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Title: The World War and What was Behind It; Or, The Story of the Map of Europe

Author: Louis Paul Bénézet

Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #11200]
Most recently updated: June 22, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Distributed Proofreaders



The World War and What Was Behind It


The Story of the Map of Europe


L. P. Bénézet



The Peace Palace at the Hague


This little volume is the result of the interest shown by pupils, teachers, and the general public in a series of talks on the causes of the great European war which were given by the author in the fall of 1914. The audiences were widely different in character. They included pupils of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, students in high school and normal school, teachers in the public schools, an association of business men, and a convention of boards of education. In every case, the same sentiment was voiced: “If there were only some book which would give us these facts in simple language and illustrate them by maps and charts as you have done!” After searching the market for a book of this sort without success, the author determined to put the subject of his talks into manuscript form. It has been his aim to write in a style which is well within the comprehension of the children in the upper grades and yet is not too juvenile for adult readers. The book deals with the remarkable sequence of events in Europe which made the great war inevitable. Facts are revealed which, so far as the author knows, have not been published in any history to date; facts which had the strongest possible bearing on the outbreak of the war. The average American, whether child or adult, has little conception of conditions in Europe. In America all races mix. The children of the Polish Jew mingle with those of the Sicilian, and in the second generations both peoples have become Americans. Bohemians intermarry with Irish, Scotch with Norwegians. In Europe, on the other hand, Czech and Teuton, Bulgar and Serb may live side by side for centuries without mixing or losing their distinct racial characteristics. In order that the American reader may understand the complicated problem of European peace, a study of races and languages is given in the text, showing the relationship of Slav, Celt, Latin, and Teuton, and the various sub-divisions of these peoples. A knowledge of these facts is very essential to any understanding of the situation in Europe. The author has pointed out the fact that political boundaries are largely king-made, and that they have seldom been drawn with regard to the natural division of Europe by nationalities, or to the wishes of the mass of the population.

The chapter, entitled “Europe as it Should Be,” with its accompanying map, shows the boundaries of the various nations as they would look if the bulk of the people of each nationality were included in a single political division. In many places, it is, of course, impossible to draw sharp lines. Greek shades off into Bulgar on one side and into Skipetar and Serb on the other. Prague, the capital of the Czechs, is one-third German in its population. There are large islands of Germans and Magyars in the midst of the Roumanians of Transylvania. These are a few examples out of many which could be cited. However, the general aim of the chapter has been to divide the continent into nations, in each of which the leading race would vastly predominate in population.

It is hoped that the study of this little work will not only throw light upon the causes of war in general, but will also reveal its cruelty and its needlessness. It is shown that the history of Europe from the time of the great invasions by the Germanic tribes has been a continuous story of government without the consent of the governed.

A preventive for wars, such as statesmen and philanthropists in many countries have urged, is outlined in the closing chapter. It would seem as though after this terrible demonstration of the results of armed peace, the governments of the world would be ready to listen to some plan which would forever forbid the possibility of another war. Just as individuals in the majority of civilized countries discovered, a hundred years ago, that it was no longer necessary for them to carry weapons in order to insure their right to live and to enjoy protection, so nations may learn at last that peace and security are preferable to the fruits of brigandage and aggression. The colonies of America, after years of jealousy and small differences, followed by a tremendous war, at last learned this lesson. In the same way the states of Europe will have to learn it. The stumbling blocks in the way are the remains of feudal government in Europe and the ignorance and short-sightedness of the common people in many countries. Ignorance is rapidly waning with the advance of education, and we trust that feudalism will not long survive its last terrible crime, the world war of 1914.

Now that the United States has become a belligerent, it is very essential that our people understand the events that led up to our participation in the war. So many of our citizens are of a peace-loving nature, we are so far removed from the militarism of continental Europe, and the whole war seems so needless and so profitless to those who have not studied carefully its causes, that there is danger of a want of harmony with the program of the government if all are not taught the simple truth of the matter. There is no quicker channel through which to reach all the people than the public schools. With this in mind, two entire chapters and part of a third are devoted to demonstrating why no other course was open to this country than to accept the war which was forced upon her.

In the preparation of this little work, the author has received many helpful suggestions from co-workers. His thanks are especially due to Professor A. G. Terry of Northwestern University and Professor A. H. Sanford of the Wisconsin State Normal School at La Crosse, who were kind enough to read through and correct the manuscript before its final revision. The author is especially indebted to the Committee on Public Information at Washington, D. C., for furnishing to him authoritative data on many phases of the war. Acknowledgment is also made to Row, Peterson and Company for kind permission to use illustrations from History Stories of Other Lands; also to the International Film Service, Inc., of New York City for the use of many valuable copyright illustrations of scenes relating to the great war.


Evansville, Indiana,
January 2, 1918



I. The Great War
II. Rome and the Barbarian Tribes
III. From Chiefs to Kings
IV. Master and Man
V. A Babel of Tongues
VI. “The Terrible Turk”
VII. The Rise of Modern Nations
VIII. The Fall of Two Kingdoms
IX. The Little Man from the Common People
X. A King-Made Map and Its Trail of Wrongs
XI. Italy a Nation at Last
XII. The Man of Blood and Iron
XIII. The Balance of Power
XIV. The “Entente Cordiale”
XV. The Sowing of the Dragon’s Teeth
XVI. Who Profits?
XVII. The Spark that Exploded the Magazine
XVIII. Why England Came In
XIX. Diplomacy and Kingly Ambition
XX. Back to the Balkans
XXI. The War under the Sea
XXII. Another Crown Topples
XXIII. The United States at War—Why?
XXIV. Europe As It Should Be
XXV. The Cost of It All
XXVI. What Germany Must Learn

Pronouncing Glossary

List of Maps

I. Distribution of Peoples According to Relationship
II. Distribution of Languages
III. Southeastern Europe in 600 B.C.
IV. Southeastern Europe 975 A.D.
V. Southeastern Europe 1690
VI. The Empire of Charlemagne
VII. Europe in 1540
VIII. The Growth of Brandenburg-Prussia 1400-1806
IX. Italy in 525
X. Italy in 650
XI. Italy in 1175
XII. Europe in 1796
XIII. Europe in 1810
XIV. Europe in 1815
XV. Italy Made One Nation—1914—
XVI. Formation of the German Empire
XVII. Southeastern and Central Europe 1796
XVIII. Losses of Turkey During the Nineteenth Century
XIX. Turkey As the Balkan Allies Planned to Divide It
XX. Changes Resulting from Balkan Wars 1912-1913
XXI. The Two Routes from Germany into France
XXII. The Roumanian Campaign as the Allies Wished It
XXIII. The Roumanian Campaign as It Turned Out
XXIV. Europe as It Should Be

List of Illustrations

I. The Peace Palace at the Hague
II. Fleeing from Their Homes, Around which a Battle is Raging
III. A Drill Ground in Modern Europe
IV. The Forum of Rome as It Was 1600 Years Ago
V. The Last Combat of the Gladiators
VI. Germans Going into Battle
VII. A Hun Warrior
VIII. Gaius Julius Caesar
IX. A Frankish Chief
X. Movable Huts of Early Germans
XI. Goths on the March
XII. Franks Crossing the Rhine
XIII. Men of Normandy Landing in England
XIV. Alexander Defeating the Persians
XV. A Knight in Armor
XVI. A Norman Castle in England
XVII. A Vassal Doing Homage to His Lord
XVIII. William the Conqueror
XIX. A Typical Bulgarian Family
XX. Mohammed II Before Constantinople
XXI. A Scene in Salonika
XXIII. John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough
XXIV. The Great Elector of Brandenburg
XXV. Frederick the Great
XXVI. Catharine II
XXVII. Courtier of Time of Louis XIV
XXVIII. The Taking of the Bastille
XXIX. The Palace of Versailles
XXX. The Reign of Terror
XXXI. The First Singing of “The Marseillaise”
XXXII. Charles the Fifth
XXXIII. The Emperor Napoleon in 1814
XXXIV. The Retreat from Moscow
XXXV. Napoleon at Waterloo
XXXVI. The Congress of Vienna
XXXVII. Prince Metternich
XXXVIII. The First Meeting of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel
XXXIX. Bismarck
XL. An Attack on a Convoy in the Franco-Prussian War
XLI. The Proclamation at Versailles of William I as Emperor of Germany
XLII. Peter the Great
XLIII. Entrance to the Mosque of St. Sophia
XLIV. The Congress of Berlin
XLV. An Arab Sheik and His Staff
XLVI. A Scene in Constantinople
XLVII. Durazzo
XLVIII. A Modern Dreadnaught
XLIX. Submarine
L. A Fort Ruined by the Big German Guns
LI. Russian Peasants Fleeing Before the German Army
LII. A Bomb-proof Trench in the Western War Front
LIII. Venizelos
LIV. The Deutschland in Chesapeake Bay
LV. Crowd in Petrograd During the Revolution
LVI. Revolutionary Soldiers in the Duma
LVII. Kerensky Reviewing Russian Troops
LVIII. Flight from a Torpedoed Liner
LIX. President Wilson Reading the War Message
LX. American Grain Set on Fire by German Agents
LXI. Polish Children
LXII. The Price of War
LXIII. Rendered Homeless by War
LXIV. Charles XII of Sweden

The Story of the Map of Europe

Chapter I.
The Great War

The call from Europe.—Friend against friend.—Why?—Death and devastation.—No private quarrel.—Ordered by government.—What makes government?—The influence of the past.—Four causes of war.

Among the bricklayers at work on a building which was being erected in a great American city during the summer of 1914 were two men who had not yet become citizens of the United States. Born abroad, they still owed allegiance, one to the Emperor of Austria, the other to the Czar of Russia.

Meeting in a new country, and using a new language which gave them a chance to understand each other, they had become well acquainted. They were members of the same labor union, and had worked side by side on several different jobs. In the course of time, a firm friendship had sprung up between them. Suddenly, on the same day, each was notified to call at the office of the agent of his government in the city. Next morning the Russian came to his boss to explain that he must quit work, that he had been called home to fight for the “Little Father” of the Russians. He found his chum, the Austrian, there ahead of him, telling that he had to go, for the Russians had declared war on Austria and the good Kaiser,[1] Franz Josef, had need of all his young men.

[1] In the German language, the title Kaiser means Emperor.

The two chums stared at each other in sorrow and dismay. The pitiless arm of the god of war had reached across the broad Atlantic, plucking them back from peace and security. With weapons put into their hands they would be ordered to kill each other on sight.

A last hand-clasp, a sorrowful “Good luck to you,” and they parted.

Why was this necessary? What was this irresistible force, strong enough to separate the two friends and drag them back five thousand miles for the purpose of killing each other? To answer these two questions is the purpose of this little volume.

Beginning with the summer of 1914, Europe and parts of Asia and Africa were torn and racked with the most tremendous war that the world has ever seen. Millions of men were killed. Other millions were maimed, blinded, or disfigured for life. Still other millions were herded into prison camps or forced to work like convict laborers. Millions of homes were filled with grief. Millions of women were forced to do hard work which before the war had been considered beyond their power. Millions of children were left fatherless. What had been the richest and most productive farming land in Europe was made a barren waste. Thousands of villages and towns were utterly destroyed and their inhabitants were forced to flee, the aged, the sick, and the infants alike.

In many cases, as victorious armies swept through Poland and Serbia, the wretched inhabitants fled before them, literally starving, because all food had been seized for the use of fighting men. Dreadful diseases, which cannot exist where people have the chance to bathe and keep themselves clean, once more appeared, sweeping away hundreds of thousands of victims. The strongest, healthiest, bravest men of a dozen different nations were shot down by the millions or left to drag out a miserable existence, sick or crippled for life. Silent were the wheels in many factories which once turned out the comforts and luxuries of civilization. There were no men to make toys for the children, or to work for mankind’s happiness. The only mills and factories which were running full time were those that turned out the tools of destruction and shot and shell for the guns. Nations poured out one hundred fifty million dollars a day for the purpose of killing off the best men in Europe. Had the world gone mad? What was the reason for it all?


Fleeing from their Homes, around which a Battle is Raging

In 1913 Germans traveled in Russia and Englishmen traveled in Germany freely and safely. Germans were glad to trade with intercourse Russians, and happy to have Englishmen spend their money in Germany. France and Austria exchanged goods and their inhabitants traveled within each other’s boundaries. A Frenchman might go anywhere through Germany and be welcomed. There was nothing to make the average German hate the average Englishman or Belgian. The citizen of Austria and the citizen of Russia could meet and find plenty of ground for friendship.

We cannot explain this war, then, on the grounds of race hatred. One can imagine that two men living side by side and seeing each other every day might have trouble and grow to hate each other, but in this great war soldiers were shooting down other soldiers whom they had never seen before, with whom they had never exchanged a word, and it would not profit them if they killed a whole army of their opponents. In many cases, the soldiers did not see the men whom they were killing. An officer with a telescope watched where the shells from the cannon were falling and telephoned to the captain in charge to change the aim a trifle for his next shots. The men put in the projectile, closed and fired the gun. Once in a while, a shell from the invisible enemy, two, three, or four miles away, fell among them, killing and wounding. When a regiment of Austrians were ordered to charge the Russian trenches, they shot and bayoneted the Russians because they were told to do so by their officers, and the Russian soldiers shot the Austrians because their captains so ordered them. The officers on each side were only obeying orders received from their generals. The generals were only obeying orders from the government.

In the end, then, we come back to the governments, and we wonder what has caused these nations to fly at each other’s throats. The question arises as to what makes up a government or why a government has the right to rule its people.

In the United States, the government officials are simply the servants of the people. Practically every man in our country, unless he is a citizen of some foreign nation, has a right to vote, and in many of the states women, too, have a voice in the government. We, the people of the United States, can choose our own lawmakers, can instruct them how to vote and, in some states, can vote out of existence any law that they the people have made which we do not like. In all states, we can show our disapproval of what our law-makers have done by voting against them at the next election. Such is the government of a republic, a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln called it. In the leading British colonies, the people rule. Australian citizens voted against forcing men to serve in the army. The result was very close and the vote of the women helped to decide it. Canada, on the contrary, voted to compel her men to go. How is it in Europe? Have the people of Germany or Austria the right to vote on war? Were they consulted before their governments called them to arms and sent them to fight each other? It is plain that in order to understand what this war is about, we must look into the story of how the different governments of Europe came to be and learn why their peoples obey them so unquestioningly.

We must remember that government by the people is a very new thing. One hundred and thirty years ago, even in the United States only about one-fourth of the men had the right to vote. These were citizens of property and wealth. They did not think a poor man was worth considering. In England, a country which allows its people more voice in the government than almost any other nation in Europe, it is only within the last thirty years that all men could vote. There are some European countries, like Turkey, where the people have practically no power at all and others, like Austria, where they have very little voice in how they shall be governed.

For over a thousand years, the men of Europe have obeyed without thinking when their lords and kings have ordered them to pick up their weapons and go to war. In many instances they have known nothing of the causes of the conflict or of what they were fighting for. A famous English writer has written a poem which illustrates how little the average citizen has ever known concerning the cause of war, and shows the difference between the way in which war was looked upon by the men of old and the way in which one should regard it. The poem runs as follows:

The Battle of Blenheim

It was a summer evening,
    Old Kaspar’s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
    Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
    Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
    In playing there had found,
He came to ask what he had found
That was so large and smooth and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
    Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
    And, with a natural sigh—
“’Tis some poor fellow’s skull,” said he,
“Who fell in the great victory.

“I find them in the garden,
    For there’s many hereabout;
And often when I go to plow,
    The plowshare turns them out!
For many a thousand men,” said he,
“Were slain in the great victory.”

“Now tell us what ’twas all about,”
    Young Peterkin he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
    With wonder-waiting eyes—
“Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.”

“It was the English,” Kaspar cried,
    “Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for
    I could not well make out;
But everybody said,” quoth he,
“That ’twas a famous victory.

“My father lived at Blenheim then,
    Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
    And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

“They say it was a shocking sight
    After the field was won—
For many thousand bodies here
    Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

“Great praise the Duke of Marlborough won,
    And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ’twas a very wicked thing!”
    Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay, nay, my little girl,” quoth he,
“It was a famous victory.

“And everybody praised the duke
    Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
    Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he;
“But ’twas a famous victory.”

Robert Southey.

Old Kaspar, who has been used to such things all his life, cannot feel the wickedness and horror Of the battle. The children, on the other hand, have a different idea of war. They are not satisfied until they know what it was all about and what good came of it, and they feel that “it was a very wicked thing.” If the men in the armies had stopped to ask the reason why they were killing each other and had refused to fight until they knew the truth, the history of the world would have been very different.

One reason why we still have wars is that men refuse to think for themselves, because it is so much easier to let their dead ancestors think for them and to keep up customs which should have been changed ages ago. People in Europe have lived in the midst of wars or preparation for wars all their lives. There never has been a time when Europe was not either a battlefield or a great drill-ground for armies.

There was a time, long ago, when any man might kill another in Europe and not be punished for his deed. It was not thought wrong to take human life. Today it is not considered wrong to kill, provided a man is ordered to do so by his general or his king. When two kings go to war, each claiming his quarrel to be a just one, wholesale murder is done, and each side is made by its government to think itself very virtuous and wholly justified in its killing. It should be the great aim of everyone today to help to bring about lasting peace among all the nations.


A Drill Ground in Modern Europe.

In order to know how to do this, we must study the causes of the wars of the past. We shall find, as we do so, that almost all wars can be traced to one of four causes: (1) the instinct among barbarous tribes to fight with and plunder their neighbors; (2) the ambition of kings to enlarge their kingdoms; (3) the desire of the traders of one nation to increase their commerce at the expense of some other nation; (4) a people’s wish to be free from the control of some other country and to become a nation by itself. Of the four reasons, only the last furnishes a just cause for war, and this cause has been brought about only when kings have sent their armies out, and forced into their kingdoms other peoples who wished to govern themselves.

