The changes made in the map of Europe by the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 were not merely the occasion but a cause and probably the most potent, and certainly the most urgent, of all the causes that led to the World War which has been raging with such titanic fury since the summer of 1914.
Had the Balkan Allies after their triumph over Turkey not fallen out amongst themselves, had there been no second Balkan War in 1913, had the Turkish provinces wrested from the Porte by the united arms of Bulgaria, Greece, Servia, and Montenegro been divided amongst the victors either by diplomacy or arbitration substantial justice would have been done to all, none of them would have been humiliated, and their moderation and concord would have commended their achievement to the Great Powers who might perhaps have secured the acquiescence of Austria-Hungary in the necessary enlargement of Servia and the expansion of Greece to Saloniki and beyond.
But the outbreak of the second Balkan War nullified all these fair prospects. And Bulgaria, who brought it on, found herself encircled by enemies, including not only all her recent Allies against Turkey, but also Turkey herself, and even Roumania, who had remained a neutral spectator of the first Balkan War. Of course Bulgaria was defeated. And a terrible punishment was inflicted on her. She was stripped of a large part of the territory she had just conquered from Turkey, including her most glorious battle-fields; her original provinces were dismembered; her extension to the Aegean Sea was seriously obstructed, if not practically blocked; and, bitterest and most tragic of all, the redemption of the Bulgarians in Macedonia, which was the principal object and motive of her war against Turkey in 1912, was frustrated and rendered hopeless by Greek and Servian annexations of Macedonian territory extending from the Mesta to the Drin with the great cities of Saloniki, Kavala, and Monastir, which in the patriotic national consciousness had long loomed up as fixed points in the "manifest destiny" of Bulgaria.
That the responsibility for precipitating the second Balkan War rests on Bulgaria is demonstrated in the latter portion of this volume. Yet the intransigent and bellicose policy of Bulgaria was from the point of view of her own interests so short-sighted, so perilous, so foolish and insane that it seemed, even at the time, to be directed by some external power and for some ulterior purpose. No proof, however, was then available. But hints of that suspicion were clearly conveyed even in the first edition of this volume, which, it may be recalled, antedates the outbreak of the great European War. Thus, on page 103, the question was put:
"Must we assume that there is some ground for suspecting that
Austria-Hungary was inciting Bulgaria to war?"
And again, on page 108, with reference to General Savoff's order directing the attack on the Greek and Servian forces which initiated the second Balkan War, the inquiry was made:
"Did General Savoff act on his own responsibility? Or is there
any truth in the charge that King Ferdinand, after a long
consultation with the Austro-Hungarian Minister, instructed the
General to issue the order?"
These questions may now be answered with positive assurance. What was only surmise when this volume was written is to-day indubitable certainty. The proof is furnished by the highest authorities both Italian and Russian.
When the second Balkan War broke out San Giuliano was Prime Minister of Italy. And he has recently published the fact that at that time - the summer of 1913 - the Austro-Hungarian government communicated to the Italian government its intention of making war on Servia and claimed under the terms of the Triple Alliance the co-operation of Italy and Germany. The Italian government repudiated the obligation imputed to it by Austria-Hungary and flatly declared that the Triple Alliance had nothing to do with a war of aggression. That Austria-Hungary did not proceed to declare war against Servia at that time - perhaps because she was discouraged by Germany as well as by Italy - makes it all the more intelligible, in view of her bellicose attitude, that she should have been urgent and insistent in pushing Bulgaria forward to smite their common rival.
This conclusion is confirmed by the positive statement of the Russian government. The communication accompanying the declaration of war against Bulgaria, dated October 18, contains the following passage:
"The victorious war of the united Balkan people against their
ancient enemy, Turkey, assured to Bulgaria an honorable place in
the Slavic family. But under Austro-German suggestion, contrary
to the advice of the Russian Emperor and without the knowledge of
the Bulgarian government, the Coburg Prince on June 29, 1913,
moved Bulgarian armies against the Serbians."