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over other races without their consent, depends upon the
success of the Socialists and the extreme Radicals in
keeping in their hands the new Russia whose birth is due
to their efforts and their daring.

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RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

statesmen have been making, and are still
making, bribes to Russia and Italy that
constitute a flagrant denial of the princi-
ples for the championship of which they
ask our support and sympathy. Has it
never occurred to the French and English
that we are neither stupid nor credulous:
and that we are not blinded by the procla-
mation of the principle of defense of small
nationalities in a document which specifies
the application of the principle only in
cases where the emancipation of subject
races would impair the political unity of
enemy powers?

"The aggressive objects and unscrupu-
lous methods of all the Powers should be
discredited in the eyes of their own peo-
ple." Amen, Mr. Balfour: and let us
begin in the Balkans. Your statement to
the American people furnishes an excel-
lent starting-point:

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ITALY AND THE BALKANS

It may be argued, it is true, that the expul-
sion of the Turks from Europe is neither a
logical nor a natural part of this general plan
[to establish a durable peace]. The mainte-
nance of the Turkish Empire was for genera-
tions considered essential by the world's states-
men for the maintenance of European peace.
Why, one may say, is the cause of peace now
associated with the complete overthrowal of this
political tradition? The reply is that circum-
stances have entirely changed.

Mr. Balfour does not tell us how or why
circumstances have changed. The Turks
are no more cruel or hopeless of reform
to-day than they were in 1878, when the
British Government, after trying to hush
up in England the story of the Bulgarian
massacres, threatened Russia with war in
order to keep Russia from getting Con-
stantinople.

Circumstances, from the Turkish and
Balkan points of view, have not changed
at all. They have changed only from the
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RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

point of view of British diplomacy.
Here we have the secret of the evil from
which the world is suffering. The states-
men of the Great Powers, w^ithout the
knowledge of their electorates, make dip-
lomatic combinations that plunge their
own countries into wars and sacrifice weak
nations and races. There is no hesitation,
no compunction. When a policy incon-
sistent with a former policy is adopted,
the public is told that "circumstances have
entirely changed." The public accepts,
and the best blood of the nation goes to
death without know^ing why. JNIr. Bal-
four refrains from showing how "circum-
stances have entirely changed." Clever
casuist that he is, he could explain only
bjT" telling the trutli. For reasons that
have nothing whatever to do with Con-
stantinople and the Balkans a few men
decided that Russia and Great Britain
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ITALY AND THE BALKANS

should come to an "understanding.'*
What Great Britain fought one terrible
war for, and was ready to fight another, to
prevent, she is to-day fighting to achieve.
The men who fell in the Crimea and in
Gallipoli, two generations apart, could
not both have died in a righteous cause.

In the Congi'ess of Berlin, which at-
tempted to decide the destinies of the
Balkan nations, Rumania, Bulgaria,
Greece, and Serbia were not allowed a
voice. The Great Powers showed an
utter disregard for the interests and rights
of the Balkan nations. From 1878 to
1914 the Balkan diplomacy of the Great
Powers followed faithfully the policy
that guided Beaconsfield and his fellow-
conspirators at Berlin. For what were
conceived (often wrongly) to be the in-
terests of the British Empire and of other
empires that were being built up or
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RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

projected, European statesmen showed
invariably a willingness to sacrifice the in-
terests of the Balkan nations, repress their
logical national development, and use
their national aspirations to pit one
against the other. Russia and Austria-
Hungary and Italy, having conflicting
imperial programs that foreshadowed po-
litical control of the Balkans, were most
guilty. But Great Britain, Germany,
and France had their share of blame also.
To curry favor with Constantinople and
to gain commercial concessions, as well as
to give proof of loyalty to alliances that
were forming and strengthening, the three
Occidental Powers made a show of de-
fending Turkey while secretly counte-
nancing the aggressive conspiracies of
their actual or potential allies. This is no
sweeping assertion, nor is it raking up
forgotten and abandoned policies. We
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ITALY AND THE BALKANS

need to go back no further than the Young
Turk Revolution of 1908. We can hmit
ourselves to citing events in which the re-
sponsibility of statesmen who are still in
office was engaged. Any one who looks
into the diplomacy of the Bosnia-Herze-
govina and Tripoli grabs, the bullying of
M. Venizelos and Greece over the Creton
question, and the London Ambassadorial
Conference of 1913, cannot fail to be con-
vinced that in so far as the Balkans are
concerned the diplomacy of all the Euro-
pean chancelleries is tarred with the same
brush.