Questions for Review
  1. Why must foreigners in the United States return to their native lands when summoned by their governments?
  2. How is it that war helps to breed diseases?
  3. Is race hatred a cause of war or a result of it?
  4. Whom do we mean by the government in the United States?
  5. Who controls the government in Russia?
  6. Who in England?
  7. Who in Germany?
  8. Who in France?
  9. In Southey’s poem, how does the children’s idea of the battle differ from that of their grandfather? Why?
  10. Are people less likely to protest against war if their forefathers have fought many wars?
  11. What have been the four main causes of war?

Chapter II.
Rome and the Barbarian Tribes

New governments in Europe.—Earliest times.—How civilization began.—The rise of Rome.—Roman civilization.—Roman cruelty.—The German tribes.—The Slavic tribes.—The Celtic tribes.—The Huns and Moors.—The great Germanic invasions of the Roman world.

To search for the causes of the great war which began in Europe in 1914, we must go far back into history. It should be remembered that many of the governments of today have not lived as long as that of our own country. This is, perhaps, a new thought to some of us, who rather think that, as America is a new country, it is the baby among the great nations. But, one hundred and thirty years ago, when the United States was being formed, there was no nation called Italy; the peninsula which we now know by that name was cut up among nine or ten little governments. There was no nation known as Germany; the land which is in the present German empire was then divided among some thirty or thirty-five different rulers. There was no Republic of France; instead, France had a king whose will was law, and the French people were cruelly oppressed. There was no kingdom of Belgium, no kingdom of Serbia, of Bulgaria, of Roumania. The kingdom of Norway was part of Denmark. The Republic of France, as we now know it, dates back only to 1871; the Empire of Germany and the United Kingdom of Italy to about the same time. The kingdoms of Roumania, Serbia, and Bulgaria have been independent of Turkey only since 1878. The kingdom of Albania did not exist before 1913. Most of the present nations of modern Europe, then, are very new. The troubles which led to the great war, however, originated in the dim twilight of history.

In the earliest days, there were no separate countries or kingdoms. Men gathered together in little bands, each of which had its leader. This leader was generally chosen because of his bodily strength and courage. He was the best fighter of the tribe. The people did not have any lasting homes. They moved around from place to place, wherever they could find the best hunting and fishing. When two tribes wanted the same hunting grounds, they fought, and the weaker party had to give way. Selfishness was supreme. If a man wanted anything which belonged to his weaker neighbor, he simply beat this neighbor over the head with his club, and took it. The stronger tribe attacked the weaker, without any thought of whether or not its quarrel was just.

Gradually, in the southern and warmer parts of Europe, the tribes began to be more civilized. Towns sprang up. Ships were built. Trade came to be one of the occupations. The fighting men needed weapons and armor; so there grew up artisans who were skilled in working metals. In Egypt and Syria there were people who had reached quite a high degree of civilization, and gradually the Europeans learned from them better ways of living. First the Greeks, then the Etruscans (Ē-trŭs′cans), a people who lived in Italy just north of where Rome now is, and finally the southern Italians learned that it was possible to live in cities, without hunting and plundering. Grazing (the tending of flocks of animals) came to be the occupation of many. The owners of sheep or cattle drove their flocks from place to place, as grass and water failed them where they were. There was no separate ownership of land.

At last came the rise of the city of Rome, which, starting out as the stronghold of a little gang of robbers, spread its rule gradually over all the surrounding country. By this time, the barbarians of northern Europe had gotten past the use of clubs as weapons. They, too, had learned to make tools and arms of bronze, and those living near civilized countries had obtained swords of iron. The club, however, still remained as the sign of authority. The large bludgeon of the chief was carried before the tribe as a sign of his power over them. You have all seen pictures of a king sitting on his throne and holding a wand or stick in his right hand. It is interesting to think that this scepter, which the present king of England carries on state occasions to remind his people of his power, is a relic of the old, old days when his grandfather, many times removed, broke the head of his rival for leadership in the tribe and set up his mighty club for his awestruck people to worship.

The city of Rome (at first a republic, afterwards an empire) spread its rule over all of Italy, over all the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and finally over all the countries of Europe south and west of the rivers Danube and Rhine. One of the emperors planted a colony north of the Danube near its mouth, and the descendants of these colonists are living in that same country today. They have not forgotten their origin, for they still call themselves Romans (Roumani [Ro͞o-mä′ni]), and talk a language greatly resembling the Latin, which was the tongue spoken by the Romans of old. With the exception of this country, which is now Roumania, the part of Europe north and east of the Danube and Rhine was practically free from the Romans. In this territory, roving bands wandered around, driving their cattle with them and clearing the woods of game.


The Forum (public square) of Rome as it was 1600 years ago.

In some ways, the Romans were a highly civilized people. They had schools where their children were taught to read and write, to speak Greek, and to work problems in geometry. They had magnificent public buildings, fine temples and palaces. They built excellent paved roads all over the southern part of Europe, and had wonderful systems of aqueducts which supplied their cities with pure water from springs and lakes miles away. Their dress was made of fine cloth. They knew how to make paper, glass, and steel.

On the other hand, they were a cruel and bloodthirsty people. Their favorite amusement was to go to shows where gladiators fought, either with each other or with wild beasts. These gladiators were generally men from tribes which had fought against Rome. They had been captured and brought to that city, where they were trained to use certain weapons. Then on holidays, with all the people of Rome packed into big amphitheaters, these unfortunate captives were forced to fight with each other until one man of each pair was killed. It occasionally happened that one gladiator might be wounded, and lie helpless on the sand, The spectators would then shout to the victorious fighter to take his knife and finish what he had begun. In this way what would seem to us like cold-blooded murder was committed hundreds of times each year, while the fairest ladies and young girls of Rome sat and watched with eager interest. Thus, although the Romans had all the outward appearance of being civilized, they were savages at heart, and had no sympathy for any people who were not of their own race.


The Last Combat of the Gladiators

In the early days, the Romans prided themselves on their honor. They scorned a lie and looked down on anyone who would cheat or deceive. They lived hardy lives and would not allow themselves luxuries. They rather despised the Greeks, because the latter surrounded themselves with comforts in life. The early Romans were fighters by nature. They had a certain god named Janus (our month January is named after him) and his temple was open only when they were engaged in war. It is a matter of history that during the twelve hundred years from the first building of Rome to the end of the Roman Empire, the temple of Janus was closed on but three occasions and then only for a short time.

About five or six hundred years after the founding of Rome came several disastrous wars which killed off a great majority of her sturdy fighters. Rome was the victor in all of these wars, but she won them at tremendous cost to herself. With the killing off of her best and bravest men, a great deal of the old time honesty was lost. Very soon, we begin to hear of Roman governors who, when put in charge of conquered states, used their offices only to plunder the helpless inhabitants and to return to Rome after their terms were finished, laden with ill-gotten gains. Roman morals, which formerly were very strict, began to grow more lax, and in general the Roman civilization showed signs of decay.

To the north and east of the Roman Empire dwelt a people who were to become the leaders of the new nations of Europe. These were the free German tribes, which occupied the part of Europe bounded, roughly, by the rivers Danube and Rhine, the Baltic Sea, and the Carpathian Mountains. In many ways they were much less civilized than the Romans. They were clad in skins and furs instead of cloth. They lived in rough huts and tents or in caves dug in the sides of a hill. They, too, like the Romans, held human life cheap, and bloodshed and murder were common among them. As a rule, the men scorned to work, leaving whatever labor there was, largely to the women, while they busied themselves in fighting and hunting, or, during their idle times, in gambling. Nevertheless, these people, about the time that the Roman honesty began to disappear, had virtues more like those of the early Romans. They were frank and honorable. The men were faithful husbands and kind fathers, and their family life was very happy. They were barbarous and rough, but those of them who were taken to Rome and learned the Roman civilization made finer, nobler men than Rome was producing about the time of which we speak.


Germans Going Into Battle

To the east of these German tribes were the Slavs, a people no better civilized, but not so warlike in their nature. As the Germans, in later years, moved on to the west, the Slavs, in turn, moved westward and occupied much of the land which had been left vacant by the Germans.


A Hun Warrior

The inhabitants of western Europe, that is, France, Spain, and the British Isles, were largely Celts. In fact, all Europe could be said to be divided up among four great peoples: There were the Latins in Italy, the Celts in western Europe, the Germans in central Europe, and the Slavs to the east. All of these four families were distantly related, as can be proved by the languages which they spoke. The Greeks, while not belonging to any one of the four, were also distant cousins of both Germans and Latins. Probably all five peoples are descended from one big family of tribes.

In addition to these, there were, from time to time invasions of Europe by other nations which did not have any connection by blood with Celts, Latins, Greeks, Germans, or Slavs. For instance, the ferocious Huns, a people of the yellow race, rushed into Europe about 400 A.D., but were beaten in a big battle by the Romans and Germans and finally went back to Asia. Three hundred years later, a great horde of Moors and Arabs from Africa crossed over into Europe by way of the Straits of Gibraltar, and at one time threatened to sweep before them all the Christian nations. For several hundred years after this, they held the southern part of Spain, but were finally driven out.

Let us now come back to the story of what happened in Europe after the Romans had conquered all the country south and west of the Danube and Rhine. The wild tribes of the Germans were restlessly roaming through the central part of Europe. They were not at peace with each other. In fact, constant war was going on. Julius Caesar, the great Roman general, who conquered what is now France and added it to the Roman world, tells us that one great tribe of Germans, the Suevi (Swē′vī), made it their boast that they would let no other tribe live anywhere near them. About a hundred years B.C., two great German tribes. the Cimbri and the Teutones, broke across the Rhine and poured into the Roman lands in countless numbers. For seven years they roamed about until at last they were conquered in two bloody battles by a Roman general, who was Caesar’s uncle by marriage. After this time, the Romans tried to conquer the country of the Germans and they might have been successful but for a young German chief named Arminius. He had lived in Rome as a young man and had learned the Romans’ method of war; so when an army came against his tribe, he taught the Germans how to defend themselves. As a result, the Roman army was trapped in a big forest and slaughtered, almost to a man.


Gaius Julius Caesar. From a bust in the British Museum

This defeat ended any thought that the Romans may have had of conquering all Germany. For the next one hundred and fifty years, Germans and Romans lived apart, each afraid of the other. Then came a time when the Germans again became the attacking party. Other fiercer and wilder peoples, like the Huns, were assailing them in the east and pushing them forward. They finally broke over the Rhine-Danube boundary and poured across the Roman Empire in wave after wave. Some of these tribes were the Vandals, Burgundians, Goths, Franks, and Lombards. The Roman Empire went to pieces under their savage attacks.

Questions for Review
  1. Why is it that after nations become civilized, people need less land to live on?
  2. Are barbarous tribes more likely to engage in war than civilized peoples?
  3. Explain why clubs were the earliest weapons and why the more civilized tribes were better armed than the barbarians.
  4. Can a people be said to be civilized when they enjoy bloodshed and are not moved by the sufferings of others?
  5. What was it that lowered the morals of the Roman republic?
  6. In what way were the Germans better men than the later Romans?
  7. What was the religion of the Moors and the Arabs?
  8. Why did the German tribes invade the Roman empire?

Chapter III.
From Chiefs to Kings

The early chief a fighter.—The club the sign of power.—Free men led by a chief of their own choosing.—The first slaves.—Barbarians conquer civilized nations.—A ruling class among conquered people.—All men no longer free and equal.—The value of arms and armor.—The robber chiefs.—How kings first came.—Treaties between tribes follow constant wars.—Tribes unite for protection against enemies.—A king is chosen for the time being.—Some kings refuse to resign their office when the danger is past.—New generations grow up which never knew a kingless state.—The word “king” becomes sacred.

The chiefs of the invading tribes knew no law except the rule of the sword. If they saw anything which they wanted, they took it. Rich cities were plundered at will. They did not admit any man’s ownership of anything. In the old days when the tribes were roaming around, there was no private ownership of land. Everything belonged to the tribe in common. Each man had a vote in the council of the tribe.

Among these invaders, as with all barbarous tribes, there was no such thing as an absolute rule. A chief was obeyed because the greater part of his people considered him the best leader in war. Often, no doubt, when a chief had lost a battle and the majority of the tribe had lost confidence in him, he resigned and let them choose a new chief. (For the same reason we frequently hear today that the prime minister, or leader of the government, of some European country has resigned.) In spite of the fact, then, that the chief was stronger than any other man in the tribe, if the majority of his warriors had combined against him to put another man in his place he could not have withstood them. Government, in its beginning, was based upon the consent of the governed. All men in the primitive tribe were equal in rank, except as one was a better fighter than another, and the chief held the leadership in war only because the members of his tribe allowed him to keep it.


A Frankish Chief.

It must be remembered that in these early days, the people had no fixed place of abode. Their only homes were rude huts which they could put up or tear down at very short notice; and so when they heard of more fertile lands or a warmer climate across the mountains to the south they used to pull up stakes and migrate in a body, never to return. It was always the more savage and uncivilized peoples who were most likely to migrate. The lands which they wished to seize they generally found already settled by other tribes, more civilized and hence more peaceful, occupied in trade and agriculture, having gradually turned to these pursuits from their former habits of hunting and fighting. Sometimes these more civilized and peace-loving people were able, by their better weapons and superior knowledge of the art of fortifying, to beat back the invasion of the immigrating barbarians. Oftener, though, the rougher, ruder tribes were the victors, and settled down among the people they had conquered, to rule them, doing no work themselves, but forcing the conquered ones to feed and clothe them.


Movable Huts of Early Germans

History is full of instances of such conquests, and they were taking place, no doubt, ages before the times from which our earliest records date. The best examples, however, are to be found in the invasions of the Roman Empire by the Germanic tribes to which we have referred above. The country between the Rhine River and the Pyrenees Mountains, which had been called Gaul when the Gauls lived there, became France when the Franks conquered the Gauls and stayed to live among them. In like manner, two German tribes became the master races in Spain. The Burgundians came down from the shores of the Baltic Sea and gave their name to their new home in the fertile valley of the Saône (Sōn); the Vandals came out of Germany to roam through Spain, finally founding a kingdom in Africa; while the Lombards crossed the Alps to become the masters of the Valley of the Po, whither the Gauls had gone before them, seven hundred years earlier.


Goths on the March


Franks Crossing the Rhine

The island now known as Great Britain, which was inhabited two thousand years ago by the Britons and Gaels, Celtic peoples, was overrun and conquered in part about 450 A.D. by the Saxons and Angles, Germanic tribes, after whom part of the island was called Angleland. (The men from the south of England are of the same blood as the Saxons in the German army, against whom they had to fight in the great war.) Then came Danes, who partially conquered the Angles and Saxons, and after them, in 1066 A.D., the country was again conquered by the Normans, descendants of some Norsemen, who, one hundred and fifty years before, had come down from Norway and conquered a large territory in the northwestern part of France.


Men of Normandy Landing in England.

In some cases, the conquered tribes moved on to other lands, leaving their former homes to their conquerors. In this way the Britons and Gaels gave up the greater part of their land to the Angles and Saxons and withdrew to the hills and mountains of Wales, Cornwall, and northern Scotland. In other cases, the conquered people and their conquerors inhabited the same lands side by side, as the Normans settled down in England among the Anglo-Saxons.

In the early days of savagery, one tribe would frequently make a raid upon another neighboring tribe and bring home with it some captives who became slaves, working without pay for their conquerors and possessing no more rights than beasts of burden. (This custom exists today in the interior of Africa, and was responsible for the infamous African slave trade. Black captives were sold to white traders through the greed of their captors, who forgot that their own relatives and friends might be carried off and sold across the seas by some other tribe of blacks.)

When these slaves were kept as the servants of their conquerors, their number was very small as compared with that of their masters. When, on the other hand, a tribe settled among a people whom they had conquered, they often found themselves fewer in numbers, and kept their leadership only by their greater strength and fighting ability.

Here there had arisen a new situation: all men were no longer equal, led by a chief of their own choosing, but instead, the greater part of them now had no voice in the government. They had become subjects, working to earn their own living and also, as has been said, to support in idleness their conquerors.

This ability of the few to rule the many and force them to support their masters was increased as certain peoples learned better than others how to make strong armor and effective weapons. Nearly five hundred years before the time of Christ, at the battle of Marathon (Măr′ȧ thŏn), the Greeks discovered that one Greek, clad in metal armor and armed with a long spear, was worth ten Persians wearing leather and carrying a bow and arrows or a short sword. One hundred and sixty years later, a small army of well-equipped Macedonian Greeks, led by that wonderful general, Alexander the Great, defeated nearly forty times its number of Persians in a great battle in Asia and conquered a vast empire.


Alexander Defeating the Persians

In later times, as better and better armor was made, the question of wealth entered in. The chief who had money enough to buy the best arms for his men could defeat his poorer neighbor and force him to pay money as to a ruler. Finally, in the so-called “Middle Ages,” before the invention of gunpowder, one knight, armed from crown to sole in steel, was worth in battle as much as one hundred poorly-armed farmers or “peasants” as they are called in Europe.

In the “Dark Ages,”[2] after all these barbarians that we have named had swarmed over Europe, and before the governments of modern times were fully grown, there were hundreds of robber chiefs, who, scattered throughout a country, were in the habit of collecting tribute at the point of the sword from the peaceful peasants who lived near. This tribute they collected in some cases, regularly, a fixed amount each month or year, just as if they had a right to collect it, like a government tax collector. It might be money or food or fodder, or fuel. The robber chiefs were well armed themselves and were able to give good weapons and armor to their men, who lived either in the chief’s castle or in small houses built very near it. They likewise plundered any travelers who came by, unless their numbers and weapons made them look too dangerous to be attacked. But the regular tribute forced from the peaceful farmers was the chief source of their income. The robber chief and his men lived a life of idleness when they were not out upon some raid for plunder, and the honest, industrious peasants worked hard enough to support both their own families and those of the robbers.

[2] The “Dark Ages” came before the “Middle Ages.” They were called “dark” because the barbarians had extinguished nearly all civilization and learning.


A Knight in Armor

These robber chiefs had no right but might. They were outlaws, and lived either in a country which had no government and laws, or in one whose government was too weak to protect its people. They were no worse, however, than the so-called feudal barons who came after them, who oppressed the people even more, because they had on their side whatever law and government existed in those days.

