Слике страница
PDF

erful figure in Prussian politics, would be appointed as head of the delegation. A fear, however, that he would prove persona non grata to the American plenipotentiaries led to the final selection of Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau as chief of the envoys. Associated with him were Leinert, Giesberts, Landsberg, Melchior, and Schuecking. The first three had been members of former German Cabiinets. Melchior was a prominent financier and Schuecking a former confidant and adviser of the ex-Kaiser.

HUNGARY

The Karolyi Government in Hungary was short lived. From the beginning it had been faced with an impossible task and was foredoomed to defeat. The economic situation of the country was desperate. Disruptive forces were everywhere at work. Bolshevism found a fertile field among the workless, foodless people. The demobilization of the defeated Hungarian armies, filled with bitterness and chagrin, rapidly produced a condition bordering closely on anarchy. Hungary's dwindling territory was still further shrunken by the encroachments of Serbs, Rumanians, and Czechs, who, it was claimed, had overstepped the lines fixed by the terms of armistice, until the country's limits embraced scarcely more than Budapest, whose population, already congested, was nearly doubled by an influx of refugees.

The end was inevitable. The Provisional Government, of which Karolyi was President, was overthrown on March 21 by the Communist element under Russian Bolshevist leadership. Karolyi yielded with scarcely an attempt at resistance. A dictatorship of the proletariat was proclaimed, and a council was established headed by Bela Kun and composed of radicals of the most violent type.

The program of the new Government embraced the socialization of large estates, mines, big industries, banks, and transport lines. It declared complete solidarity with the Russian Soviet Government and offered to contract an armed alliance with the proletariat of Russia. An appeal was issued to the workmen and peasants of Bohemia, Ru

mania, Serbia, and Croatia to band together against the aristocracy and land owners.

The terrorism that had held sway in Munich and Moscow was absent from this latest communistic experiment. Arrests were frequent and confiscations general, but there were less bloody excesses. The defiance at first manifested against the allied Governments gradually took a milder tone, and Bela Kun was reported as ready to recognize the armistice of November, 1918, and desirous of maintaining relations with the Entente.

The Peace Conference on April 2 sent General Jan Smuts to Budapast, with powers to modify the terms of armistice where they bore too severely on Hungary and to raise the blockade so as to permit the freer entrance of supplies into the country. His conferences with the Communist leaders were amicable, but resulted in the rejection of his proposals. His coming was interpreted as a recognition of the Government in power. Increased preparations were made for the enrollment of a Red army and special inducements were offered to enlist. Military operations were begun against the Rumanians, but resulted in disaster, the Hungarian forces being compelled to retreat. They were more fortunate, however, against the Czechoslovaks, upon whom in the latter territory they inflicted a marked defeat, owing largely to their preponderance in heavy artillery. A sharp ultimatum was issued by the Peace Conference demanding that all Hungarian forces be recalled within their own boundaries before June 28, in default of which allied troops would immediately be set in motion against Hungary.

GERMAN AUSTRIA

While the drift of events in German Austria during the period under review was distinctly toward socialism, it was quite as distinctly away from Bolshevism. Respect for orderly government •and constituted authority was still regnant in this last fragment of the Hapsburg empire. The Bolshevist leaven was indeed working, and made itself evident in sporadic outbursts; but these were so quickly and sharply repressed as to leave no doubt of the prevailing temper of the people. The Soviet Government at Budapest issued proclamations urging the proletariat of Austria to join forces with that of Hungary and sent emissaries to the Austrian Government, promising food supplies and material assistance. These inducements, however, failed of effect, owing perhaps to the fact that, while only one trainload of food a day could reach Vienna from Hungary, twelve were being dispatched to the capital daily by the Entente.

The socialistic tendencies were manifested in the success of the Social Democrats at the elections, in the plans laid for the socialization of industries, and in the official banishment of former Emperor Charles.

