The expulsion of the Turks from Europe was long ago written in the book of fate. There was nothing uncertain about it except the date and the agency of destiny.


A little clan of oriental shepherds, the Turks had in two generations gained possession of the whole of the northwest corner of Asia Minor and established themselves on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus. The great city of Brusa, whose groves to-day enshrine the stately beauty of their mosques and sultans' tombs, capitulated to Orkhan, the son of the first Sultan, in 1326; and Nicaea, the cradle of the Greek church and temporary capital of the Greek Empire, surrendered in 1330. On the other side of the Bosphorus Orkhan could see the domes and palaces of Constantinople which, however, for another century was to remain the seat of the Byzantine Empire.

The Turks crossed the Hellespont and, favored by an earthquake, marched in 1358 over the fallen walls and fortifications into the city of Gallipoli. In 1361 Adrianople succumbed to the attacks of Orkhan's son, Murad I, whose sway was soon acknowledged in Thrace and Macedonia, and who was destined to lead the victorious Ottoman armies as far north as the Danube.

But though the provinces of the corrupt and effete Byzantine Empire were falling into the hands of the Turks, the Slavs were still unsubdued. Lazar the Serb threw down the gauntlet to Murad. On the memorable field of Kossovo, in 1389, the opposing forces met - Murad supported by his Asiatic and European vassals and allies, and Lazar with his formidable army of Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians, Poles, Magyars, and Vlachs. Few battles in the world have produced such a deep and lasting impression as this battle of Kossovo, in which the Christian nations after long and stubborn resistance were vanquished by the Moslems. The Servians still sing ballads which cast a halo of pathetic romance round their great disaster. And after more than five centuries the Montenegrins continue to wear black on their caps in mourning for that fatal day.

In the next two centuries the Ottoman Empire moved on toward the zenith of its glory. Mohammed II conquered Constantinople in 1453. And in 1529 Suleyman the Magnificent was at the gates of Vienna. Suleyman's reign forms the climax of Turkish history. The Turks had become a central European power occupying Hungary and menacing Austria. Suleyman's dominions extended from Mecca to Buda-Pesth and from Bagdad to Algiers. He commanded the Mediterranean, the Euxine, and the Red Sea, and his navies threatened the coasts of India and Spain.

But the conquests of the Turks were purely military. They did nothing for their subjects, whom they treated with contempt, and they wanted nothing from them but tribute and plunder. As the Turks were always numerically inferior to the aggregate number of the peoples under their sway, their one standing policy was to keep them divided - divide et impera. To fan racial and religious differences among their subjects was to perpetuate the rule of the masters. The whole task of government, as the Turks conceived it, was to collect tribute from the conquered and keep them in subjection by playing off their differences against one another.

But a deterioration of Turkish rulers set in soon after the time of Suleyman with a corresponding decline in the character and efficiency of the army. And the growth of Russia and the reassertion of Hungary, Poland, and Austria were fatal to the maintenance of an alien and detested empire founded on military domination alone. By the end of the seventeenth century the Turks had been driven out of Austria, Hungary, Transylvania, and Podolia, and the northern boundaries of their Empire were fixed by the Carpathians, the Danube, and the Save. How marked and rapid was the further decline of the Ottoman Empire may be inferred from the fact that twice in the eighteenth century Austria and Russia discussed the project of dividing it between them. But the inevitable disintegration of the Turkish dominion was not to inure to the glorification of any of the Great Powers, though Russia certainly contributed to the weakening of the common enemy. The decline and diminution of the Ottoman Empire continued throughout the nineteenth century. What happened, however, was the revolt of subject provinces and the creation out of the territory of European Turkey of the independent states of Greece, Servia, Roumania, and Bulgaria. And it was Bulgarians, Greeks, and Servians, with the active assistance of the Montenegrins and the benevolent neutrality of the Roumanians, who, in the war of 1912-1913, drove the Turk out of Europe, leaving him nothing but the city of Constantinople and a territorial fringe bordered by the Chataldja line of fortifications.


There is historic justice in the circumstance that the Turkish Empire in Europe met its doom at the hands of the Balkan nations themselves. For these nationalities had been completely submerged and even their national consciousness annihilated under centuries of Moslem intolerance, misgovernment, oppression, and cruelty.