Now let us stop to consider how first there came to be kings. In the early days of the human race and also in later days among barbarous peoples, the land was very sparsely settled. The reason lay in the chief occupations of the men. A small tribe might inhabit a great stretch of territory through which they wandered to keep within reach of plenty of game. As time went on, however, the population increased, and, as agriculture took the place of hunting, and homes became more lasting, tribes found themselves living in smaller and smaller tracts of land, and hence nearer to their neighbors. In some cases, constant fighting went on, just as Caesar tells us that two thousand years ago, the Swiss and the Germans fought almost daily battles back and forth across the Rhine. In other cases, the tribes found it better for all concerned to make treaties of peace with their neighbors, and if they did not exchange visits and mix on friendly terms, at least they did not attack each other.

Finally, one day there would come to several tribes which had treaties with each other a common danger, such as an invasion by some horde of another race or nation. Common interest would drive them together for mutual protection, and the chief of some one of them would be chosen to lead their joint army. In this way, we find the fifteen tribes of the Belgians uniting against the Roman army led by Julius Caesar, and electing as king over them the chief of one of the tribes “on account of his justice and wisdom.” Five years later, in the year 52 B.C., we find practically all the inhabitants of what is now France united into a nation under the leadership of Vercingetorix (Vẽr sin jet′ō riks) in one last effort to free themselves from Rome. Five hundred years later, the Romans themselves were driven to join forces with two of the Germanic tribes to check the swift invasion of the terrible Huns.

In some cases, these alliances were only for a short time and the kingships were merely temporary. In other cases, the wars that drove the tribes to unite under one great chief or king lasted for years or even centuries, so that new generations grew up who had never lived under any other government than that of a king. Thus when the wars were ended, the tribes continued to be ruled by the one man, although the reason for the kingship had ceased to be. In the days of the Roman republic, from 500 to 100 B.C., when grave danger arose, the senate, or council of elders, appointed one man who was called the dictator, and this dictator ruled like an absolute monarch until the danger was past. Then, like the famous Cincinnatus, he gave up the position and retired to private life. The first lasting kingships, then, began, as it were, by the refusal of some dictator to resign when the need for his rule was ended.

By this time, the custom of choosing the son of a chief or king to take his father’s place was fairly well settled, and it did not take long to have it understood as a regular thing that at a king’s death he should be followed by his oldest son. Often there were quarrels and even civil wars caused by ambitious younger sons, who did not submit to their elder brothers without a struggle, but as people grew to be more civilized and peace-loving, they found it better to have the oldest son looked upon as the rightful heir to the kingship.

As kingdoms grew larger, and more and more people came to be busied in agriculture, trade, and even, on a small scale, in manufacture, the warriors grew fewer in proportion, and people began to forget that the king was originally only a war leader, and that the office was created through military need. They came to regard the rule of the king as a matter of course and stopped thinking of themselves as having any right to say how they should be governed. Kings were quick to foster this feeling. For the purpose of making their own positions sure, they were in the habit of impressing it upon their people that the kingship was a divine institution. They proclaimed that the office of king was made by the gods, or in Christian nations, by God, and that it was the divine will that the people of the nations should be ruled by kings. The great Roman orator, Cicero (Sĭs′erō), in a speech delivered in the year 66 B.C., referring to people who lived in kingdoms, says that the name of king “seems to them a great and sacred thing.” This same feeling has lasted through all the ages down to the present time, and the majority of the people in European kingdoms, even among the educated classes, still look upon a king as a superior being, and are made happy and proud if they ever have a chance to do him a service of any sort.

Questions for Review
  1. Why was it that in barbarian tribes there was no private ownership of land?
  2. What is meant by saying that government was based upon the consent of the governed?
  3. Was there anything besides love of plunder that induced the German tribes to move southward?
  4. Explain the beginnings of slavery.
  5. Explain the value of armor in early times.
  6. What is meant by the “Dark Ages”?
  7. What is meant by saying that the fighting men were parasites?
  8. When the first kings were chosen was it intended that they should be rulers for life?
  9. Is it easy for a man in power to retain this power?
  10. Why is it that most Europeans bow low before a king?

Chapter IV.
Master and Man

The land is the king’s.—He lends it to barons.—Barons lend it to knights and smaller barons.—Smaller barons collect rent for it from the peasants.—A father’s lands are lent to his son.—Barons pay for the land by furnishing men for the king’s wars.—No account is taken of the rights of the peasant.—The peasant, the only producer, is despised by the fighting men.—If a baron rebels, his men must rebel also.—Dukes against kings.—What killed the feudal system.—Feudal wrongs alive today.

When one great tribe or nation invaded and conquered a country, as the Ostrogoths came into Italy in the year 489 A.D., or as the Normans entered England in 1066, their king at once took it for granted that he owned all the conquered land. In some cases, he might divide the kingdom up among his chiefs, giving a county to each of forty or fifty leaders. These great leaders (dukes or barons, as they were called in the Norman-French language, or earls, as the English named them) would in turn each divide up his county among several less important chiefs, whom we may call lesser or little barons. Each little baron might have several knights and squires, who lived in or near his castle and had received from him tracts of land corresponding in size, perhaps, to the American township and who, therefore, fought under his banner in war.


A Norman Castle in England

Each baron had under him a strong body of fighting men, “men-at-arms,” as they were called, or “retainers,” who in return for their “keep,” that is, their food and lodging, and a chance to share the plunder gained in war, swore to be faithful to him, became his men, and gave him the service called homage. (This word comes from hōmō, the Latin for “man.”) The lesser baron, in turn, swore homage to, and was the “man” of the great baron or earl. Whenever the earl called on these lesser chiefs to gather their fighting men and report to him, they had to obey, serving him as unquestioningly as their squires and retainers obeyed them. The earl or duke swore homage to the king, from whom he had received his land.

This, then, was the feudal system (so named from the word feudum, which, in Latin, meant a piece of land the use of which was given to a man in return for his services in war), a system which reversed the natural laws of society, and stood it on its apex, like a cone balanced on its point. For instead of saying that the land was the property of the people of the tribe or nation, it started by taking for granted that the land all belonged to the king. The idea was that the king did not give the land, outright, to his dukes and earls, but that he gave them, in return for their faithful support and service in war, the use of the land during their lifetime, or so long as they remained true to him. In Macbeth, we read how, for his treason, the lands of the thane (earl) of Cawdor were taken from him by the Scottish king and given to the thane of Glamis. The lands thus lent were called fiefs. Upon the death of the tenant, they went back to the king or duke who had given them in the first place, and he at once gave them to some other one of his followers upon the same terms. It often happened that upon the death of an earl or baron his son was granted the lands which his father had held, Finally, in many counties, it grew into a custom, and the oldest son took possession of his father’s fief, but not without first going to the king and swearing homage and fidelity to him.

Two things must be kept in mind if we are to understand the system fully. In the first place, in the division of the lands among the barons of the conquering nation, no account was taken of the peasants. As they were of the defeated people, their rights to the land were not once considered. In many countries, the victors thought of them as part and parcel of the conquered territory. They “went with” the land and were considered by the lord of the county as merely his servants. When one lord turned over a farm to another, the farmers were part of the bargain. If any of them tried to run away, they were brought back and whipped. They tilled the land and raised live stock, giving a certain share of their yearly crop and a certain number of beeves, hogs, sheep, etc., to the lord, as rent for the land, much as the free farmers in other countries paid tribute to the robber chieftains. Thus the one class of people who really earned their right to live, by producing wealth, were oppressed and robbed by all the others. Note this point, for there are wrongs existing today that are due to the fact that the feudal system is not wholly stamped out in some countries.


A Vassal doing Homage to his Lord

In the second place, it must be noted that the king was not the direct master of all the people. Only the great lords had sworn homage to him. He was lord of the dukes, earls, and barons. The less important barons swore homage to the great barons, and the knights, squires, retainers, and yeomen swore homage to the lesser barons. If a lesser baron had subdivided his fief among certain knights and squires, the peasants owed allegiance, not to him, but to the squire to whom they had been assigned. Thus, if a “man” rebelled against his lord, all of his knights, retainers, etc., must rebel also. If, for instance, a great duke refused to obey his king and broke his oath of allegiance, all his little barons and knights must turn disloyal too, or rather, must remain loyal, for their oaths had been taken to support the duke, and not the king. History is full of such cases. In many instances, dukes became so powerful that they were able to make war on even terms with kings. The great Dukes of Burgundy for a time kept the kings of France in awe of their power; the Duke of Northumberland in 1403 raised an army that almost overthrew King Henry Fourth of England; the Duke of York, in 1461, drove Henry Sixth from the throne of England and became king in his place.


William the Conqueror

A strange case arose when, in 1066, William, who as duke of Normandy had sworn homage to the king of France, became, through conquest, king of England. His sons, great-grandsons, and great-great-grandsons continued for one hundred and fifty years to be obliged to swear allegiance to the French kings in order to keep the duchy of Normandy. It was as if the Governor of Texas had led an army into Mexico, conquered it, and become Emperor of that country, without resigning his governorship or giving up his American citizenship.

Two things which tended to break down the feudal system and bring more power to the common people were, first, the invention of gunpowder, and, second, the rise of towns. A man with a musket could bring down a knight in armor as easily as he could the most poorly armored peasant. Kings, in fighting to control their great lords, gave more freedom to citizens of towns in return for their help. The king’s armies came to be recruited largely from townspeople, who were made correspondingly free from the feudal lords.

The rule of the feudal system, that each man owed a certain amount of military service to his ruler has lasted to the present day and is responsible for much of the misery that now exists. Kings went to war with each other simply to increase their territories. The more land a king had under his control, the more people who owed him taxes, and the greater number he could get into his army, the greater became his ambition to spread his kingdom still farther.

Questions for Review
  1. How was it that the king of a tribe could claim to own all the land in the country which he had invaded?
  2. Did the kings, lords, and fighting men contribute anything to the welfare of the working classes?
  3. Would the peasants have been better off if all the fighting men, lords, dukes, kings, etc., had suddenly been killed?
  4. Can you see why in some countries in Europe a man who earns his living is looked down upon by the nobles?
  5. What is meant by saying that the feudal system turns society upside down?
  6. Why did the farmers continue to feed the fighting men?
  7. Explain how the use of gunpowder in warfare helped to break up the feudal system.
  8. How did the rise of cities also help to do away with the feudal system?

Chapter V.
A Babel of Tongues

The great family of languages.—Few languages in Europe not belonging to the family.—The dying Celtic languages.—The three branches of the Germanic family.—The influence of the Latin tongue on the south of Europe.—The many Slavic peoples.—The map as divided by kings without regard to peoples and languages.—The strange mixture in Austria-Hungary.—The southeast of Europe.—The Greeks and Dacians.—The Roman colonists.—The Slavs.—The Volgars.—The Skipetars.—A hopeless mixture.

In Chapter II it was pointed out that almost all the peoples of Europe were related, in one big family of tribes. It is likely that the forefathers of the Celts, the Latins, the Germans, the Greeks, and the Slavs belonged to one big tribe which had its home back in the highlands of Central Asia. As a general rule, the relationship of peoples to each other can be told by the languages which they speak. If two tribes are related because their forefathers once belonged to the same tribe, it is almost certain that they will show this relationship in their languages.

The language of England a thousand years ago was very much like the language of the Germans, for the English were originally German tribes. Even today, it is easy to see that English is a Germanic language. Take the English words house, father, mother, brother, water, here, is, etc. The German words which mean the same are haus, vater, mutter, bruder, wasser, hier, ist. It is very plain that the two languages must have come from the same source.

There are professors in European colleges who have spent their whole lives studying this relationship of languages. These men have proved not only that almost all the languages of Europe are related, but that the language of the Persians, and that of some of the old tribes in Hindustan also belong to one great family of tongues. Let us take the word for mother. In one of the ancient languages of Hindustan it was matr; in the Greek, it was mātār; in the Latin mater (mätār); in the Bohemian matka; in the German mu̠tter; in the Spanish mädre; in the Norwegian mōder, etc. This great family of languages is called “the Indo-European group,” because the tribes which spoke them, originally inhabitants of Asia, have scattered all over India and Europe. The only peoples in Europe whose languages do not belong to it are the Finns and Laplanders of the north, the Basques (Bȧsks) of the Pyrenees Mountains, the Hungarians, the Gypsies, and the Turks.

The descendants of the old Celtic peoples have not kept up the Celtic languages to any great extent. The reason for this is that first the Romans and then the Germanic tribes conquered most of the lands where the Celts lived. In this way, Spain, Portugal, France, and Belgium now talk languages that have grown from the Latin, the language of Rome. The Celts in the British Isles now all talk English, because the English, who were a Germanic people, conquered them and forced them to use their language. Patriotic Irishmen and Welshmen (who are descendants of the Celtic tribes) are trying to keep alive the Irish and Welsh languages, but all of the young people in the British Isles learn English, and they are generally content to talk only one language. The other Celtic languages which have existed within the last one hundred years are the Gaelic of the north of Scotland, the Breton of western France, and the Cornish of the southwestern corner of England.

The Germanic languages (sometimes called Teutonic) are found in three parts of Europe today. The Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, belong to this family. Western Austria and Germany form, with Holland and Western Belgium, a second group of German-speaking nations. (The people of eastern Belgium are Celts and talk a kind of French.) The third part of Europe which uses a Germanic language is England.

In an earlier chapter we learned how the Celts in France, Spain, and Portugal gave up their own languages and used the Latin. Latin languages today are found also in the southern and western parts of Switzerland, all over Italy, and in Roumania.

We learned also about the Slavs who lived to the eastward of the Germanic tribes. When the Germans moved west, these Slavs followed them and occupied the lands which had just been left vacant. In this way, we find Slavic peoples talking Slavic (sometimes called Slavonic) languages in the parts of Europe to the east and south of the Germans. More than half of the inhabitants of Austria-Hungary are Slavs, although the Austrians proper are a Germanic people, and the Hungarians do not belong to the Indo-European family at all. The Serbians and Montenegrins are Slavs. The Poles and Russians are Slavs. The Bulgarians speak a Slavic language and have some Slavic blood in them, although, as will be pointed out later, originally they did not belong to the Slavic family.


Map: Distribution Of Peoples According to Relationship

The Greeks and Albanians belong to the great Indo-European family of tribes, but their languages are not closely related to any of the four great branches.


Distribution Of Languages

The two maps on pages 65 and 66 are very much alike and yet in some respects very different. The first shows how Europe is largely inhabited by peoples of the great Indo-European family. Those who are descended from the Celts are marked Celtic even though today they have given up their Celtic language, as have the Cornish in England and the inhabitants of Spain, France, eastern Belgium, and the greater part of Ireland. The Bulgarians are marked as not belonging to the great family, although they speak a Slavic language.

In the second map, the distribution of languages is shown. You will notice that the Celtic languages are found only in small parts of the British Isles, and in the westernmost point of France. The Bulgarians are here marked Slavic because their language belongs to that branch. One of the most curious things about the two maps is the presence of little spots like islands, particularly made up of German-speaking peoples. There are several of these little islands in Russia. They have been there for nearly two hundred years. A traveler crossing the southern part of Russia is astonished to find districts as large as an American county where not a word of Russian is spoken. The people are all of Germanic blood, although they live under the government of Russia. In the same way, there is a large German island in the midst of the Roumanians in Transylvania and another between the Slovaks and Poles at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. There is a large Hungarian island in Transylvania also, entirely surrounded by Germans and Roumanians. The table on the opposite page shows the main branches of the Indo-European family that are found in Europe.

The Indo-European Family of Languages
(a) Hindu branch
(b) Persian branch
(c) Celtic branch Gāe′lic (northern Scotland)
Cornish (dead)
Erse (Irish)
Brē′ton (western France)
(d) Latin branch Portuguese
Romansh (southeastern Switzerland)
(e) Germanic branch Norwegian
Flemish (Belgium)
Low German
High German
(f) Slavonic branch Russian
Old Prussian (dead)
Czech (Bohemian [pronounced Chĕck])
Slō vak′ (northern Hungary)
Slove′nian (southwestern Austria)
Crōa′tian (southern Austria)
Ruthē′nian (northeastern Austria-Hungary, and southwestern Russia)

} Baltic states of Russia
(g) Greek
(h) Albā′nian

The main source of the present trouble in Europe is that kings and their ministers and generals, like their ancestors, the feudal lords, never considered the wishes of the people when they changed the boundaries of kingdoms. Austria-Hungary is a good example. The Austrians and Hungarians were two very different peoples. They had nothing in common and did not wish to be joined under one ruler, but a king of Hungary, dying, left no son to succeed him, and his only daughter was married to the archduke of Austria. This archduke of Austria (a descendant of the counts of Hapsburg) was also emperor of Germany and king of Bohemia, although the Bohemian people had not chosen him as their ruler. The Hungarians, before their union with Austria, had conquered certain Slavic tribes and part of the Roumanians. Later Austria annexed part of Poland. In this way, the empire became a jumble of languages and nationalities. When its congress is called together, the official announcement is read in eleven different languages. Forty-one different dialects are talked in an area not as large as that of the state of Texas.

We must remember that besides the literary or written languages of each country there are several spoken dialects. A man from Devonshire, England, meeting a man from Yorkshire in the north of the same country, has difficulty in understanding many words in his speech. The language of the south of Scotland also is English, although it is very different from the English that we in America are taught. A Frenchman from the Pyrenees Mountains was taught in school to speak and read the French language as we find it in books. Yet besides this, he knows a dialect that is talked by the country people around him, that can not be understood by the peasants from the north of France near the Flemish border. The man who lives in the east of France can understand the dialect of the Italians from the west of Italy much better than he can that of the Frenchman from the Atlantic coast.

In America, with people moving around from place to place by means of stage coach, steamboat, and railroad, there has been no great chance to develop dialects, although we can instantly tell the New Englander, the southerner, or the westerner by his speech. It should be remembered that in Europe, for centuries, the people were kept on their own farms or in their own towns. The result of this was that each little village or city has its own peculiar language. It is said that persons who have studied such language matters carefully, after conversing with a man from Europe, can tell within thirty miles where his home used to be in the old country. There are no sharply marked boundaries of languages. The dialects of France shade off into those of Spain on the one hand and into those of the Flemish and the Italian on the other.


