« ПретходнаНастави »
its great domain but three or four cities and their environs, and these closely besieged. They had waged war in a singularly up-to-date method. Ferdinand, King or Tsar of Bulgaria, was the first sovereign who ever accompanied his armies to war in an automobile, but in such a vehicle he did accompany his army throughout its campaign. A fleet of aeroplanes was also employed by the allies. Lessons in sanitation were learned from the Japanese in their marvelous war with Russia. And in brief, the supposedly rude and uncouth farmers and mountaineers exhibited a degree of efficiency in civilized warfare such as had not been surpassed by any European nation.
MORE MEDDLING Now, at the close of the war, the great powers played an ignoble part; as they had also done at its beginning. Let us consider their moral responsibilities and duties. It was because of their gross and incorrigible neglect to enforce their own decrees and to fulfill their own plain duty, that the war was provoked. That is the first indictment against them. The war was their fault. The second indictment is that when the war became imminent they made no serious efforts to avert it. They were morally bound by the treaty of The Hague to use all practicable efforts to preserve the peace, but they wholly neglected to do so and let the war come on without a single indictment against them. Then, when the war was ended, they repeated one of the capital blunders which they had made in 1878, by seeking to seize for themselves the prizes of others' victories. They objected especially to letting Serbia reap the rewards of her own labors and insisted that much of the territory which that gallant little power had won by conquest should be taken from her and put
under Austrian protection. It was the same old policy of using the Balkan States as tools to serve the selfish ends of the great powers. Of course Serbia and her allies could scarcely hope to maintain their rights against AustriaHungary and Germany and Italy united, and so they were forced reluctantly to yield and to be despoiled of much of the just fruits of their campaign. It was the old story of seeking to reap where other men had sown; and of ordering the affairs of the Balkans not in the interest of the Balkan peoples but for the sordid gain of outside powers.
Nevertheless, the great powers in self-interest could scarcely avoid doing some good work. When Turkey demurred to the proposals of the allies and threatened to break off negotiations and resume the war, the powers, fearful lest the conflict might extend to their own circle, exerted moral pressure upon the Porte with the result that at last, but most reluctantly, on January 22d, it yielded to the allies and consented even to the surrender of Adrianople and of the remaining islands of the Ægean Sea. That date may be regarded, therefore, as marking the assurance of peace, though it meant disaster to the Turkish Government, which the very next day was driven from office by an infuriated mob organized and led by the Young Turk Party. From the beginning of the war to the establishment of an armistice was only forty-seven days. From the signing of the armistice to the practical agreement on peace was just fifty days. In these ninetyseven days was undone the work of centuries. Four hundred and sixty years before the Turks had won all the Balkan peninsula save only Constantinople and its immediate suburbs. Now the conditions were exactly reversed, and Constantinople and its suburbs were all that was left to the once mighty and conquering tribe of Othman.
The evil meddling of the great powers, however, led to a breaking up of the Balkan League and to war among its members who had lately been loyal allies; particularly between Bulgaria and Serbia; while Austria's interference with Serbia, as already related, provided provocation to the still greater war which speedily followed.
STORY OF THE CENTRAL POWERS
Twenty Centuries of German Ambition - Wars with Rome - The Germanic Invasion of Gaul — Charlemagne's Conquest and Empire — The First German Emperor Nearly a Thousand Years Ago — The Teutonic Order - The Rise of Prussia – The Napoleonic Wars — Prussian Militarism — The Creation of the Present German Empire – The Hohenzollern Dynasty — A Fortunate Marriage - The Electors - Frederick the Great - William I and William II - Twenty Sovereigns — The Polyglot Realm of Austria-Hungary - The German Hapsburgs and Their Slavic Subjects - Fortunes and Misfortunes of the House of Austria.
THE STORY of the Central Powers, the two Teutonic empires, dates back two thousand years and more. It was in the year 113 B. C. that Teutonic tribes first clashed with imperial Rome. They met in battle at Noreia, in Illyria, now the southern part of the Austrian Empire, and the Teutons and their Cymric allies were victorious over the Roman legions. It is interesting to recall the alliance of the Teutons and Cymri, because the latter were of the same stock as the ancient Britons. Eleven years later Marius avenged this defeat of the Roman arms by vanquishing the Teutons, after which there was peace for many years. Julius Caesar came into comparatively slight contact with the Teutonic or German tribes, with whom, however, he reported that the Belgians, who were the bravest of all the Gauls, were in almost incessant conflict.
Drusus Germanicus, in 12 B. C., was the first to engage in a general war between the Latin and Teutonic worlds. He invaded Germany in force and conquered the tribes between the Elbe and the Rhine, built a fort near the present site of Liege, and was the first Roman to reach the shore of the North Sea, or German Ocean. His brilliant conquests, however, were not lasting, and they were followed a few years later by a campaign of disaster.
THE LOST LEGIONS OF VARUS It was in 9 A. D. that the next great Roman expedition invaded Germany, under the lead of Varus. It penetrated as far as the Teutoberger Wald, the German Mountain Forest, near Osnabrueck, where it was met by a German army under Hermann, whom the Romans called Arminius. The result was that the three legions of Varus, the very flower of the Roman army, were annihilated; and Caesar Augustus groveled in pain upon the floor of his Roman palace, crying in anguish, “Varus! Give me back my legions!”
It was too late. The legions were gone, and what was still more ominous, the German fighting spirit was aroused. A little more than two centuries later, in 238, various Frankish tribes invaded Gaul, scorning the waning power of the empire whose borders the Goths and Vandals were ravaging, and in 450 the Germanic tribes began their wholesale irruption into Gaul. More than three centuries later Charlemagne subdued the Saxons and other German peoples, and on Christmas day in the year 800 was crowned by the Pope as Emperor of the West, that is, of Germany and Gaul. That potent monarch then, in 802, designed the two-headed eagle as his emblem, in token of his sovereignty over the dual empire of Rome and of Germany. That was the origin of the two-headed eagle which is now displayed in the imperial escutcheon of Austria, whose sovereigns were the last titular successors of Charlemagne; while the German coat-of-arms bears the single-headed black eagle of Prussia.