THE Balkan situation was one of the most important factors in causing the World War.  It sharpened the antagonism between the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, stimulated a general increase in armaments, and led to the assassination of the Austrian Archduke with its catastrophic consequences.  It was an old and complicated question which had troubled the peace of Europe for a century and a half.  No attempt can be made here to trace its development, which has been ably dealt with by many writers.(1)  It arose from many elements.  The progressive disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, caused by external as well as internal causes, produced a continual unrest in the Near East.  This was increased by Russia’s persistent desire to acquire increased influence in the Balkan Peninsula and to realize her age-long dream for control of the waterways to the Mediterranean.  The Hapsburgs, sitting astride the Danube for centuries, were trying to preserve authority over subject peoples, many of whom had become fired with nationalism and a desire to break away and unite with their brothers living in the independent States bordering on Austria-Hungary.  The ambitions of Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumania and Greece to extend their territories to include all peoples of their own nationality brought them into constant conflict with Turkey, Austria-Hungary or one another.  The antagonism between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was increased by the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the creation of Albania, and the Serb agitation for national unity at Austria’s expense.  To understand how the World War had its beginnings in this corner of Europe, it will be convenient to review some of the Balkan problems between 1908 and 1914.


Serbian national poets and historians love to recall to their people the heroic days of Stephen Dushan in the fourteenth century, when the great Greek Orthodox Serbian Empire stretched from the Danube nearly to the Gulf of Corinth, and from the Aegean to the Adriatic.  From those far-off days to the decades immediately preceding the World War, when Serbian nationalists began to dream of again extending their boundaries to include “Old Serbia” and even more territory, the Serbian people suffered long years of oppression and hardship.  First came the Turks.  On Vidov-Dan, 1389, an army of Serbs, Albanians and Croats was terribly crushed at Kossovo, and submerged under the Turkish flood.  But from the field of battle there rose up a Serb hero who penetrated to the victorious Sultan’s tent and there slew him, as the hateful oppressor of the Slav peoples.  So the anniversary of Kossovo became a great day in the Serb calendar:  Vidov-Dan was a day of sorrow for the national defeat of 1389, but a day of rejoicing for the assassination of the cruel foreign oppressor.(3)  For more than four centuries after Kossovo the greater part of the Serb people lived and suffered under Turkish rule.  Some Serbs, for obvious reasons of convenience, abandoned Greek Orthodoxy for Mohammedanism, especially in Bosnia, and remained Moslems ever afterwards.

Austria was the European Power which first brought to the Serbs some relief, and caused the Turkish flood to recede.  It was Prince Eugene, with his Hapsburg army, who recaptured Belgrade in 1717 and helped arouse in the Serbs a longing for independence from Turkish misrule.  When Hapsburg troops had to retreat twenty years later, many Serb peasants followed on the soldiers’ heels to escape servitude under the Sultan.  They settled north of the Danube in the southern fringe of the Hapsburg lands.  There they lived and multiplied and were joined by other fugitives from south of the Danube.  At first these Serb settlers were well treated by their new rulers, and were appreciated as good soldiers to defend the country against the Turks.  But in the later eighteenth century Roman Catholic propaganda and economic oppression by feudal Magyar landlords made existence so bitter for the Serb settlers that many preferred to escape back to their brothers of the South.  As between Magyar exploitation and Turkis misrule, the latter was the lesser of two evils.  So began antagonism, which persisted ever afterwards, and was aggravated in 1867 when Emperor Francis Joseph withdrew the special privileges which had long been enjoyed by the Serbs of the “Military Frontiers.”(4) Nevertheless, common enmity to the Turks generally tended to preserve a political friendship between the ruling authorities at Vienna an Belgrade.

In the year 1878, to be sure, Austria “occupied” the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were largely inhabited by peasants of Serb blood and were coveted by the new Kingdom of Serbia;  but the pill was coated by the fact that, at the Congress of Berlin, Austria secured for Serbia the valuable Pirot and Nish districts, which Russia would have assigned to her own protégé, Bulgaria.  Political friendship between the Austrian and Serbian Governments, though not between the peoples of the two countries, was again secured by the secret Ausrro-Serbian Treaty of 1881, signed for ten years, in which both States promised to pursue a mutually friendly policy, and not to tolerate within the territory of one any intrigues against the other.(5)  In the year following, a tariff agreement admitted Austrian manufactured articles into Serbia at half the tariff rates asked of other countries, and in return special advantages were given to Serbian pigs and prunes imported into Austria-Hungary.  In 1885 it was the support of Austria which saved the Serbian army from destruction after its fatal defeat by the Bulgarians at Slivnitza.  King Milan, both off and on the throne, squandered much of his money and spent much of his bizarre existence in Vienna.  And so, in spite of Russian intrigues from within, Serbian policy, generally speaking, continued to be Austrophile until the great assassinations of 1903.

It was the misfortune of the Serbian people that, at the beginning of the movement for national independence in the days of Napoleon, there arose not one, but two, national leaders.  Instead of one great man dominating the movement, and establishing a single strong dynasty, there were two rivals:  Kara George and Milosh Obrenovitch.  Ever since the assassination of the former in the interests of the latter, in 1817, the unhappy country was torn by the feuds of these rival families, and by a series of palace revolutions and violent changes of dynasty.  These culminated in 1903.  On the night of June 11, a band of conspirators, consisting mainly of Serbian army officers, entered the royal palace at Belgrade, dragged King Alexander Obrenovitch and his unpopular wife from their hiding place, and brutally murdered them.(6)  Belgrade rejoiced;  the church bells were rung;  the city was decorated with flags;  and the Legislature unanimously thanked the assassins for their work.  Though he may not have been directly privy to the plot, Peter Karageorgevitch, grandson of the man murdered nearly a century before, profited by it, and he ascended the throne as Peter I.  This hideous crime, “brutal but not unprovoked,” and the favors shown to those who were responsible for it, outraged the sense of decency in the crowned heads of Europe, most of whom soon withdrew their representatives from Belgrade as a sign of their disapproval.  Great Britain did not renew diplomatic relations for three years.

Though frowned on at first by Europe, the new reign marked a notable revival in Serbian life.  A freer, more democratic, spirit prevailed.  A patriotic national movement developed, which expressed itself in new economic activity, in newspapers and literature, and in the spread of the “Greater Serbia” idea.  Peter I was personally popular, devoted to the interests of his country, and noted for his soldierly qualities of loyalty and simplicity.  The fact that he had fought for the Serbian cause in the revolt of Herzegovina gave him an added popularity far beyond the bounds of his own kingdom;  it made him “our King” to the Serbs beyond the Danube and the Drin.  Many a Bosnian peasant is said to have made a pilgrimage to Belgrade, merely to hang about the streets till he could catch a near view of the new sovereign and future “liberator.”  He was to lead Serbian “Piedmont” in the movements for reuniting all races of Serb blood—Serbs, Bosniaks, Slovenes, Croats, and Dalmatians—into a “Greater Serbia,” as the House of Savoy had led in the unification of Italy half a century earlier.  His marriage with Princess Zorka, daughter of Nicholas of Montenegro, seemed to forecast close relations between these two Slav states.  Many of his years of exile had been passed in Russia.  His brother, Prince Arsene, had served as an officer in a crack regiment of Russian Guards.  His two Montenegrin sisters-in-law married Russian Grand Dukes.  These facts all seemed to suggest a Russophile orientation in Serbian policy with the accession of Peter I in 1903.  And such proved to be the case.  It was actively hastened also both by encouragement from the Pan-Slav elements in Russia, and by the irritating attitude adopted by Austria-Hungary.

Austrian ministers soon observed with dismay this growth of Serbian nationalism and pro-Russian feeling.  If unchecked, it threatened the integrity of the Hapsburg lands.  It meant that the Kingdom of Serbia would act as a dangerous magnet, tending to draw away Austria’s Serb subjects to form the “Greater Serbia.”  If the decaying Turkish Empire should ever fall to pieces, if nationalist revolts should break out in Austria-Hungary in some crisis, such as the death of Emperor Francis Joseph, or if war should be declared in the Balkans or in Europe, Serbia would be likely to try to annex territories inhabited largely by Serbs.  Probably Pan-Slav interests would lead Russia to support the Serbians.  If Serbia secured Bosnia, her next step would be to attempt to unite the Croats, the Dalmatians, the Slovenes, and the Serbs in the Banat in southern Hungary.  This would encourage the other subject nationalities under Hapsburg rule—the Rumanians, Czechs and Slovaks—to break away.  This would spell Finis Austriae.(7)

In view of the danger to the Dual Monarchy from its subject nationalities, Austrian officials began to adopt measures to stifle this growing movement in Serbia for political and economic independence from Hapsburg influence.  Serbia, having no direct outlet to the sea, had been virtually dependent upon Austria-Hungary for a market for her agricultural products.  To strengthen herself, Serbia began in 1905 to negotiate with Bulgaria for a customs-union;  but Austria interfered.  In 1906, when the Austro-Serbian tariff treaty expired, feeling in both countries ran so high that it was not renewed, especially as the Magyar landlords found that Serbian products came into competition with their own.  As a consequence, a bitter tariff war—the so-called “Pig War”—ensued.  But instead of crushing Serbia economically, Austria only caused the Serbians to seek other markets, especially in Germany;  and at home the Serbians began to erect slaughter houses and factories of their own.  Germany easily managed to supply the Serbian peasants with goods which had formerly come from Austria.  This displacement of Austrian by German goods caused not a little hard feeling between Vienna and Berlin which persisted for years.(8)  Austria’s attempt at economic intimidation, far from compelling Serbia to return to an Austrophile policy, had just the opposite effect;  it embittered Peter I’s Ministers, and drove them more than ever into the open arms of Russia.  It made them realize more clearly Serbia’s need for a direct economic outlet to the sea, such as a railway connection with a port on the Adriatic in Albania or Montenegro, or on the Aegean at Salonica.(9)  They welcomed negotiations for a railway crossing Serbia from the Danube to the Adriatic which was urged on their behalf by Russia in the spring of 1908, as a counter-measure to Austria’s project for a railway from Bosnia through the Sanjak of Novi Bazar to Salonica.(10)  The outbreak of the Young Turk Revolution in the summer hastened the negotiations, but led them to a fiasco in the most unexpected manner.  It brought to a crisis the question, often discussed since 1876, and several times conditionally assented to by Russia, of Austria’s “annexation” of the “occupied” provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This in turn was closely connected with Russia’s much-desired aim of opening the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to the passage of Russian ships of war.


In the course of the nineteenth century, especially after the events of 1878, Russia had come to regard the closure of the Dardanelles against foreign warships by the Sultan as a valuable protection and asset for Russia.  As Count Kapnist remarked in May, 1897:  “Russia needs this gatekeeper [portier] in Turkish clothes for the Dardanelles, which under no circumstances ought to be opened.  The Black Sea is a Russian mare clausum.”(11)  This remained one of the corner-stones of Russian policy down to the World War.  Russia did not desire any modification of the treaties which excluded warships of the other Great Powers from ingress into the Black Sea.

But the treaties which excluded Russian war vessels from passing inward or outward through the Straits of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles were quite a different matter.  These were humiliating restrictions.  They were inconsistent with Russia’s prestige as a Great Power.  They were contrary to her ambitions since Peter the Great’s day for the control of a free outlet to the Mediterranean.  They were a serious and positive handicap when she was engaged in war, as in the case of the Russo-Japanese War, because they prevented her from freely using her Black Sea Fleet where it might be most needed.  Furthermore, they prevented the augmentation of this Black Sea Fleet for war against Turkey by any other means except naval construction on Russia’s southern shores;  it could not be increased by construction on the Baltic, or by the purchase of warships in England, as the Tsar sorrowfully observed in January, 1914.(12)

So the opening of the Straits to Russian warships became one of the first aims of Russian ministers in the decades immediately preceding the World War.  This was quite distinct from two other aims which are often confused with it, but which were really different and would have involved even more serious European complications;  one was the forcible seizure of Turkish territory along the heights of the Bosphorus;  the other was the acquisition of control over Constantinople itself.  To be sure, Russian warships once in the Straits would be in an easy position to accomplish either of the two other aims.  But, generally speaking, the temerity of Russian ministers, though considerable, did not usually go to the point of planning to seize Constanti nople itself.  This city, they were inclined to admit, must remain in the hands of the Sultan so long as the Ottoman Empire survived; to try to seize it would meet with too great opposition from the Great Powers, not to mention Bulgaria and Greece.  Constantinople, however, must in no case be allowed to fall under the control of any other Power—neither under Bulgaria during the Balkan Wars, nor under Germany through the appointment of General Liman von Sanders to the command of a Turkish army corps in the Sultan’s capital, as will be seen later.

Occasionally, however, ambitious Russian ministers seriously considered in secret the project for a sudden descent with a landing force to seize in time of peace the heights of the Bosphorus in the neighborhood of Constantinople.  One of these occasions was in the winter of 1896-97.  A word may be said of it, because it is the forerunner of several similar projects later, and because it typifies the confusion of authority and purposes which existed in the higher spheres at St. Petersburg.