Southeastern Europe, 600 B.C.

The British Isles furnish us with four or five different nationalities. The people of the north of Ireland are really lowland Scotch of Germanic descent, while the other three-fourths of Ireland is inhabited by Celts. To make the difference all the greater, the Celts are almost universally Catholics, while the Scotch-Irish are Protestants. The people of the north of Scotland are Gaels, a Celtic race having no connection in language or blood with the people of the southern half of that country. The Welsh are a Celtic people, having no relationship with the English, who are a Germanic people. The Welsh and the Cornish of Cornwall and the people of highland Scotland are the descendants of the ancient Britons and Gaels who inhabited the island when Julius Caesar and the Romans first landed there. Then five hundred years afterwards, as has already been told, came great swarms of Germans (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes), who drove the Britons to the west and north, and settled the country now known as England. After these, you will recall, came a number of Danes, another Germanic people, who settled the east coast of England. Two hundred years later, the Normans came from France. These Normans had been living in France for a century or two, but had come originally from Norway. Normans, Danes, Angles, and Saxons all mixed to make the modern English. Together, they fought the Scotch, the Welsh and the Irish, and having conquered them, oppressed them harshly for many centuries.


Southeastern Europe, 975 A.D.

But it is in the southeastern corner of Europe that one finds the worst jumble of nationalities. Six hundred years before Christ, the Greeks and their rougher cousins, the Thracians, Macedonians, and Dacians inhabited this district. When one of the Roman Emperors conquered the Dacians about 100 A.D., he planted a large Roman colony north of the Danube River. Then came the West Goths, who swept into this country, but soon left it for the west of Europe. Next came the Slavic tribes who are the ancestors of the modern Serbs. Following these, came a large tribe which did not belong to the Indo-European family, but was distantly related to the Finns and the Turks. These people were called the Volgars, for they came from the country around the River Volga. Before long, we find them called the Bulgars. (The letters B and V are often interchanged in the languages of south-eastern Europe. The people of western Europe used to call the country of the Serbs Servia, but the Serbs objected, saying that the word servio, in Latin, means “to be a slave,” and that as they were not slaves, they wanted their country to be called by its true name, Serbia. The Greeks, on the other hand, pronounce the letter B as though it were V.)

A strange thing happened to the Volgars or Bulgars. They completely gave up their Asiatic language and adopted a new one, which became in time the purest of the Slavic tongues. They intermarried with the Slavs around them and adopted Slavic names. They founded a flourishing nation which lay between the kingdom of Serbia and the Greek Empire of Constantinople.

North of the Bulgars lay the country of the Roumani (ro͞o mä′nï). These people claimed to be descended from the Roman Emperor’s colonists, as was previously told, but the reason their language is so much like the Italian is that a large number of people from the north of Italy moved into the country nearly a thousand years after the first Roman colonists settled there. From 900 to 1300 A.D., south-eastern Europe was inhabited by Serbians, Bulgarians, Roumanians, and Greeks.


A Typical Bulgarian Family

A fifth people perhaps ought to be counted here, the Albanians. (See map) This tribe is descended from the Illyrians, who inhabited the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea even before the time of the Roman Empire. Their language, like the Greek, is a branch of the Indo-European family which is neither Latin, Celtic, Germanic, nor Slavic. They are distant cousins of the Italians and are also slightly related to the Greeks. They are a wild, fierce, uncivilized people, and have never known the meaning of law and order. Robbery and warfare are common. Each village is always fighting with the people of the neighboring towns. The Albanians, or Skipetars (skïp′ĕtars) as they call themselves, were Christians until they were conquered by the Turks about 1460. Since that time, the great majority of them have been staunch believers in the Mohammedan religion.

Questions for Review
  1. Where did the great Indo-European family of languages have its beginning?
  2. Why is it that the Celtic languages are dying out?
  3. What killed the Celtic languages in Spain and France?
  4. What are the three parts of Europe where Germanic languages are spoken?
  5. In what parts of Europe are languages spoken which are descended from the Latin?
  6. Explain the presence in Austria-Hungary of eleven different peoples?
  7. Are the Bulgarians really a Slavic people?

Chapter VI.
“The Terrible Turk”

The Greek Empire at Constantinople.—The invading Mohammedans.—The Ottoman Turks.—The fall of Constantinople.—The enslaving of the Bulgars, Serbs, Greeks, Albanians, and Roumanians.—One little part of Serbia unconquered.—The further conquests of the Turks.—The attack on Vienna.—John Sobieski to the rescue.—The waning of the Turkish empire.—The Spanish Jews.—The jumble of languages and peoples in southeastern Europe.

In the last chapter, we referred briefly to the Greek empire at Constantinople. This city was originally called Byzantium, and was a flourishing Greek commercial center six hundred years before Christ. Eleven hundred years after this, a Roman emperor named Constantine decided that he liked Byzantium better than Rome. Accordingly, he moved the capital of the empire to the Greek city, and renamed it Constantinopolis (the word polis means “city” in Greek). Before long, we find the Roman empire divided into two parts, the capital of one at Rome, of the other at Constantinople. This eastern government was continued by the Greeks nearly one thousand years after the government of the western empire had been seized by the invading Germanic tribes.


The Turkish Sultan before Constantinople

For years, this Greek empire at Constantinople had been obliged to fight hard against the Mohammedans who came swarming across the fertile plains of Mesopotamia (mĕs′ō pō tā′ mĭ ā) and Asia Minor. (Mesopotamia is the district lying between the Tigris (tī′grĭs) and Euphrates (ūfrā′tēz) Rivers. Its name in Greek means “between the rivers.”) The fiercest of the Mohammedan tribes, the warlike Ottoman Turks, were the last to arrive. For several years, they thundered at the gates of Constantinople, while the Greek Empire grew feebler and feebler.

At last in 1453, their great cannon made a breach in the walls, and the Turks poured through. The Greek Empire was a thing of the past, and all of southeastern Europe lay at the mercy of the invading Moslems (another name for “Mohammedans”). The Turks did not drive out the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbians, and Albanians, but settled down among them as the ruling, military class. They strove to force these peoples to give up Christianity and turn Mohammedans, but were successful only in the case of the Skipetars of Albania. The Albanians, Serbians, Bulgarians, Greeks, and Roumanians remained where they had been, but were oppressed by the newcomers.

For more than two hundred years after the capture of Constantinople, the Turks pushed their conquests farther and farther into Europe. The entire coast of the Black Sea fell into their hands. All of Greece, all of Bulgaria, and all of Roumania became part of their empire. Of the kingdom of Serbia, one small province remained unconquered. Up in the mountains near the coast of the Adriatic gathered the people of one county of the Serbian kingdom. As the Turks attacked them, they retreated higher and higher up the mountain sides and rolled huge stones down upon the invaders. Finally, the Turk became disgusted, and concluded that “the game was not worth the candle.” Thus the little nation of Montenegro was formed, composed of Serbians who never submitted to the Ottoman rule. (The inhabitants of this small country call it Tzernagorah (tzẽr nä gō′ra); the Italians call it Montenegro. Both of these names mean “Dark Mountain.”)

Not satisfied with these conquests, the Turks pushed on, gaining control of the greater part of the kingdom of Hungary. About 1682, they were pounding at the forts around Vienna. The heroic king of Poland, John Sobieski (sō bĭ ĕs′kĭ), came to the rescue of the Austrian emperor with an army of Poles and Germans and completely defeated the Turks. He saved Vienna, and ended any further advance of the Turkish rule into Europe. (The map on page 82 shows the high water mark of the Turkish conquests.)

It must be remembered that the original inhabitants of the conquered lands were still living where they always had lived. The Turks were very few in number compared with the millions of people who inhabited their empire and paid them tribute. Many wars were caused by this conquest, but it was two hundred and thirty years before the Christian peoples won back their territory.


Southeastern Europe 1690 A.D.

By the year 1685, the Hungarians had begun to win back part of their kingdom. By 1698, almost all of Hungary and Transylvania was free from Turkish rule. It will be recalled that a certain Count of Hapsburg had become Emperor of Germany, and when we say Germany, we include Austria, which had become the home of the Hapsburgs. It was shortly after this that the Hapsburg family came to be lords of Hungary also, through the marriage of one of their emperors with the only daughter of the king of that country. (See page 69.)

In this way, when the province of Bukowina and the territory known as the Banat, just north of the Danube and west of what is now Roumania, were reconquered from the Turks, it was the joint kingdom to which they were attached. (Bukowina has never been a part of Hungary. It is still a crown land, or county subject to the emperor of Austria personally.)

During the 15th century, the southeastern part of Europe came to be inhabited by a still different people. Not long after Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain, had conquered the Moorish kingdom of Granada (see Chapter II) that used to stretch across the southern half of Spain, the Spaniards decided to drive out of their country all “unbelievers,” that is, all who were not Christians of the Catholic faith. (This happened in 1492, the same year that they sent Columbus to America.) The Moors retreated into Africa, which was their former home, but the millions of Spanish Jews had no homeland to which to return. In the midst of their distress, the Sultan of Turkey, knowing them to be prosperous and well-behaved citizens, invited them to enter his land. They did so by hundreds of thousands.

The descendants of these people are to be found today throughout the Balkan peninsula, though mainly in the large cities. They are so numerous in Constantinople that four newspapers are published there in the Spanish language, but printed in Hebrew characters. The city of Salonika, a prosperous seaport of 140,000 people, which used to belong to Turkey but now is part of Greece, has over 50,000 of these Jews. They readily learn other tongues, and many of them can talk in four or five languages besides their native Spanish, which they still use in the family circle.

Constantinople (called Stamboul by the Turks) is a polyglot city, that is, a place of many languages. Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Jews, Italians are all found mingled together.


A Scene in Salonicka

The main source of trouble in the Balkan peninsula is that the races and nationalities are so jumbled together that it is almost impossible to say which land should belong to which nation. Take the case of Macedonia (the district just northwest of the Aegean Sea). It is inhabited largely by Bulgarians, and yet there are so many Greeks and Serbs mixed in with the former that at the close of the last Balkan war in 1913, Greece and Serbia both claimed it as belonging to them because of the “prevailing nationality of its inhabitants!” In other words, the Serbians claimed that the inhabitants of Macedonia were largely Serbs, the Greeks were positive that its people were largely Greeks, while Bulgaria is very resentful today because the land was not given to her, on the ground that almost all its inhabitants are Bulgarians!

Religious and racial hatreds have had a great deal to do with making the Balkan peninsula a hotbed of political trouble. Right in the center of Bulgaria, for example, speaking the same language, dressing exactly alike, doing business with each other on an equal footing, are to be found the native Bulgarian and the descendant of the Turkish conquerors; yet one goes to the Greek Orthodox Church to worship and the other to the Mohammedan Mosque. With memories of hundreds of years of wrong and oppression behind them, Bulgarians and Turks hate and despise each other with a fierce intensity. Let us now leave the Balkan states, with their seething pot of racial and religious hatred, and turn to other causes of European wars.

Questions for Review
  1. What became of the Greeks when the Turks captured Constantinople?
  2. Why could one county of Serbia resist the Turks?
  3. How long after the fall of Constantinople were the Turks threatening Vienna?
  4. Explain how Constantinople has people of so many different nationalities.
  5. Why have the Turk and Bulgarian never been friendly?

Chapter VII.
The Rise of Modern Nations

How the peasants looked upon war.—War the opportunity of the fighting men.—The decreasing power of barons.—The growth of royal power.—How four little kingdoms became Spain.—Other kingdoms of Europe.—The rise of Russia.—The Holy Roman Empire.—The electors.—The rise of Brandenburg.—The elector of Brandenburg becomes King of Prussia.—Frederick the Great.—The seizure of Silesia and the consequent wars.

You have already been shown how in the early days of the feudal system, the lords, with their squires, knights, and fighting men made up a class of the population whose only trade was war, and how the poor peasants were compelled to raise crops and live stock enough to feed both themselves and the fighting men. These peasants had no love for war, as war resulted only in their losing their possessions in case their country was invaded by the enemy. The fighting men, on the other hand, had nothing to do unless war was going on, and as those who were not killed returned from a war with rich plunder in case they were victorious, they were always looking for a chance to start trouble with some neighboring country.

In those days, kings cared little what their nobles did, so long as the nobles furnished them with fighting men in times of war. As a result, one county in a certain kingdom would often be at war with a neighboring county. The fighting man either was killed in battle or he came out of it with increased glory and plunder, but the peasants and the common people had nothing to gain by war and everything to lose. As we have seen, force ruled the world, and the common people had no voice in their government. The workers were looked down upon by the members of the fighting class, who never did a stroke of work themselves and considered honest toil as degrading. In fact, as one writer has said, the only respectable trade in Europe in those days was what we today would call highway robbery.

France and England in the 15th Century

Gradually in most of the European countries the king was able to put down the power of his nobles and make himself master over the whole nation. In this way a strong central power grew up in France. After the death of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, in 1477, no noble dared to question the leadership of the king of France. The same thing was true in England after the battle of Bosworth in 1485, which resulted in the death of King Richard III and the setting of the Tudor family on the throne.

Spain and Other Kingdoms

Spain had been divided into four little kingdoms: Leon, Castile, Aragon, and Granada, the latter ruled by the Moors. The nation marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabella of Castile and Leon joined the three Christian kingdoms into one, and after 1492, when the Moors were defeated and Granada annexed to the realm of Ferdinand and Isabella, Spain became one kingdom. About this time, also, there had grown up a strong kingdom of Hungary, a kingdom of Portugal, a kingdom of Poland, and one of Denmark. Norway was ruled by the Danes, but Sweden was a separate kingdom. In Russia, Czar Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) had built up a strong power which was still further strengthened by Czar Peter the Great (1690-1725).

The Holy Roman Empire

The rest of the continent of Europe, with the exception of the Turkish Empire, formed what was called the Holy Roman Empire, a rule which had been founded by Charlemagne (A.D. 800), the great Frankish monarch, who had been crowned in Rome by the pope as ruler of the western world. (The name “Holy Roman Empire” was not used by Charlemagne. We first hear of it under Otto I, the Saxon emperor, who was crowned in 962.)


The Empire of Charlemagne

This Holy Roman Empire included all of what is now Germany (except the eastern third of Prussia), all of what is now Bohemia, Austria (but not Hungary), and all of Italy except the part south of Naples. There were times when part of France and all of the low countries (now Belgium and Holland) also belonged to the Empire. (The mountaineers of Switzerland won their independence from the Empire in the fourteenth century, and formed a little republic.) See map “Europe in 1540.”


Europe in 1540

In the Holy Roman Empire, the son of the emperor did not necessarily succeed his father as ruler. There were seven (afterwards nine) “electors” who, at the death of the ruling monarch, met to elect his successor. Three of these electors were archbishops, one was king of Bohemia, and the others were counts of large counties in Germany like Hanover and Brandenburg. It frequently happened that the candidate chosen was a member of the family of the dead emperor, and there were three or four families which had many rulers chosen from among their number. The most famous of these families was that of the Counts of Hapsburg, from whom the present emperor of Austria is descended.


Louis XIV

This Holy Roman Empire was not a strong government, as the kingdoms of England and France grew to be. The kings of Bohemia, Saxony, and Bavaria all were subjects of the emperor, as were many powerful counts. These men were jealous of the emperor’s power, and he did not dare govern them as strictly as the king of France ruled his nobles.

France in the 18th Century


John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough

During the 18th century, there were many wars in Europe caused by the ambition of various kings to make their domains larger and to increase their own incomes. King Louis XIV of France had built up a very powerful kingdom. Brave soldiers and skillful generals spread his rule over a great part of what is Belgium and Luxemburg, and annexed to the French kingdom the part of Germany between the Rhine River and the Vosges (Vōzh) Mountains. Finally, the English joined with the troops of the Holy Roman Empire to curb the further growth of the French kingdom, and at the battle of Blenheim (1704), the English Duke of Marlborough, aided by the emperor’s army, put an end to the further expansion of the French.


The Great Elector of Brandenburg


The 18th century also saw the rise of a new kingdom in Europe. You will recall that there was a county in Germany named Brandenburg, whose count was one of the seven electors who chose the emperor. The capital of this county was Berlin. It so happened that a number of Counts of Brandenburg, of the family of Hohenzollern, had been men of ambition and ability. The little county had grown by adding small territories around it. One of these counts, called “the Great Elector,” had added to Brandenburg the greater part of the neighboring county of Pomerania. His son did not have the ability of his father, but was a very proud and vain man. He happened to visit King William III of England, and was very much offended because during the interview, the king occupied a comfortable arm chair, while the elector, being simply a count, was given a chair to sit in which was straight-backed and had no arms. Brooding over this insult, as it seemed to him, he went home and decided that he too should be called a king. The question was, what should his title be. He could not call himself “King of Brandenburg,” for Brandenburg was part of the Empire, and the emperor would not allow it. It had happened some one hundred years before, that, through his marriage with the daughter of the Duke of Prussia, a Count of Brandenburg had come into possession of the district known as East Prussia, at the extreme southeastern corner of the Baltic Sea. Between this and the territory of Brandenburg lay the district known as West Prussia, which was part of the Kingdom of Poland. However, Prussia lay outside the boundaries of the Empire, and the emperor had nothing to say about what went on there. Therefore, the elector sent notice to all the kings and princes of Europe that after this he was to be known as the “King of Prussia.” It was a situation somewhat like the one we have already referred to, when the kings of England were independent monarchs and yet subjects of the kings of France because they were also dukes of Normandy.


Frederick The Great

The son of this elector who first called himself king had more energy and more character than his father. He ruled his country with a rod of iron, and built up a strong, well-drilled army. He was especially fond of tall soldiers, and had agents out all over Europe, kidnapping men who were over six feet tall to serve in his famous regiment of Guards. He further increased the size of the Prussian kingdom.

