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

THE RUMANIAN RIDDLE



The very secret treaty of 1883, by which Rumania joined the Triple Alliance Powers, had been renewed at various times, the last occasion being on February 5, 1913.(214)  During the early years of the treaty, Austria and Germany had no serious fear that Rumania would ever fail to fulfil her treaty obligations.  King Carol, a Hohenzollern educated in Germany and sympathetic in his whole being with the German point of view, was universally regarded as an honest, upright man, whose personal loyalty was trusted up to his very death in October, 1914.  Self-interest likewise seemed to assure Rumania’s loyal adherence to the Triple Alliance:  it guaranteed the little Balkan State against domination or transgression by Russia in any advance toward Constantinople, and against attack by Bulgaria or Turkey for possession of the Dobrudja.

But by 1914 the situation had greatly altered.  King Carol remained as loyal as ever.  Sentiment among the Rumanian people, however, had changed so greatly that Austria, and to some extent Germany, began to be seriously worried as to whether King Carol’s personal prestige would be strong enough to carry his country with him.  He was after all a constitutional monarch.  Anti-Austrian popular sentiment in a parliamentary democracy might override the monarch’s personal preference.

Three factors had contributed toward the development among the Rumanians of a hatred toward Austria, which threatened to undo the alliance:  (1) the Magyar policy toward Transylvania, (2) the Austrian policy toward Bulgaria, and (3) the Russo-Serb wooing to win Rumania away from the Triple Alliance to the side of the Triple Entente.

For the first of these factors the Magyar nobility were chiefly to blame.  In order to retain the dominant position which they had exercised since the Middle Ages, they had steadily refused, even at the opening of the twentieth century, to grant any really democratic suffrage to the Rumanian and Slav subject peoples in Hungary.  The Rumanians in Transylvania were refused a fair number of seats in the Hungarian Chamber of Deputies, and their nationalistic desires in regard to school and language questions had been blindly disregarded.  This galling denial of political rights naturally contributed toward the bitterness and irredentist longings which were shared by Rumanians on both sides of the Carpathian Mountains.

The second factor which embittered the people of Rumania, and threatened to transfer Rumania from the side of the Triple Alliance to that of the Triple Entente, was Austria’s attitude toward the Bulgaro-Rumanian conflict which arose out of the First Balkan War.  By their astonishing victories over Turkey in the first weeks of the war, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece had occupied wide stretches of territory, which vastly extended their frontiers and greatly increased their prestige, power, and population.  Rumania, meanwhile, had maintained a dignified neutrality, remaining at peace with Turkey, while her rivals were growing strong.  She alone had gained no new frontiers during the First Balkan War.  She alone had liberated and annexed no suppressed nationalities crying to be free.  Her people therefore were swept in the spring of 1913 by a new wave of irredentist nationalism and indignation.  There was a strong popular demand on the Rumanian Cabinet that something must be done to redress the Balance of Power in the Balkans, which had existed since the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, but which had now been completely upset to Rumania’s disadvantage.

Rumanian newspapers bitterly complained of the mistaken policy of folded hands:  King Carol should have intervened while the Bulgarian armies were tied up in front of Adrianople and Constantinople and insisted that Bulgaria cede to him the Silistria-Balchik district south of the Dobrudja, as “compensation” for Rumania’s benevolent neutrality.  Instead of adopting an active selfish policy of this kind, Rumania had pursued a waiting attitude, trusting in the generosity of Bulgaria and in a favorable pressure by the Great Powers to secure her adequate “compensations.”  But she had been deceived in both hopes.  Throughout the early months of the Balkan War, Bulgaria remained obdurate and deaf to Také Jonescu’s pleas for “just compensations.”  And when the question was finally left to the decision of the Great Powers at the St. Petersburg Conference, in March, 1913, Rumania did not get as much as her nationalists thought she had a right to expect.(215)

It was in connection with these negotiations about “compensations” that Rumanian Ministers and public opinion turned more sharply against Austria-Hungary.  Austria was suspected (and rightly) of giving slight support to the demands of her ally against Bulgaria for Silistria and a strip of territory south of the Dobrudja.  King Carol’s Ministers not only demanded this territory, but insisted that Rumania’s prestige obligated Austria to show as much zeal and energy in securing Silistria for Rumania as in opposing Serbia’s access to the Adriatic.  With Germany’s attitude they were satisfied.  Although Germany gave them salutary advice—to leave prestige aside, be content with moderate compensations, and not to listen to the wooing of Russia, who would not lift a finger for them as soon as she had achieved her purpose of breaking up her alliances—Germany did strongly back up Rumania’s claims.(216)  But with Austria they suspected it was otherwise.  “People are especially irritated against Austria-Hungary, because her support [to Rumania], in comparison with what Russia gives Bulgaria, is much too weak to lead to any favorable result.  Feeling already runs so high that the King [Carol] will be compelled in a very short time to come to a grave decision.  The decision will be either for war with Bulgaria, or for peace, but with the summoning of a Russophil ministry, which would mean that the course of Rumanian policy, hitherto friendly to the Triple Alliance, would give way to dependence on the Triple Entente.” (217)  Austria was suspected of being “more Bulgarian than the Bulgarians.”  When Rumania finally threatened to mobilize against Bulgaria, in order to secure the coveted territory, Austria tried to hold her back.  Prince Fürstenberg, the Austrian Minister at Bucharest, warned King Carol that a Rumanian attack on Bulgaria would be totally opposed to Austrian policy;  and that if Rumania persisted, Austria might eventually intervene;  King Carol should keep on good terms with Bulgaria;  because, otherwise, he would be playing into the hands of the Russian Pan-Slavs.(218)

