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How The Balkans Decided

( Originally Published 1918 )



FOR more than half a century the Balkans have presented a problem which has disturbed the minds of the statesmen of Europe. Again and again, during that period, it has seemed that in the Balkan mountains might be kindled a blaze which might set the world afire. Balkan politics is a labyrinth in which one might easily be lost. The inhabitants of the Balkans represent many races, each with its own ambition, and, for the most part, military. There were Serbs, and Bulgarians, and Turks, and Roumanians, and Greeks, and their territorial divisions did not correspond to their nationalities. The land was largely mountainous, with great gaps that make it, in a sense, the highway of the world. From 1466 to 1879 the Balkans was in the dominion of the Turks. In the early days while the Turks were warring against Hungary, their armies marched through the Balkan hills. The natives kept apart, and preserved their language, religion and customs.

In the nineteenth century, as the Turks grew weaker, their subject people began to seek independence. Greece came first, and, in 1829, aided by France, Russia and Great Britain, she became an independent kingdom. Serbia revolted in 1804, and by 1820 was an autonomous state, though still tributary to Turkey. In 1859, Roumania became autonomous. The rising of Bulgaria in 1876, however, was really the beginning of the succession of events which ultimately led to the World War of 1914-18. The Bulgarian insurrection was crushed by the Turks in such a way as to stir the indignation of the whole world. What are known as the "Bulgarian Atrocities seem mild today, but they led to the Russo-Turkish War in 1877.

The treaty of Berlin, by which that war was settled in 1878, was one of those treaties which could only lead to trouble. It deprived Russia of much of the benefit of her victory, and left nearly every racial question unsettled. Roumania lost Bessarabia, which was, mainly inhabited by Roumanians. Bosnia and Herzegovina were handed over to the administration of Austria. Turkey was allowed to retain Macedonia, Albania and Thrace. Serbia was given Nish, but had no outlet to the sea. Greece obtained Thessaly, and a new province was made of the country south of the Balkans called Eastern Rumelia. From that time on, quarrel after quarrel made up the history of the Balkan peoples, each of whom sought the assistance and support of some one of the great powers. Russia and Austria were constantly intriguing with the new states, in the hope of extending their own domains in the direction of Constantinople.

The history of Bulgaria shows that that nation has been continually the center of these intrigues. In 1879 they elected as their sovereign Prince Alexander of Battenburg, whose career might almost be called romantic. A splendid soldier and an accomplished gentle-man, he stands out as an interesting figure in the sordid politics of the Balkans. He identified himself with his new country. In 1885 he brought about a union with Eastern Rumelia, which led to a disagreement with Russia.

Serbia, doubtless at Russian instigation, suddenly declared war, but was overwhelmed by Prince Alexander in short order. Russia then abducted Prince Alexander, but later was forced to restore him. However, Russian intrigues, and his failure to obtain support from one of the great powers, forced his abdication in 1886.

In 1887 Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became the Prince of Bulgaria. He, also, was a remarkable man, but not the romantic figure of his predecessor. He seems to have been a sort of a parody of a king. He was fond of ostentation, and full of ambition. He was a personal coward, but extremely cunning. During his long reign he built up Bulgaria into a powerful, independent kingdom, and even assumed the title of Czar of Bulgaria. During the first days of his reign he was kept safely on the throne by his mother, the Princess Clementine, a daughter of Louis Phillippe, who, according to Gladstone, was the cleverest woman in Europe, and for a few years Bulgaria was at peace. In 1908 he declared Bulgaria independent, and its independence was recognized by Turkey on the payment of an indemnity. During this period Russia was the protector of Bulgaria, but the Bulgarian fox was looking also for the aid of Austria. Serbia more and more relied upon Russia.

The Austrian treatment of the Slays was a source of constant irritation to Serbia. Roumania had a divided feeling. Her loss of Bessarabia to Russia had caused ill feeling, but in Austria's province of Transylvania there were millions of Roumanians, whom Roumania desired to bring under her rule. Greece was fearful of Russia, because of Russia's desire for the control of Constantinople. All of these nations, too, were deeply conscious of the Austro-German ambitions for extension of their power through to the East. Each of these principalities was also jealous of the other. Bulgaria and Serbia had been at war; many Bulgarians were in the Roumanian territory, many Serbians, Bulgarians and Greeks in Macedonia. There was only one tie in common, that was their hatred of Turkey. In 1912 a league was formed, under the direction of the Greek statesman, Venizelos, having for its object an attack on Turkey. By secret treaties arrangements were made for the division of the land, which they hoped to obtain from Turkey.