His son was the famous Frederick the Great, one of the most remarkable fighters that the world has ever seen. This prince had been brought up under strict discipline by his father. The old king had been insistent that his son should be no weakling. It is told that one day, finding Frederick playing upon a flute, he seized the instrument and snapped it in twain over his son’s shoulder. The young Frederick, under this harsh training, became a fit leader of a military nation. When his father died and left him a well-filled treasury and a wonderfully drilled army, he was fired with the ambition to spread his kingdom wider. Germany, as has been said, was made up of a great many little counties, each ruled by its petty prince or duke, all owing homage, in a general way, to the ruler of Austria, who still was supposed to be the head of the Holy Roman Empire.


The Growth of Brandenburg-Prussia, 1400-1806

This empire was not a real nation, but a collection of many different nationalities which had little sympathy with each other. The ruler of Austria was also king of Bohemia and of Hungary, but neither country was happy at being governed by a German ruler. Then, too, the Croatians, Serbs, Slovenes, and Slovaks were unhappy at being ruled, first by the Hungarians and then by the emperor, as they were Slavic peoples who wished their independence. It so happened that about the time that Frederick became king of Prussia in place of his father, the head of the House of Austria died, leaving his only child, a daughter, Maria Theresa, to rule the big empire. Frederick decided that he could easily defeat the disorganized armies of Austria, so he announced to the world that the rich province of Silesia was henceforth to be his and that he proposed to take it by force of arms. Naturally, this brought on a fierce war with Austria, but in the end, Frederick’s well-trained troops, his store of money, and above all, his expert military ability made the Prussians victorious, and at the close of the fighting, almost all of Silesia remained a part of the kingdom of Prussia. The Austrians, however, were not satisfied, and two more wars were fought before they finally gave up trying to recover the stolen state. Frederick remained stronger than ever as a result of his victories.

Questions for Review
  1. Why were the fighting men of the Middle Ages a source of loss to a nation in general?
  2. How was it that Spain became one nation?
  3. What did Peter the Great do for Russia?
  4. Why did the Emperor have less power than many kings?
  5. What was the ambition of Louis XIV of France?
  6. What effect had the training of his father upon the character of Frederick the Great?
  7. Had Frederick the Great any right to Silesia?

Chapter VIII.
The Fall of the Two Kingdoms

The Poles, a divided nation.—The three partitions.—Wars and revolts as a result.—The disappearance of Lithuania.—The growing power of the king of France.—An extravagant and corrupt court.—Peasants cruelly taxed and oppressed.—Bankruptcy at last.—The meeting of the three estates.—The third estate defies the king.—The fall of the Bastille.—The flight and capture of the king.—The king beheaded.—Other kings alarmed.—Valmy saves the revolution.—The reign of terror.

In the flat country to the northeast of Austria-Hungary and east of Prussia lay the kingdom of Poland, the largest country in Europe with the exception of Russia. The Poles, as has been said before, were a Slavic people, distant cousins of the Russians and Bohemians. They had a strong nobility or upper class, but these nobles were jealous of each other, and as a result, the country was torn apart by many warring factions. The condition of the working class was very miserable. The nobles did not allow them any privileges. They were serfs, that is to say, practically slaves, who had to give up to their masters the greater part of the crops that they raised. In the council of the Polish nobles, no law could be passed if a single nobleman opposed it. As a result of this jealousy between factions, the Poles could not be induced to obey any one leader, and thus, divided, were easy to conquer.

Frederick the Great, regretting the fact that he was separated from his land in East Prussia by the county of West Prussia, which was part of Poland, proposed to his old enemy, Maria Theresa of Austria, and to the Empress Catharine II of Russia that they each take a slice of Poland. This was accordingly done, in the year 1772. Poor Poland was unable to resist the three great powers around her, and the other kings of Europe, who had been greedily annexing land wherever they could get it, stood by without a protest. Some twenty years later, Prussia and Russia each again annexed a large part of the remainder of Poland, and two years after this, the three powers divided up among them all that was left of the unhappy kingdom. The Poles fought violently against this last partition, but they were not united and were greatly outnumbered by the troops of the three powers.

This great crime against a nation was the result of the military system; and this in turn was the result of the feudal system, which made the king, as commander-in-chief of the army, the supreme ruler of his country. The men in the Prussian and Austrian armies had no desire to fight and conquer the poor Poles. Victory meant nothing to them. They gained no advantage from it. To the kings who divided up the countries it simply meant an enlargement of their kingdoms, more people to pay taxes to them, and more men to draw on for their armies.


Catharine II

Instead of crushing out the love of the Poles for their country, this wrongful tearing apart has made their national spirit all the stronger. There have been revolts and bloody wars, caused by Polish uprisings, time and time again, and the Poles will never be satisfied until their unhappy country is once more united.

To the northeast of the Poles live the Lithuanians, whose country had been annexed to the Polish kingdom when their duke, who had married the daughter of the king of Poland, followed his father-in-law on the Polish throne. Lithuania fell to Russia’s share in the division, so that its people only changed masters. They are a distinct nation, however, possessing a language and literature of their own, and having no desire to be ruled by either Poles or Russians. If they were to receive justice, they would form a country by themselves, lying between Poland and Russia proper.

The Downfall of the French Monarchy


Courtier of time of Louis XIV

In the meantime, a great change had come about in France. There, for hundreds of years, the power of the king had been growing greater, until by the eighteenth century, there was no one in the country who could oppose him. He had great fortresses and prisons where he sent those who had offended him, shutting them up without a trial and not even letting their families know where they had been taken. The peasants and working classes had been ground down under taxes which grew heavier and heavier. The king spent millions of dollars on his palaces, on his armies, on his courts. Money was stolen by court officials. Paris was the gayest capital in the world, the home of fashion, art, and frivolity and the poor peasants paid the bills.


The Taking of The Bastille

For years, there had been mutterings. The people were ripe for a revolt, but they had no weapons, and there was no one to lead them. At last, came a time when there was no money in the royal treasury. After all the waste and corruption, nothing was left to pay the army and keep up the expenses of the government. One minister of finance after another tried to devise some scheme whereby the country might meet its debts, but without success. The costly wars and wasteful extravagances of the past hundred years were at last to bring a reckoning. In desperation, the king summoned a meeting of representative men from all over the kingdom. There were three classes represented, the nobles, the clergy, and what was called “the third estate,” which meant merchants, shopkeepers, and the poor gentlemen. A great statesman appeared, a man named Mirabeau. Under his leadership, the third estate defied the king, and the temper of the people was such that the king dared not force them to do his will. In the midst of these exciting times, a mob attacked the great Paris prison, the Bastille. They took it by storm, and tore it to the ground. This happened on the fourteenth of July, 1789, a day which the French still celebrate as the birthday of their nation’s liberty. All over France the common people rose in revolt. The soldiers in the army would no longer obey their officers. The king was closely watched, and when he attempted to flee to Germany was brought back and thrown into prison. Many of the nobles, in terror, fled from the country. Thus began what is known as the French Revolution.


The Palace of Versailles

As soon as the king was thrown into prison and the people of France took charge of their government, a panic arose throughout the courts of Europe. Other kings, alarmed over the fate of the king of France, began to fear for themselves. They, too, had taxed and oppressed their subjects. They felt that this revolt of the French people must be put down, and the king of France set back upon his throne, otherwise the same kind of revolt might take place in their countries as well. Accordingly, the king of Prussia, the king of England, and the emperor of Austria all made war on the new French Republic. They proposed to overwhelm the French by force of arms and compel them to put back their king upon his throne.

Of course, if the soldiers in the armies of these kings had known what the object of this war was, they would have had very little sympathy with it, but for years they had been trained to obey their officers, who in turn obeyed their generals, who in turn obeyed the orders of the kings. The common soldiers were like sheep, in that they did not think for themselves, but followed their leaders. They were not allowed to know the truth concerning this attack on France. They did not know the French language, and had no way of finding out the real situation, for there were no public schools in these countries, and very few people knew how to read the newspapers. The newspapers, moreover, were controlled by the governments, and were allowed to print only what favored the cause of the kings.

The French, however, knew the meaning of the war. A young French poet from Strasbourg on the Rhine wrote a wonderful war song which was first sung in Paris by the men of Marseilles, and thus has come to be called “La Marseillaise.” It is the cry of a crushed and oppressed people against foreign tyrants who would again enslave them. It fired the French army with a wonderful enthusiasm, and untrained as they were, they beat back the invaders at the hard-fought field of Valmy and saved the French Republic.


The Reign of Terror

The period known as “the reign of terror” now began in earnest. A faction of the extreme republican party got control of the government, and kept it by terrorizing the more peaceable citizens. The brutal wrongs which nobles had put upon the lower classes for so many hundred years were brutally avenged. The king was executed, as were most of the nobles who had not fled from the country. For three or four years, the gutters of the principal French cities ran blood. Then the better sense of the nation came to the front and the people settled down. A fairly good government was organized, and the executions ceased. Still the kings of Europe would not recognize the new republic. There was war against France for the next twenty years on the part of England, and generally two or three other countries as well.


The First Singing of ‘The Marseillaise’

Questions for Review
  1. Why was Poland an easy prey for her neighbors?
  2. Why did not Spain, France, or England interfere to prevent the partition of Poland?
  3. How did Lithuania come to be joined to Poland?
  4. What things could the king of France do which would not be tolerated in the United States today?
  5. Why did the people of France submit to the rule of the king?
  6. Why did the king call together the three “estates”?
  7. Why do the French celebrate the 14th of July?
  8. Why did the other kings take up the cause of the king of France?
  9. What was the cause of the reign of terror?

Chapter IX.
The Little Man from the Common People

The young Corsican.—The war in Italy.—Italy a battlefield for centuries.—The victories of Bonaparte.—The first consul.—The empire.—The French sweep over Europe.—Kings and emperors beaten and deposed.—The fatal Russian campaign.—The first abdication.—The return from Elba.—The battle of Waterloo.—The feudal lords once more triumphant.

And now there came to the front one of the most remarkable characters in all history. This was Napoleon Bonaparte, a little man from the island of Corsica, of Italian parentage, but a French citizen, for the island had been forcibly The annexed to France shortly before his birth. As a young lieutenant in the army, he had seen the storming of the Bastille. Later on, being in charge of the cannon which defended the House of Parliament, he had saved one of the numerous governments set up during this period. A Paris mob was trying to storm this building, as they had the castle of the king. As a reward, he had been put in charge of the French army in Italy, which was engaged in fighting the Austrians.

In order to understand the situation it is necessity at this point to devote some attention to the past history of the Italian peninsula.

Italy had not been a united country since the days of the Roman Empire. The southern part of the peninsula had formed, with Sicily, a small nation called the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The northern part had belonged to the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Franks, and the Holy Roman Empire in turn. The Italian people wanted to become one nation, but they were divided up among many little princes, each with his separate dominions. The cities of Genoa and Venice had each formed a republic, which was strong on the sea only, for both cities had large navies and had acquired practically all their wealth by their trade with Constantinople, Egypt, and the far East. In 1796 the Hapsburg family held the control of northern Italy except the lands around the city of Venice and the county of Piedmont. The latter formed a separate kingdom with the island of Sardinia, much as Sicily was joined with the southern end of the peninsula.

Italy had been the battlefield where Goths, Franks, Huns, Lombards, Germans, Austrians, French, and Spaniards had fought their battles for the control of the civilized world. (See the following maps.) At one time, the Austrian House of Hapsburg controlled the greater part of the peninsula. This was especially true when Charles V was elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. As a Hapsburg, he was ruler of Austria. As a descendant of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, he was Lord of the Low Countries (what is now Holland and Belgium). He was also king of Spain, being the oldest living grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella. When he became ruler of the two Sicilies, and defeated the French king for the control of northern Italy, there were only four powers in Europe which were not under his sway: Russia, Turkey, Poland, and England. (See map.)


Italy in 525 A.D.


Italy in 650 A.D.


Italy in 1175 A.D.


Charles the Fifth

Three hundred years after this, the Austrians were again invading Italy, and at the time when Bonaparte entered it (1796), they had overrun and controlled the entire valley of the Po. The cause of the war was still the deposing of the French monarch. The Austrian armies were fighting to force the people of France to take back the rule of the hated kings. The armies of France, on the other hand, represented the rights of the people to choose their own form of government.

Of course the French, intoxicated by the success of the Revolution, were eager to spread the republican form of government all over Europe. There was a real possibility that they might do so, and the kings were fighting in defense of their thrones. (The map shows the conquests of the new republic up to this time.)


Europe in 1796

Such was the situation when young Bonaparte, twenty-six years of age, went down into Italy to take command of the French army. The generals, many of them as old as his father, began offering him advice, but he impatiently waved them aside and announced that he was going to wage war on a plan hitherto unheard of. He made good his boast, and after a short campaign in which he inspired his ragged, hungry army to perform wonders in fighting, he had driven the Austrians out of northern Italy, broken up the Republic of Venice, and forced the emperor to make peace with France. After a brilliant but unsuccessful campaign in Egypt and Syria, Bonaparte returned to France, where, as the popular military hero, he had little difficulty in overthrowing the five Directors of the French government and having himself elected “First Consul” or president of France.

A new combination of nations now united against the republic, but Bonaparte cut to pieces a great Austrian army, and a second time compelled his enemies to make peace. He now proposed that the French people elect him “emperor of the French” for life, and by an overwhelming vote they did so. The empire was very different from the other empires and kingships of Europe, since it was created by the vote of the people. The other monarchs held their thrones by reason of their descent from the chiefs of the plundering tribes which invaded Europe during the Dark Ages. By this time, the kings had forgotten that they owed their power to the swords of their fighting men, and there had grown up a doctrine called “The Divine Right of Kings.” In other words, the kings claimed that God in his wisdom had seen fit to make them rulers over these lands, and that they were responsible to God alone. In this way they tried to make it appear that any one who attempted to drive a king from his throne was opposed to the will of Heaven.

The victorious French, exulting in their newly-won freedom from the tyranny of kings and nobles, were full of warlike pride in the wonderful victories gained by their armies under the brilliant leadership of Napoleon. (He dropped his last name, Bonaparte, when he was elected emperor.) They swept over the greater part of Europe and helped to spread the idea that the people had rights that all kings were bound to respect, and that it was not necessary to be ruled by descendants of the old robber chiefs.

For sixteen years Napoleon did not meet defeat. He beat the Austrians and Russians singly; he beat them combined. In two fierce battles, he crushed the wonderful Prussian army, which had been trained in the military school of Frederick the Great. He drove out the king of Spain, the king of the Two Sicilies, the kings of several of the small German kingdoms. He made one of his brothers king of Spain, another king of Holland, a third king of Westphalia (part of western Germany). He set his brother-in-law on the throne of Naples. He had his small son crowned king of Rome. He took away from Prussia all of her territory except Brandenburg, Silesia, Pomerania. and East and West Prussia. He reorganized the old Polish kingdom and kings called it the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. He forced Austria to give up all claim to northern Italy. He annexed to France the land which is now Belgium and Holland, and parts of western Germany and Italy. (See map entitled “Europe in 1810.”)

Illustration: Messen

Europe in 1810

All over Europe, those of the people who had education enough to understand what was going on, were astonished to see the old feudal kings and princes driven from their thrones and their places taken by men sprung from the common people. The father of the Bonapartes had been a poor lawyer. Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law, king of South Italy, was the son of an innkeeper. Bernadotte, one of Napoleon’s generals, whom the Swedes chose as their king, was likewise descended from the lower classes. In nations where the working classes had never dreamed of opposing the rulers there sprang up a new hope.


The Emperor Napoleon in 1814

Bonaparte at last made a fatal mistake. With an army of half a million men, he invaded Russia, and established his headquarters in Moscow. The Russian people, however, set fire themselves to their beautiful city, and the French had to retreat a thousand miles through snow and ice, while bands of Russian Cossacks swooped down on them from the rear and took a hundred thousand prisoners. Encouraged by this terrible blow dealt the French, the allied kings of Europe again united in one last effort to drive the little Corsican from the throne of France.

For two years Napoleon held them at bay, making up for his lack of soldiers by his marvelous military skill, and by the enthusiasm which he never failed to arouse in his troops. In 1814, however, surrounded by the troops of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and England, he had to confess himself beaten. Even Bernadotte, his former general, led the Swedish troops against him. The allied kings brought back in triumph to Paris the brother of the king who had been executed there twenty-two years before, and set him on the throne of France. Napoleon was banished to the little island of Elba to the west of Italy, and the monarchs flattered themselves that their troubles were ended.


The Retreat from Moscow

In the spring of the following year, however, Napoleon escaped from his island prison and landed on the southern coast of France. The king ordered his soldiers to capture their former emperor. But the magic of his presence was too much for them, and the men who had been sent to put him into chains shed tears of joy at the sight of him, and threw themselves at his feet. One week later, the king of France had fled a second time from his country, and the man chosen by the people was once more at the head of the government.

All the kingdoms of Europe declared war against France, and four large armies were headed toward her borders. Napoleon did not wait for them to come. Gathering a big force, he marched rapidly north into the low countries, where he met and defeated an army of Prussians. Another army of English was advancing from Brussels. On the field of Waterloo, the French were defeated in one of the great battles of the world’s history. The defeated Prussians had made a wide circuit and returned to the field to the aid of their English allies, while the general whom Napoleon had sent to follow the Germans arrived too late to prevent the emperor from being crushed. A second time, Napoleon had to give up his crown, and a second time King Louis XVIII was brought back into Paris and put upon the French throne by the bayonets of foreign troops. The people had been crushed, apparently, and the old feudal lords were once more in control.


Napoleon at Waterloo

Questions for Review
  1. Had Italy ever been a nation?
  2. What German tribe ruled Italy in 525? (See map.)
  3. What tribe ruled Italy in 650? (See map.)
  4. What part of Italy once belonged to the Holy Roman Empire? (See map.)
  5. What induced the French to elect Bonaparte as First Consul and afterward Emperor?
  6. What led Napoleon to make war on the other rulers?
  7. What was Napoleon’s great mistake?
  8. Why did the people welcome him upon his return from Elba?
  9. What was the effect of the battle of Waterloo?