This restraint which Austria exercised, or rather tried to exercise, upon King Carol weakened and isolated the King still more among his own people.  “King Carol is following Austria’s advice for peace in Bulgaria’s interests,” it was said.  The popular pressure became so strong that the King finally had to yield to public opinion.  He joined Serbia and Greece in the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria, and secured her coveted “compensations”—a generous slice of Bulgarian territory south of the Dobrudja, stretching from Silistria on the Danube to Constanza on the Black Sea.  Rumanian nationalistic aspirations and irredentist ambitions were strongly stirred by this short successful war.  As the French proverb says, “L’appetit vient en mangeant.”  As a result, Austria-Hungary now found herself seriously menaced by a “Greater Rumania” movement, which aimed at the ultimate detachment of the Rumanians in Transylvania, just as the “Greater Serbia” propaganda aimed at detaching the Serbs in Bosnia and other parts of the Dual Monarchy.  In November, 1913, a Rumanian Minister gave France to understand that the old friendship with Austria was “no longer anything but a shadow;  the question of the Rumanians in Transylvania has become the only important one in public opinion, which frankly desires a rapprochement with Russia.” (219)  And in December King Carol himself finally admitted to the Austrian Minister at Bucharest, that public feeling was such that, “to his great regret, he was not in a position to be able to guarantee to fulfil the existing secret treaty between Rumania and the Dual Monarchy.” (220)

By his double-faced and futile policy of pretending to support the interests of two opposed states like Rumania and Bulgaria, Berchtold had fallen between two stools.  He had lost the confidence and good-will of the one before he had secured that of the other.  This “desertion” on Rumania’s part was one of the most important facts in Austrian foreign policy in the spring of 1914.  The Serbian question has received a great deal more attention from writers, because it ultimately became the occasion of the World War;  but, next to it, nothing bothered the heads of the men at the.  Ballplatz more seriously than this Rumanian question in the months before the War.  This brief survey of it will also help to clarify a number of other obscure points, such as the conflicting policies at Vienna, Berchtold’s hesitations and mistakes, Austro-German friction, and the Konopischt interview of Emperor William and Franz Ferdinand, about which so many mysterious insinuations have been made.

Russia meanwhile was taking advantage of the situation to win Rumania over to a seat beside the Triple Entente and form a new Balkan group under Russian patronage to replace that which had been broken up by Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War.  Though the Tsar ruled over Rumanian populations in Bessarabia, Russian ministers at Bucharest sought to divert Rumanian irredentist ambitions away from Bessarabia to Transylvania.  Russia had shrewdly used her influence on the side of Rumania to secure for her the “compensations” in the Treaty of Bucharest.(221)  Rumanians noted with gratitude that, in contrast to Austria’s “perfidious” effort to bring about a revision of the Treaty, Russia had finally joined with Germany in preventing a revision.

Russia’s purpose in winning Rumania as part of her preparation for a general European war is well indicated in Sazonov’s secret report to the Tsar in December, 1913:

While repeating my wish for the prolongation as far as possible of the status quo, it is also necessary to repeat that the Straits Question can hardly advance a step except by the favor of European complications.  These complications, to judge by present circumstances, would find us in alliance with France, and in a possible but not at all assured, alliance with England, or at least with her as a benevolent neutral.  In the Balkans, in case of European complications, we could count on Serbia, and perhaps on Rumania.  From this there results clearly as the task of our diplomacy the creation of conditions for as intimate a rapprochement as possible with Rumania.  This policy ought to be as persistent as it is circumspect and devoid of rashness.  The position of Rumania in the Balkans recalls in many respects that of Italy in Europe.  These two powers are subject to megalomania, and, not having strength enough to accomplish their projects openly, are obliged to content themselves with an opportunist policy, observing always on which side lies force, in order that they may range themselves on this side. . . .

Two factors play a great role in the instability of the present situation in the Balkans.  The first is Austria-Hungary, with the manifest increase of the nationality movement caused by the success of the Serbs and the Rumanians, and the effect of these successes upon their racial brothers within the frontiers of the Hapsburg Monarchy.  The second factor is that it is impossible for Bulgaria to resign herself to the painful results of the Treaty of Bucharest.(222)

Partly as a result of Sazonov’s policy, when a new Russian Minister arrived at Bucharest in January, 1914, he found an exceedingly warm welcome in Governmental circles:

Again and again, sentiments of genuine friendship for Russia have been expressed to me.  I found the same welcome in society here.  I have spoken to former Ministers, Senators, Deputies, and various leaders of the Rumanian army.... To my mind, all this corroborates the fact already pointed out by my predecessor, and also emphasized by my French and English colleagues, that an important and perhaps decisive change in public opinion has been brought about here in favor of Russia.  The events of last year which have inspired the Rumanians, and above all their military leaders, with confidence in their own strength, have at the same time also encouraged the efforts of the Irredentists.  These are not so much directed against Russia, as toward Transylvania with its three million Rumanians.  This latter circumstance also naturally tends to enhance Rumania’s sympathy for Russia.(223)