War was declared, and Turkey was decisively defeated, and then the trouble began. Serbia and Bulgaria had been particularly anxious for an outlet to the sea, and in the treaty between them it had been arranged that Serbia should have an outlet on the Adriatic, while Bulgaria was to obtain an outlet on the AEgean. The Triple Alliance positively refused Serbia its share of the Adriatic coast. Serbia insisted, therefore, on a revision of the treaty, which would enable her to have a seaport on the AEgean.

An attempt was made to settle the question by arbitration, but King Ferdinand refused, whereupon, in July, 1913, the Second Balkan War began. Bulgaria was attacked by Greece and Serbia, and Turkey took a chance and regained Adrianople, and even Roumania, which had been neutral in the First Baltic War, mobilized her armies and marched toward Sofia. Bulgaria surrendered, and on the loth of August the Treaty of Bucharest was signed by the Balkan States.

As a result of this Bulgaria was left in a thoroughly dissatisfied state of mind. She had been the leader in the war against Turkey, she had suffered heavy losses, and she had gained almost nothing. Moreover she had lost to Roumania, a territory containing a quarter of a million Bulgarians, and a splendid harbor on the Black Sea. Serbia and Greece were the big winners. Such a treaty could not be a final settlement. The Balkans were left seething with unrest. Serbia, though she had gained much, was still dissatisfied. Her ambitions, however, now turned in the direction of the Jugoslays under the rule of Austria, and it was her agitation in this matter which directly brought on the Great War. But Bulgaria was sullen and ready for revenge. When the Great War began, therefore, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece were strongly in sympathy with Russia, who had been their backer and friend. Bulgaria, in spite of all she owed to Russia in the early days, was now ready to find protection from an alliance with the Central Powers. Her feeling was well known to the Allies, and every effort was made to obtain her friendship and, if possible, her aid.

Viviani, then Premier of France, in an address before the French Chamber of Deputies, said ;

The Balkan question was raised at the outset of the war, even before it came to the attention of the world. The Bucharest Treaty had left in Bulgaria profound heartburnings. Neither King nor people were resigned to the loss of the fruits of their efforts and sacrifices, and to the consequences -of the unjustifiable war they had waged upon their former allies. From the first day, the Allied governments took into account the dangers of the such a situation, and sought a means to remedy it. Their policy has proceeded in a spirit of justice and generosity which has characterized the attitude of Great' Britain, Russia and Italy as well as France. We have attempted to re-establish the union of the Baltic peoples, and in accord with them seek the realization of their principal national aspirations. The equilibrium thus obtained by mutual sacrifices really made by each would have been the best guarantee of future peace. Despite constant efforts in which Roumania, Greece and Serbia lent their assistance, we have been unable to obtain the sincere collaboration of the Bulgarian Government. The difficulties respecting the negotiations were always at Sofia.

At the beginning of the war it appears, therefore, that Bulgaria was entering into negotiations with the Allies, hoping to regain in this way, some of the territory she had lost in the Second Baltic War. Many of her leading statesmen and most distinguished generals favored the cause of Russia, but in May came the great German advance in Galicia, and the Allies' stalemate in the Dardanelles, and the king, and his supporters, found the way clear for a movement in favor of Germany. Still protesting neutrality they signed a secret treaty with Berlin, Vienna and Constantinople on July 17th. The Central Powers had promised them not only what they had been asking, in Macedonia, but also the Greek territory of Epirus. This treaty was concealed from those Bulgarian leaders who still held to Russia, and on the 5th of October Bulgaria formally entered into war on the side of Germany, and began an attack on Serbia.

The full account of the intrigue which led to this action has never been told. It is not improbable that King Ferdinand himself never had any other idea than to act as he did, but he dissembled for a long time. He set forth his claims in detail to the Allies, who used every effort to induce Roumania, Greece and Serbia to make the concessions that would be necessary. Such concessions were made, but not until it was too late. - In a telegram from Milan dated September 24th, an account is given of an interview between Czar Ferdinand and a committee from those Bulgarians who were opposed to the King's policy.

