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decimating her population by privations and pitiless repressions, and
overwhelming her with the worst kind of moral tortures. To these
violences the Belgian Nation continues to oppose forces of resistance
drawn from a consciousness of right, from the beauty of her cause, from
her love of liberty.

Respect for treaties is the basis of the moral and juridical relations
of States and the condition of an honest and regular international
order. Carried into the war by a will to compel respect for a treaty
which Russia had guaranteed, Belgium is pursuing the struggle without
wavering, and at the price of the most cruel sacrifices. She considers
that the promise of Russia, in which she trusted, is still binding. She
refuses to believe that the Russian people, master of its destinies,
will irrevocably abandon the promises made in its name. Confident in the
honor and loyalty of the Russian people, Belgium reserves to herself the
right to implore the execution of obligations whose permanent character
places them outside any internal changes of régime in the State.




Serbia's Hopes and Russia's Defection

By Nikola Pashitch

_Premier and Foreign Minister of Serbia_

[Speech delivered March 31, 1918, before the Skupshtina at Corfu and
especially translated for CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE]


Since the last meeting of this Assembly a great number of events have
come to pass which have measurably modified the general military and
political situation. One of our greatest allies, Russia, has retired
from the battlefield, but another ally, quite as powerful as Russia, but
doubtless not yet bringing to bear all the force of which she is
capable, has rushed to our aid.

These two principal events, with others of less importance, have
perceptibly changed the situation which existed more than a year ago,
when Germany proposed to us the conclusion of a peace "honorable" for
both the belligerent groups. Already at that time had Germany perceived
the impossibility of fighting her adversaries by military force alone,
and was obliged to resort to other means, which she had already
employed, although in a more restrained fashion. So Germany decided to
make more energetic use of her hidden channels with the idea of
disorganizing in the quickest possible time the unity of her
adversaries. She contrived intrigues, employing different methods
according to the country where they were to be used and where she
believed they would succeed.

You still remember the case of Miassoyedov, which was perpetrated with
the aim of annihilating an entire Russian army. You also remember the
attempt of the enemy to have Ireland revolt, an experiment which
dismally failed owing to the prompt and energetic measures taken by the
British Government. Surely you have a vivid memory of the criminal
exploitation which the enemy Governments made in Italy of the Papal note
in favor of peace. Also, you remember the numerous cases of arson of
munition plants by the action of their agents, and the enemy propaganda
of a premature peace for the benefit of Germany, employed to the limit
by pacifists and certain imperialist and international adventurers
through lectures and "defeatist" newspapers in neutral countries.


RUSSIA ALONE DECEIVED

All these intrigues were clothed in fine phrases and put forward with
high humanitarian ideals, by which the enemy propagated monarchistic
ideas in republics and republican ideas in monarchies, eulogizing a
military régime in democratic countries and in autocracies democratic,
republican, and even anarchistic ideals.

They all had one sole end - to provoke internal disorders and discord
among the Allies in order to divert the attention of Germany's
adversaries from the principal aim. In every allied country these secret
machinations of our enemies were unmasked and repelled. Repelled - except
in Russia. All these intrigues and secret machinations could not succeed
anywhere except in Russia, where there are many Germans, and where our
enemies managed to concentrate the entire attention of a people in the
midst of war upon their internal organization. In this way the
possibility was placed in the hands of enemies - most dangerous to the
liberty of the people and to their right to dispose freely of their
destiny - to guide more easily the struggle with free and democratic
nations reared against Prussianism in order to defend the rights of the
weak and prevent the enslaving of other countries and other peoples.


RUSSIAN LIBERTY DESTROYED

The first revolutionary movement in Russia was directed against an
autocratic and irresponsible Government. On the side of the revolution
they pretended that the Government had initiated pourparlers for a
separate peace with Germany unknown to the Russian people and the
Allies. After this first movement, a second took place in Russia
demanding a democratic peace "without annexations and indemnities" on
the basis of the right of peoples to determine their destiny freely and
for themselves.