None suffered worse than Bulgaria, which lay nearest to the capital of the Mohammedan conqueror. Yet Bulgaria had had a glorious, if checkered, history long before there existed any Ottoman Empire either in Europe or in Asia. From the day their sovereign Boris accepted Christianity in 864 the Bulgarians had made rapid and conspicuous progress in their ceaseless conflicts with the Byzantine Empire. The Bulgarian church was recognized as independent by the Greek patriarch at Constantinople; its primates subsequently received the title of patriarch, and their see was established at Preslav, and then successively westward at Sofia, Vodena, Presba, and finally Ochrida, which looks out on the mountains of Albania. Under Czar Simeon, the son of Boris, "Bulgaria," says Gibbon, "assumed a rank among the civilized powers of the earth." His dominions extended from the Black Sea to the Adriatic and comprised the greater part of Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Servia, and Dalmatia; leaving only to the Byzantine Empire - whose civilization he introduced and sedulously promoted among the Bulgarians - the cities of Constantinople, Saloniki, and Adrianople with the territory immediately surrounding them. But this first Bulgarian Empire was shortlived, though the western part remained independent under Samuel, who reigned, with Ochrida as his capital, from 976 to 1014. Four years later the Byzantine Emperor, Basil II, annihilated the power of Samuel, and for a hundred and fifty years the Bulgarian people remained subject to the rule of Constantinople. In 1186 under the leadership of the brothers Asen they regained their independence. And the reign of Czar Asen II (1218-1240) was the most prosperous period of all Bulgarian history. He restored the Empire of Simeon, his boast being that he had left to the Byzantines nothing but Constantinople and the cities round it, and he encouraged commerce, cultivated arts and letters, founded and endowed churches and monasteries, and embellished his capital, Trnovo, with beautiful and magnificent buildings. After Asen came a period of decline culminating in a humiliating defeat by the Servians in 1330. The quarrels of the Christian races of the Balkans facilitated the advance of the Moslem invader, who overwhelmed the Serbs and their allies on the memorable field of Kossovo in 1389, and four years later captured and burned the Bulgarian capital, Trnovo, Czar Shishman himself perishing obscurely in the common destruction. For five centuries Bulgaria remained under Moslem despotism, we ourselves being the witnesses of her emancipation in the last thirty-five years.

The fate of the Serbs differed only in degree from that of the Bulgarians. Converted to Christianity in the middle of the ninth century, the major portion of the race remained till the twelfth century under either Bulgarian or Byzantine sovereignty. But Stephen Nemanyo bought under his rule Herzegovina, Montenegro and part of modern Servia and old Servia, and on his abdication in 1195 in favor of his son launched a royal dynasty which reigned over the Serb people for two centuries. Of that line the most distinguished member was Stephen Dushan, who reigned from 1331 to 1355. He wrested the whole of the Balkan Peninsula from the Byzantine Emperor, and took Belgrade, Bosnia, and Herzegovina from the King of Hungary. He encouraged literature, gave to his country a highly advanced code of laws, and protected the church whose head - the Archbishop of Ipek - he raised to the dignity of patriarch. On Easter Day 1346 he had himself crowned at Uskub as "Emperor of the Greeks and Serbs." A few years later he embarked on an enterprise by which, had he been successful, he might have changed the course of European history. It was nothing less than the capture of Constantinople and the union of Serbs, Bulgarians, and Greeks into an empire which might defend Christendom against the rising power of Islam. Dushan was within forty miles of his goal with an army of 80,000 men when he died suddenly in camp on the 20th of December, 1355. Thirty-four years later Dushan's countrymen were annihilated by the Turks at Kossovo! All the Slavonic peoples of the Balkan Peninsula save the brave mountaineers of Montenegro came under Moslem subjection. And under Moslem subjection they remained till the nineteenth century.


It is impossible to give any adequate description of the horrors of Turkish rule in these Christian countries of the Balkans. Their people, disqualified from holding even the smallest office, were absolutely helpless under the oppression of their foreign masters, who ground them down under an intolerable load of taxation and plunder. The culminating cruelty was the tribute of Christian children from ten to twelve years of age who were sent to Constantinople to recruit the corps of janissaries. It is not surprising that for the protection of wives and children and the safeguarding of interests the nobles of Bosnia and the Pomaks of Southeastern Bulgaria embraced the creed of their conquerors; the wonder is that the people as a whole remained true to their Christian faith even at the cost of daily martyrdom from generation to generation. Their fate too grew worse as the Turkish power declined after the unsuccessful siege of Vienna in 1683. For at first Ottoman troops ravaged Bulgaria as they marched through the land on their way to Austria; and later disbanded soldiers in defiance of Turkish authority plundered the country and committed nameless atrocities. Servia was to some extent protected by her remote location, but that very circumstance bred insubordination in the janissaries, who refused to obey the local Turkish governors and gave themselves up to looting, brigandage, and massacre. The national spirt of the subject races was completely crushed. The Servians and Bulgarians for three or four centuries lost all consciousness of a fatherland. The countrymen of Simeon and Dushan became mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for their foreign masters. Servia and Bulgaria simply disappeared. As late as 1834 Kinglake in travelling to Constantinople from Belgrade must have passed straight across Bulgaria. Yet in "Eothen," in which he describes his travels, he never even mentions that country or its people.

It is easy to understand that this history of Turkish horrors should have burned itself into the heart and soul of the resurrected Servia and Bulgaria of our own day. But there is another circumstance connected with the ruthless destruction and long entombment of these nationalities which it is difficult for foreigners, even the most intelligent foreigners, to understand or at any rate to grasp in its full significance. Yet the sentiments to which that circumstance has given rise and which it still nourishes are as potent a factor in contemporary Balkan politics as the antipathy of the Christian nations to their former Moslem oppressors.


