Carnegie Endowment for International peace
Report ... to inquire into the causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars
The Origin of the Two Balkan Wars
3. The alliance and the treaties
The most natural solution of the Balkan imbroglio appeared to be the creation in Macedonia of a new autonomy or independent unity, side by side with the other unities realized in Bulgaria, Greece, Servia and Montenegro, all of which countries had previously been liberated, thanks to Russian or European intervention. But this solution had become impossible, owing first to the incapacity of the Turkish government, and then to the rival pretensions of the three neigh-wring States to this or that part of the Macedonian inheritance. Mr. Dehn has tried to show on a map the result of this confusion of rival claims (see his sche-
matic map). [This schematic map is borrowed from the little book by Mr. Paul Dehn, Die Voelker Suedeuropas und ihre politischen Probleme. Halle, 1909; in the Anqewandte Geographie Series.] There was hardly any part of the territory of Turkey in Europe (which was not claimed by at least two competitors. These views on the inheritance of the "Sick Man" and for the realization of "great national ideas" in the shape of a "Great" Servia, a "Great" Greece, or a "Great" Bulgaria, made any united action on the part of these little States for their common ends impossible. In theory every one accepted the opinion that they must act together, that the Balkans ought to belong to the Balkan peoples, and that the great neighboring
Powers who might weaken or enslave the little Balkan States, must be kept off In practice, however, the opposite course was adopted. Each courted Russia or Austria, in turn, sometimes even both at the same time, first one and then the other, with a view to opposing his neighbors and securing the prospect of his own country's hegemony.
Russia and Austria for their part naturally pursued their own interests in the Balkans,-Interests that were by no means identical. Geography and ethnography have divided the Balkans into two spheres of influence, the Eastern and the Western, the Servian and the Bulgarian spheres. Diplomatic history has made them into the Austrian and the Russian spheres of influence, hence two opposing pulls-the "German pull" from North to South, and the "Slav pull" from East to West. The plain of the Vardar, which divides Macedonia into two parts, was destined to be the arena where the two influences met and battled. Russia traced the limits of its zone of influence in the treaty of San Stefano in 1878-the whole of Macedonia forming part of Bulgaria indivisible-the tsielo coupna Boulgaria. Austrian policy has also had its treaties, concluded to countervail the Russian pull in the shape of the secret treaties of 1881 and 1889, made with King Milan-the Servian King-who for his part was promised the plain of the Vardar, and the Western half of Macedonia, on condition of Servia's renouncing its intentions upon the Adriatic, its "Pan-Servian" tendencies, that is, of consenting to the annexation of the Sandjak of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and finally all the Servian-speaking countries, as far as Zagreb.
Looked at from this general point of view, the idea of a Balkan alliance was contrary to the idea of partition, since alliance was the instrument of independence, the means to the realization of the idea of "the Balkans for the Balkan peoples," while partition subserved the ambitions of the great neighboring powers. As a matter of fact those who first conceived the idea of alliance were as far as possible remote from that of partition. They were the idealistic youth of 1870, of whom we have spoken above, and in their minds a "Yougo-Slav Federation" was a veritable union of the free and independent Slav democracies. Nor was the idea of partition clearly present to the mind of the first great politician who tried to realize a Yougo-Slav Federation under Servian hegemony, Prince Michel Obrenovits. On the eve of his violent death he was in treaty with Greece, Roumania, Montenegro and the revolutionary "apostles" of still subject Bulgaria, for the preparation of common strife against Turkey. What was the use of partition since there was the absolute property of each to be taken? It is true that with the Slav family itself there was by no means complete unanimity in the idea of alliance without partition. There were some Bulgarians, and those the most far sighted, who protested. Why ally against Turkey when whatever was taken from the Ottoman Empire was at the same time taken from-the Bulgarian people as a whole? But for these latter the reply was taken from Turkey, which was trying the patience of the giaours even when they desired to be
loyal; second from the young Bulgarian revolutionaries, crying, with the voice of their best representative, Liouben Karavelov, the doyen of Bulgarian literature-"First of all we must have union, union, union-and when we are free each shall have what belongs to him."
