The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.

This conduct of the Allies toward one another while the common enemy was still in the field boded ill for their future relations.  “Our next war will be with Bulgaria,” said the man on the street in Athens, and this bellicose sentiment was reciprocated alike by the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian army.  The secular mutual enmities and animosities of the Greeks and Bulgarians, which self-interest had suppressed long enough to enable the Balkan Allies to make European Turkey their own, burst forth with redoubled violence under the stimulus of the imperious demand which the occasion now made upon them all for an equitable distribution of the conquered territory.  For ages the fatal vice of the Balkan nations has been the immoderate and intolerant assertion by each of its own claims coupled with contemptuous disregard of the rights of others.


There were also external causes which contributed to the deepening tragedy in the Balkans.  Undoubtedly the most potent was the dislocation of the plans of the Allies by the creation of an independent Albania.  This new kingdom was called into being by the voice of the European concert at the demand of Austria-Hungary supported by Italy.

The controlling force in politics, though not the only force, is self-interest.  Austria-Hungary had long sought an outlet through Macedonia to the Aegean by way of Saloniki.  It was also the aim of Servia to reach the Adriatic.  But the foreign policy of Austria-Hungary, which has millions of Serbs under its dominion, has steadily opposed the aggrandizement of Servia.  And now that Servia and her allies had taken possession of Macedonia and blocked the path of Austria-Hungary to Saloniki, it was not merely revenge, it was self-interest pursuing a consistent foreign policy, which moved the Dual Monarchy to make the cardinal feature of its Balkan programme the exclusion of Servia from access to the Adriatic Sea.  Before the first Balkan war began the Adriatic littoral was under the dominion of Austria-Hungary and Italy, for though Montenegro and European Turkey were their maritime neighbors neither of them had any naval strength.  Naturally these two dominant powers desired that after the close of the Balkan war they should not be in a worse position in the Adriatic than heretofore.  But if Servia were allowed to expand westward to the Adriatic, their supremacy might in the future be challenged.  For Servia might enter into special relations with her great sister Slav state, Russia, or a confederation might be formed embracing all the Balkan states between the Black Sea and the Adriatic:  and, in either event, Austria-Hungary and Italy would no longer enjoy the unchallenged supremacy on the Adriatic coasts which was theirs so long as Turkey held dominion over the maritime country lying between Greece and Montenegro.  As a necessity of practical politics, therefore, there

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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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