I refer to the special and exceptional position held by the Greeks in the Turkish dominions. Though the Moslems had possessed themselves of the Greek Empire from the Bosphorus to the Danube, Greek domination still survived as an intellectual, ecclesiastical, and commercial force. The nature and effects of that supremacy, and its results upon the fortunes of other Balkan nations, we must now proceed to consider.

The Turkish government classifies its subjects not on the basis of nationality but on the basis of religion. A homogeneous religious group is designated a millet or nation. Thus the Moslems form the millet of Islam. And at the present time there are among others a Greek millet, a Catholic millet, and a Jewish millet. But from the first days of the Ottoman conquest until very recent times all the Christian population, irrespective of denominational differences, was assigned by the Sultans to the Greek millet, of which the patriarch of Constantinople was the head. The members of this millet were all called Greeks; the bishops and higher clergy were exclusively Greek; and the language of their churches and schools was Greek, which was also the language of literature, commerce, and polite society. But the jurisdiction of the patriarch was not restricted even to ecclesiastical and educational matters. It extended to a considerable part of civil law - notably to questions of marriage, divorce, and inheritance when they concerned Christians only.

It is obvious that the possession by the Greek patriarch of Constantinople of this enormous power over the Christian subjects of the Turks enabled him to carry on a propaganda of hellenization. The disappearance for three centuries of the national consciousness in Servia and Bulgaria was not the sole work of the Moslem invader; a more fatal blight to the national languages and culture were the Greek bishops and clergy who conducted their churches and schools. And if Kinglake knew nothing of Bulgaria as late as 1834 it was because every educated person in that country called himself a Greek. For it cannot be too strongly emphasized that until comparatively recent times all Christians of whatever nation or sect were officially recognized by the Turks as members of the Greek millet and were therefore designated Greeks.

The hostility of the Slavonic peoples in the Balkans, and especially of the Bulgarians, to the Greeks, grows out of the ecclesiastical and educational domination which the Greek clergy and bishops so long and so relentlessly exercised over them. Of course the Turkish Sultans are responsible for the arrangement. But there is no evidence that they had any other intention than to rid themselves of a disagreeable task. For the rest they regarded Greeks and Slavs with equal contempt. But the Greeks quickly recognized the racial advantage of their ecclesiastical hegemony. And it was not in human nature to give it up without a struggle. The patriarchate retained its exclusive jurisdiction over all orthodox populations till 1870, when the Sultan issued a firman establishing the Bulgarian exarchate.

There were two other spheres in which Greek influence was paramount in the Turkish Empire. The Turk is a soldier and farmer; the Greek is pre-eminent as a trader, and his ability secured him a disproportionate share of the trade of the empire. Again, the Greeks of Constantinople and other large cities gradually won the confidence of the Turks and attained political importance. During the eighteenth century the highest officials in the empire were invariably Phanariots, as the Constantinople Greeks were termed from the quarter of the city in which they resided.

In speaking of the Greeks I have not had in mind the inhabitants of the present kingdom of Greece. Their subjection by the Turks was as complete as that of the Serbs and Bulgaria though of course they were exempt from ecclesiastical domination at the hands of an alien clergy speaking a foreign language. The enmity of the Bulgarians may to-day be visited upon the subjects of King Constantine, but it was not their ancestors who imposed upon Bulgaria foreign schools and churches but the Greeks of Constantinople and Thrace, over whom the government of Athens has never had jurisdiction.


So much of the Balkan countries under Turkish rule. Their emancipation did not come till the nineteenth century. The first to throw off the yoke was Servia. Taking advantage of the disorganization and anarchy prevailing in the Ottoman Empire the Servian people rose in a body against their oppressors in January, 1804. Under the able leadership first of Kara-George and afterward of Milosh Obrenovich, Servian autonomy was definitely established in 1817. The complete independence of the country was recognized by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. The boundaries of the new state, however, fell far short of Servian aspirations, excluding as they did large numbers of the Servian population. The first ruling prince of modern Servia was Milosh Obrenovich; and the subsequent rulers have belonged either to the Obrenovich dynasty or to its rival the dynasty of Kara-George. King Peter, who came to the throne in 1903, is a member of the latter family.


