Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

At six o'clock on the balmy summer all military and civil officers "guilty of evening of July 23, 1914, when the propaganda against Austria whose cafés of Belgrade were full of peaceful names and deeds the Austrian Governcitizens busy over their sugar-water and ment reserved to itself the right of comsyrupy Turkish coffee, when the band municating,"—that is, without letting was playing in the beautiful gardens Serbia satisfy itself of their guilt, overlooking the Danube, his Excellency, “to accept the collaboration in Serbia Freiherr von Giesl, the minister of Aus- of representatives of the Austrian Govtria, presented himself at the office of ernment” to help put down the antiM. Patchou, the Serbian minister of Austrian propaganda, to prosecute the finance. He did not go to the Serbian accessories in Serbia to the plot against foreign ministry, because M. Pashitch, the archduke, in the investigation of the premier, who also managed foreign which delegates of the Austrian Govmatters, was absent from the little capi- ernment would take part, to arrest two tal. Freiherr von Giesl presented an Serbian officials who had been impliofficial document, and added verbally cated by the trial at Serajevo, and to that he was under orders that “if the put a stop to the smuggling of arms note was not accepted integrally within from Serbia into Bosnia. forty-eight hours, he was to leave Bel- But the most deadly sting of this grade with the staff of the legation." scorpion was in the tail. “The Austrian

M. Patchou was so agitated when he Government expects the reply of the read the document that he at once tele- Royal [Serbian] Government at the graphed for all his colleagues to come latest by 6 o'clock on Saturday evening, back to Belgrade, and also got in touch the 25th of July." with the Russian chargé d'affaires. He Any person with a smattering of ininformed the latter "that he solicited ternational law knew that Serbia could the help of Russia, for no Serbian Gov- not assent to the demands that Austrian ernment could accept the demands of officials should enter the country to sit Austria.” The next morning the wires in judgment on Serbian subjects, whose not merely from Belgrade, but from guilt seemed assumed in advance, withBerlin, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Paris, out withdrawing King Peter's kingdom London, and Rome were overladen with automatically from the list of selfthe messages of excited diplomats, and respecting and independent countries. M. Sazonof, the czar's minister for for- From the outset the diplomats who read eign affairs, was issuing a frantic ap- this note knew one or two things to be peal for moderating counsels whereby true: either the Vienna foreign office “to prevent consequences incalculable assumed the Serbians to be veritable and equally fatal for all the powers.” rabbits ready to barter soul and honor Obviously the good Giesl had had the for safety, or Vienna wished for nothhonor of delivering a somewhat momen- ing but war. And only forty-eight tous document. The Serbian Note had hours were left to Serbia to decide been thrust upon the world.

either to sign away her national indeThe document was instantly recog- pendence or engage in a deadly struggle nized as charged with dynamite. It re- against hopeless odds—unless Russia cited the sins of the Serbian Govern- stirred. Then the South Slav cried to ment in failing to check the unfriendly the North Slav, and he did not cry in and obnoxious Pan-Serbist agitation, vain. called on it to make formal repudiation During the terrible twelve days that of the same in its official journal, then were to follow a large number of diploadded ten categorical demands whereof mats were to sign despatches that will the substance was that King Peter's live long in history, but of course cerministers forthwith promise to sup- tain figures played the greater parts. press every paper "inciting to hatred In St. Petersburg it was M. Sazonof, and contempt" of Austria, to dissolve the reasonable and moderate foreign the Pan-Serbist society, the Narodna minister, one of the really capable men Odbrana, and all similar societies, to whom Nicholas II, with all his faults, dismiss from the Serbian public service contrived to enroll in his service. In Vienna it was Count Berchtold, Francis Meantime in Austria the Russian Joseph's foreign minister, bent on a ambassador was hastening back from snug little war with Serbia at almost his vacation by fast train to Vienna. all hazards, but perhaps not so anxious In his stead the Russian chargé was as his compeers at Berlin to bring to presenting an urgent request that Auspass the universal “Day." At Berlin tria extend her forty-eight-hour timethere were (on the surface) the Chancel- limit for Serbia, to see if some outlet lor Bethmann-Hollweg and his smooth could not be arranged from a black foreign secretary Jagow, speaking peace situation. He was very coldly received; with their lips and yet somehow always and in fact his request was absolutely rejecting any effective proposition for disregarded. insuring it.

