Sidney Bradshaw Fay : The Origins of the World War
chapter 5 continued


Izvolski had made two futile and unfortunate efforts to realize his ambition of opening the Straits to Russian warships.  The first was made during the negotiations for the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, and the second in the Buchlau Bargain of 1908.  Both had failed on account of opposition from Sir Edward Grey and lack of support from the French.  But in the fall of 1911, Izvolski believed that the European situation invited a more successful effort.  The French march to Fez, and the resulting Agadir Crisis, had drawn closer the ties between the Entente Powers, particularly the bonds between France and England.  Germany, having roused England to the verge of war in defense of France and the Morocco Agreement, had been compelled to accept a settlement, which was on the point of being signed, by which she abandoned all claims in Morocco in exchange for portions of the French Congo.  Russia had not given France any such active and effective diplomatic support as had Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Lloyd George.  On the contrary, Izvolski had worked “with all his strength” to moderate France and urged her to give in to many of the German demands.(104)  M. Neratov, who had charge of the Russian Foreign Office during Sazonov’s long illness, gave repeated warnings that “Russian public opinion would hardly understand a [Franco-German] war occasioned by colonial questions.”  The Tsar took the same attitude.  Even when M. Georges Louis, the French Ambassador in St. Petersburg, pointed out to him that North Africa was as much of a “vital interest” to France as the Caucasus to Russia, Nicholas II had replied, “Keep in view the avoidance of a conflict.  You know that our preparations are not complete.”(105)  Yet in spite of this indifference to the very vital interests of the French, Izvolski flattered himself that he could coax from them a promise of support in the question of the Straits, as a quid pro quo for accepting without objections the Franco-German Morocco settlement.  When he learned from Tittoni in September, 1911, that Italy, stirred by the establishment of the French protectorate in Morocco, and taking advantage of the various secret promises made to her by the different Powers, was about to seize Tripoli, he believed that the favorable moment had come to cash in his part of the Racconigi Bargain.

Russia’s raising of the Straits Question in 1911 has usually been explained as the unauthorized act of M. Charykov, the Russian Ambassador at Constantinople—“The Charykovkite,” Mr. Gooch calls it(106)—intended to be merely a feeler to see how the wind was blowing in regard to the question.  The fact that Charykov’s action was soon disavowed by the Russian Foreign Office has given color to this view;  but the truth is the whole affair originated with Izvolski, while Charykov was made the scapegoat, and recalled when it failed.  This seems to be the conclusion to be drawn from the more recent material available on this interesting incident.(107)

On learning of Italy’s intended action, Izvolski immediately wrote to Neratov on September 26, recalling the Racconigi secret agreement, rejoicing in the embarrassment which Italy would cause for Germany and the Triple Alliance, and urging that the moment had come “to draw the greatest possible advantages for our own interests from the approaching events.”  Now was the time, while Turkey was weakened by war with Italy, to force the Young Turks to settle such questions as the railways in Asia Minor, the Turco-Persian boundary, and above all the question of the Straits.

Izvolski at once saw Tittoni at Paris, “to remind him of the conditions on which we promised on our side to recognize Italy’s freedom to action in Tripoli,” and to beg him that “Italy, at the moment when she was proceeding to carry out her program in Tripoli, should give us assurances in return that she would not forget in the future to fulfill the parallel obligations undertaken by her in regard to our rights to the Turkish Straits.”  Tittoni answered affirmatively and promised Izvolski precise written assurances.(108)  Having written to Neratov initiating a revival of the Straits Question, Izvolski went on a vacation to his family at Tegernsee in Bavaria.

M. Neratov at once fell in with Izvolski’s idea.  He despatched instructions to Charykov at Constantinople to take advantage of the circumstances of the Turco-Italian War, the Franco-German Moroccan negotiations, and the very feeble character of the new Grand Vizier, to open conversations on the subject of Asia Minor railways, and, if Charykov deemed it wise, on the question of the Straits (and certain other subjects) on the following basis:

The Imperial Government engages to give the Ottoman Government its effective support for the maintenance of the present regime of the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, extending it also to the territories adjacent.  To facilitate the execution of the above clause the Imperial Ottoman Government engages on its side not to oppose the passage of Russian warships through the Straits, on condition that these ships do not stop in the waters of the Straits unless by agreement.(109)

Charykov was also informed that the plan was, first to secure the assent of Turkey, and to reserve the right to make explanations to the Powers concerning this modification of international treaties.  Charykov therefore saw the Grand Vizier, Said Pasha, discussed with him all the subjects suggested by Neratov, and handed him a letter containing the proposal for opening the Straits and for settling other questions.  He asked for a reply within a week.

Said Pasha did not at all fancy the proposal.  He naturally saw that it would place Constantinople at the mercy of a Russian Fleet.  The clause referring to Russian support in the Straits and “also the territories adjacent” had an ominous sound.  It threatened to reduce Turkey to the position of a dependent vassal of the Tsar at a moment when Turkey was helplessly involved in war with Italy.  The Grand Vizier therefore resorted to the usual Turkish dilatory tactics in dealing with disagreeable demands.  For several weeks he evaded a definite reply, telling Charykov that he was delayed by having to consult other Ministers.(110)

M. Charykov also confided his proposal to the French Ambassador in Constantinople.  M. Bompard thought it opportune, but shrewdly suggested the need of getting England’s assent, and telegraphed to Paris.  The French Government was much alarmed, and at once inquired in St. Petersburg about the meaning of Charykov’s confidences to Bompard.(111)

Neratov and Izvolski were now faced with the very delicate task of securing the assent of the Powers to this modification of international treaties concerning the Straits.  With Italy and Germany this was easy enough.  Italy needed Russia’s diplomatic support in putting pressure upon Turkey to cede Tripoli.  Tittoni quickly gave to Izvolski a definite promise, written down at Izvolski’s own dictation, and guaranteed the Italian Government’s approval.(112)  Germany also gave her full assent;  Bethmann-Hollweg and his Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Kiderlen, shrewdly calculated that England would object anyway, and that there was, therefore, no occasion for Germany to offend Russia needlessly.  For Germany to object would simply be pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for the British.(113)

Austria also, influenced by Germany, was ready to give her consent, qualifying it only with a reservation which would protect Austria from an attack by the Russian Fleet.(114)  With France and England, however, the task was much more delicate.

When Izvolski returned from Tegernsee to his post, he found a “very secret” letter from Neratov, telling of Charykov’s communications to Said Pasha and Bompard and of the French inquiry, and suggesting to Izvolski that now was the time to nail down the French Government to giving its written promise of assent.  He even suggested the very words in which it should be given:

France engages to consider with benevolence the Russian interests in the question of the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and not to oppose the realization of the projects which Russia might have in view relative to the Straits and the territories adjacent.(115)

Accordingly, on October 11, M. Izvolski made a long and persuasive plea to M. de Selves, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs,

not to refuse to formulate in some fashion the French Government’s attitude toward the means which we shall sooner or later consider it necessary to take in regard to the Straits and the territories adjacent.... In view of M. de Selves’ very feeble knowledge in questions of foreign policy, I limited myself to the above mentioned general discussion.  I intend to return to the theme a little later and then state our concrete desires.(116)

Next day M. Izvolski again complained of M. de Selves’ ignorance.  “The misfortune is that M. de Selves is very little informed on all these questions, and at the same time is wholly absorbed with the Morocco and Congo question.”  He also added a word on the desirability of bribing French newspapers:

It is very important to take care that we have here “a good Press.”  In this matter, however, I lack unfortunately the chief weapon, because my requests to be provided with special funds for the Press have resulted in nothing.  I shall naturally do all I can;  but this [Straits question] is precisely one of those questions in which public opinion, as a result of old traditions, is rather predisposed against us.  An example of how advantageous it can be to hand out money for the Press here is shown in the Tripoli Affair.  I know that Tittoni has worked the principal French papers in a very thorough fashion and with a very generous hand.  The results are evident.(117)

Though M. Justin de Selves was in fact probably not well informed on the Balkan Problem, his “encyclopaedic ignorance” has been exaggerated.  He was cautious, sincere, and honest, and did not want to be precipitated into a rash promise which might encourage France’s ally to risky Balkan adventures or which might displease the friend of France across the English Channel.  He therefore quickly got into touch with Downing Street.  He learned from Paul Cambon that news had reached London, by way of Italy, that Charykov had made an official request at Constantinople, and that England took the same stand as in 1908:  England was ready to see the Straits opened, provided they were opened to the warships of all nations alike, but not if they were opened only to Russia, thus converting the Black’ Sea into a potential Russian naval fortress.(118)  Sir Arthur Nicolson “doubted whether the moment was well chosen” Sir Edward Grey would go no further than to confirm his declarations of 1908.  The Russian Ambassador in London, though he “had convinced himself how highly Sir Edward values the Entente and how firmly determined he is to preserve it and avoid anything which might endanger its existence,” soon had to confess sadly that “it is always difficult to induce the British Government to assume engagements on principle for future eventualities.”(119)  Further interviews merely made it clearer that it was impossible to persuade Sir Edward Grey to alter his attitude.

On November 4, Izvolski finally sought “to nail France down” to a written promise, while de Selves was in a pleasant mood of relief at the conclusion of long negotiations with Germany, and before the inexperienced Minister should have time to get advice from England or elsewhere about the problem of the Straits:

In view of the signing of the Franco-German Agreement, it seemed to me indispensable, immediately and without waiting for our official acceptance of it, to nail down(120) the results of my conversations with de Selves concerning the Straits and North China.  I therefore wrote M. de Selves a letter on November 4, in which I expressed, approximately in the form you proposed to me in your last letters to me,(121) our confidence in the assent of France to our wishes in these questions. . . . I hope to receive from de Selves an unconditional confirmation of the contents of this letter, the text of which I shall send you by Thursday’s courier.

I have preferred quick procedure rather than more formal negotiations chiefly in order not to give de Selves a chance to discuss our demands with England or perhaps with the other Powers.(122)

In his letter to M. de Selves, Izvolski complimented him on the Morocco settlement “to which Russia would give her full and complete agreement,” and coaxingly “expressed his firm hope that at the moment at which France, the friend and ally of Russia, is proceeding to establish her position in North Africa on a new and firm foundation, the French Government, to which the Imperial Cabinet has unceasingly given its most sincere diplomatic support, is ready on its side to assure us that it recognizes our liberty of action in the Straits as well as in North China, and will not deny its assent to the measures which we might be put in a position to take for the safe-guarding of our interests and strengthening of our position there.”  Even to M. de Selves these honeyed words must have seemed hypocritical, since Russia’s diplomatic support in the Agadir Affair had been nil and whatever success France had secured in the negotiations with Germany had been chiefly due to British support and to M. Caillaux’s efforts.  M. Izvolski was arriving after the event and claiming a reward which he had done nothing to earn,—a reward which threatened to suck France into the wake of Russia’s risky Balkan course and to displease England.

M. de Selves, however, was not to be taken in so easily.  His suspicions of the Russian Ambassador are indicated by the fact that he inquired at St. Petersburg whether Izvolski had written the letter on his own initiative or upon instructions from Neratov.(123)  He was shrewd enough to consult Sir Edward Grey again, and learned that England had no intention of approving a Russian guarantee of “the status quo of the Straits and the territories adjacent,” which went far beyond Izvolski’s proposal of 1908.  Grey gave Russia “a dilatory reply.”  He approved the noncommittal reply which de Selves proposed to make verbally to M. Izvolski as “very wise and conceived in the same spirit of courtesy and prudence as that which he [Grey] has made to the Russian Ambassador.”(124)  De Selves therefore avoided committing himself to Izvolski.  In explaining to Neratov his failure to “nail France down,” Izvolski several times laid it to M. de Selves’ “unfortunate ignorance” and his preoccupation in defending the Moroccan Agreement against attacks in the Chamber of Deputies.(125)  Perhaps M. de Selves was wiser than M. Izvolski supposed.

Fortunately for France, M. de Selves was able to hand over to M. Georges Louis the delicate task of framing an answer to Izvolski’s letter of November 4.  M. Louis had been French Ambassador to St. Petersburg, but at this moment was temporarily filling a vacancy in the French Foreign Office.

Thoroughly acquainted by experience with the question and with M. Izvolski’s shifty methods, M. Louis cautiously raised objections to the looseness of the phrase concerning Russia’s “liberty of action in the Straits.”  M. Izvolski made elaborate explanations, and was willing to change it.  After long discussions M. Louis drew up a polite but noncommittal formula, which formed the basis of the answer which M. de Selves finally handed to M. Izvolski on January 4, 1912:

In a general way I am happy to confirm to Your Excellency the declarations of the French Government on the occasion of the events of 1908, relative to the satisfactions which the Russian Government may be led to seek in the question of the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.  The French Government remains disposed to exchange views with the Russian Government, if new circumstances render necessary an examination of the question of the Straits.(126)

While Sir Edward Grey and M. de Selves, by polite but dilatory answers, were saving themselves from being nailed down in advance to definite support of an indefinite pro gram, events had been taking place at Constantinople which also contributed to Izvolski’s chagrin.  After Charykov had tried in vain for weeks to secure an answer from the Grand Vizier, Said Pasha, he turned to the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs.  On November 27, he officially presented to Hassim Bey a note embodying Russia’s request for opening the Straits and settling other points.  Hassim Bey was furious.  He feared that Russian warships in the Bosphorus would mean Russian domination at Constantinople, the establishment of a Russian protectorate over the Turkish Empire, or even the beginning of its final dismemberment.  Russia had destroyed the independence of Persia and was preparing the same fate for Turkey.