Early in 1914 Russia took further steps to win Rumania.  She promoted a Serb-Greek-Rumanian combination, which, while ostensibly aiming at peace and the preservation of the status quo in the Balkans, might be used by Russia to solve the Straits Question at a time of “European complications.”  It also fell in with Russia’s policy of supporting Serbia against Austria.  In order to bring about such a combination, Sazonov had long interviews with the Serbian and Greek Premiers, M. Pashitch and M. Venizelos, in February, 1914.(224)  M. Pashitch also had an encouraging and significant talk with the Tsar, of which he has left an interesting account:

The audience lasted a full hour.  The Tsar received me in his cabinet.  When I entered, the Tsar was already there and at my entrance he came to meet me at the door, stretched out his hand without waiting for my greeting and invited me to be seated.... I set forth the Serbian policy which amounts to this, that she desires the maintenance of peace in the Balkans, and that new complications be avoided, since Serbia needs peace in order to recuperate, and in order that she may arm herself afresh for the defense of Serbian national interests.  I also set forth the difficulties which Serbia will have to meet in the pursuit of her peaceful policy.  Bulgaria, Turkey, and Austria are dissatisfied:  Turkey because she lost in the war with the Balkan States;  Bulgaria because she could not retain or acquire all that she wished;  and Austria because she lost the prospect of an advance to Salonica. . . .

Thereupon the Tsar answered:  We have confidence in the new Rumanian [Bratianu] Government, that it will attach itself as closely as possible to Russia.  He did not believe that matters would be allowed to go so far as to call in question the Peace of Bucharest. . . . I took occasion to remark that at the time of my stay in Bucharest I had a conference with Bratianu, and Bratianu was at that time very enthusiastic over the idea of an alliance with Greece and Serbia.  I also remarked that I intended to return home by way of Bucharest in order to see whether Bratianu still retained the same willingness and views which he had revealed to me when I was in Bucharest.  The Tsar said that would be very good, and that Rumania had three and a half million co-nationals in Austria-Hungary and that these desired union with Rumania.  Thereupon, I said to him that the Transylvanian Rumanians were better nationalists than the Rumanians in Rumania. . . .

I led the conversation around to a discussion of Austria’s deliveries of arms to Bulgaria, namely that Austria had furnished arms and munitions out of her magazines and that Bulgaria had received cannon also.  And again the Tsar added that Germany too was supporting Bulgaria.  I begged him that Russia should likewise aid us, and that out of her magazines she should deliver to us 120,000 rifles and munitions and some few cannon, particularly howitzers, if they could spare them, because the Turks had held up delivery of our heavy guns when they were in transport immediately before the war.  The Tsar asked me if I had spoken about the matter to any of the Russian Ministers.  I said, to the Minister of War, Sukhomlinov, and to Sazonov;  and the Minister of War had said, it would be all right if Russian policy permitted it.  And here I took occasion to tell the Tsar how pleased we were that Russia had armed herself so thoroughly;  it gave us a feeling of security and hope for a better future.  The Tsar said that they had done a great deal, and were still doing much.  For that reason their munition establishments could not assume the task of manufacturing arms for us.  This gave me occasion to say to the Tsar that immediately upon my return from Tsarskoe Selo, I would furnish Sazonov with an estimate of what we needed.  He said that was all right, for he would receive Sazonov on the morrow, and would see what we needed.  They would do all they could to lighten the situation for us.  He asked me what we needed.  I told him what I had noted down on the slip I had prepared for Sazonov. . . .

The Tsar inquired how many Serbo-Croats lived in Austria-Hungary, and what they were now believing and desiring.  I replied about six millions, and told him where they lived.  I also told him of the Slovenes, that they, too, were gravitating to the Serbo-Croats, and would adopt the Serbo-Croatian language, owing to the fact that their dialect is bad and that they have long lost their national independence.  Then I told him that just at this time there was a Slovene stopping at St. Petersburg who was working for the establishment of a South-Slav Bank, and was trying to win over the Russian banks to the project.  This was quite agreeable to the Tsar, and he said it was very necessary that the Russian banks should take a greater interest in the Slavic countries, and that it would be a good thing if Hribar should succeed with his mission.

I then told the Tsar how great a change in sentiment had taken place among the Slavs of Austria-Hungary—how many Starcevitch followers there were who formerly expected salvation from Austria, but now comprehended that this salvation could come to them only from Russia or Serbia, and that they could scarcely await the opportunity to see their desires fulfilled.  Then I told him that for every rifle we received, we would have a soldier from these countries to carry it. . . . He asked how many soldiers Serbia could put into the field.  Serbia, said the Tsar, had astonished the world when she marched out 400,000 men.  I replied:  We believe that we can put half a million well clothed and armed soldiers into the field.  “That is enough;  that is no trifle;  one can go a great way with that” [said the Tsar].

Thereupon we discussed the need of fostering the alliance with Greece, for, aside from other considerations, we shall thus safeguard our incoming and outgoing commerce.  Furthermore, we must labor to bring about an alliance upon a broader basis with Rumania, and not alone upon the basis of safeguarding the Treaty of Bucharest. . . .

[Pashitch then begged the Tsar to permit a marriage between the Serbian Crown Prince and a Russian Grand Duchess.  The Tsar replied smilingly that he had no objections, but followed the principle of allowing his children to choose for themselves.]

Upon my taking leave, the Tsar accompanied me to the door and asked me especially and repeatedly to present greetings to the King, not only from himself, but also from the Tsarina and his family, and wished him good health:  “For Serbia we shall do everything;  greet the King for me and tell him [in Russian] :  For Serbia we shall do everything.” (225)

While thus protesting to the Tsar his desire for peace, M. Pashitch, it is to be noted, asked for “120,000 rifles and munitions and some few cannon”;  he spoke of the Slavs in Austria-Hungary “who now comprehend that their salvation can come only from Russia and Serbia, and who can scarcely wait”;  and he urged an alliance with Rumania, “not alone upon the basis of safeguarding the Treaty of Bucharest” but with a view to the “three and a half million Transylvanian Rumanians who were better nationalists than the Rumanians in Rumania.”  Having indicated his real desires to the Tsar, he then set out with Venizelos for the Rumanian capital.  Their visit was at once reported to Conrad at Vienna by the Austrian military attaché at Bucharest:

Premiers Pashitch and Venizelos have spent two days together in Bucharest, highly pleased with their visit, as they both say, and today started together on their return journey to Belgrade and Athens.  Their visit is said to concern measures to be taken in case any other State threatens to overthrow by force the terms of the Peace of Bucharest.  Pashitch proceeds from the fixed assumption that Turkey and Bulgaria have signed a convention directed against Serbia and Greece, and that its unquestioned existence demands that these two States and Rumania shall join together.  The result of the conference here, according to my informant, is a complete agreement of views as to the future attitude of the three States, though Rumania has not entered into any binding engagements. . . . Undoubtedly Russia wants a new Balkan League, and is working in this direction at high pressure.(226)

As a further link to bind Russia and Rumania together the Tsar invited the Crown Prince with his wife and son, Prince Carol, to visit Russia.  They started on March 27, 1914, and stayed three weeks.  One of the objects in view was believed to be the possibility of arranging a marriage between Prince Carol and one of the Tsar’s daughters.  Such a marriage would obviously strengthen the increasingly close relations between Bucharest and St. Petersburg, and help swing Rumania away from the Triple Alliance into the current of Sazonov’s active Balkan policy.  Prince Carol, who would ultimately be the ruler of Rumania, had none of King Carol’s sympathies for Germany and the Hohenzollerns.  He had been educated under the influence of M. Jorga, one of Rumania’s strongest nationalist and anti-Austrian leaders.(227)  The visit met with such success that in May, Sazonov told the French and English Ambassadors, that, though no marriage was definitely settled, the Tsar’s second daughter had declared herself ready for the match.(228)

On June 14, 1914, the Tsar and Tsarina, accompanied by M. Sazonov, returned the visit of the Rumanian Princes.  As they stepped ashore from the imperial yacht at Constanza, the sun broke through the clouds after days of heavy rain and added its warmth and brightness to the welcome of the cheering Rumanian populace.  King Carol, wearing the uniform of a Russian field marshal, was photographed with his imperial guests, and an enterprising Rumanian Press saw to it that even the most remote villages of Transylvania had full news of the Tsar’s visit, with all sorts of exaggerated hopes as to the cooperation of Russia with Rumania.  M. Sazonov and M. Bratianu even went on a walking tour together to Transylvania.  “I did not hear of this tactless excursion until it was over” writes the Austrian Minister, Count Czernin, “but I shared Berchtold’s surprise at such a proceeding.” (229)  In the private political conversations which M. Sazonov had with M. Bratianu, the Russian Minister gave the impression that important changes were coming in the European political situation, and that Rumania would not fare badly “if she understood the signs of the times and listened to counsels of wisdom.” (230)

M. Bratianu in return assured Sazonov that “Rumania was not obligated in any way to take part in any war whatever, except where her own individual interests were directly concerned.”  Not finding this Delphic utterance sufficiently clear, and wishing to press him to a more definite statement, Sazonov bluntly asked Bratianu the significant leading question:  “What would be Rumania’s attitude in case of an armed conflict between Russia and Austria-Hungary, if the former were obliged by circumstances to resort to military action?”  Bratianu replied that “the attitude of Rumania in this case would depend on the circumstances which led Russia to resort to military action against Austria-Hungary, as well as upon what Rumania’s interests demanded at the given moment.”  From this conversation Sazonov carried away the comfortable conclusion that, “Rumania is not bound by any obligation which would force her to act with Austria and against us under all circumstances, but, in reality, in case of war between us and Austria-Hungary, Rumania will take the side which will be strongest and which will be in a position to promise her the greatest gains.” (231)

Vienna had been viewing with increasing fears and suspicions the signs of growing intimacy between Bucharest and St. Petersburg, as well as the formation of a Serb-Greek-Rumanian combination, which originated primarily in common hatred of Bulgaria but which might easily be directed against the Dual Monarchy.  How was Austria to deal with this danger that Rumania would gravitate to the side of the Triple Entente?

Baron Conrad, while willing to agree with any measures which aimed at winning back Rumania, or making her declare her position more definitely, either for or against Austria, had his staff work out plans for a campaign against Rumania.  He advised the building of defensive fortifications on the Rumanian frontier, or better still, a preventive war against Serbia, which would rid Austria once and for all of the Greater Serbia danger and clarify the general political situation.(232)  But his advice was not followed, because Emperor Francis Joseph, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Count Tisza, and the German Emperor were all opposed to any steps which might further antagonize Rumania.(233)

Count Berchtold, like other weak and undecided persons, preferred to wait and see;  he hoped Rumania could be won back by concessions.  With this in view, Tisza undertook negotiations to conciliate the Rumanians in Transylvania;  but, owing to the selfish obstinacy of the Magyars on one side, and the excessive demands and bitterness of the Rumanians on the other, these negotiations proved futile, and were abandoned at the end of March, 1914.(234)  In the hope of winning back Rumanian sentiment in favor of Austria, Berchtold also sent Count Czernin as Minister to Bucharest in October, 1913, in place of Prince Fürstenberg, who was personally obnoxious to some of the Rumanian Cabinet.  Czernin was expected to be persona gratissima at Bucharest.  He was a protégé of Franz Ferdinand, and had written a pamphlet some years before advocating the rights of the nationalities oppressed by the Magyars.  He had taken pains to inquire into the wishes of the Transylvanian Rumanians.  After reaching Bucharest he made it a point to express publicly his hopes that the Hungarian Government would make concessions in the negotiations which Tisza was then carrying on.  He earnestly tried to carry out Berchtold’s instructions to secure better relations between the two countries who were allies in form, but were becoming enemies in fact.  But in a few months Czernin realized that his mission was hopeless.  He found that King Carol stood almost alone in his sympathy with the Triple Alliance.  The treaties which attached his country to Germany and Austria had been kept so secret that they were known only to the King himself, to the Premier, M. Bratianu, and to one or two others.  No other Ministers knew of them or felt bound by them, so that it often happened that Rumanian diplomats abroad worked on the side of the Triple Entente.  So seriously did King Carol feel his own weakness in the face of Rumanian popular sentiment, that he admitted to Count Czernin in December, 1913, that “under existing circumstances he would be unable to side with Austria in a war.” (235)

So Count Czernin became convinced that Berchtold’s optimistic do-nothing policy was folly.  Like Conrad, he too came around to thinking something more positive must be done.  In March, 1914, he closed one of his pessimistic despatches with the prophetic warning:

I am in duty bound to call your attention to the fact that we are slipping down an inclined plane here with frightful speed, and there is no time to be lost.  It would be an ostrich policy to shut our eyes and let things go on as they are here.  For I must most energetically and emphatically repeat, a hundred times if necessary, the Austro-Rumanian Treaty [of Alliance] is a worthless scrap of paper.  In case of war, Rumania will not take a stand on the side of the Dual Monarchy.  The present situation is the most unfavorable imaginable for us, since it binds us without benefiting us.  A passive policy of hesitation, of floating with the current, of laissez faire, laissez aller, will not improve this situation.  Nothing but a clear-cut positive action on Austria’s part, nothing but an iron, unbending determination to compel Rumania to show her colors, can avert at the twelfth hour unfathomable disaster.(236)

Czernin suggested several alternative plans of action which the Dual Monarchy might adopt.  One was the cession of Transylvania to Rumania, with the stipulation that the Rumanian Kingdom, thus enlarged, be incorporated into the Hapsburg Empire, similar to Bavaria’s position in the German Empire.  Czernin thought this plan desirable, but impracticable of realization.  As to a preventive war against Serbia, urged by Conrad, Czernin was not one of those who, like Tisza, argued that a war with Serbia was useless and undesirable because Austria-Hungary was already oversaturated with Slavs;  no one, to be sure, wanted any more Serbs in the Dual Monarchy, he said;  but after a successful war against Serbia, it would be possible to use Serbian territory to win the good-will of the other Balkan states;  Greece and Bulgaria could be given what they wanted in Macedonia;  Albania could be rounded out to the east;  and Rumania be given the Timok-Njotin district, a corner in northeast Serbia partly populated by Rumanians.  The point, however, which Czernin particularly urged, was that the status of the Treaty of Alliance be cleared up.  In the present situation it was not worth a scrap of paper to Austria, because King Carol no longer controlled the situation and would be forced by public opinion to repudiate it or to resign, in case a Russian attack on Austria should give rise to the casus foederis.  Austria meanwhile had her hands tied by the treaty, and could not enter into other diplomatic negotiations which might offend Rumania.  To make Rumania take a stand openly, either for or against Austria, Czernin therefore suggested a newspaper “indiscretion” by which the existence of the treaty should be allowed to leak out;  one could then tell by the way the Rumanian Government denied the accuracy of the newspaper account, and the way public opinion in Rumania discussed it, what Austria could count upon.  But Berchtold rejected all these suggestions.  He merely gave a half-hearted authorization to Czernin to sound King Carol tactfully as to whether the King would not be willing that the treaty should be made public.  But, as Czernin had foreseen, when he broached the subject, King Carol delicately evaded it.  So Berchtold and his associates were left uncertain whether, in a crisis, the secret treaty with Rumania would hold or not.

Another suggestion by which Austria might offset the probable loss of Rumania was that Austria should follow Russia’s example, and build up a Balkan League under her own patronage to balance the feared Serb-Greek-Rumanian league under Russian patronage.  Bulgaria and Turkey, smarting from recent defeats and eager for support, might be brought together by Austria and be eventually drawn into the Triple Alliance circle to make up for Rumania’s “desertion.”  In other words, Austria might shift the pivot of her Balkan policy from Bucharest to Sofia.  Such a Bulgarophil diplomatic program had already been attempted by Berchtold during the Balkan Wars;  but it had met with no success and had caused serious differences of opinion between Vienna and Berlin.  In the spring of 1914, it was taken up again at Vienna and a long memorandum for its accomplishment had been worked out at the moment that Franz Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo.  But there was still the serious difficulty:  would Germany consent to this program of her Austrian Ally?  Of late Emperor William had become strongly philhellene, supporting Greek claims to the Aegean Islands against Turkish interests.(237)  Would he ever consent to abandon a Hohenzollern like King Carol, whom he greatly respected and trusted, and take in his place Ferdinand of Bulgaria, for whom he had a personal aversion and who was universally regarded with distrust?  This question of shifting the pivot from Bucharest to Sofia had long been argued without agreement between Berlin and Vienna during and after the Balkan Wars.  It also formed the larger part of the fateful memoir and royal missive from Francis Joseph which the Austrian Ambassador handed to William II after lunch at Potsdam on July 5, 1914, as will be related in the second volume, “After Sarajevo.”

This Rumanian problem was one of the many points on which there was a sharp divergence between German and Austrian policy.  Though the relations between Bucharest and Vienna had become increasingly strained, Bucharest and Berlin had remained on terms of firm cordiality, and Germany had done much to keep King Carol and his people loyal to the Triple Alliance.  These ties had been originally cemented through the kinship of the Hohenzollern rulers.  They had been strengthened by the long residence at Bucharest of Kiderlen-Wächter, one of Germany’s ablest diplomats since Bismarck’s day.  Even when Kiderlen was called to Berlin to pilot the Foreign Office in the last months of Bülow and the first years of Bethmann, he continued the close friendly relations which he had established with King Carol and influential Rumanian politicians.(238)  Jon Bratianu the Younger, the leader of the so-called Liberal Party, at heart tended more and more to the side of the Triple Entente.  He had been educated in France, visited Paris annually, and naturally had Gallic sympathies.  These were strengthened by the political calculation as far back as 1909 that the Entente might prove a stronger combination than the Triple Alliance in a general European war, and might therefore be a safer group for Rumania to join.(239)  In spite of this, however, he had confidentially assured Kiderlen that “he had inherited from his father the fundamental principle that Rumania’s path to Vienna lies through Berlin, and that he had the firm conviction that everything which Berlin advised was for Rumania’s genuine best interests.” (240)  He adhered to this principle and Germany did nothing to forfeit his well-placed confidence.

During the First Balkan War, when Rumania demanded territorial “compensations” from Bulgaria, Germany recognized her demands as justified.  Berlin privately urged wise moderation and concessions both at Bucharest and Sofia, in order to prevent a Bulgaro-Rumanian war, which would add another Balkan complication and still further threaten the peace of Europe.  But at the same time, both before and during the St. Petersburg Conference, Germany exerted her influence strongly in favor of Rumania’s claims.  She refused all Berchtold’s Bulgarophil projects for giving Bulgaria Salonica, Samothrace, or money, as a solace for ceding Silistria to Rumania;  she feared that such gifts would be frowned upon by Rumania and increase her distrust of the Triple Alliance—not to mention other objections.(241)

When the Second Balkan War broke out, and Rumanian indignation ran high against Berchtold’s suspected Bulgarophilism, Germany refused to join him in putting pressure on Rumania to keep quiet.  Berlin regretted his ill-judged effort, believing it would not be successful, and would only deepen Rumanian indignation—as proved to be the case.  On the contrary, Germany recognized that Bulgaria’s attack on Serbia was the psychological moment for King Carol to make good the claims which Bulgaria had been refusing;  Germany could not assume the responsibility of advising Rumania to neglect her vital interests for the sake of Austria’s desire to see a strong Bulgaria in Serbia’s rear.  Resentment would be so great in Bucharest that Rumania would certainly swing over from the Triple Alliance to the Triple Entente.  It was a poor policy for Austria to risk losing a faithful ally like King Carol for the hope of getting a treacherous friend like King Ferdinand of Bulgaria.  Austria made a mistake in letting herself be so obsessed with the fear of a Greater Serbia and in forgetting that she ruled over Rumanians as well as Slavs.  Germany accepted the Rumanian point of view:  Austria says that she cannot tolerate a Greater Serbia, but no more can Rumania tolerate a Greater Bulgaria.(242)  Berchtold was so put out with Germany’s solicitude for Rumania’s feelings, that he thrice made formal representations in Berlin against it.(243)  But the German Secretary of State, Jagow, while admitting some of his arguments, noted:  “Yes, but we do not need by a long shot to join in all Vienna’s stupidities.” (244)  Accordingly, after King Carol mobilized his army and seized the New Dobrudja by force from Bulgaria, Germany confirmed him in his new territories by helping to prevent the Austrian and Russian efforts to have the Treaty of Bucharest subjected to revision by the Great Powers.

This divergence of views between Berlin and Vienna continued during the months following the Balkan Wars.  Bethmann and the Kaiser still placed their hopes on Rumanian loyalty, while Berchtold and his advisers inclined toward closer relations with Bulgaria, since Rumania seemed to be lost.  In the spring of 1914 Rumania’s “desertion” seemed more and more probable.  This was partly owing to the active wooing by Russia, and to the propagandist articles by French journalists and professors, who visited and lectured at Bucharest.  It was also partly owing to the Magyar oppression of the Rumanians living in Transylvania and to Austria’s suspected Bulgarophilism.  The anti-Austrian demonstrations of the chauvinistic Rumanian “League of Civilization” became louder, and the attacks of the Rumanian Press more virulent.  An anti-Hapsburg play, “Mr. Notary,” written by a Transylvanian, was being performed at the National Theatre in Bucharest.  It roused the people to a frenzy.  They marched past the royal palace singing war songs and crying, “Down with Austria” and “Long live Russia.”  King Carol genuinely regretted all this.  But he feared to censor “Mr. Notary,” lest it serve only to advertise it and make matters worse.(245)  In the winter he had admitted that, if the anti-Austrian feeling kept up, Rumania would not march with Austria in case of a European war;  a treaty of alliance was not enough by itself;  it must have popular support.  In the spring he confessed that his country was “in a complete paroxysm,” and that he was helpless to stem the tide of popular hatred of Austria.(246)

This situation disturbed Berlin considerably.  It led the Kaiser to make the Rumanian danger the main subject of his discussions with Franz Ferdinand and the Austrians on his visits to Vienna, Miramar, and Konopischt shortly before the Sarajevo assassination.  He hoped that Count Tisza, the Hungarian Premier, would make concessions to the Rumanians in Transylvania.  Germany urged that nothing be done like Conrad’s plan of fortifying the Carpathian frontier which would certainly be unfavorably interpreted in Bucharest, or like Czernin’s schemes for getting the Rumanian treaty made public.(247)  But on the whole Germany was inclined to take a less tragic view of the Rumanian situation than Austria, and tried to calm the latter’s fears.  She hoped that the paroxysm would pass, and that Rumania would swing back to her traditional loyalty, if the Triple Alliance Powers did not show too much uneasiness and nervousness.  It might be that in case of a European war King Carol might have difficulty in fulfilling his treaty obligations.  But even so, it was still a long step from this to his active participation on the enemy’s side, “quite aside from the fact that complications between the Great Powers are hardly to be expected in the immediate future.” (248)  Rumania’s future remained a puzzling riddle, adding still further to Balkan instability, uncertainties, and intrigues.


214 See above, ch. ii, p. 88 ff. ;  Pribram, I, 29-34, 69-77, 85-90, 107, 209, 245 f.;  G.P., III, 261-282;  VII, 149-187;  XI, 301-307;  XXVIII, 649-680;  XXVII, 195-235;  XXX, 581-593. Though the renewal of the Austro-Rumanian Treaty (to which Germany acceded on Feb. 26 and Italy on March 5) was signed on Feb. 5, 1913, King Carol delayed for a week his ratification, giving as his excuse that he feared an impending ministerial crisis “and did not want it signed by various ministers.”  His more real reason was that, by delaying ratification and threatening “a new orientation of Rumanian policy,” i.e., away from the Triple Alliance, he hoped to frighten Austria into a more energetic support of the Rumanian claims to Silistria against Bulgaria (G.P., XXXIV, 337, 357 ff., 364).

215 Affaires Balkaniques, II, 30-35, 40-42, 56, 60 f., 67, 70 f., 74-81, 83-90, 93-109, 130 f., 137, 154 f., 229 f., 236-248, 253, 256, 263, 280;  Conrad, III, 26, 33 ff., 39-56, 74 f., 103 f., 113 f., 129-131, 140 ff., 204 ff., 305 ff., 335-339, 365 f., 381 ff.;  G.P., XXXIV, 245 ff., 301 ff., 337 ff., 357 ff., 418 ff., 575 ff.; XXXV, 115 ff.; XXXIX, 433 ff.

216 See below, notes 241-244.

217 Pomiankowski to Conrad, quoting the Rumanian Military Attaché in Constantinople, Jan. 28, 1913;  Conrad, III, 39 f.

218 Conrad, III, 335-338;  Jonescu, Origins of the War. p. 25; G.P., XXXIV, 843, 873 ff.; XXXIX, 434 ff., 504 f., 512.

219 Affaires Balkaniques, III, 74.

220 Austrian Military Attaché in Bucharest to Conrad, Dec. 12, 1913;  Conrad, III, 496;  see also G.P., XXXIX, 464 ff., and Alexander Hoyos, Der deutsch-englische Gegensatz and sein Einfluss auf die Balkanpolitik Oesterreich-Ungarns (Berlin, 1922), pp. 36 ff.

221 G.P.,. XXXIX, 433 ff., 445 ff., 464 ff. Cf. also Izvolski to Sazonov, Aug. 1/14, 1913, congratulating him on his Russian policy at Bucharest:  “Your diplomatic chef d’oeuvre has been the detachment of Rumania from Austria, which I had always dreamed of, but which I had not been able or known how to accomplish;”  M.F.R., p. 408;  L.N., II, 133;  Stieve, III, 243.

222 Secret report of Sazonov to Nicholas II, Nov. 23/Dec. 6, 1913;  Adamov, Konstantinopol i Prolivy, 74f.;  L.N., II, 371-2;  Stieve, III, 382.

