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"Dream ye of peaceful sway?

Dream on, who dream it may.

War still is empire's word I

Peace? By the victor's sword."

We may now proceed to consider the

actual course of events in the region where

the war first broke out. We have seen

that in the Balkan states the hostility

of German and Slav had assumed the

position of importance once held by the

conflict of Christian and Moslem. The

desire of the Dual Monarchy to extend

its possessions in the Balkan Peninsula

imperiled Servia; while the dream of

Servia to revive the ancient Servian empire, that had been destroyed by the Turks,

conflicted with Hapsburg ambitions, and

even threatened their existing dominions for the reason that several millions of the

subjects of that house were of Servian


In a preceding chapter we described the

annexation, in 1908, contrary to the Treaty

of Berlin, of the provinces of Bosnia and

Herzegovina, which Austria-Hungary had

"occupied" since 1878. The definitive

union of these provinces to the Hapsburg

crown was a bitter blow to the idea of a

Greater Servia, for a large proportion of

the people in the provinces were of Servian

blood and sympathies. The Servian Skupshtina passed a resolution demanding the

autonomy of the two provinces under the

protection of the powers, and for Servia

an outlet upon the Adriatic in order to

secure her commercial independence. Military preparations were made on both sides,

but Servia realized the hopelessness of a

conflict against Austria unaided, and Russia, though sympathetic, was in no position

to assist her. Germany promptly backed

up Austria, and, in March, 1909, Servia was

obliged formally to declare her acquiescence

in the annexation. The outcome was an

undoubted Teutonic triumph.

Meanwhile the Turkish revolution had

occurred, and, in 1911, came the Italian

war with Turkey, and, in the next year,

the onslaught of the Balkan League on

Turkey, followed, in 1913, by the war between the victors over the booty taken.

Diplomatic angling in these years was done

in troubled waters. Italy's action not only

indicated her dissatisfaction with the

cramping influences of the Triple Alliance,

but it threatened German influence at

Constantinople, but did not, as the event

proved, overthrow it. Austrian self-assertion in the Balkans not only further antagonized Servia but also Montenegro and

Italy. It was owing chiefly to Austria

that Montenegro was forced to give up

the blood-bought port of Scutari, and

Italy viewed with disfavor the extension

of Austrian influence on the other side of

the Adriatic. Servia emerged from the

war almost doubled in size, flushed with

victory and hence less easily controlled, and

still more bitter against Austria, because

the latter had balked her again in her desire to gain a "window" on the Adriatic.

War between Servia and Russia on the

one side and Austria-Hungary and, of

course, Germany on the other, seriously

impended at one time; and disclosures

made, in December, 1914, by Signor

Giolitti, ex-Premier of Italy, showed that

in August, 1913, Austria was anxious to

administer to Servia the chastisement she

actually undertook to give in 1914. But

Italy refused to support her in such action,

and the step was not taken.

By dint of superhuman efforts, Sir Edward

Grey and other diplomats managed to

avert a general European war; but the

territorial settlement arrived at in the

Balkans was to prove as fraught with

sources of future trouble as the artificial

and really criminal terms of the Treaty of

Berlin, of 1878. The important things to

emphasize are these: By her insistence

upon her ideas as to the Balkans Austria

had bitterly antagonized Montenegro and

Servia, yet she had gained little for herself; and the final outcome of the Balkan

wars was that her enemies were left predominant in Balkan affairs. It was a

realization of this situation which caused

Austria, in August, 1913, to desire to send

to Servia an ultimatum practically as radical and sweeping as that which she actually did dispatch a year later.

It was the wish of both Austria and Germany to secure an outlet southeastward