"Mind your own head. I shall mind mine l" are the words which the King spoke to M. Stambulivski when he received the five opposition members who had come to warn him of the danger to which he was exposing himself and the nation.

The five members were received by the King in the red room at the Royal Palace and chairs had been placed for them around a big table. The King entered the room, accompanied by Prince Boris, the heir apparent, and his secretary, M. Boocoviteb.

"Be seated, gentlemen," said the King, as he sat down himself, as if for a very quiet talk. His secretary took a seat at the table, a little apart to take notes, but the conversation immediately became so heated and rapid that he was unable to write it down.

The first to speak was M. Malinoff, leader of the Democratic party, who said: "The policy adopted by the Government is one of adventure, tending to throw Bulgaria into the arms of Germany, and driving her to attack Serbia. This policy is contrary to the aspirations, feeling and interests of the country, and if the Government obstinately continues in this way it will provoke disturbances of the greatest gravity." It was the first allusion to the possibility of a revolution, but the King listened without flinching. M. Malinoff concluded : "For these reasons we beg your Majesty, after having vainly asked the Government, to convoke the Chamber immediately, and we ask this convocation for the precise object of saving the country from dangerous adventures by the formation of a coalition Ministry."

The King remained silent, and, with a nod, invited M. Stambulivski to speak. M. Stambulivski was a leader of the Agrarian party, a man of sturdy, rustic appearance, accustomed to speak out his mind boldly, and exceedingly popular among the peasant population. He grew up himself as a peasant, and wore the laborer's blouse up till very recently. He stood up and looking the King straight in the face said in resolute tones "In the name of every farmer in Bulgaria I add to what M. Malinoff has just said, that the Bulgarian people hold you personally responsible more than your Government, for the disastrous adventure of 1913. If a similar adventure were to be repeated now its gravity this time would be irreparable. The responsibility would once more fall on your policy, which is contrary to-the welfare of our country, and the nation would not hesitate to call you personally to ac-count. That there may be no mistake as to the real wishes of the country I present to your Majesty my country's demand in writing."

He handed the King a letter containing the resolution voted by the Agrarians. The King read it and then turned to M. Zanoff, leader of the Radical Democrats, and asked him to speak. M. Zanoff did so, speaking very slowly and impressively, and also looking the King straight in the face: "Sire, I had sworn never again to set foot inside your palace, and if I come today it is because the interests of my country are above personal questions, and have compelled me. Your Majesty may read what I have to say in this letter, which I submit to you in behalf of our party.

He handed the letter and the King read it and still remained silent. Then he said, turning to his former Prime Minister and ablest politician : "Gueshoff, it is now your turn to speak."

M. Gueshoff got up and said : "I also am fully in accord with what M. Stambulivski has just said. No matter how severe his words may have been in their simple unpolished frankness, which ignores the ordinary formalities of etiquette, they entirely express our unanimous opinion. We all, as representing the opposition, consider the present policy of the Government contrary to the sentiments and interests of the country, because by driving it to make common cause with Germany it makes us the enemies of Russia, which was our deliverer, and the adventure into which we are thus thrown compromises our future. We disapprove most absolutely of such 'a policy, and we also ask that the Chamber be convoked, and a Ministry formed with the cooperation of all parties."

After M. Gueshoff, the former Premier, M. Daneff also spoke, and associated himself with what had already been said.

The King remained still silent for a while, then he, also, stood up and said: "Gentlemen, I have listened to your threats, and will refer them to the President of the Council of Ministers, that he may know and decide what to do."

All present bowed, and -a chilly silence followed. The King had evidently taken the frank warning given him as a threat to him personally, and he walked up and down nervously for a while. Prince Boris turned aside to talk with the Secretary, who had resumed taking notes. The King continued pacing to and fro, evidently very nettled. Then, approaching M. Zanoff, and as if to change the conversation, he asked him for news about this season's harvest.

