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Woodrow Wilson's style is marked by vivacity and incisiveness, and at times possesses considerable literary charm. Mr. Wilson is an independent thinker, of remarkable breadth of vision, and his discussions of political and historical questions are always clear and convincing. He makes few false motions, uses no superfluous words, but like a master workman makes all his strokes tell. Another noteworthy quality of Woodrow Wilson, the writer, is the measured judgment and calm detachment with which he treats of subjects which ordinarily rouse men's passion to the boiling point. An early example of this characteristic is his essay on “Mr. Cleveland as President” written before the end of Mr. Cleveland's second term. His war addresses are marked by the same cool judgment, the same clear independent thinking, the same range of vision, and the same incisive style which are characteristic of his earlier literary productions. One is never at a loss for his meaning: his words ring like steel on flint; his judgment is never swayed by passion.
HOW THE GREAT WAR BEGAN
Underlying Causes. The murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, on June 28, 1914, set in motion a train of events which culminated in the terrible catastrophe of a great world war. It was clear, however, to everyone familiar with history that this crime was not the real cause of the tremendous struggle which many of the statesmen of Europe had expected and feared for years. The underlying causes of this great world war reach far back into the past and cannot easily be reduced to simple statements. A thorough knowledge of the important political and economic forces which have shaped the history of Europe for a
century past would be needed for a full appreciation of these causes. Of all this network of clashing interests and antagonisms, there are three causes which seem to have contributed most largely toward bringing about the war. These are (1) the clashing of national interests and ideals in Europe; (2) the maintenance of a system of secret military alliances; and (3) the economic rivalry of the nations of Europe.
National Antagonisms. The history of Europe since the downfall of Napoleon has centered around two movements: the growth of democracy and the realization of national ideals. Here we must distinguish clearly between the ambitions of RULERS in Europe and the national ideals and desires of the various groups of PEOPLE having a common language and tradition. Italy achieved independence and unity between 1859 and 1870; German unity was accomplished between 1864 and 1871. The success of these two nationalist movements aroused other nationalities likewise to aspire to national unity and greatness. But there remained at the close of the nineteenth century a number of situations which clearly violated the principle of national sovereignty. The completion of German unity in 1871 had been accomplished by the forcible annexation of Alsace and Lorraine, two provinces inhabited largely by persons of French blood and language. This was an ever-present challenge to the French to attempt to regain these lost provinces. The Italians had a grievance against Austria because certain strips of territory inhabited by Italians remained in Austrian hands. Poland since the eighteenth century had been divided between Prussia, Russia, and Austria Austria-Hungary herself presented the nationalist problem in its most acute form. The Hapsburg dynasty, with its capital at Vienna, rules over a great number of countries and
provinces inhabited by many races speaking not less than ten distinct languages. One of its greatest difficulties has been to reconcile the interests of the German population of Austria proper with those of the Hungarians on the one hand and of the various Slavic peoples — Bohemians, Poles, Croats, Serbs, etc. — on the other. In 1867 the Empire was divided into two practically independent countries: Austria, dominated by the German element, and Hungary, where the Hungarians are the rulers. This arrangement has been bitterly resented by the Slavs in the Empire because it has kept them in an inferior political position. The Austrian authorities, realizing that the triumph of nationalism would mean the disappearance of the Empire and its parceling out among the surrounding nations, have been fearful of all nationalist movements, — especially that of the southern Slavs.
One of these groups, the Serbs, has been particularly active. Part of the Serbs lived in the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, since 1908, have been a part of Austria. Others lived in the kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro, still others in Turkey in Europe. The ambition of the Pan-Serbian movement was to unite all these people of the Serbian race under one government-Greater Serbia. This Pan-Serbian movement was closely identified with the assassination of the Crown Prince of Austria. The fear of Austria that the movement might succeed was an important motive in causing her to declare war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.
Military Alliances. Bismarck, whose policy of “blood and iron” had brought about the German Empire, believed in a system of firm alliances as a guiding principle of statesmanship. In an effort to isolate France, he strove to unite Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary in a defensive alliance (1872). Russia withdrew from this alliance in
1878 because of differences with Austria-Hungary. Later (1882) Italy joined with the Central Powers to form the Triple Alliance. This organization of the states of Central Europe into a strong military alliance was an invitation to the other states of Europe to create an opposing alliance in order to maintain the balance of power. France and Russia, drawn together by common distrust of Germany, formed a Dual Alliance in 1891. Later, in 1904, Great Britain, aroused by the threatening naval policy of Germany, abandoned her policy of isolation and made an agreement with France, and later another with Russia, thus forming what is generally known as the Triple Entente. The existence of these two rival military groups created a situation whereby every political or diplomatic disturbance brought on a crisis.
The first of these crises came in 1905 in a dispute over Morocco. Germany, after the downfall of Bismarck in 1891, had abandoned his policy of opposition to colonial expansion and was looking about for such stray bits of undeveloped land as had not already been appropriated by France and Great Britain. Germany had to choose between two courses. Either she must accept the results of her late entrance into the field as a colonial power, or she must challenge the longer-established world powers and try to create for herself a "place in the sun.” She chose the latter course. On March 21, 1905, the German Emperor, while on a voyage to Constantinople, stopped at Tangier and encouraged the Sultan of Morocco to reject the scheme for reform which had been proposed by France. Russia was in the midst of the political upheaval which accompanied the Russo-Japanese War and in no shape to aid France. So France was forced to submit to Germany's terms with reference to Morocco. A second Moroccan crisis occurred in 1911. France made disorders in
Morocco an occasion for penetrating into the interior, and Germany sent a gunboat to Agadir in Morocco as if with hostile intent. Matters came very close to war, but were settled by a considerable cession of Congo territory by France to Germany.
Another phase of Germany's policy of expansion was the Drang nach Osten. This policy contemplated the creation, in conjunction with Austria-Hungary, of a great economic sphere of influence extending through the Balkans to Constantinople and thence through Turkey to the Persian Gulf. So the German Emperor cultivated the friendship of the Sultan of Turkey; German officers trained the Turkish forces; German engineers and German capitalists began to develop Turkish resources. The whole scheme was crystallized into a plan for a Berlin-to-Bagdad railroad, which was in process of construction when war broke out in 1914. Following the revolution of 1908 in Turkey, Austria-Hungary, in furthering 'this eastward expansion, took the opportunity to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina. Russia protested against this violation of the Treaty of Berlin (1878); but Germany stood by her ally, and Russia, unready for war, was compelled to submit.
For the neighboring state of Serbia this annexation was a serious blow. The annexed provinces were peopled with Slavs, and the Serbians had cherished the ambition of uniting with them and Montenegro in a new Slavonic state, Greater Serbia. Moreover, Serbia was now apparently shut off from the sea for all time to come, and so would be dependent for a market for her farm produce on Austria-Hungary. This would keep Serbia a weak and somewhat dependent state, which was what Austria
1 Drang nach Osten, a German phrase meaning “push toward the