This, I think, is Russia’s fundamental end, without which no peace is worth having, as the liberation of Belgium and the satisfaction of France is the fundamental end of Great Britain, and Trieste-Fiume is the fundamental end of Italy.
But for all the lands that lie between Constantinople and West Prussia there are no absolutely fundamental ends; that is the land of quid pro quo; that is where the dealing will be done. Serbia must be restored and the Croats liberated; sooner or later the south Slav state will insist upon itself; but, except for that, I see no impossibility in the German dream of three kingdoms to take the place of Austro-Hungary, nor even in a southward extension of the Hohenzollern Empire to embrace the German one of the three. If the Austrians have a passion for Prussian “kultur,” it is not for us to restrain it. Austrian, Saxon, Bavarian, Hanoverian and Prussian must adjust their own differences. Hungary would be naturally Habsburg; is, in fact, now essentially Habsburg, more Habsburg than Austria, and essentially anti-Slav. Her gravitation to the Central Powers seems inevitable.
Whether the Polish-Czech combination would be a Habsburg kingdom at all is another matter. Only if, after all, the Allies are far less successful than they have now every reason to hope would that become possible.
The gravitation of that west Slav state to the Central European system or to Russia will, I think, be the only real measure of ultimate success or failure in this war. I think it narrows down to that so far as Europe is concerned. Most of the other things are inevitable. Such, it seems to me, is the most open possibility in the European map in the years immediately before us.
If by dying I could assure the end of the Hohenzollern Empire to-morrow I would gladly do it. But I have, as a balancing prophet, to face the high probability of its outliving me for some generations. It is to me a deplorable probability. Far rather would I anticipate Germany quit of her eagles and Hohenzollerns, and ready to take her place as the leading Power of the United States of Europe.