M. Zanoff abruptly replied: "Your Majesty knows that we have not come here to talk about the harvest, but of something far more important at present, namely, the policy of your Government, which is on the point of ruining our country. We can on no account approve the policy that is anti-Russian. If the Crown and M. Radoslavoff persist in their policy we shall not answer for the consequences. We have not desired to seek out those responsible for the disaster of 1913, be-cause other grave events have been precipitated. But it was a disaster due to criminal folly. It must not be repeated by an attack on Serbia by Bulgaria, as seems contemplated by M. Radoslavoff, and which according to all appearances, has the approval of your Majesty. It would be a premeditated crime, and deserve to be punished."

The King hesitated a moment, and then held out his hand to M. Zanoff, saying : "All right. At all events I thank you for your frankness." Then, approaching M. Stambulivski, he repeated to him his question about the harvest.

M. Stambulivski, as a simple peasant, at first allowed himself to be led into a discussion of this secondary matter, and had expressed the hope that the prohibition on the export of cereals would be removed, when he suddenly remembered, and said: "But this is not the moment to speak of these things. I again repeat to your Majesty that the country does not want a policy of adventure which cost it so dear in 1913. It was your own policy too. Before 1913 we thought you were a great diplomatist, but since then we have seen what fruits your diplomacy bears. You took ad-vantage of all the loopholes in the Constitution to direct the country according to your own views. Your Ministers are nothing. You alone are the author of this policy and you will have to bear the responsibility.

The King replied frigidly,- "The policy which I have decided to follow is that which I consider the best for the welfare of the country."

"It is a policy which will only bring misfortune," replied the sturdy Agrarian. "It will lead to fresh catastrophes, and compromise not only the future of our country, but that of your dynasty, and may cost you your head."

It was as bold a saying as ever was uttered before a King, and Ferdinand looked astonished at the peasant who was thus speaking to him. He said, "Do not mind my head; it is already old. Rather mind your own l" he added with a disdainful smile, and turned away.

M. Stambulivski retorted: "My head matters little, Sire. What matters more is the good of our country."

The King paid no more attention to him, and took M. Gueshoff and M. Danoff apart, who again insisted on convoking the Chamber, and assured him that M. Radoslavoff's government would be in a minority. They also referred to the Premier's oracular utterances.

"Ah! said the King. "Has Radoslavoff spoken to you, and what has he said?"

"He has said-" replied the leaders, "that Bulgaria would march with Germany and at-tack Serbia."

The King made a vague gesture, and then said: "Oh, I did not know."

This incident throws a strong light upon the conflict which was going on in the Balkan states, between those Kings who were of German origin, and who believed in the German power, and their people who loved Russia.

King Ferdinand got his warning. He did not listen, and he lost his throne. All this, how-ever, took place before the Bulgarian declaration of war. Yet much had already shown what King Ferdinand was about to do. The Allies, to be sure, were incredulous, and were doing their best to cultivate the good will of the treacherous King. On September 23rd the official order was given for Bulgaria's mobilization. She, however, officially declared that her position was that of armed neutrality and that she had no aggressive intentions. As it has developed, she was acting under the direction of the German High Command.

It was at this period that Germany had failed to crush Russia in the struggle on the Vilna, and, in accordance with her usual strategy when one plan failed, another was under-taken. It seemed to her, therefore, that the punishment of Serbia would make up for other failures, and moreover would enable her to assist Turkey, which needed munitions, besides releasing for Germany supplies of food and other material which might come from Turkey. They therefore entrusted an expedition against Serbia to Field Marshal von Mackensen, and had begun to gather an army for that purpose, north of the Danube.

This army of course was mainly composed of Austrian troops, but was stiffened through-out by some of the best regiments from the German army. To assist this new army they counted upon Bulgaria, with whom they had already a secret treaty, and in spite of the falsehoods issued from Sofia, the Bulgarian mobilization was meant for an attack on Serbia. The condition of affairs was well under-stood in Russia.