To M. Nelidov, the Russian Ambassador at Constantinople, the frightful Armenian massacres caused a revulsion of feeling in Europe against the Sultan and anarchic conditions in his capital which seemed likely to afford Russia a good opportunity to make a bold coup de main to seize the heights of the Bosphorus above Constantinople.  In the latter part of 1896 Nelidov came up to St. Petersburg to set forth his plan.  Nicholas II at once approved it, even though it threatened, as Witte pointed out, a general European War.  Nevertheless it was seriously considered in a special secret ministerial council and was favored by Vannovskii and Tyrtov, Ministers of War and Marine, and by Durnovo;  President of the Council.  Nelidov’s plan was to despatch suddenly 30,000 troops on warships and transports from Odessa to the Upper Bosphorus and land them to seize control of the Straits, before England or any of the other Great Powers could prevent the filibustering expedition.  Europe would be faced with a fait accompli.  Nelidov was to return to his post at Constantinople;  when he judged that the situation in the Sultan’s capital had reached the proper critical point, the signal for the sudden descent of the Russian landing force was to be given by a harmless sounding telegram, “Long without news.”  But when the plan was further studied by the military and naval authorities, it appeared that, even with the most secret precautions, it would be almost impossible to concentrate and despatch a sufficiently large number of troops and transports without attracting the attention and opposition of England.  Moreover, Count Witte and Pobiedonostev were opposed to it on economic, political and moral grounds, and cast the weight of their personal influence against the rash project, so that it was ultimately abandoned by the Tsar.  But that Nelidov’s plan was seriously considered, and was even thought by Witte to have been on the point of being carried out, is significant of the aims of Russian diplomats and of the readiness with which the weak-willed Nicholas II at first assented to it.(13)


Soon after the abandonment of Nelidov’s project, Emperor Francis Joseph visited Nicholas II at St. Petersburg.  Friendly conversations took place which resulted in an important Austro-Russian Balkan agreement.  It was at this time that Russia was embarking more actively on her policy of economic and political penetration in the Far East, and wished to be freed from possible complications in the Balkans.  In case her aggressive attitude in Manchuria should lead to trouble with China or Japan, it was important that her Balkan rear should not be endangered from the side of Austria, or otherwise.  In the spring of 1897, therefore, consequent upon Francis Joseph’s visit, the Austrian and Russian foreign ministers exchanged friendly notes declaring in favor of the status quo in the Balkans, and asserting their intentions to pursue “a policy of perfect harmony.”  Austria reserved her claims to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and expressed herself in favor of an independent Albania.  The status of Constantinople and the Straits, “having an eminently European character,” was not to be modified by any separate Austro-Russian arrangements.(14)  By this agreement the Balkan question was said to be “put on ice,” and for a decade the tension between the rival aims of Russia and Austria was in fact somewhat relieved.

But it would be a mistake to assume, as most writers do, that Russia had abandoned, even temporarily, the consideration of her ambitions in the Near East while pressing her imperialist policy in the Far East.  This misconception arose largely from the inspired Russian Press and from misinformed persons who believed that the Russian Bear had shifted his appetite completely to the plains of Manchuria.  In reality, though the Tsar and his ministers talked of “Port Arthur,” they were at the same time thinking of “Constantinople.”  Of this there are several indications.

In 1899, Muraviev, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, uneasy at the rapid growth of German activity in Turkey and the beneficial effect which it might have upon the Sick Man’s health, spoke bluntly to the German Ambassador about Russia’s “exclusive claim to Constantinople”;  and added, “Already the Tsar’s Government must now have a watchful eye that no other Power assumes a dominating position on the Bosphorus.”(15)  He then tried to bluff Germany into signing a written agreement guaranteeing the Bosphorus to Russia;  he threatened that he would come to an understanding with England, if Germany refused.  But Bülow preferred to adhere to Germany’s traditional policy of declaring that Germany did not oppose Russia’s aspirations at the Straits (because he felt sure that England would still do so) ;  but he was unwilling to put anything into writing, for fear that Russia might reveal it to England, and thus endanger Anglo-German good relations.(16)

In 1900 Muraviev drew up a long secret memorandum, for discussion by the army and navy authorities, in which he urged the preparation of measures by which Russia might at any given moment take possession of the shores of the Bosphorus;  and the Sultan must be prevented from doing anything which would strengthen his position on the Straits.(17)

On March 1, 1903, General Kuropatkin, the Minister of War, noted in his diary:

I told Witte that our Tsar has grandiose plans in his head:  to capture Manchuria for Russia, and to annex Korea.  He is dreaming also of bringing Tibet under his dominion.  He desires to take Persia, and to seize not only the Bosphorus but also the Dardanelles.(18)

In the spring of 1904, Izvolski, who had just been transferred from Tokio to Copenhagen, was already contemplating a revolution in Russian diplomacy:  the abandonment of the long-standing Asiatic conflict with England in favor of an entente which he hoped would enable Russia to open the Straits for her own war vessels.  In one of his first conversations with King Edward VII at Copenhagen (which in view of Sir Edward Goschen’s presence was something more than a purely private and personal talk), Izvolski set forth his views about Russia’s necessities for a free passage of the Straits.  King Edward replied that the closure of the Straits was not “absolute and eternal,” but that for the moment British public opinion was so absolutely opposed to any opening of the Straits that he could not and would not at present do anything in defiance of it.(19)

Similarly, in the later negotiations for the AngloRussian Agreement of 1907, at least so far as they were carried on by Benckendorff, the Russian Ambassador in London, Izvolski again tried to carry out his fond hope of opening the Straits.  He did this by offering the concession, unusual for Russian diplomacy, that England and the other Powers might send their vessels of war through the Dardanelles, but not into the Black Sea.(20)  Russia would thus retain her mare clausum, while Russia and England would share equally in the favorable position which their fleets would have for exercising control over Constantinople and the Dardanelles.  But Sir Edward Grey, in view of British public opinion and the fact that other Powers had a right to be consulted in any modification of the Straits treaties, did not want any mention to be made of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles in the Anglo-Russian Convention which dealt primarily with the Middle East.  So Izvolski failed to induce England to abandon her traditional attitude.  Thereupon Izvolski decided to turn to Baron Aehrenthal and seek a solution of the Straits Question through cooperation with Austria.


In 1906 the direction of Foreign Affairs in Russia and in Austria passed into the hands respectively of two men who represented more aggressive and ambitious policies than their predecessors.  At St. Petersburg, Alexander Izvolski, shrewd, subtle, proud, belonging to the Russian rural nobility but supposed to be a great admirer of British Liberalism, wished to win back for Russia in the Balkans the prestige which she had recently lost in her disastrous adventure in the Far East.  At Vienna, Baron Aehrenthal, energetic, ambitious, the courtier-aristocrat, wished to free Austria from the excessive dependence on Germany which had characterized his predecessor’s policy.  He wished to strengthen the Dual Monarchy in the Balkans, by putting an end to the Serbian danger which he believed threatened to disrupt the Hapsburg Empire.

Here were two political adventurers, equally ready to fish in troubled waters to satisfy their ambitions, even to the extent of upsetting international treaties and endanger ing the peace of Europe.  On Aehrenthal has usually fallen the odium for the Bosnian “Annexation Crisis” of 1908-09, but recently published Russian and German documents indicate that Izvolski had quite as much to do with the initiation of this plan for modifying the Treaty of Berlin as did Aehrenthal.

A few days after signing the Convention of 1907 with England and thus relieving Russia from the danger of complications in the Middle East, Izvolski visited Vienna.  He was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Stephen, received in audience by Francis Joseph, and had a long conversation with Aehrenthal.  He hinted very confidentially that he intended to solve the Straits Question in the manner desired by Russia, which was true;  and he particularly assured Austria that he had not spoken of the question to the English;  which was untrue(21)  He went on to tell Aehrenthal:

Russia has lost Manchuria with Port Arthur and thereby the access to the sea in the East.  The main point for Russia’s military and naval expansion of power lies henceforth in the Black Sea.  From there Russia must gain an access to the Mediterranean.(22)

Aehrenthal thanked him for his confidence, but, follow ing Bismarck’s earlier advice to take a reserved attitude until Russia should show her hand and declare more definitely her intentions, gave a dilatory and non-committal reply.  He merely remarked that it was a difficult problem, and that if the Straits Question were really opened up, Austria would want to define her attitude, adding:

I beg you to inform me in good time before the momen comes for putting the Russian plans into action, precisely as I should feel myself under obligations to inform the Russian Government in case Austria-Hungary should ever intend to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina.(23)

Shortly afterwards Aehrenthal told Conrad, the Austrian Chief of Staff, that Russia, having limited her policy in Asia, “will now take up again her Western Balkan policy and demand freedom of the Straits for Russian vessels, but not for others”;  and the two discussed the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as possible compensation for conceding the freedom of the Straits to Russia.(24)  Here then at Vienna, in September, 1907, in the confidential conversation of Izvolski and Aehrenthal, was foreshadowed the bargain which was struck between them at Buchlau just a year later.

Izvolski apparently did not proceed immediately with his plans, possibly because of Aehrenthal’s reserved attitude and because of England’s known opposition to them.  But a few months later, after Aehrenthal had “thrown a bomb between his legs”(25) by his statement in the Delegations of Austria’s desire for a railway from Sarajevo to Mitrovitza, to connect up with the Macedonian and Greek railways, Izvolski took up again Nelidov’s idea of accomplishing Russia’s historic mission by force rather than by diplomacy.  In a secret Ministerial Conference of February 3, 1908, he pointed out that if Russia continued the passive defensive policy of 1897 of leaving the Balkan Question on ice, Russia “runs the risk of losing all at once the fruits of her centurylong efforts, ceasing to play the role of a Great Power, and falling into the position of a second-rate State to which no one pays attention.”  After calling attention to the situation in the Caucasus, Persia, and the Balkans, and also to Russia’s recent rapprochement with England, he suggested that joint Anglo-Russian military action in Turkey “offered an extremely attractive prospect, which might lead to dazzling results and to the realization of Russia’s historic mission in the Near East.”  But this would involve the whole Turkish and Near Eastern Question.  He, therefore, sought the advice of the other Ministers as to how far they could back up an active aggressive policy.

In reply General Palitsyn, Chief of the General Staff, said he had urged three months earlier the use of force in the Caucasus, but that now the situation no longer de manded it; he called attention to Russia’s military unpreparedness.  General Polivanov, of the War Ministry, agreed with him that “Russia lacks artillery, machine guns, uniforms.  The restoration of order, of complete order in the army and fortresses, will take stupendous sums and much time.”  The Minister of Marine confessed that the Black Sea Fleet was not ready for war, needing sailors, coal, ammunition, guns, and mines.  M. Kokovtsev, the Finance Minister, complained that neither he nor the whole Council had been kept informed of Izvolski’s warlike and expensive plans;  he was energetically opposed to military action in Persia and to pulling chestnuts out of the fire for Foreign Powers;  such a policy would not be understood in Russia, “and it is also not clear whom we should be defending in Persia.”  As to the Balkans, the question was still mor serious;  he would limit Russia’s action to the possible protection of Bulgaria in case of a Turco-Bulgarian war.  Meanwhile money must be raised by every means for re organizing the army and navy and making adequate military preparations.

Izvolski therefore again emphasized the unfavorable consequences of a strictly defensive policy.  But Premier Stolypin summed up the discussion by declaring that Izvolski must not count on support for an aggressive and adventurous policy at present.  Otherwise a new revolution might break out in Russia and endanger the dynasty.  “But after some years, when we have secured complete quiet, Russia can speak again as in the past.”

At present she must limit herself to what could be accomplished by the diplomatic skill of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  In approving this policy of avoiding war for the present, and preparing for the future, Nicholas II noted in pencil: “God helps those who help themselves.”(26)

Unable to get unanimous Russian backing for active military measures, Izvolski then turned again to Aehrenthal and Austria, to secure by diplomacy a more modest part of Russia’s Historic Mission-the opening of the Straits for the Russian warships of the future.  A year before he had tried to win England’s consent to this as part of the Anglo-Russian Entente, but without success.

Count Aehrenthal on his side had been secretly considering for some months the desirability of converting the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina into full ownership, both on account of administrative difficulties and of the growing danger of the “Greater Serbia” propaganda.

The administration of Bosnia was in the hands of a military governor (Landeschef), but his authority was restricted at every point by a civilian assistant (Ziviladlatus) on the spot, who represented the supreme authority of the Austro-Hungarian Joint Minister of Finance in Vienna.  By the Dual Compact in 1867 the Hapsburg Monarchy could acquire no territory except by the common consent of both halves of the Monarchy.  This was one of the reasons why, in 1878, Bosnia and Herzegovina had been merely “occupied” jointly by Austria-Hungary, instead of being directly annexed to Austria.  It was also the reason the administration of the provinces had been placed under the Austro-Hungarian Joint Minister of Finance.  This Minister, however, occupied with other matters and far away in Vienna, was often out of touch with the exact situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In consequence he often sent orders to his representatives there, which conflicted with the views of the military governor on the spot.  The result was, frequent friction between the Landeschef and the Ziviladlatus.

Though the Hapsburgs had done much, during the period of occupation, for the material improvement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by building roads, establishing schools, and enforcing order, there was also much in their administration which could be justly criticized, and they had failed to win the loyalty of all the inhabitants.  The Mohammedans, and most of the Roman Catholic elements in the population, were fairly well disposed, but the great majority of the Greek Orthodox Serbs were persistently hostile.

With the outbreak of the Turkish Revolution, the administrative and revolutionary dangers threatened to become more serious.  The Young Turks, who had announced;  the calling of a democratic parliament for the whole Turkish Empire, might demand that representatives from Bosnia should sit in it.  They might even seek to nullify the Austrian occupation which had existed since 1878.  Moreover, if war should break out between Austria and Turkey, would it be the duty of the Bosnians to fight on the side of their “sovereign,” the Sultan, or on the side of the actual Austrian rulers of the district?  The situation offered an excellent opportunity for anti-Austrian agitation, and the “Greater Serbia” propaganda made the most of it.  By annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Aehrenthal hoped to put an end once and for all to any doubts that the provinces were to belong to Austria-Hungary.(27)

The sudden Young Turk Revolution of 1908, and the vista of uncertain possibilities which it opened, seemed to both Izvolski and Aehrenthal to offer a favorable oppor tunity for a mutually advantageous bargain at Turkey’s expense.  Russia might settle the “Straits Question,” by securing the right to send Russian warships through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles;  and Austria might strengthen her position in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by converting the occupation which she had enjoyed for thirty years into a direct annexation.  This was the substance of an aide-memoire which Izvolski sent to Aehrenthal on July 2, 1908,(28) in connection with the negotiations concerning the Sanjak and the Danube-Adriatic railway projects.  Aehrenthal was delighted with Izvolski’s proposal, which fell in so nicely with his own plans.  In order to arrange the details of the bargain, he invited the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to a meeting at Count Berchtold’s castle at Buchlau in Moravia.