The program of the Government included a declaration of amity with the new States which had been formed from Austria-Hungary, conciliation with the nations of the Entente, co-operation with the productive workers of town and country, and union with Germany. The business outlook was visibly improved by the statement on April 4 that the Allies were ready to grant the Austrian business world long credits to facilitate the importation of raw material and the resumption of manufacturing. It was possibly due to this announcement that the Vienna Government complied readily with the demand of the Entente on April 5 that the Bolshevist agitators from Hungary should be sent out of the country.

At the head of the Cabinet, appointed provisionally to take charge of public affairs until it should be determined whether German Austria should remain separate or be joined to Germany, was Dr. Karl Renner as Chancellor. Other important members were Otto Bauer, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Julius Deutsch, Secretary of War.

The efforts of the Cabinet were directed toward union with Germany, in compliance with the mandate given by the majority of the National Assembly. But the announcement of the peace terms framed for the former German Empire

checked this tendency and produced a prompt volte-face. It was asserted by influential elements that it would be an act of simple madness to ally themselves with a State that must bear such heavy burdens. Renner, who in the interim had been appointed as head of the Austrian delegation to the Peace Congress, in an impassioned speech to the Chamber of Deputies, declared that while the people must suffer for the misdeeds of their rulers, he hoped to get better terms from the Entente than had been granted to Germany. At the same time he renounced definitely his cherished hope of political union with that country.

POLAND

Although Poland was assured of a great future by the trend of the discussions of the Peace Conference, her path was beset with difficulties. Her clashes with the Czechs over the possession of the coal mines at Teschen had been brought to an end by the intervention of an allied commission. However, she was still fighting on three fronts—against the Germans in Posen, the Bolsheviki in the direction of Vilna, and the Ukrainians in the vicinity of Lemberg. It was known that considerable German forces were gathering under von Hindenburg with the supposed intention of retaking those parts of the province that had already been occupied by the Poles or possibly of resisting the cession of the rest of the province to Poland by the Peace Conference. Conflicts between outpost patrols were frequent, but not of much importance, except perhaps in what they portended.

Opposition was threatened also by the Germans to the landing of General Haller's Polish division at Danzig. This matter, however, was settled by an agreement made by Marshal Foch with Erzberger of the German Armistice Commission for the sending of the troops across German territory to other parts of Paland. Even this latter arrangement was hindered on various pretexts, until a peremptory demand by the Allies secured the transportation of the troops as agreed.

On March 15 German forces attacked

[ocr errors]

the coal mines at Dombrowa in Russian Poland. In Posnania they bombarded the towns of Nowa and Kruszyna and Ostrowek. All these attacks were repulsed.

On the Galician front, Lemberg suffered heavilyfrom an Ukranian bombardment, and large sections of the city were destroyed. An armistice was proposed by the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference, but the Ukrainians refused to comply. The fighting continued with great severity until May 5, by which date the Poles had driven the Ukrainians beyond shelling distance of the city. Hostilities were suspended shortly afterward and delegates were sent by both Poles and Ukranians to Paris to lay their respective claims before the conference.

Active military operations against the Bolsheviki in Lithuania resulted in the recapture of Vilna from the Soviet forces. In addition, important railway centres were captured, and early in May the whole railway line from Vilna south to Lida fell into the hands of the Poles.

RUSSIA

Military operations in Russia, which in February and March had resulted in marked successes for the Bolsheviki, took a sudden turn in May and June, and the anti-Bolshevist forces made substantial advances in almost every sector. Offensives against the allied and American forces in the Archangel district were repulsed with heavy losses. The important town of Bolshie Ozerki was captured by the allied forces, with vast quantities of war material. In the east, the Siberian troops of Admiral Kolchak won notable victories at several points on the Trans-Siberian Railway. A Finnish military movement reached a line within thirty miles of Petrograd. The British won a naval victory in the Gulf of Cronstadt. The city of Kiev was taken from the Bolsheviki by the Ukrainians under the leadership of Petlura. Denikin had nearly effected a junction with Kolchak. A steadily contracting circle was being drawn about the Soviet Government which held sway in Moscow.

VoL IB.