Scarcely had Servia won her freedom when the Greek war of independence broke out. Archbishop Germanos called the Christian population of the Morea under the standard of the cross in 1821. For three years the Greeks, with the assistance of European money and volunteers (of whom Lord Byron was the most illustrious), conducted a successful campaign against the Turkish forces; but after the Sultan had in 1824 summoned to his aid Mehemet Ali, Pasha of Egypt, with his powerful fleet and disciplined army, the laurels which the Greek patriots had won were recovered by the oppressor; and, with the recapture of Athens in May, 1827, the whole country once more lay under the dominion of the Turks. The Powers now recognized that nothing but intervention could save Greece for European civilization. The Egyptian fleet was annihilated at Navarino in October, 1828, by the fleets of England, France, and Russia. Greece was constituted an independent monarchy, though the Powers who recognized its independence traced the frontier of the emancipated country in a jealous and niggardly spirit. Prince Otto of Bavaria was designated the first King and reigned for thirty years. He was succeeded in 1863 by King George who lived to see the northern boundary of his kingdom advanced to Saloniki, where, like a faithful sentinel at his post, he fell, on March 18, 1913, by the hand of an assassin just as he had attained the glorious fruition of a reign of fifty years.


There had been a literary revival preceding the dawn of independence in Greece. In Bulgaria, which was the last of the Balkan states to become independent, the national regeneration was also fostered by a literary and educational movement, of which the founding of the first Bulgarian school - that of Gabrovo - in 1835 was undoubtedly the most important event. In the next five years more than fifty Bulgarian schools were established and five Bulgarian printing-presses set up. The Bulgarians were beginning to re-discover their own nationality. Bulgarian schools and books produced a reaction against Greek culture and the Greek clergy who maintained it. Not much longer would Greek remain the language of the upper classes in Bulgarian cities; not much longer would ignorant peasants, who spoke only Bulgarian, call themselves Greek. The days of the spiritual domination of the Greek patriarchate were numbered. The ecclesiastical ascendency of the Greeks had crushed Bulgarian nationality more completely than even the civil power of the Turks. The abolition of the spiritual rule of foreigners and the restoration of the independent Bulgarian church became the leading object of the literary reformers, educators, and patriots. It was a long and arduous campaign - a campaign of education and awakening at home and of appeal and discussion in Constantinople. Finally the Sultan intervened and in 1870 issued a firman establishing the Bulgarian exarchate, conferring on it immediate jurisdiction over fifteen dioceses, and providing for the addition of other dioceses on a vote of two-thirds of their Christian population. The new Bulgarian exarch was immediately excommunicated by the Greek patriarch. But the first and most important official step had been taken in the development of Bulgarian nationality.

The revolt against the Turks followed in 1876. It was suppressed by acts of cruelty and horror unparalleled even in the Balkans. Many thousands of men, women, and children were massacred and scores of villages destroyed. I remember vividly - for I was then in England - how Gladstone's denunciation of those atrocities aroused a wave of moral indignation and wrath which swept furiously from one end of Great Britain to the other, and even aroused the governments and peoples of the Continent of Europe. The Porte refusing to adopt satisfactory measures of reform, Russia declared war and her victorious army advanced to the very gates of Constantinople. The Treaty of San Stefano, which Russia then enforced upon Turkey, created a "Big Bulgaria" that extended from the Black Sea to the Albanian Mountains and from the Danube to the Aegean, leaving to Turkey, however, Adrianople, Saloniki, and the Chalcidician Peninsula. But this treaty was torn to pieces by the Powers, who feared that "Big Bulgaria" would become a mere Russian dependency, and they substituted for it the Treaty of Berlin. Under this memorable instrument, which dashed to the ground the racial and national aspirations of the Bulgarians which the Treaty of San Stefano had so completely satisfied, their country was restricted to a "tributary principality" lying between the Danube and the Balkans, Eastern Roumelia to the south being excluded from it and made an autonomous province of Turkey. This breach in the political life of the race was healed in 1885 by the union of Eastern Roumelia with Bulgaria; and the Ottoman sovereignty, which had become little more than a form, was completely ended in 1908 when the ruler of the enlarged principality of Bulgaria publicly proclaimed it an independent kingdom. In spite of a protest from the Porte the independence of Bulgaria was at once recognized by the Powers.

If Bulgaria owed the freedom with which the Treaty of Berlin dowered her to the swords, and also to the pens, of foreigners, her complete independence was her own achievement. But it was not brought about till a generation after the Treaty of Berlin had recognized the independence of Servia, Montenegro, and Roumania and delegated to Austria-Hungary the administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet the progress made by Bulgaria first under Prince Alexander and especially since 1887 under Prince Ferdinand (who subsequently assumed the title of King and later of Czar) is one of the most astonishing phenomena in the history of Modern Europe.


Thus in consequence of the events we have here so hastily sketched Turkey had lost since the nineteenth century opened a large portion of the Balkan Peninsula. Along the Danube and the Save at the north Bulgaria and Servia had become independent kingdoms and Bosnia and Herzegovina had at first practically and later formally been annexed to Austria-Hungary. At the extreme southern end of the Balkan Peninsula the Greeks had carved out an independent kingdom extending from Cape Matapan to the Vale of Tempe and the Gulf of Arta. All that remained of European Turkey was the territory lying between Greece and the Slav countries of Montenegro, Bosnia, Servia, and Bulgaria. The Porte has divided this domain into six provinces or vilayets, besides Constantinople and its environs. These vilayets are Scutari and Janina on the Adriatic; Kossovo and Monastir, adjoining them on the east; next Saloniki, embracing the centre of the area; and finally Adrianople, extending from the Mesta River to the Black Sea. In ordinary language the ancient classical names are generally used to designate these divisions. The vilayet of Adrianople roughly corresponds to Thrace, the Adriatic vilayets to Epirus, and the intervening territory to Macedonia. Parts of the domain in question are, however, also known under other names. The district immediately south of Servia is often called Old Servia; and the Adriatic coast lands between Montenegro and Greece are generally designated Albania on the north and Epirus on the south.

