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Austrian note was based upon the speeches of January in which the integrity of the Empire was promised. The recognition of the CzechoSlovaks made it meaningless, and so the delivery of the note was delayed until mid-September, when it was launched virtually unamended in a gesture of despair. At about the same time Italy issued an official communiqué recognizing JugoSlav aspirations, and the Allied world waited for an Italian offensive against the disintegrating Austrian troops.
During the summer, the diplomatic campaign had been extended to Bulgaria. It is not generally known just what was the character of the secret manoeuvers which led up to the success of Franchet d'Esperey's attack in Macedonia, though the disaffection of Bulgaria had been prophesied ever since the fall of Radoslavov and the visits of Ferdinand to Germany. Some spoke knowingly of the cavalry of St. George. At any rate with the fall of Bulgaria the resurrection of Rumania became possible, and Hungary was in peril. Then the Ukraine revolted against the foraging detachments, and at that moment Mr. Wilson made the sensational speech of Septem
ber twenty-seventh, which was read in Germany during the first days of October.
This speech with its extraordinary moderation coincided with the first successes of the American army between the Argonne Forest and the river Meuse. That gigantic battle had as its purpose the defeat of Ludendorff's plan to retreat to the Meuse, to establish a new defensive line for the winter and negotiate peace from behind his defenses. When the opening phase of the American attack carried through the first three positions Ludendorff demanded an armistice, and the government of Prince Max was called upon to accomplish it.
M AX did what Austria had tried to do
IV a few weeks earlier. He tried to secure peace as of January instead of October. And though in form the armistice was signed on that basis, in reality, the peace which is actually being made, must, because of the revolutionary events of 1918, differ radically from that which was contemplated when the Fourteen Points were written. After the military decision of late October, and in face of the Lorraine offensive which had been prepared and of the revolution within the Empire, Germany did in fact surrender as unconditionally as Austria. The only lasting significance of the armistice negotiations was the voluntary acceptance by the European Allies of a few negative obligations and certain general principles. The successive renewals of the armistice show that the first terms were dictated unconditionally.
The original armistice was prepared hastily; French views seem to have prevailed in its military features; British in its naval; and American in its political. In the Austrian armistice it appears that Italy was given a free hand, with the result that the line of occupation had a fatal resemblance with certain additions to the line of annexationist claims. The Treaty of London appeared at the decisive moment with renewed vigor.
November was a period of great anxiety. The victory had come swiftly. It had brought the necessity of reconstructing Europe externally and internally. And almost everyone was dazed, tired, and suspicious. The most serious feature of all, to speak frankly, was an Anglo-American irritation in official circles, for the peace of the world depended upon a working partnership between the only two Powers which had the resources for a creative statesmanship. The President arrived at the very moment when common counsel was least, and national propaganda most evident. It was a time when the tendency was to pull apart, and get out of the war helterskelter. The same weariness of mind which
accounts for the President's address to Congress before sailing, the same individualism, was epidemic in Europe.
His presence soon changed the atmosphere, and by January America and Britain had ceased pinching each other, and were at work. The great unifier was the determination to make the League of Nations the basis of peace. For here was a task which reached beyond national vanity into the future. It was a task which lifted pien's minds once again to the exalted aims which had consoled them for the war, and threw into a humane perspective the more immediate demands which had become so clamorous..
The Allied conference in Paris began in January to build peace in the only way that it could be built. Faced with a world in which government had disappeared over immense areas, in which the old diplomatic system was ruined, the statesmen were forced to start in by creating the tool with which peace could be administered, They knew that there are no final solutions to be had just now. A rigid treaty of peace cannot be written when there is no stable government anywhere east of the Rhine. No man knows what