In his peril and perplexity, Hassim Bey hurried to inform his good friend the German Ambassador.  “The great blow has just been struck us,” were his first words to Baron Marschall.  He then proceeded to tell of Charykov’s demands, and to pour out all his fears and indignation against Russia, and against the Triple Entente which he suspected (quite wrongly) was standing behind Russia.  Beside the danger from Russian warships before the walls of Constantinople, Charykov’s proposal in regard to railways in Northern Asia Minor meant that railways which were for the strategic defense of Turkey against Russia would be put into the hands of Russia and her ally France!  Baron Marschall sympathized with him completely.  He, too, saw shattered at a blow all his own efforts of twenty years in strengthening German influence in Turkey, in trying to save the Ottoman Empire from disintegration, and in building the Bagdad Railway.  He foresaw that an acceptance of Russia’s demands would be interpreted by the Balkan States as indubitable evidence of the great superiority of the Triple Entente over the Triple Aliance.  The Balkan States would be quick to line up on the side of the former, because superior strength was the unfailing argument which determined their political allegiance.  He pleaded at great length with the German Foreign Office to aid Turkey in resisting Russia.  When he was told that Germany would not oppose the opening of the Straits because there was little doubt that England would oppose it, and that Germany would only be playing England’s game and offending Russia needlessly, Baron Marschall sent in his resignation.  Later, however, he was persuaded to withdraw it, when it soon appeared that the German Foreign Office had quite correctly surmised England’s attitude.(127)

Rumors of Charykov’s negotiations had meanwhile leaked out and caused no less indignation among the Young Turks and in the Turkish Press than Hassim Bey had ex pressed to Baron Marschall.  On December 6, the Jeni Gazette, though it usually inclined to favor England, published a leading article to the effect that, “The Russians want to degrade the great and glorious Turkish Empire into a province standing under a Russian protectorate, but the Ottomans will never toierate this.”  Hassim Bey was further encouraged to resist Charykov’s demands on learning that Sir Edward Grey had told the Turkish Ambassador in London that “Russia’s step seems to me out of place at this moment,” and that the assent of all the Signatory Powers would be necessary.(128)

As a result of the attitude of England, France and Turkey, it began to be clear that Izvolski’s idea could not be realized at the moment.  Accordingly, M. Sazonov, who had just come to Paris after his long rest at Davos, gave an interview to Stephane Lauzanne:

There is no “Dardanelles Question” such as is printed every day a little everywhere.  A “question” in the diplomatic sense of the word presupposes in effect a demand formulated by a Government, as well as diplomatic steps [démarches] or negotiations.  But Russia demands nothing, has undertaken no negotiations, nor attempted any diplomatic step.(129)

How little truth there was in Sazonov’s disavowal, the reader of the preceding pages may judge for himself.  On December 15, Charykov was now instructed to tell Hassim Bey that since Russia’s proposals had been prematurely divulged, and not by Russia’s fault, it was impossible to continue the negotiations.  Sazonov sent a telegram to Russian Ambassadors abroad trying to give the impression that Charykov had exceeded his instructions in extending private conversations into official negotiations.  In March, 1912, Charykov was recalled and replaced at Constantinople by M. Giers.  So ended Izvolski’s third effort to open the Straits.

Izvolski still entertained some forlorn hopes that he might use de Selves’ answer of January 4, 1912, as a basis for securing future French assent to his favorite project.  M. Poincaré(130) would have us believe that the Russian Ambassador was “entirely satisfied” with the attitude of France.  But he gives this impression by quoting merely three sentences out of a letter of Izvolski to Neratov;  the whole tenor of the rest of the letter, however, indicates that Izvolski was really sadly disappointed, was trying to put the best face on his failure, and was merely advising Neratov to accept the French answer because there was no present prospect of getting a more satisfactory one.  As a matter of fact, Izvolski was almost as bitterly disappointed over this fiasco as over that of 1908, only he could not voice aloud his dissatisfaction at France and England, who were chiefly to blame, as he had done after 1908 against Austria;  France and England were fellow members of the Triple Entente, whereas Austria belonged to the rival group.  He seems to have come to the conclusion after this that there were only two ways to open the Straits;  either by pouncing upon them in time of peace, or as the result of a general European war.  On several occasions between 1912 and 1914 Russian Ministerial Councils seriously considered the first alternative only to abandon it as impractical.  So there was left only the second alternative, a general European war.  To prepare for this Izvolski worked persistently and consistently during the two following years, and, when at last it suddenly burst forth, was said to have claimed exultingly: “C’est ma guerre!”


Five centuries of Turkish oppression, combined with the rising tide of nationalism in the nineteenth century, had inspired the Christian peoples of the Balkans with a passion for national unity and independence.  By the year 1911, owing to the progressive decay of the Ottoman Empire, long steps had already been made toward the realization of their ardent hopes.  Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Rumania had been constituted into independent kingdoms.  But there were thousands of Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians and Rumanians, not to mention Macedonians and Albanians, still living under the foreign rule of Turkey or Austria.  They, too, longed to be liberated and united with their brothers in the independent kingdoms.  The supposedly democratic revolution in Turkey, and Austria’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, for a moment seemed to indicate that these two States were showing signs of rejuvenation and that the day of Slav liberation was likely to be delayed.  But the impractical ideals of the Young Turks and their foolish disregard of traditional rights and prejudices only resulted in antagonizing more completely the non-Turkish elements, and in weakening still further the decaying Empire which Abdul Hamid’s skill and ruthless methods had managed to preserve.  The Tripolitan War gave it another staggering blow, and led directly to the formation of the Balkan League, which finally drove the Turks almost completely from Europe.  This natural ambition of the Balkan States, to liberate and annex their brothers under alien rule, was the main cause of the Balkan League, but it is doubtful whether it could have been formed except for the very active part taken by MM. Hartwig and Nekliudov, the Russian Ministers at Belgrade and Sofia.

During the early months of the Tripolitan War various Russian representatives were pursuing three quite different Balkan policies-a striking example of lack of unity and discipline in the Russian diplomatic service.  They all wanted to take advantage of Turkey’s difficulties with Italy to strengthen Russia’s position in the Balkans and in Europe, but they had altogether different ideas of how this must be done.  Izvolski, with the cooperation of Neratov and Charykov, had tried to open the Straits to Russian warships, and had failed.  Meanwhile Charykov, on his own initiative, had at the same time been renewing his efforts for the formation of a Balkan League of which Turkey (!) should be a member.  He had offered his “good offices” to Said Pasha and Hassim Bey to bring about close relations between Constantinople, Sofia and Belgrade.  Such a league might be used to preserve the status quo in the Balkans, and to support Russia in a war against Austria.  It would reduce Turkey to a kind of vassalage to Russia, because Turkey would be dependent on Russia for protection from the Balkan States.(131)  But Charykov’s fantastic idea had not the slightest chance of being realized.  It was at the antipodes of Russia’s traditional policy, which was to push the Balkan States against Turkey.  It was regarded with suspicion by the Turks.  And it was anathema to the Slavs of the Balkans.(132)  It ended with Charykov’s dismissal in March, 1912, just at the moment a very different kind of Balkan League was actually being signed.

While the policies of Izvolski and Charykov were doomed to failure, a third policy, ardently pursued by Hartwig and Nekliudov in Belgrade and Sofia, ripened into success.  They aimed at the formation of a Balkan Slav League under Russian patronage, nominally for the preservation of the status quo, but capable of being directed against Turkey or Austria.  Active Russian efforts to create such a league had been made from time to time ever since the Young Turk Revolution and the Austrian annexation of Bosnia in 1908.(133)  But they had all failed, owing in large part to the inherent hatred and jealousy of Serbia and Bulgaria toward one another, and to the distrust with which the wily King of Bulgaria was regarded by everybody, including even his own ministers.  The idea of a Slav Balkan League was galvanized into life again by the news of Italy’s war on Turkey in September, 1911.

M. Geshov, the Bulgarian Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, has given a dramatic and authentic narrative of his part(134)—how he heard the news of the Tripolitan War at Vichy, hurried home to Sofia via Paris and Vienna, having interviews with de Selves and Aehrenthal, returned to Vienna for secret conferences with King Ferdinand and with Milovanovitch of Serbia, and finally, in a three-hours’ talk between stations in a railway compartment outlined a Balkan Agreement to him.  It was in the course of this interview, after they had touched upon the thorny question of the future division of Macedonia, that the Serbian Premier exclaimed:

Ah!  Yes!  If, at the same time with the liquidation of Turkey, the disintegration of Austria could take place, the solution would be enormously simplified:  Serbia would get Bosnia and Herzegovina, as Rumania would get Transylvania, and we should not have to fear the intervention of Rumania in our war with Turkey.(135)

But M. Geshov’s narrative tells relatively little of the part played by Russia in the long and difficult negotiations which followed.  This can now be traced in detail in the correspondence of Hartwig and Nekliudov with Neratov at St. Petersburg.(136)  These two Russian Ministers at Belgrade and Sofia worked indefatigably to smooth out the mutual jealousies and suspicions of the Serbian and Bulgarian Ministers toward one another, and to help them in the almost superhuman task of reaching an agreement as to the division of spoils to be conquered from Turkey.  At the same time they kept Neratov fully informed of each step forward in the negotiations.  Finally, on March 13, 1912, Serbia and Bulgaria agreed on a Treaty and signed it.

By this Treaty of March 13, 1912, Serbia and Bulgaria mutually guaranteed each other’s territory and independence, and agreed to support one another in case any of the Great Powers should attempt to acquire by force, even temporarily, any territory in the Balkans.  This protected Serbia against any attempts of Austria to reoccupy the Sanjak of Novi Bazar or to seize the parts of Macedonia and Albania coveted by Serbia.  Serbia had hoped in the early negotiations that the alliance would be primarily directed against Austria.  But Bulgaria had little interest in seeing Serbia acquire Bosnia and Herzegovina or other Hapsburg territory.  King Ferdinand’s eye was directed primarily toward Macedonia, Thrace, and even perhaps Constantinople;  he therefore wished the new alliance directed against Turkey.  Accordingly, a secret annex provided that if disorders broke out in Turkey and the status quo in the Balkans was threatened, Serbia and Bulgaria would enter into an exchange of views for joint military action.  If Russia had no objections to their plan of action, the two Balkan Allies would then carry on military operations as agreed;  any dispute which might arise was to be referred to the Tsar for arbitration, and his decision was to be binding.  A detailed statement set forth the division of the spoils to be acquired in Macedonia from Turkey, and provided among other things that Serbia should lay no claim to territory in the direction of Salonica south of a line from Mt. Golem to Lake Ochrida.(137)

On taking charge of the Foreign Office again at the beginning of 1912, M. Sazonov found the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty well on the way to completion.  Negotiated during his absence, and containing a clause for rigid secrecy, he did not know whether he ought to inform the other members of the Triple Entente of it.  Though professing to preserve the status quo, and giving Russia a kind of veto on making war (at least so he said), he appears to have realized that it might easily encourage the Balkan States to a war which in turn might involve Russia and her French Ally.  For a moment in February, 1912, he apparently thought of engaging France in a full discussion of the new aspect of the Balkan problem.  He drew up a questionnaire as a basis of discussion: what should France and Russia do in case of an internal Turkish revolution, an Austrian attack on Albania or the Sanjak, or an outbreak of war between Turkey and one of the Balkan states? He showed it to M. Georges Louis.  But the French Ambassador was again exceedingly cautious and saw great dangers ahead.  “These are the greatest questions,” he wrote M. Poincaré, “with which Russia can face her ally.”  “It would be better for us to consent to discuss them in academic conversations, than to risk being drawn along in Russia’s wake by the rapidity of events, without being able to discuss either her action or to set forth our conditions. . . . For M. Sazonov as for M. Izvolski, it is neither in China nor in Persia, but in the Balkans that Russia will direct at present her principal political effort.”(138)

Observing M. Georges Louis’ extreme reserve, and aware of Izvolski’s failure to nail France down to support an opening of the Straits, Sazonov drew back, and contented him self with merely informing France and England of the existence of a Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty, but not of its details and potentially aggressive character.(139)  He did not bring up again for discussion his questionnaire, and evaded all French efforts to draw him out as to what he had had in mind.(140)

It was not until Poincaré visited St. Petersburg in August, 1912, that he learned for the first time the full text of the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty, and exclaimed in alarm:  “Mais c’est lá  une convention de guerre!,” exactly the expression which Nekliudov had used when forwarding the document to St. Petersburg.  M. Poincaré was indignant that the details of a treaty, likely to lead to war in the Balkans and arranged under Russia’s patronage, had been so long withheld from France by her Ally.  As he noted at the time:

I did not conceal from him [Sazonov] that I could not well explain to myself why these documents had not been communicated to France by Russia.... The Treaty contains the germ not only of a war against Turkey, but a war against Austria.  It establishes further the hegemony of Russia over the Slav Kingdoms, because Russia is made the arbiter in all questions.  I observed to M. Sazonov that this convention did not correspond in any way to the definition of it which had been given to me; that it is, strictly speaking a convention for war, and that it not only reveals mental reservations on the part of the Serbs and Bulgarians, but that it is also to be feared lest their hopes appear to be encouraged by Russia, and that the eventual partition will prove a bait to their covetousness.(141)

Nothing better characterizes the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty than these words of the French Premier, unless it be what he himself said a week after the outbreak of the Balkan War:

It is certain that she [Russia] knew all about [the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty], and, far from protesting against it she saw in this diplomatic document a means of assuring her hegemony in the Balkans.  She perceives today that it is too late to wipe out the movement which she has called forth, and, as I said to MM. Sazonov and Izvolski, she is trying to put on the brakes, but it is she who started the motor.(142)


Though M. Poincaré, with his characteristic quickness and accuracy of judgment, was quite correct in his view, of the dangers latent in the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty, he and M. Sazonov took no immediate steps to consult with the Powers to avert an outbreak of war in the Balkans.  He merely told M. Sazonov that public opinion in France would not allow the French Government to take up arms for Russia over a purely Balkan question-so long as Germany did not intervene.  In this latter case, Russia “could certainly count on France for the accomplishment of her exact and entire obligations” as an ally.  He confidentially informed Sazonov of the secret Anglo-French “verbal agreement in virtue of which England has declared herself ready to aid France with all her naval and military forces in case of a German attack.”  He discussed the new FrancoRussian Naval Convention, and urged Sazonov to try to make a similar convention with Sir Edward Grey for the cooperative action of the Russian and English navies.  In fact, aside from his brief comment of warning on hearing the terms of the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty and some discussion of an Austrian peace proposal, virtually all of his conversations during his stay in Russia from August 9th to 16th were devoted to strengthening the bonds of the Triple Entente and securing solidarity of action between France, Russia and England.(143)

After returning to France, though now fully aware of the impending danger of war in the Balkans, M. Poincaré made no proposals to avert it until September 22.  Even then he consulted only with the two other members of the Triple Entente, being ever anxious to preserve Entente solidarity and to get concerted agreement to proposals which could then be notified to the Triple Alliance Powers for their acceptance or rejection.(144)

This tended to sharpen the division of the Great Powers into two hostile groups, whereas Germany, and also Sir Edward Grey and Sazonov, for the most part, took the broader and wiser stand of desiring to have the Powers act collectively and in concert, in order to prevent a possible conflict between the Triple Entente and Triple Alliance.

