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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.
been concluded between Servia and Bulgaria which determined their respective military obligations in case of war and the partition between them, in the event of victory, of the conquered Turkish provinces in Europe.  A similar offensive and defensive alliance between Greece and Turkey was under consideration, but before the plan was matured Bulgaria and Servia had decided to declare war against Turkey.  This decision had been hastened by the Turkish massacres at Kochana and Berane, which aroused the deepest indignation, especially in Bulgaria.  Servia and Bulgaria informed Greece that in three days they would mobilize their forces for the purpose of imposing reforms on Turkey, and, if within a specified time they did not receive a satisfactory reply, they would invade the Ottoman territory and declare war.  They invited Greece on this short notice to co-operate with them by a simultaneous mobilization.  It was a critical moment not only for the little kingdom of King George, but for that great cause of Hellenism which for thousands of years had animated, and which still animated, the souls of the Greek population in all Aegean lands.

GREECE AND THE LEAGUE

King George himself was a ruler of large experience, of great practical wisdom, and of fine diplomatic skill.  He had shortly before selected as prime minister the former Cretan insurgent, Mr. Eleutherios Venizelos.  It is significant that the new premier had also taken the War portfolio.  He foresaw the impending conflict—­as every wise statesman in Europe had foreseen it—­and began to make preparations for it.  For the reorganization of the army and navy he secured French and English experts, the former headed by General Eydoux, the latter by Admiral Tufnel.  By 1914 it was estimated that the military and naval forces of the country would be thoroughly trained and equipped, and war was not expected before that date.  But now in 1912 the hand of the Greek government was forced.  And a decision one way or the other was inevitable.

Mr. Venizelos had already proved himself an agitator, an orator, and a politician.  He was now to reveal himself not only to Greece but to Europe as a wise statesman and an effective leader of his people.  The first test came in his answer to the invitation to join Bulgaria and Servia within three days in a war against Turkey.  Of all possibilities open to him Mr. Venizelos rejected the programme of continued isolation for Greece.  There were those who glorified it as splendid and majestic:  to him under the existing circumstances it seemed stupid in itself and certain to prove disastrous in its results.  Greece alone would never have been able to wage a war against Turkey.  And if Greece declined to participate in the inevitable conflict, which the action of the two Slav states had only hastened, then whether they won or Turkey won, Greece was bound to lose.  It was improbable that the Ottoman power should come

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