The area of Turkey in Europe in 1912 was 169,300 square kilometers; of Bulgaria 96,300; of Greece 64,600; of Servia 48,300; and of Montenegro 9,000. The population of European Turkey at the same date was 6,130,000; of Bulgaria 4,329,000; of Greece 2,632,000; of Servia 2,912,000; and of Montenegro 250,000. To the north of the Balkan states, with the Danube on the south and the Black Sea on the east, lay Roumania having an area of 131,350 square kilometers and a population of 7,070,000.


What was the occasion of the war between Turkey and the Balkan states in 1912? The most general answer that can be given to that question is contained in the one word Macedonia. Geographically Macedonia lies between Greece, Servia, and Bulgaria. Ethnographically it is an extension of their races. And if, as Matthew Arnold declared, the primary impulse both of individuals and of nations is the tendency to expansion, Macedonia both in virtue of its location and of its population was foreordained to be a magnet to the emancipated Christian nations of the Balkans. Of course the expansion of Greeks and Slavs meant the expulsion of Turks. Hence the Macedonian question was the quintessence of the Near Eastern Question.

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.


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.


King George himself was a ruler of large experience, of great practical wisdom, and of fine diplomatic skill. He had shortly before selected as prime minister the former Cretan insurgent, Mr. Eleutherios Venizelos. It is significant that the new premier had also taken the War portfolio. He foresaw the impending conflict - as every wise statesman in Europe had foreseen it - and began to make preparations for it. For the reorganization of the army and navy he secured French and English experts, the former headed by General Eydoux, the latter by Admiral Tufnel. By 1914 it was estimated that the military and naval forces of the country would be thoroughly trained and equipped, and war was not expected before that date. But now in 1912 the hand of the Greek government was forced. And a decision one way or the other was inevitable.

Mr. Venizelos had already proved himself an agitator, an orator, and a politician. He was now to reveal himself not only to Greece but to Europe as a wise statesman and an effective leader of his people. The first test came in his answer to the invitation to join Bulgaria and Servia within three days in a war against Turkey. Of all possibilities open to him Mr. Venizelos rejected the programme of continued isolation for Greece. There were those who glorified it as splendid and majestic: to him under the existing circumstances it seemed stupid in itself and certain to prove disastrous in its results. Greece alone would never have been able to wage a war against Turkey. And if Greece declined to participate in the inevitable conflict, which the action of the two Slav states had only hastened, then whether they won or Turkey won, Greece was bound to lose. It was improbable that the Ottoman power should come out of the contest victorious; but, if the unexpected happened, what would be the position, not only of the millions of Greeks in the Turkish Empire, but of the little kingdom of Greece itself on whose northern boundary the insolent Moslem oppressor, flushed with his triumph over Bulgaria, Servia, and Montenegro, would be immovably entrenched? On the other hand if these Christian states themselves should succeed, as seemed likely, in destroying the Ottoman Empire in Europe, the Kingdom of Greece, if she now remained a passive spectator of their struggles, would find in the end that Macedonia had come into the possession of the victorious Slavs, and the Great Idea of the Greeks - the idea of expansion into Hellenic lands eastward toward Constantinople - exploded as an empty bubble. It was Mr. Venizelos's conclusion that Greece could not avoid participating in the struggle. Neutrality would have entailed the complete bankruptcy of Hellenism in the Orient. There remained only the alternative of co-operation - co-operation with Turkey or co-operation with the Christian states of the Balkans.


How near Greece was to an alliance with Turkey the world may never know. At the nothing of the sort was even suspected. It was not until Turkey had been overpowered by the forces of the four Christian states and the attitude of Bulgaria toward the other three on the question of the division of the conquered territories had become irreconcilable and menacing that Mr. Venizelos felt it proper to communicate to the Greek people the history of the negotiations by which the Greek government had bound their country to a partner now felt to be so unreasonable and greedy. Feeling in Greece was running high against Bulgaria. The attacks on Mr. Venizelos's government were numerous and bitter. He was getting little or no credit for the victory that had been won against Turkey, while his opponents denounced him for sacrificing the fruits of that victory to Bulgaria. The Greek nation especially resented the occupation by Bulgarian troops of the Aegean coast lands with their large Hellenic population which lay between the Struma and the Mesta including the cities of Seres and Drama and especially Kavala with its fine harbor and its hinterland famed for crops of choice tobacco.