At times, to be sure, M. Poincaré asserted his solicitude for collective European action.  Thus, on August 28, he told the German Chargé d’Affaires that “his policy aimed, that the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente should not seek to range themselves on opposite sides, but should work for the establishment of the European Concert.”(145)  This sounded well.  But did his acts correspond to his words? On this same August 28 he telegraphed to London, “It seems to me desirable that an Entente should take place between France, England and Russia so that completely harmonious advice can be given at the Sublime Porte.”(146)  Two days later he emphasized both at London and St. Petersburg: “It remains understood that the concert of the three [Entente] Powers is necessary for every collective action.”(147)

In contrast to Poincaré’s policy of “Entente Solidarity,” Count Berchtold proposed on August 13 that all the Great Powers enter collectively into a discussion, with a view to securing reforms from Turkey and restraining the Balkan States from disturbing the status quo.(148)  Count Berchtold was thus the first of the European diplomatists to propose collective European action in view of the increasing tension between Turkey and the Balkan States, although he had no such definite knowledge of the explosive material hidden in the secret Balkan Treaties as had Sazonov and Poincaré.  He acted without first consulting his own Ally, and, at first sight, one is inclined to praise him for taking a statesmanlike stand, in favor of preserving peace by the Concert of Europe.(149)  But it appears his proposal was dictated mainly by a desire to “be important,” to offset newspaper criticisms of his indolent do-nothing methods, and to seem to take the initiative in the Balkan Problem before Sazonov and Poincaré should announce something from St. Petersburg.(150)  Moreover, Berchtold’s proposal was so vague, both in its wording and in his own mind, that it did not commend itself to any of the Powers, and was later pushed aside when M. Poincaré took the initiative out of Count Berchtold’s hands.

During mid-summer Sazonov had been very optimistic, trusting perhaps too confidently to the power of veto which he says the Balkan Treaty gave him;  he thought he could restrain his protégés from a war which he probably wished at this time to avoid.  But by September 17, the news of Turkish atrocities and Bulgarian war excitement became so alarming, that he suddenly became frightened.  He therefore made a suggestion to all the Powers, “not as a rival but as a supplementary action” to that of Berchtold, that the Powers should advise Turkey to make immediate reforms in Macedonia.(151)  As quick action seemed urgent to prevent the Bulgarians taking things into their own hands in Macedonia, Sazonov gave his advice to Turkey immediately, without waiting to hear from his Entente friends.  But his proposal had no effective results for several reasons:  Sir Edward Grey did not want to put pressure on the Turks;  Poincaré did not wish to act except in cooperation with England;  and Germany, after past experiences, had little confidence in the success of any reforms by the Turks in Macedonia.(152)

Finally, on September 22, M. Poincaré took the initiative by proposing to England and Russia a formula for restraining the Balkan Powers, which the Triple Entente should agree upon and then present to Germany and Austria for acceptance.  Izvolski told him that he feared that this procedure would not receive the assent of Sazonov nor of England, “because it emphasized the division of Europe into two groups.”  M. Poincaré replied that it could be kept secret,(153) and, after some modifications to please England and Russia, secured an accord with them: the Entente Powers were to invite Germany and Austria to agree to join in advising the Balkan States not to disturb the peace, and warning them that, even if they broke it, they would not be allowed to make territorial gains.  On September 28, M. Jules Cambon broached the subject to M. Kiderlen-Wächter at Berlin and found a cordial reception.  The only remaining question seemed to be who should assume the ungrateful office of making the announcement to the Balkan States.  M. Kiderlen suggested that Russia and Austria should act in the name of the Great Powers, and his suggestion was adopted.  But there were further delays due to objections raised by Russia and England.  On October 7, the assent of all the Great Powers was finally secured, and the next day Russia and Austria issued the agreed warning to the now highly excited Balkan States.(154)  It was too late.  On this very day, October 8, Montenegro declared war on Turkey and was speedily joined by the other Balkan Allies.


In an outline of Balkan Problems from 1907 to 1914 it is obviously impossible to enter into all the complicated kaleidoscopic questions which now arose between the Great Powers and between the Balkan States themselves.  Any adequate treatment of them would fill a book in itself.  The Balkan Wars therefore must be dealt with very briefly here.

When Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece joined Montenegro in war upon Turkey in October, 1912, they quickly astonished themselves and the world by the rapidity and completeness of their victories.  The Greeks occupied Salonica;  the Bulgarians marched victoriously to the defensive forts outside Constantinople; and the Serbians swept over the whole upper valley of the Vardar, the Sanjak of Novi Bazar, and the northern part of Albania.  This gave them at last an outlet on the Adriatic.  Only the Turkish fortresses of Adrianople, Janina, and Scutari held out against the victorious allies.

The Serbians were greatly elated by these conquests which doubled their territory and seemed to foreshadow the possibility of the early realization of their “Greater Serbia” ambitions at Austria’s expense.  They were actively encouraged by Hartwig, the Russian Minister at Belgrade.  He was said to have declared to his Rumanian colleague that Serbia could not possibly renounce her outlet on the Adriatic;  Serbia must be the Slavic advance-post in the Balkans, and must annex Bosnia, Herzegovina, and the South Slav districts of Hungary;  Rumania, he hinted, had better look out for her interests in the same way and annex Transylvania.  When this was called to Sazonov’s attention, he denied emphatically that Hartwig could have made such remarks, but a little later admitted that “Hartwig has great sympathy for the Slav cause, is of a passionate character, and perhaps lets himself be carried away occasionally by his Slavophil sympathies.”(155)  But there was little doubt that Russia was energetically supporting the Serbian claim to Northern Albania and ports on the Adriatic.  Reports came from St. Petersburg that the Pan-Slav and militarist party of the Grand Dukes was using pressure upon the peace-loving Tsar to resort to war, if necessary, on Serbia’s behalf.(156)

To Austria and Italy, as well as to the Albanians themselves, the extraordinary and unexpected victories of the Serbians were most unwelcome.  Though the Albanians, numbering less than two million, were still in a relatively primitive state of civilization, and divided into hostile quarreling groups of varying religious affiliations—Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Mohammedan—they scouted the idea of coming under the rule of the Serbians.  They had no mind to exchange the Turkish for a Serbian yoke.(157)  Though Albania could not look back to a great historic past, like Greece under Pericles, or like Serbia and Bulgaria in the later Middle Ages, the more intelligent Albanian chieftains now desired an independent, or at least an autonomous, Albanian State.  When the Serbian and Greek armies overran their territory and threatened their independence, Ismael Kemal saved the situation by hastily calling an assembly of representative chieftains from all parts of Albania.  On November 28, 1912, the national flag, the black double-headed eagle of Scanderbeg on a blood-red ground, was hoisted over Valona, and Albania’s independence and neutrality was proclaimed.  This was done with the approval of Austria and Italy.

Both Austria and Italy urged the establishment of an Albanian State, though under different forms and for different reasons.  Allies, yet rivals, both were in favor of creat ing Albania as a means of excluding Serbia from the Adriatic, which both aspired to dominate.  But both were extremely jealous and suspicious of each other.  Both had sought secret support from Russia for the exclusion of the other from all influence in Albania—Austria by Goluchowski’s exchange of notes with Muraview in 1897, and Italy by the secret Racconigi Agreement of October, 1909, as has been indicated above.  These two jealous Powers differed, however, as to the details of the desired Albanian principality.  Austria wanted a completely independent Albania, either under a native chieftain, or under some other ruler whom Austria could more or less control and influence.  She hoped to find in a newly created Albania an ally against Serbia on the east and a check upon Italy on the west.  Austria therefore desired that the new state be as strong as possible, and that it should include Ipek, Djakovo, Dibra, and Prizren, as well as Scutari and Janina.  “An Albania without Scutari, Janina, and Prizren, would be a body without a heart and stomach.”(158)  An Albania of such size and strength as Austria desired would deprive Serbia of part of the fruits of her unexpected victories, and also tend to check the dangerous “Greater Serbia” movement in the future.

Italy, on the other hand, did not want too strong an Albania, where Italy had political, commercial, and military ambitions.  Italy wanted to control the harbor of Valona, build a railway across the mountains to Salonica, and check the northern advance of Greek influence.  In possession of Brindisi on one shore of the Adriatic, and in control of the Albanian coast on the other, Italy aspired virtually to close up the Adriatic into an Italian lake.  Italy was satisfied merely to have the Serbians shut out from the coast.  Rather than give Albania wide frontiers and a prince who might be under Austrian influence, Italy preferred leaving the region under nominal Turkish suzerainty, with a governor appointed by the Great Powers and assisted by a gendarmerie under Swedish, Spanish, Swiss, or Belgian officers.  Italy foresaw, as proved to be the case, that a, weak Albania under the joint direction of the Great Powers would be far more favorable to Italian interests, than a strong independent Albania under Austrian influence;  because in Balkan questions, the grouping of the Great Powers tended to be 4-2 or even 5-1 against Austria-after the Racconigi Agreement Italy inclined more and more to the Entente, and Germany often sided with the Entente when she considered Austria’s Balkan policy to be dangerously aggressive.

By the end of November, this Albanian question, together with all the other rivalries and suspicions which had been accentuated by the Balkan War, began seriously to threaten the peace of Europe.  Russia, in spite of some wavering on Sazonov’s part, inclined to back the Serbians in their actual possession of Northern Albania, and Austria and Italy were determined to support the Albanian chieftains in their opposition to Serbia.  Russia began mobilizing part of her forces against Austria.  Austria had already made preparations for war against Serbia, and was believed to have mobilized three army corps in Galicia against Russia.  On December 7, Conrad, the head of the Austrian militarist group, was reappointed to his old position as Chief of Staff.  Russia, however, drew back when the risk of war became imminent.  Poincaré, who had warned Russia from a too risky support of Serbia on his visit to Russia, before the Balkan Allies had won their great victories, now encouraged Russia to take a stiff stand.  He saw that the new Balkan Alliance was virtually equivalent in strength to a Great Power.  With this on the side of Russia, the prospects were highly favorable for French revanche, if Austria should attack Russia, and thus involve France and Germany in a general war.  He counted on Italy’s doubtful loyalty to the Triple Alliance, and he hoped for England’s armed support to the Triple Entente, in view of the exchange of notes which had just taken place between Paul Cambon and Sir Edward Grey in London.

Peace between the Great Powers, however, was preserved, thanks largely to efforts of the English and German Governments.  Concessions were made on all sides.  On December 16, the London Conference of Ambassadors accepted Sir Edward Grey’s compromise proposal for an independent Albania whose boundaries were to be determined later.

Like most compromises, this satisfied neither of the two states most directly interested in the fate of the unhappy little country.  Serbia felt very bitterly at being deprived of the fruits of her victories and her long hoped-for economic outlet on the Adriatic.  Deprived by the Great Powers of territory which she had expected to get in this direction, Serbia quite naturally felt she had a right to ask Bulgaria to revise the terms of the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty, and to give her some of Macedonia south of the line from Mt. Golem to Lake Ochrida.  Bulgaria refused.  This eventually led to the second Balkan War, when Bulgaria made her sudden treacherous attack upon Serbia at the end of June, 1913.

Austria also complained bitterly that nearly everything which occurred in connection with Albania in the months following the adoption of Sir Edward Grey’s proposal was done in opposition to her wishes and was prejudicial to her interests.  This was either because the majority of the Conference took sides against her in favor of Serbia, Russia, and Italy;  or because the Serbians and Montenegrins acted in defiance of the decisions of the Powers, by placing faits accomplis before the Conference, which the latter was unwilling or unable to remedy.  The most notorious and grotesque case of the kind was the way in which King Nicholas of Montenegro snapped his fingers in the face of th Powers and their international fleet and continued the siege of Scutari, which the Conference had assigned to Albania.  On the other hand, Ipek, Djakova, Dibra, and Prizren were not included within the boundaries of the new state.  This meant, according to Austria’s contention, that something like half a million Albanians, forming a compact group within the watershed which constitutes the natural geographical boundary of Albania, were to be left to the mercy of Serbian and Montenegrin troops.  In the south, Greece demanded that the boundary be drawn in such a way that the Greek Orthodox Albanians would be assigned to her.  Conrad, the Austrian Chief of Staff, wanted to compel Greece to abandon these claims on Southern Albania, either by diplomatic action, or by a joint Austro-Italian show of force.  But here Austria met with opposition from her own Ally.

Although the Albanian compromise averted the danger of an immediate war between the Great Powers, it remained a highly disturbing factor in Balkan politics until it dis appeared into relative insignificance at the outbreak of the World War.  It was indirectly the cause of the fratricidal Serbo-Bulgarian conflict of June, 1913, and it led to a new Austro-Serbian crisis in the following November.

When Bulgaria suddenly attacked Serbia in the quarrel over Macedonia, and started the Second Balkan War (June 30-August 10, 1913), she was speedily crushed.  Rumania and Greece seized the favorable opportunity to settle their grievances against her by joining forces with Serbia.  Even Turkey returned to the attack to recover the Thracian territory which she had just lost.  Attacked on four sides, and already exhausted by her efforts during the First Balkan War, Bulgaria was quickly forced to beg for peace and sign the Treaty of Bucharest.  This deprived her of a large part of her recent conquests from Turkey and some of her own former territory which was ceded to Rumania.  It increased the power of her Balkan rivals, and left her isolated and embittered.  Henceforth she was eager to gain the support of Austria or Russia-whichever offered her the best prospect of overthrowing the Bucharest Treaty.  But she had forfeited the confidence of every one.  Russia hesitated to ally with her for fear of antagonizing Serbia, and Austria hesitated similarly for fear of offending Rumania.

