Слике страница
PDF
ePub

this conversation between the German and Italian diplomats has come to us through Mr. Lewis Einstein, who was an attaché of the American embassy in Constantinople in 1915. He says that this account was given to him by Marquis Garroni himself, and that the incident herein described had been publicly referred to in Italy by Signor Barzilai.

But the most damaging evidence of all is that given by Mr. Morgenthau, former American ambassador at Constantinople. It seems that Ambassador Wangenheim was

on familiar terms with Mr. Morgenthau, and was inclined at times to give a freer rein to his tongue than comported with ambassadorial discretion. Baron Wangenheim had left “for Berlin soon after the assassination of the Grand Duke" and Mr. Morgenthau afterwards learned from him the cause of his absence. The following is in part an account in our ambassador's own words of which the German baron said in unguarded conversations:

“The Kaiser, he told me, had summoned him to Berlin for an Imperial conference. This meeting took place at Postdam on July 5th. The Kaiser presided; nearly all the ambassadors attended. . . . Moltke, then Chief of Staff, was there, representing the army, and Admiral von Tirpitz spoke for the navy. The great bankers, railroad directors, and the cap

tains of German industry, all of whom were as necessary to German war preparations as the army itself, also attended.

“Wangenheim now told me that the Kaiser solemnly put the question to each man in turn. Was he ready for war! All replied 'Yes' except the financiers. They said that they must have two weeks to sell their foreign securities and to make loans. At that time few people had looked upon the Sarajevo tragedy as something that was likely to cause war.

This conference took all precautions that no such suspicion should be aroused. It decided to give the bankers time to readjust their finances for the coming war, and then the several members went quietly back to their work or started on vacations. The Kaiser went to Norway on his yacht, Von Bethmann-Hollweg left for a rest, and Wangenheim returned to Constantinople.

“In telling me about this conference, Wangenheim, of course, admitted that Germany had precipitated the war.

"This Imperial Conference took place July 5th; the Serbian ultimatum was sent on July 22nd. That is just about the two weeks' interval which the financiers had demanded to complete their plans. All the great stock exchanges of the world show that the German bankers profitably used this interval. Their records disclose that stocks were being sold

in large quantities and that prices declined rapidly. At that time the markets were somewhat puzzled at this movement; Wangenheim's explanation clears up any doubts that may still remain. Germany was changing her securities into cash, for war purposes. 11

Even though it disclaimed responsibility for the contents of the note, yet the German foreign office supported Austria-Hungary in the stand that she had taken. Austria could not, it contended, draw back, now that “she had launched that note." 12 Bes

Besides, according to the German ambassador at Paris, Germany “approved the point of view of Austria,” and now that the bolt was shot, "could only allow herself to be guided by her duties as an ally." 13 “Unless the Austro-Hungarian Government,' said the German chancellor officially, on July 23, “wishes definitely to give up all claim to its position as a great power, there is nothing for it to do but back up its demands on the Serbian Government by strong pressure and, if necessary, by recourse to military measures, in which case the choice of means must be left to it. . . . Considering the conditions, the acts as well as the demands of the Austro-Hungarian

11 Literary Digest for September 1, 1917, pp. 18–19; May 4, 1918, p. 23; World's Work for June, 1918, pp. 170–171; Inter. Conciliation, No. 127, 323, 364.

12 B. W. P., 25. 13 R. O. B., 19,

Government cannot but be looked upon as justi-. fied." These statements taken in connection with the other evidence given leave no room for doubt as to Germany's responsibility for Austria's ultimatum to Serbia.14

The Serbian prime minister considered that the “claims of Austria-Hungary were such that the government of no independent country could accept them entirely." He hoped, therefore, that England would induce Austria to moderate her demands.15 Serbia objected to the note not only on account of the unreasonableness of its demands, but also because of the shortness of the time limit. The Crown Prince Alexander, in a telegram to the Czar, on July 24, declared that some of these demands could not be met without changes in legislation, which would require some time. He also asked if Russia would not come to the aid of his country, as the latter might be attacked by Austria as soon as the time limit expired.18 Russian help had also been solicited on the very day that the Austrian note was presented. Dr. Patchou, Serbian Minister for Foreign Affairs ad interim, had on that day asked the help of Russia, stating at the same time to the Russian chargé d'affaires at Belgrade that "no Serbian Government will [would] be able to accept the demands of Austria." 17

14 B. W. P., annex 1. 15 S. B. B., 35.

16 S. B. B., 37; R. O. B., 6. 17 R. O. B., 1.

Great Britain and Russia also thought that the terms laid down by Austria-Hungary were unreasonable. Sir Edward Grey said on July 24 that Austria had demanded more than he had ever known one state to ask of another independent state.18 Russia took a decided stand in opposition to the demands of the ultimatum to Serbia. M. Sazonof, her foreign minister, considered that Austria had decided to make war on Serbia and was using her alleged grievances as a pretext. He expressed himself to this effect to the Austrian ambassador at St. Petersburg, and declared that Serbia would no longer be mistress of her own house if she submitted to the proposed coöperation “of Imperial and Royal [Austro-Hungarian] officials in the suppression of the revolutionary movements.” 19

Russia also suggested that the Entente powers unite against the stand that Austria-Hungary had taken against Serbia. On the day (July 24) that the Austrian note was received at St. Petersburg, the Russian minister for foreign affairs had a conference with the British and French ambassadors. At this meeting he stated that Austria-Hungary would never have made such unreasonable demands on Serbia if Germany had not been consulted. He wanted Great Britain and France to declare their will

18 B. W. P.,

5.

19 A. R. B., 14.

« ПретходнаНастави »