To show how recent is the conviction of
the British foreign office to the belief that
"circumstances have entirely changed" in
the Balkans and necessitate tlie expulsion
of Turkey from Europe in order to assure
peace, let me quote the famous note of
October 8, 1912, which the Great Powers
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RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

delivered to the Balkan States to intimi-
date them from taking the step Mr. Bal-
four now believes essential to the peace of
Europe. In diplomatic circles it was cur-
rently reported at the time that this chef-
d'oeuvre emanated from Downing Street.
At any rate, four years ago Great Britain
put her signature to a document which
said:

The Powers condemn energetically every
measure capable of leading to a rupture of
peace. Suj)porting themselves on Article 23
of the Treaty of Berlin, they will take in hand,
in the interest of the population, the realiza-
tion of the reforms of the administration of
European Turke}^, on the understanding that
these reforms will not diminish the sovereignty
of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan and the
territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
If, in spite of this note, war docs break out be-
tween the Balkan States and the Ottoman Em-
pire, the Powers will not admit, at the end of
the conflict, any modification in the territorial
status quo in European Turkey.

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ITALY AND THE BALKANS

The Balkan States, who had waited in
vain during thirty-four years of oppres-
sion and suffering for the application of
Article 23 of the treaty of Berhn, knew
that no faith could be put in promises of
the Great Powers. They knew, too, that
suspicion of bad faith of each Power
toward each other Power made the last
statement of the note ridiculous and mean-
ingless. Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and
IMontenegro united for the first time in
their history, went ahead, and accom-
plished the work of emancipation in de-
fiance of the will of the Great Powers.
They would probably have divided the
territories wrested from Turkey without
serious friction had not the Ambassadorial
Conference of London and the underhand
intrigues of at least four of the six Powers
forbidden Serbia the access to the Adriatic
that she had won by her arms. Sir Ed-
169



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

ward Grey afterward said that his part
in this disgraceful and disastrous decision
was justified by his desire to avoid a Eu-
ropean war. By impKcation, at least,
Britisli writers have since tried to establish
the fact that Austria-Hungary was di-
rectly responsible for barring Serbia from
the sea, and that Germany was the real
culprit. WiDielmstrasse, so we are told,
was instigating and backing up Ballplatz.
This is true, but it is only half the truth.
Italy was equally responsible, and Russia
played an ignoble role in the affair.

The world has moved too fast during
the last three years to waste time and
energy in lamenting what might have hap-
pened and did n't. But the duty is none
the less incumbent upon us to keep in mind
the Balkan tragedy of 1913 in order that
a repetition of it may be avoided. For
none of the participants in the European
170



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

interference of that year has abandoned
the Great Power attitude toward the
Balkans. One can see in Balkan events
since the outbreak of the present war no
desire on the part of any European for-
eign office to forsake the deplorable diplo-
macy that has soaked Europe in blood.
Where is the statesman in any belligerent
country who dares to come out openly and
call a spade a spade?

The facts are painful. At the begin-
ning, Serbia was the only Balkan country
involved in the European War. It was
the desire of the other Balkan States to
remain neutral. All of them, with the ex-
ception of Rumania, had suffered heavily
in the two preceding wars and needed a
long period of peace for recuperation.
None had the equipment in heavy artil-
lery, ammunition, and aeroplanes to en-
gage in war against a Great Power.
171



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

Serbia resisted with admirable skill and
courage the first Austro-Hungarian in-
vasion. Her armies routed the invaders
completely. But the victory had been
dearly purchased, and precious stores of
ammunition expended. Serbia's power-
ful allies were in honor bound to take
steps to protect Serbia against a second
invasion. Since Turkey had entered the
war, interest also dictated the necessity of
reprovisioning in war material, and rein-
forcing the armies of the country that
stood between the Central Powers and
their Ottoman ally. But the Entente
Powers were thinking of themselves and
their own territorial ambitions. They
hoped to force Turkey into a separate
peace very speedily, and when that mo-
ment arrived they planned to have in their
possession the portions of Turkey they
wanted to keep. Until the critical days
17a



