« ПретходнаНастави »
against this modification of a system which, with all its faults, had propped up and maintained an artificial predominance of German votes in the Chamber. Ultimately their resistance was overcome by the Emperor himself, who commanded them to accept the arrangements made for the introduction of universal suffrage. Though these arrangements comprised many restrictions upon the representation of the non-German races of Austria, they put the German representatives, Clerical, Liberal, and Socialist-definitely in a minority as compared with the Slav representatives, and recognised officially for the first time that Austria was a State preponderatingly Slav. Eminent judges of the position in Austria, who deplored the introduction of universal suffrage and foretold its failure as an expedient for the removal of racial strife from the Austrian Parliament, expressed at the time their settled conviction that the only path of safety for the Hapsburg Monarchy would in future lie in the direction of ‘Austro*Slavism': that is to say, in the gradual development of the Monarchy as a mainly Slav polity on some kind of federal basis.
This possibility was undoubtedly feared at Berlin. The first Austrian general election on the basis of universal suffrage was held in the spring of 1907. It revealed the growing strength of the Slav elements (Poles, Czechs, Ruthenes, Slovenes, Croats and Serbs) in the Empire, and the rapid diminution of the Liberal’ German elements upon whose support Berlin had in the past chiefly relied for the maintenance at once of the Dual System and of the Austro-German alliance. They—the German Liberals '-numbered barely 85 in a House of 516 members. The non-Liberal German element in Austria, that is to say the Clerical and Christian Social parties (who numbered 96) and the German Social Democrats, 50 in all, could not be considered unconditionally reliable. The Clericals, and especially the Christian Socialists, were held to be under the supreme direction of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. He was regarded as an opponent of the Dual System and as a partisan of some form of federalism under which the artificial preponderance of Germans and Magyars in the Monarchy would be irremediably broken. The Social Democrats tended at that moment to subordinate all racial issues to the exigencies of their economic and political programme. They were, besides, decidedly anti-Magyar. Consequently, the out-and-out supporters of Germanism and of Dualism in the Austrian Parliament were reduced by the operation of universal suffrage to a small minority-a state of things that could not fail to disquiet Berlin. The health of Francis Joseph seemed precarious. In the autumn of 1907 he fell seriously ill—the result of a chill caught during the visit of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia to Schönbrunn--and the prospect of the accession of Francis Ferdinand, with his federal ideas, was disturbing. A remedy had to be found. It was found in the following year.
The year 1908 was the Emperor Francis Joseph's year of diamond jubilee. The first of the series of important manifestations by which it was marked was the appearance, in May, at Schönbrunn of the German Emperor at the head of a bevy of German federal sovereigns who came to offer Francis Joseph their jubilee congratulations. The primary object of this manæuvre was to remind Francis Joseph that he too was a German Sovereign ; its second is understood to have been a suggestion that the most fitting celebration of his jubilee would be the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The diplomatic history of this period is still very obscure. It is not certain whether the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina was originally designed by Germany as a move to embroil Austria with Russia, nor to what extent the Foreign Minister, Aehrenthal, was privy or opposed to such an aspect of the design. At the beginning of 1908 he had certainly made, with the help of Germany, an anti-Russian move in the form of his scheme for an Austro-Hungarian railway through the Sanjak of Novi Bazar ; but by the beginning of June, soon after the German Emperor's jubilee visit, he was admittedly in negotiation with Russia in regard to the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and other matters. Possibly Aehrenthal's main purpose at the time was to detach Russia from England. From the outset of his career as Foreign Minister his attitude had been anti-English, and in the spring of 1907 he had invited Russia to join an anti-English combination of the Powers. When, in August 1908, King Edward paid, in his turn, a jubilee visit to Francis Joseph at Ischl, he found the Emperor decidedly disinclined to listen to any suggestions for limitation of naval armaments. The die was already cast, and though the annexation was only sanctioned formally by an Austrian cabinet council on the 18th of August, 1908, the mind of Austria was definitely made up to start upon the course which was to lead through the annexation crisis to the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and to the Austrian attack upon Serbia of July 1914.