It was on the fourth of July, 1913, a few days after the outbreak of the war between Bulgaria and her late allies, that Mr. Venizelos made his defence in an eloquent and powerful speech at a special session of the Greek parliament. The accusation against him was not only that during the late war he had sacrificed Greek interests to Bulgaria but that he had committed a fatal blunder in joining her in the campaign against Turkey. His reply was that since Greece could not stand alone he had to seek allies in the Balkans, and that it was not his fault if the choice had fallen on Bulgaria. He had endeavored to maintain peace with Turkey. Listen to his own words:

   "I did not seek war against the Ottoman Empire. I would not have 
   sought war at a later date if I could have obtained any 
   adjustment of the Cretan question - that thorn in the side of 
   Greece which can no longer be left as it is without rendering a 
   normal political life absolutely impossible for us. I endeavored 
   to adjust this question, to continue the policy of a close 
   understanding with the neighboring empire, in the hope of 
   obtaining in this way the introduction of reforms which would 
   render existence tolerable to the millions of Greeks within the 
   Ottoman Empire."


It was this Cretan question, even more than the Macedonian question, which in 1897 had driven Greece, single-handed and unprepared, into a war with Turkey in which she was destined to meet speedy and overwhelming defeat. It was this same "accursed Cretan question," as Mr. Venizelos called it, which now drew the country into a military alliance against her Ottoman neighbor who, until too late, refused to make any concession either to the just claims of the Cretans or to the conciliatory proposals of the Greek government.

Lying midway between three continents, the island of Crete has played a large part both in ancient and modern history. The explorations and excavations of Sir Arthur Evans at Cnossus seem to prove that the Homeric civilization of Tiryns and Mycenae was derived from Crete, whose earliest remains carry us back three thousand years before the Christian era. And if Crete gave to ancient Greece her earliest civilization she has insisted on giving herself to modern Greece. It is a natural union; for the Cretans are Greeks, undiluted with Turk, Albanian, or Slav blood, though with some admixture of Italian. The one obstacle to this marriage of kindred souls has been Turkey. For Crete was taken from the Venetians by the Turks in 1669, after a twenty years' siege of Candia, the capital. A portion of the inhabitants embraced the creed of their conquerors, so that at the present time perhaps two-thirds of the population are Christian and one-third Moslem. The result has been to make Crete the worst governed province of the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey in Europe diversity of race has kept the Christians quarreling with one another; in Crete diversity of religion plunges the same race into internecine war as often as once in ten years. The island had been the scene of chronic insurrections all through the nineteenth century. Each ended as a rule with a promise of the Sultan to confer upon the Cretans some form of local self-government, with additional privileges, financial or other. But these promises were never fulfilled. Things went from bad to worse. The military intervention of Greece in 1897 led to war with Turkey in which she was disastrously defeated. The European Powers had meantime intervened and they decided that Crete should be endowed with autonomy under the sovereignty of the Sultan, and in 1898 they appointed Prince George of Greece as High Commissioner. Between the political parties of the island and the representatives of the Powers the Prince, who worked steadily for the welfare of Crete, had a difficult task, and in 1906 he withdrew, his successor being Mr. Zaimis, a former prime minister of Greece. The new commissioner was able to report to the protecting Powers in 1908 that a gendarmerie had been established, that tranquility was being maintained, and that the Moslem population enjoyed safety and security. Thereupon the Powers began to withdraw their forces from the island. And the project for annexation with Greece, which had been proclaimed by the Cretan insurgents under Mr. Venizelos in 1905 and which the insular assembly had hastened to endorse, was once more voted by the assembly, who went on to provide for the government of the island in the name of the King of Greece. I have not time to follow in detail the history of this programme of annexation. Suffice it to say that the Cretans ultimately went so far as to elect members to sit in the Greek Parliament at Athens, and that Turkey had given notice that their admission to the chamber would be regarded as a casus belli. I saw them on their arrival in Athens in October 1912, where they received a most enthusiastic welcome from the Greeks, while everybody stopped to admire their picturesque dress, their superb physique, and their dignified demeanor. If Mr. Venizelos excluded these delegates from the chamber he would defy the sentiments of the Greek people. If he admitted them, Turkey would proclaim war.


The course actually pursued by Mr. Venizelos in this predicament he himself explained to the parliament in the speech delivered at the close of the war against Turkey from which I have already quoted. He declared to his astonished countrymen that in his desire to reach a close understanding with Turkey he had arrived at the point where he no longer demanded a union of Crete with Greece, "knowing it was too much for the Ottoman Empire." What he did ask for was the recognition of the right of the Cretan deputies to sit in the Greek chamber, while Crete itself should remain an autonomous state under the sovereignty of the Sultan. Nay, Mr. Venizelos was so anxious to prevent war with Turkey that he made another concession, for which, he frankly confessed, his political opponents if things had turned out differently would have impeached him for high treason. He actually proposed, in return for the recognition of the right of the Cretan deputies to sit in the Greek chamber, that Greece should pay on behalf of Crete an annual tribute to the Porte.

