Page 3632

3632 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

Meanwhile diplomatic intrigues in Roumania continued, and all sorts of rumors

were afloat as to the intentions of that

power. In order to prevent the Teutons

from obtaining it, the British purchased

many million dollars' worth of Roumanian

grain at high prices. The Roumanian army

was kept mobilized, and new fortifications

were built. For the most part, the troops

were stationed on the Bulgarian and Hungarian borders, though the significance of

this fact was a matter of uncertainty.

The winter of 1915-16 witnessed less

fighting than had the preceding winter,

but all the powers were busily engaged in

preparations for the spring. To those who

were acquainted with the stupendous character of these preparations it was apparent

that 1916 would be even bloodier than 1915

had been. Nor was it at all certain that

1916 would see an end to the war.

Nevertheless there was much talk of

peace. Most of this talk, when traced to

its sources, was found to be inspired by

the Central Powers. These states were,

in fact, ready to end the war, provided they

could obtain favorable terms. They realized that their position was probably better

than it would ever be again, and they would

gladly have welcomed a move to end the

conflict. But their desires struck no echoing chords in the Entente countries. Great

as had been the reverses and disappointments of the year just passed, the Russians,

British, and French were united in a determination to fight on until victory crowned

their efforts. In all these countries it was

realized as never before that their future

welfare demanded that Germany be beaten.

Talk of peace was frowned upon as being

little short of giving aid and comfort to

the enemy.

With such a spirit of grim determination

abroad in the Allied countries, it was evident that peace was an impossibility. Nevertheless some Americans whose hearts were

better than their heads undertook a peace

expedition to Europe that was financed by

a manufacturer whose purse was larger

than his knowledge of history and international relations. The result, of course,

was a ludicrous failure.

In the House of Commons Premier

Asquith reiterated a statement made earlier in the war that England would never

sheathe the sword until Belgium was freed

and was given justice, until Prussian militarism was overthrown, and until the possibility of another such attack upon the

peace of the world was removed. He undoubtedly voiced the views of the British

people and of their Allies great and small.

The war had to go on. The sword must

decide.

CHAPTER CLXXXII- CAMPAIGNS OF 1916.

AS the spring of 1916

opened, the war was

still undecided. On the

continent of Europe

the Central Powers had

had the best of it; on

the seas and beyond exactly the reverse was

true. Of the wonderful military success of

the Germans and their allies there could

be no doubt. In the east and in the west,

the black eagles of Prussia flew over almost

all of Belgium, over some of the fairest

parts of France, over Poland and other

Russian provinces. Servia and Montenegro had been overrun, and only a small

part of Albania remained in, Servian and

Italian hands. For the time being, at

least, wily Ferdinand of Bulgaria had his

grasp upon the Macedonia that he coveted;

while its Servian claimants, driven utterly

out of their domains, - could only look

longingly toward their possessions from

Avlona, Corfu, and Salonica.

Against these conquests in Europe, the

Allies could claim only a small segment

of Alsace, a fringe of southwestern Austria-Hungary, and a thin slice of Galicia and

Bukowina-only a few thousand square

miles in all. In Asia, however, the