As the conversations between Izvolski and Aehrenthal at Buchlau on September 15, 1908, took place without witnesses or definite agreements in writing drawn up on the spot] conflicting versions arose a few weeks later, when the bargain did not turn out as had been anticipated.  Izvolski declared that he had been tricked and misrepresented.  But the facts can be stated with considerably certainty, on the basis of what each Minister stated privately to third parties within a few days.(29)  Izvolski assented to the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Aehrenthal to the opening of the Straits to Russian ships of war.  Aehrenthal also promised to abandon his Sanjak railway project and all intentions of extending Austrian influence toward Salonica, and to withdraw the Austrian military garrisons from the Sanjak of Novi Bazar.  As these changes modified important terms of the Treaty of Berlin, Izvolski thought that they would have to be confirmed by a Conference of the Powers which had signed the Treaty.  To this Aehrenthal apparently did not object at the time.  Less important points discussed and agreed upon were the abolition of Austria’s rights over the Montenegrin coast, the annexation of Crete to Greece, and acquiescence in the independence of Bulgaria, if Prince Ferdinand should finally decide to proclaim himself full sovereign.  The one important matter which was not made definite, and gave rise to endless and bitter controversy, was the date at which these changes were to be made and published.  Aehrenthal claims to have told Izvolski explicitly that the annexation of Bosnia would have to be made prior to the meeting of the Austro-Hungarian Delegations, which was fixed for October 8, when he would have to make a public statement.(30)  Izvolski, however, got the impression that the Austrian Minister would merely lay the annexation plan before the Delegations for consideration, not that he would inform them of it as a fait accompli.  He seems to have anticipated that this bargain would meet with some serious difficulties, and he evidently did not expect that Aehrenthal would take any definite steps until the substance of the Buchlau conversations had been confirmed in writing.  Later, after the annexation, he complained bitterly that Aehrenthal was “no gentleman,” and had “broken faith” in proceeding so speedily with the annexation.(31)

Possibly at Buchlau Aehrenthal had not made up his mind exactly as to his procedure.  But by September 26 he had evidently decided to act quickly, for he sent Büllow a long private letter informing him of the Buchlau agreement and justifying his own part in it, but not indicating any date for the annexation.(32)  On September 29 personal letters from Emperor Francis Joseph, to be presented on October 5 to the rulers of the leading states, were sent to the Austrian ambassadors abroad.  The letters announced that he would proclaim the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 7.(33)

Meanwhile Izvolski, not expecting that Aehrenthal would act so precipitately with a fait accompli, started on a leisurely tour to sound the Powers on the Buchlau bargain and to secure their consent thereto.  On September 26, at Berchtesgaden, he saw Schoen, the German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and emphasized the difficulties which Serbia was likely to make, adding that he thought a European Congress would be necessary to sanction the new arrangements.  Schoen listened, and indicated that perhaps Germany would expect some services in return for consenting to the opening of the Straits.  On September 29 and 30, at Desio, Izvolski took Tittoni into the secret.  This was the first definite information that the Italian Minister had had of the impending changes, and his feelings were hurt.  He straightway begged urgently at Vienna for a postponement of the annexation, but his prayer fell on deaf ears, and was overtaken by the course of events.  Though indignant at Aehrenthal’s Balkan plans and silence in regard to them, Tittoni was willing enough to satisfy Izvolski’s ambitions in regard to the Straits in return for a favorable attitude on Russia’s part toward Italy’s eventual seizure of Tripolis.  In the communique issued to the press on the Desio interview and in Tittoni’s speech in Parliament on December 4, 1908, emphasis was laid on the complete harmony of Russo-Italian views—which was set down in a formal written agreement at Racconigi thirteen months later, in October, 1909.(34)

From Desio Izvolski started for France.  At Meaux, just before his train reached Paris, he bought a newspaper and was startled at the indications that Aehrenthal and Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria appeared about to put into immediate effect part of the plans which had been discussed at Buchlau.(35)  The news was confirmed by a letter from Aehrenthal which was handed to him upon his arrival at Paris.


In Serbia the news caused great indignation and excitement.  Newspaper “extras” bitterly denounced the infringement of the Treaty of Berlin and demanded preparations for a life and death struggle against Austria.  Only thus could the Powers be aroused to support Serbia.(36)  Serbian Ministers assumed that war was inevitable.  The Skupshtina was hurriedly called together;  credits were voted for war;  preparations for mobilization were made;  armed irregular bands, the famous “Comitadjis,” were formed;  and the “National Defense” (Narodna Odbrana) society was established by leading citizens to prevent the annexation.(37)  Prince George Karageorgevitch hastened to Russia to beg help from the Tsar, and was soon followed by Pashitch, the powerful leader of the pro-Russian Radicals.  Milovanovitch, the Serbian Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, started on a tour of the European capitals to secure assistance in preventing Aehrenthal from taking sovereign possession of the two provinces, which were regarded as the very heart of the hoped-for future South Slav Kingdom.

But while Serbian Ministers protested loudly in one breath against the wicked infraction of the Treaty, in the next they suggested “autonomy” for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and “territorial compensations” for their own Kingdom.(38)  They urged the partition of the Sanjak between Serbia and Montenegro.  This would connect these two Slav countries by a common boundary and form a barrier against further penetration by Austria to the South;  it was part of the region through which the projected Danube-Adriatic railway would run, giving Serbia direct access to the sea, and cutting off Aehrenthal’s projected railway to Salonica at right angles.  What would the Powers do for Serbia?  And in particular what would Russia, the Protectress of the Slavs, do?

Izvolski was now in great embarrassment.  He feared that Aehrenthal was about to secure the advantages of Austria’s half of the Buchlau bargain, before he had gotten French and English consent to Russia’s half.  Therefore he did not want the Serbians to stir up trouble until he had the Straits safely in his pocket.  So he told the Serbians to keep quiet for the moment, and wait for a conference of the Powers :

You Serbians surely cannot be thinking of driving Austria-Hungary out of Bosnia and Herzegovina by force of arms.  And we Russians, on the other hand, cannot wage war on Austria on account of these provinces. ... I have foreseen this step of Austria-Hungary’s, and it did not surprise me.  For that reason I made our acceptance of it dependent upon her renunciation of her rights to the Sanjak of Novi Bazar;  and then will follow the revision or alteration of the Treaty of Berlin, which we shall demand;  upon this occasion Serbia, too, will be able to present her wishes as regards the rectification of her frontiers. . . . I do not understand your state of agitation.  In reality you lose nothing, but gain something—our support.  I trust that the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue as hitherto their cultural activity for their own renaissance, and, awake as they are, it will never be possible to denationalize them.(39)

But Izvolski soon found that in Paris he could get no effective backing for his projected opening of the Straits.  M. Pichon was “sympathetic” but non-committal, wishing first to know what England’s attitude would be.(40)  On crossing the Channel, Izvolski discovered, to his great chagrin, that England was still opposed to it, in spite of the more intimate relations which he expected from the Entente of 1907.  Sir Edward Grey tactfully told him that a request for opening the Straits was “fair and reasonable,” and not objectionable “in principle,” provided they were opened “on terms of perfect equality to all,” i.e., including the English.  But Grey was absolutely opposed to Izvolski’s project, which consisted in opening the Straits to Russian warships, while leaving them still closed against war vessels of the other Great Powers.  Any such purely one-sided modification of existing treaties, exclusively for the benefit of the Russians, would give them in time of war “the advantage of having the whole of the Black Sea as an inviolable harbor, from which cruisers and commerce destroyers could issue, and retire at will from pursuit by a belligerent.”  Any modification of the existing treaties closing the Straits to warships “must be one which would contain such an element of reciprocity as would, in the event of war, place belligerents on an equal footing.”(41)  This, of course, was not at all what Izvolski intended.  Like Saburov thirty years earlier he wanted to have the door to Constantinople and the Black Sea bolted from the inside, so that Russia, and no one else, could open and lock it at pleasure.  In vain he tried to frighten Grey into accepting his proposal by hinting that a refusal might break up the Anglo-Russian Entente.  “M. Izvolski went on to say that the present was a most critical moment.  It might either consolidate and strengthen the good relations between England and Russia, or it might upset them altogether.  His own position was at stake, for he was entirely bound up with the policy of a good understanding with England, which he had advocated against all opposition.”(42)

Izvolski now began to lose all hope of securing the opening of the Straits to Russian warships after all.  If he could not secure his half of the Buchlau bargain, perhaps it would still be possible to thwart Aehrenthal, by insisting that the annexation question be laid before a Conference of the Signatory Powers.  Unless he succeeded in this, he would have to confess to a humiliating diplomatic defeat and a severe loss of personal prestige.  Already the Pan-Slavs in Russia had begun to criticize him angrily and bitterly for being outwitted by Aehrenthal, for allowing Prince Ferdinand to assert his independence unaided instead of receiving it from the hands of the Tsar, and especially for having sacrificed the Orthodox Slavs of Bosnia to the Romanist sovereignty of the Hapsburgs.  Even one of his own ambas sadors did not hesitate to denounce the folly of his superior for raising the Straits Question and for his leisurely tour of Europe after Buchlau instead of returning to Russia;  the whole affair might cause Izvolski’s fall from office:

M. Izvolski is undoubtedly very intelligent and highly cultivated, but unfortunately he is weighed down by execssive irritability and pride.  An unfavorable newspaper article costs him his night’s rest.  In his combinations he is too subtle and tricky, so that he often does not see the forest for the trees and what is simplest.  All his arrangements aim only at the enhancement of his personal prestige.  His eventual successor will be M. Charykov.(43)

Izvolski, therefore, in view of his weakened position at home and his failure at Paris and London, began to pretend to the Serbians, in spite of what he had just said to M. Vesnitch in Paris, that he had never approved Austria’s annexation of Bosnia.  While still in London he “did not conceal his vexation at Austria, and protested most energetically against the affirmation that he had given his approval to the annexation.”  He declared that he would do everything to protect Serbian interests and secure compensation for them.(44)  Stopping at Berlin on his way home from Paris and London, he denounced Austria in still stronger terms to Milovanovitch :  “He condemned Austria-Hungary, which has entirely lost the confidence of Russia and of the Western Powers;  he expressed the conviction and the hope that her action in this affair would be avenged upon her in a sanguinary manner.”  But in Berlin he found that Germany was firm in supporting her Austrian ally’s refusal to submit the annexation to a Conference unless its decisions, including recognition of the annexation, were agreed upon beforehand.  In the face of this opposition, he now feared that he might not be able to thwart Austria, by insisting on a Conference, without endangering the peace of Europe.  For such a conflict he knew that Russia was wholly unprepared.  Therefore, he told the Serbians to avoid war for the present, but intimated to them, that, even if the annexation was allowed to stand, it need not be regarded as a final settlement:

His [Izvolski’s] policy was directed toward a goal, which, after liquidation of all Russian questions outside of Europe, would lead Russia on to her European objectives;  Serbia was an important factor in this policy as a center of the Southern Slavs.  Bosnia was, in the opinion of Russia and Western Europe, now more certainly assured to Serbia than ever, even if the Annexation should be recognized;  Serbia must take the first steps toward the realization of her national tasks in the direction of the Sanjak and Bosnia.  For the present a conflict must be avoided, as the ground had not yet been prepared either militarily or diplomatically.  If Serbia brought on a war, Russia would have to abandon her, and she would be vanquished, although this would be a very severe blow, not only for the Russian national sentiment, but also for Russian interests and future plans.(45)

In the course of the next four months Izvolski’s embarrassment increased.  But he continued to encourage the Serbians with the hope that the Annexation Question would be submitted to a Conference of the Powers for revision, and he tried by every means to accomplish this.  But it became evident that he would not be successful.(46)

Meanwhile, excitement in Serbia, as well as among the Slavs in Bosnia and Croatia, continued to increase.  Demonstrations of defiance against the Hapsburgs became more frequent.  Austria, on her side, redoubled her repressive measures and made wholesale arrests of agitators and suspected traitors.  In a notorious treason trial some of her officials even resorted to the use of documents said to have been forged in the Austrian Embassy at Belgrade, which the Austrian historian, Friedjung, unfortunately for his reputation, made the mistake of accepting as genuine.(47)

The situation in Bosnia and Serbia became so threatening for Austria, that in December, 1908, Conrad, the Chief of Staff, was permitted to carry out “brown mobilization,” a supposedly inconspicuous measure, by which Austrian troops were pushed up toward the Serbian frontier without disturbing the normal peace traffic on the railways.(48)  This threatened a local conflict between Austria and Serbia, which might easily develop into a general European war.  Russia, however, wished to avoid any armed conflict at this time, since she was as yet wholly unprepared for a general European war, and would be unable to give Serbia armed support.  Neither could she count on her ally, for France was not at all inclined to be dragged into a war with Germany over a Balkan dispute.  So Russia was forced to continue to beg the Serbians to submit for the present, and to trust in the future.  Guchkov, a leading member of the Russian Duma, told the Serbian Minister in St. Petersburg:

When our armament shall have been completely carried out, then we shall have our reckoning with Austria-Hungary.  Do not begin any war now, for this would be your suicide;  conceal your purposes, and make ready;  the days of your joy will come.(49)

Izvolski himself was reported as saying:

Serbia will be condemned to a pitiful existence until the moment for the downfall of Austria arrives.  The Annexation has brought this moment nearer, and when it comes, Russia will unroll and solve the Serbian question.  Izvolski sees that the conflict with Germandom is inevitable, but Russia’s policy must be purely Slavophile.(50)

A few days later Kosutitch noted that these were also the views of Nicholas II:

The Tsar said the Serbian sky is overcast with black clouds by this blow.  The situation is frightful, because Russia is,unprepared for war, and a Russian defeat would be the ruin of Slavdom.  The Tsar has the feeling that a conflict with Germandom is inevitable in the future, and that one must prepare for this.(51)

As the situation on the Serbian frontier became increasingly threatening, and as the Powers, in spite of a lively interchange of despatches,(52) could come to no solution, Germany finally made a proposal for preserving the peace of Europe, by helping Izvolski to extricate himself from his embarrassment, while at the same time satisfying Austria.