Chapter X.
A King-Made Map and its Trail of Wrongs

A meeting of kings and diplomats.—Austrians and English vs. Prussians and Russians.—Talleyrand the subtle.—Carving a new map.—The people are ignored.—Sowing the seeds of trouble.—Unhappy Poland.—Divided Italy.—Revolts of the people.—The outbreaks of 1848.

And now the kings and princes, with their ministers of state and diplomats, met at Vienna to decide what should be the map of Europe. In past years, there had been a great deal of suspicion and jealousy among these monarchs. Hardly five years had gone by without finding two of them flying at each other’s throats in some unjust war or other. Only their great fear of uprisings similar to the French Revolution had driven them to act together in crushing the French Republic, and the empire voted by the people, which had followed it. This famous “Congress of Vienna,” which took place 1815, is a fair example of the way in which European lands have been cut up and parceled out to various monarchs without any regard for the wishes of the people.


The Congress of Vienna

Russia and Prussia, proud of the part that their mighty armies had had in crushing Napoleon, were arrogantly intending to divide the map of Europe as suited them, and it was only by a great deal of diplomacy that they were beaten. (The game of diplomacy is frequently a polite name for some very cunning deception, involving lying and cheating, in which kings and their ministers take part.) The Austrians were afraid of the Russian-Prussian combination, and they induced England to side with them. England did not love Austria, but feared the other two powers. The English minister, Lord Castlereagh, finally persuaded the Austrians, Prussians, and Russians, to allow the French diplomat, Talleyrand, to take part in their final meetings. Now Talleyrand was probably the most slippery and tricky diplomat of all Europe. He had grown to power during the troublous days of the latter part of the French Revolution, and had guessed which party would remain in power so skillfully that he always appeared as the strong friend of the winning side. Although he had served Napoleon during the first years of the empire, he was shrewd enough to remain true to King Louis XVIII during the latter’s second exile. The Prussian-Russian combination was finally obliged to give in, somewhat, to the demands of Austria, England, and France. Compare this map with the one given in the preceding chapter, and you will see most of the important changes.

Prussia, which had been cut down to about half its former size by Napoleon, got back some of its Polish territory, and was given a great deal of land in western Germany along the River Rhine. Part of the kingdom of Saxony was forcibly annexed to Prussia also. It is needless to say that its inhabitants were bitterly unhappy over this arrangement. Austria kept part of her Polish territory, and gave the rest of it to Russia.

The southern part of the Netherlands, which is today called Belgium, had belonged to the Hapsburg family, the emperors of Austria. As was previously said, it was conquered by the French and remained part of France until the fall of Napoleon. It was now joined with Holland to make the kingdom of the Netherlands. Its people were Walloons and Flemish, almost entirely Catholic in their religion, and they very much disliked to be joined with the Protestant Dutch of Holland.

Illustration: Messen

Europe in 1815

The state of Finland, which had not been strong enough to defend itself against its two powerful neighbors, Sweden and Russia, had been fought over by these two powers for more than a century. It was finally transferred to Russia, and in order to appease Sweden, Norway, which had been ruled by the Danes, was torn away from Denmark and made part of the kingdom of Sweden. The Norwegians desired to remain an independent country, and they loved the Swedes even less than they loved the Danes. Therefore, this union was another source of trouble. The greater part of the kingdom of Poland and all of Lithuania were joined to Russia.

Russia got back all of the territory she had taken in 1795, and in addition large parts of the former shares of Prussia and Austria. In order to pay back Austria for the loss of part of Poland, she was given all of northern Italy except the counties of Piedmont and Savoy near France.

The German states (and these included both Austria and Prussia) were formed into a loose alliance called the German Confederation. England’s share of the plunder consisted largely of distant colonies, such as South Africa, Ceylon, Trinidad, etc. France shrank back to the boundaries which she had had at the beginning of the revolution. The kings of France, of the Two Sicilies, and of Spain (all of them members of the Bourbon family) who had been driven out by Napoleon, were set back upon their thrones.

This arrangement left Italy all split up into nine or ten different parts, although its people desired to be one nation. It left Austria a government over twelve different nationalities, each one of which was dissatisfied. It joined Belgium to Holland in a combination displeasing to both. It gave Norway and Finland as subject states to Sweden and Russia respectively. It left the Albanians, Serbians, Roumanians, Bulgarians, and Greeks all subject to the hated Turks. It set upon three thrones, once vacant, kings who were hated by their subjects. It divided the Poles up among four different governments—for, strange as it may seem, the powers could not decide who should own the city of Cracow and the territory around it, and they ended by making this district a little republic, under the joint protection of Austria, Prussia, and Russia. In fact, the Swiss, serene in their lofty mountains, were almost the only small people of Europe who were left untroubled. The Congress of 1815 had laid the foundation for future revolutions and wars without number.

At first, the Poles were fairly well treated by the Russians, but after two or three unsuccessful attempts at a revolution, Poland, which, as one of the states of the Russian Empire, was still called a kingdom, was deprived of all its rights, and its people were forced to give up the use of their language in their schools, their courts, and even their churches. In the same fashion, the Poles in Prussia were “not even allowed to think in Polish,” as one Polish patriot bitterly put it. All through the first half of the 19th century, there were uprisings and struggles among these people. As a result of one of them, in 1846, the little Republic of Cracow was abolished, and its territory forcibly annexed to Austria.

The Italian people formed secret societies which had for their object the uniting of Italy, and the freeing of its people from foreign rulers. All through Germany there were mutterings of discontent. The people wanted more freedom from their lords. Greece broke out into insurrection against the Turks, and fifteen years after the Congress of 1815 won its right to independence. Not long afterwards, the southern half of the Netherlands broke itself loose from the northern half, and declared to the world that it should henceforth be a new kingdom, under the name of Belgium. About the same time, the people of France rose up against the Bourbon kings, and threw them out “for good.” A distant cousin of the king was elected, not “king of France” but “citizen king of the French,” and the people were allowed to elect men to represent them in a parliament or Congress at Paris. In Spain, one revolution followed another. For a short time, Spain was a republic, but the people were not well enough educated to govern themselves, and the kingdom was restored.


Prince Metternich

The statesman who had more to do with the division of territory in 1815 than any other was Prince Metternich of Austria. He stood for the “divine right of kings,” and did not believe in allowing the common people any liberty whatsoever. In 1848, an uprising occurred in Austria, and crowds in Vienna, crying, “down with Metternich,” forced the aged diplomat to flee. During the same year, there were outbreaks in Germany. The people everywhere were revolting against the feudal rights of their kings and princes, and gaining greater liberty for themselves. In 1848, France, also, grew tired of her “citizen king,” and that country a second time became a republic. The French made the mistake, however, of electing as their president, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the great Napoleon, and in time he did exactly what his uncle had done,—persuaded the French people to elect him emperor.

Questions for Review
  1. What were the motives of each of the nations represented at the Congress of Vienna?
  2. Why were the Russians and Prussians the leaders of the meeting at first?
  3. Why did the English and Austrians assist each other?
  4. What had Napoleon done for Poland? (See last chapter.)
  5. What kings deposed by Napoleon were set back on their thrones?
  6. What were the greatest wrongs done by the Congress?
  7. How did the Poles protest against the settlement made by the Congress?
  8. What did the Belgians do about it?
  9. What did the French finally do to the Bourbon kings?

Chapter XI.
Italy a Nation at Last

The Crimean War curbs Russia.—Cavour plans a United Italy.—War against Austria.—Garibaldi, the patriot.—The Kingdom of Sardinia becomes part of the new Kingdom of Italy.—Venice and Rome are added.—Some Italians still outside the kingdom.

Meanwhile, Italy, under the leadership of two patriots named Mazzini and Garibaldi, was in a turmoil. The Austrians and the Italian princes who were subject to them were constantly crushing some attempted revolution.

One thing which helped the cause of the people was that the great powers were all jealous of each other. For example, Russia attacked Turkey in 1853, but France and England were afraid that if Russia conquered the Turks and took Constantinople, she would become too powerful for them. Therefore, both countries rushed troops to aid Turkey, and in the end, Russia was defeated, although thousands of soldiers were killed on both sides before the struggle was over.

You will remember that the counties of Piedmont and Savoy in western Italy, together with the island of Sardinia, made up a little kingdom known as the “Kingdom of Sardinia.” This country had for its prime minister, a statesman named Count Cavour, who, like all Italians, strongly hoped for the day when all the people living on the Italian peninsula should be one nation. At the time of the Crimean War (as the war between Russia on the one side and Turkey, France, and England on the other was called) he caused his country also to declare war on Russia, and sent a tiny army to fight alongside of the English and French. A few years later, he secretly made a bargain with Napoleon III. (This was what President Bonaparte of France called himself after he had been elected emperor.) The French agreed to make war with his country against the Austrians. If they won, the Sardinians were to receive all north Italy, and in return for France’s help were to give France the county of Savoy and the seaport of Nice.

When Cavour and the French were all ready to strike, it was not hard to find an excuse for a war. Austria declared war on Sardinia, and, as had been arranged, France rushed to the aid of the Italians. Austria was speedily beaten, but no sooner was the war finished than the French emperor repented of his bargain. He was afraid that it would make trouble for him with his Catholic subjects if the Italians were allowed to take all the northern half of the peninsula, including the pope’s lands, into their kingdom. Accordingly, the Sardinians received only Lombardy in return for Savoy and Nice, which they gave to France, and the Austrians kept the county of Venetia. A fire once kindled, however, is hard to put out. No sooner did the people of the other states of northern Italy see the success of Sardinia, than, one after another, they revolted against their Austrian princes and voted to join the new kingdom of Italy. In this way, Parma, Modena, Tuscany, and part of the “States of the Church” were added. All of this happened in the year 1859.

These “States of the Church” came to be formed in the following way: The father of the great king of the Franks, Charlemagne, who had been crowned western emperor by the pope in the year 800, had rescued northern Italy from the rule of the Lombards. He had made the pope lord of a stretch of territory extending across Italy from the Adriatic Sea to the Mediterranean. The inhabitants of this country had no ruler but the pope. They paid their taxes to him, and acknowledged him as their feudal lord. It was part of this territory which revolted and joined the new kingdom of Italy.

You will remember the name of Garibaldi, the Italian patriot, who with Mazzini had been stirring up trouble for the Austrians. They finally pursued him so closely that he had to leave Italy. He came to America and set up a fruit store in New York City, where there were quite a number of his countrymen. By 1854, he had made a great deal of money in the fruit business, but had not forgotten his beloved country, and was anxious to be rich only in order that he might free Italy from the Austrians. He sold out his business in New York, and taking all his money, sailed for Italy. When the war of 1859 broke out, he volunteered, and fought throughout the campaign.

But the compromising terms of peace galled him, and he was not satisfied with a country only half free. In the region around Genoa, he enrolled a thousand men to go on what looked like a desperate enterprise. Garibaldi had talked with Cavour, and between them, they had schemed to overthrow the kingdom of the Two Sicilies and join this land to the northern country. Of course, Cavour pretended not to know anything about Garibaldi, for the king of Naples and Sicily was supposed to be a friend of the king of Sardinia. Nevertheless, he secretly gave Garibaldi all the help that he dared, and urged men to enroll with him.


The First Meeting of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel

With his thousand “red-shirts,” as they were called, Garibaldi landed on the island of Sicily, at Marsala. The inhabitants rose to welcome him, and everywhere they drove out the officers who had been appointed by their king to rule them. In a short time, all Sicily had risen in rebellion against the king. (You will remember that this family of kings had been driven out by Napoleon and restored by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. They were Bourbons, the same family that furnished the kings of Spain and the last kings of France. They stood for “the divine right of kings,” and had no sympathy with the common people.) Crossing over to the mainland, Garibaldi, with his little army now swollen to ten times its former size, swept everything before him as he marched toward Naples. Everywhere, the people rose against their former masters, and welcomed the liberator. The king fled in haste from Naples, never to return. A vote was taken all over the southern half of Italy and Sicily, to decide whether the people wanted to join their brothers of the north to make a new kingdom of Italy. It was so voted almost unanimously. Victor Emmanuel, king of Sardinia, thus became the first king of United Italy. He made Florence his capital at first, as the country around Rome still belonged to the pope. The pope had few soldiers, but was protected by a guard of French troops. However, ten years later, in 1870, when war broke out between France and Prussia, the French troops left Rome, and the troops of Italy marched quietly in and took possession of the city. Rome, for so many years the capital, not only of Italy but of the whole Mediterranean world, became once more the chief city of the peninsula. The pope was granted a liberal pension by the Italian government in order to make up to him for the loss of the money from his former lands. The dream of Italians for the last 600 years had finally come to pass. Italy was again one country, ruled by the popular Victor Emmanuel, with a constitution which gave the people the right to elect representatives to a parliament or congress. One of the worst blunders of the Congress of Vienna had been set right by the patriotism of the people of Italy.

It should be noted, however, that there are still Italians who are not part of this kingdom. The county of Venetia, at the extreme northeast of Italy, was added to the kingdom in 1866 as the result of a war which will be told about more fully in the next chapter, but the territory around the city of Trent, called by the Italians Trentino, and the county of Istria at the head of the Adriatic Sea, containing the important seaports of Trieste, Fiume, and Pola, are inhabited almost entirely by people of Italian blood. Certain islands along the coast of Dalmatia also are full of Italians. To rescue these people from the rule of Austria has been the earnest wish of all Italian patriots, and was the chief reason why Italy did not join Germany and Austria in the great war of 1914.

Illustration: Messen

Italy Made One Nation, 1914

Questions for Review
  1. Why did England and France side with Turkey against Russia?
  2. What bargain did Cavour make with Napoleon III?
  3. How did the rest of Italy come to join Sardinia?
  4. Explain the origin of the “States of the Church.”
  5. Why did Sicily and Naples revolt against their king?
  6. What Italians are not yet citizens of the kingdom of Italy?

Chapter XII.
The Man of Blood and Iron

The people demand their rights—Bismarck, the chief prop of the Prussian monarchy—The question of the leadership of the German states—The wonderful Prussian army—The war on Denmark—Preparing to crush Austria—The battle of Sadowa—Easy terms to the defeated nation—Preparing to defeat France—A good example of a war caused by diplomats—Prussia’s easy victory—The new German empire—Harsh terms of peace—The triumph of feudal government.

All of this time, the kings of Europe had been engaged in contests with their own people. The overthrow of the French king at the time of the revolution taught the people of the other countries of Europe that they too could obtain their liberties. You have already been told how the people of Austria drove out Prince Metternich, who was the leader of the party which refused any rights to the working classes.

That same year, 1848, had seen the last king driven out of France, had witnessed revolts in all parts of Italy, and had found many German princes in trouble with their subjects, who were demanding a share in the government, the right of free speech, free newspapers, and trial by jury. The empires of Austria and Russia had joined with the kingdom of Prussia in a combination which was known as the “Holy Alliance.” This was meant to stop the further spread of republican ideas and to curb the growing power of the common people.



Not long after this, there came to the front in Prussia a remarkable man, who for the next forty years was perhaps the most prominent statesman in Europe. His full name was Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck-Schönausen, but we generally know him under the name of Bismarck. He was a Prussian nobleman, a believer in the divine right of kings, the man who more than anybody else is responsible for the establishing of the present empire of Germany. He once made a speech in the Prussian Diet or council in which he said that “blood and iron,” not speeches and treaties, would unite Germany into a nation. His one object was a united Germany, which should be the strongest nation in Europe. He wanted Germany to be ruled by Prussia, Prussia to be ruled by its king, and the king of Prussia to be controlled by Bismarck. It is marvellous to see how near he came to carrying through his whole plan.

After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Prussia remained among the powers of Europe, but was not as great as Austria, Russia, England, or France. The German states, some 35 in number, had united in a loose alliance called the German Confederation. (This union was somewhat similar to the United States of America between 1776 and 1789.) Austria was the largest of these states, and was naturally looked upon as the leader of the whole group. Prussia was the second largest, while next after Prussia, and much smaller, came the kingdoms of Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, and Wurtemburg. Bismarck, as prime minister of Prussia, built up a wonderfully strong army. He did this by means of a military system which at first made him very unpopular with the people. Every man in the nation, rich or poor, was obliged to serve a certain number of years in the army and be ready at a moment’s notice to join a certain regiment if there came a call to war.

Having organized this army, and equipped it with every modern weapon, Bismarck was anxious to use it to accomplish his purpose. There were two counties named Schleswig (shlĕs′vig) and Holstein (hōl′stīn) which belonged to the king of Denmark and yet contained a great many German people. The inhabitants of Schleswig were perhaps half Danes, while those of Holstein were more than two-thirds Germans. These Germans had protested against certain actions of the Danish government, and were threatening to revolt. Taking advantage of this trouble, Prussia and Austria, as the leading states of the German Federation, declared war on little Denmark. The Danes fought valiantly, but were overwhelmed by the armies of their enemies. Schleswig and Holstein were torn away from Denmark and put under the joint protection of Austria and Prussia.

This sort of arrangement could not last. Sooner or later, there was bound to be a quarrel over the division of the plunder. Now Bismarck had a chance to show his crafty diplomacy. He made up his mind to crush Austria and put Prussia in her place as the leader of the German states. He first negotiated with Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, and made sure that this monarch would not interfere. Next he remembered that the provinces of Venetia, Trentino, and Istria still belonged to Austria, as the Italians had failed to gain them in the war of 1859. Accordingly, Bismarck induced Italy to declare war on Austria by promising her Venetia and the other provinces in return for her aid. Saxony, Bavaria, and Hanover were friendly to Austria, but Bismarck did not fear them. He knew that his army, under the leadership of its celebrated general, von Moltke, was more than a match for the Austrians, Bavarians, etc., combined.

