I. TURKEY AND THE BALKAN STATES
But apart altogether from the expansionist ambitions and the racial sympathies of their kindred in Bulgaria, Servia, and Greece, the population of Macedonia had the same right to emancipation from Turkish domination and oppression as their brethren in these neighboring states. The Moslems had forfeited their sovereign rights in Europe by their unutterable incapacity to govern their Christian subjects. Had the Treaty of Berlin sanctioned, instead of undoing, the Treaty of San Stefano, the whole of Macedonia would have come under Bulgarian sovereignty; and although Servia and especially Greece would have protested against the Bulgarian absorption of their Macedonian brethren (whom they had always hoped to bring under their own jurisdiction when the Turk was expelled) the result would certainly have been better for all the Christian inhabitants of Macedonia as well as for the Mohammedans (who number 800,000 persons or nearly one third of the entire population of Macedonia). As it was these, people were all doomed to a continuation of Turkish misgovernment, oppression, and slaughter. The Treaty of Berlin indeed provided for reforms, but the Porte through diplomacy and delay frustrated all the efforts of Europe to have them put into effect. For fifteen years the people waited for the fulfilment of the European promise of an amelioration of their condition, enduring meanwhile the scandalous misgovernment of Abdul Hamid II. But after 1893 revolutionary societies became active. The Internal Organization was a local body whose programme was "Macedonia for the Macedonians." But both in Bulgaria and in Greece there were organized societies which sent insurgent bands into Macedonia to maintain and assert their respective national interests. This was one of the causes of the war between Turkey and Greece in 1897, and the reverses of the Greeks in that war inured to the advantage of the Bulgarian propaganda in Macedonia. Servian bands soon after began to appear on the scene. These hostile activities in Macedonia naturally produced reprisals at the hands of the Turkish authorities. In one district alone 100 villages were burned, over 8,000 houses destroyed, and 60,000 peasants left without homes at the beginning of winter. Meanwhile the Austrian and Russian governments intervened and drew up elaborate schemes of reform, but their plans could not be adequately enforced and the result was failure. The Austro-Russian entente came to an end in 1908, and in the same year England joined Russia in a project aiming at a better administration of justice and involving more effective European supervision. Scarcely had this programme been announced when the revolution under the Young Turk party broke out which promised to the world a regeneration of the Ottoman Empire. Hopeful of these constitutional reformers of Turkey, Europe withdrew from Macedonia and entrusted its destinies to its new master. Never was there a more bitter disappointment. If autocratic Sultans had punished the poor Macedonians with whips, the Young Turks flayed them with scorpions.
Sympathy, indignation, and horror conspired with nationalistic aspirations and territorial interests to arouse the kindred populations of the surrounding states. And in October, 1912, war was declared against Turkey by Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, and Greece.
THE BALKAN LEAGUE
This brings us to the so-called Balkan Alliance about which much has been written and many errors ignorantly propagated. For months after the outbreak of the war against Turkey the development of this Alliance into a Confederation of the Balkan states, on the model of the American or the German constitution, was a theme of constant discussion in Europe and America. As a matter of fact there existed no juridical ground for this expectation, and the sentiments of the peoples of the four Christian nations, even while they fought together against the Moslem, were saturated with such an infusion of suspicion and hostility as to render nugatory any programme of Balkan confederation. An alliance had indeed been concluded between Greece and Bulgaria in May, 1912, but it was a defensive, not an offensive alliance. It provided that in case Turkey attacked either of these states, the other should come to its assistance with all its forces, and that whether the object of the attack were the territorial integrity of the nation or the rights guaranteed it by international law or special conventions. Without the knowledge of the Greek government, an offensive alliance against Turkey had in March, 1912, been concluded between Servia and Bulgaria which determined their respective military obligations in case of war and the partition between them, in the event of victory, of the conquered Turkish provinces in Europe. A similar offensive and defensive alliance between Greece and Turkey was under consideration, but before the plan was matured Bulgaria and Servia had decided to declare war against Turkey. This decision had been hastened by the Turkish massacres at Kochana and Berane, which aroused the deepest indignation, especially in Bulgaria. Servia and Bulgaria informed Greece that in three days they would mobilize their forces for the purpose of imposing reforms on Turkey, and, if within a specified time they did not receive a satisfactory reply, they would invade the Ottoman territory and declare war. They invited Greece on this short notice to co-operate with them by a simultaneous mobilization. It was a critical moment not only for the little kingdom of King George, but for that great cause of Hellenism which for thousands of years had animated, and which still animated, the souls of the Greek population in all Aegean lands.
GREECE AND THE LEAGUE