On October 2, 1915, M. Sazonov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued the follow ing statement: "The situation in the Balkans is very grave. The whole Russian nation is aroused by the unthinkable treachery of Ferdinand and his Government to the Slavic cause. Bulgaria owes her independence to Russia, and yet seems willing now to become a vassal of Russia's enemies. In her attitude towards Serbia, when Serbia is fighting for her very existence, Bulgaria puts herself in the class with Turkey. We do not believe that the Bulgarian people sympathize with the action of their ruler therefore, the Allies are disposed to give them time for reflection. If they persist in their present treacherous course they must answer to Russia." The next day the following ultimatum from Russia was handed the Bulgarian Prime Minister:

Events which are taking place in Bulgaria at this moment give evidence of the definite decision of King Ferdinand's, Government to place the fate of its country in the hands of Germany. The presence of German and Austrian officers at the Ministry of War and on the staffs of the army, the concentration of troops in the zone bordering on Serbia, and the extensive financial support accepted from her enemies by the Sofia Cabinet, no longer leave any doubt as to the object of the present military preparations of Bulgaria. The powers of the Entente, who have at heart the realization of the aspirations of the Bulgarian people, have on many occasions warned M. Radoslavoff that any hostile act against Serbia would be considered as directed against themselves. The assurances given by the head of the Bulgarian Cabinet in reply to these warnings are contradicted by facts. The representative of Russia, bound to Bulgaria by the imperishable memory of her liberation from the Turkish yoke, cannot sanction by his presence preparations for fratricidal aggression against a Slav and allied people. The Russian Minister has, therefore, received orders to leave Bulgaria with all the staffs of the Legation and the Consulates if the Bulgarian Government does not within twenty-four hours openly break with the enemies of the Slav cause and of Russia, and does not at once proceed to send away the officers belonging to the armies of states who are at war with the powers of the Entente.

Similar ultimatums were presented by representatives of France and Great Britain. Bulgaria's reply to these ultimatums was described as bold to the verge of insolence. In substance she denied that German officers were on the staffs of Bulgarian armies, but said that if they were present that fact concerned only Bulgaria, which reserved the right to invite whomsoever she liked. The Bulgarian Government then issued a manifesto to the nation, announcing its decision to enter the war on the side of the Central Powers. The manifesto reads as follows:

The Central Powers have promised us parts of Serbia, creating an Austro-Hungarian border line, which is absolutely necessary for Bulgaria's independence of the Serbians. We do not believe in the promises of the Quad ruple Entente. Italy, one of the Allies, treacherously broke her treaty of thirty-three years. We believe in Germany, which is fighting the whole world to fulfill her treaty with Austria. Bulgaria must fight at the victor's side. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians are victorious on all fronts. Russia soon will have collapsed entirely. Then will come the turn of France, Italy and Serbia. Bulgaria would commit suicide if she did not fight on the side of the Central Powers, which offer the only possibility of realizing her desire for a union of all Bulgarian peoples.

The manifesto also stated that Russia was fighting for Constantinople and the Dardanelles; Great Britain to destroy Germany's competition; France for Alsace and Lorraine, and the other allies to rob foreign countries; the Central Powers were declared to be fighting to defend property and assure peaceful progress. The manifesto filled seven columns in the newspapers, and discussed at some length Bulgaria's trade interests. It attacked Serbia most bitterly, declaring that Serbia had oppressed the Bulgarian population of Macedonia in a most barbarous manner; that she had attacked Bulgarian territory and that the Bulgarian troops had been forced to fight for the defense of their own soil. In fact it was written in quite the usual German manner.

Long before this M. Venizelos, the Greek Premier, had perceived what was coming. Greece was bound by treaty to assist Serbia if she were attacked by Bulgaria. On September 21st, Venizelos asked France and Britain for a hundred and fifty thousand troops. On the 24th, the Allies agreed to this and Greece at once began to mobilize. His policy was received with great enthusiasm in the Greek Chamber, and former Premier Gounaris, amid great applause, expressed- his support of the government.

On October 6th an announcement from Athens stated that Premier Venizelos had resigned, the King having informed him that he was unable to support the policy of his Minister. King Constantine was a brother-in-law of the German Emperor, and although professing neutrality he had steadily opposed M. Venizelos' Policy. He had once before forced M. Venizelos' resignation, but at the general elections which followed, the Greek statesman was returned to power by a decisive majority.

Intense indignation was caused by the King's action, though the King was able to procure the support of a considerable party. Venizelos' resignation was precipitated by the landing of the Allied troops in Saloniki. They had come at the invitation of Venizelos, but the opposition protested against the occupation of Greek territory by foreign , troops. After a disorderly session in which' Venizelos explained to the Chamber of Deputies the circumstances connected with the landing, the Chamber passed a vote of confidence in the Government by 142 to 102. The substance of his argument may be found in his conclusion:.