This second revolutionary provisional Government not having the desire
to cut the bonds which attached Russia to the democratic and allied
countries, a third movement followed, which did not hesitate to cut the
bonds uniting Russia to the Allies, to demobilize the Russian armies - an
act contrary to all reason, even revolutionary - and to initiate
pourparlers with the enemy at Brest-Litovsk for a separate peace.

The result of these pourparlers was the capitulation of the Maximalists
to Prussian militarism, the disguised annexation by Germany of the great
Baltic provinces of Russia, and the conclusion of peace between the
Central Powers and the Ukraine, by which the latter separated from her
enfeebled sister in order consciously to aid the enemies of the Slav
race. The recognition of the independence of Finland, Caucasia, and
Poland by the Central Powers followed, and, upon its heels,
disintegration and general discord in Russia finally giving place to the
present civil and fratricidal war.

We would not wish to deny that the Russian revolution counted for
something in the ranks of its sincere combatants in the way of high
social ideals, for democratic reforms, and for liberty. But, judging
from its results, it is impossible to deny that the Russian revolution
sustained a German influence, and that this influence so far has been
useful only to Germany, who still makes war on Russia in order to
prevent the latter from unifying her enfeebled peoples and
re-establishing her position in the world.


A SHAMEFUL CATASTROPHE

The Russian revolutionists fell before the blow of Prussian militarism
and surrendered to it the peoples who had hoped to obtain the right of
self-determination. It is possible, even probable, that the situation in
Russia may improve. But at present what the Germans aimed at in Russia
has been attained. They have taken away Russian provinces, incited civil
war in the Russian fatherland, and removed the danger of the Russian
armies which threatened them. These armies having been prematurely
demobilized for incomprehensible reasons, the enemy is able to direct
all his forces against his other adversaries. He has also obtained in
this way a considerable amount of war material and food.

This catastrophe, which has covered the Russian people with shame, has
been a lesson to all other nations, for it has definitely confirmed the
conviction that it was certainly Germany who provoked this terrible war
with the aim of conquest and hegemony.

But the great and free America did not wait for this moment before
deciding to declare war on Germany, who had placed above the principles
of right and justice that of brute force. On account of the Germans'
conduct in the war, which surpassed all known horror and barbarism, not
sparing even neutral nations, the United States became convinced that it
was its duty to restrain this bestial force if the world were not to
fall under the yoke of Prussian militarism. America entered the war to
defend civilization and the right of people to dispose of themselves.


AMERICANS TO THE BREACH

The appearance of North America on the war stage filled the place made
vacant by the surrender of Russia. Our allies having come to the
conviction that they could count no longer on Russia, and that it would
even be dangerous to regard her as a military asset, have employed all
their forces in conformity with the new situation in order to fortify
the solidarity which unites them and to augment their military and
material force in proportion to what they had lost by the withdrawal of
Russia, all with the idea of assuring the world a just and durable peace
based on the liberty of the people to be self-determining. The strength
of the army of our allies is greater by far than that of the enemy, not
only in man power but also in material. Organization is improving,
and on all questions there is complete accord. Quite recently German war
atrocities decided Japan to participate still more actively in the
struggle.

The Serbian people, who have made the greatest sacrifice and given the
finest proofs of their loyalty and fidelity toward the Allies, may
therefore be certain that their sacrifices have not been in vain, and
that their ideals will be realized if they continue to give in the
future the evidence of their military and civil virtues, and if, as in
the past, they abhor all intrigues having for their aim the destruction
of our concord and union in defense of the interests of our people, who
bear three names, but who form but one nation. We have observed that
Austria-Hungary, particularly in these latter days, has intensified her
intrigues and her calumnies against the Serbian people. She began by
spreading in Western Europe the false rumor that Serbia had tried, in an
indirect way, to initiate pourparlers for a separate peace, because in
our country and on the front of the Serbian Army she had suggested that
she would be disposed to end the war against Serbia were it not for the
fact that King Peter and the Serbian Government were opposed to the
project. All such intrigues and calumnies have only one end - to destroy
the faith which our allies have in the Serbian people, to rupture the
national concord, and by our discord and quarrels to assure the conquest
of the Serbian Nation.