On July 25 Sazonof announced that On the morning of July 24 the vari- Serbia might evacuate Belgrade and ous Austrian embassies communicated allow Austria to seize it without fightthe instantly famous note to the for- ing. Such a move ought to satisfy the eign offices of the other powers and pride of Vienna. After that, “Russia cheerfully awaited results. The deliv- would be quite willing to stand aside ery of the note at Belgrade had been and leave the question in the hands of devilishly well-timed. Nominally forty- England, France, Germany, and Italy." eight hours of grace were given. Ac- He said, however, that if worst came to tually by delivering the document at worst, “Russia could not allow Austria 6 P. M. it was the next morning before to crush Serbia and become the prethe various foreign ministers would dominant power in the Balkans. have real opportunity to digest it. He did not wish to precipitate a con

One of Sir Edward Grey's first com- flict, but unless Germany could restrain ments was, “I had never seen one state Austria, the situation could be regardaddress to another independent state a ed as desperate." document of so formidable a charac- The Serbs were terror-stricken. They ter"; he added that the demand to send knew that part of the Austrian demands Austrian officials into Serbia was sub- were justifiable, that the Pan-Serbist versive of Serbian independence. At propaganda had been undeniably unSt. Petersburg M. Sazonof met in haste friendly, and that there had been unwith the French and English ambassa- seemly rejoicings in Belgrade at the dors. His diagnosis of the case was news of the murder of the archduke. expert and speedy. "Austria's conduct Besides, Serbia had been in bad odor in was both provocative and immoral. She Europe ever since the killing of King would never have taken such action Alexander. Russia was not anxious for unless Germany had first been con- war, France was loath to pour out blood sulted." Sazonof now begged of Great and treasure purely over a Balkan Britain that she declare that in case of squabble, and England was still more war she would fight beside Russia and unwilling. As a result the Serbs alFrance. The latter was bound by firm most literally fell on their knees. They treaty to Russia in any case, but En- did everything but pawn their national gland only by an informal “entente” independence. For practical purposes for diplomatic coöperation. If the they assented to every one of the drasTeutons, however, were sure they would tic Austrian demands save only those have to fight England also, they might requiring that Austrian officials should recede. The British ambassador and conduct investigations and trials on Grey in London could not, however, Serbian soil, and they would accept this give a binding engagement as to this. so far as it “agrees with the principle English public opinion would never of international law, with criminal prosanction a war which seemed primarily cedure, and with good neighborly relato defend Serbia and Russia. All that tions." If Austria was not satisfied London could then promise was to put with this reply, Serbia would be glad pressure on Berlin and Vienna to keep to refer all mooted questions “to the dethe peace, and this pledge was most cision of the international tribunal of vigorously fulfilled.

The Hague.”

was

It was 5:45 P. M. when this formal case to a little harmless punishment of humiliation of a weak nation before a Serbia for certain unquestioned sins? strong one was placed in the hands of Sir Edward Grey began moving heaven Gies), the Austrian minister. That and earth to convene a conference of gentleman evidently did not feel re- the ambassadors of the four "disinterquired to waste much time studying its ested” powers (France, Germany, Italy, clauses, to see whether under their and England) at London to find some “evasive" and "unsatisfactory” phrases outlet for the case honorable both to (so the Vienna

Russia and to Auspapers soon an

tria. Serbia might nounced) there

be chastised, but might not be terms

surely her national admitting of ac

life and honor must commodation and

be spared. To this peace; also little

English proposition time wasted

Italy and France telegraphing the

agreed promptly document to

and gladly; but Vienna and weigh

Jagow at Berlin at ing its terms in

once raised difficulFrancis Joseph's

ties. Russia and cabinet: for prac

Austria had better tical purposes the

fail to reach an Serbs might just

understanding, he as well have flung

thought, before back bra ve defi

others intervened. ance. At 6:30 P. M.