"We have a treaty with Serbia. If we are honest we will leave nothing undone to insure its fulfillment in letter and spirit. Only if we are rogues may we find excuses to avoid our obligations."

Upon his first resignation M. Zaimis was appointed Premier, and declared for a policy of armed neutrality. This position was sharply criticised by Venizelos, but for a time became the policy of the Greek Government. Mean-time the Allied troops were arriving at Saloniki. On October 3d, seventy thousand French troops arrived. A formal protest was made by the Greek commandant, who then directed the harbor officials to assist in arranging the' landing. In a short time the Allied forces amounted to a hundred and fifty thousand men, but the German campaign was moving rapidly.

The German Balkan army captured Bel-grade on the 9th of October, and by that date two Bulgarian armies were on the Serbian frontier. Serbia found herself opposed by two hundred thousand Austro-Germans and a quarter of a million Bulgarians. Greece and Roumania fully mobilized and were watching the conflict, and the small allied contingent at Saloniki was preparing to march inland to the aid of Serbia.

The conduct of Greece on this occasion has led to universal criticism. The King himself, no doubt, was mainly moved by his German wife and the influence of his Imperial brother- in-law. Those that were associated with him were probably moved by fear. They had been much impressed by the strength of the German armies. They had seen the success of the great German offensive in Russia, while the French and British were being held in the West. They knew, too, the strength of Bulgaria. The national characteristic of the Greeks is prudence, and it cannot be denied that there was great reason to suppose that the armies of Greece would not be able to resist the new attack. With these views Venizelos, the greatest statesman that Greece had produced for many years, did not agree, and the election seemed to show that he was supported by the majority of the Greek people.

This was another case where the Allies, faced by a dangerous situation, were. acting with too great caution. In Gallipoli they had failed, because at the very beginning they had not used their full strength. Now, again, knowing as they did all that depended upon it, bound as they were to the most loyal support of Serbia, the aid they sent was too small to be more than a drop in the bucket. It must be remembered, however, that the greatest leaders among the Allies were at all times opposed to in any way scattering their strength. They believed that the war was to be won in France. Military leaders in particular yielded under protest to the political leaders when expeditions of this character were undertaken.

Certainly this is true, that the world believed that Serbia had a right to Allied assistance. The gallant little nation was fighting for her life, and public honor demanded that she should be aided. It was this strong feeling that led to the action that was taken, in spite of the military opinions. It was, however, too late.

In the second week of October Serbia found herself faced by an enemy which was attacking her on three sides. She herself had been greatly weakened. Her losses in 1914, when she had driven Austria from her border, must have been at least two hundred thousand men. She had suffered from pestilence and famine. Her strength now could not have been more than two hundred thousand, and though she was fairly well supplied with munitions, she was so much outnumbered that she could hardly hope for success. On her west she was facing the Austro-German armies; on her east Bulgaria; on the south Albania. Her source of supplies was Saloniki and this was really her only hope. If the Allies at Saloniki could stop the Bulgarian movement, the Serbians might face again the Austro-Germans. They expected this help from the Allies.

At Nish the town was decorated and the school children waited outside the station with bouquets to present to the coming reinforcements. But the Allies did not come.

Von Maekensen's plan was simple enough. His object was to win a way to Constantinople. This could be done either by the control of the Danube or the Ottoman Railroad. To control the Danube he had to seize northeastern Serbia for the length of the river. This was comparatively easy and would give him a clear water way to the Bulgarian railways connected with. Constantinople. The Ottoman railway was a harder route to win. It meant an ad-vane to the southeast, which would clear the Moravo valley up to Nish, and then the Nish ava valley up to Bulgaria. The movements involved were somewhat complex, but easily carried out on account of the very great numerical superiority of von Mackensen's forces.

On September 19th Belgrade was bombarded. The Serbian positions were gradually destroyed. On the 7th of October the German armies crossed the Danube, and on the 8th the Serbians began to retreat. There was great destruction in Belgrade and the Bulgarian General, Mishitch, was forced slowly back to the foothills of the Tser range.