SERBIA STILL FAITHFUL

But our people know Austria-Hungary too well to be taken in by these
infamous intrigues and to believe her lying words. The nation remains
faithful to her noble allies, who are pouring out their blood for little
and weak nations, and will not deviate one hair's breadth from her stand
until the end. The Serbian people have given all that they have, and
now, although few in numbers, they still stand faithfully by the side of
the Allies. They should never lose sight of the fact that it was
Austria-Hungary who provoked the war with the idea of annihilating
Serbia.

Our allies will not fail to acquire the conviction that the various
peoples of Austria-Hungary cannot be free, and that a durable peace
cannot be guaranteed so long as these peoples shall live in the State of
the Hapsburgs, who from peoples once free have made Germano-Magyar
slaves and have prevented their development by subjecting them to
Germano-Magyar exploitation.

Germanism in its drive toward the Orient hurled itself upon Serbia, and
only as a single united nation of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, closely
bound to Italy, can we obstruct the German push toward the Orient and
Adriatic, and aid in the establishment of a durable peace.

We ask only justice. We demand that slavery of peoples be abolished,
just as slavery of individuals was suppressed. We demand equality among
all nations, whether great or small, the fraternity and equality of all
nationalities, and the foundation of a free State of all the reunited
Jugoslavs. The return of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the complete
re-establishment of independent Belgium; the re-establishment of the
kingdom of all the Czechs, also that of all the Poles, the union of
Italians with Italy, of Rumanians with Rumania, of Greeks with Greece,
all of which would constitute the greatest and most solid guarantee for
a just and lasting international peace. Hence we proclaim what should be
realized soon or later - if not after this war then after a new shedding
of blood - because this realization is identified with the progress of
civilization and of humanity.

These great ends, humane and just, which are incarnated with the life
and growth of civilization, we repeat, should be realized. They embrace
those great ideals which spring from the soul and sentiments of
individuals and races, and which will vanquish the brute force of
certain anachronistic States, just as, in the last century, they
vanquished the brute force of the individual.

Let us pledge our honor and eternal gratitude to all the peoples who are
fighting for the right of all nations to shape their own destiny and for
an international peace both just and lasting.




Rumania's Peace Treaty

Why the Onerous Terms of the Central Powers Had to be Accepted


The peace treaty between Rumania and the Central Powers was signed at
Bucharest May 6, 1918, and is called "the peace of Bucharest." Dr. von
Kühlmann, the German Foreign Secretary, was Chairman of the
plenipotentiaries representing the Central Powers. A comprehensive
synopsis of the terms of the treaty appears elsewhere in this issue of
CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE.

A writer in The London Times explains why Rumania was compelled to
accept the enemy's exacting terms. He quotes General Averescu, the
Rumanian Prime Minister, in these words:

If Rumania accepts the humiliating German peace terms and is ready
to yield to her enemies the dearest part of her territory, she does
not do it only to spare the lives of the remnants of her army, but
for the sake of her allies, too. If Rumania refuses the German
conditions today she may be able to resist another month, but the
results will be fatal. A month later she might have to lose even the
shadow of independence which is left to her now; and then, no doubt,
the Germans would deal with her in the same way as they dealt with
occupied France and with Belgium. The whole Rumanian army would be
made prisoners, and would be sent to work on the western front
against the Allies, while the civilian population would be compelled
to work in ammunition and other factories for the Kaiser's army. I
fought in the ranks in 1877 to help my country to win the Dobrudja.
You may imagine how I feel now, having to sign the treaty which
gives it to our worst enemies. But we are compelled to amputate an
important part of our body in order to save the rest of it. However
painful it may be, we are bound to do it.


