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centuries ago; and that the Dorians sought thirty centuries back, when they supplanted the Pelasgi in the Pelopon
It was the sea that the Assyrians sought when they overran Syria, and that the Babylonians sought when they conquered Judea and Egypt. It was the sea that Darius and his Persians sought when they invaded Thrace and oppressed the Greek colonies of Asia Minor.
When at last the powers fronting on the Great Sea were supreme over all others, the strife to reach the sea was ended for a time, and was transformed into a struggle for the sea's control. But later, when again great inland powers arose, the old quest was renewed. The so-called “Will of Peter the Great” is notoriously a sheer invention, sprung upon the world by Napoleon Bonaparte for the furtherance of his own purposes. But it is quite true in its expression of the unresting efforts of the great Slav power to gain an outlet upon an unfrozen sea.
“A WINDOW LOOKING UPON EUROPE" Peter secured at the capital to which he gave his name what he described as “a window looking upon Europe”; but it was a window too much barred with frost, and the same is to be said of all the Russian conquests along the Baltic. The great Catherine gained a frontage on the Euxine, but the “narrowing Symplegades” were still between her and the high seas of the world. A march was made across Siberia to the Pacific, to get only an ice-locked harbor and to find Japan blocking the way to warmer waters. Longing eyes have been cast toward the North Atlantic, but miles of Sweden and Norway intervene. An essay has been made toward the Persian Gulf, but there Great Britain is in the way. Russian history for two hundred years has been a story of efforts to reach the open sea.
OUR OWN SEA-SEEKING Nor has Russia been singular in that quest. Four times has our own country been party to it. Once was when we were ready to fight France and the world for an outlet down the Mississippi, and a second essay was at the same time, when pioneers were sent over the mountains to win a title to the Pacific Coast. The third time was in the days of “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" with two nations contending for Oregon and its ocean frontage; and the fourth was when Canada vainly sought to break through our Alaskan Panhandle for a short cut from the Klondike to the sea.
AUSTRIA AND THE ADRIATIC Still more to the present purpose, Austria-Hungary has long been seeking the sea, or more of the sea. There have been many ill-advised jests directed at Shakespeare for speaking of the sea-coast of Bohemia, showing chiefly the ignorance of those who make them; for the fact is, of course, that prior to Shakespeare's time, as that poet doubtless knew, Bohemia was a maritime power, with an extensive and important frontage upon the sea-much of the very same coast which Austria possessed after she had acquired Bohemia, and some of which she still possesses. It was largely for the frontage on the sea that Austria so prized and clung to Venetia, and it is for the same cause that she now chiefly values Kustenland.
But that Istrian frontage is insufficient and unsatisfactory. It contains only the one port of Trieste and the one watering place of Abbazia, while Croatia, adjoining, gives to Hungary only the one port of Fiume. No wonder that it was determined, at all hazards and at the sacrifice of plighted faith, to seize the Serb provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to secure an ample hinterland for the tenuous Dalmatian littoral, and thus to give the Dual Realm an effective sea-coast of more than three hundred miles. No wonder, either, that it was similarly determined to set up the puppet state of Albania, to be a practical appanage of Austria and to give that power some hundreds of miles more of coast, almost continuous from Dalmatia southward, to and beyond the Strait of Otranto, with a frontage not merely on the Adriatic, but also on the open Ionian Sea.
LOOKING TOWARD SALONICA There was another and perhaps a still stronger purpose in the rape of the Serb provinces. That was to push toward another sea, the Ægean, by way of Novi Bazar, the Vardar Valley and Salonica. That had been Austria's ambition for many years. More than once she had practically offered to support Russia in seizing Constantinople if Russia would support her in seizing Salonica. She had sought to secure sanction for such expansion at the Berlin Congress of 1878, and though she then failed her whole Eastern policy thereafter had been directed to that end. To that end she had alternately cajoled and bullied Serbia, striving to make and keep that country dependent
And the most maddening blow that Austria had received since the loss of Venetia was that inflicted by Serbia in the Balkan War of 1912, in annexing Novi Bazar and Kossovo and forming a political union with Montenegro, thus throwing a complete barrier across Austria's path to the Ægean. That barrier could not
be turned, and there is reason to believe that Austria in desperation resolved to break it down through the device of picking a quarrel with Serbia and waging a war of conquest.
SERBIA AND THE SEA
Serbia, too, had a desire for the sea. For centuries she had been shut up inland. Even when her independence was restored she remained occluded from the sea, and dependent upon Austria-Hungary for a route of communication with the rest of Europe. Naturally she desired her old sea frontage, of Dalmatia and Albania. The Austrian seizure of Bosnia and Herzegovina destroyed for a time her hope of an outlet in that direction. But she did expect as the fruit of her heroism in the war with Turkey to be permitted to take Scutari. When that was denied her, through Austrian opposition, her resentment against that power was greatly increased and confirmed.
More than that. She had at any rate taken Novi Bazar and thus made herself directly contiguous with Montenegro, a state as purely Serb as Serbia herself. The next step was logical and formidable. It was to make a compact with Montenegro for the organic union of the two nations. That was done just before the beginning of the World War. It was agreed that so long as Nicholas of Montenegro lived, he should remain an independent sovereign. But upon his death, his son should not succeed him but should abdicate in favor of the King of Serbia. Then the two kingdoms would become one.
AUSTRIAN DESPERATION Now this Serbo-Montenegrin compact, which was for a time kept secret, became known at Vienna only a little while before the fatal visit of the Austrian heir-presumptive to Sarajevo. As might be supposed, it created a profound sensation and aroused both consternation and wrath. It was recognized as placing, if it were permitted to stand, the final seal of doom upon Austria's ambitions in that direction. Then it was determined, by hook or by crook, to have that compact broken. There seemed to be only one way in which to do this. That was to pick on some pretext a quarrel with Serbia, to wage war against that country, and to compel it to recede from the ground which it had thus taken. The pretext which was thus created proved to be much more tragic than had been intended, but, of course, it was not for that reason abandoned. So it came to pass that Austria practically demanded as an alternative to war that Serbia should abdicate her independent sovereignty and make herself an administrative appanage to Austria. All other demands than that Serbia was willing to grant, for the sake of peace. Her knowledge of her own government's integrity and blamelessness for the Sarajevo crime emboldened her to court all possible inquiry. But she could not and would not assent to having Austrian inquisitors usurp the places of Serbian judges and manufacture at Belgrade the spurious evidence which had been trumped up the year before at Agram. So she refused that one demand, and at that Austria, having anticipated such refusal, declared war.