilities
mean so much, Russian Poland, both in
proportion to inhabitants and to area, has
fewer railways than any other country in
Europe. Taking wagon roads and rail-
ways together, Russian Poland holds the
lowest place among the civilized countries
of the world. Russian Poland is perhaps
also the only country in the world where


public primary education has fallen off in
the last four hundred years. The Rus-
sian exploiters, filling their treasury with
Polish money, maintained, according to
the census of 1912, only 4641 primary
schools in Poland, with 282,000 pupils.
This means one school for every 2750 in-
habitants; while the rest of Russia enjoys
a school for every 1430 inhabitants. In
the same territory, in the year 1500, the
Poles had a primary school for every 2250
inhabitants. The most sweeping suppres-
sion of public education in Poland has
come since the establishment of the Duma.
In 1906 nearly a thousand primary schools
were closed in Poland without explana-
tion or justification. In the kingdom of
Poland, right down to the opening of the
present war, the regime of bitter oppres-
sion continued. There was no liberty of
speech, of association, of teaching, of


press, and even the private expression of
one's opinion led to banishment or death.
Despite the ill will and incompetency
of the bureaucracy, Russian Poland has
prospered wonderfully from the indus-
trial point of view, and has gained steadily
in importance as a manufacturing coun-
try. Warsaw has attained over a million
inhabitants, and the growth of Lodz is
comparable to that of the great industrial
cities of Germany, England, and Amer-
ica. In their industrial life the people of
Poland have benefited by the union with
Russia, for they have been able to de-
velop their manufactures with the view
of supplying the needs of the greatest
country of Europe, a country in which
industry is far behind that of other nations.
It is not surprising that those who have
benefited by the open door to Russian
markets have been willing to submit to


political persecution and even to economic
discrimination. What matters it if rail-
way rates are so arranged that freight
from Warsaw to ^Moscow pays a consider-
ably higher tariff than freight from INIos-
cow to Warsaw? As long as Russia can-
not compete with Poland in manufactures,
the industrial element in Poland is willing
to grin and bear this discrimination. But
it is not the same for agriculture, which is
after all the chief source of wealth of every
country. Russian Poland is marvelously
rich, and its people are as industrious as
any in the world. They get along. But
how much better they could do if they had
a fair chance ! Under Russian rule, Poles
have emigrated in great numbers, and
hundreds of thousands who ought to have
plenty to do at home must go every year
to Germany to find work at living wages.
From the purely material point of view,

In this map the temtor\ m which those of Pohsh extraction predominate u indicated in black That part of
it to the right of the nhite hne is at present included in Russia, of that to the left, the Dorthera portion is non
included in Gerroanj . the southern, m Auslna


the Poles cannot claim to be badly off
under German rule. They have benefited
fully as much as the Germans themselves
by the prosj^erity of the German Emj)ii'e
since its unification. Roads are good and
well kept up. Railroads are abundant.
The economic organization is superb.
One has only to study the figures of Polish
bank balances in Prussia to see that the
Poles have received their full share of the
prosperity that has come to Germany
during the last thirty years. In spite of
hostile legislation, they have enjoyed as
individuals the protection and privileges
of the German laws. There are schools
for all in Prussian Poland. Polish work-
ing-men share in the benefits of enlight-
ened German social legislation. The
press is free. For this reason Posen, and
not Warsaw, has become the center for
books, magazines, and newspapers in the


Polish language. German Poles have
everything but the right to be Poles and
govern themselves. The attitude of the
Prussian Junker to the Pole is very simi-
lar to that of the English Tory to the
Irishman: "You have the full dinner-
pail. Your union with us is of enormous
benefit to you. Why, in the name of
Heaven, are you not satisfied?"

Up to the outbreak of the war in 1914,
Russia, Germany, and to a certain extent
Austria, ignored the possibility of the
resurrection of the Polish nation. They
had declared so repeatedly that the inde-
pendence of Poland was a chimera, and
that "agitators" who kept alive the feeling
of nationality among their Poles were
criminals and working against the best
interests of their people, that the rest of
Europe — the whole world in fact — had
ended by believing that the Polish ques-


tion was dead. No more striking illustra-
tion of this can be found than in the simple
fact that three years ago a writer could
not get published in a big newspaper,
much less in a leading magazine or review,
any article dealing with the possibility of
the resurrection of Poland. I know, for
I have tried. The invariable answer was
that there was no interest in the Polish
question, or that the Polish question did
not exist.

But when the participants of Poland
came to blows among themselves, the
world awoke suddenly to the fact that the
Polish question was not dead, that the
Poles had kept alive through a century of
martyrdom their consciousness of race,
and that they were numerous enough to
have a decisive effect upon the issue of the
war. How bitterly the Germans must
have rued the Prussian policy of antag-


onizing the Poles! What an advantage
the Central Powers would have enjoyed
had the Prussian Landtag during the last
decade shown toward the Poles the same
liberal spirit as the Austrian Reichsrath!
If Germany and Austria-Hungary had
been able to get together at the very begin-
ning of the war, and had announced to all
the Poles that they intended to restore
Poland as an independent nation, Russia
would have been powerless to strike a blow
on the eastern front. But chickens came
home to roost for Germany immediately.
In view of the bitter Prussian persecution
during the last decade, how could the
Poles be expected to have more faith in
German promises than in the words of the
Grand Duke Nicholas? The Poles did
not know where they stood, and had little
reason to put any faith at all in the fair
promises of either side.


The first months of the war were a
period of enthusiasm, when clear detached
thinking was virtually impossible for any-
one. No man with red blood in his veins
could be really neutral. One simply had
to take sides, and the fact that Russia was
the ally of France and that the offensive
movement of the Russian armies relieved
the pressure upon Paris was sufficient for
men of liberal thought throughout the
whole world to do their very best to ac-
cept and believe the Russian promises
made to Poland in the Grand Duke
Nicholas's proclamation. Even in Au-
gust, 1914, however, it was very difficult
to take at face-value this stirring appeal
for Polish friendship. The Russian
change of heart lay under the natural
suspicion of being due to expediency and
determined by the military exigencies of
the moment. This suspicion grew when


the Grand Duke's promises were not con-
firmed by an imperial ukase. Then came
the temporar}^ Russian successes in Gahcia
and the capture of Lemberg. Russia had
her moment of great opportunity. But
instead of conserving Pohsh hberties en-

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