Serbia came out of the Balkan Wars greatly increased in power and prestige, and fired with a renewed self-confidence and determination to realize her ambition of a “Greater Serbia.” She had nearly doubled her territory, and increased her population from three to nearly four and a half millions.  To be sure, the newly acquired districts in Macedonia were predominantly Bulgarian in character, and would therefore present a difficult problem of assimilation and administration as Serbia’s first task of the future.  But her acquisition of part of Novi Bazar and the upper Vardar valley, and her running frontier with Montenegro, would enable her effectively to bar the progress of Austria toward Salonica.  Together these two Slav states partially surrounded the Austrian provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  There were soon rumors that Serbia and Montenegro might merge together, as the first step in the formation of “Greater Serbia.”  The next step would be to take Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia, and the other South Slav districts belonging to Austria-Hungary.

These dangerous and reckless territorial ambitions, which were taking stronger and stronger hold of all Serbians, even of their greatest leader and Prime Minister, M. Pashitch, are reflected in the remark which he made to his Greek colleague, M. Politis, as they finished dividing up the spoils of the Second Balkan War at the Bucharest Peace Conference:  “The first round is won;  now we must prepare the second against Austria.”(159)  Even more indicative of his megalomania is the statement he made to the Serbian Charge d’Affaires at Berlin, whom he met a few days later at Marienbad:

Already in the first Balkan War I could have let it come to an European war, in order to acquire Bosnia and Herzegovina:  but, as I feared that we should then be forced to make large concessions to Bulgaria in Macedonia, I wanted first of all to secure the possession of Macedonia for Serbia, and only then to proceed to the acquisition of Bosnia.(160)

It would be a mistake, however, to think that M. Pashitch intended “the second round” against Austria immediately.  Cooler reflection told him that before proceed ing to this, it was necessary to consolidate the gains in Macedonia and to make more certain of Russian support.  Hence his visit to Russia in January, 1914, to ask for a marriage alliance between the Serbian Crown Prince and the Tsar’s daughter, as well as for “120,000 guns and ammunition and some few cannon, especially howitzers.”(161)  Although M. Pashitch was willing to await the favorable moment, this was not the feeling of many nationalist Serb youths and especially of the Serbian military officers of the secret “Black Hand.”  Highly elated by their recent victories, they looked forward with increasing eagerness and impatience to the day, so often promised by Russia, when the great Slav Empire of the north would be ready to help them in the “inevitable” struggle between Slavdom and Germandom, and the final creation of a “Greater Serbia” at the expense of the Hapsburg Empire.(162)

In proportion as Serbia was elated and strengthened, Austria felt discouraged and weakened in power and prestige by the results of the Balkan Wars.  Though she had taken no part in them, and lost no territory, her position was seriously undermined.  Her subject nationalities grew more restless and more accessible to subversive propaganda.  Rumania was becoming a less reliable ally, and Serbia a more certain and active enemy.  The ever-present friction and distrust between Italy and Austria had been increased, and the danger that Austria might one day have to fight a war upon four fronts-Italian, Serbian, Rumanian and Russian-had become more threatening.  Realizing these increased dangers, the militarist party at Vienna again seriously considered whether Austria ought not to deal at once with the Greater Serbia danger.(163)


When Bulgaria treacherously attacked Serbia at the end of June, 1913, and began the short but disastrous Second Balkan War,(164) Berchtold at first adopted a reserved “wait and see” attitude, which accorded with his own hesitating nature and the wishes of Germany and Italy.(165)  But he did not intend to tolerate any further great increase of Serbian territory, in spite of the moderating counsels of the German Ambassador in Vienna.  According to the latter’s despatch of July 1,1913:

If Russia, in case of decisive Bulgarian victories, should intervene in favor of Serbia, they would oppose it here [Kaiser’s marginal comment: “Unbelievable”].  To my question, how this would be done, Count Berchtold thought either by direct steps at St. Petersburg, or perhaps by the occupation of Belgrade [Kaiser: “Totally crazy;  that is then war I”].

Interference by Austria-Hungary without Russian provocation would only be necessary in case Serbia should win decisively and a “Great Serbia” threaten to arise. . . . I called the Minister’s attention to the fact that, just as Russian intervention on behalf of Serbia might call forth counter action by Austria-Hungary, just so Austrian interference against Serbia would bring Russia to a counter action.  Berchtold observed, “Perhaps.”(166)

Two days later Berchtold again expressed his anxieties to the German Ambassador, who reported to Berlin:

Count Berchtold asked me to call on him today.  The Minister said he considered it his duty not to leave the German Government in the dark as to the gravity of the position for the Monarchy.  The South Slav question, that is to say, undisturbed possession of the provinces inhabited by South Slavs, is a vital question for the Monarchy as well as for the Triple Alliance.  The Monarchy’s South Slav provinces could not be held if Serbia became too powerful.  As to that, all competent opinions here agree.  The Monarchy might accordingly possibly be compelled to intervene, in the event of Serbia inflicting a crushing defeat on Bulgaria in conjunction with Rumania and Greece, and annexing tracts of country in exc ss of the territory of Old Serbia, or something approximating to that.  Serbia cannot be left in possession of Monastir, in any case.

To my question, when and how he thought of intervening, the Minister replied that it would no doubt be possible to find the psychological moment.  Naturally he could not say anything now as to the method of procedure;  that would depend on circumstances.  He thought they would have to begin with a diplomatic conversation in Belgrade, which must be supported by military pressure, if it led to no conclusion.  Then, if Russia came into the arena, St. Petersburg would become the scene of action.

The Minister again expressed a hope that the Monarchy’s difficult position would be understood in Berlin.  Far from wishing to pursue an adventurous policy, or being ben on conquest, her only object was to safeguard her South Slav possessions, which of course included Trieste.  Naturally the most acceptable solution of the question would be a small Serbia, defeated by the enemy, and he would very much prefer this to a possible occupation of Serbia by the Monarchy.  But, failing the first alternative, the Monarchy would be compelled to take action, in order to safeguard her possessions.  There must be no mistake as to the danger of a Great Serbian “Piedmont,” weighing as a military factor, on the borders of the Monarchy.(167)

This telegram arrived at Berlin while Bethmann-Hollweg and Jagow, the German Secretary of State, were absent at Kiel at the Kaiser’s annual yachting festival, at which the Italian King and Queen, accompanied by their Minister of Foreign Affairs, San Giuliano, were also present.  Zimmermann, the Under-Secretary at Berlin, forwarded the telegram to Kiel, with the moderating German comment:

For the moment there hardly seems to be any ground for special nervousness on Vienna’s part, because one can scarcely talk as yet of the danger of a Great Serbia.  Our business should be to exercise a quieting influence on Vienna, and see that she keeps us regularly informed of her intentions and takes no decisions before hearing what vve have to say.(168)

Meanwhile Berchtold had become increasingly nervous.  He feared that Rumania was about to fall upon Bulgaria and so weaken her that Serbia would have a compete victory, and then the Greater Serbia danger would be greater than ever.  He therefore telegraphed to the Austrian Ambassadors in Berlin and Rome on July 4, expressing much the same views as in his conversations with the German Ambassador quoted above, and particularly urging that Austria’s two allies should “make representations at Bucharest to hold off Rumania from further steps against Bulgaria.”(169)  Bethmann refused to do this, and made it clear, as he had often done before, that the way to prevent Rumania from falling upon Bulgaria was for Austria to exert energetic pressure at Sofia to induce King Ferdinand to satisfy King Carol’s justifiable demands for territorial compensations.  For Berchtold’s edification Bethmann added the further sapient observations and effective warnings:

Austria-Hungary from the outset declared that in the present Balkan crisis she is striving after no territorial conquests.  She has defined her interest as to the outcome of the Balkan War to the effect that Serbia must not reach the Adriatic, and that a viable Albania must be delivered.  The first point she has smoothly accomplished.  As to the boundaries of Albania, she has triumphed in the Scutari question, and along with Italy also in the question of the southern boundary of Albania along the coat.  The questions still open—the southern boundary on the mainland, the constitution, and the choice of a ruler, etc., will, it is to be hoped, be satisfactorily settled.  At any rate the hostilities which have now broken out between Bulgaria and Serbia-Greece in no wise disturb as yet the rule of policy hitherto traced by Austria-Hungary.  On the contrary, these hostilities are not undesirable for specifically Austro-Hungarian interests, aside from the further disturbance they cause to trade and travel.  It can only benefit the Dual Monarchy, if Bulgaria and Serbia are weak and discordant at the end of the war.  Austria gains time thereby to restore the modus vivendi with Serbia which under all circumstances is necessary.

How the present hostilities between Bulgaria and Serbia will end, no man knows.  But this is certain, that whichever wins, both will be weakened and filled with hatred against one another!  Austria-Hungary should not interfere with this result.  Even if Serbia should win, it is still a long way to a Great Serbia.  For even then, Serbia will not reach the Adriatic, and a few strips of land more or less will not put the fat in the fire.  Should Austria-Hungary now try by diplomatic means to chase Serbia out of her newly won territories, she would have no luck, but would certainly rouse deadly hatred in Serbia.  Should she try to do this by force of arms, it would mean a European war.  Germany’s vital interests would thereby be most seriously affected, and I must therefore assume that before Count Berchtold makes any such decisions he will inform us.

I can therefore only express the hope that the people in Vienna will not let themselves be upset by the nightmare of a Great Serbia, but will await further developments from the Serbo-Bulgarian theatre of war.  Only insistently can I warn against the idea of wanting to gobble up Serbia, for that would simply weaken Austria.(170)

This speedy and decisive warning from Germany on July 6 effectually deterred Berchtold and Conrad from rashly entering upon any reckless adventure which would have endangered the peace of Europe.  We have given the episode in some detail, partly to suggest that Germany might have done the same in July, 1914;  partly to illustrate the divergence in views between B rlin and Vienna;  and partly to correct false impressions’ which M. Giolitti has spread concerning this incident, and which have been generally accepted by Entente writers.

Speaking in the Italian Parliament on December 5, 1914, in an attempt to justify Italy’s neutrality in the World War by an historical precedent in 1913, M. Giolitti said:

During the Balkan War, on the 9th of August, about a year before the present war broke out, during my absence from Rome, I received from my hon. colleague, Signor di San Giuliano, the following telegram:

“Austria has communicated to us and to Germany her intention of taking action against Serbia, and defines such action as defensive, hoping to bring into operation the casus foederis of the Triple Alliance, which, on the contrary, I believe to be inapplicable. (Sensation.)

“I am endeavoring to arrange for a combined effort with Germany to prevent such action on the part of Austria, but it may become necessary to state clearly,that we do not consider such action, if it should be taken, as defensive, and that, therefore, we do not consider that the casus foederis arises.

“Please telegraph to me at Rome if you approve.”

I replied:

“If Austria intervenes against Serbia, it is clear that a casus foederis cannot be established.  It is a step which she is taking on her own account, since there is no question of defence, inasmuch as no one is thinking of attacking her.  It is necessary that a declaration to this effect should be made to Austria in the most formal manner, and we must hope for action on the part of Germany to dissuade Austria from this most perilous adventure.” (Hear, hear.)

This course was taken, and our interpretation was upheld and recognised as proper, since our action in no way disturbed our relations with the two Allied Powers.  The declaration of neutrality made by the present Government conforms therefore in all respects to the precedents of Italian policy, and conforms also to an interpretation of the Treaty of Alliance which has been already accepted by the Allies.

I wish to recall this, because I think it right that in the eyes of all Europe it should appear that Italy has remained completely loyal to the observance of her pledges. (Loud applause.)(171)

M. Giolitti repeats his statement in his memoirs, and it has been blindly copied by Entente writers generally—even by such a well informed and cautious writer as M. Poincaré.(172)  But the statement is incorrect in many respects.

In the first place, Giolitti places the incident on August 9 instead of July 9—that is, at the end instead of at the beginning of the Second Balkan War;  in placing it after Serbia had made her great gains from Bulgaria and after Austria was correspondingly dissatisfied with the situation, he gives his account a more plausible character.  In reality what appears to have happened was this.  Berchtold’s telegram of July 4, asking for pressure on Rumania and saying that Austria could not allow Serbia to be greatly increased,(173) reached Rome when Giolitti and San Giuliano were both absent from the city, San Giuliano being at Kiel.  In the absence of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the subordinate Foreign Office officials, who received Berchtold’s communication, “got a fright such as they had never had in their lives”;(174)  but they were greatly relieved when they soon learned from the German Ambassador in Rome of the vigorous warning which Berlin had at once given Vienna.  When San Giuliano returned from Kiel to Rome, he found the Austrian communication which had terrified his subordinates, consulted Giolitti by telegraph on July 9, and then replied to the Austrian Ambassador on July 12 (nearly a week after Bethmann had already given his warning to Berchtold), protesting against any Austrian military action against Serbia, and adding, “We shall hold you back by the coat-tails, if necessary.”(175)

Giolitti is also incorrect in implying that it was Italy, rather than Germany, who deterred Berchtold from taking rash action;(176)  it was not San Giuliano’s reply of July 12, but Bethmann’s prompt warning of July 6, which was of decisive influence at Vienna.  Nor is there anything in the documents hitherto published by Germany and Austria which confirms M. Giolitti’s assertion that the Triple Alliance casus foederis was discussed on this occasion.  Nor, finally, is the righteous attitude of the Italian statesmen of December, 1914, quite so admirable and convincing if it be true, as it probably is, that San Giuliano, after his return from Kiel in 1913, confided to the German Ambassador in Rome that he himself, in Berchtold’s place, would have followed the path which he feared Berchtold was preparing to follow—action against Serbia, possibly involving a European war.(177)


The Second Balkan War, resulting in the conquest from the Bulgarians of Kavala by the Greeks and of Adrianople by the Turks, led to some very interesting diplomatic intrigues which illumine the methods of pre-War diplomatists.  They throw a curious light on the support—or rather lack of support—which allies give one another when their own selfish interests are involved.  In fact, the Kavala question caused such an internal split within each diplomatic group, that in the resulting Franco-Russian newspaper recriminations the Novoe Vremia demanded a revision of the Franco-Russian Alliance;(178)  and, similarly, the Vienna Neue Freie Presse regretted sorrowfully the hitherto incredible “rift and serious weaknesses” in the Austro-German Alliance, “which for more than thirty years had rooted itself in our consciousness like an oak tree in its soil.”(179)  While allies were thus at odds with one another, French and German ministers were felicitating each other on their successful cooperation and their hopes of defeating the desires of their own respective allies, and Sir Edward Grey joyfully observed in this curious inversion of the usual diplomatic roles a happy augury for the peace of Europe.(180)

Kavala was a Macedonian walled town and seaport situated about half-way between Salonica and the Dardanelles.  Its tolerably good harbor was the best port avail able for the Bulgarians on the Aegean.  It was near the center of a rich agricultural region where millions of dollars worth of the best Turkish tobacco was produced annually.  Aside from Turks and Spanish Jews, its population was predominantly Greek, though the hinterland was predominantly Bulgarian.(181)  Greeks and Bulgarians both coveted it.  In the first Balkan War the Bulgarian armies got there first and occupied it.  But in the following war between the Balkan States, Bulgaria was attacked on all sides and had to yield it up to the Greeks.  On both occasions the usual unspeakable atrocities were committed.