Happily for Mr. Venizelos's government the Young Turk party who then governed the Ottoman Empire rejected all these proposals. Meanwhile their misgovernment and massacre of Christians in Macedonia were inflaming the red Slav nations and driving them into War against Turkey. When matters had reached a crisis, the reactionary and incompetent Young Turk party were forced out of power and a wise and prudent statesman, the venerable Kiamil Pasha, succeeded to the office of Grand Vizier. He was all for conciliation and compromise with the Greek government, whom he had often warned against an alliance with Bulgaria, and he had in readiness a solution of the Cretan question which he was certain would be satisfactory to both Greece and Turkey. But these concessions were now too late. Greece had decided to throw in her lot with Servia and Bulgaria. And a decree was issued for the mobilization of the Greek troops.


There is not time, nor have I the qualifications, to describe the military operations which followed. In Greece the Crown Prince was appointed commanding general, and the eve proved him one of the great captains of our day. The prime minister, who was also minister of war, furnished him with troops and munitions and supplies. The plains and hills about Athens were turned into mock battlefields for the training of raw recruits; and young Greeks from all parts of the world - tens of thousands of them from America - poured in to protect the fatherland and to fight the secular enemy of Europe. The Greek government had undertaken to raise an army of 125,000 men to co-operate with the Allies; it was twice as large a number as even the friends of Greece dreamed possible; yet before the war closed King Constantine had under his banner an army of 250,000 men admirably armed, clothed, and equipped; - each soldier indeed having munitions fifty per cent in excess of the figure fixed by the general staff.


The Greek army, which had been concentrated at Larissa, entered Macedonia by the Pass and the valley of the Xerias River. The Turks met the advancing force at Elassona but retired after a few hours' fighting. They took their stand at the pass of Sarandaporon, from which they were driven by a day's hard fighting on the part of the Greek army and the masterly tactics of the Crown Prince. On October 23 the Greeks were in possession of Serndje. Thence they pushed forward on both sides of the Aliakmon River toward Veria, which the Crown Prince entered with his staff on the morning of October 30. They had covered 150 miles from Larissa, with no facilities but wagons for feeding the army and supplying ammunition. But at Veria they struck the line of railway from Monastir to Saloniki. Not far away was Jenitsa, where the Turkish army numbering from 35,000 to 40,000 had concentrated to make a stand for the protection of Saloniki. The battle of Jenitsa was fiercely contested but the Greeks were victorious though they lost about 2000 men. This victory opened the way to Saloniki. The Turkish armies which defended it having been scattered by the Greek forces, that city surrendered to Crown Prince Constantine on the eighth of November. It was only three weeks since the Greek army had left Larissa and it had disposed of about 60,000 Turks on the way.

On the outbreak of war Greece had declared a blockade of all Turkish ports. To the usual list of contraband articles there were added not only coal, concerning which the practice of belligerent nations had varied, but also machine oil, which so far as I know was then for the first time declared contraband of war. As Turkey imported both coal and lubricants, the purpose of this policy was of course to paralyze transportation in the Ottoman Empire. Incidentally I may say the prohibition of lubricating oil caused much inconvenience to American commerce; not, however, primarily on its own account, but because of its confusion, in the minds of Greek officials, with such harmless substances as cotton seed oil and oleo. The Greek navy not only maintained a very effective blockade but also took possession of all the Aegean Islands under Turkish rule, excepting Rhodes and the Dodecanese, which Italy held as a temporary pledge for the fulfilment by Turkey of some of the conditions of the treaty by which they had closed their recent war. It will be seen, therefore, that the navy was a most important agent in the campaign, and Greece was the only one of the Allies that had a navy. The Greek navy was sufficient not only to terrorize the Turkish navy, which it reduced to complete impotence, but also to paralyze Turkish trade and commerce with the outside world, to embarrass railway transportation within the Empire, to prevent the sending of reinforcements to Macedonia or the Aegean coast of Thrace, and to detach from Turkey those Aegean Islands over which she still exercised effective jurisdiction.


On land the other Allies had been not less active than Greece. Montenegro had fired the first shot of the war. And the brave soldiers of King Nicholas, the illustrious ruler of the one Balkan state which the Turks had never conquered, were dealing deadly blows to their secular enemy both in Novi Bazar and Albania.

As the Greeks had pressed into southern Macedonia, so the Servian armies advanced through old Servia into northern and central Macedonia. In their great victory over the Turkish forces at Kumanovo they avenged the defeat of their ancestors at Kossovo five hundred years before. Still marching southward they again defeated the enemy in two great engagements, the one at Prilip and the other at Monastir. The latter city had been the object of the Greek advance to Florina, but when the prize fell to Servia, though the Greeks were appointed, it made no breach in the friendship of the two Allies. Already no doubt they were both gratified that the spheres of their military occupation were conterminous and that no Turkish territory remained for Bulgaria to occupy west of the Vardar River.