When Bismarck was ready, Prussia and Italy struck. The Austrians were successful at first against the Italians, but at Sadowa in Bohemia, their armies were beaten in a tremendous battle by the Prussians. Austria was put down from her place as the leader of the German Confederation, and Prussia took the leadership. Hanover, whose king had sided with the Austrians, was annexed to Prussia. The king of Prussia and several of his generals were anxious to rob Austria of some of her territory, as had been the custom in the past whenever one nation defeated another in war. Bismarck, however, restrained them. In his program of making Prussia the leading military state in Europe, he saw that his next opponent would be France, and he did not propose, on attacking France, to find his army assailed in the rear by the revengeful Austrians. Accordingly, Bismarck compelled the king to let Austria off without any loss of territory except Venetia, which was given to the Italians. Austria was even allowed to retain Trentino and Istria, and was not required to pay a large indemnity to Prussia. (A custom which had come down from the middle ages, when cities which were captured had been obliged to pay great sums of money, in order to get rid of the conquering armies, was the payment of a war indemnity by the defeated nation. This was a sum of money as large as the conquerors thought they could safely force their victims to pay.) The Austrians, although they were angry over the manner in which Bismarck had provoked the war, nevertheless appreciated the fact that he was generous in not forcing harsh terms upon them, as he could have done had he wanted to.

The eyes of all Europe now turned toward the coming struggle between Prussia and France. It was plain that it was impossible for two men like Bismarck and Emperor Napoleon to continue in power very long without coming to blows. It was Bismarck’s ambition, as was previously said, to make Prussia the leading military nation of Europe, and he knew that this meant a struggle with Napoleon. You will remember also that he planned a united Germany, led by Prussia, and he felt that the French war would bring this about. On the other hand, the French emperor was extremely jealous of the easy victory that Prussia and Italy had won over Austria. He had been proud of the French army, and wanted it to remain the greatest fighting force in Europe. He was just as anxious for an excuse to attack Prussia as Bismarck was for a pretext to attack him.

It should be kept in mind that all this time there was no ill-feeling between the French people and the Germans. In fact, the Germans of the Rhine country were very friendly to France, and during Napoleon’s time had been given more liberties and had been governed better than under the rule of their former feudal lords. All the hostility and jealousy was between the military chiefs. Even Bismarck did not dislike the French. He had no feeling toward them at all. It was part of his program that their military power should be crushed and his program must be carried through. Europe, to his mind, was too small to contain more than one master military power.

The four years between 1866 and 1870 were used by Bismarck to gain friends for Prussia among other countries of Europe, and to make enemies for France. The kingdoms of south Germany (Bavaria, Baden, and Wurtemburg), which had sided with Austria during the late war, were friendly to France and hostile to Prussia. Napoleon III, however, made a proposal in writing to Bismarck that France should be given a slice of this south German territory in return for some other land which France was to allow Prussia to seize. Bismarck pretended to consider this proposal, but was careful to keep the original copy, in the French ambassador’s own handwriting. (Each nation sends a man to represent her at the capital of each other nation. These men are called ambassadors. They are given power to sign agreements for their governments.) By showing this to the rulers of the little south German kingdoms, he was able to turn them against Napoleon and to make secret treaties with these states by which they bound themselves to fight on the side of Prussia in case a war broke out with France. In similar fashion, Bismarck made the Belgians angry against the French by letting it be known that Napoleon was trying to annex their country also.

Meanwhile, aided by General von Moltke and Count von Roon (rōn), Bismarck had built up a wonderful military power. Every man in Prussia had been trained a certain number of years in the army and was ready at a moment’s notice to join his regiment. The whole campaign against France had been planned months in advance. In France on the other hand, the illness and irritability of Napoleon III had resulted in poor organization. Men who did not wish to serve their time in the army were allowed to pay money to the government instead. Yet their names were carried on the rolls. In this way, the French army had not half the strength in actual numbers that it had on paper. What is more, certain government officials had taken advantage of the emperor’s weakness and lack of system and had put into their own pockets money that should have been spent in buying guns and ammunition.

When at last Bismarck was all ready for the war, it was not hard to find an excuse. Old Queen Isabella of Spain had been driven from her throne, and the Spanish army under General Prim offered the crown to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern, a cousin of the king of Prussia. This alarmed Napoleon, who imagined that if Prussia attacked him on the east, this Prussian prince, as king of Spain, would lead the Spanish army over the Pyrenees against him on the south. France made so vigorous a protest that the prince asked the Spaniards not to think of him any longer. This was not enough for Napoleon, who now proceeded to make a fatal mistake. The incident was closed, but he persisted in reopening it. He sent his ambassador to see King William of Prussia to ask the latter to assure France that never again should Prince Leopold be considered for the position of king of Spain. The king answered that he could not guarantee this, for he was merely the head of the Hohenzollern family. Prince Leopold, whose lands lay outside of Prussia, was not even one of his subjects. The interview between the king and the French ambassador had been a friendly one. The ambassador had been very courteous to the king, and the king had been very polite to the ambassador. They had parted on good terms.


An Attack on a Convoy in the Franco-Prussian War.

In the meanwhile, Bismarck had been hoping that an excuse for war would come from this incident. He was at dinner with General von Moltke and Count von Roon when a long telegram came from the king, telling of his interview with the French ambassador. In the story of his life written by himself, Bismarck tells how, as he read the telegram both Roon and Moltke groaned in disappointment. He says that Moltke seemed to have grown older in a minute. Both had earnestly hoped that war would come. Bismarck took the dispatch, sat down at a table, and began striking out the message polite words and the phrases that showed that the meeting had been a friendly one. He cut down the original telegram of two hundred words to one of twenty. When he had finished, the message sounded as if the French ambassador had bullied and threatened the king of Prussia, while the latter had snubbed and insulted the Frenchman. Bismarck read the altered telegram to Roon and Moltke. Instantly, they brightened up and felt better. “How is that?” he asked. “That will do it,” they answered. “War is assured.”

The telegram was given to the newspapers, and within twenty-four hours, the people of Paris and Berlin were shouting for war. Napoleon III hesitated, but he finally gave in to his generals and his wife who urged him to “avenge the insult to the French nation.”


The Proclamation at Versailles of William I as Emperor of Germany

We give this story of the starting of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 just to show the tricks of European diplomats. What Bismarck did was no worse than what the Frenchman, Talleyrand, would have done, or the Austrian, Metternich, or several of the Turkish or Russian diplomats. It simply proves how helpless the people of European countries are, when the military class which rules them has decided, for its own power and glory, on war with some other nation.

The war was short. The forces of France were miserably unprepared. The first great defeat of the French army resulted in the capture of the emperor by the Prussians and the overthrowing of the government in Paris, where a third republic was started. One of the French generals turned traitor, thinking that if he surrendered his army and cut short the war the Prussians would force the French to take Napoleon III back as emperor. Paris was besieged for a long time. The people lived on mule meat and even on rats and mice rather than surrender to the Germans, but at last they were starved out, and peace was made.


Formation of the German Empire

In the meantime, another of Bismarck’s plans had been successful. In January, 1871, while the siege of Paris was yet going on, he induced the kingdoms of Bavaria and Wurtemburg, together with Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, and all the other little German states to join Prussia in forming a new empire of Germany. The king of Prussia was to be “German Emperor,” and the people of Germany were to elect representatives to the Reichstag or Imperial Congress. Although at the outset, the war was between the kingdom of Prussia and the empire of France, the treaty of peace was signed by the republic of France and the empire of Germany.

Bismarck was very harsh in his terms of peace. France was condemned to pay an indemnity of 5,000,000,000 francs (nearly one billion dollars) and certain parts of France were to be occupied by the German troops until this money was fully paid. Two counties of France, Alsace and Lorraine, were to be annexed to Germany. Alsace was inhabited largely by people of German descent, but there were many French mingled with them, and the whole province had belonged to France so long that its people felt themselves to be wholly French. Lorraine contained very few Germans, and was taken, contrary to Bismarck’s best judgment, because it contained the important city of Metz, which was strongly fortified. Here the military chiefs overruled Bismarck. The desire among the French for revenge on Germany for taking this French-speaking province has proved that Bismarck was right. It was a blunder of the worst kind.

The policy of “blood and iron” had been successful. From a second rate power, Prussia had risen, under Bismarck’s leadership, to become the strongest military force in Europe. Schleswig had been torn from Danish, Holstein from Austrian control. Hanover had been forcibly annexed, and Alsace and Lorraine wrested from France. The greater part of the inhabitants of these countries were bitterly unhappy at being placed under the Prussian military rule. Moreover, it must be remembered that a great deal of this growth in power had been at the expense of the liberty of the common people. The revolution of 1848 had demanded free speech, free newspapers, the right to vote, and the right to elect men to a congress or parliament, and while some of these rights had been granted, still the whole country was under the control of the war department. The emperor, as commander-in-chief of the army, could suppress any newspaper and dismiss the congress whenever he might think this proper. The Reichstag was, as it has been called, a big debating society, whose members had the right to talk, but were not allowed to pass any laws that were contrary to the wishes of the military leaders.

Questions for Review
  1. What was the reason for the revolts of 1848 all over Europe?
  2. What was the object of the “Holy Alliance”?
  3. What was Bismarck’s purpose in building up a strong army?
  4. How did Bismarck defeat Austria?
  5. What is a war indemnity?
  6. Explain how Bismarck made enemies for Napoleon III.
  7. Why were the French alarmed when Spain offered its crown to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern?
  8. What means did Bismarck use to bring on war with France?
  9. Was Prussia’s victory a good thing for her people?

Chapter XIII.
The Balance of Power

The recovery of France.—The jealousy of the powers.—The policy of uniting against the strongest.—The dream of Russia.—A war of liberation.—The powers interfere in favor of the Turk.—The Congress of Berlin.—Bismarck’s Triple Alliance.—France and Russia are driven together.—The race for war preparation.—The growth of big navies.

Under the third republic,[3] France recovered very rapidly from the terrible blow dealt her by Germany. Her people worked hard and saved their money. In less than two years, they had paid off the last cent of the one billion dollar indemnity, and the German troops were obliged to go home. France had adopted the same military system that Germany had, and required all of her young men to serve two years in the army and be ready at a moment’s notice to rush to arms. She began also to build up a strong navy, and to spread her colonies in Africa and other parts of the world. This rapid recovery of France surprised and disturbed Bismarck, who thought that never again, after the war of 1870, would she become a strong power. He had tried to renew the old “Holy Alliance” between Germany, Russia, and Austria with the idea of preventing the spread of republics. These were the three nations which gave their people very few rights, and which stood for the “divine right of kings” and for the crushing of all republics. Bismarck called this new combination the “Drei-kaiser-bund” or three-emperor-bond. He himself says that the proposed alliance fell to pieces because of the lies and treachery of Prince Gortchakoff, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

[3] The first republic began in 1792, when King Louis XVI was beheaded, the second in 1848 when Louis Philippe, the “citizen king,” was driven out.

An incident which happened in 1875 helped to estrange Germany from Russia. As was previously said, Bismarck was astonished and alarmed when he saw how quickly France was getting over the effects of the war. In 1875, some trouble came up again between France and Germany, and Bismarck a second time planned to make war on the republic and—complete the task that he had left unfinished in 1871. He wanted to reduce France to the rank of a second class power, on a par with Spain and Denmark. This time, however, England and Russia growled ominously. They notified Bismarck that they would not stand by and see France crushed—not from any love of France, but because they were jealous of Prussia and afraid that the Germans might become too powerful in Europe. Accordingly, Bismarck had to give up his idea of war. Prussia was strong, but she could not fight England, Russia, and France combined. However, he remembered that England and Russia had spoiled his plans and waited for a chance to get revenge.


Peter the Great

The great object of all European diplomats was to maintain what they called “the balance of power.” By this they meant that no one country was to be allowed to grow so strong that she could defy the rest of Europe. Whenever one nation grew too powerful, the others combined to pull her down.

In the meantime, trouble was again brewing among the Balkan nations, which were still subject to the Turks. Revolts had broken out among the Serbians, and the people of Bosnia and Bulgaria. As has already been told, these nations are Slavic, cousins of the Russians, and they have always looked upon Russia as their big brother and protector. Any keen-eared, intelligent Russian can understand the language of the Serbs, it is so much like his own tongue. (Bel-grad, Petro-grad; the word “grad” means “city” in both languages.)

Not only was Russia hostile toward the Turks because they were oppressing the little Slav states, but she had reasons of her own for wanting to see Turkey overthrown. Ever since the reign of Peter the Great, Russia had had her eye upon Constantinople. Peter had conquered the district east of the Gulf of Finland, and had founded St. Petersburg[4] there, just to give Russia a port which was free of ice. In the same way, other czars who followed him had fought their way southward to the Black Sea, seeking for a chance to trade with the Mediterranean world. But the Black Sea was like a bottle, and the Turks at Constantinople were able to stop the Russian trade at any time they might wish to do so. Russia is an agricultural country, and must ship her grain to countries that are more densely inhabited, to exchange it for their manufactures.

[4] Now called Petrograd.


Entrance to the Mosque of St Sophia

Therefore, it has been the dream of every Russian czar that one day Russia might own Constantinople. Again, this city, in ancient days, was the home of the Greek church, as Rome was the capital of the western Catholic church. The Russians are all Greek Catholics, and every Russian looks forward to the day when the great church of St. Sophia, which is now a Mohammedan mosque, shall once more be the home of Christian worship. With this plan in mind, Russian diplomats were only too happy to stir up trouble for the Turks among the Slavic peoples of the Balkan states, as Serbia, Bulgaria, Roumania, and Montenegro are called. Glance at the two following maps of southeastern Europe, and see how Turkey had been reduced in size during the two hundred years which followed the Turkish defeat at the gates of Vienna by John Sobieski and the Austrians. The state of Bessarabia had changed hands two or three times, remaining finally in the hands of Russia.

The revolts of the Balkan peoples in 1875 and 1876 were hailed with joy among the Russians, and the government at St. Petersburg lost no time in rushing to the aid of the Balkan states and declaring war on Turkey. After a short but stubbornly contested conflict, Russia and the little countries were victors. A treaty of peace was signed at San Stephano, by which Roumania, Serbia, and Bulgaria were to be recognized by Turkey as independent states. The boundaries of Bulgaria were to reach to the Aegean Sea, including most of Macedonia, thus cutting off Turkey from her county of Albania, except by water. Bear this in mind, for it will help you to understand Russia’s later feeling when Bulgaria in 1915 joined the ranks of her enemies.


Southeastern and Central Europe, 1706


Losses of Turkey during the Nineteenth Century


The Congress of Berlin. Prince Gortchakoff (seated). Disraeli (with cane). Count Andrassy. Bismarck.

The matter was all settled, and Turkey had accepted these terms, when once more the diplomats of Europe began to meddle. It will be remembered that Russia three years before had prevented a second war against France planned by Bismarck. It was very easy for him to persuade Austria and England that if Russia were allowed to cripple Turkey and set up three new kingdoms which would be under her control, she would speedily become the strongest nation in Europe. The “balance of power” would be disturbed. England and Austria sided with Germany, and a meeting of statesmen and diplomats was called at Berlin in 1878 to decide once more what should be the map of Europe. Representatives were present from all the leading European countries. Even Turkey had two men at the meeting, but the three men who really controlled were Bismarck, Count Andrassy of Austria, and Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli) of England. Russia was robbed of a great part of the fruits of her victory. Bulgaria was left partially under the control of Turkey, in that she had to pay Turkey a large sum of money each year for the privilege of being left alone. Her territory was made much smaller than had been agreed to by the treaty of San Stephano. In fact less than one-third of the Bulgarians were living within the boundaries finally agreed upon by the congress. A great part of the Serbians were still left under Turkish rule, as were the Greeks of Thessaly and Epirus. The two counties of Bosnia and Herzegovina were still to belong to Turkey, but as the Turks did not seem to be strong enough to keep order there, Austria was to take control of them and run their government, although their taxes were still to be paid to Turkey. Austria solemnly agreed never to take them from Turkey. Russia, naturally, was very unhappy over this arrangement, and so were the inhabitants of the Balkan kingdoms, for they had hoped that now they were at last to be freed from the oppression of their ancient enemies, the Turks. Thus the Congress of Berlin, like that of Vienna in 1815 laid the foundation for future wars and revolutions.

Bismarck now set out to strengthen Germany by making alliances with other European states. He first made up with his old enemy, Austria. Thanks to the liberal treatment that he had given this country after her disastrous war of 1866, he was able to get the Austrians to join Germany in an alliance which states that if two countries of Europe should ever attack one of the two allies, the other would rush to her help.

The Italians were friendly to Germany, for they remembered that they had gotten Venetia from Austria through the help of the Prussians, but they had always looked upon the Austrians as their worst enemies. It was a wonderful thing, then, when Bismarck finally induced Italy to join with Austria and Germany in a “Dreibund” or “Triple Alliance.”

The Italian people had been very friendly to the French, and this going over to their enemies would never have been possible but for an act of France which greatly angered Italy. For many years, France had been in control of Algeria on the north coast of Africa. This country had once been a nest of pirates, and the French had gone there originally to clean them out. Next to Algeria on the east is the county of Tunis, which, as you will see by the map, is very close to Sicily and Italy. The Italians had been looking longingly at this district for some time, intending to organize an expedition and forcibly annex it to their kingdom. They waited too long, however, and one fine day in 1881 they found the prize gone,—France had seized this county for herself. It was Italy’s anger over this act of France more than anything else that enabled Bismarck to get her into an alliance with Germany and her ancient enemy, Austria.

France now saw herself hemmed in on the east by a chain of enemies. It looked as though Bismarck might declare war upon the republic at any time, and be perfectly safe from interference, with Austria and Italy to protect him. Russia, smarting under the treatment which she had been given by the Congress of Berlin, was full of resentment against Germany. Both the French and the Russians felt themselves threatened by Bismarck’s Dreibund, and so, in self-defense each country made advance toward the other. The result was the “Dual Alliance” between France and Russia, which bound either country to come to the aid of the other in case of an attack by two powers at once.

In this way, the balance of power, disturbed by Bismarck’s “Dreibund,” was again restored. Many people thought the forming of the two alliances a fine thing, “for,” said they, “each party is now too strong to be attacked by the other. Therefore, we shall never again have war among the great powers.”

England was not tied up with either alliance. On account of her position on an island, and because of her strong navy, she did not feel obliged to keep a large standing army such as the great powers on the continent maintained.