For a time von Mackensen moved slowly. He did not wish to drive the Serbians too far south. On the 12th of October the Bulgarian army began its attack. At first it was held, but by October 17th was pushing forward all along the line. On the 20th they entered Uskub, a central point of all the routes of southern Serbia. This practically separated the Allied forces at Saloniki from the Serbian armies further north. Disaster followed disaster. On Tuesday, October 26th, a junction of Bulgarian and Austro-German patrols was completed in the Dobravodo mountains. General von Gallwitz announced that a moment of world significance had come, and Occident had been united, and on the basis of this firm and indissoluble comes into being, created by the victory of our arms."

The road from Germany, through Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria to Turkey lay open. On October 31st, Milanovac was lost, and on November 2nd, Kraguyevac surrendered, the decisive battle of the war. On November 7th, Nish was captured. General Jecoff announced : "After fierce and sanguinary fighting the fortress of Nish has been conquered by our brave victorious troops and the Bulgarian flag has been hoisted to remain forever."

The Serbian army continued steadily to re-treat, until on November 8th, advancing Franco-British troops almost joined with them, presenting a line from Prilep to Dorolovo on the Bulgarian frontier. At this time the Bulgarian army suffered a defeat at Izvor, and also at Strumitza. The Allied armies were now reported to number three hundred thousand men. The Austro-Germans by this time had reached the mountainous region of Serbia, and were meeting with strong resistance.

On November 13th, German despatches from the front claimed the capture of 54,000 Serbian prisoners. The aged King Peter of Serbia was in full flight, followed by the Crown Prince. The Serbians, however, were still fighting and on November 15th, made a stand on the western bank of the Morava River, and recaptured the town of Tatova.

At this time the Allied world was watching the Serbian struggle with interest and sympathy. In the House of Lords, Lord Lansdowne in a discussion of the English effort to give them aid said: "It is impossible to think or speak of Serbia without a tribute to the wondrous gallantry with which that little country withstood two separate invasions, and has lately been struggling against a third. She repelled the first two invasions by an effort which I venture to think formed one of the most glorious chapters in the history of this Great War."

Serbia, however, was compelled once more to retreat, and their retreat soon became a rout. Their guns were abandoned and the roads were strewn with fainting, starving men. The sufferings of the Serbian people during this time are indescribable. Men, women, and children struggled along in the wake of the armies with-out food or shelter. King Peter himself was able to escape, with the greatest difficulty. By traveling on horseback and mule back in disguise he finally reached Scutari and crossed to Brindisi and finally arrived at Saloniki on New Year's Day, crippled and almost blind, but still full of fight.

"I believe," he said, "in the liberty of Serbia, as I believe in God. It was the dream of my youth. It was for that I fought throughout: manhood. It has become the faith of the twlight of my life. I live only to see Serbia free. I pray that God may let me live until the day of redemption of my people. On that day I am ready to die, if the Lord wills. I have struggled a great deal in my life, and am tired, bruised and broken from it, but I will see, I shall see, this triumph. I shall not die before the victory of my country."

The Serbian army had been driven out of Serbia. But the Allies who had come up from Saloniki were still unbeaten. On October 12th, the French General Serrail arrived and moved with the French forces, as has already been said, to the Serbian aid. They met with a number of successes. On October 19th they seized the Bulgarian town of Struminitza, and occupied strong positions on the left bank of the Vardar. On October 27th they occupied Krivolak, with the British Tenth Division, which had joined them on their right. They then occupied the summit of Karahodjali, which commanded the whole section of the valley. This the Bulgarians attacked in force on the 5th of November, but were badly repulsed. They then attempted to move toward Babuna Pass, twenty-five miles west of Krivolak, where they hoped to join hands with the Serbian column at that point.

They were being faced by a Bulgarian army numbering one hundred and twenty-five thou-sand men, and found themselves in serious danger. They were compelled to fall back into what is called the "Entrenched Camp of Kavodar" without bringing the aid to the Serbian army that they had hoped. The Allied expedition to aid Serbia had failed. It was hope-less from the start, and, if anything, had injured Serbia by raising false expectations which had interfered with their plans.