As to the final fate of Kavala, it soon appeared that the Great Powers held very divergent views.  Austria and Russia, usually diametrically opposed on Balkan matters, were both very anxious to give it to Bulgaria.  Berchtold and Sazonov therefore began intrigues in which their methods were precisely analogous and parallel, but in which their objectives were altogether different.  Germany and France, on the other hand, were equally insistent that Kavala should go to Greece.  England and Italy, less directly interested, were at first inclined to give it to Bulgaria, but both soon acquiesced in letting the Greeks stay in the coveted seaport, because, as Sir Edward Grey observed, “it would be difficult to drive the Greeks out.”(182)

Berchtold, by trying to secure Kavala for Bulgaria, hoped to set up a stronger counter-weight to Serbia, now so swollen in size and conceit by her conquests in two Balkan Wars.  He hoped also to win King Ferdinand’s Government over to the side of the Triple Alliance, thereby frustrate Franco-Russian intrigues at Sofia, and bring about a reconciliation between Bulgaria and Rumania.  He was encouraged in these hopes by the fact that the Bulgarian Government, in extremis at the end of July, had made positive offers to join the Triple Alliance and Rumania.(183)  If this could be brought about, and Bulgaria and Rumania became reconciled, Rumania would then enjoy greater liberty of action, in case of a European war, for directing her main forces against Russia, instead of being compelled to leave them on her own southern frontier for protection against Bulgaria.  So Berchtold, at the beginning of the Bucharest negotiations, secretly promised Kavala to, the Bulgarians, without informing Germany as a frank and loyal Ally should have done.  For this concealment he was very properly and severely reproached by Germany when the truth came out a little later.(184)

Sazonov’s conceptions and methods were precisely analogous to those of Berchtold.  He calculated, by giving Kavala to Bulgaria, to win her definitely to the side of the Triple Entente, checkmate suspected Austrian intrigues at Sofia, and bring about a reconciliation between Bulgaria and Serbia;  then, in case of a European war, Serbia need not worry about Macedonia and the Bulgarian frontier, but could turn her main attack against Austria-a possibility of which Berchtold and his Chief of Staff were very much afraid.  Furthermore, Sazonov believed that Kavala in Bulgarian hands would be a protection against Greek naval interference with Russia’s cherished ambitions in regard to the Dardanelles, especially as the King of Greece was the German Kaiser’s brother-in-law.  So Sazonov used all his efforts at the Bucharest.  Peace Conference to get Kayala restored to the Bulgarians.  But he did not at once inform his French Ally of the importance which he attached to this policy.  He did, however, secure from the Russian treasury, at the suggestion of Izvolski and the French Minister of the Interior, a second sum of 100,000 francs with which to bribe the French Press, stipulating that the money was to be used for propaganda in favor of Russia’s Balkan interests as well as in favor of the new law increasing the French army.  But the Turks were reported by the Russian financial agent in Paris to be spending much more generously for bribery in the opposite direction-five million francs, with 100,000 to La Libre Parole alone.  France did not support Sazonov’s Kavala policy, and the Franco-Russian newspaper feud, mentioned above, burst forth.  Izvolski naturally complained:  “This incident is for me personally extremely painful.”  He bluntly criticized Sazonov for not informing the French Government frankly at the beginning that the Kavala question was “of first-class importance” for Russia, instead of leaving France to learn this from the Triple Alliance Powers rather than from her own Ally.(185)

Why did Germany and France fail to support their respective allies in this Kavala question?

The Kaiser’s philhellenism was strengthened by his annual spring visit to Corfu and the building of the Achilleion.  He might also naturally be expected to give political support to his brother-in-law.  King Constantine did not hesitate to capitalize his imperial connection as far as possible.  On July 31, at “Tino’s” direction, “Sophy” telegraphed to “Willy,” begging him to put in a good word with King Carol of Rumania on behalf of the Greek claims to Kavala.  Whereupon the Kaiser telegraphed to King Carol in restrained and considerate terms:  “Can you do anything about Kavala?  I should regard the question sympathetically.  Hearty congratulations and good wishes on your successes.—Wilhelm.”(186)

Much more important than these personal considerations, however, was the German Government’s hope that German support of Greek claims to Kavala would counter act Gallophil influences at Athens and draw Greece more definitely into the wake of the Triple Alliance, thus securing Greek strategic and diplomatic support in the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor.  This at the moment seemed quite possible.  Threatened with a deadly struggle with Bulgaria in a Second Balkan War, M. Venizelos had sought German good-will by assuring her that, “Greece would never join the Triple Entente so long as Constantine was King and he was Minister.  Greece wants to keep clear of every complication of the Great Powers, but hopes by closer coöperation with Rumania and Turkey to be useful to the Triple Alliance as a counterweight against the Slavs.”(187)  A few days later Theotokis, the Greek Minister at Berlin, definitely stated that, “Greece was ready to join the Triple Alliance at any time,” in return for support of her claims to Kavala, certain districts on the South Albanian frontier, and the Aegean Islands.(188)  But the German Foreign Office, correctly suspecting that Theotokis had exceeded his authority, gave him a dilatory answer.  Meanwhile the Berlin officials at once loyally informed their allies at Vienna and Rome of Theotokis’ offer and their doubts concerning it, and asked at Athens for confirmation of it.

Venizelos replied that Theotokis had in fact exceeded his instructions, being authorized only to propose an alliance with Rumania, but not one with the Triple Alliance.  Venizelos added that King Constantine at his recent accession had expressed a desire to join the Triple Alliance, but he himself had opposed alliance with either group, and had so informed the Triple Entente.  Therefore he could not now change his attitude all at once, without seeming to be guilty of bad faith.  He had told Constantine, however, he said, that if the King wished to carry out his desire of joining the Triple Alliance, he (Venizelos) was quite ready to resign;  he added generously that he would then do all he could in Parliament to support the King’s new orientation of Greek policy in favor of the Triple Alliance.  Bethmann and the Kaiser, instead of urging Constantine to take advantage of his Prime Minister’s generous gesture, advised him that Venizelos’ resignation at this critical time might be disastrous for Greece, but that he might well negotiate with Rumania.  Germany could not endanger her own policy of preserving peace in Europe, as she might do if she should guarantee Greek boundaries and become involved in Balkan complications.  But she would welcome joyfully a Greek orientation toward the Triple Alliance, and the question might be advantageously taken up after the close of the present crisis.(189)

Meanwhile, to encourage Greece in her new attitude, Germany decided it was imperative to support the Greek claims to Kavala, even though Austria insisted on taking the opposite line of championing the Bulgarian claims.  In the ensuing lively conflict between the Wilhelmstrasse and the Ballplatz, the Berlin authorities pointed out that they could not afford to abandon the Greek claims and run the risk of losing the prospect of Greece joining the Triple Alliance.  They feared that otherwise Greece would fall back into the wake of the Triple Entente.  Berchtold rejoined that he too, having promised Kavala to Bulgaria, could not stultify himself by reversing his attitude and run the risk of losing the prospect of Bulgarian adherence to the Triple Alliance.  He feared that if he did so Franco-Russian intrigues would triumph at Sofia.  Berlin also pointed out very properly that the Greek offers had come first, were more dependable and had at once been loyally communicated by Germany to her two allies, while the Bulgarian offers had come afterwards, were very uncertain in view of King Ferdinand’s treacherous character, and moreover had been disloyally concealed from Germany by Berchtold.(190)

As to French policy, according to M. Poincaré, who cites the highly selective and relatively meager French Yellow Book on the Balkan Wars, “The preoccupation of France was always the same—to put an end to a war which might become general;  she took the side of Greece against Bulgaria, that is in this case of Germany against Russia, solely in the hope of preventing a renewal of hostilities.”(191)  But in reality, French policy in the Kavala question was dictated also by the traditional policy of France of friendship for Greece, by the French instructors loaned to drill the Greek armies who were supplied with French guns, and by the large investments of French in Greek loans and in the tobacco monopoly in the Kavala region (which the Bulgarians had threatened to confiscate if it came into their possession), all of which tended to make French public opinion philhellenic.  But above all, according to Izvolski, it was dictated by “the fear that Germany would gain the upper hand in Athens,” that French interests in the Near East would suffer, and that France must get the strategic support of the Greek navy against the rival power of Italy in the Mediterranean.(192)

As to the Balkan States themselves, Greece, Serbia, and Rumania were firm in opposing the Bulgarian claims to Kavala.  It looked as if the Bucharest Peace Conference might be broken up, if Bulgaria refused to accept the terms demanded by the victors.  When Austria and Russia realized this, and found that they were not supported by their respective allies, they each tried indirectly to save the situation for Bulgaria.  They proposed, separately and in slightly different terms, that the Kavala clauses, or even the whole Bucharest Treaty, should be subject to revision later by the Great Powers.  But these proposals, highly offensive to the three Balkan victors, naturally also met with the same negative from Germany and France as in the direct discussion of the Kavala question, the motives being much the same.  The revision idea was given the deathblow by the publication of King Carol’s telegram to the Kaiser announcing the certainty of peace, “which thanks to You remains a definite one.”(193)  The Kaiser telegraphed in reply his hearty congratulations.  The cautious and considerate Bethmann doubted the advisability of making these telegrams public, for fear of offending Austrian susceptibilities.  But the Kaiser insisted, and his Foreign Office Under-Secretary, Zimmermann, thought that their publication, though “hardly agreeable” to Vienna, would have the advantage of checking Berchtold’s “zeal for revision.”  They were therefore published by the Wolff Telegraph Bureau from Bucharest on August 10, 1913, the day the Peace of Bucharest was finally signed, and caused no little irritation in Austria.(194)


In the summer of 1913, after the First Balkan War and the decision to establish an independent Albania, the London Conference of Ambassadors agreed to create three come missions which, it was hoped, would help bring into existence an Albanian state capable of life and survival.  One commission was to delimit the southern frontier between Albania and Greece, another the northern one toward Serbia and Montenegro, and the third, the Commission of International Control, was to attempt to administer Albania until the Great Powers could find and agree upon an acceptable Prince for the country.(195)

But there were long delays before the boundary commissions were ready to begin work on the spot.  Even when they finally set forth into the rough mountainous country, with automobiles which continually broke down and had to be abandoned for horses or even procedure on foot, there were more delays and difficulties.  In the South, local Greek officials resorted to all sorts of naive and futile efforts to deceive the Commission into thinking that the majority of the inhabitants spoke Greek and were wildly enthusiastic for incorporation into Constantine’s kingdom.  With suspicious regularity processions of peasants came forth from the villages garbed after the Greek fashion and bellowing at the top of their lungs, “Union or Death.”  But the Commission was so convinced that they had been imported for the occasion, and that strong-arm methods were being used to keep the Albanians and Mohammedans shut indoors and silent, that an official protest had to be made at Athens.  In the North, the Serbians were less naive and more circumspect, but the members of the Commission were often stopped or arrested by the Serbian troops.  In both Boundary Commissions the representatives of the six Great Powers soon tended to divide into three groups corresponding to the political attitude of their superiors in London.  The French and Russian delegates took every occasion to favor the Greeks, Serbians and Montenegrins, while the Austrian and Italian were bent on giving Albania the widest extent possible.  Between these two extreme groups, whose bickerings over picayune trifles several times threatened to break up the work of the Commissons altogether, the English and German Commissioners tried to find satisfactory compromises, and at the same time conscientiously reach decisions which accorded with the facts on the spot and the instructions they received from London.(196)

Owing to the delays of the Commissions in fixing the Albanian boundaries and to the mutual enmity of Serbians and Albanians, a frontier conflict broke out.  Serbian troops reoccupied Albanian territory.  The Albanians, upon this provocation, took revenge by attacking and routing a Serbian detachment.  Serbia then mobilized part of her army.  The Serbian Press demanded a punitive expedition and the occupation of a considerable part of Albania.  It was pointed out that the Scutari and Adrianople incidents had demonstrated the impotency of the Great Powers, who were likely to bow before a fait accompli rather than attempt to expel those who were beati possidentes.  Some of the Powers individually warned Serbia to respect the decisions of the London Conference, but the Conference as a whole could not bring itself to a collective warning, which alone would be effective.  Sir Edward Grey’s patience threatened to become exhausted.  From the point of view of English interests he was indifferent as to whether this or that Balkan village was Turkish, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, or Albanian.  He conceived of his role as that of an honest broker whose Balkan efforts should be directed toward serving the one British interest of preserving the peace of Europe.  But he was becoming so wearied with the almost daily complaints and counter-complaints that finally, “he wanted to hear the name ‘Albania’ as seldom as possible, and one would not be surprised if, yielding to his feeling of irritation, he laid the Albanian flute down on the table and recalled Admiral Burney and the English contingent.”(197)

Under these circumstances, and in view of the fact that Serbian troops persisted in remaining in occupation of Albanian territory, Berchtold and the Austrian Chief of Staff, Baron Conrad, again considered what more drastic measures they ought to take.

Conrad again urged that now at last Austria should have her final reckoning with Serbia.  He learned from Prince Hohenlohe, who had recently returned from St. Petersburg, that Russia was not likely to interfere, if Austria acted quickly and energetically against Serbia;  now was better than later, because Russia was trying to win over Rumania from the side of the Triple Alliance to that of the Triple Entente.  This was also the view of Baron Nopsca, who had recently been going about in Rumania disguised as a shepherd.  He reported to Conrad that public opinion there was entirely against Austria-Hungary, and that Rumania was falling wholly into Russian and French leading strings.  But Berchtold, timid and hesitating, was inclined to be content with gestures and half-measures.(198)

In long Ministerial Councils on October 3 and 13, Austrian officials earnestly discussed what should be done.  Three views were represented respectively by Baron Conrad, Count Tisza, and Count Berchtold.  Conrad, as usual, insisted that Serbia must be dealt with once and for all, before it was too late, especially as Rumania was falling away from Austria and coming under Russian and French influence.  Serbia must either be compelled to accept peaceful incorporation into Austria-Hungary, being given a position somewhat like that of Bavaria or Saxony in the German Empire, and involving “trialism”—a reorganization of the Dual Monarchy into a federal “triple state.”  Or, if this was not possible, then Conrad favored an ultimatum to Serbia;  if no satisfactory reply was forthcoming, he would then urge immediate and energetic war.  At its conclusion-he had no doubt but that Austria would be victorious-Austria could annex some parts of Serbia, and could gratify Rumania, Bulgaria and Greece by offering other parts of Serbia to them—the Timok district to Rumania, and Macedonia to Bulgaria and Greece.  This would be an effective revision of the Bucharest Treaty very beneficial to Austria.  But above all, no half-measures should be tried, such as a mere occupation of a few Serbian towns as a pledge.  The Austrian army, once mobilized, must not be expected to lay down its arms until Serbian territory had been conquered;  the morale of the army could not tolerate mobilization without war for a third time [i.e. in addition to 1909 and 1912].  In short, “either the complete incorporation of Serbia by peaceful means—or the use of force.”(199)

Count Tisza, the all-powerful Magyar leader, who had become Hungarian Minister-President on June 6, 1913) though recognizing the Serbian danger, was inclined to trust to diplomatic action.  He agreed that the London Conference had brought nothing but disillusionment, and therefore favored having Austria-Hungary strike out an independent policy of her own.  One could not allow Serbians, Montenegrins, Greeks, and Italians to go on treating Albania as res nullius.  He was unalterably opposed to the incorporation of more Serbs into the Dual Monarchy either by a peaceful arrangement or by the use of force;  it would be impracticable, disadvantageous to the Monarchy itself, and certain to meet with the opposition of Europe.  Serbia should be energetically requested to remove her troops from Albanian soil;  if this did not suffice, one might send an ultimatum, and inflict a diplomatic, and even, if necessary, a military, defeat.  But in no case should Serbian territory be annexed.  Tisza hoped that the anti-Austrian Balkan group—Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania, and Greece—could be offset by winning over Turkey and Bulgaria, who were on the point of coming to terms with one another.  Such a diplomatic regrouping would reëstablish a favorable Balkan Balance of Power, parallel with the European Balance of Power between the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente.  It would also avoid the financial burden of a large increase in the Austro-Hungarian army, to which he himself, as Minister-President of Hungary, was opposed.  In short, Tisza’s program was:  restoration of the waning Austrian prestige, by the diplomatic humiliation, but not the territorial partition, of Serbia, and the avoidance of war, if possible.  In case Austria had to resort to mobilization, she must still avoid war, if Serbia yielded at the last minute and agreed to pay the costs of mobilization.(200)

In contrast to the clear-cut program of Conrad for military action, and that of Count Tisza for diplomatic action, Count Berchtold, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had no definite idea of what ought to be done.  He was as helpless and incompetent a person as was ever called to fill a responsible position in time of danger.  He set forth the pros and cons, and oscillated timidly and uncertainly between conflicting influences.  He hesitated to decide for military action against Serbia for fear that Germany and Italy would not support him.  He feared also the danger of Russian interference.  He felt the difficulty of persuading Francis Joseph to approve war, and he knew Franz Ferdinand’s opposition to it.  He was finally inclined to think that some concession to Serbia in regard to the Albanian boundary might be given for the moment, and that military preparations should be made for the future, with the hope that in the meantime the general diplomatic situation might improve.(201)

The result of the discussion was that no definite decision was taken, except the adoption of proposals in regard to finance and a small army increase to be laid before the Delegations the following November.  In spite of the fact that the Serbians had burned several villages and massacred Albanians in the neighborhood of Dibra, so that the population was in flight toward the coast,(202) Berchtold contented himself on October 14 with an “amicable request” to Serbia to withdraw her troops from Albania and respect the decisions of the London Conference, within a date which Serbia herself might fix.  Sazonov and Pichon also advised Pashitch to withdraw his troops at once, as we learn from Sazonov’s report to the Tsar a fortnight later:

My stay in Paris coincided with the new sharpening of Austro-Serbian relations in consequence of the occupation of several strategic points on Albanian soil by the Serbian troops.  In the fear that Austria might give way to the desire to win an easy diplomatic victory in this matter, Pichon and I advised the Serbian Minister [in Paris] to inform his Government that it was preferable to yield to the friendly advice of Russia and France, rather than await threats from Austria.  Vesnitch agreed completely, and telegraphed at once in this sense to Belgrade. . . . Pichon promised me to use all his influence to have the Serbian loan admitted to the Paris Bourse.(203)

But the Serbian Prime Minister did not follow this good advice, possibly because he may not have received it in time, or more probably because he was being influenced by the ardent Pan-Slav Russian Minister, Hartwig, and by subterranean pressure from the secret society of Serbian military officers known as the “Black Hand.”(204)  On the contrary, Pashitch replied to Austria that the withdrawal of Serbian troops would depend on future conditions in Albania, where the anarchical state of affairs endangered the safety of his own peace-loving subjects.  He even asked the London Conference to revise its former decisions, and assign some new strategic positions to Serbia.  At the same time, Montenegro, to whom a new loan had just been authorized by the French Government,(205) occupied Albanian territory, and was reported to be on the point of ordering a general mobilization against the people whom the Great Powers were supposed to protect and govern.  It was again rumored that Montenegro was about to merge with Serbia toward the formation of a “Greater Serbia.”  It looked to Vienna as if Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece were seriously intending to reoccupy the unhappy distracted country and present the impotent Powers with a new fait accompli.(206)

Meanwhile Berchtold informed Germany of the situation, reiterated that Albania’s existence was necessary as a barrier against the Slav advance to the Adriatic, and declared that further acquiescence would be an abdication on Austria’s part.  He therefore expressed “the hope that Germany, who herself has a great interest in damming back the Slav flood, would stand morally solid behind Austria in this matter;  because, as far as one could see, it would only be a question of moral support, since neither Russia nor France wanted war.  One could also therefore hope that Serbia was only bluffing.”(207)

The Berlin Foreign Office assured Berchtold of the moral support desired, and instructed Germany’s diplomatic representatives to back up Austria’s efforts in preserving the life of Albania.  It urged that Sir Edward Grey use his influence, at Belgrade and in the London Conference, to see that the decisions of the Powers were respected, adding that, “if the warnings of the Vienna Cabinet at Belgrade remain unheeded, it is to be feared from the form and content of Count Berchtold’s representations in Berlin that Austria will go ahead independently.”(208)  But Sir Edward Grey was out of town over the week-end.  His Under-Secretary, Sir Eyre Crowe, would take no step without first getting Sir Edward’s instructions.  Nor was the Under-Secretary’s response encouraging:  he thought it was merely a question of a few strategic positions in Albania which had been occupied simply provisionally;  every inch of Albanian territory would of course have to be evacuated, and England would cooperate in this;  but he did not think that Grey would favor an immediate demand on Serbia for evacuation, nor one to which a time-limit was attached.(209)

Suddenly, in the middle of the night of October 17-18, Berchtold, gratified at Germany’s moral support but without saying anything further to her, and influenced by the latest reports concerning Albania, despatched an ultimatum to Belgrade.  It insisted that Serbia respect Albanian territory and withdraw her troops within eight days;  “otherwise Austria would be forced, with regret, to have recourse to the proper measures to secure the realization of her demands.”(210)

Berchtold’s unexpected exhibition of decisive energy took all Europe aback with surprise.  To Sazonov it caused much chagrin, because, as he claims to have foreseen would be the case, Austria won an easy diplomatic victory.  But he not unjustly complained of Berchtold’s “policy of surprises,” which her allies were unable to prevent:  “As long as Austria asks us beforehand, before taking a momentous decision, he was wholly satisfied, he said.  But there is unfortunately no assurance of this, as the last incident shows.  Austria is always facing her allies with faits accomplis;  and they are then compelled to honor their treaty signatures.”(211)  At Belgrade Pashitch and Hartwig learned of the ultimatum with rage and dismay, especially as it was soon followed by strong warnings from all the Great Powers, now suddenly awakened to the possible danger of serious complications, that Serbia should respect the decisions of the London Conference.  Even Rumania added her warning.  So Serbia decided at once to yield, and gave orders to her troops to evacuate the occupied Albanian territory.  “I do it,” said Pashitch, the Serbian Premier, “not under pressure of Austria, but out of regard for the friendly advice of Russia.” (212)

These events of 1913 in connection with Albania help to explain Austria’s course of action, under much greater provocation, in July, 1914.  The decisions of the London Conference had brought her little or nothing, in her own opinion, except disappointments and illusions.  Its delays and ineffectiveness in protecting Albanian interests, when defied by the Montenegrins at Scutari and the Serbians at Dibra, explain to some extent why Austria was absolutely unwilling, after the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo, to submit her latest grounds of complaint against Serbia to another Conference of the Powers.  “The course of the London Conference was so horrible to recall to memory, that all public opinion would reject the repetition of such a spectacle.”(213)  On the other hand, when Austria had acted quickly and energetically on her own account, by sending a peremptory ultimatum, Serbia had heeded her demands immediately, Russia had not interfered, and the Vienna Foreign Office had accomplished its immediate purpose.

Another factor in the Balkan situation, which was pregnant with danger for Austria-Hungary and became more evident after the Balkan Wars, was the change which took place in Rumania.

104. Izvolski to Neratov, Sept. 1/14, 1911;  M.F.R., p. 114;  L.N. I, 133;  Stieve, 1, 146. Neratov’s telegram to Izvolski of 18/31 Oct. (Stieve, I, 170) shows that he also, though more guardedly, advised France to yield to German demands.

105. Georges Louis to M. de Selves, Sept. 7, 1911;  Judet, Georges Louis, p. 156 f.

106. History of Modern Europe, 1878-1919, p. 488.  Mr. Gooch attributes the initiation of the affair to Sazonov, but Sazonov was absent from the Foreign Office from early July to mid-December, 1911, because of ill health, leaving the direction of affairs to Izvolski in Paris and Neratov in St. Petersburg.  In September he was at Davos recovering from an operation; cf. M.F.R., pp. 66, 113 f.;  Stieve, I, 72, 136, 147.

107. M.F.R., pp. 114-145, 530-538;  L.N., I, 134-179;  II, 458-470;  Stieve, I, 150-200; II, 20-27.  Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 161, 319-330. G.P., XXX, 201-255.  E.A. Adamov, Konstantinopol i Prolivy, p. 14 ff.  Bogitchevitch, p. 167.  E. Judet, Georges Louis (Paris, 1925), pp. 142-167, 245, exaggerates the divergence of views between Izvolski and Georges Louis, while Poincaré, Au Service de la France, I, 328-354, makes a skilful brief to beguile the unwary reader into thinking that Izvolski was perfectly satisfied with Georges Louis, and that Poincaré’s own policy did not diverge from that of former French Cabinets in the matter of the Straits and the Franco-Russian Alliance.

108. Izvolski to Neratov, Sept. 13/26, 14/27, 1911;  MF.R., p. 115;  L.N., I, 134-138; Stieve, I, 150-152;  Siebert-Schreiner, p. 161.

109. Neratov to Charykov, Sept. 19/Oct. 2, 1911;  M.F.R., p. 530f.;  LN., 11, 458 f.

110. M.F.R., pp. 531-535; L.N., II, 460-464; cf. also GP., XXX, 203, 213.

111. M.F.R., p. 118 f., 535 f.;  L.N., I, 143 f., 464 f.;  Stieve, I, 158 f.

112. M.F.R., pp. 118-537; L.N., 1, 142; II, 468; Stieve, 1, 157.

113. G.P., XXX, 206-214, 219f., 233-240, 251-255; M.F.R., p. 537f.; L.N , 11. 468 f.

114. G.P., XXX, 207-211, 232 ff.; M.F.R., p. 538; L.N., II, 469 f.

115. Neratov to Izvolski, 22 Sept./5 Oct. 1911; M.F.R., pp. 114, 535; L.N., I, 140; II, 464 f.; Stieve, I, 155.  A little later, impatient at French and English hesitation, he became more urgent:  “It is desirable to make use of the present political situation in order to induce the French and British Governments to express their views on the question of the Straits, in so far as Russia is concerned, in a concrete form and in writing, independently of any agreements which we shall eventually conclude with Turkey;”  Neratov to Benckendorff in London, Oct. 20/Nov. 2, 1911; Siebert-Schreiner, p. 326. On 14/27 Oct. he wrote in the same strain to Izvolski in Paris;  M.F.R., p. 125;  L.N., I, 153;  Stieve, I, 169 f.