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

came, no attention was paid to Serbia and
Montenegro. Then the Entente Powers,
who had some months previously showed
their unwilhngness to accept Greek advice
and aid in the campaign against Turkey
or to promise to protect Greece against
Bulgarian aggi'cssion, suddenly called on
Greece to go to the aid of Serbia. At the
same time negotiations were carried on
with Bulgaria and Rumania. In all the
Balkan capitals, including that of their
faithful little ally, the ministers of the En-
tente Powers bullied and blundered and
bluffed without being able to offer any
tangible reward for Balkan aid. The
Balkan States knew full well what rewards
France and Great Britain had guaranteed
to Russia and Italy. What was left for
them? Russia balked at giving Rumania
even as much as the Bukowina, let alone
Bessarabia and Transylvania. Italy re-
173



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

fused to yield one iota of her imperial am-
bitions which could be realized only at the
expense of Greece and Serbia. Bulgaria
could not be promised the return of her
Macedonia irredenta, because the veto of
Italy prevented the Entente Powers from
promising Serbia compensation on the
Adriatic for giving up ]Macedonia to Bul-
garia. Great Britain and France could
not assure to Greece effective protection
against an invasion of the German, Aus-
tro- Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Turkish
armies. It was diplomatic incoherence
and military impotence.

The events in the Balkans of the second
and third years of the war have saved the
Central Powers from a humiliating de-
feat and Turkey from dismemberment.
If public opinion in France and Great
Britain persists in believing that the de-
bacle of the Entente cause is due to the
174



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

stubbornness of Serbia, the pro-German
sentiment of King Constantine and his
general staff, the cowardice of the
Greeks, the treason of Bulgaria, and the
foolhardiness and lack of military virtues
of Rumania, the Central Powers will have
won definitely the war in the East, no
matter what happens on the Western
front, and the Berlin-Bagdad dream will
be as much of a reality as Mitteleuropa.
German domination in the Balkans may
be a justifiable ambition from the German
point of view, but not from the point of
view of the Balkan races ! No races have
ever been happy under German control,
and the events of this war have not given
the world reason for believing in a change
in the selfish and barbarous attitude of
Germans toward other nations, especially
when those other nations are weaker.
We know the German theory of national
175



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

expansion. It has been set forth over and
over again by the ablest German scientists
and historians in relation to the Drang
nach Osten: the weak in the path of the
strong must be exterminated or amalga-
mated.

Without ignoring or denying the ex-
istence of a number of contributing fac-
tors, we can get to the very heart of the
Balkan problem when we are willing to
see and set forth the most important
reason of Balkan lukewarmness for the
cause of the Entente Powers. While
recognizing the Teuton menace, because
fully aware of Teuton aspirations, Balkan
nations attribute the same conception of
national expansion to Russia and Italy.
The statesmen of Rumania and Serbia and
JMontenegro, and the leaders of thought
in these three Balkan countries allied to
the Entente Powers, think on this point
176



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

exactly as do the statesmen and leaders
of Bulgaria and Greece. So does M.
Venizelos, head of the Greek revolutionary
government at Saloniki. Before the con-
quest of Serbia, M. Pachitch was unable
to prevent embarrassing interpellations
concerning Italy's intentions in the Nish
Skuptchina. In fact, the Premier of
Serbia has not had a happy moment since
Italy joined the Entente. The statesmen
of broad vision in Rumania fought bitterly
to the very last hour the irresponsible
forces at Bukharest that were bent ui)on
the destruction of their country through
following blindly the Transylvanian will-
o'-the-wisp. When M. Venizelos, humili-
ated and discredited, feels that it is time
to speak out the truth, he will have a sad
story of betrayal to tell. On the platform
of the station at Lyons, King Nicholas,
coming to France for the exile that may
177



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

have no end, declared, "Franz Josef
struck me on the head, but Victor Em-
manuel has struck me in the heart." The
King of JNIontenegro has no illusions
about the part his son-in-law's govern-
ment played by abstention in the crushing
of his kingdom.

