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Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.
out of the contest victorious; but, if the unexpected happened, what would be the position, not only of the millions of Greeks in the Turkish Empire, but of the little kingdom of Greece itself on whose northern boundary the insolent Moslem oppressor, flushed with his triumph over Bulgaria, Servia, and Montenegro, would be immovably entrenched?  On the other hand if these Christian states themselves should succeed, as seemed likely, in destroying the Ottoman Empire in Europe, the Kingdom of Greece, if she now remained a passive spectator of their struggles, would find in the end that Macedonia had come into the possession of the victorious Slavs, and the Great Idea of the Greeks—­the idea of expansion into Hellenic lands eastward toward Constantinople—­exploded as an empty bubble.  It was Mr. Venizelos’s conclusion that Greece could not avoid participating in the struggle.  Neutrality would have entailed the complete bankruptcy of Hellenism in the Orient.  There remained only the alternative of co-operation—­co-operation with Turkey or co-operation with the Christian states of the Balkans.

GREEK AND BULGARIAN ANTIPATHIES

How near Greece was to an alliance with Turkey the world may never know.  At the nothing of the sort was even suspected.  It was not until Turkey had been overpowered by the forces of the four Christian states and the attitude of Bulgaria toward the other three on the question of the division of the conquered territories had become irreconcilable and menacing that Mr. Venizelos felt it proper to communicate to the Greek people the history of the negotiations by which the Greek government had bound their country to a partner now felt to be so unreasonable and greedy.  Feeling in Greece was running high against Bulgaria.  The attacks on Mr. Venizelos’s government were numerous and bitter.  He was getting little or no credit for the victory that had been won against Turkey, while his opponents denounced him for sacrificing the fruits of that victory to Bulgaria.  The Greek nation especially resented the occupation by Bulgarian troops of the Aegean coast lands with their large Hellenic population which lay between the Struma and the Mesta including the cities of Seres and Drama and especially Kavala with its fine harbor and its hinterland famed for crops of choice tobacco.

It was on the fourth of July, 1913, a few days after the outbreak of the war between Bulgaria and her late allies, that Mr. Venizelos made his defence in an eloquent and powerful speech at a special session of the Greek parliament.  The accusation against him was not only that during the late war he had sacrificed Greek interests to Bulgaria but that he had committed a fatal blunder in joining her in the campaign against Turkey.  His reply was that since Greece could not stand alone he had to seek allies in the Balkans, and that it was not his fault if the choice had fallen on Bulgaria.  He had endeavored to maintain peace with Turkey.  Listen to his own words: 

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