So another day was Freiherr von Giesl

lost. handed in a note at

That night the Belgrade, declar

German Kaiser ing "that not hav

suddenly returned ing received a satPhotograph by Paul Thompson

from Norway. His isfactory answer

Sir Edward Grey

foreign officials within the time

said that he came limit set, he was

back on his own leaving Belgrade with the entire staff initiative and they feared lest his of the legation." The train containing Majesty's “return cause speculation this "high-born" Austrian soon rum- and excitement.” The Berlin foreign bled over the Danube into his own em- office was undoubtedly the calmest chanpire. Diplomatic relations were broken, cellery in Europe. Good Herr von Jaand the mobilization of troops opposite gow talked placidly of taking “a more the Serbian capital and the approach hopeful view of the general situation." of Austrian river monitors indicated On the twenty-seventh the British that bullets would soon supersede proto- ambassador at Vienna telegraphed that cols. In Budapest and Vienna the “the country has gone wild with joy at people were parading and huzzaing in the prospect of war with Serbia, and the streets. Serbia was weak and very its postponement or prevention would much hated. It was generally felt that undoubtedly be a great disappointRussia would not dare to stir in the ment.” Meanwhile Jagow was still givface of Germany. The short, easy war ing smooth words about being willing seemed very popular. The invasion of to coöperate with England to get peace, Serbia would be merely a promenade. but he was becoming painfully vague

On the twenty-sixth the diplomats when it passed to details. In London, somewhat anxiously waited for the next however, Sir Edward Grey was not move. Breaking friendly relations was vague when he talked with the Austrian not quite the same as declaring war. ambassador. That personage was told Would it not be possible to limit the clearly that his Government was taking a terrible risk if it imagined it could put pressure on Austria. Russia ought attack Serbia and still satisfy Russia. to keep out of the quarrel. "From If they failed in this last, "the conse- Austria's standpoint (and in this he quences would be incalculable.” The case agreed] her quarrel with Serbia was a was becoming so bad that the British purely Austrian concern with which had not been able to disperse their fleet Russia had nothing to do.” If peace after maneuvers, and as for Serbia, that was to be kept, it was to be by a direct · country had already submitted to "the agreement between Vienna and St. greatest humiliation I had ever seen a Petersburg. Almost simultaneous with country undergo," and it was utterly this interview was another at Vienna disappointing to have her groveling an- between Francis Joseph's foreign minswer treated like "a blank negative." ister and the Russian ambassador. The At St. Petersburg, Sazonof was again latter was told that no accommodation saying that Russia was very willing to with Russia as to Serbia was possible. let the four "disinterested powers" get The ambassador therefore wired St. together and decide on what was just Petersburg that the only hope of healunder the premises. From Berlin there ing the breach was by a conference of came almost no decisive sign.

[graphic]

the powers, which was the very thing On the twenty-eighth Austria for- Bethmann-Hollweg at Berlin had just mally declared war on Serbia. This rejected. meant that the situation could not be On July twenty-ninth a great change put back into its old state without for- came over the whole situation. Hithermal negotiations and a solemn treaty. to the quarrel had been between AusSoon cannon-shots were flying across tria and Russia as to the right of the the Danube. Austria was now mobiliz- latter to interpose in behalf of Serbia. ing vast armies, avowedly to crush Berlin had simply sat back quietly, feeble Serbia, but on so general a scale folded its hands, and rejected every that it was plain she was getting ready practical suggestion, especially from for anything. As a natural answer England, for averting dire disaster. Russia began to mobilize also, not the "The contest must be localized,”-that entire hosts of the czar, but only in the is, Austria must be allowed to treat South-a partial mobilization to pre- Serbia unhindered in her own stern vent herself from being hamstrung by way,—that had been the substance of a a sudden blow in case it should turn dozen "conversations" permitted by out that Austria was not mobilizing Jagow and his superior, the chancelagainst Serbia only, and also, it should lor.1 Now suddenly Berlin began an be fairly added, to lend weight to her amazing activity. Was this because urgent representations that Serbia William of Hohenzollern was constituought not to be blotted from the list of tionally unable to be the spectator of independent nations, whatever the jus- any drama when he might personally tice of her cause. Russia took pains to be an actor? Was it because the preinform Germany that her mobilization cise point had been reached when by was merely partial and facing Austria prearrangement Germany was to interonly, and that she did not intend war. vene? Both things are very likely and In fact, the Russian ambassador had by means incompatible. While orders to remain at Vienna and to work France and England were still endeavfor peace. Meanwhile at Berlin Beth-, oring frantically to find some decent mann-Hollweg was telling the English outlet that would save Austria's interambassador that he could not consent to ests, Serbia's life, and Russia's honor, a general conference of the powers to while Sir Edward Grey was telegraph