It is often said that Germany instigated Aehrenthal’s annexation program in the interests of the Bagdad Railway and German imperialism.  There is no truth in any such statement.  As a matter of fact, Germany had not even been given a timely and definite warning by her ally of the step she was contemplating, and consequently had n opportunity to interpose a restraint until it was too late.(53)

When Aehrenthal wrote Bülow on September 26 of the Buchlau bargain, the German authorities were scattered at various summer resorts.  Bülow was at his villa at Norderney on the North Sea coast;  Schoen, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was at Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Tyrol;  and the Kaiser was at Rominten in East Prussia.  Aehrenthal’s letter of September 26 wandered first to Norderney, and then, after a delay, to Rominten, so that the Kaiser did not learn of Austria’s intentions until the very day of annexation.  He was highly indignant, not only that he had been kept so long in ignorance, but also at Austria’s action itself.  He regarded it as an unjustifiable attack on Turkey, which would be disastrous to German influence in Constantinople, threaten the Bagdad Railway, and sow suspicion in England against the Central Powers.  “Vienna will be charged with duplicity and not unjustly.  She has duped us in a most unheard-of fashion.”  “My personal feelings as an ally have been most seriously wounded.”  Such were some of the Kaiser’s marginal comments.  He feared that this was the beginning of the partition of Turkey, and might lead to a European war.  “If the Sultan in his necessity declares war, and hoists in Constantinople the green flag of the Holy War, I should not blame him.”  “With a policy of this kind Austria will drive us into a dangerous opposition to Russia.”  He was afraid that if Germany did not take a stand against the Annexation, everyone would believe that it had taken place with his approval.(54)  His Ambassador at Constantinople, Baron Marschall, favored disavowing it, even at the risk of forfeiting the alliance with Austria.(55)

Bülow, however, differed from his master.  Convinced that Germany must support Austria in the Balkans, lest otherwise the Triple Alliance would be weakened, he believed that Germany must uphold Austria in the step which she had taken.  If Germany assumed a negative or hesitating attitude in this question, Austria would never forgive her.  Though Germany had a right to be indignant with Austria for not consulting her earlier, it would do no good to protest now.  Anyway, Russia appeared to have given her consent.  The Kaiser finally accepted Bülow’s point of view;  but he regretted that “Aehrenthal’s frightful stupidity has brought us into this dilemma, so that we are not able to support and protect our friends, the Turks, when our ally has outraged them.”  Bülow thereupon informed Vienna, that, “In case difficulties or complications arise, our ally can count upon us,” and that Austria was to judge of what must be done in the Serbian question.(56)  But the Kaiser’s feeling of irritation remained;  he may have had the shrewd political instinct to realize that in thus giving a blank cheque to Austria, he was assuming a risky liability, and creating a dangerous precedent.

After proclaiming the Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Aehrenthal entered into negotiations with the Young Turks to satisfy their claims.  They, like the Serbians, had at first made a loud outcry against the nullification of the clauses of the Treaty of Berlin.  They assembled troops and attempted to boycott Austrian goods.  But they gradually became convinced that none of the European Powers would actually go to the length of giving them armed support.  In view of Germany’s strong stand behind Austria, the Young Turks finally decided, on February 26, 1909, to accept the Austrian offer of T2,500,000 “for the loss of crown property,” as a solace for abandoning their nominal sovereignty over the annexed provinces.(57)

Turkey’s acceptance of Aehrenthal’s fait accompli did not settle the question, however.  It only increased the embitterment of the Serbians.  Hitherto they had comforted themselves with the hope that Turkish claims, supported by the Entente Powers, could be used as a basis for forcing Austria to submit the Annexation to a Conference of the Powers, at which Serbia could at least secure “autonomy” for the provinces and “compensation” for herself.  These hopes, too, were shattered, as Austria firmly refused to make concessions.

In the weeks following Austria’s settlement with Turkey, the Great Powers telegraphed urgently back and forth in an attempt to reconcile Izvolski’s promise to the Serbians that a Conference should be held, and Aehrenthal’s steady refusal to submit the Annexation to revision.  No solution was reached, until Germany finally made a proposal which eventually relieved the situation.  To avert the possibility of an outbreak of hostilities on the Austro-Serbian frontier, which seemed imminent, and to bridge the gulf between Izvolski and Aehrenthal, Germany, on March 14, confidentially proffered mediation to Russia:  Germany would request Austria to invite the Powers to give their formal sanction by an exchange of notes to the Austro-Turkish agreement, involving the nullification of Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin, provided Russia promised beforehand to give her sanction, when invited by Austria to do so.(58)

This proposal had a threefold advantage:  it secured to Austria a recognition by the Powers of the change in the status of Bosnia and Herzegovina and deprived Serbia of legal grounds and hopes that the fait accompli would be overturned;  it satisfied the Entente demand that no change in a treaty is valid unless formally recognized by all who signed it;  and, finally, by omitting any reference to a Conference, which might still meet to consider other Balkan questions which had been raised, it avoided humiliating Russia by a direct rejection of the Conference idea which Izvolski had been steadily demanding for months.  It let Izvolski easily out of the embarrassing blind alley into which he had strayed.  Izvolski appreciated the proposal and was inclined to accept it.(59)  He “recognized the conciliatory spirit . . . of this effort of Germany to bring about a relaxation of the tension.”(60)  But he still hesitated to give a definite answer, as he continued to cling to the hope of a Conference and the avoidance of another diplomatic defeat.  His inclination to accept the German proposal, however, was stimulated by the fact that a Russian Ministerial Council on March 17 decided that Russia was totally unprepared to support Serbia by force of arms, and also by a hint from Aehrenthal that Austria might publish the documents relating to the Buchlau bargain and thus prove the untruthfulness of the assertions which Izvolski had been spreading everywhere about the origin of the Bosnian affair.  Izvolski instantly begged Bülow to dissuade Aehrenthal from any such publication, and Germany accordingly did so, suggesting to Austria that it was better to keep this trump in one’s hand as long as possible.(61)

Aehrenthal was willing to accept the German mediation proposal, provided Serbia made a formal declaration admitting that the annexation of Bosnia had not infringed her rights and promising in the future to give up her attitude of opposition and protest.

Meanwhile an internal struggle was going on in Austria itself as to peace or war with Serbia.  Conrad, the Austrian Chief of Staff, was again urging that the Hapsburg Monarchy should seize this favorable moment for the “inevitable” war with Serbia.  By a “preventive war” now, “the dangerous little viper” could be crushed and rendered harmless for the future.  Russia and Italy, he urged, were not sufficiently prepared to fight.  Rumania was still loyal, and Turkey was satisfied.  France and England might disapprove, but would not intervene.  No such favorable moment for the reckoning with Serbia and averting the “Greater Serbia” danger was likely ever to recur, because, in the future, Russia and Italy would have reorganized and increased their armies.  Austria might then have to reckon with a war on three fronts.  Aehrenthal and Franz Ferdinand, on the other hand, had been inclined to peace, but Bülow feared they might at any time yield to Conrad’s arguments.  On March 15 Aehrenthal did, in fact, advise Francis Joseph to approve the calling up of more troops and their secret transportation toward the Serbian frontier.(62)  The situation was therefore critical.  To prevent an Austro-Serbian outbreak, Bülow believed it was necessary to press his mediation proposal and secure a definite answer from Izvolski.  On March 21, he sent instructions to this effect to the German Ambassador at St. Petersburg:

Say to M. Izvolski that we learn with satisfaction that he recognizes the friendly spirit of our proposal and seems inclined to accept it ... and that we expect an answer yes or no; we must regard any evasive, conditional or unclear answer as a refusal.  We should then draw back and let things take their course.  The responsibility for further events would then fall exclusively on M. Izvolski, after we had made a last sincere effort to help him clear up the situation in a way which he could accept.(63)

By this Izvolski understood that he was “placed before the following alternatives:  either an immediate regulation of the annexation question by an exchange of notes, or the invasion of Serbia.”(64)  He consulted the Tsar and next day gave the formal affirmative answer desired.  The Tsar had already telegraphed the Kaiser that he was heartily pleased that Germany’s proposal had made a peaceful compromise possible.(65)

Such were the events which soon became distorted into the legend that Germany had threatened Russia with force and humiliated her with an ultimatum.  The legend was exploited in the Russian Press, spread in England by Sir Arthur Nicolson, and used by Izvolski as a means of saving his face before his critics in Russia.(66)  But it was not an ultimatum.  It was an attempt on Germany’s part to bridge the gulf between Russia and Austria and prevent outbreak of war between Serbia and Austria.  Sir Edward Grey had meanwhile come forward with a similar mediation formula and told Austria in language almost identical with that of Bülow to Russia, that, “if this fails, he would draw back and let things take their course.”(67)

After Russia had accepted Germany’s proposal, England, France and Italy soon followed suit.  Upon Austria’s invitation the Powers accordingly exchanged notes, giving belated sanction to the unilateral action by which Aehrenthal had presumed to nullify the solemn clause of a European treaty.

Before the news of Russia’s yielding had reached Vienna, or in spite of it, the war party had gotten the upper hand.  A Ministerial Council of March 29 finally decided to order “Yellow Mobilization” or “Mobilization B” (Balkans).  This involved the full mobilization of five of the total fifteen army corps which at that time composed the Austro-Hungarian army.  It was thus a “partial mobilization” for the case of a war against Serbia and Montenegro only, but was complete for the five corps involved.  Conrad left the Council with the conviction that now, at last, the reckoning with Serbia, which he had so often urged, was about to begin.(68)

Serbia, however, finally heeded the warnings she had been receiving from Russia, to avoid war for the present and to trust to the future.  She decided at the eleventh hour to yield to the advice of the Powers.  On March 31, 1909, she made at Vienna the formal declaration which had been agreed upon by Aehrenthal and Sir Fairfax Cartwright, the English Ambassador at Vienna, in the following terms:

Serbia recognizes that she has not been affected in her rights by the fait accompli created in Bosnia, and that consequently she will conform to the decisions that the Powers may take in regard to Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin.  In deference to the advice of the Great Powers, Serbia undertakes to renounce the attitude of protest and opposition which she has adopted since last autumn with regard to the Annexation.  She undertakes, moreover, to modify the direction of her present policy toward Austria-Hungary, and to live in future on good neighborly terms with the latter.

In conformity with these declarations and with confidence in the peaceful intentions of Austria-Hungary, Serbia will replace her army, as far as concerns its organization and the location and number of the troops, to the state in which it was in the spring of 1908.  She will disarm and disband the volunteers and irregular forces and prevent the formation of new irregular corps on her territory.(69)

Within the next few weeks the Serbian and Austrian armies were demobilized and the Annexation Crisis was relieved.  But, as will be seen later, the Serbians, encouraged by Russia, did not live up to the promises which they had been forced to give, and Conrad repeatedly complained later that Germany had prevented Austria in 1909 from settling the Serbian danger in the only permanently satisfactory way, viz., by the use of force.


We have dealt in some detail with these events, because the effects of the Annexation Crisis continued to be felt long afterwards,(70) and are to be counted among the causes of the War of 1914.  In 1909, to be sure, Aehrenthal seemed to have achieved a diplomatic victory as brilliant for Austria, as it was humiliating for Russia and Serbia.  He was congratulated on his success from all sides, and was rewarded with the title of Count.  It was, however, one of those pyrrhic victories, which seem brilliant at the moment, but which bring more misfortune than success, if looked at from a longer perspective.  Aehrenthal had, indeed, secured a clearer legal title to Bosnia.  He had shown that the Hapsburg Monarchy was still able to pursue a vigorous and independent policy of its own, and gain the prestige which comes with a successful diplomatic move.  But, on the other hand, he had caused Europe to distrust the methods of Austrian diplomacy, and incurred the odium of an unjustifiable breach of a solemn treaty.  This fact was hardly obscured by the exchange of notes with which the Powers ultimately sanctioned his illegal nullification of treaty stipulations.  He had also forced from Serbia a humiliating declaration, which he hoped would put an end to the “Greater Serbia” propaganda.  But such a humiliation of one nation by another is hardly ever statesmanlike or really successful in achieving its aim.  On the contrary, it usually leaves a bitter sting, which is likely to give trouble later.  Serbia did not, in fact, live up to her promise to live on good neighborly terms with Austria.  She allowed her soil to be the hearth from which a subversive agitation was spread, encouraging disloyalty and treason among the Bosnians and other Slav subjects of the Hapsburg Monarchy.  Aehrenthal was soon to find that he had failed in the main purpose for which he had undertaken Annexation-the strengthening of the Austrian hold on Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He had achieved a momentary success at the cost of future difficulties.  “I hope our action will succeed,” he had said to the German Ambassador at the beginning of the crisis;  “if not, I am naturally done for, but in that case, at least, we shall have met defeat with honor;  otherwise we should have continued to sink miserably step by step.”(71)

Germany, likewise, incurred some of the suspicion and odium which fell upon her ally.  This distrust and antagonism was to be found, however, much more among the Entente Powers, particularly in Russia and England, than, as one might have expected, in Serbia.(72)  Though Germany had not actually had definite foreknowledge of Aehrenthal’s Annexation step, nor encouraged him to take it, the Powers—and many historians—were hardly convinced by Germany’s assertions, at the time and later, as to the real facts.  They naturally suspected, from the way in which Berlin firmly supported Vienna during the whole crisis, that Germany was Austria’s accomplice from the outset and thoroughly approved of her action.(73)  Germany’s effort to find a solution, which would sanction Austria’s fait accompli, and at the same time offer Izvolski a line of retreat from a position which Russians more sensible than he realized was untenable, was twisted into a “threat of force” or “ultimatum.”  It was represented as a brutal German attempt to humiliate Russia and drive a wedge into the Triple Entente by forcing Russia to abandon the Entente with England in favor of some new agreement between the three Eastern Emperors.  It was set down as a new evidence of the brutality of Germany’s diplomatic methods.  Unfortunately for Germany, confirmation seemed to be given to this feeling by Emperor William’s vainglorious and tactless speech, when on a visit to Vienna in 1910, he proclaimed to the world that he had stood by his ally “in shining armor.”