116. Izvolski to Neratov, Sept. 28/Oct. 11, 1911; M.F.R., p. 119ff.; L.N., I, 144 ff.; Stieve, I, 160 ff.

117. Izvolski to Neratov, Sept. 29/Oct. 12, 1911; M.F.R., p. 121; L.N., I, 148 f.; Stieve, I, 163.  For interesting but exaggerated accounts of the bribery of the French Press see Hinter den Kulissen des französischen Journalismus;  Von einem Pariser Chefredakteur (Berlin, 1925), and Poincaré, III, 97-114.

118. P. Cambon to de Selves [early in Oct.];  L.N., I, 149f.;  Stieve, 184 f.

119. Benckendorff to Neratov, Oct. 10/23, and Oct. 26/Nov. 1911; Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 321, 327.

120. Russian zakriepit “to nail down,” “clinch,” or “rivet.”

121. See above, note 115.

122. Izvolski to Neratov, Oct. 24/Nov. 8, 1911;  M.F.R., p. 123;  L.N., 1, 154;  Stieve, I, 171 f. On Nov. 9, he again pointed out the advantage of “eliminating conferences between Paris and London.”

123. Neratov to Izvolski, Oct. 29/Nov. 11, 1911; M.F.R. p. 125; L.N., 1, 182; Stieve, I, 177 f.

124. Daeschner, Charge d’Affaires in London, to de Selves, Nov. 14, 1911; Judet, p. 163.  For Grey’s own courteous but non-committal replies to Benckendorff, see Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 321-329.

125. Iavolski to Neratov, Nov. 8, 23, and Dec. 7.

126. M.F.R., p. 536;  L.N., II, 466;  Stieve, II. 22. Cf. also Judet, pp. 1649, and Poincaré, I, 341-7.

127. Marschall to Bethmann, Dec. 1 to 15, 1911; GP., XXX, 212-245.

128. Marschall to Bethmann, Dec. 6, 1911; G.P., XXX, 218.

129. Paris, Matin, Dec. 9, 1911;  G.P., XXX, 233 ff., 245 ff.  In passing through Berlin two days later Sazonov told Bethmann that the interview was authentic;  G.P., XXX, 234, 239.

130. Poincaré, I, 344 ff.

131. M.F.R., pp. 531-535; L.N., II, 460-465; G.P., XXVII, 159ff., 171 ff.; XXX, 205, 218.

132. Hartwig to Neratov, Oct. 23/Nov. 5, 1911, Krasnyi Arkhiv, 1925, VIII, 45 ff.:  “The affair of the famous Balkan Federation under the supremacy of the Ottoman Empire is up again. Every time Turkey finds herself in some external troubles, this political combination comes up for consideration ... among those few remaining European diplomatists, politicians, and publicists who are still wont to believe in Turkey’s regeneration.  But it is interesting to raise the question: What is the attitude of the Balkan States themselves? . . .
    "The passionate sermons about the importance to the Slavs of an alliance with Turkey seem to carry very little conviction with them; under certain conditions, particularly under pressure from Russia, they might not refuse to start on this road, not, however, because they would expect any great benefits from Turkey’s friendship, but exclusively for the sake of gaining a respite from the troubles chronically rising in the Balkans, to gain time, and gradually gaining strength, when the favorable moment should arise, to square up accounts with their ancient enemy. The Slavs can have no other point of view on the Federation....
    “In my opinion Russia should pursue two clear, quite definite, final aims:  (1) to make easier for the Slav nations, called by her into an independent existence, the attainment of their sacred ideals, which means an amicable division amongst them of all Turkish possessions on the Balkan Peninsula;  and (2) to accomplish her own century-old problem—the planting of a firm foot on the shores of the Bosphorus at the gates to the 'Russian Lake.’. . .
    “The Serbian Government would consider it extremely dangerous to approach the Turks now with any offers of alliance such as Hofmeister Charykov urged upon the Serbian Minister to Turkey.  Every favor-seeking step of the Serbians in Constantinople would inevitably arouse distrust in Sofia and injure the prospects of the Serbo-Bulgarian Agreement, which by its political importance will open a new era in the history of the Slavs.”

133. Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 273-281;  304-316;  G.P., XXVII, 155-194;  Bogitchevitch, 28 ff., 113 ff.

134. I.E. Guéchoff, L’Alliance Balkanique, Paris, 1915, pp. 14-63.  This book contains much the same material as I.E. Guéchoff, La Genèse de la Guerre Mondiale:  la Débâcle de l’Alliance Balkanique, Berne, 1919.

135. Guéchoff, L’Alliance Balkanique, p. 27.

136. Krasnyi Arkhiv, VIII, 1-48; IX, 1-22 (1925). A. Nekludoff, Diplomatic Reminiscences (London, 1920), pp. 39 ff., 51 ff., gives only a very brief account.

137. The texts of the Balkan Treaties and Military Conventions are printed by Guéchoff, L’Alliance Balkanique, pp. 191-234; by [George Young], Nationalism and War in the Near East (London, 1915), pp. 387428;  and by [S. Radev] La Question Bulgare et les États Balkaniques (Sofia, 1919), pp. 171 ff., including maps and documents on the later dispute over Macedonia. For a recent keen appreciation of the treaties, see Dickinson, p. 308 ff.

138. Louis to Poincaré, Feb. 15 and 21, 1912; Judet, Georges Louis, p. 174 f.

139. Sazonov to the Russian Ambassadors in Paris and London, Mar. 30, 1912; Siebert-Schreiner, p. 339.

140. Poincaré, 11, 24-60.

141. Note by Poincaré of his conversation with Sazonov in August, 1912;  Affaires Balkaniques, I, 38, 111 ff. Poincaré, II, 114ff. For Sazonov’s report to the Tsar of this same conversation see M.F.R., p. 255 ff.;  L.N., II, 338 ff.;  see also Judet, 178-203, and Sazonov’s recent account in his memoirs, Fateful Years, p. 52ff.

142. Poincaré to P. Cambon, Oct. 15, 1912; Affaires Balkaniques, I, 112.

143. Sazonov’s report to the Tsar, Aug. 17, 1912; M.F.R., 255-262; L.N., II, 338-345; Affaires Balkaniques, I, 34-39; Poincaré, II, 99-169.

144. M. Poincarés great insistence on what may be called “Entente Solidarity” is seen on page after page of his own memoirs, in his innumerable public speeches, and in the documents. We give a few examples taken merely from his memoirs within the eight weeks between his visit to Russia and the First Balkan War. On leaving Russia, “the last words spoken to M. Sazonov were to beg him to act with England and with us” (II, 164). The communique issued to the Press announced that he and Sazonov “have recognized once more the Entente of the two friendly and allied countries” (II, 164). His reply of August 22 to Berchtold’s proposal for preserving peace makes the reservation, “It goes without saying that we shall arrive at an agreement in concert with Russia and England.” . . . (II, 176). On Sept. 1, concerning further communications from Berchtold, “I shall examine them with England and Russia;”  and he instructed the French Ambassador at Vienna:  “Henceforth you can express as your personal opinion that the French Government, firmly attached to the Triple Entente, does not aim at any exclusive interests in the East, and that the cooperation of all the Powers seems to it necessary for the solution of the Balkan Problem” (II, 184). It is seldom that M. Poincaré ventures to put into one sentence two such essentially contradictory phrases as “firmly attached to the Triple Entente” and the words which he now italicizes in his apologia, but which he did not italicize in 1912. M. Poincaré then asks a rhetorical question which the reader may answer for himself:  “Was it possible to take at the beginning of the crisis a more clear and a more pacific position?” (II, 184).

145. G.P., XXXIII, 79; cf. Poincaré, II, 181.

146. Affaires Balkaniques, I, 45.

147. Affaires Balkaniques, I, 50 f. In this case, though not always, Sir Edward Grey and M. Sazonov agreed with him in placing “Entente Solidarity” ahead of the “Concert of Europe.”

148.   Affaires Balkaniques, I, 34 ff.; G.P., XXXIII, 47 ff.

149. Fabre-Luce, La Victoire, Paris, 1924, p. 165, takes M. Poincaré severely to task for declining “the first part of these proposals” of Berchtold. Poincaré’s reply (II, 160 ff.) to Fabre-Luce is not just;  he talks about a different stage in the Berchtold proposals.

150. G.P., XXXIII, 50f., 61f., 89 ff., 99. Kiderlen contemptuously speaks of Berchtold’s Wichtigtuerei as “stirring up much dust,” but as impractical.

151. M.F.R., p. 276; L.N., II, 547; Stieve, II, 253; G.P., XXXIII, 106ff.; Affaires Balkaniques, I, 58.

152. Poincaré, II, 208 ff.; Affaires Balkaniques, I, 58 f.;  G.P., XXXIII, 106 ff.

153. Poincaré to P. Cambon, Sept. 22, 1912;  Affaires Balkaniques, I, 61. In his memoirs (II, 214ff.) M. Poincaré omits to mention his own advocacy of concealment, but notes that Sazonov urged that the three Entente Powers should concert measures in secret.

154. Affaires Balkaniques, I, 63-104; G.P., XXXIII, 133-181; Poincaré; II, 219-249.

155. G.P., XXXIII, 319, 388, 439. Hartwig, in his zeal for the Pan-Slav cause, very probably made the remarks attributed to him. There are indications that he often went beyond his instructions and was dangerously indiscreet. Cf. Nekliudov, Diplomatic Reminiscences, pp. 47 ff. Even Izvolski now complained of “the conviction which is enrooted here [in Paris], as in London, that Hartwig is acting at Belgrade contrary to the instructions which he receives.... I cannot conceal from you that Poincaré is firmly convinced that Hartwig, who has known how to acquire a great influence at Belgrade, is not making any use of it at all to make the Serbians wise and calm;”  Izvolski to Sazonov, Nov. 21, 1912;  L.N., I, 351-352. M. Georges Louis had no doubt that Hartwig was encouraging Serbia against Austria;  on Nov. 18 he reported another remark of Hartwig’s on the Balkan victories:  “The affair of Turkey is settled. Now it is the turn of Austria;” Judet. 200-201.

156. G.P., XXXIII, 335 f., 383 ff.

157. Conrad, II, 157 ff., III, 56 ff., 101 ff.;  and M. Edith Durham, High Albania (1909), The Struggle for Scutari (1914), and Twenty Years of Balkan Tangle (1920).

158. Report of an Austrian expert on Albania in January, 1913;  Conrad, III, 59.

159. Bogitchevitch, 65.

160. Bogitchevitch, 65.

161. Bogitchevitch, 175.

162. On May 6, 1913, Sazonov wrote to Hartwig in Belgrade (Deutsch land Schuldig? p. 99):  “Serbia’s Promised Land lies in the territory of the present Austria-Hungary, and not there where she is now making efforts and where the Bulgarians stand in her way.  Under these circumstances it is of vital interest to Serbia to maintain her alliance with Bulgaria on the one hand, and, on the other, to accomplish with steady and patient work the necessary degree of preparedness for the inevitable struggle of the future.  Time works on the side of Serbia and for the ruin of her enemies, who already show evident signs of decay.  Explain all this to the Serbians !  I hear from all sides that if ever any voice can have a full effect at Belgrade, it is yours.”  For the Tsar’s long encouraging interview with Pashitch on Jan. 20/Feb. 2, 1914, see ibid., 130-136;  and Bogitchevitch, 170-180.  For Hartwig’s attitude, see above, note 155.

163. Conrad, III, 11 ff., 74 ff., 98 ff., 238 ff., and especially 303 ff. and 329 ff.

164. For the oft-repeated assertion that Austria egged Bulgaria on to the attack on Serbia we find no clear and definite confirmation in all the voluminous documents which have now been published.  As early as May 6, from reports from Bulgaria and talks with Bulgarian officers, Conrad was convinced that an early war between Serbia and Bulgaria was inevitable, and urged Berchtold to make up his mind to take advantage of it;  but Berchtold hesitated (Conrad, III, 302-316).  On May 26 Conrad says he heard from the Austrian Military Attaché in Sofia that Berchtold had offered to support Bulgaria, protect her from loss of territory, and loan her money, if Bulgaria would refrain from following in the wake of Russia (Conrad, III, 330);  but Conrad’s own correspondence and frequent interviews with Berchtold at this time and during the following weeks contain nothing which confirms this doubtful report.  Neither does Die Grosse Politik, unless it be Tschirschky’s vague phrase on July 2 that Berchtold “seems to begin to fear the Bulgarian spirits which he called” (G.P., XXXV, 147 note).  The editors of the latter declare (G.P., XXXV, 52 note):  “The Russian assumption that the Bulgarian Government was egged on to its final intransigence by Austria-Hungary finds no confirmation either in the German documents nor in the Austrian sources.”  To be sure, the argumentum ex silentio is negative and not conclusive.  There is no doubt that Berchtold rejoiced at the prospect of the collapse of the Balkan League formed under Russian patronage, though he still suffered from the illusory nightmare that Triple Entente intrigues and Rumanian demands on Bulgaria for territorial compensations might cause its reconstitution (G.P., XXXV, 7, 40, 68f.). There is also no doubt that Berchtold refused to support the Russian proposal early in June, 1913, that the Great Powers invite the Balkan States to demobilize at once (G.P., XXXV, 26, 41, 240;  Affaires Balkaniques, II, 209 ff.);  that he recognized the “parallelism of Austrian and Bulgarian interests” in their common opposition to a Greater Serbia (G.P., XXXV, 822;  XXXV, 117f., 320, 329f., 346 ff.);  and also that he was “Bulgarophil” to the extent of trying to bring about a peaceful arrangement between Rumania and Bulgaria without too great territorial concessions on the latter’s part (G.P., XXXIV, 577 ff., 843, 873 ff.;  XXXV, 17, 56, 61 f., 66 ff., 77, 115 ff.).  But that he positively egged Bulgaria on in her suicidal attack on Serbia seems not proven.  Had he done so, Germany would have been likely to have known of it, and some allusion would be found to it in the German documents, especially in the frequent uncomplimentary remarks which the Kaiser and his German officials indulged in concerning Berchtold’s diplomacy (cf. G.P., XXXV, 40, 54;  116, 147 note, 148 note, 365, 378;  XXXVI, 28-30, 32).

