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before most of us that the apparent strength of Prussian Germany had the fatal weakness of reposing upon the subjugation of smaller peoples through the alliance with German Austria and the Magyar oligarchy. They knew that the destruction of absolutism meant the break up of that military and bureaucratic alliance through which these nations were held down. And they knew equally well that once this power was wrecked it would be necessary to rebuild the whole diplomatic structure of Europe.
In 1918 they set about wrecking it. Once the decision was taken to fight the war to a conclusion many men came to their assistance who were not primarily interested in the freeing of the nations. Thus they were able gradually to convince the statesmen of the West that the encouragement of rebellion would be an important military factor in the final result. But before an alliance with these nations could actually be realized a formidable series of diplomatic obstacles had to be overcome. The full story of the manæuvers by which this was partially achieved in 1918 is an intricate tale, and all the facts are as yet unrevealed.
But the main outlines are known and can be told: Two nationalities had strategic importance
-the Czecho-Slovaks and the Jugo-Slavs, both because of their geographical position, their internal strength, and the definiteness of their aspirations. The Czecho-Slovaks were known to be one of the best educated and most trustworthy peoples in the world-politically as mature as any nation on the continent. They had, moreover, a most important advantage over the Jugo-Slavs; their territory did not touch Allied territory at any point, and there was no Allied group of any significance interested in thwarting them. The case of the Jugo-Slavs was complicated by their territorial conflict with Italy, and by the internal difficulty arising out of dynastic jealousies at the court of the Serbian kingdom. .
The problem soon narrowed itself to the status of the Jugo-Slavs. If that could be adjusted the Allies would have as allies the two nations of Central Europe through whose lands ran the chief arteries of the German-Austrian system. But the Jugo-Slav question turned on the validity of the Treaty of London which was the price of Italy's participation in the war. Would Italy
renounce those portions of the treaty which assigned to her lands inhabited by Jugo-Slavs ? If she would, Austria would soon be out of the war. If she refused untold complications faced the Allies. For ethnic justice to the Southern Slavs became the touchstone of Allied sincerity, and every small nation watched the diplomatic debate anxiously for evidence as to whether any one of the major allies would yield annexationist claims for the sake of the principles they all professed.
England and France could not officially press Italy to accept a revision of the treaty because they had signed the treaty. America was hesitant and at first not particularly well informed, while the more important figures in the embassy at Rome were, as so often happens to American embassies abroad, very much under the influence of fashionable chauvinism at the capital. The policy adopted by the reformers was shrewd, and inspired by a genuine devotion to the larger interests and honor of Italy. They set about inducing Italy herself to take the leadership in cementing the alliance between the Austrian nationalities and the Entente. The first step was the pact concluded on March seventh, 1918, between Dr. Torre, representing a committee of the Italian Parliament, and the Jugo-Slav leader, Dr. Trumbic. Italian liberals within the Chamber of Deputies and in the press well understood the peril to Italy and to Europe of Baron Sonnino's insistence upon his pound of flesh. They coöperated loyally, and in early April the Congress of the Oppressed Nationalities of AustriaHungary was held in Rome. The resolution of that Congress demanded the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary by the constructive liberation of the oppressed Austro-Hungarian nationalities. The Italian Premier blessed the deliberations. The result was highly important in Central Europe; it made Vienna furious and fearful. Italy's action, however, was not altogether official, for the Treaty of London had not been renounced. At the end of May the United States recognized the aspirations of the subject peoples, but the language employed was vague, and at the Versailles council of early June Baron Sonnino refused to assent to the complete recognition of the Jugo-Slavs, taking refuge behind Mr. Lansing's obscurity. Nevertheless, the result had
been sufficient to cause the disaffection of Slav troops, and the offensive on the Piave in June was materially weakened by the propaganda of the "Allies. At the end of June Mr. Lansing cleared up the obscurity, and definitely stated that the liberation of these peoples was an American war aim.
In August, under the influence primarily of Lord Northcliffe and Mr. Wickham Steed, another attempt was made to induce Baron Sonnino to recognize the claims of the Jugo-Slavs. This precipitated a violent political controversy in Italy. At the same time Great Britain and the United States formally recognized the CzechoSlovaks as belligerent allies. This action caused dismay in Vienna, and was the cause of the postponement of peace proposals, which finally came from Austria a month later. For Austria had determined early in August to ask for peace, and had secured the consent of Germany following the success of the Allied counter-offensive. The note was already drafted when Britain and America recognized the government of Masaryk, and by implication declared for the dismemberment of the Dual Empire. The argument of the