Of all these successes, those of Admiral Kolchak were the most important. The Government of which he was the head at Omsk, Siberia, was the centre toward which gravitated the various antiBolshevist Governments which had exercised a limited rule over portions of that vast and distracted country. An AllRussian Government was established at Omsk, and a unity of effort was achieved whose results speedily made themselves manifest in deeds that attracted the attention and aroused the hopes of the allied nations.

The Prinkipo meeting having proved abortive, the Paris Conference turned to Kolchak as the possible savior of Russia. A series of questions was addressed to him inquiring as to his future action should he succeed in overthrowing the Lenin-Trotzky regime. These were designed to forestall any possibility of replacing Bolshevism by a reactionary government. The crux of the inquiry was whether, in event of success, Kolchak would favor the calling of a Constituent Assembly to decide how Russia should be ruled and recognize the independence of seceded Russian States. The assurances given in return were satisfactory, and the Council of Four promised on June 12 that henceforth all possible assistance in the way of money, food, and munitions would be furnished to the Admiral in his efforts to bring Russia once more under the reign of law and order.

The first visible fruits of allied aid were a number of British tanks that were used with good results. Kolchak's successes continued, and though he sustained a reverse at Ufa, owing to the lack of reserves and the defection of some of his units, he had taken from under Bolshevist control a strip of territory as long as the whole Atlantic seaboard of the United States.

American troops were withdrawn from the Archangel district early in June. A steady influx of British troops into that sector continued and reinforcements were being steadily recruited.

Economic and political conditions under Bolshevist rule continued to be deplorable. Famine stalked through the streets of Petrograd and Moscow. Manufacturing was paralyzed, only a small percentage of land was under cultivation, and transportation had broken down. Atheism was taught in the schools, confiscations were of daily occurrence, robbery and murder were rife. So many people' died in Petrograd of hunger diseases that coffins were rented instead of sold. An official organ of the Bolsheviki admitted eight hundred executions and over six thousand political arrests. The atrocities revealed by official investigations in places that were wrested from Bolshevist control were appalling in their brutality.

NEWLY CREATED STATES

Gratifying progress was made in Finland toward the setting up of a genuinely democratic and representative government. The collapse of Germany had freed the country from an autocratic rule that was wholly out of harmony with the spirit of the people. Great Britain recognized Finland as an independent republic on May 6 and on the the following day Secretary Lansing announced in Paris that the United States had also recognized the de facto Government.

Conditions in Rumania steadily improved. A great internal reform was being carried out in the distribution of large estates to peasant landholders. This removed one of the crying grievances of the kingdom that for years had fostered discontent and hindered development. There was no trace of confiscation in the movement, for the property was sold at fairly assessed valuations, but with long extensions of credit to the buyers. It was believed that the program would create a strong rampart against Bolshevism.

In Czechoslovakia food conditions, which in May had been extremely bad, were measurably relieved by the importation of supplies from the Allies. Strikes, which had been fairly frequent, were in process of adjustment, and considerable progress was made along economic lines. A land reform law, which as yet amounted to scarcely more than a project, was being planned along lines similar to those adopted by Rumania. The Government of President Masaryk

seemed to be firmly established and the general tendency of the population was against Bolshevism.

In Jugoslavia, apart from the question of Fiume, the energies of the people were directed toward the organization of the heterogeneous State and the reconciliation of its diverse elements. The question of centralization or a wide extension of self-rule to the various provinces was the principal political issue. Some fear was expressed lest Serbia should become too dominant in the confederation. Croatia was the chief exponent of the individualistic idea. Political discussions, though earnest, were not acrid, and considerable progress was made in the organization of the new State on a stable basis.

KOREA

A wave of rebellion swept over Korea, which until recently was known as the "Hermit Kingdom," because of its aloofness from the world's life. Korea was the principal reason for which Japan went to war with Russia, the former claiming that the latter was threatening the independence of Korea and prejudicing Japan's interests in that peninsula. After that war, Japan exercised a protectorate over Korea that eventually resulted in a practical absorption of the Government. A nationalist movement sprang up with the slogan of "Korea for the Koreans," and there were serious riots in various parts of the country in which many hundreds were killed. A Korean delegate was appointed to present the nation's claim to the Peace Congress. It was declared that free speech and a free press were prohibited, and that Japan's rule was arbitrary and oppressive. This was denied by the latter.