Into these developments there entered an element which it is not necessary here to analyse. Between the original suggestion that Austria should annex Bosnia-Herzegovina and the actual annexation in October 1908, there occurred the Young Turkish revolution. There are indications that the outbreak of the revolution caused Germany to hesitate and almost to withdraw her support from the annexation scheme, lest it should jeopardise still further German influence at Constantinople. But Aehrenthal was headstrong and ambitious, Francis Joseph was eager to complete his title to the occupied provinces, and the AustroHungarian military party was impatient for action. Prince Bülow, the German Chancellor, made at first no secret of his displeasure at Aehrenthal's comparatively independent conduct, but is stated to have been brought into line by urgent representations from the old Eminence Grise of the Wilhelmstrasse, Herr von Holstein, who emerged from his retirement to adjure the Chancellor not to abandon Austria lest the whole Austro-German alliance, and with it the position of Germany in Europe, should be imperilled. Germany therefore came into line with Austria, but Prince Bülow took his revenge upon Aehrenthal on the 23rd of March, 1909, by presenting to Russia some form of ultimatum and securing her assent to the annexation without the direct Austrian intervention. Aehrenthal was thus deprived of the personal triumph he had hoped to win. His relations with Berlin were never again really friendly. He began to flirt with the British and French Ambassadors. Germany saw in him a dangerous and unsatisfactory collaborator. Her ambassador in Vienna, the late Herr von Tschirschky, therefore set about making Aehrenthal's life a burden to him, and finally hounded him into his grave at the beginning of 1912. With his death disappeared the only potential obstacle to a resumption of the policy which the annexation of BosniaYerzegovina had originally been intended by Germany to That policy was the overthrow or the absorption of Serbia as a preliminary to the opening of the German road to the East. When viewed in retrospect, the simplicity of German, or rather of Prussian, aims becomes striking. Having once secured for Austria the fatal gift of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and having shrewdly limited her title to an occupation, so that eventual annexation might always be held as a bait before her, Germany could be quite sure that Austria would never turn her attention again to Europe, at least so long as her internal affairs were controlled, under the Dual System, by the Germans in Austria and the Magyars in Hungary. This was long the somewhat negative aim of Prussian diplomacy in regard to Austria. But, with the growth of the Pan-German spirit and the strengthening of German influence in Turkey, Austria wandered, or was driven, more and more in the direction marked out by German ambitions—that of being a pioneer of Germanism in the Balkans. For this purpose it was essential that she should secure control or possession of Serbia. While King Milan lived, Austrian control of Serbia was almost unchallenged. Under his miserable son Alexander the position became less secure, and there is strong ground for believing that the decision to have him removed from the thronethough not necessarily assassinated—was taken in Vienna as soon as it was discovered, early in 1903, that he was coquetting with Russia. Certainly the plot that culminated in his assassination was hatched in Vienna with the knowledge and approval of the Austro-Hungarian authorities. One of M. de Kállay's most trusted lieutenants, Dr. Louis de Thálloczy (the Civil Governor' of occupied Serbia who was recently killed in a railway accident when returning from the funeral of the Emperor Francis Joseph), was deeply involved in it. Indeed the aggressive phase of Austro-Hungarian policy towards Serbia only dates from the summer of 1905, two years after the accession of King Peter, when Austria declared a'pig war ’upon Serbia as a punishment for Serbian impertinence in having dared to negotiate a Customs Union with Bulgaria. From the resistance of Serbia to Austro-Hungarian bullying dates the determination of Austria to crush Serbia. In this determination must be sought the source of all the intrigues and chicanery that marked the Southern Slav policy of Vienna between 1905–1914.
Two factors only operated against continuance upon a course which could but complete the enslavement of AustriaHungary. One was Article VII. of the Triple Alliance, by which Austria-Hungary and Italy guaranteed to each other compensation for any extension of territory either of them might obtain beyond the status quo. The other was the gradually growing power of the Slav elements in the Monarchy that threatened, as has been shown, to undermine the Dual System and gradually to prepare the way for some form of Federal Austro-Slavism.' Seeing that Austria was determined to grant to Italy no serious compensation in Europe for any ulterior extension of Hapsburg territory, a war with Italy was regarded by the Austrian military and 'forward' party as the necessary preliminary to the conquest or absorption of Serbia. This militant anti-Italian tendency was very marked between 1908 and the premature renewal of the Triple Alliance in September 1912. The names of Baron Conrad von Hoetzendorff, Chief of General Staff, and of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand were constantly associated with it. It was, to say the least, tolerated by Germany because it tended to keep both Austria and Italy dependent upon the goodwill and honest brokerage' of Berlin. The other factor—the growth of Slav influence—was thoroughly obnoxious to Berlin, to the Austrian Germans, and to the Magyars alike, for it represented the only tendency that could put the Hapsburgs on their feet again as independent sovereigns, enable them to withstand German pressure, and play a useful part in Europe and the Near East. As I have explained in a former article,* the late Archduke Francis Ferdinand coquetted from time to time with an ‘Austro
Slav' solution of the problem of the Monarchy. But as he approached it only from a Roman Catholic or, rather, clerical standpoint, he was incapable of comprehending its essential features.
An indispensable condition of the transformation of the Hapsburg Monarchy into an independent non-German polity would have been a pro-Hapsburg solution of the Southern Slav question. At the moment when the aspirations of the
* See A Programme for Peace,' EDINBURGH REVIEW, April 1916.