The effect of the whole episode on the third partner in the Triple Alliance was thoroughly unfortunate for the Central Powers.  Italy had not been fully consulted before hand by her ally, nor had she been able to take any important part in the solution of the crisis.  Italian pride had been offended, and Italian ambitions seemed threatened by Austria’s further grip upon the Balkan Peninsula.  The latent emotional hatred of Austria in Italian hearts was rekindled by a feeling of military and naval inferiority at the sight of Austrian troops dominating the frontiers, the fortifications of Pola, and the contemplated construction of Austrian Dreadnoughts.  The tradition of Venetian domination in the Adriatic seemed threatened by Aehrenthal’s more aggressive policies.  Hitherto Italian hopes had been protected by the status quo principle of quieta non movere, but Austria’s action looked like an alarming departure from it.  To these fears were added the perennial irredentist friction, the fact that Austria was the only Power which had not answered the invitation for the International Exposition planned for 1911, and the bitter memories revived by the semi-centennial celebrations of the Wars of 1859.  This bitter feeling found vent in a passionate and loudly applauded oration by ex-Premier Fortis :  “There is only one Power with whom Italy sees a possibility of conflict, and that, I regret to say, is our ally.  The Government must invite the nation to new sacrifices to adjust our military forces to the needs of the situation.”  Italy’s doubts of the value of the Triple Alliance to herself were increased.  She was quite ready a few months later to sign with Russia the secret agreement of Racconigi.  This aimed at Russo-Italian diplomatic cooperation against Austria in the Near East, and marked another mile-stone in Italy’s shift from the Triple Alliance to the Triple Entente.(74)

It was in Russia, however, that the Bosnian Crisis had the most serious effects.  The Pan-Slav Press was excited to a long and violent campaign against Germany, the burden whereof was that a war between Slavdom and Teutondom was “inevitable,” and that Russia must consequently hasten to make preparations for it.  And, in fact, it was shortly after this that Russia undertook the sweeping reorganization and increase of her army and navy which was still in progress in 1914.  To Izvolski, personally, this diplomatic defeat, which he had to some extent brought upon himself, was the most bitter experience of his life.  It affected his behavior all the rest of his days, filling him with a desire for revenge and for the recovery of lost personal prestige.  The bitterness which he felt is hardly conveyed in the formal despatch in which he announced to his Ambassadors in Paris and London that he had been forced to accept the German solution of the crisis.  The storm of criticism to which he was subjected by the Pan-Slav elements in Russia was one of the reasons which forced him to give up his position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in September, 1910, and take in exchange the Russian Ambassadorship in Paris.(75)  There he was henceforth in a position to devote his untiring energy and wily intrigues to knitting together more closely Russia’s bonds with France and England.  He now realized that only by their support and by increased armaments could he avert another such diplomatic defeat, or, if need be, risk a decision by war.  His efforts to accomplish these aims can be traced in detail in recently published documents,(76) as has been briefly indicated in the preceding chapter.

The prevailing feeling among Russian diplomats, after the Annexation Crisis, was characteristically expressed by the Russian Ambassador in Paris:

Foreseeing the further development of the European situation, many newspapers come to the conclusion that precisely as Germany and Austria have now achieved a brilliant victory, so must the two Western Powers, together with Russia, now pay their attention to the systematic development of their forces in order to be able, once they are in a position not to fear a challenge of the Triple Alliance—and in this case Italy would separate herself from the Triple Alliance—to set up on their part demands which would restore the political balance which has now been displaced in favor of Germany and Austria. . . . All these circumstances show how necessary it is for us to bind ourselves still more closely to France and England in order to oppose in common the further penetration of Germany and Austria in the Balkans.

Such an opposition need not, under all circumstances, lead to an armed conflict with the Triple Alliance.  Just as Austria, supported by Germany, concentrated her fighting forces and threatened Serbia without listening to the just demands of Europe, so might we, too, in agreement with France and England, after our military strength will have been re-established, force Austria-Hungary in a favorable moment to give up her Balkan plans and to restore to the now subjugated Serbians their freedom of action.  The experience of the last crisis has proved that if military measures are already prepared in times of peace, diplomatic questions may all the easier be solved by threats and the exercise of strong pressure.  The art of diplomacy consists in selecting the favorable moment, and in utilizing a favorable general situation, so that, conscious of one’s own strength, one may hold out to the end.  Thus we shall undoubtedly be able to weaken the unfavorable impression which the failure of our policy has now produced and in this way we will gradually succeed in liberating the kindred Balkan States from the Austro-German influence.(77)

To the Serbians Izvolski continued to give secret encouragement, urging them to prepare for a happier future in which they could count upon Russian support to achieve their Jugo-Slav ambitions.  He never really accepted the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a final settlement, but regarded it, and encouraged the Serbians to regard it, as a Serbian Alsace-Lorraine.  For the liberation of these provinces all Serbs, both in Serbia and Austria-Hungary, should continue to make secret preparations.  This was the policy which inspired his secret negotiations with Italy and Bulgaria in October and December, 1909, and which ultimately led to the formation of the Balkan League of 1912.  All of these contemplated the possibility of changes in the Balkans which might ultimately lead to that triumph of Slavdom over Germandom which the Tsar and his Ministers had assured the Serbians was “inevitable.”(78)  These encouraging assurances from Russia for the future realization of the “Greater Serbia” ambitions partly explain Serbia’s failure to keep the promises made to Austria at the close of the Bosnian Crisis.  That Serbia from the very outset had no serious intention of living up to her new promises, but intended merely to shift the basis and method of her secret underground campaign against Austria, is seen from the following illuminating document, drawn up only a few days after the promises of March 31 were solemnly made:

Instructions of the Royal Serbian Government of April 17, 1909, to the Serbian Minister in Vienna concerning the continuation of the Great Serbia propaganda in Austria-Hungary.

The Royal Serbian Government, whose foreign policy embraces the interests of all Serbdom, trusting in the support of England, France and Russia, is firmly determined to await the moment when Serbia can with the best prospects of success proceed to the realization of her legitimate interests in the Balkans and in the whole Slavic South.  Till then the Royal Government wishes to maintain with Vienna merely purely routine and scrupulously correct relations, without any political agreement of any kind.  For this reason the Government will undertake no step to promote a renewal of the commercial treaty with the Monarchy; for this reason also, it must establish its national activity in the territory of the Hapsburg Crown Lands on new bases.

[The Instructions then warn the officials of the Serbian Legation and consulates in Austria-Hungary that, henceforth, in contrast to the past, they must refrain from all active and personal participation in national Serbian propaganda, and must wipe out all traces of such activities of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so that all correspondence which had been carried on hitherto with political agents in Austria-Hungary should definitely cease.  After April 28th, the Serbian Legation and consulates in Austria-Hungary were no longer to be furnished with funds for these purposes, except 250,000 dinars in connection with the Agram treason trial, and 4,000 dinars for “influencing” the Austro-Hungarian Press.  Funds for obtaining military information will no longer be needed by the Serbian Legation in Vienna, because henceforth the necessary sums for this will be placed at the disposal of the Serbian Ministry of War and its agents.  The Instructions then go on to explain the secret new basis on which the “Greater Serbia” propaganda is henceforth to be carried on.]

In order that the foreign policy of the Royal Government, which embraces the whole of Serbdom, may remain intact, in spite of the above mentioned renunciation of all direct activity in Austria-Hungary, the Royal Government has placed its national propaganda in the Slavic South under the Pan-Slav national propaganda;  its organization will receive its definite form in fraternal Russia July 1 of this year.  Through a backing of this kind, the support of the all-powerful Government of the Russian Empire will be assured for our aspirations in decisive questions.  This organization will be provided with considerable means.  A new focus [of agitation] is being projected in the fraternal Czech Kingdom, around which can rally all those who wish to seek, or must seek, the salvation of their national individuality in the triumph of the Pan-Slav idea.

So far as a revolutionary propaganda appears necessary it is to be cared for henceforth from St. Petersburg and from golden Prague.  We shall also promote this activity through connections which in the future it will also be the business of the General Staff to maintain.(79)

That Serbia counted confidently on Russian assistance in seizing Bosnia and Herzegovina by force in the future is further indicated by a secret circular emanating from the executive committee of a Pan-Slav Conference in St. Petersburg a few weeks later.  It is addressed to the Slav organizations in the Balkans and in summary is as follows:  Russia is on the point of reorganizing her army and reforming her internal administration.  Until this double work of consolidation is completed, the Slav peoples must have patience and continue to trust in Russia.  The Serb delegates at the Slav Conference in St. Petersburg and Moscow have been able to convince themselves on the spot that all classes of Russian society are inspired with the desire to have Russia, able to take up energetically her mission as the Protectress of the Slav world.  Serbia and Montenegro must hold themselves ready to complete their union by the occupation of Novi Bazar and to invade Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Bulgaria must be ready to seize the territories promised to her in the Treaty of St. Stefano and extend herself to the gates of Constantinople.  The Young Turk regime cannot last much longer and the liquidation of Turkey is much nearer than one might suppose.  This will be the moment for Russia, in union with the other Slav peoples, to realize Slav ideals and prevent Austria and Germany from exploiting Turkey to their own advantage.  Meanwhile all Slav peoples must unite in solidarity and work especially to increase their economic strength.  They must shut out German commerce and industry from their territories by a radical boycott.  As for the money needed by the Slavs of the Balkans for their military preparations, Russia will furnish this directly or procure it with the help of France and England.  Certainly within two or three years at the most, the time will come when the Slav World under Russian leadership must strike the great blow.(80)

It was this encouragement to Serbia, secretly on the part of the Russian Government and more or less openly by the Pan-Slav Press, which helped to stimulate the violent nationalist agitation among the Serbs both in Serbia and Bosnia and also among the Croats.  It helped further to unsettle the unbalanced minds of pro-Serb youths who carried out a series of attempts to assassinate Austrian officials which finally culminated in the tragic assassination of the Austrian Archduke at Sarajevo and thus led directly to the World War.  Austrian Ministers were more or less aware of this encouragement and suspected that Russia rather than Serbia was the root of the Austro-Serbian antagonism.

From the formal and external point of view, however, Austro-Serbian relations appeared to be improved after Serbia’s declaration of March 31, 1909, that she would henceforth live on proper friendly terms with the Dual Monarchy.  Austrian and Serbian troops were demobilized on both sides of the frontier.  Serbian propagandist agitation against the Dual Monarchy ceased to be open and public, but it did not become less dangerous because it was secretly taken over by Serbian military officers and driven underground.  The Austro-Serbian antagonism remained almost as keen as before on both sides of the frontier.  While the “Narodna Odbrana,” and later the “Black Hand,” carried on the secret subversive work of Serbian agitation, the Austrian authorities on their part did their full share in keeping the wound open, and in stirring Serb hatred by wholesale arrests of suspected agitators in Austria-Hungary.  The further story of this antagonism and of the Archduke’s assassination will be taken up later.

The three years from 1909 to 1912—from the end of the Annexation Crisis to the completion of the Balkan League—were free from acute conflicts over Balkan problems (except for the effects of Italy’s Tripolitan War against Turkey).  During these years Austria was busy consolidating her position in the newly annexed provinces.  She had renounced her project for an extension of her railway system from Bosnia down the Vardar Valley to Salonica and had withdrawn her military garrisons from the Sanjak of Novi Bazar, as a concession to Serbian and Montenegrin (and Russo-Italian) desires.

In Germany, Bülow resigned as Chancellor in July, 1909, for reasons which have already been indicated above, and was succeeded by Bethmann-Hollweg, an old personal friend of William II’s university days at Bonn.