1 I decline at this late date to enter into the question whether Germany had cognizance of the precise text of the Serbian Note by Austria. The denial by the magnates of the Berlin foreign office that they had had advance knowledge of its precise tenor or wording is the denial of men concerning whose personal veracity Americans have formed a very clear-cut opinion. But in any case the evidence is plain that the German Government knew perfectly well that Austria intended to precipitate a crisis menacing to the peace of Europe, and that it egged on its dupe and ally to accomplish its purpose. This is bluntly admitted in the German “White Book" issued officially at Berlin at the outbreak of the war. “We were perfectly well aware tha: a possible warlike attitude of Austria against Serbia might bring Russia into the field, and that we might therefore be involved in a war, in accordance with our duty as allies. We could not, however . . . advise our ally to adopt a conciliatory attitude incompatible with her dignity."

Such a statement is enough for the densest jury.

no

was

ing Berlin that if the proposed schemes When the conclave broke up Bethfor conciliation did not suit, Germany mann-Hollweg returned with precipi"should suggest any method by which tancy to Berlin and telephoned to the the influence of the 'four powers' could British embassy. He wished to see Sir be used to prevent war between Austria Edward Goschen. The ambassador at and Russia”; and that England, France, once called on the chancellor. Their and Italy would put the scheme into interview

memorable. Hitherto effect “if mine was not acceptable”- nearly all their talk had been about while all these

Russia and Austhings were going

tria. Now suddenon, Bethmann

ly Bethmann-HollHollweg had been

weg spoke openly not at his office on

of Germany enterthe Wilhelmstrasse,

ing a general war, but with his im

"owing to her obperial master at

ligations as AusPotsdam, sixteen

tria's ally." But miles away.

the chancellor There at the old

"made a strong bid seat of the Hohen

for British neuzollerns was being

trality.” Let Engheld a great war

land only stand council. The heir

clear, and Gerof William I and of

many would promFrederick the

ise not to crush Great was there,

France too severehis captains, his

ly, and especially admirals, his mas

would not annex ter financiers—all

any of her hone the controlling

territories, alspirits who had

though he was very perfected the huge Photograph by Paul Thompson

vague as to what Hohenzollern war

might happen to

Count Berchtold machine in expec

her colonies. tation of precisely

"And Belgium ?" this moment. Doubtless views were ex- asked the Englishman. changed with the uttermost frankness, "It depended upon the action of all possibilities discussed in perfect France," came the answer, “what opcold blood, the precise moves by which erations Germany might be forced to millions of lives might be snuffed out enter upon in Belgium; but when the in the war-game arranged, and every- war was over her integrity would be thing made ready for the last grim de- respected if she had not sided against cision. Of course the details were kept Germany." carefully hidden, but there is no reason There was more pleasant talk about for doubting the substantial accuracy a permanent “understanding with Enof what the well-informed Berlin cor- gland," on which Bethmann-Hollweg respondent of the London “Times” tele- had set his peaceful heart. The ambasgraphed the next day: “No secret, I sador, howeverreceived his words understand, is made at the foreign of- coldly, said he did not think his Govfice this morning of the fact that the ernment cared to make any pledges military authorities were pressing for based on such propositions, and made immediate mobilization, and that a de- haste to put his momentous tidings on cision must be reached within a day or the wires to London. That night Sir two.... Imminence of mobilization Edward Grey and his associates at least is so obvious that there is little secret knew that Germany was plotting war about the preliminary preparations that against France and Russia, and that are being made."

she wished to see England sit calmly by

[graphic]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »