Слике страница
PDF
ePub

destiny. The glorious fruits of victory shall be our reward. Forward, with the help of God!

FERDINAND. To the army the King addressed the following Order of the Day:

Soldiers: I have summoned you to carry your standards beyond the frontier, where our brothers are waiting for you impatiently and with hearts filled with hope. The memory of the Great Voivodes Michael the Brave and Stephen

the Great, whose remains lie in the earth which you are going to set free, call you to victory as men worthy of the victors of Razboeni, Capugareeni, and Paehna. I have summoned you to fight side by side with the men of the great nations to which we

are allied.

A desperate struggle awaits you. We shall bear these hardships manfully, and with God's help victory will be ours. Show yourselves worthy of the glory of your ancestors. In the centuries to come the whole race will bless you and sing your praises.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

our

[ocr errors]

Germany, with all the other powers, signed this declaration of The Hague:

"The contracting parties agree not to use projectiles which have for their sole aim to spread asphyxiating or deleterious gases.” The ink was hardly dry on the paper when German chemists received instructions, secret but precise, from the Imperial and Royal Government, while all other peoples, civilized or even halfbarbarous, held themselves bound by their word.

The abominable felony, which had been long prepared, was committed for the first time on April 22, 1915, in an attack against the division of General Putz in the neighborhood of Langemarck, Belgium, a yellow smoke, coming from the German trenches and driven by the north wind, suddenly swept down on our lines. Marshal French's report said:

" The effect of the poisonous vapors was so violent that all action was made impossible over the whole ground occupied by the French division.” Hundreds of men fell asphyxiated, writhing in frightful pain. Others, stupefied and staggering, coughing streams of blood, fell back in all haste out of the zone of

the gas; they abandoned thirty cannon. There had not yet been, in all history, so infamous a victory. There shall not be one to cost the victors dearer.

Had the English been the victims, instead of being only the witnesses, of such treachery, they could not have experienced more horror. Necessarily, it released

allies and ourselves—the chemistry of war was created. Several hundred English chemists set to work, coolly, resolutely, patiently. To those who saw them at their work they were the executioners of justice. The German lines, which extend more than sixty miles in Belgium and France, facing the English lines, know now what it costs a people to become the accomplices of a Government of treachery, ferocity, and crime. There is sometimes even human justice. There may be pity for the individual. No one in the world will have pity for the army and nation for they have chosen to stand and fall with imperial felony. Honor, after their fashion, and profit they may have had from itbut not victory. And they must pay for it.

Two hundred dead German soldiers in one row, dead from English gases, tell the rest.

By Radoslav Andrea Tsanoff A Native of Bulgaria, now Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Rice Institute,

Houston, Texas Professor Tsanoff is a Ph. D. of Cornell University. Since 1912 he has lectured on the Balkan situation in New York and New England as well as in Texas. The tragic Summer of 1913 he spent in his native land, and in August or that year the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent him on an informal mission to London,

T"

HE European war, if not in its ulti sia, which liberated her from the Turk

mate implications, is at least in less than forty years ago. Now, even if its immediate provocation a Bal this course were inexcusably base, still

kan conflict-a conflict for Bal it would demand explanation. Nations kan and Eastern Mediterranean domin do not stoop to ingratitude for no cause ion. It should not be forgotten that the whatever. Before praising or condemnSerajevo outrage was the initial casus ing Bulgaria's step we must first of all belli, and its inevitable connections with understand its motives. And to this end Bosnia and Herzego

a very brief survey vina and the road to

of Bulgaria's immeSaloniki, with the Ber

diate past is indislin Congress and the

pensable. Sick Man of Europe,

The middle of the with the Drang nach

nineteenth century Osten politics on the

found the Bulgarian one hand and Peter

Nation, from the Danthe Great's “testa

ube to the Aegean ment” concerning

Sea, and from the Constantinople on the

Black Sea to the Lake other, suggest the

of Ochrid, reaching underlying causes of

the climax of a death the present Russo

struggle to shake off German conflict, with

the ecclesiastical opwhich the Anglo-Ger

pression of the Greek man and the Franco

Patriarchate and the German conflicts are

political-economic tyrchronologically, but

anny of the Turk. not logically, associ

The first struggle ated.

ended successfully In this conflict for

with the recognition the Eastern Mediter

by the Sultan of a ranean and for Balkan

national Bulgarian dominion the century

Church in 1870; the old enemy of Balkan

second revolt, for dom, Turkey, has

FERDINAND I.,

political independence, ranged her arms

Czar of Bulgaria

after claiming thouthe side of the Aus

sands of martyrs, led tro-German alliance. Only the day before to the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78 yesterday rivers of Balkan blood spilled and to the treaty of San Stefano, which themselves in a war the avowed ob reconstituted an independent Bulgaria, ject of which the expulsion of including practically the entire Bulgarian Islam from Europe. Yet Bulgaria is folk. But Western Europe feared that an today fighting in league with her op independent Bulgaria would become Ruspressor of half a thousand years, the sia's pawn in the Balkans, that the Czar Turk-fighting in opposition to would use Bulgaria as his road to the Medi

[graphic]

on

was

terranean instead of the one through Con and you will find that Bulgaria constantinople and the Dardanelles, which tributes as many names as all the other had been closed to him after the Crimean Balkan States put together. In the BalWar. At the Berlin Congress, accord kans Bulgaria has become the home of ingly, England, Germany, and Austria genuine ethnic and religious tolerance; dismembered the Bulgar land that had with a truly representative electoral sysjust awakened to freedom after 500 years tem; with labor-protection laws such as of bondage. In the end, one section of many States in America cannot yet Bulgaria was given freedom, another was boast; a country economically solid and accorded partial autonomy, a third was democratic, five-sevenths of her sons definitely assigned to Rumania, a fourth owning the farms they till. What more to Serbia, while the fifth, comprising could Bulgaria desire ? Macedonia and Western Thrace, was ac Only this, and this above all: The libtually handed back to the Sultan.

eration of those Bulgars whom the BerIn spite of the political obstacles with lin Congress had handed back to the Sulwhich she was confronted, however, lit tan. This aim inspired the bloody Macetle Bulgaria made a cultural endeavor donian insurrections; it led Bulgaria into which today challenges a parallel. Dur the Balkan Alliance and the war of 1912. ing the quarter century from 1887 to The history of the Balkan war needs no 1912, for instance, she multiplied her rehearsal here. Suffice it to recall that railroad mileage almost nine times; her Bulgaria found herself confronted by the telegraph service trebled; her postal main Turkish Army, crushed it decisiveservice increased twentyfold; her im ly, drove it back to the very gates of ports doubled; her exports quadrupled; Constantinople, and for half a year held for every vessel that entered and cleared it there in check. her ports in 1887 there were thirty in But the victory whereby Bulgaria had 1912. But her greatest effort was di liberated the Balkans from Turkdom rected in the line of public education. In fanned the old envy of her allies. In re1880 Bulgaria was as illiterate as any fusing to relinquish the “ uncontested - country could well be. In 1910 one zone” in Macedonia and to arbitrate tenth of her population attended the pub about the “ contested zone,” Serbia broke lic schools. The illiteracy of the Bul here treaty of alliance with Bulgaria; garian Army, which was 70 per cent. in Greek cunning conspired with Rumanian 1887, has been so reduced that the cupidity and Turkish rancor to overyounger regiments of Bulgars are less whelm Bulgaria and to rob her of almost than 10 per cent. illiterate. There are all the fruits of her war of liberation. as few Bulgars who cannot read and By the treaty of Bucharest, August, 1913, write in the regiments formed today as Bulgaria lost 1,000,000 Macedonian Bulthere were men who could read and gars to Serbia and Greece and 286,000 of write in the regiments formed thirty her prosperous Dobrudja citizens to Rusix years ago. The Greek Army is 30 mania. The Fall of 1913 found Bulper cent. illiterate, the Rumanian over garia diplomatically isolated, territorial64 per cent., and the Serbian population ly robbed, and to all appearances crushed over 11 years of age shows an illiteracy into abject helplessness. of almost 79 per cent.

Yet such has been the irony of fate Forty-five years ago everything ever that, within one brief twelvemonth after printed in the Bulgarian language could the Bucharest Treaty, Serbia's dream of have been assembled on one library empire involved her in a conflict threattable. Today Bulgaria has over 350 pe ening her very existence as an independriodical publications; the world's litera ent State. The course of the great war, ture may be read in Bulgarian transla its military and its diplomatic history, tions, and several Bulgarian writers has disclosed several striking develophave seen their works translated in ments in the Balkans. It has accentumany European languages. Open the ated with increasing clearness the imInternational "Who's Who in Science” portance of Bulgaria's position. In a

small way, hers is the same advantage which Germany and Austria enjoy in Europe and which has given them the name of the Central Powers. No Balkan State could make a move without reckoning with Bulgaria. The geographical position which had proved Bulgaria's undoing in 1913, when her neighbors, surrounding her on all sides, succeeded in isolating her, proved a tower of strength to her now that her neighbors either were engaged or planned to be engaged each in a different direction. The policy of Rumania and Greece necessarily depended on that of Bulgaria. Again, Bulgaria, which touches both of the neutral Balkan States, is likewise the only European neighbor of Turkey.

The strongest trump in Germany's hand has been her central position, the fact that she held the inner line, allowing the transferance of troops at will from one front to another. In this chain of military coherence, one link was missing. This needed link was Bulgaria. Germany needed the raw resources of Turkey; Turkey needed German guns, ammunition, and equipment. Only through Bulgaria could Berlin communicate with Constantinople overland.

On the other hand, the Entente's greatest source of weakness was the absence of communication between east and west. To remedy precisely this situation the forcing of the Dardanelles was thought imperative. The success of the Dardanelles expedition would have achieved two ends—with one stroke it would have severed Germany from Turkey, and so frustrated the menace to England's dominion over Egypt and India, and also established oversea communication between Russia and her allies. Here again the importance of Bulgaria's position was paramount. With the help of a Bulgarian army striking directly at the Turk, the Anglo-French fiasco in the Dardanelles could easily have been transformed into a triumph; with a benevolently neutral Bulgaria refusing to allow the transportation over her railroads of German ammunition for Turkey, the armies of Enver Pasha would soon have been exhausted, for all ammunition sent by way of Rumanian Constanza was liable to attack by

the Russian Black Sea fleet. With a Bul. garia friendly to Germany, however, the Anglo-French expedition faced a Sisyphean task. Bulgaria held the key which could either unlock the Constantinople gates for the Entente or lock them to Germany. The fact that of all the neutral States Bulgaria alone possessed both a Black Sea coast and an Aegean coast gave her a position of inestimable value and made her sympathies precious beyond belief to both hostile coalitions. One doubts if the most astute of diplomats could have anticipated the gain in power which Bulgaria acquired by securing in 1913 the strip of coast line on the Aegean.

But, once the European war had begun, neither Germany nor the Entente appreciated the importance of Bulgaria's position any better than did the Bulgarian people, Government, and Czar. Ferdinand's manifesto of Oct. 14, 1915, declares: “Exhausted and worn out, but not vanquished, [in 1913,] we had to furl our flags and wait for better days. The better days have come much sooner than we had reason to expect.” In the Fall of 1913 Bulgarian emissaries were waiting in cold European anterooms, begging for recognition of the ethnic and political justice of their cause. In the Fall of 1914 emissaries of the European powers were in Sofia, returning Bulgaria's calls.