165. G.P., XXXV, 7f., 16 ff., 52 ff., 115.

166. Tschirschky to F.O., July 1, 1913;  G.P., XXXV, 115 f.

167. Tschirschky to Bethmann, July 3, 1913;  G.P., XXXV, 122T;  previously published by Count Montgelas in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of March 7, 1920 No. 123, and in his Leitfaden zur Kriegsschuldfrage (Berlin, 1923), p. 61 f.

168. G.P., XXXV, 124;  Montgelas, l. c., p. 62.  The Kaiser approved Zimmermann’s comment and Tschirschky was so informed (G.P., XXXV, 125).

169. G.P., XXXV, 128 f.;  Pribram, p. 301, note 424.

170. Bethmann to Szögyenyi, and Zimmermann to Tschirschky, July 6, 1913;  G.P., XXXV, 129 f.

171. Collected Diplomatic Correspondence (London, 1915), p. 401.

172. G. Giolitti, Memoirs of My Life (London, 1923), p. 372;  Poincaré, III, 231. See, however, G.P., XXXV, 122 note;  Pribram, p. 301;  Jagow, Ursachen, p. 71, and article in Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Feb. 21, 1923;  Montgelas, Leitfaden, p. 60ff.;  and A. von Wegerer, Kritische Bemerkungen zu Kapitel XIII aus Vivianis “Réponse au Kaiser” (Berlin; 1923), p. 28 ff.

173. GP., XXXV, 128ff., 164;  Pribram, p. 301, note 424. Cf. above, p. 451.

174. Flotow, German Ambassador in Rome, to Bethmann, July 15, 1913; G.P., XXXV, 165.

175. Merey, Austrian Ambassador in Rome, to Berchtold, July 12, 1913; Pribram, p. 301 f., and note 425.

176. Giolitti’s statement of Dec. 5, 1914, quoted above, that San Giuliano was “endeavoring to arrange for a combined effort with Germany to prevent such action on the part of Austria” etc. Cf. similarly Poincaré (III, 321):  “A la demande de l’Italie, l’Allemagne retint, en effet, le bras de l’Autriche.”  It is greatly to be wished that Italy should publish her documents for the pre-War period, as Germany and England are doing, but there seems little prospect of this at present.

177. Flotow to Bethmann, July 19, 1913;  G.P., XXXV. 192f.

178. M.F.R., p. 407; L.N., II, 132; Stieve, III, 241; Affaires Balkaniques, II, 294 f.; III, 3-7.

179. Aug. 11, 1913;  on these Press feuds, see G.P., XXXV, 368-381.

180. Affaires Balkaniques, II, 294;  G.P., XXXV, 368 f.

181. Cf. ethnographic map in Petermann’s Mitteilungen, 1915, map 44;  Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, La Question Bulgare et les Etats Balkaniques, (Sofia, 1919), pp. 78-87, 200-205, 275;  Carnegie Endowment Report on the Balkan Wars (Washington, 1914), pp. 78-106, 186-207, 285-290;  G.P., XXXV, 319-383, passim.

182. Lichnowsky to Bethmann, Aug. 8, 1913;  G.P., XXXV, 368 f.;  on the English and Italian attitude see also ibid., pp. 328-332, 339-345, 357, 366.

183. G.P., XXXV, 329f., 348.

184. G.P., XXXV, 320-331, 338 ff., 346 ff., 378.

185. Sazonov-Izvolski correspondence, July 12 to Aug. 14, 1913;  M.F.R., pp. 392-411;  L.N., II, 120-135;  Stieve, III, 203-244. Cf. also Affaires Balkaniques, II, 279-295; III, 3-13.  The phrases quoted in the last sentence are from Izvolski’s letter of Aug. 14.

186. Aug. 1, 1913; G.P., XXXV, 323.

187. Quadt, German Minister at Athens, to Bethmann, June 7, 1913;  G.P., XXXV, 19; cf. also p. 105 f. The Greek Minister at Vienna, Zaimis, expressed the same idea to Berchtold:  Greece was very ready to enter into good relations with the Triple Alliance Powers, but must avoid becoming mixed in their affairs; “Ce que nous voulons, c’est de ne pas être poussé ni par un groupe ni par l’autre” (June 24, ibid., p. 97).

188. Jagow’s memorandum June 18; G.P., XXXV, 89.

189. G.P., XXXV, 89-97.

190. G.P., XXXV, 344-355.

191. Poincaré, III, 230.  “But who opens the Yellow Books?” he asks (III, 233).  The present writer has opened them, and finds that Pichon’s despatch to Delcasse of Aug. 9 (Affaires Balkaniques, II, 294 f.), which M. Poincaré refers to but refrains from quoting, hints also at quite other motives than the laudable one he mentions.  Pichon declares the French attitude “justifée par notre politique traditionnelle, par le souci de l’équilibre méditerranéen, par les conditions de la guerre entre la Bulgarie et la Grèce, par les victoires et les sacrifices de cette dernière, par l’attitude de l’Allemagne, enfin et surtout par la certitude que j’avais d’une reprise d’hostilites dans l’hypothèse d’une tentative de règlement différent.”

192. See quotation in preceding note.  Izvolski to Sazonov, Aug. 2, 5, 12, and 14, 1913; M.F.R., pp. 399-409; L.N., II, 122-135; Stieve, III, 220224. Jules Cambon to Pichon, Aug. 2 (Affaires Balkaniques, II, 281) “quells que soft l’attitude de la Russie, nous ne saurions, sans péril pour notre influence à Athens et sans y laisser le champ libre à l’Allemagne, nous départir de l’appui que noun avons donné jusqu’ici aux revendications helléniques.”

193. Aug. 7, 1913; G.P., XXXV, 359.

194. G.P., XXXV, 359-379. One of the Kaiser’s secretaries later tried to smooth Conrad’s ruffled feelings by assuring him that the telegrams had been published upon the initiatibe of King Carol and not of the Kaiser, but this was “not wholly in accord with the historical facts” (G.P., XXXIX, 442). The text of the Bucharest Treaty is. printed in Affaires Balkaniques, II, 296 ff.

195. GP., XXXV, 235-315; Affaires Balkaniques, II, 209-222.

196. For an account, often highly diverting, of these delays and bickerings, see the reports of the German Commissioners in G.P., XXXVI, 129-260. In this boundary matter Germany wanted to preserve the solidarity of the Triple Alliance by supporting all the reasonable desires of her allies, but she did not want to oppose too strongly what Constantine had set his heart upon, for fear of driving him into the arms of the Entente. Germany therefore tried to persuade both sides to be moderate and reasonable. To King Constantine, upon his visit to Berlin on Sept. 6, 1913, the Kaiser pointed out persuasively how great were the gains he had already made:  “Janina, Salonica, Kavala, and last not least Crete, all regular basic hellenic Pelita, which it would have taken centuries to acquire.... In comparison with all this, a trifling rectification of the Epirus frontier plays absolutely no role and is worthless.”  The Kaiser also pointed to Germany’s self-restraint at Nikolsburg in 1866 as an example of the wisdom of moderation after victory, and hinted that, if Constantine refrained from antagonizing Italy in regard to the South Albanian frontier, Rome might eventually concede to him the Aegean Islands, which were of far greater importance (ibid., pp. 144-6). Similarly, in regard to Austria and Italy, the Kaiser noted: “If Austria and Italy are unreasonable toward Greece, we are not to blame!  We do not have to join in every folly which they perpetrate. We have already taken over abundantly much at our expense for love of our allies. If the latter just go on making their situation worse in relation to the Triple Entente, we can warn them, but we cannot prevent them. But we do not need to join with them” (G.P., XXXV, 251). Instructions to this effect, in more diplomatic but sufficiently clear language, were sent by Berlin to Vienna and Rome. For Jagow’s personal advice to the German delegate on the South Albanian Frontier Commission, see G.P., XXXVI, 160f. On the general merits of this whole Epirote question, with a full bibliography, see Edith P. Stickney, South Albania in European Affairs, 1912-1923, Stanford, 1926.

197. Kühlmann, German Charge d’Affaires in London to Bethmann, Sept. 24, 1913; G.P., XXXVI, 165; on Grey see also pp. 377, 394.  On the first part of this paragraph, see ibid., pp. 131-174, 361-382;  Affaires Balkaniques, III, 46-54;  and Oesterreich-Ungarisches Rotbuch:  Diplomatische Aktenstücke betreffend die Ereignisse am Balkan, 13 Aug. bis 6 Nov, 1913 (Vienna, 1914), passim.

198. Conrad, III, 442-447, 453-458.

199. Conrad, III. 442 ff., 461, 465 ff., 724-746.

200. Conrad, III, 461, 464-6, 727-730, 735-741. This foreshadows interestingly Tisza’s Memoir of 1914, urging a diplomatic shift in the Balkans, as well as his initial attitude in the crisis of July, 1914.

201. Conrad, III, 463, 466, 724-729, 735.

202. Report of the French Consul in Scutari, Oct. 9; Affaires Balkaniques, III, 65.  A few weeks later the Boundary Commission observed between Dibra and Prizren that “Nearly all the villages have been wholly or partially burned down by the Serbians.... The Serbian outposts here have been pushed some ten kilometres beyond the provisional boundary” (G.P., XXXVI, 241).

203. Sazonov’s report to the Tsar, Oct. 24/Nov. 6, 1913;  L.N., II, 360;  Stieve, III, 328f. See also Izvolski to Neratov, Oct. 18 (M.F.R., p. 430; L.N., II, 161; Stieve, III, 313), where Izvolski says that the French Government’s decision not to withhold the loan any longer was “to make it easier for the Serbian Government to take this step” of withdrawing her troops from Albania. One may doubt, however, whether the furnishing of French money would tend to make Serbia more yielding and pacific. According to Poincaré (III, 306f.), who says nothing of the French loan, Vesnitch did not send his telegram to Belgrade until Oct. 16.

204. “... Finally it is unmistakable that since M. Hartwig’s return, opposition [to Austria’s requests] has been increasing” (Griesinger, German Minister in Belgrade, to Bethmann, Oct. 17; G.P., XXXVI, 396).
     From the German reports (ibid., pp. 397, 399, 415, 417) it appears that Neratov, in charge of the Foreign Office at St. Petersburg during Sazonov’s absence, was consulted by Hartwig and endorsed Pashitch’s negative reply to Austria.  This was in flat contradiction to Sazonov’s alleged attitude at Paris.  One wonders whether Sazonov quite stated the truth in his report to the Tsar, or whether this is another of the many instances in which Russian ministers pursued divergent policies.
     “From conversation with the English Charge d’Affaires here [in Belgrade], who is usually well informed and can also get his information from the Russian Legation, I gather that the Serbian Government ... has been forced to attempt to carry through a revision of the frontier, through the influence of the Military Party—through the subterranean activities of the group of officers known here as the ‘crna ruka’ [‘Black Hand’]” (Report of the Austrian Military Attache in Belgrade, Oct. 18; Conrad III, 475).

205. Oct. 8; Affaires Balkaniques, III, 65.

206. Affaires Balkaniques, III, 66;  Conrad, III, 462, 472 f.

207. Oct. 15; G.P., XXXVI, 384ff.

208. Zimmermann to Lichnowsky, Oct. 16; G.P., XXXVI, 389; cf. also pp. 384-396.  The Kaiser, who was absent from Berlin, was informed of the steps taken by his Foreign Office, and approved them heartily.  But his approval, and his remarks to Conrad (III, 470) at the Battle of Leipzig Centennial celebration, that patience has its limits and that Austria must soon take the sword, did not influence Berchtold in sending his ultimatum to Serbia, as they were still unknown to him when he sent it.  For Dr. Heinrich Kanner’s errors in this connection, see the present writer’s comments in the Amer. Hist. Rev., XXXVI, 317ff., 944ff. (Jan. and July, 1927).  Some weeks earlier the Kaiser had approved of Conrad’s idea of the peaceful incorporation of Serbia into the Dual Monarchy, like Bavaria in the German Empire, rather than forcible Austrian action, because “it would be much more advantageous for Germany, if Austria-Hungary were united with Serbia in one structure, than if she has a South Slav state as a neighbor who will always fall upon her rear” (Conrad, III, 431).  But after the latest events, upon a report from the German representative at Vienna that “the solid stand of Germany, of which Berchtold never doubted, strengthens him in the conviction that Serbia will heed the eight-day time limit and not go to extremes,” the Kaiser noted impulsively:  “That would be very much to be regretted !  Now or never !  One must finally have order and quiet down there !”  (G.P., XXXVI. 399).

209. Kühlmann to Bethmann, Oct. 18; G.P., XXXVI, 394.

210. Note to Serbian Government, 12:10 A. M., Oct. 18, 1913;  Conrad, III, 473, 747; G.P., XXXVI, 394-402.  By diplomatic euphemism it was called a “Note with a time-limit” [befristete Note], as in the case of its fatal successor of July 23, 1914 (as will be indicated below, vol. II, ch. v), but it was in fact essentially an ultimatum.

211. Lucius, German Chargé d’Affaires in St. Petersburg, to Bethmann, Oct. 28, 1913; G.P., XXXVI, 420.  For Neratov’s “complete surprise” and irritation, ibid., 399, 409.  Cf. also Sazonov’s report to the Tsar, Nov. 6, 1913.

212. Dumaine to Pichon, Oct. 21, 1913; Affaires Balkaniques, III, 70. Cf. also ibid., III, 67-72; G.P., XXXVI, 401-422;  Conrad, III, 474; and Sazonov’s report to the Tsar, Oct. 24/Nov. 6, 1913 (L.N., II, 360 f., and Stieve, III, 328 f.).

213. Bilinski’s remark in the Ministerial Council of July 31, 1914; A.R.B., III, 79.