During the whole of this disastrous campaign a desperate political struggle was going on in Greece. On November 3rd, the Zaimis Cabinet tendered its resignation to King Constantine. The trouble was over a bill for extra pay to army officers, but it led to an elaborate discussion of the Greek war policy. M. Venizelos made two long speeches defending his policy, and condemning the policy of his opponents in regard to the Balkan situation. He said that he deplored the fact that Serbia was being left to be crushed by Bulgaria, Greece's hereditary enemy, who would not scruple later to fall on Greece herself. He spoke of the King in a friendly way, criticizing, however, his position. He had been twice removed from the Premiership, although he had a majority behind him in the Greek Chamber.

"Our State," he said, "is a democracy, pre-sided over by the King, and the whole responsibility rests with the Cabinet. I admit that the Crown has a right to disagree with the responsible Government if he thinks the latter is not in agreement with the national will. But after the recent election, non-agreement is out of the question, and now the Crown has not the right to disagree again on the same question. It is not a question of patriotism but of constitutional liberty."

When the vote was taken the Government was defeated by 147 to 114. Instead of appointing Venizelos Premier, King Constantine gave the position to M. Skouloudis, and then dissolved the Greek Chamber by royal decree. Premier Skouloudis declared his policy to be neutrality with the character of sincerest benevolence toward the Entente Powers. The general conditions at Athens during this whole time were causing great anxiety in the Allied capitals, and the Allied expedition were in continual fear of an attack in the rear in case of reverse. They endeavored to obtain satisfactory assurances on this point, and while assurances were given, during the whole period of King Constantine's reign aggressive action was prevented because of the doubt as to what course King Constantine would take.

In the end Constantine was compelled to abdicate. Venizelos became Premier, and Greece formally declared war on the Central Powers.

It was not till August 27th, 1916, that Roumania cast aside her role of neutral and entered the war with a declaration of hostilities on Austria-Hungary. Great expectations were founded upon the supposedly well-trained Roumanian army and upon the nation which, because of its alertness and discipline, was known as "the policeman of Europe." The belief was general in Paris and London that the weight of men and material thrown into the scale by Roumania would bring the war to a speedy, victorious end.

Germany, however, was confident. A spy system excelling in its detailed reports any-thing that had heretofore been attempted, made smooth the path of the German army. Scarcely had the Roumanian army launched a drive in force into Transylvania on August 80th, when the message spread from Bucharest "von Mackensen is coming. Recall the army.

Draft all males of military age. Prepare for the worst."

And the worst fell upon hapless Roumania. A vast force of military engineers moving like a human screen in front of von Mackensen's army, followed routes carefully mapped out by German spies during the period of Roumania' neutrality. Military bridges, measured to the inch, had been prepared to carry cannon, material and men over streams and ravines. Every Roumanian oil well, mine and storehouse had been located and mapped. German scientists had studied Roumanian weather conditions and von Mackensen attacked while the roads were at their best and the weather most favorable. As the Germans swept forward, spies met them giving them military information of the utmost value. A swarm of airplanes spied out the movements of the Roumanians and no Roumanian airplanes rose to meet them.

General von Falkenhayn, co-operating with von Mackensen, smashed his way through Vulkan Pass, and cut the main line running to Bucharest at Craiova. The Dobrudja region was overrun and the central Roumanian plain was swept clear of all Roumanian opposition to the German advance. The seat of government was transferred from Bucharest to Jassy

on November 28, 1916, and on December 6th Bucharest was entered by von Mackensen, definitely putting an end to Roumania as a factor in the war.

The immediate result of the fall of Roumania was to release immense stores of petroleum for German use. British and Roumanian engineers had done their utmost by the use of explosives to make useless the great Roumanian oil wells, but German engineers soon had the precious fluid in full flow. This furnished the fuel which Germany had long and ardently desired. The oil-burning sub-marine now came into its own. It was possible to plan a great fleet of submersibles to attempt execution of von Tirpitz's plan for unrestricted submarine warfare. This was decided upon by the German High Command the day Bucharest fell. It was realized that such a policy would bring the United States' into the war, but the Kaiser and his advisers hoped the submarine on sea and a great western front offensive on land would force a decision in favor of Germany before America could get ready. How that hope failed was revealed at Chateau-Thierry and in the humiliation of Germany.



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