The new Chancellor lacked diplomatic experience and was devoid of the highest qualities of statesmanship.  He possessed none of the happy literary facility and cleverness of speech, by which Bülow had been able to gloss over the mistakes of his neglected opportunities and to represent Germany’s situation in a more rosy light than was warranted by the facts.(81)  But Bethmann possessed much native shrewdness, a high sense of honor and honesty, and a sincere desire to preserve the peace of Europe.  During the Tsar’s visit to Potsdam in November, 1910, he assured Sazonov, the new Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, that if Austria should pursue expansionist plans, which he believed would not be the case, Germany was neither “bound nor inclined to support her.”  Sazonov on his side declared that he desired the maintenance of Turkey, and sought to give the impression that Russia’s interests were again being directed toward Asia and the Far East.  On this understanding, mutually advantageous arrangements were then agreed upon in regard to Persia and the Bagdad Railway.  Bethmann’s reserved attitude toward Austria, which was in accord with the originally defensive character of the Austro-German treaty of 1879 and Bismarckian traditions, coincided with the views of the German Ambassador at Vienna, who, a year after the Annexation Crisis, wrote:

Germany is not a Balkan Power.  During the past year, for reasons of higher policy, we threw the weight of our political influence into the scales in favor of Austria.  In my opinion we should do well to prevent, as far as possible, a repetition of this procedure.  For the future, we ought to preserve a free hand for ourselves, and allow ourselves to be drawn as little as possible into Balkan questions, so that we shall be able at the psychological moment to choose our policy freely or to use it as profitably as possible.”(82)

Henceforth, until July, 1914, Germany, while still assuring Austria of her readiness to fulfil her obligations as an ally, repeatedly exercised a restraining influence on Austria, especially during the Balkan Wars, in the interests of the peace of Europe.  This was so much the case that Vienna officials, notably the Austrian Chief of Staff, often felt exasperated at the lack of support from Berlin in Balkan affairs.  In spite of the generally good understanding between the heads of the German and Austrian army staffs, Moltke and Conrad, there was more friction between the two allies than has generally been supposed.  Occasionally, Bethmann felt it necessary to renew promises to support policies which Austria deemed essential for her vital interests in the Balkans, because he would otherwise have caused such dissatisfaction at the Ballplatz as to have seriously weakened the alliance which still remained the corner-stone of German foreign policy.  But much more often his instructions to the German Ambassador in Vienna were in the direction of holding back Austria from taking action against Serbia, from antagonizing Russia, and from other reckless measures.  Sometimes Austria heeded the advice, and sometimes she did not.  But to represent Germany as exercising a complete control over her ally, as so many writers have done, is altogether incorrect.  It was not until after the World War began and Austria exhibited such military weakness and failure that Germany gradually assumed that complete control over her ally’s destiny which popular opinion ordinarily attributes to her.(83)


While Germany was thus working, on the whole, to restrain Austria and lessen the tension in the Balkans, Russia was actively preparing for the “inevitable” conflict between Slavdom and Germandom, which would bring about the final realization of Russia’s historic mission in regard to Constantinople and the Straits, and incidentally the realization of Serbia’s ambition for a “Greater Serbia” at Austria’s expense.  With this in view, Izvolski arranged that the Tsar should visit Victor Emmanuel at the castle of Racconigi, south of Turin, in October, 1909.  He indicated his resentment over the Annexation by ostentatiously making a wide detour to avoid stepping on Austrian soil, and the fact was widely commented upon in the Press everywhere.(84)  The important secret Russo-Italian agreement signed here by Izvolski and Tittoni begins with the usual pious wish for the preservation of the status quo in the Balkans, but goes on to state that, if this should prove impossible, as both Powers expected, they would agree to support the principle of nationality in the development of the Balkan states.  The important clauses were the 4th and 5th:

4.  If Russia and Italy wish to make agreements concerning the European East with a Third Power, beyond those which exist at present, each will do it only with the participation of the other.

5.  Italy and Russia engage themselves to regard with benevolence, the one Russia’s interests in the question of the Straits, the other Italian interests in Tripoli and Cyrenaica.(85)

These clauses ran so counter to Izvolski’s and Tittoni’s solemn public and private assurances that they were kept even more closely secret than was the case with most secret treaties.  Izvolski does not appear to have informed the Russian Ambassadors in Paris and London of their exact nature at once.(86)  He did not even tell M. Poincaré until after the outbreak of the Balkan War three years later, and even then he merely read the text aloud on the promise that the French Premier would not reveal it to the Cabinet or even his closest collaborators.  M. Poincaré nevertheless at once informed his colleagues of its contents, though he “did not read them the text of the agreement, because it had not been handed to him.”(87)

M. Tittoni similarly was careful that no inkling of it should reach Germany or Austria though they were Italy’s allies.  With characteristic duplicity, at the same time he was promising to make no agreements concerning the Balkans without Russia’s participation, Tittoni was actually negotiating an agreement with Austria on the very subject.  He had begun the negotiations in the preceding June, by proposing to Austria “an agreement that neither of the two states without the knowledge of the other should make an agreement concerning the Balkans with a third state.”(88)  A week before the Racconigi meeting Tittoni wished to add more definitely that Italy and Austria should “agree not to conclude agreements with Russia without the participation of one another.”(89)  Then he signed the Racconigi agreements.  A few days later, nevertheless, Italy signed an agreement with Austria, behind Russia’s back and in total disregard of the Racconigi promise, embodying essentially the proposals which Tittoni had been negotiating since June.(90)  To such deceit toward both Russia and Austria did Italian ambitions for Balkan and African territory lead M. Tittoni and the Italian Government !  Racconigi betrays the same morality on Italy’s part as in the agreements with France in 1902.

Notwithstanding the extreme secrecy in which Izvolski and Tittoni wrapped their arrangement, rumors and suspicions of what they had done were widespread.  By Italy and the Entente Powers, the meeting of Nicholas II and Victor Emmanuel was hailed with enthusiasm.  The British Under-Secretary, Sir Charles Hardinge, expressed to the Russian Charge d’Affaires his “intense satisfaction,” saying it “was most opportune and of great importance not only to Russia, England and France, but even more so to Italy. . . . He [Hardinge] shares the opinion of a part of the European Press regarding the strange position which Italy has assumed in respect to the grouping of the Powers.  Chiefly in the event of complications in the Near East, Italy would either have to be untrue to her ally or act counter to her own national interests.  These words confirm the deep impression made on Government circles here [in London] by the meeting at Racconigi; they seem to incline to the belief that Italy in the future will stand closer to the Entente than to the Triple Alliance.”(91)  Germany, Austria and Turkey were correspondingly alarmed, but they were given the solemn but lying assurance that nothing had been agreed except the laudable desire of Italy and Russia to preserve the status quo in the Balkans and to allow the Balkan states their normal and peaceful development.(92)

The Racconigi Agreement, which contemplated the possible partition of Turkey and the satisfying of Russia’s ambitions in regard to the Straits, also served admirably another of Izvolski’s purposes-that of tending to draw Italy away from the side of the Triple Alliance to that of the Triple Entente, or at least of neutralizing Italy as a “deadweight” in the Triple Alliance.(93)  It played henceforth an important part in Izvolski’s Balkan policy no less than in Tittoni’s African ambitions.  It was further consolidated by the very intimate relations between the two when they were later Ambassadors in Paris together, in close touch with M. Poincaré.(94)

Along with his Racconigi policy, Izvolski undertook to consolidate the Balkan States into a solid block under Russian guidance and protection.  Hitherto the greatest obstacle to harmonious action by the mutually jealous Balkan Powers had been the fact that Serbia, Bulgaria, and, Greece all made claims to the greater part of Macedonia, which was still in constant ferment under Turkish misrule.  This obstacle could be overcome if Serbia abandoned some of her claim to Macedonia in favor of Bulgaria, and was promised compensation out of territories belonging to the Hapsburg Monarchy, when this should finally be disrupted, either by the death of the aged Emperor Francis Joseph,(95) or by the disintegrating influence of the restless nationalities under Hapsburg rule.  Accordingly, in the summer and fall of 1909 Izvolski endeavored to bring about a rapprochement between Serbia and Bulgaria in the common interests of Slavdom, but Balkan jealousies and suspicions were too strong to permit success to these first efforts, and the negotiations came to a standstill.(96)

At Constantinople an active newly-arrived Russian Ambassador, Charykov, appeared to be working for an entente or league between Turkey and the Balkan States, which might greatly increase Russia’s influence in the Balkans and form a barrier to “the advance of Germanism.”(97)  But Charykov had little chance of success with the Turks, who were suspicious of Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, all of whom coveted Turkish territory.  With Bulgaria, however, Russia opened negotiations for a secret military convention, extending the scope of the secret treaty of 1902 by which Russia undertook to protect Bulgaria against attack by Rumania.  Izvolski’s new proposal to King Ferdinand provided for mutual aid in certain contingencies in case of wars against Turkey and Austria, and promised the utmost possible Russian support to secure for Bulgaria the great gains in territory once contemplated in the Treaty of San Stefano of 1878.  Article V of the proposed military convention declared,

The realization of the high ideals of the Slav peoples upon the Balkan Peninsula, so near to Russia’s heart, is possible only after a favorable outcome of Russia’s struggle with Germany and Austria-Hungary.(98)

The negotiations did not ultimately result in the signing of the proposed military convention,(99) but they are indicative of Russian efforts, successful later, for forming a Balkan bloc which it was hoped would help the Triple Entente to triumph over the Triple Alliance.

Russia’s Racconigi Agreement with Italy and negotiations with Bulgaria and Serbia did not mean, however, that she intended any immediate warlike solution of the Balkan problem.  They were merely part of that “preparation for the future,” which was Russia’s policy until she had finished reorganizing her army and navy, and had succeeded in winning more definite assurances from France and England for support of her Balkan ambitions.  During 1910, partly through the influence of Germany, a certain ostensible rapprochement had been brought about between Russia and Austria which for the moment relieved the tension between these two Great Powers over the Balkan Problem.(100)  But this understanding was merely temporary, and intended, at any rate by Russia, merely as a stop-gap until Sukhomlinov’s army reorganization had produced results and a new Black Sea Fleet been created.  As the Russian Ambassador in Paris wrote to Izvolski in February, 1910:

An agreement of this sort, concluded for a certain number of years, would leave the Balkan States at perfect liberty, both in regard to their internal development as well as to their mutual relations, which they might develop in every possible way.  At the same time Russia would be placed in a position which would enable her to develop her military forces in all security and to prepare herself for those events which cannot be avoided.  In the meantime the further evolution of the Ottoman Empire would be clearer-the problems would mature, and we should be able to meet the events that are to be foreseen much better equipped than otherwise.(101)

Similarly M, Nekliudov relates that in 1911, when he was received by the Tsar before taking up his post at Sofia, Nicholas II said to him, “after an intentional pause, stepping backwards and fixing me with a penetrating stare: ‘Listen to me, Nekliudov;  do not for one instant lose sight of the fact that we cannot go to war.  I do not wish for war;  as a rule I shall do all in my power to preserve for my people the benefits of peace.  But at this moment, of all moments, everything which might lead to war must be avoided.  It would be out of the question for us to face a war for five or six years—in fact till 1917. . . . Though if the most vital interests and the honour of Russia were at stake, we might, if it were absolutely necessary, accept a challenge in 1915; but not a moment sooner—in any circumstances or under any pretext whatsoever.’”(102)

As Mr. Lowes Dickinson justly observes:  “Had this remark been the Kaiser’s instead of the Tsar’s, all our war-historians would have been citing it as a definite proof of the guilt, and the sole guilt of Germany.  I do not cite it as a proof of the guilt, still less the sole guilt, of Russia.  I cite it as one more illustration of the state of mind of all ministers and all princes—‘The war will come.  We don’t want it;  but we must be ready.  And when it comes . . .’”(103)

1. For a very useful list of works on the Balkans see R.J. Kerner, Slavic Europe:  A Selected Bibliography in the Western European Languages (Cambridge, Mass., 1918), especially Nos. 737-842, 3121-3144, 359-4186, 4357-4411, 4490-4518.

2. In addition to the works cited by Kerner, as indicated in the preceding footnote, the more important recent books from the Austrian point of view are:  H. Friedjung, Das Zeitalter des Imperialismus, 1884-1914 (3 vols. Berlin, 1919-22);  F.F.G. Kleinwächter, Der Untergang der österreichisch-ungarischen Monarchie (Leipzig, 1920);  L. Mandl, Die Habsburger and die serbische Frage (Vienna, 1918);  Theodor von Sosnosky, Die Balkanpolitik Oesterreich-Ungarns seit 1866 (2 vols. Stuttgart, 1913-1919);  J. Redlich, Oesterreichische Regierung 4nd Verwaltung im Weltkrieg (New Haven), 1925;  H. Delbrück, "Serbien, Oesterreich and Russland,” in Deutschland and die Schuldfrage (ed. W. Ziegler, Berlin, 1923; pp. 95-112);  and the works of Burian, Conrad, Hoyos, Musulin, Pribram, and Szilassy.  Above all, Oe.-U.A., I-VIII, passim.
    From the Serb and Croat point of view:  H. Wendel, Der Kampf der Südslawen um Freiheit and Einheit (Frankfort, 1925), written in a somewhat lyrical vein, but containing a valuable bibliography (pp. 757-773) including numerous Slavic works;  R.W. Seton-Watson, Sarajevo:  A Study in the Origins of the Great War (London, 1926), giving the best account in English of the Jugoslav Movement;  L. von Sudland [Pilar], Die Südslawische Frage and der Weltkrieg (Vienna, 1918);  Goricar and Stowe, The Inside Story of Austro-German Intrigue (New York, 1920);  and the works of Cvijitch, Jevtitch, Markovitch, and Stanojevitch.
    From a more general point of view:  Die Grosse Politik, passim;  H. Wickham Steed, Through Thirty Years, 1898-1922 (2 vols. London, 1924);  and the works of Bogitchevitch, Brandenburg, Kanner, and Valentin.

3. Vidov-Dan, St. Vitus’s Day, June 15/28, 1914, the day of the Archduke’s assassination, was the 525th anniversary of the Battle of Kossovo.

4. Cf. Michael Pupin, From Immigrant to Inventor (New York, 1923), ch. i.

5. Pribram, I, 18;  also his article, "Milan IV von Serbien and die Geheimverträge Oesterreich-Ungarns mit Serbien, 1887-1889,” in Historische Blätter, I, 1922.