Courts-martial were instituted on April 20 for the trial of Japanese officers who had exceeded their authority, and on May 15 the Privy Council of Japan decided upon a revision of the organic system of the Korean Government that would give a larger measure of selfrule to the people.

REVOLTS AGAINST BRITISH RULE Serious outbreaks occurred in various parts of Great Britain's far-flung pos

[ocr errors]

sessions. On March 14 an uprising took place in Egypt that soon spread over all sections of the country. A mob sacked and burned the stations at El-Rekkah and El-Wasta. On March 15 the express from Cairo was pillaged and several trains were robbed. All the railway stations in the Minufin district were destroyed. The next day the mob raided the police station at Miniet Camp and released prisoners. The military police were compelled to fire, and fifty-two natives were killed and sixty-nine wounded. A bank at Saff was burned and sacked by a mob. The disorders spread until they embraced all Egypt, and strong military forces were called out to restore order. By the exertions of General Watson and later General Allenby, who hurried to Egypt, the insurrection was finally suppressed.

Various reasons were assigned for the revolt. The Bedouin population, which participated actively, had long been disaffected. Unrest had increased because of the deportation to Malta of some Nationalist leaders who had been charged with coercion. The refusal by the Government to allow the sending of an Egyptian delegate to the Peace Conference provoked resentment. Bolshevism probably played some part in the revolt. But the Nationalist movement, led by Said Pasha Zagloul, Rouchdi Pasha, and Adly Pasha, appeared to have been the most prominent factor.

During the war German propaganda was busy in trying to provoke insurrection in India, and there were several slight disturbances that were quelled without much difficulty. After the signing of the armistice, however, the spirit of nationalism, that had been rife throughout the world, spread to India. In the second week in April there were disorders at Lahore, the capital of the Punjab; at Amritsar, the religious metropolis of the Sikha; at Ahmedabad, one of the principal towns of the province of Bombay, and in hundreds of villages. Before the arrival of troops at the principal centres of revolt over one hundred natives, including policemen, had been killed, while five Europeans lost their lives. Thousands of dollars' worth

.YdL 19.

of Government property was destroyed, and the damage done to railways alone amounted to $500,000. Punishment was meted out promptly to the leaders of the movement. Fourteen were sentenced to various terms, from transportation for life to a few weeks' imprisonment By the first of May the insurrection had been wholly subdued. The immediate occasion of the outbreak was the passage of legislation restricting activity of revolutionists and dealing severely with sedition.

Disorders in Ireland became acute in April, and martial law was proclaimed in Limerick, Cork, and Tipperary. With the exception of isolated cases, however, there was little bloodshed or serious rioting. Strikes were the principal vehicle through which the people expressed their discontent. Sinn Feinism was denounced in the House of Commons on April 3 by Sir James Ian MacPherson as an enemy of constitutionalism and progress. Bonar Law stated in Parliament on April 16 that home rule could not at present be applied to Ireland.

Considerable resentment was aroused in Great Britain by the visit to Paris of the three American delegates who were appointed to present a petition for Irish independence to the Peace Conference. The deputation had an extended conference with President Wilson. It was stated that they would receive a hearing also from Lloyd George, but the intense feeling stirred up by the tour and speeches of the delegates in Ireland led the Premier on May 12 to announce that he would not receive the deputation. In June the selected President of the Irish Republic organized by the Sein Fein, Professor Edward de Valera, visited the United States in an effort to raise funds for the prosecution of the movement. It was stated that on the return of Premier Lloyd George from Paris an earnest effort would be made to solve the Irish problem.

UNITED STATES

While public attention was intently fixed upon the proceedings of the Peace Conference, there was no diminution of American effort to turn into the channels of trade and commerce the energies

« ПретходнаНастави »