A remarkable light is thrown by recent events upon these disputes at the end of the sixties. Neither the idea of alliance nor the conflicting claims which appeared at the same time disappeared in the fifty years that lie between us and Prince Michel's first attempts.He was slain in 1868 by assassins."Thy thought shall not perish"-so it runs on his tombstone. It has, in truth, not perished; but it has become more complex. Mutual rivalries became more acute as the area to be partitioned became more confined while still leaving something to partition.
"England's responsibility" in these new complications and difficulties has been set forth by the Duke of Argyll : [See his book Our Responsibility for Turkey.] we, therefore, need not linger over the blow struck at the idea of a federation of the Balkan nationalities when Bulgaria-one and indivisible-according to the treaty of San Stefano,-was divided into three by the Treaty of Berlin. The whole course of succeeding events was the result of this grave error. The most recent events lie there in germ.
The reunion to free Bulgaria of the still vassal Oriental Roumelia, and as the immediate consequence thereof, the Serbo-Bulgarian war of 1885, the growing rivalries between the nationalities in a still subject Macedonia, the new propaganda of the secondary nationalities, the isolation of Greece in its 1897 attempt, the fetishism of the status quo, mitigated and corrected as it was by the intrigues of the Powers, the miscarriage of the hypocritical plan of reforms in Macedonia in 1907-1908, the intermezzo of the Turkish revolution with its failure to solve an insoluble problem, then the greatness and decline of the Balkan "alliance"-all were the natural results of the mistake of Berlin,-a mistake which now everybody sees without the power to correct.
This same series of events has put obstacles in the way of the normal development of the highly national conception of an alliance between the Balkan peoples, has turned it aside from its true aim, that of preparing the way for federation; and by informing it with an alien egoism and mania have delayed its development and brought it prematurely to an end. Any judgment of men and events as they are today must take into account all this past, and not lay to the charge of the present the results of a negligence which goes back for decades.
The idea of Balkan alliance has come into life in our time with a significance quite different from that which it possessed thirty or forty years ago. It is no longer the young Slav enthusiasts' dream of a free federation of Balkan democracies. It is no longer the nationalists and Pan-Slav philosphers' notion of a Russian moral hegemony with Constantinople as its political center. The first
of these dreams was slain by the rivalry of the Balkan States; the second by their love of independence. The Balkan alliance in its later phase was but a tool employed by local policy encouraged by Russia, and directed, under the inspiration of Russian diplomacy, against Germanic pretensions, or in so far as advantage was taken of the device by Balkan statesmen against the invasions of Turkish "Ottomanism" and Athenian ambition towards autonomy. Alliance in this latest phase inevitably implied partition as an essential condition; the means being war with Turkey, the final end the conquest of Turkey in Europe.
The modern history of the alliance might start at the point where Mr. Bourchier [The Balkan League-The London Times, June 4, 5, 6, 11, 13. Use has been made of these articles but the brief historical account which follows has been based on the Commission's own information.] begins in his excellent articles on the Balkan League, that is to say, with the attempt of the Greek Minister, Mr. Tricoupis, in 1891, who openly proposed to Belgrade and Sofia the partition of Turkey in Europe on the basis of a treaty in which the future frontiers of the Balkan States were to be exactly determined in advance. To speak of such a plan to King Milan and to Stamboulov, was to communicate it to the Ballplatz at Vienna and to the Sublime Porte. The pourparlers did not get beyond a mere exchange of amiable courtesies. Austria Hungary had just renewed the treaty with King Milan which led to the fratricidal Serbo-Bulgarian war (1889 to 1895). Some years later she was to sign a secret convention with Roumania. In the event of a common war with Bulgaria, Rou-mania was to receive a portion of Bulgarian territory. It is the very territory, promised by Austria, which Roumania has just been given without war. In 1897, during the Graeco-Turkish war, Mr. Deliannis renewed the proposals of Tricoupis. But his partition formula, repeated so often since, and not even now wholly renounced by the Greeks, was not to the Bulgarians' taste. They preferred negotiating with the Porte for new concessions for their churches and schools in Macedonia, to risking taking part in an ill-prepared and ill-conducted war. Soon after (1901) Austria Hungary brought about the Grseco-Roumanian rapprochement which, together with the Austro-Servian treaty and the Austro-Roumanian convention, finally "enclosed" Bulgaria and threatened to paralyze its action in Macedonia. A Balkan alliance seemed as far remote as possible.