Russia's pretensions to Constantinople,
and the universal opposition of the Balkan
races to Russian ambitions, have been
dealt with in an earlier chapter. In ex-
posing to President Wilson their aims in
the war and their ideas of the bases of a
durable peace, the Entente Powers evaded
a definite statement on this important
question. They spoke only of driving the
Turks from Europe. None denies the
justice of assuring Russia's passage to the
open sea, but it is difficult to reconcile
Russian control of Constantinople with
the principle of the rights of small nations
178



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

to self-government. Russia is ruled by
a cruel, despotic, and irresponsible bureau-
cracy. Even the Liberal Nationalists in
Russia have proved themselves as intoler-
ant of the rights of subject nationalities
as have the Young Turks. From the
Balkan point of view, Russia at Constanti-
nople and the straits (which would mean
also a large portion of Thrace) would
bring into the peninsula a powerful coun-
try who is hated because she is feared by
all the Balkan nations.

Five years ago much was written by
Occidental observers on the subject of
Italian imperialism. But, when the pres-
ent war broke out, the criticism of Italy
ceased. Berlin hoped to keep Italy neu-
tral. Paris and London wanted to detach
Italy from her former allies, and get her
to enter the war on the side of the Entente.
The result was disastrous for Italy, who
179



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

began to feel that destiny was calling upon
her to play the decisive role in European
history. The hope of extending her
sovereignty over the Trentino and Triest,
and the making of the Adriatic an Italian
sea could be realized only by intervening
on the side of the Entente. But the price
of intervention mounted at Rome each
month as the importunity of the Entente
increased. Italy wanted her full share in
the partition of the Ottoman Empire.
After the failure of the Dardanelles and
Saloniki expeditions, the appetite of
Italian imperialism was whetted. One
does not know how much Italy has been
promised in the event of an Entente vic-
tory, but one does know that the French
and English statesmen who promised any-
thing at all to Italy beyond the Trentino,
and possibly Triest, did so in wilful dis-
regard of the ideals they had set before
180



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

them, and for the triumph of which they
had solemnly proclaimed to the world that
the sword of justice and Hberty was
drawn.

The contemporary school of Italian im-
perialists have lost their heads entirely/

1 According to Signor Giolitti's journal, the Turin
"Stampa," which is one of the most influential news-
papers in Italy, this madness has spread to the statesmen
who are directing the destinies of all the European
states. Commenting on Mr. Wilson's address to the
American Senate, the "Stampa" said on January 25,
1917: "Mr. Wilson speaks like one who can put himself
beyond and above the passions and interests which divide
us so cruelly. . . . To-day Europe is losing its best men,
is seeing some of its immense wealth destroyed, is de-
pending always more and more on the good-will of neu-
trals for credit and for the furnishing of the materials
necessary for her existence and for the continuation of
the war." After admitting that the idea of a "peace
without victory," suggested by America, hurts I^uropean
pride, the "Stampa" sums up significantly: "But this
phrase could not have been pronounced if Europe, by
its insane diplomacy of these last years, had not fur-
ni.shed to the United States the occasion to speak such
language. Mr. Wilson's 'peace without victory' reveals
the future which is being prepared for Europe, if,
through the efforts of the best men of the opposing
belligerent groups, one does not find the spirit of reason

181



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

If the statesmen of the Entente Powers
had studied elosely the hterature and the
programs of the Dante Ahghieri Society
and the Dahnatian League, and followed
the development of the colonial and irre-
dentist propagandas during the last dec-
ade, they would have supported with all
their power Signor Giolitti and the non-
intervention elements in the spring of
1915. Italy's neutrality was a valuable
asset to the Entente. Italy's refusal to
march with her Central European allies,
and the assurance to France that there
was nothing to fear on the Alpine frontier,
helped incalculably the Entente cause, and
was for Italy herself the course dictated
by national interest. But active partici-
pation in the war on the side of the En-

and the self-mastery necessary to prevent sacrificing, on
the fields of battle, hereafter almost stationary, the
political, financial, and economic future of all the na-
tions in the war."