DESERTED BY RUSSIA

To understand Rumania's situation, as The London Times correspondent
goes on to say, we have to consider her position since Kerensky's fall.
At the end of November, 1917, the front from the Bukowina to the Black
Sea was held by a Russo-Rumanian force. Its flanks from Dorna-Watra to
Tergu-Ocna and from Ivesti to the Black Sea were held by three Russian
armies, numbering about 450,000 men, and by two Rumanian armies of about
180,000 men. The Russian armies were, of course, weakened by many
desertions and by lack of discipline, so that their actual was much less
than their nominal strength. Nevertheless, about 350,000 Russians were
still holding the front at that time. When the Russian armistice was
signed, Rumania was compelled, by the joint threats of Germany and the
Soviets of the Rumanian front, to adhere to it. From that day the
Russian troops began to leave the trenches, not in hundreds, as they did
before, but in masses of thousands at a time. Thus, at the end of
January, 1918, hardly 50,000 Russians remained on the whole Rumanian
front, and they had no desire to fight the enemy, but, being from
Siberia or some other remote part of Russia, found it more convenient to
spend their time in Rumania than to go back to their own country. They
could easily raise money by selling to the highest bidder (Austrian or
Rumanian) their guns, rifles, motor cars, &c.

For a certain time many - especially the French - believed strongly in the
Ukraine and in the promises of the Rada. Much money had been spent in
recruiting an army of the Ukraine which was supposed to fill the gaps
left by the Russian Army on the southwestern front. All that I saw of
this army was a group of about 150 boys, none of them over the age of
16, armed with rifles with fixed bayonets, a pistol, a sword, and a
dagger. All wore spurs, though none of them had a horse. They paraded in
the main streets of Jassy daily between 11 and 12. I calculated that
every one of these boys cost the Entente well over £10,000. But in time
the most incorrigible dreamers realized that the Ukraine had played a
trick on Rumania. Then the handsome Ukrainian toy soldiers were
withdrawn from circulation, and no army ever replaced the Russians.

In the meantime, the Rumanian Government decided, for political and
military reasons, to occupy Bessarabia. This operation required no less
than seven divisions. Thus at the beginning of February the same front
which was held in November by over 500,000 men was occupied by barely
120,000. Army supplies were getting shorter every day; and Rumania,
being in a state of war with the Bolshevist Government, was completely
cut off from the rest of her allies. In these circumstances Germany had
an easy prey, and dealt with it in true German fashion.


AN IMPERIOUS SUMMONS

When the treaty with the Ukraine was signed Rumanian Headquarters
received a note from General Morgen, the German Commander in Chief,
saying that, as peace with Russia had been concluded, the Rumanian
armistice had come to an end, and that delegates should be sent without
delay to Focsani to examine the new situation. The Rumanian delegates
arrived at Focsani next day. They were received with such insolence by
the German delegates that the Chief of the Rumanian General Staff,
General Lupesco, threatened to leave immediately. The discussions,
however, did not last very long, and the mission came back with the
announcement that Rumania had to decide within four days whether she was
ready to discuss peace terms or not. A Crown Council was held
immediately; and the majority of the Generals declared that the army
could resist for a month at the most. M. Bratiano and M. Take Jonescu,
who could not consent to make peace with the enemy, resigned, and the
King asked General Averescu, the most popular man in Rumania, to form a
new Cabinet.

Meanwhile, King Ferdinand received a telegram from Berlin, by which he
was warned that the Austro-German Government would not discuss peace
terms with a Cabinet which included M. Bratiano or any member of his
former Cabinet. The feelings of the King of Rumania - when he saw that
even before peace discussions had begun the enemy had begun to interfere
in Rumania's internal politics - can be appreciated. But King Ferdinand
carried his head high, as he had done all through the tragic misfortunes
of his country, and was indifferent to German arrogance. He replied to
Herr von Kühlmann that Rumania was an independent country, and had a
right to any Government she pleased. But none of the members of the
former Cabinet came into the new one. General Averescu formed a
Government which had the tragic task of concluding peace, and thus of
annihilating, temporarily at least, all the tremendous efforts that
Rumania had made during the preceding fifty years to become,
economically as well as politically, the leading power in the Balkans.


THREE HUNGRY ENEMIES

The peace negotiations were supposed to last for a fortnight at most. In
fact, they were nothing more than a farce, for the Germans allowed no
discussion at all. They simply laid their preliminary conditions before
the Rumanian delegates, and, taking advantage of the military
helplessness of Rumania, told them: "You can take it or can leave it."
The Rumanian delegates made a few attempts to discuss the German terms,
but they soon found that it was useless and that the only thing to do
was to yield.

The fact was that Rumania had to satisfy three hungry enemies. Each had
his own object, but in each case the result was the same from the point
of view of Rumania - subjection to the German yoke. The Bulgarians were
eager to accomplish their ideal of "a great Bulgaria" by the annexation
of the Dobrudja. Therefore, Rumania had to give up the Dobrudja. The
Austrians, under Magyar pressure, demanded the surrender of the
Carpathian passes - a condition which was pressed by Count Czernin, who
remembered with bitterness the rebuff that he had suffered from the
Rumanian King and Government at the time when Rumania came into the war.
The Germans were determined to seize the immensely rich oilfields of
Rumania and to secure for an unlimited period Rumanian wheat for
Germany at a price to be fixed by German authorities. For years Germany
had tried to get control of the Rumanian oilfields. Where bribes and the
offer of a heavy price had failed, the chance of war now insured
success. The oilfields were seized nominally by way of a monopoly for
ninety-nine years.


GERMANY'S SHARE OF BOOTY

As usual, Germany's allies had to yield up some of the prey to her. Thus
the Germans succeeded in setting up a condominium over the most
important part of the Dobrudja, between Constanza and the mouths of the
Danube. From Campina, the centre of the oilfields district, a pipe line
runs direct to Constanza, where the oil can be stored in enormous tanks,
which were left practically untouched when Constanza was abandoned in
November, 1916. It is essential for Germany that she should control the
pipe line, and this she will certainly do under the form of the
condominium.

As for the grain supply, the Germans, who had had to pay a heavy price
for Rumanian grain before Rumania went to war, owing especially to
British competition, were particularly careful to insure now against the
repetition of anything so unpleasant. The form of the agreement which
was dictated to Rumania on this point is that the surplus is to go to
Germany after the needs of Rumania have been satisfied. What the needs
of Rumania may be will be decided by a Rumanian commission; but this is
to be under German control, and there is not much doubt that the ration
allowed to the Rumanian population will be proportioned pretty
accurately to the needs of Germany.

These territorial and economic advantages secured, Germany went on to
add humiliation for Rumania to the heavy toll of material loss. They
insisted that the eight Rumanian divisions which were holding the
Rumanian front should be demobilized at once under the control of German
staff officers. Finally, the Germans asked that the Rumanian Government
should give all possible facilities to a German force to pass through
Rumania to Odessa. In point of fact, on March 10, long before the peace
conditions were settled, the first German battalions passed through
Galatz on their way to the Ukraine.

All these humiliating conditions had to be accepted. The motive of the
Germans in piling up their enactions so frequently was evidently to
compel the Averescu Cabinet, which they suspected of being pro-ally, to
resign. They hoped to force the King to form a Cabinet of their
Bucharest friends. In this they succeeded. The present Government of
Rumania may be pro-German; but the Rumanian Nation - from the last
peasant soldier, who brought the Germans to a stand last Summer at
Maraseshti and Oitoz, to the King - bitterly hates everything German.
Isolated as Rumania is now, she waits breathlessly for the victory of
the Allies, hoping to be helped to free herself from German dominion.




The Peace of Bucharest

Synopsis of Rumania's Peace Treaty


Following is a comprehensive summary of the treaty finally signed by the
Rumanian Government at Bucharest, May 6, 1918:

Clause 1. - _Re-establishment of Peace and Friendship._

Article I. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, on the
one hand, and Rumania on the other, declare the state of war ended
and that the contracting parties are determined henceforth to live
together in peace and friendship.

Article II. Diplomatic and Consular relations between the
contracting parties will be resumed immediately after the
ratification of the peace treaty. The admission of Consuls will be
reserved for a future agreement.



Online LibraryVariousCurrent History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 → online text (page 26 of 30)