6. For a recent vivid account of this deed, see the article of Dragisha Vasitch, in Knjizhevna Republika, summarized in The Living Age, Jan. 3, 1925;  and the detailed contemporary narrative of Pomiankowski, the Austrian Military Attaché, in the Berlin 8-Uhr-Abendblatt, Nos. 46-50, Feb. 23-28, 1928;  for its importance in internal Serbian politics, see below, Vol. II, ch. ii.

7. Cf. Conrad, I, 13-28.

8. Stanojevitch, Die Ermordung der Erzherzogs Franz Ferdinand (Frankfort, 1923), p. 38;  Conrad (III, 407), in 1913, spoke of, "Deutschland, welches in gierigem Egoismus die Monarchie aus Serbien und überhaupt vom Balkan kommerziell zu verdrängen trachtet.”  The figures for Germany’s displacement of Austria in Serbia in the years 1905, 1906, 1907, are significant:  imports from Germany, in millions of dinars, 6.2, 9.7, 20.3;  exports to Germany, 2.1, 19, 32;  imports from Austria-Hungary 33.3, 22.2, 25.5;  exports to Austria-Hungary 64.7, 30, 12; Statesman’s Year Book.

9. Cf. Dr. Baernreither, "Unsere Handelsbeziehungen zu Serbien,” in Oest. Rundschau, XXIX, 1 ff., 1911;  and "Aehrenthal und Milovanovitch” in Deutsche Revue, Jan., 1922. Dr. Baernreither was an enlightened Austrian enjoying the confidence of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who disapproved of Aehrenthal’s policy and wished to make reasonable economic concessions to Serbia;  see the selections from his diaries published by Josef Redlich, in Foreign Affairs (N.Y.), VI, 645-657, July, 1928.

10. G P., XXV. 281-382.

11. G.P., XII, 285.  On the earlier history of the closure of the Straits, see above, ch. ii, note 27;  on the later history, E.A. Adamov, Konstantinopol i Prolivy [Russia and the Straits], 2 vols., Moskva, 1925-26;  E.A. Adamov, Razdel Aziatskoe Turtsii [Partition of Asiatic Turkey], Moskva, 1924; 1. M. Zakher, "Konstantinopol i Prolivy” in Krasnyi Arkhiv, VI, 48-76; VII, 32-54 (1924);  A. Popov, "Pervaia Balkanskaia Voina” [First Balkan War], ibid., XV, 1-29; XVI, 3-24 (1926);  M.N. Pokrovski, Drei Konferenzen, Berlin, 1920; B. Shatzky:  "La question de Constantinople et des Detroits,” in Rev. d’Hist. de la Guerre Mondiale, IV, 289-309;  V, 19-43 (Oct., 1926; Jan., 1927);  G.P., X, 1-41, 70f., 109-114; XI, 99-106;  XII, 47-87;  XIV, 531-563;  XVII, 34, 84, 102;  XVIII, 409-446;  XIX, 229-244;  and XXII, XXVI, XXVII, XXX-XXXIX, passim; Livre Jaune: L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 19 ff.; Affaires Balkaniques, M.F.R., L.N., Stieve, and Conrad, passim;  a good brief account by G. Frantz, "Die Meerengenfrage in der Vorkriegspolitik Russland,” in Deutsche Rundschau, LIII, 142-160 (Feb., 1927);  P. Mohr, "Konstantinopol and die Meerengenfrage,” in Meereskunde, Heft 178 (1927);  and the references below in the present chapter.

12. M.W. Rodzjanko, Erinnerungen, p. 90 (Berlin, 1927). For England’s persistent opposition to Russia’s sending a couple of torpedo boats even though under a commercial flag, into the Black Sea in 1902, and also to Russia’s sending any of her Black Sea Fleet out of the mare clausum during the Russo-Japanese War, see G.P., XVIII, 407-446;  XIX, 229-244;  and B.D., IV, 44-60.

13. Nelidov’s project of 1896-97, first hinted at anonymously by E.J. Dillon, and then by several memoir writers, has recently been confirmed by documents published by the Bolshevists. See E.J. Dillon, The Eclipse of Russia (N.Y., 1918), pp. 231-244;  S.I. Witte, Memoirs (Garden City, 1921), pp. 186-189;  Baron Rosen, Forty Years of Diplomacy (N.Y., 1922), I, ch. xiv;  M. Pokrovski, "Russko-germanskie otnosheniia” [Russo-German relations], in Krasnyi Arkhiv, I, ch. i (1922), part of which is published in German translation, "Lange ohne Nachricht,” in KSF, IV, 175-181 (Mar., 1926);  G.N. Trubetzkoi, Russland als Grossmacht (Stuttgart, 1913), pp. 161-162. Sazonov refers to it in his report to the Tsar of Nov. 23/Dec. 6, 1913, in L.N., II, 367. That Germany got wind of Nelidov’s plan is evident from G.P., XII, 67-69. Probably one reason that Russia did not dare to carry out Nelidov’s plan was the fear of offending her French ally;  for nine hundred years France had had large interests in the Eastern Mediterranean which she did not care to see jeopardized by a too active advance even of her own ally. Hanotaux, who had served as secretary at the French embassy in Constantinople, had often said to the German Ambassador at Paris:  "La question des detroits nous touche de trop près’ et j’espére toujours que la Russie n’y touchera pas, car cela pourrait devenir trop gros pour nous !”  (Münster to Holstein. April 25, 1896;  G.P., XII, 51).

14. Notes of Goluchowski and Muraviev of May 8 and 17, 1897;  Pribram, pp. 78-82; G.P., XII, 273-305. For further efforts to extend AustroRussian Harmony in the Balkans by the Murzsteg Program, the Neutrality Declaration of 1904, and the Macedonian reform plans of 19041907, see Pribram, p. 98;  G.P., XVIII, 85-405;  XXII, 3-8, 19-522;  and British Documents, I, 281 f., 295-305.

15. G.P., XIV, 550.

16. G.P., XIV, 531-563;  especially No. 4022.

17. M. Pokrovski, "Tsarskaia diplomatiia o zadachakh Rossii na Vostoke v 1900 g.”  [Imperial diplomacy concerning Russia’s aims in the East in 1900], in Krasnyi Arkhiv, XVIII (1926), pp. 3-29, especially pp. 9-11 and 17.

18. Krasnyi Arkhiv, II, 31 (1923). Six weeks earlier he had written in his diary (Jan. 5/18; ibid., p. 20) :  "I emphasized [to the Tsar] the necessity of shifting our main attention from the Far East to the West. The Tsar formulated it something like this:  not to take our eyes off the East, but to pay the greatest attention to the West.”

19. Ph. Crozier, "L’Autriche et l’Avant-guerre," in Revue de France, April 1, 1921, p. 276;  cf. also Izvolski, Memoirs (London, 1920), pp. 20, 81 ff.;  Lee, King Edward VII, II, 283 ff.;  and G.P., XIX, 177 ff., 188.

20. The proposal "which Count Benckendorff had discussed with me at the time of the Anglo-Russian Convention . . . had been that, while Russia should have egress from the Black Sea through the Straits, other Powers should have liberty to send their vessels of war into the Straits without going into the Black Sea;"  Grey to Nicolson, Oct. 14, 1908;  Grey, I, 179. Izvolski also says there had been negotiations with England twice concerning the Straits, "une fois par l’intermédiaire de Benckendorff, et la seconde fois par mon intermediaire, lors de mon sejour a Londres, en automne 1908;"  L.N., I, 148;  Stieve, I, 163;  M.F.R., p. 122. And Hintze, Emperor William’s personal representative in Russia, gathered from Sir Arthur Nicolson that the Straits question had been discussed in connection with the Anglo-Russian Convention negotiations (G.P., XXII, 80-81, note;  XXVI, 127, 218-219, note). We may therefore reject as untrue both Viscount Grey’s later statement that "the question of the Straits was not mixed up with those Anglo-Russian negotiations about Persia" (Grey, I, 159), and Izvolski’s "particular assurance" to Aehrenthal in September, 1907, "that he had not spoken of the question to the English" (G.P., XXII, 80-81);  for Benckendorff’s equally untrue denial, see G.P., XXV, 306.

21. G.P., XXII, 76, 79 ff., and preceding note.

22. G.P, XXII, 83 f.

23. G.P., XXII, 81, 84.

24. Conrad, I, 513 f., 528, 530.

25. "C’est une bombe qu’il m’a jetée entre les jambes," said Izvolski to the German Ambassador in St. Petersburg, referring to Aehrenthal’s announcement of the Sanjak railway project;  G.P., XXV, 313.  Izvolski at once countered with a Danube-Adriatic railway project which would cut Austria’s projected line at right angles, and greatly benefit Serbia by giving her direct access to the sea.  On these rival railway projects see G.P., XXV, 281-382;  Schwertfeger, Zur Eurolraischen Politik, III, 64-72;  Conrad, I, 555; G. Giolitti, Memoirs of My Life (London 1923), pp. 207-211.

26. Protocol of the Ministerial Council of Jan. 21/Feb. 3, 1908;  printed by M. Pokrovski, Drei Konferenzen (Berlin, 1320), pp. 17-31;  and in part by Adamov, Konstantinopol i Prolivy, I, 8 ff.; cf. also Polivanov’s diary [in Russian], quoted by G. Frantz, Russland auf dem Wege sur Katastrophe (Berlin, 1926), pp. 7-10.

27. Conrad, I, 13-28, 87-109;  170-4; 518-524, 527-9, 540-3, 557;  G.P., XXVI, 1-22;  Freiherr von Musulin, Das Haus am Ballplatz (Munich, 1924), p. 163ff.;  Brandenburg, pp. 261-269 (Eng. trans., pp. 305-314);  Stephan, Count Burián, Austria in Dissolution (N.Y., 1925), pp. 265-310.

28. Conrad, I, 107 f.;  printed, with Aehrenthal’s reply of Aug. 27, in G.P., XXVI, 190-195.

29. GP., XXVI, 25-64.

30. Tschirschky, German Ambassador at Vienna to Billow, Nov. 2, 1908;  G.P., XXVI, 31 note, 234. See also G.P., XXVI, 35 ff., 186 ff., 228 ff., 307ff, 837;  and note 61 below. H. Friedjung, Zeitalter des Imperialismus, II, 226 ff.;  Th. von Sosnosky, Die Balkanpolitik Oesterreich-Ungarns seit 1866, II, 167ff;  L. Molden, Alois Graf Aehrenthal, p. 59T;  and Eduard Ritter von Steinitz, "Iswolski and die Besprechungen in Buchlau," in KSF, V, 1151-1179, Dec., 1927;  also Count Berchtold, "Russia, Austria and the World War," in Contemporary Review, CXXXIII, 422ff, April, 1928.

31. For his first expectations see G.P., XXVI, 35ff., 55ff.;  for his later complaints, G.P., XXVI, 118 ff., 135f., 147 ff., 180 ff., 206 ff., 235 ff., 396 ff.;  and below, note 75. See also Ph. Crozier, "L’Autriche et l’Avantguerre," in Revue de France, April 15, 1921, pp. 566-574;  and the anonymous articles in the Fortnightly Review for Sept. and Nov., 1909, "Baron Aehrenthal and M. Iswolski:  Diplomatic Enigmas" and "M. Iswolski and Count von Aehrenthal:  A Rectification," the first inspired by Izvolski, and the second inspired by Aehrenthal and written by Mr. E.J. Dillon after a visit with Count Berchtold at Buchlau—a, fact which soon gave rise to an unpleasant scene between Berchtold and Izvolski (cf. G.P., XXVII, 442-446;  J. von Szilassy, Der Untergang der Donau-Monarchie, 194ff);  Georges Louis, Carnets, I, 66-69, 115.

32. G.P., XXVI, 35-39. Two days later Aehrenthal told the German Ambassador in Vienna that "circumstances might compel him to begin even in the very immediate future with the accomplishment" of his annexation plans; the circumstances to which he referred were the propagandist agitation of the Serbians and the probability that Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria was about to proclaim his independence of Turkey;  ibid., 43 f.

33. G.P., XXVI, 97-101;  for Francis Joseph’s letter to Nicholas II, see Krasnyi Arkhiv, X, 42-43 (1925) and KSF, IV, 238-240 (April, 1926). Since Ferdinand of Bulgaria proclaimed his independence on Oct. 5, Aehrenthal hurriedly notified Turkey of the Bosnian annexation on Oct. 6, one day earlier than the date announced in the Emperor’s letters (G.P., XXVI, 112).

34. G.P., XXVI, 43, 55-64;  XXVII, 319 ff., 399 ff. Writing on Nov. 4, 1909, Izvolski speaks of this identity of Russo-Italian views on Balkan questions between himself and Tittoni as having been formulated "nearly two years ago";  ibid., p. 424; Siebert-Schreiner, p. 151. This Desio interview and earlier negotiations concerning the Sanjak railway project may explain Giolitti’s curious mistake (Memoirs of My Life, London, 1923, pp. 202-204) in giving 1907, instead of 1909, as the date of the Racconigi bargain.

35. Crozier, op. cit., p. 571. The Austrian Ambassador at Paris, hearing that President Fallieres would be out of town on Oct. 5, decided to present Francis Joseph’s letter to him on Oct. 3 under strict secrecy, but Pichon at once telegraphed the news to the French ambassadors abroad and something of it leaked out to the French papers (Crozier p. 567 f.;  G.P., XXVI, 101 f.).