In modern history there is scarcely an equally dramatic instance of poetic justice. Sofia, the geographic heart of the Balkan peninsula, once more became its political centre of gravity. Once more Bulgaria beheld the possible realization of her national ideal, her one ambition. And this one ambition of all Bulgars was and is: That political Bulgaria become coextensive with ethnic Bulgaria. This means today the restoration to Bulgaria of the Macedonian districts of which Serbia and Greece robbed her, and of the Dobrudja region which Rumania extorted from her at the treaty of Bucharest. Only the at least partial attainment of this national idea could justify the spilling of Bulgarian blood in this

Bulgaria, accordingly, asked herself this question: Would the liberation of Macedonia and Dobrudja be more likely of attainment if she abandoned her

[ocr errors]

war.

meant really fighting for Russia. The

ly appears merely as a pawn, and so it clude-indeed, it may demand—a strong and friendly Bulgaria to guard the Germediate aim is political mastery over Constantinople and the Dardanelles. how much more of the Black Sea coast it does or may mean the Bulgar mind ness that in the present conflict England

Thus, realizing with increasing clearhad left the destinies of the Balkans in the hands of Russia and that Russia was there the decisive factor, Bulgaria saw that fighting on the side of England -entire change of things Serbian. The

neutrality than if she remained neutral? great question for the Bulgars, therefore, And in case she did enter the war, which early resolved itself into this: Was it to of the two hostile groups could more sin Bulgaria's interest to fight for Russia ? cerely and more reliably assure her of And, since Bulgaria's relation to Russia the realization of this national ideal? is a deeper relation than one of interest,

It has always been England's policy a second more momentous question arose: to crush her most dangerous Continental Was Bulgaria morally bound to join Rusrival by using for that purpose the allied sia? forces of that power's Continental ene The entire history of modern Bulgaria mies. A hundred years ago Great Brit registers a constant effort on the part of ain used Germany and Russia to crush the Bulgarian people to remain grateful France. Sixty years ago the Russian and loyal to the great Russian Nation, Czar became the great danger to civiliza their liberator, without yielding to the tion, and Britain used Europe's armies to

machinations of the Russian Government. crush Russia. The last few decades have The interest which imperial Russia has registered sufficient German progress taken in Bulgaria, however, has always and vitality to make Germany the imme been measured by its expectation of cowdiate source of Britain's alarm. It may ing or bringing Bulgaria into ultimate be that the more astute British states submission. This Russian policy is quite men still realize that Russia, their pres easy to understand if one looks at things ent ally, is their inevitable future en from the point of view of Russian impeemy, but for this moment Britain is en rial expansion. Constantinople and the tirely anti-German. She not only sec

Dardanelles are Russian ambitions far onded Russia's move toward Constanti more properly than even Antwerp is a nople, but herself tried to batter open

Germanic ambition, and a Russian expanfor Russia the Dardanelles gates, as if

sionist may well shed tears at the way in to scratch out from the British creed

which Russia's outstretched arm is forthat article for which the Light Brigade

ever being balked from reaching the high charged at Balaklava.

seas—in China, in Persia, in the Near On this doubtless fascinating chess

East. But can Bulgaria grieve that the board of war tiny Bulgaria unfortunate

Russian appetite has not yet been satis

fied at her expense? Any nation must happens that, while for Britain Russia is

needs look at a world conflict primarily the distant and Germany the immediate

from the point of view of its own selfdanger, for Bulgaria the case is exactly

preservation, and this is the way in reversed. Germany's immediate aim is

which Bulgaria has looked at this war. economic dominion over the Near East,

The geographic position of Bulgaria and that immediate aim need not pre

made her naturally a possible bridge of Russian advance on Constantinople; the

geographic position of Serbia, on the man caravan's flank. But Russia's im

other hand, made her a wall of protection for Russia against the AustroGerman advance on Saloniki. Bulgarian loyalty was thus a necessary part of Russia's plan of “benevolent assimilation "; but Serbian loyalty was essential to the very security of Russia in the Near East. Now the fact that the Serb, toward the end of the century, was courting Viennese favor and was fast becoming Austria's economic vassal, worried imperial Russia. Consequently the Belgrade tragedy of 1903 resulted in an

This means Adrianople and Thrace, and

finds it very uncomfortable to contemplate.

Russian Minister at Belgrade replaced

« ПретходнаНастави »