All the same the web spun with such pains was quickly to be broken. The revolution of 1904 in Macedonia made the question an international one. Wallachian propagandism and Greek "conversions" in Macedonia led to a diplomatic rupture between Greece and Roumania (1903). The murder of King Alexandra Obrenovits and the return of the Karageorgevits dynasty to Belgrade (1903) emancipated Servia from Austrian influence. The natural alternatives were either a rapprochement with Russia or the renaissance of the Yougo-Slav alliance. The young generation in Servia and Bulgaria went further and became once more enthusiastic for the federation idea. Writers, artists, students in Bel-
grade and Sofia exchanged visits. Diplomatists followed suit. By 1904 people in Belgrade were discussing a scheme for an offensive and defensive alliance as a means of securing the autonomy of Old Servia and of Macedonia as far as possible by peaceful means, but in case of extremity, by force of arms. The names of those who took part in these pourparlers will reappear in 1911. They were Mr. Pachitch, at whose house secret conversations went on; Milovane Milovanovits, late minister of Foreign Affairs; Dimitri Risov, a Macedonian revolutionary who had become a diplomatist without losing his ardent devotion to the cause; Mr. Kessaptchiev at that time specially sent to discuss the alliance. But difficulties arose as soon as the frontiers began to be spoken of. The Servians gave their adhesion in principle only, to propose the very next day a geographical interpretation of the term "Old Servia," which extended it to cover the whole of the Sandjak. The Bulgarians regarded these claims as exorbitant; and finally after vain disputes lasting three days, the idea of an offensive alliance was given up. On April 12/25, 1904, a defensive alliance was however concluded. But this treaty, far too vague and general in its terms, had no practical result, thanks to the indiscretion of a Servian official who was also the correspondent of the Neue Freie Presse. The treaty was immediately divulged and seeds of distrust consequently implanted in the minds of the allies. The Servians regarded the treaty as annulled after the Bulgarian declaration of independence was made in 1908 without consulting Servia, and greatly to the detriment of Servian national policy, which was then passing through a critical phase, owing to the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria Hungary. The Servians accused the Bulgarians of profiting by their losses to improve their own international position instead of coming to their assistance. Old distrust was thus about to revive when Russian diplomacy took up the alliance idea again. The Russian diplomatists took the promises of a Young Turkish regeneration seriously, and proposed a universal Balkan alliance with a free and constitutionally governed Turkey as a member. They wanted an alliance facing towards the Danube rather than the Bosphorus. Balkan diplomacy knew well enough that the "Sick Man" was incurable; but the chance was seized. It is true that here again the old difficulties about partition rose. In 1909 Mr. Milovanovits vainly proposed the cession of Uskub and Koumanovo to Servia. In 1910 conferences were held at St. Petersburg with Mr. Milovanovits and Mr. Malinov, which, however, did not succeed in arriving at any result. Bulgaria was by no means disposed to sanction the Servian tendencies favored by Russian diplomacy, even in the highly general form of a possible extension of Old Servia, properly so-called, towards the south.