36. Report of Austrian Charge d’Affaires in Belgrade, 9 P.M., October 5, 1908;  Conrad, I, 113;  G.P., XXVI, 247 ff.

37. Stanojevitch, 47;  for further details, see below, Vol. II, ch. ii, "The Assassination Plot."

38. Reports of Vesnitch from Paris, Oct. 5;  of Milovanovitch from London, Oct. 29;  and of Pashitch from St. Petersburg Nov. 25, 1908;  Bogitchevitch, 147 ff. (French edition, 1925, p. 171 ff.) ; G.P., XXVI, 252 ff.

39. Report of Vesnitch, Serbian Minister in Paris, of conversation with Izvolski, Oct. 5, 1908;  Bogitchevitch, 151-154;  and in the same strain Prince Urusov to Simitch at Vienna, Oct. 10;  ibid, 154-156.

40. L.N., I, 145f.; G.P., XXVI, 133-136.

41. Grey’s memorandum to Izvolski, Oct. 14, 1908;  M.F.R., p. 530; L.N., II, 458.

42. Grey to Nicolson, Oct. 14, 1908; Grey, I, 178.  Cf. also G.P., XXVI, 140, 144, 149 ff., 157 ff., 173 ff., 195f.

43. Remarks of Muraviev at Rome, as reported by Monts to Bülow, Oct. 25, 1908;  G.P., XXVI, 220. On the feeling in St. Petersburg, ibid, pp. 124-129, 169-173, 199, 235-239, 265 ff.

44. Report of Gruitch from London, October 13, 1908;  Bogitchevitch, 157-161.

45. Report of Milovanovitch from Berlin, Oct. 25, 1908; ibid., 161-163. On Izvolski’s interviews with Billow in Berlin, see G.P., XXVI, 201-212.

46. G.P., XXVI, 247-363;  Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 229-272.

47. J. Goricar and L. B. Stowe, The Inside Story of Austro-German Intrigue (New York, 1920), pp. 28-48;  H. Wickham Steed, Through Thirty Years (London, 1924), I, 308-316;  T.G. Masaryk, Der Agramer Hochverratsprozess und die Annexion von Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vienna, 1909;  R.W. Seton-Watson, The Southern Slav Question and the Hapsburg Monarchy (London, 1911).

48. Conrad, I, 120.

49. Report of Kosutitch, Mar. 3, 1909; Deutschland Schuldig?, p. 112.

50. March 10, 1909;  ibid., 114.

51. Mar. 19., 1909;  ibid., 114;  Bogitchevitch, 150-151.

52. G.P. XXVI, 385-770.  Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 229-272.

53. Aehrenthal had preferred to face even his ally with a fait accompli. At the end of August, he had twice assured Germany he had no intention of annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina (G.P., XXVI, 20-22). On Sept 5, he hinted to Schoen of the bargain he was planning with Izvolski (ibid., p. 26f.);  but the first definite information was his letter to Billow of Sept. 26 (ibid., p. 35), which did not reach the Kaiser at Rominten until Oct. 6 (ibid., 53, note). The Austrian Ambassador in Paris presented Emperor Francis Joseph’s letter concerning the annexation on Oct. 3;  thus the President of France was officially informed three days before the German Emperor;  a fact which greatly incensed the Kaiser (ibid, 53, 102).

54. G.P., XXVI, 39, 43, 45, 53, 102, 112.

55. G.P., XXVI, 99-103.

56. G.P., XXVI, 106, 160ff.

57. G.P., XXVI, 415-488.

58. 58 G.P., XXVI, 669 ff.

59. Pourtalès to Bülow, Mar. 16, 18, 20;  G.P., XXVI, 673-692.

60. Izvolski to the Russian Ambassadors in London and Paris, March 17, 1909;  Siebert-Schreiner, p. 254.

61. G.P., XXVI, 668;  cf. also pp. 230, 234-246, 308, 668-671, 825. In order to hide his own mistakes and misrepresentations, Izvolski apparently did not tell the Tsar the frank truth about the Buchlau bargain;  this is indicated by the contents of the Tsar’s letters to William II and Francis Joseph (Semenoff, Correspondance entre Guillaume II et Nicolas II, pp. 230-251;  Zaionchkovski, "Vokrug anneksii Bosnii i Gertsegoviny" in Krasnyi Arkhiv, X, 41-53, partly translated in Die Kriegssehuldfrage, IV, 238-250, April, 1926), and also by the fact that Izvolski removed the Buchlau papers from the Russian archives (statement of Zinoviev, a Foreign Office secretary, to the French Ambassador, Aug. 26, 1912; George Louis, Carnets, II, 30). See also below, note 66.

62. Conrad, I. 138-157.

63. Bülow to Pourtalès, Mar. 21, 1909; GP., XXVI, 693 ff. Though Bülow signed this note, it was Kiderlen-Wächter, who composed it and gave it its friendly but decisive tone;  see E. Jäckh, Kiderlen-Wächter, der Staatsmann und Mensch (Berlin, 1925), II, 26-29.

64. Izvolski to the Russian Ambassadors in London and Paris, March 23, 1909;  Siebert-Schreiner, 259 ff.

65. Tsar to Kaiser, Mar. 22, 1909; G.P., XXVI, 700.

66. For the long controversy which arose over the nature of Germany’s action, see G.P., XXVI, 693 note, and 777-855 passim. Bülow proposed to publish the documents to set the matter in its true light and counteract the legend of a German threat of force. The proposal was favored by Charykov, the Acting Minister during Izvolski’s absence;  but it was abandoned upon Izvolski’s return, on account of his opposition to making documents public which would have shown how he and the Pan-Slav Press misrepresented things (ibid., pp. 788-793, 796-801, 811, 814).

67. Metternich to Bülow, Mar. 22,1909;  G.P., XXVI, 701.

68. Conrad, I, 162;  for the technical mobilization measures, I, 116 ff, 160, 640 ff.

69. G.P., XXVI, 731;  cf. Austrian Red Book of 1914, no. 7.

70. For interesting contemporary comment on the immediate effects of the Bosnian Crisis, see G.P., XXVI, 773-871.

71. Brandenburg, p. 287.

72. Stanojevitch, pp. 36-42, shows that the Serbians felt no particular animus against Germany during the following years. This was owing in part to the greatly increased trade relations between the two countries during and after the "Pig War."  It may have been also owing partly to Serbia’s realization that Germany often used her influence to restrain Austria from an aggressive Balkan policy. Though Izvolski’s bitter hatred was mainly directed against Aehrenthal, that of the Russian people, led by the Pan-Slav Press, was henceforth directed more against Germany;  see Pourtalès’ reports, Mar. Sept. 1909;  G.P., XXVI, 777-858. The English Government’s attitude was colored by the strongly Russophil attitude of Sir Arthur Nicolson, British Ambassador to Russia, who was soon to become permanent Under-Secretary in the British Foreign Office and to exert a strong pro-Russian influence on Sir Edward Grey;  cf. Grey, I, 182, 304 ff.;  and G.P., XXVI, 732, note;  738 ff., 866.

73. "We have to deal with an action which permits of no contradiction, which has been agreed upon between Vienna and Berlin," telegraphed Izvolski to the Russian ambassadors in London and Paris on Mar. 23, 1909, in reporting the last stage of the crisis;  Siebert-Schreiner, p. 260.

74. G.P., XXVI, 793 ff., 819 ff.;  XXVII, 397431.

75. G.P., XXVI, 777-793, 796-817, 823-828, 834-840, 853-858, 971;  see also supra, notes 31, 61, 66.

76. G.P., XXVII-XXXVII;  Siebert-Schreiner; M.F.R.;  L.N.;  Stieve;  and in the works of Barnes, Bogitchevitch, Brandenburg, Churchill, Ewart, Fabre-Luce, Gooch, Grey, Judet, Montgelas, Poincaré, Schmitt, Stieve, and Valentin.

77. Nelidov to Izvolski, Mar. 19/Apr. 1, 1909;  Siebert-Schreiner, 266268. Nelidov, of course, depended on his dispatches from Izvolski for his version of the Bosnian Crisis.

78. See above, at notes 49-51.

79. Quoted by Conrad, I, 181. For a document, see G.P., XXVI, 776 f.  summary of this or a similar document, see G.P., XXVI, 776 f.

80. Brockdorff-Rantzau, German Chargé d’Affaires in Vienna to Bethmann, July 25, 1909;  G.P., XXVI, 844 f. For Russian efforts to provide financial aid, both directly and by means of loans from France, to provide the Balkan states with munitions of war, see L.N., I, 283 ff.;  II, 155 ff , 233 f., 242 f., 262 f.;  Stieve, Nos. 280, 283, 317, 346, 1070, 1082, 1101, 1169, 1201, 1205, 1217-8, 1223-4, 1233-5, 1245-1250, 1322, 1328, 1330, 1335, 1346, 1348, 1356, 1363, 1365, 1374;  Siebert-Schreiner pp. 312, 339 ff., 451 ff.;  Poincaré, II, 33, 49 ff.
    French investments, including both Government loans and private banking investments, in the Balkan states (not including Turkey) rose from 920 million francs in 1902 to 3,130 million in 1914, an increase of 242%;  her investments in Russia rose from 6,900 million in 1902 to 11,300 in 1914, an increase of 63%;  while French total foreign investments, even including her own colonies, rose from 20,860 million in 1902 to 38,230 in 1914, an increase of only 83%;  figures for 1902 from Bulletin de Statistique et de Législation Comparée, Oct. 1902;  figures for 1914 from H.G. Moulton The French Debt Problem (N.Y., 1925), p. 20. As French foreign loans were very closely connected with French foreign policy, these figures give some indication of the rapid increase of French political interest in the Balkans;  they help explain the fact that M. Poincaré was often more pro-Serbian than M. Sazonov himself, and very determined in 1914 to see that Serbia received Entente support against Austria.

81. This literary facility and optimism, which characterized Bülow’s Reichstag speeches, is also reflected in his Deutsche Politik (1913, revised ed., 1916), intended as a defense of his administration. The best and severest indictment of it is by J. Haller, Die Aera Bülow (Berlin, 1922). Bethmann’s more simple honesty and lack of finesse is seen in his Betrachtungen zum Weltkriege (2 vols., Berlin, 1919-1921). Severe criticisms of his policy are to be found in the writings of Tirpitz and in H. von Liebig. Die Politik von Bethmann Hollwegs (3rd ed.. Munich, 1919).

82. Tschirschky to Zimmermann, May 1, 1910;  G.P., XXVII, 537.

83. On Austro-German relations, 1909-1914, see G.P., XXVII-XXXVII, passim;  Pribram, pp. 268-298;  Brandenburg, pp. 315 ff., 337 ff., 362 ff. For some examples of Germany’s restraint upon Austria or non-support of her policies, see for instance, Conrad’s comments in regard to Serbia (III, 77, 78, 164-9. 258, 404, 595-8), Albania (111, 63-64, 77, 108, 136, 268-9, 323, 586), Rumania (429-432, 671), Montenegro (III, 166-7, 318-9), Turkey (III, 27, 644-5), the preservation of peace (78-81, 102, 239), and in general (III. 407, 410, 417, 421, 429, 627-8, 632, 729). For the interesting but opposing views of Jagow and Lichnowsky in July, 1914, in regard to the AustroGerman alliance, see K.D., 62, 72.

84. Cf. G.P., XXVII, 403 ff., 425;  Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 148, 152. For the earlier negotiations between Izvolski and Tittoni, see above at note 34.

85. M.F.R., p. 298;  L.N., I, 358;  Stieve, II, 363;  KSF., IV, 415-417 (June, 1926).

86. Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 146-177, contains many telegrams concerning the Racconigi meeting, but they do not reveal the essential character of the agreement until Italy seized Tripoli in 1911; then the London Ambassador was told of the 5th clause (p. 158), and Izvolski reminded Tittoni "not to forget Italy’s obligations in regard to our claims to the Turkish Straits" (p. 161)

87. Poincaré, II, 365.

88. G.P., XXVII, 319.

89. G.P., XXVII, 334.

90. Austro-Italian Agreement of Nov. 30, 1909, defining "Art. VII" of the Triple Alliance Treaty; Pribram, 99 f., G.P., XXVII, 336.

91. Siebert-Schreiner, p. 148 f.

92. Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 149-152. G.P., XXVII, 409-431, passim.

93. G.P., XXVII, 411, 421.

94.   Cf. M.F.R., L.N., and Stieve, passim;  Judet, Georges Louis, p.150 ff. 173;  Poincaré, I, 32 ff., 336 ff.; II, 363 ff.

95. As contemplated by Delcassé in his letter of 1899, urging the indefinite prolongation of the Franco-Russian Alliance;  Livre Jaune, L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 131.

96. Cf. Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 273-281;  G.P., XXVII, 157-174;  and the telegrams of the Serbian Minister, Milovanovitch, in Deutschland Schuldig? (Berlin, 1919), pp. 115-119.

97. G.P., XXVII, 159 ff., 170 ff.

98. Proposed Russo-Bulgarian Military Convention of Dec., 1909;  Bogitchevitch, 115-121;  Laloy, Les Documents Secrets Publiés par les Bolcheviks (Paris, 1919), pp. 52-58.

99. V. Radoslavov, "Der russisch-bulgarische Vertragsentwurf von 1909," in KSF, IV, 272 f., May, 1926.  The negotiations were continued in 1910 during the visit of Ferdinand of Bulgaria to St. Petersburg (cf. G.P., XXVII, 176, 183, notes).  They are apparently referred to by Neratov in a telegram to Sofia of Nov. 23/Dec. 6, 1911 (Krasnyi Arkhiv, IX, p. II, 1925), when he speaks of "our confidential proposal to Bulgaria in 1910."

100. Cf. Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 282-303;  G.P., XXVII, 433-517.

101. Nelidov to Izvolski, Feb. 3, 1910;  Siebert-Schreiner, p. 283.

102. Nekliudov, Diplomatic Reminiscences, p. 5.

103. Dickinson, p. 303 f.