183



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

tente has been beneficial neither to the
Entente nor to Italy. The statesmen of
France, Great Britain, and Russia have
come to reahze that Itahan irredentists
and imperialists are without shame or limit
in their ambitions and are incapable of
constructive political vision. They have
had to yield to Italian demands, though,
in order to keep the coalition intact. The
result has been the sacrifice of the Ser-
bians and the loss of Greek aid. Inside
the Austro-Hungarian Empire the in-
creased military handicap from taking on
a new enemy has been offset by the
strengthening of the loyalty of luglo-
Slavs to the Hapsburg crown. Italy,
who needed all her resources for internal
development and for the completion of the
conquest of Tripoli, is spending herself in
the pursuit of illegitimate aspirations.
The men who are controlling Italian
183



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

policy could not subscribe to Mr. Bal-
four's conditions for a durable peace any
more than the men who are controlhng the
policy of Germany. Italy wants to make
the Adriatic an Italian sea, to retain the
Greek islands she has occupied since the
treaty of Ouchy and get more Greek
islands, and to win a generous slice of
Turkey by extending her sovereignty over
the whole Mediterranean littoral of Asia
Minor from the corner of the JEgean Sea
to the Bay of Alexandretta. It is a far
cry from the natural and just demand of
sober-minded patriots for the Itahan
Tyrol and the rectification of the disad-
vantageous Austrian frontier to this pro-
gram of spoliation. The realization of
Italian aspirations in the Adriatic would
enslave Slovenes, Croatians, Dalmatians,
Montenegrans, Albanians, and Greeks,
and would deprive central Europe of its
184



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

only outlet to the ^lediterranean. The
realization of Italian aspirations in the
JEgean and Asia Minor would enslave
Greeks, Turks, and Armenians. Thus
would disappear all that the Serbians have
been fighting for and suffering for, and
the dreams of Pachitch and Venizelos,
loyal friends of France and Great Britain,
who have risked everything for the En-
tente cause.

When one talks about the Balkans, just
as when one talks about the Poles and
Armenians and Irish, the common answer
is, "They are a bad lot — hopeless, don't
you know — never could govern themselves
even if they were let alone — would always
be cutting each other's throats." This
wide-spread impression is the result of
"giving a dog a bad name." No proof of
the assertions and charges is possible, be-
cause the experiment of letting these na-
185



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

tions work out their own salvation has not
been tried. How dare we, then, say that
it would fail? Exactly the same attitude
was taken by the rest of Europe during
the decades of the slow process of Italian
and German unification. Everything
that is being said so glibly about the unfit-
ness of self-government of subject races
and divided nationalities was said seventy-
five years ago about Italians, to whose
unification the chancelleries of the Powers
were bitterly opposed. Italy was unified,
and peace and prosperity reigned in the
Italian peninsula only when the Italians
were freed from foreign masters, foreign
intrigues, foreign internal interference.

Germany is not going to be put ho?^s de
combat in the duel by the weapon she her-
self chose. She cannot be forced into
submission or repentance by the armies of
her enemies. Germany does not admit
186



ITALY AND THE BALKANS

that she is in the wrong, and the Govern-
ment is supported in all sincerity by in-
telhgent public opinion. Germany is
gaining ground rapidly in Balkan pubhc
opinion, for nothing succeeds like success.
The Entente Powers must remember that
Germany is in possession. They have one
chance left to turn the tide in the Balkans,
and that chance is not by reenforcing
General Sarrail's army at Saloniki. The
fortune of arms has failed them in the
Balkans. Insincere and secret diplomacy
has also failed them. But they can still
put in specific terms, applied to the
Balkans, what they have stated in general
terms to be their aims in the war. They
can send a joint note to friends and foes,
Montenegro, Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria,
Greece, the Venizelos Government, and
the Albanian tribes, declaring that the
Entente Powers are willing to guarantee
187



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEAR EAST

the Balkan peninsula to the Balkan peo-
ples, and promising unequivocally that, if
they are successful in expelling Turks and
Austro-Hungarians and Germans, they
do not intend to introduce any other for-
eign element. They can promise to work
jointly for the establishment of a just
Balkan balance of power, by waiving
their o^^^l territorial ambitions to make
possible a durable peace and the triumph
of the principle for which they are fight-
ing.

We have had a hundred years of "prac-
tical" diplomacy in the Balkans. Ever


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