223 Poklevski-Koziel, Russian Minister at Bucharest, to Sazonov, Jan. 11/24, 1914; Siebert-Schreiner, p. 436.

224 Doulcet, Chargé d’Affaires at St. Petersburg, to Doumergue, Feb. 5, 1914;  “M. Venizelos has made an excellent impression ... [Sazonov] has the impression that a very close accord exists between Greece and Serbia against every attack of the Turks;  with Rumania the ties are less close, but the visit of M. Venizelos to Bucharest will tend to tighten them;”  Affaires Balkaniques, III, 112.

225 Report of Pashitch of his audience with the Tsar, Feb. 2, 1914;  Bogitchevitch, pp. 170-180;  Deutschland Schuldig?, pp. 130-138.

226 Hranilovitch to Conrad, Feb. 11, 1914;  Conrad, III, 555. That Hranilovitch was substantially correct is seen from the reports of the Russian and French Ministers at Belgrade:  Hartwig to Sazonov, Feb. 11/24, 1914 (Siebert-Schreiner, p. 440) ;  and Descos to Doumergue, Feb. H. (Affaires Balkaniques, III, p. 113) :  “M. Patchou [Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs in Serbia] tells me that, according to news from Bucharest, the Bratianu Cabinet will be much more decided and more hostile to Austria than the preceding Ministry, and that Serbia is absolutely sure of Rumania.”

227 Conrad, III, 481 ff., 494 ff., 549 ff., 633 ff.;  G.P., XXXIX, 456, 474 ff., 496 501, 566.

228 Adamov, Konstantinopol i Prolivy, I, 357, note 1. The World War put an end to the projected match.

229 Czernin, In the World War, p. 112.

230 P. Lindenberg, König Karl von Rumänien, II, 240T, 288 ff. Lindenberg writes with warm feeling for King Carol and with some resentment against Russia. He cites no documents but appears to have had access to King Carol’s papers, as well as the King’s own assistance, in writing the work which was nearly completed when the War broke out. For accounts of the Constanza meeting as reported to Berlin, see G.P, XXXIX, 520-529.

231 Sazonov’s report to the Tsar, June 11/24, 1914;  Adamov, pp. 356363;  L.N., II, 377-384. Sazonov also pointed out to the Tsar how he had successfully flattered Rumania and increased her prestige among the other Balkan States by associating her with the Great Powers in the discussion for keeping the Straits open to commerce during the Tripolitan War. Similarly on July 24, 1914, upon the news of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia, M. Diamandi, the Rumanian Minister in St. Petersburg, was invited to the important luncheon with M. Sazonov, M. Paléologue and Sir George Buchanan. Such flattery often counts for much in diplomacy, as elsewhere. M. Diamandi has related his version of the Constanza meeting in Revue des Deux Mondes, Jan. 1, 1928, pp. 129-143.

232 Conrad, III, 404 f., 554, 626, 640-648.

233 G.P., XXXIX, 333 ff., 358 ff., 511, 515 f.

234 Conrad, III, 553, 556, 636. For the views of William II and Franz Ferdinand at Konopischt on this Rumanian problem, see below, Vol. II, ch. i; and G.P., XXXIX, 364-370.

235 Conrad, III, 634.

236 Closing paragraph of a long and remarkable report to Berchtold on the Rumanian situation, March 11, 1914; Conrad, III, 781-789; of also Czernin’s despatch of April 2; ibid, 633-638.

237 Conrad, III, 644, 655 ff., 662. On the Kaiser’s philhellenism see above, notes 186-190, in connection with intrigues over Kavala.

238 Cf.  E. Jäckh, Kiderlen-Wächter, I, 179-219;  II, 161-237, passim.

239 G.P., XXVII, 200.

240 G.P., XXVII, p. 223.

241 G.P., XXXIV, 444 ff., 456, 459 ff., 520 f., 660 ff., 674 f., 687 ff., 820 ff., 873 ff.

242 G.P., XXXV, 46 ff., 61 ff., 66 ff.

243 G.P., XXXIV, 820 ff.; XXXV, 66 ff., 115 ff.

244 G.P., XXXIV, 824.

245 Despatches of Waldthausen, German Minister at Bucharest, January-April, 1914; G.P., XXXIX, 471-497. These despatches hardly bear out Czernin’s reports to Berchtold (April 2, 1914; Conrad, III, 634) that Waldthausen had no real insight into the situation, allowed the wool to be pulled over his eyes, and was nothing more than “a human phonograph,” reporting credulously to Berlin whatever he was told by the Rumanian ministers, “who are a hundred times cleverer than he.”  Czemin, who was not lacking in a sufficiently good opinion of his own astuteness, says of himself:  “Bratianu reports to me daily that I am his real friend, that he has never been able to speak with a diplomatic representative so frankly as with me, and all such words. He thinks I am more of a fool than I really am.... But I do not trust him around the corner” (ibid., p. 786).

246 Waldthausen to Bethmann, Dec. 6, 1913, and Mar. 30, 1914; GP., XXXIX, 466, 481.

247 G.P., XXXIX, 506, 511, 515 f.

248 Jagow to Waldthausen, April 24, 1914;  G.P., XXXIX, 505 f. Cf. also the much more pessimistic views of Vienna as to Rumania, ibid., pp. 434-515, passim; and Conrad, III, 549-563, 633-648, 781-789.