The first Balkan War—the war of the Allies against Turkey—ended in a way that surprised all the world. Everybody expected a victory for the Turks. That the Turks should one day be driven out of Europe was the universal assumption, but it was the equally fixed belief that the agents of their expulsion would be the Great Powers or some of the Great Powers. That the little independent States of the Balkans should themselves be equal to the task no one imagined,—no one with the possible exception of the government of Russia. And as Russia rejoiced over the victory of the Balkan States and the defeat of her secular Mohammedan neighbor, Austria-Hungary looked on not only with amazement but with disappointment and chagrin.
For the contemporaneous diplomacy of the Austro-Hungarian government was based on the assumption that the Balkan States would be vanquished by Turkey. And its standing policy had been on the one hand to keep the Kingdom of Servia small and weak (for the Dual Monarchy was itself an important Serb state) and on the other hand to broaden her Adriatic possessions and also to make her way through Novi Bazar and Macedonia to Saloniki and the Aegean, when the time came to secure this concession from the Sultan without provoking a European war. It seemed in 1908 as though the favorable moment had arrived to make a first move, and the Austro-Hungarian government put forward a project for connecting the Bosnian and Macedonian railway systems. But the only result was to bring to an end the co-operation which had for some years been maintained between the Austrian and Russian governments in the enforcement upon the Porte of the adoption of reforms in Macedonia.
And now the result of the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 was the practical expulsion of Turkey from Europe and the territorial aggrandizement of Servia and the sister state of Montenegro through the annexation of those very Turkish domains which lay between the Austro-Hungarian frontier and the Aegean. At every point Austro-Hungarian policies had met with reverses.
Only one success could possibly be attributed to the diplomacy of the Ballplatz. The exclusion of Servia from the Adriatic Sea and the establishment of the independent State of Albania was the achievement of Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. The new State has been a powder magazine from the beginning, and since the withdrawal of Prince William of Wied, the government, always powerless, has fallen into chaos. Intervention on the part of neighboring states is inevitable. And only last month the southern part of Albania—that is, Northern Epirus—was occupied by a Greek army for the purpose of ending the sanguinary anarchy which has hitherto prevailed. This action will be no surprise to the readers of this volume. The occupation, or rather re-occupation, is declared by the Greek Government to be provisional and it is apparently approved by all the Great Powers. Throughout