Слике страница

and cause of enmity between Japan and Russia had disappeared, and both nations had for some time been drawing together, feeling that the welfare of both demanded friendly co-operation in Chinese affairs. Another was the fact that Japan had long felt bitter resentment against Germany, and particularly against the Emperor. That was for three major reasons. One was, Germany's intervention twenty years before to prevent Japan from securing the advantages which she had fairly won in her war with China. Another was, the German Emperor's flamboyant efforts, years before, to arouse a European crusade against Japan in order to avert what he called the “Yellow Peril.” The third was, Germany's seizure of extensive Chinese territory and her occupation of various islands in the Asian seas, which Japan regarded as a menace to herself.

ITALY'S ANOMALOUS POSITION The position of Italy at the beginning of the war was strangely, anomalous. Indeed, her position as a member of the Triple Alliance had for years been anomalous; for she was thus leagued with the power, Austria, which had for generations been her cruel oppressor and despoiler, with which she had repeatedly been at war, and a was still holding several provinces which properly belonged to Italy—the "Italia Irredenta,” which it was Italy's national ambition, and the personal ambition of every Italian citizen, to redeem. In that incongruous alliance, Italy had been victimized for the benefit of the others, and especially of Germany. She had been compelled to spend more money than she could well afford for military preparations, and had been hampered in her own legitimate aspirations.

It was therefore with sentiments of relief and exultation that Italy saw in this war an opportunity to release herself from the hated bonds of the Triple Alliance, and to regain her provinces from her old-time foe. This door of opportunity was opened to her by Austria herself. That power had only a year before acted in a manner grossly inimical to Italian interests in the matter of the disposition of Albania at the end of the Balkan war; so that Italy would then, on that ground, have been justified in withdrawing from the Triple Alliance. But worse remained to be done. In all the controversy with Serbia, before and after the tragedy at Sarajevo, Austria ignored Italy, while she was in constant and most intimate conference with Germany; being guided and controlled by orders from Berlin. In thus conducting negotiations of the gravest character in international affairs, which might involve the Triple Alliance, without consulting or even informing Italy, Austria violated the spirit and intent of the Triple Alliance and gave Italy the fullest moral and legal release from her obligations under that instrument. Long before the actual declaration of war, the people of Italy were clamorous for it, and when at last it came they entered into the conflict with passionate eagerness.

PORTUGAL ENGLAND'S OLD ALLY The position of Portugal was interesting. In Europe she did not come into territorial contact with any of the belligerents, and her interests were little affected. But in Africa her colonies did come into contact with those of both Germany and Great Britain, and her interest in their fate was considerable. As an ally of either she could make herself an important factor in the war.

Of her choice of allies there was never a moment's doubt,

for the reason that she was and long had been an ally of Great Britain. For several centuries relations between those countries had been very close, and a treaty of alliance had existed between them. They approximated to the condition of "traditional friends” much more nearly than any other European powers. According to their treaty of alliance, each power was bound to assist the other in case of invasion, with men, arms and ammunition, and also to help to protect the other's colonies, with ships of war and troops. In assisting Great Britain in Africa, therefore, Portugal acted in accordance with her treaty pledges. Portugal did not declare war against Germany, but merely began to aid England in Africa. Thereupon, on March 10, 1916, Germany declared war against Portugal, and the latter power then extended her military operations to Europe.

ROUMANIA'S ENTRY The sympathies of the Roumanian people and their leaders were from the beginning with the allies, and there was much eagerness on the part of many to enter the war, in order that in the final victory Roumania might reclaim Transylvania, which was chiefly peopled by Roumanians but which was held by Hungary. Two things restrained the government, however, from taking such a step. One was the personal influence of the King and Queen, who were both Germans, the King being a member of the Hohenzollern family, related distantly to the German Emperor. King Charles died on October 10, 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the war, and was succeeded by his nephew, Ferdinand, a son of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The new Queen, Marie, was a princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The other restraining fact was the lack of arms. A year before the war Roumania had shipped most of her artillery to Germany, to be rebored and otherwise improved, and at the outbreak of the war it had not been returned to her. It was necessary, therefore, to wait until she could get another equipment, by way of Russia. At last, in August, 1916, Roumania declared war against Austria, and invaded Hungary. At once the Central Powers concentrated all possible forces against her, with the result that her troops were driven back, and half of her own territory was overrun by the enemy.


GREECE STILL NEUTRAL Greece remained technically neutral, though with both sides in the war occupying portions of her territory. The King was uncertain and hesitant in his policy, though, being a Dane, he was naturally inclined in favor of the allies. But the Queen was the stronger and more positive character of the two, and she was the sister of the German Emperor. She succeeded in preventing the government from joining the allies, though she was unable to get it to cast in it's lot with the Central Powers. The sentiment of the people was strongly in favor of the allies.

Eleutherios Venizelos, the foremost statesman of Greece and the most popular leader, openly rebelled against the attitude of the King and his subservient ministry, and established a rival ministry at Salonika, under the protection of the allies; to which the majority of the Greek people gave their allegiance.

All other European countries, to wit, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, remained and remain neutral, though all suffered much from the war. Their popular sympathy inclined toward the allies.



The Vast Burden of Militarism - Europe a "Weary Titan" — Size of the Various Armies on Peace Footing and on War Footing - The People Burdened Almost beyond Endurance - Origin of Prussian Militarism - The Model for All the Continent - France's Heroic Efforts to Keep the Pace - The Fortresses of Belgium - Brialmont's Work in Roumania - British Dependence Upon Sea Power — Lord Roberts' Warnings and Pleas Disregarded – All Nations Unprepared Except Germany.

THE GREAT powers of Europe in 1914 groaned under the burden of militarism. They were almost crushed by it, yet they could not cast it off, nor prevent its steady increase. They were like Arnold's “Weary Titan”

The Weary Titan, with deaf
Ears, and labor-dimmed eyes,
Regarding neither to right
Nor left, goes passively by,
Staggering on to her goal,
Bearing on shoulders immense,
Atlantean, the load
Well nigh not to be borne,
Of the too vast orb of her fate.

Year by year the competition between potential rivals compelled an increase of the burden; until some said there would soon have to be war, to bring relief from the load, while others declared that the armaments had become so colossal and so potentially destructive that no nation would dare to go to war. Indeed, the military situation in continental Europe was in 1914 almost beyond the

« ПретходнаНастави »