All the same in 1910, as we know, it became clear to all the world that the Young Turk policy of "Ottomanizing" the nationalities by assimilation was going to lead to catastrophe. Growing pressure on Bulgarians and Greeks in Turkey finally brought these enemies together. Mr. Venizelos, since 1910 head of the Athenian cabinet, as early as October proposed an agreement to
Sofia. Once more no agreement could be reached on the delimitation of spheres of influence. The Bulgarians were unwilling to hand over Kavala, Serres, Vodena, Castoria, Florina to the Greeks, in accordance with the old "Deliannis formula." But the condition of things in Macedonia made an understanding a matter of necessity. The only thing to do was to conclude an agreement. The heads of the Christian churches in Constantinople had to make similar representations to the Ottoman government, without waiting for any understanding. At Sofia discussions began as to how an understanding was to be arrived at, and a joint systematic protest was made in defence of the religious and educational privileges granted in common to the Christian communities by the ancient firmans of the sultans and by international treaties.
At Sofia the pourparlers dragged on throughout the Malinov administration. When Mr. Guechov, in March, 1910, succeeded Mr. Malinov as head of the Cabinet, he stopped them. Then Mr. Venizelos proposed to Mr. Guechov, under the seal of secrecy, in March, 1911, not merely an agreement to defend the privileges of the Christians in Turkey, but a defensive alliance, "envisaging the case of an attack" on one of the contracting parties. No reply was made to this proposition, which was kept strictly secret, since the Cretan difficulties might provoke a war in which Bulgaria had no desire to take part. The event which led Bulgaria to consider the necessity of a Balkan alliance in a yet more serious light was the beginning of the Turco-Italian war at the end of September, 1911. When the Italian ultimatum was issued, Bulgarian statesmen were on holiday; Czar Ferdinand and his first Minister were at Vichy. Milovanovits was watching at his post. B. Risov, Th. Theodorov and he discussed the project of an alliance at Belgrade, Vienna and Sofia. Mr. Guechov hastened to return. Mr. Milovanovits met him at the station at Belgrade, got into his carriage and between Belgrade and the little station of Liapovo, the bases of an alliance were laid down in the course of a two hours' conversation. For the first time a Bulgarian minister recognized the necessity and possibility of territorial concession in Macedonia-Uskub and Koumanovo.
It might have been foreseen that public opinion in Bulgaria would, as invariably, be against any such transaction. Rather Macedonia autonomous as a whole under Turkish suzerainty than independent on condition of partition,-such had always been the Bulgarian point of view. Even in 1910, Mr. Malinov, as we have pointed out, prepared to wait rather than make concessions. So now Guechov, once returned to Sofia, again decided to temporize. In December, Milovanovits renewed the alliance proposal; but after ten days without a reply he had to modify his proposition. Then and not until then did the Bulgarian government decide to treat. The pourparlers lasted all winter, and the treaty was concluded between February 29 and March 13, 1912.
In this treaty, which was kept secret, and of which the text was published later by Le Matin, [Monday, November 24, 1913.] the fundamental point was the delimitation of the line of par-
tition "beyond which" Servia agreed "to formulate no territorial claim." A highly detailed map of this frontier was annexed to the treaty. [It is reproduced here from a reduced and simplified copy published in the Echo de Bulgarie of June 7/20, 1913.] Bulgarian diplomatists still wished to keep an open door for themselves. That is why they left the responsibility for the concessions demanded to the Czar of Russia. "Bulgaria agrees to accept this frontier," they added, "if the Emperor of Russia, who shall be requested to act as final arbiter in this question, pronounces in favor of the line." Their idea was that the Emperor might still adjudge to them the "disputed zone" they were in the act of ceding, between the frontier marked on the map and Old Servia, properly so-called, "to the north and west of Char-Planina." "It goes without saying," the treaty added, "that the two contracting parties undertake to accept as definitive the frontier line which the Emperor of Russia may have found, within the limits indicated below, most consonant with the rights and interests of the two parties." Evidently "within the limits indicated below" meant between Char-Planina and the line marked on the map, "beyond which Servia agreed to formulate no territorial claim." That was the straightforward meaning of the treaty, afterwards contested by the Servians. The line of partition of which the treaty spoke corresponded fully with the ethnographic conclusions of the learned geographer, Mr. Tsviyits; conclusions which made a profound impression on the Czar Ferdinand at the time of his interview with Mr. Tsviyits. It was these conclusions probably which made the Czar decide to accept the compromise. [See Mr. Tsviyits' ethnographic map, published in his pamphlet The Annexation of Bosnia and the Servian Question, 1909. The map annexed to the treaty of Feb. 29 (March 13), 1912, differs from it to the advantage of Servia in the western region, but corresponds generally with it in the eastern part of the frontier agreed upon.] Mr. Tsviyits was also the first to communicate to the world, in his article of November, 1912, in the Review of Reviews, the frontier established by the treaty. [Mr, Tsviyits' article has appeared in a Servian translation, but at that time Servian claims had already increased and the pamphlet was banned. In a second edition, adopted by the "Information Bureau," the passage describing the frontiers was simply omitted. The omitted passage runs as follows: "The Southern frontier of Old Servia, or the line dividing the Bulgarian and Servian spheres of interest (starts from the Bulgarian frontier, near Kustendil, by the line of partition between the rivers Ptchinia and Kriva-Reka, leaving Kriva-Palnika and Kratovo in the Bulgarian sphere and Uskub and Koumanovo in the Servian. The frontier then crosses the Ovtche-Pole, by the line of division between Bregalnitsa and Ptchinia, and passes the Vardar, to the north of Veles. Thence it goes over the slopes of the Yagoupitsa mountains, and along the ulterior line of division, reaches the Baba mountain as far as Lake Okhrida, so that Prilepe, Krouchevo and the town of Okhrida are in the Bulgarian sphere and Strouga, Debar and Tetovo in the Servian.)Old Servia issues, through a narrow belt, on the Adriatic near Scutari, Alessio and (perhaps) Durazzo. [Passages within parentheses omitted.]] The reason why Bulgarian diplomatists decided on making a concession so little acceptable to public opinion is now clear. They did more. After deciding on eventual partition they reverted to the idea of autonomy and laid it down that partition was only to take place in case the organization of the conquered countries "as a distinct autonomous province," should be found "impossible" in the "established conviction" of both parties. Up to the "liquida-
tion," the occupied countries were to be regarded as "falling under common dominion-condominium." Finally the treaty was to remain defensive purely, until the two parties "find themselves in agreement" on "undertaking common military action." This "action" was to "be undertaken solely in the event of Russia's not opposing it," and the consent of Russia was to be obligatory. Turkey had been expressly designated as the objective of "action" in the cases forecast, but included was "any one among the Great Powers which should attempt to annex any portion whatsoever of the territories of the peninsula." Such were the precautions and provisions designed to guarantee Bulgarian diplomatists against abuse. All, however, were to fall away at the first breath of reality.
Sofia has been credited with a secondary interest in the Graeco-Bulgarian agreement proffered by Venizelos in April, 1911. Since 1897 the Greek army had been considered almost a negligible quantity, and the advance made under French instruction was hardly known. But the Greek navy was needed to cut Turkey's communication with Anatolia via the Aegean Sea, and thus prevent the transport of troops to Macedonia. Thus as soon as the Serbo-Bulgarian alliance had been concluded in February, conferences with Greece were entered upon. The Greeks proposed to the Bulgarians to discuss the question of future frontiers. Since Greek aid was not rated high at Sofia, the Bulgarians were not inclined to make sacrifices, the more because of designs on Salonica. On this point previous negotiations had made it abundantly clear that the Greeks, so far from yielding would again propose their unacceptable frontier. It was therefore unhappily decided to leave the war to settle the question, with a secret intention of being the first to reach the desired spot. As for the alliance, it was concluded on a "purely defensive" basis with the promise "of lending the agreement no kind of aggressive tendency." [The text of the Graeco-Bulgarian treaty was published by Le Matin November 26, 1913.] The principal object appeared to be the "peaceful co-existence of the different nationalities in Turkey, on the basis of real and actual political equality and respect of rights accruing from treaties or otherwise conceded to the Christian nationalities of the Empire." But it was foreseen that a "systematic attempt" on these rights on the part of Turkey might ;as readily be the casus foederis as a direct attack on the territories of the contracting parties. It should be added that the expression "rights accruing from treaties" was inserted in the text on the insistence of the Bulgarian diplomats, who intended by this reference to treaties, Article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin, i. e., Macedonian autonomy. Clearly in the hour of the conclusion of this treaty, May 16/29, 1912, complete vagueness prevailed as to eventual "action." The only thing which was clear was that Bulgaria was not going to make war on Turkey about Crete. To this end a declaration had been added to the treaty 'which merely bound Bulgaria to "benevolent neutrality" in the event of war breaking out "because of the admission of Cretan deputies to the Greek parliament."
The Serbo-Bulgarian and Graeco-Bulgarian treaties concluded, the King of Montenegro came on the scene in his turn. Nicholas was always ready to take part in any combination of the Balkan States against Turkey. He had spoken of it to Russia in 1888; he renewed his proposition at the Russian Embassy in Constantinople in July, 1911. When the Turco-Italian war began, in September, he was the first to propose common military action on the part of Servia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro. An agreement was made with Bulgaria in April, 1912, and with Greece somewhat later. Belgrade remained. It was not on good terms with Cettigne, partly because of the patriotic rivalry between the two Servian States (each of which aspired to the role of "Piemont") ; partly because of anti-dynastic intrigues supposed to be going on either side and partly because of the reactionary regime of Nicholas, which drove all the educated youth of the country to emigration and conspiracy abroad. Bulgarian diplomats acted as intermediaries. Mr. Danev communicated to the Vienna Zeit an amusing account of the way in which the last stone of the Balkan alliance (which Russia wanted to build up against Austria Hungary) was placed at the end of May in the Hofburg at Vienna. None of these treaties however became effective until the end of September, after a series of events in Turkey which ended by seriously threatening the very existence of the nationalities in Macedonia. These events opened in the spring of 1912 with a revolt in Albania, a revolt which had been foreseen and taken into consideration by the enemies of Turkey. In summer the revolt bore fruit which exceeded all expectation. The cabinet resigned, the chamber was dissolved, the executive committee of the party of "Union and Progress," threatened with complete defeat, was compelled to grant the Albanians all they asked in order to stop the movement in Constantinople, a movement which the discontented army refused to prevent. This demonstration of Turkish weakness encouraged the new allies, the more so that the promises of Albanian autonomy, covering the four vilayets of Macedonia and Old Servia, directly threatened the Christian nationalities with extermination. The Servians hastened to oppose the plan of a "greater Albania" by their plan for the partition of Turkey in Europe among the Balkan States into four spheres of influence. Counting on the possibility of European intervention the organization of the autonomous provinces based on the ethnographic principle was undertaken with a minimum of success. But Europe did not "find itself."
The proposal made on August 14 by Mr. Berchtold, to assist Turkey in extending "decentralization" to the Christian nationalities was no more than a trial move, adroitly designed as a means of feeling the ground. Russia replied by an exhortation to the allies to abstain from aggressive action of any kind, and the endeavor to detach Bulgaria from Servia and Servia from Bulgaria. The reply of the allies, prepared with the utmost secrecy, was to conclude a series of military conventions, complementary to the alliances, which did this time anticipate and prepare for war.
The Bulgarian military convention, foreshadowed by the treaty, was signed as early as April 29/May 12. Bulgaria undertook in case of war to mobilize 200000 men; Servia 150,000-minimum figures, since there could be no thought of conquering Turkey with an army of 350,000 men. Of these 200,000 men, Bulgaria was to dispatch half to Macedonia, and half to Thrace. At the same time the convention took into account the possibility of Austria Hungary's marching upon Servia. In that case Bulgaria undertook to send 200,000 men to Servia's assistance.
The basis of the Graeco-Bulgarian military convention was different; it was concluded almost on the eve of general mobilization, September 13/26. Bulgaria promised, in case of war, an effective army 300,000 strong; Greece, 120,000. Bulgaria undertook to take the offensive "with an important part of its army" in the three Macedonian vilayets; but in case Servia should take part in the war with at least 120,000 men, "Bulgaria might employ the whole of its military forces in Thrace." Now that real war was about to begin and the main Turkish force was directed hither, it was high time to contemplate war in Thrace which had been left, in the hypothetical agreements, to Russia's charge, as Mr. Bourchier assumes. This made it necessary to change, .define and complete the military agreement with Servia of April 29/May 12. The document was now more than once remodeled in consonance with new agreements arrived at between the heads if the General Staff of the two armies-such agreements having been fore-shadowed in Articles 4 and 13. The special arrangement of June 19/July 2 provides that the necessary number of troops agreed upon might be transported from the Vardar to the Maritza and vice versa, "if the situation demands it." On August 23/September 5, the Bulgarians demand to have all their forces for disposition in Thrace, the Servians make objections and no agreement is reached. At last, three days after the Greek military convention (September 5/28), an understanding was arrived at. "The whole of the Bulgarian army will operate in the valley of the Maritza, leaving one division only in the first days on the Kustendil-Doupnitsa line." But if the Servian army repulsed the Turks on the Uskub-Veles-Chtipe line-and advanced southward, the Bulgarians might recall their division to the theater of the Maritza to reinforce their armies, saving only the battalions of the territorial army in Macedonia." Later, as is known, it was the Servians who sent two divisions with siege artillery to Adrianople. The Servians were later to declare the arrangements made by the two General Staffs forced and not binding, and to use this as an argument for treaty revision.
While making their final dispositions, the allies still awaited European intervention in Turkey. In vain. Friends only gave them counsels of prudence. Enemies were not sorry to see the allies given a drubbing by the Turks, whom everybody in Europe regarded as infinitely their superiors. During the two weeks in which final decisions were being made in Bulgaria, Mr. Sazonov traveled
about in England and talked about Persia. When it appeared at the last moment that the Balkan States were going to act, thanks to Mr. Poincare and with the conditional assent of Mr. Berchtold, it was thought advisable to issue, September 25/October 8, an Austro-Russian proclamation to the effect that if the Powers disapproved energetically of measures contrary to peace, they would take the execution of reforms in hand, subject to the suzerainty of the Sultan and the territorial integrity of Turkey; if war broke out, whatever were the issue, they would not permit any change in the territorial status quo of Turkey in Europe. Alas! while the reply to be sent to this note was under discussion, King Nicholas of Montenegro declared war on Turkey (October 9) ; on September 30/October 13 the allies formally demanded Turkey's consent to the autonomy of the European vilayets, redivided according to nationality. On October 4/17, Turkey declared war.
If it be now asked what
were the causes of the first Balkan war, three principal ones may be found.
First, the weakness and want of foresight of Turkey, on the verge of dissolution;
second, the powerlessness of Europe to impose on a constitutional Turkey
the reforms which she had succeeded in introducing into an absolute Turkey,
and third, the consciousness of increased strength which alliance gave
to the Balkan States, each with a national mission before it, namely, the
protection of the men of its race and religion dwelling in Turkey, against
the Ottomanization policy which threatened national existence. The first
two reasons made the war possible and inevitable; the third guaranteed
its success. In a few weeks the territories of Turkey in Europe were invaded
by the allied armies and the whole country from the west of the fortified
lines of Tchataldja and the Gallipoli peninsula, with the exception of
Albania, in their hands as condominium. This was, at least, the
principle acknowledged by the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. This principle of
condominium had to be reconciled with the fact of the occupation
and the new demands that rose up, the consequences of unexpected success.
As might have been expected, partition was more difficult than conquest.
Another war, the conflict for the "equilibrium," was to follow on the first,
the conflict for freedom.
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