Page 3565

3565 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

"Unspeakable Turk" the Armenia that

had been stained for centuries by the blood

of a helpless Christian people and that the

remnant of the Armenians would either

be given their freedom or placed under

the protection of a civilized power. Toward

the end of 1915, a series of events began

which seemed likely to result in the latter.

After his removal from the chief command, Grand Duke Nicholas was sent to

the Caucasus region, and with his coming

operations took on a more active aspect.

In December, 1915, and the period following, he won repeated victories over the

Turkish forces. In February, 1916, he

captured the great mountain fortress and

town of Erzerum, with hundreds of cannon and thousands of prisoners, and followed up this success, the greatest Russian

victory since the fall of Przemysl, by

taking Bitlis west of Lake Van. The

Turkish forces were driven westward all

along the line; Trebizond was captured,

northwestern Persia was redeemed, and

the Russian left wing marched southwestward toward the region of Bagdad.

It was believed that the British troops

in Mesopotamia and the Russians further

north would ultimately attempt to join

hands, exclude the Turks and Germans

from Persia, and try to capture Bagdad

and all of the region round about it.

CHAPTER CLXXVIII-ITALY JOINS THE ALLIES.

THE Allied view of their

advantage in case of

a long war was rendered more plausible

by reason of the fact

that, in the spring of

1915, they won a great

diplomatic triumph

which resulted in Italy's throwing her army

and navy into the conflict on their side.

Italy, as is well known, had been a

member of the Triple Alliance since 1882.

This alliance was the work of Bismarck,

who took advantage of Italian indignation

at France over the seizure of Tunis to

secure the Italian signature to the compact. The Italians did not know then,

nor did they know for many years, that

Bismarck himself was the real instigator

of the French action.

In many respects the alliance was an

unnatural one. Austria was more bitterly

hated by Italians than any other power,

for it was against Austria that the Italians

had fought for independence and national

unity; and in the Dual Monarchy there

still remained large numbers of people

of Italian blood who remained "unliberated." And there were Pan-Italians,

usually known as "Irredentists," just as

there were Pan-Slavs and Pan-Germans.

The alliance endured for thirty-two

years, but the Italians had an uneasy

feeling that they derived no benefits from

it. They felt that when their interests

clashed with those of Austria, it was

the Austrian interests that received most

consideration from the senior members

of the firm. Furthermore, a large portion

of the Italians were democratic in their

aspirations; but neither Austrians nor Germans spoke much about "Democracy and

Freedom." Italians also complained of

"the arrogance of the Teutons," and there

can be no doubt that Italian susceptibilities were often ruffled by German

methods. For several years the conflicting

interests of Austria and Italy had tended

to weaken the bond, and Italy's seizure

of Tripoli was little short of a declaration

of independence from Teutonic influence.

Even as early as 1911, the German Bernhardi had written: "Modern French

writers are already reckoning so confidently

on the withdrawal of Italy from the Triple

Alliance that they no longer think it

necessary to put an army in the field

against Italy, but consider that the entire

forces of France are available against

Germany."

When the Great War broke out, the

world was not surprised that Italy stood