While Greece and Servia were scattering, capturing, or destroying the Turkish troops stationed in Macedonia, and closing in on that province from north and south like an irresistible vise, it fell to Bulgaria to meet the enemy's main army in the plains of Eastern Thrace. The distribution of the forces of the Allies was the natural result of their respective geographical location. Macedonia to the west of the Vardar and Bregalnitza Rivers was the only part of Turkey which adjoined Greece and Servia. Thrace, on the other hand, marched with the southern boundary of Bulgaria from the sources of the Mesta River to the Black Sea, and its eastern half was intersected diagonally by the main road from Sofia to Adrianople and Constantinople. Along this line the Bulgarians sent their forces against the common enemy as soon as war was declared. The swift story of their military exploits, the record of their brilliant victories, struck Europe with amazement. Here was a country which only thirty-five years earlier had been an unknown and despised province of Turkey in Europe now overwhelming the armies of the Ottoman Empire in the great victories of Kirk Kilisse, Lule Burgas, and Chorlu. In a few weeks the irresistible troops of King Ferdinand had reached the Chataldja line of fortifications. Only twenty-five miles beyond lay Constantinople where they hoped to celebrate their final triumph.


The Great Powers of Europe had other views. Even if the Bulgarian delay at Chataldja - a delay probably due to exhaustion - had not given the Turks time to strengthen their defences and reorganize their forces, it is practically certain that the Bulgarian army would not have been permitted to enter Constantinople. But with the exception of the capital and its fortified fringe, all Turkey in Europe now lay at the mercy of the Allies. The entire territory was either already occupied by their troops or could be occupied at leisure. Only at three isolated points was the Ottoman power unsubdued. The city of Adrianople, though closely besieged by the Bulgarians, still held out, and the great fortresses of Scutari in Northern Albania and Janina in Epirus remained in the hands of their Turkish garrisons.

The power of Turkey had collapsed in a few weeks. Whether the ruin was due to inefficiency and corruption in government or the injection by the Young Turk party of politics into the army or exhaustion resulting from the recent war with Italy or to other causes more obscure, we need not pause to inquire. The disaster itself, however, had spread far enough in the opinion of Europe, and a Peace Conference was summoned in December. Delegates from the belligerent states and ambassadors from the Great Powers came together in London. But their labors in the cause of peace proved unavailing. Turkey was unwilling to surrender Adrianople and Bulgaria insisted on it as a sine qua non. The Peace Conference broke up and hostilities were resumed. The siege of Adrianople was pressed by the Bulgarians with the aid of 60,000 Servian troops. It was taken by storm on March 26. Already, on March 6, Janina had yielded to the well directed attacks of King Constantine. And the fighting ended with the spectacular surrender on April 23 of Scutari to King Nicholas, who for a day at least defied the united will of Europe.

Turkey was finally compelled to accept terms of peace. In January, while the London Peace Conference was still in session, Kiamil Pasha, who had endeavored to prepare the nation for the territorial sacrifice he had all along recognized as inevitable, was driven from power and his war minister, Nazim Pasha, murdered through an uprising of the Young Turk party executed by Enver Bey, who himself demanded the resignation of Kiamil and carried it to the Sultan and secured its acceptance. The insurgents set up Mahmud Shevket Pasha as Grand Vizier and made the retention of Adrianople their cardinal policy. But the same inexorable fate overtook the new government in April as faced Kiamil in January. The Powers were insistent on peace, and the successes of the Allies left no alternative and no excuse for delay. The Young Turk party who had come to power on the Adrianople issue were accordingly compelled to ratify the cession to the allies of the city with all its mosques and tombs and historic souvenirs. The Treaty of London, which proved to be short-lived, was signed on May 30.


The treaty of peace provided that beyond a line drawn from Enos near the mouth of the Maritza River on the Aegean Sea to Midia on the coast of the Black Sea all Turkey should be ceded to the Allies except Albania, whose boundaries were to be fixed by the Great Powers. It was also stipulated that the Great Powers should determine the destiny of the Aegean Islands belonging to Turkey which Greece now claimed by right of military occupation and the vote of their inhabitants (nearly all of whom were Greek). A more direct concession to Greece was the withdrawal of Turkish sovereignty over Crete. The treaty also contained financial and other provisions, but they do not concern us here. The essential point is that, with the exception of Constantinople and a narrow hinterland for its protection, the Moslems after more than five centuries of possession had been driven out of Europe.

This great and memorable consummation was the achievement of the united nations of the Balkans. It was not a happy augury for the immediate future to recall the historic fact that the past successes of the Moslems had been due to dissensions and divisions among their Christian neighbors.

[Map: map2.png Caption: Map showing the Turkish Territories occupied by the Armies of Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Servia at the close of the War against Turkey]