These nations were kept in constant fear of war. As soon as France equipped her army with machine guns, Germany and Austria had to do the same. As soon as the Germans invented a new magazine rifle, the Russians and French had to invent similar arms for their soldiers. If Germany passed a law compelling all men up to the age of forty-five to report for two weeks’ military training once every year, France and Russia had to do the same. If Italy built some powerful warships, France and Russia had to build still more powerful ones. This led to still larger ships built by Germany and Italy. If France built a fleet of one hundred torpedo boats, the Triple Alliance had to “go her one better” by building one hundred and fifty. If Germany equipped her army with war balloons, Russia and France had to do the same. If France invented a new kind of heavy artillery, Germany and Austria built a still bigger gun.

This mad race for war equipment was bad enough when it had to do only with the five nations in the two alliances about which you have been told. However, the death of the old emperor of Germany in 1888 brought to the throne his grandson, the present Kaiser,[5] and he formed a plan for making Germany the leading nation on the sea as Bismarck had made her on the land. He saw France and England seizing distant colonies and dividing up Africa between them. He at once announced that Germany, too, must have colonies to which to export her manufactures and from which to bring back tropical products. This meant a strong navy to protect these colonies, and the race with England was on. As soon as Germany built some new battleships, England built still others, larger and with heavier guns. The next year, Germany would build still larger ships, and the next England would come back with still heavier guns. As fast as England built ships, Germany built them. Now, each battleship costs from five to fifteen million dollars, and it does not take long before a race of this kind sends the taxes too high for people to stand. There was unrest throughout Europe and murmurs of discontent were heard among the working classes.

[5] The present Kaiser’s father reigned only ninety-nine days, as he was a very sick man at the time of the old emperor’s death.

Questions for Review
  1. How did France pay off her war indemnity so promptly?
  2. Why did Bismarck’s three-emperor-alliance fail?
  3. What is meant by “the balance of power”?
  4. What was the condition of the Serbs, Bulgarians, etc. before 1878?
  5. Why did Russia covet Constantinople?
  6. Why did the powers prevent the treaty of San Stephano from being carried out?
  7. What wrongs were done by the Congress of Berlin?
  8. Why did Bismarck form the Triple Alliance?
  9. How was he able to induce Italy to join her old enemy, Austria?
  10. What was the effect of the formation of the Triple Alliance on France and Russia?
  11. What result had the formation of the two alliances on the gun-industry?
  12. How was England brought into the race for war equipment?

Chapter XIV.
The “Entente Cordiale”

Ancient enemies.—England and France in Africa.—A collision at Fashoda.—Germany offers to help France.—Delcassé the peacemaker.—A French-English agreement.—Friendship takes the place of hostility.—England’s relations with Italy, Russia, and Germany.—Germans cultivate the friendship and trade of Turkey.—The Morocco-Algeciras incident.—The question of Bosnia and Herzegovina.—England joins France and Russia to form the “Triple Entente.”—The Agadir incident.

England and France had never been friendly. There had been wars between them, off and on, for five hundred years. The only time that they had fought on the same side was in the campaign against Russia in 1855, but even then there was no real sympathy between them.

In the year 1882, events happened in Egypt which gave England an excuse for interfering with the government of that country. Egypt was a part of the Turkish empire, but so long as it paid a certain amount of money to Constantinople, the Turks did not care very much how it was governed. But now a wild chief of the desert had announced himself as the prophet Mohammed come to earth again, and a great many of the desert tribesmen had joined him. They cut to pieces one or two English armies in Egypt, and killed General Gordon, a famous English soldier. It was 1898 before the English were able to defeat this horde. Lord Kitchener finally beat them and extended the English power to the city of Khartoom on the Nile.


An Arab Sheik and His Staff

In the meantime, the English millionaire, Cecil Rhodes, had formed a plan for a railroad which should run the entire length of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cairo. It was England’s ambition to control all the territory through which this road should run. But the French, too, were spreading out over Africa. Their expeditions through the Sahara Desert had joined their colonies of Algeria and Tunis to those on the west coast of Africa and others along the Gulf of Guinea. In this same year, 1898, while Lord Kitchener was still fighting the Arabs, a French expedition under Major Marchand struggled across the Sahara and reached the Nile at Fashoda, several miles above Khartoom. Marchand planted the French flag and announced that he took possession of this territory for the republic of France.

The English were very indignant when they heard of what Marchand had done. If France held Fashoda, their “Cape to Cairo” railroad was cut right in the middle, and they could advance their territory no farther up the valley of the Nile. They notified France that this was English land. Marchand retorted that no Englishman had ever set foot there, and that the French flag would never be hauled down after it had once been planted on the Nile. Excitement ran high. The French people had no love for England, and they encouraged Marchand to remain where he was. The English newspapers demanded that he be withdrawn. Germany, which had already begun its campaign to wrest from England the leading place on the ocean, was delighted at the prospect of a war between France and the British. The German diplomats patted France on the back, and practically assured her of German help in case it came to a war with England.

Germany now felt that she had nothing more to fear from France. The French population was not increasing, while Germany was steadily growing in numbers. It was England whom Germany saw across her path toward control of the sea.

There was a man in France, however, who had no thought of making up with Germany. The memory of the war of 1870 and of the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine was very strong with him. This was Théophile Delcassé, a little man with a large head and a great brain. He refused to be tempted by the offers of German help, thinking that England, with its free government, was a much better friend for the republic than the military empire of Germany could be.

Just when the trouble was at its height, the English ambassador came to see Mr. Delcassé, who at that time was in charge of the French foreign office. He had in his pocket an ultimatum, that is to say, a final notice to France that she must give in or England would declare war on her. As he walked into Delcassé’s presence, he began fumbling with the top button of his coat. “Don’t touch that button,” said Delcassé quickly. “Drop your hand. You have something in your pocket which must not be taken out. It is a threat, and if I see it, France will fight. Sit down. Let us talk this matter over coolly. Matters will adjust themselves all right in the end.” And they did. Delcassé was finally able to quiet the French people, to recall Marchand from Fashoda and to persuade France to refuse the offer of German friendship. England was given a free hand in Egypt, without any interference from the French. Naturally the English were very grateful to Delcassé for having refused to profit by German help and declare war. In return for the French agreement to stay out of Egypt, the English promised to help France get control of Morocco.

Very soon after this, Queen Victoria of England died, and her son, Edward VII, became king. He had spent a great deal of time in France, and was very fond of the French and was popular with them. He saw the growing power of Germany, and knew that England could not afford to be without a friend in Europe. He did his best to bring about a feeling of friendship between the English and the French, and was very successful in doing so. He made frequent visits to France, where he was received with great cordiality. In return the English entertained the president of France in London in a princely fashion. French warships paid friendly visits to English waters, and the sailors mingled with each other and did their best to understand each other’s language. All France, and England as well, welcomed the beginning of the “Entente Cordiale,” or friendly understanding between the two nations.

England also went out of her way to cultivate a friendly understanding with Italy. With the other nations of Europe England had no great friendship. Between England and Russia, there had been a hostile feeling for a long time, for the British felt that the Russians would like nothing better than to stretch their empire from Siberia, down to include British India, or at least Afghanistan and Baluchistan, where the British were in control.

The emperor of Germany, on the other hand, was planning for the future growth of the trade of his country. Since his coming to the throne, Germany had made wonderful progress in the direction of manufactures. She had become one of the leading nations of the world. One of her chief questions was, where to market these goods. In 1896 the emperor paid a visit to Syria and Turkey. He was received with great enthusiasm by the Turks, who were glad to have one strong friend among the powers of Europe. Soon afterwards the Germans began to get more and more of the trade of the Ottoman Empire. A German company was given permission by the Turks to build a railroad across Turkey to the Persian Gulf through Bagdad. German railways ran through Austria-Hungary, which was Germany’s ally, to Constantinople and Salonika, the two greatest ports of Turkey in Europe. This short overland route to Persia was looked upon with suspicion and distrust by the English, whose ships up to this time had carried on almost all of Europe’s commerce with India and the neighboring countries.


A Scene In Constantinople

Germany was reaching out for colonies. She secured land on the west coast of Africa and, on the east as well. A tract of land in the corner of the Gulf of Guinea also fell to her share. Islands in the Pacific Ocean were seized. Her foreign trade was growing by leaps and bounds, and she threatened to take away from England a great deal of the latter’s commerce.

The German emperor announced that he must always be consulted whenever any changes of territory took place, no matter in what part of the earth. Therefore in 1905 when France, with the help of Great Britain and Spain, told the sultan of Morocco that he had to behave himself, the German emperor in person made a visit to Morocco and assured the sultan that he didn’t have to pay any attention to France.

There was a great deal of excitement over this incident, and a meeting was held at Algeciras, Spain, where representatives of all the great powers came together. In the end, France and England were upheld, for even Italy, Germany’s ally, voted against the Germans. On the other hand, Delcassé, the Frenchman who settled the Fashoda trouble, was compelled to resign his position as minister of foreign affairs because the Germans objected to him, and the French felt that Germany had humiliated them.

In 1908, the “young Turk” party in Constantinople (the party which stood for progress and for more popular government) drove the old sultan off his throne, and announced that there should be a Turkish parliament, or congress, to which all parts of the empire should send representatives.

You will remember that two counties of the Turkish empire, Bosnia and Herzegovina, had been turned over to Austria to rule by the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Austria at the time solemnly promised that she would never try to annex these provinces. In 1908, however, she forgot all about her promise. When Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to elect men to represent them in the new Turkish parliament, Austria calmly told them that after this they should consider themselves part of the Austrian Empire, that they belonged to Turkey no longer.

The two provinces were inhabited largely by Serbs, and all Serbia had looked forward to the day when they should once more be joined to herself. These states, like Montenegro, had been part of the ancient kingdom of Serbia. As long as they were in dispute between Austria and Turkey, Serbia had hopes of regaining them, but when Austria thus forcibly annexed them, it seemed to the Serbs that they were lost forever.

Serbia appealed to Russia, for as was said, all the Slavic states look upon Russia as their big brother. The Russians were highly indignant at this breaking of her promises by Austria, and the czar talked of war. His generals and war ministers, however, dissuaded him. “Oh, no, your majesty,” said they, “we are in no shape to fight Austria and Germany. Our army was badly disorganized in the Japanese war three years ago, and we shall not be ready for another fight for some time to come.” Russia protested, but the German emperor notified her that he stood by Austria, and asked Russia if she was ready to fight. Russia and France were not ready, and so they were obliged to back down, but did so with a bitter feeling toward the “central empires,” as Germany and Austria are called.

It has already been shown that England for a long time had been suspicious of Russia, fearing that the northern power was aiming at control of India. Of late this hostile feeling had been dying out, especially as the friendship between France and Great Britain grew stronger. It was impossible for Russia, France’s partner in the Dual Alliance, to remain unfriendly to England, France’s ally in the “Entente Cordiale.” Both England and Russia felt that the growth of Germany and the ambition of her war chiefs threatened them more than they had ever threatened each other.

In 1907 Russia and England reached an understanding by which they marked off two great parts of Persia for trading purposes, each agreeing to stay in her own portion, and not disturb the traders of the other country in theirs. After this Russia, England, and France were usually found acting together in European diplomacy, under the name of the “Triple Entente.” The “balance of power” had been leaning toward Germany and her allies, but the English navy, added to the scales on the other side, more than balanced the advantage in land forces of the Triple Alliance.

Three years later, Morocco again gave trouble, and France, with England’s backing and Spain’s friendship, sent her troops among the Moors to enforce law and order. Any one could see that with Tunis and Algeria already in French hands, it was only a question of a little while before Morocco would be theirs also.

This time Germany rushed her warship Panther to the Moorish port of Agadir. This was a threat against France, and the French appealed to England to know whether they could look to her for support. Russia was now in much better shape for war than she had been three years before, and notified France that she was ready to give her support. Therefore, when Mr. Lloyd-George, the little Welshman who was really the leader of the British government, stood up before a big crowd of English bankers and told the world that “to the last ship, the last man, the last penny,” England would support France, it was plain that somebody would have to back down or else start a tremendous European war.

It was now Germany’s turn to give way. Strong as she was, she did not propose to fight France, Russia, and England combined. So, although the French gave Germany a few square miles of land in central Africa in return for the Kaiser’s agreement to let France have her way in Morocco, the result was a backdown for Germany, and it left scars which would not heal.

During all this period from 1898 to 1914 there were incidents happening, any one of which might have started the world war. Fashoda, Algeciras, Bosnia, Agadir—each time it seemed as if only a miracle could avert the conflict. Europe was like a powder magazine. No man knew when the spark might fall that would bring on the explosion.

Questions for Review
  1. What were the plans of the English regarding Africa?
  2. How did Major Marchand threaten the peace of Europe?
  3. Why was Germany ready to help France?
  4. Why did Delcassé desire to keep peace with England?
  5. Why was England suspicious of Russia?
  6. Why did Germany cultivate the friendship of the Turks?
  7. Why did not the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria start a general European war?
  8. Why did England and Russia become friendly?
  9. Why did not the Agadir incident bring about a war?

Chapter XV.
The Sowing of the Dragon’s Teeth

The growth of German trade.—Balkan hatreds.—The wonderful alliance against Turkey.—The sympathies of the big nations.—Their interference and its results.—A new kingdom.—The second war.—The work of diplomacy.—The wrongs and grievances of Bulgaria.

Germany’s position in Europe was not favorable to her trade. Her ships, in order to carry on commerce with the peoples of the Mediterranean, had to go a great deal farther than those of France or England. As a result, the Germans had been looking toward Constantinople and southwestern Asia as the part of the world with which their commerce ought to grow. It was Germany’s plan to control the Balkan countries and thus have a solid strip of territory, including Germany, Austria, the Balkan states, and Turkey through which her trade might pass to Asia Minor, Persia, and India.

The feelings of the Balkan peoples for each other has already been explained. The Bulgarians hated the Serbians, with whom they had fought a bloody war in 1885. The Serbians despised the Bulgarians. The Albanians had no love for either nation, while the Greeks looked down on all the others. Montenegro and Serbia were friends, naturally, since they were inhabited by the same kind of people and had once been parts of the original kingdom of Serbia.


Turkey As the Four Balkan Allies intended to divide it. (1912-13)

Bulgaria in 1909 announced to the world that she would pay no more tribute to Turkey, and after this was to be counted one of the independent nations of Europe. The Bulgarians had grown so strong and the Turks so weak, that Turkey did not dare go to war, so permitted the matter to go unnoticed. The only thing on which all the Balkan nations and Greece could agree was their bitter hatred of the Turks, who had oppressed and wronged them cruelly for the last three hundred and fifty years.

Russia, always plotting to overthrow Turkey, at last accomplished a wonderful bit of diplomacy. She encouraged Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece to forget their old time dislike of each other, for the time being, and declare war jointly on Turkey. In order that there should not be any quarreling over the spoils when the war was over, the four little nations agreed, in a secret treaty, that when they got through with Turkey, they would divide up the carcass as shown in the opposite map. The head, including Constantinople, was to be left for Russia, of course. Bulgaria was to take the back and the great part of the body, Greece was to annex the drumsticks and the second joint. The rest of the body was to go to Serbia with the exception of the very tail, including the city of Scutari, which was to be given to Montenegro. Serbia was at last to have a seacoast and a chance to trade with other nations than Austria. The Serbs had a grudge against the Austrians, for the latter, taking advantage of the fact that all Serbian trade with Europe had to go through their country, had charged them exorbitant prices for manufactured goods and paid them very little for their own products in return. Bulgaria was to have Kavala (kȧ va′lȧ) as a seaport on the Aegean and all the coast of that sea as far as the Gallipoli (găl ĭ′po li) peninsula. Greece was to have the important city of Salonika (sȧlōni′kȧ), southern Macedonia, and southern Albania.

With this secret agreement between them, the four little states went to war with Turkey. In accordance with the new friendship sprung up between Germany and the Ottomans, German officers and generals were sent to Constantinople to drill the Turkish troops. Cannon and machine guns were sent them from German factories, and their rifles were fed with German bullets. The four little countries, accordingly, turned to France and Russia for assistance. Their troops were armed with French cannon and machine guns, and their military advisers were French and Russians. While the big nations managed to keep out of the war themselves, all were strongly interested in one side or the other.

The result was a complete surprise to Austria and Germany. To their consternation and disgust, the four little nations made short work of the Turkish troops. In eight months, Turkey was thoroughly beaten, and the allies were ready to put through their program of dividing up the spoils.

And now, once more, the great powers meddled, and by their interference laid the foundation for future wars and misery. Austria and Germany saw their path to Constantinople and the east cut right in two. Their railroads, instead of passing through a series of countries under German control, now were to be cut asunder by an arm of Slavic states under Russian protection, which would certainly stop German progress toward Asia.

With the map as it had been before the war of 1912, there was one little strip of territory, called the Sanjak of Novibazar, between Serbia and Montenegro, which connected Turkey with Austria. To be sure, this country was inhabited almost entirely by Serbians, but so long as it was under the military control of Austria and Turkey, German railway trains bound for the east could traverse it. Now Serbia and Montenegro proposed to divide this country up between themselves. Serbia, by gaining her seaport on the Adriatic, could send her trade upon the water to find new markets in Italy, Spain, and France.



The Italians had always wanted to control the Adriatic Sea. They longed for the time when the cities of Trieste and Pola should be turned over to them by Austria. The cities of Durazzo (dū rȧt′zō) and Avlona on the Albanian coast were inhabited by many Italians, and Italy had always cherished the hope that they might belong to her. Therefore, the Italians did not take kindly to the Serbian program of seizing this coast. At any rate, as soon as the four little countries announced their intention of dividing up Turkey in Europe among themselves, Austria, Germany, and Italy raised a great clamor.

Another meeting of representatives of the great powers was held, and once more the Germans were able to carry their point. Instead of allowing the four little countries to divide up the conquered land between them, the powers made a fifth small country, the kingdom of Albania, and brought down from Germany a little prince to rule over these wild mountaineers. Notice that the Albanians were not consulted. The great powers simply took a map, drew a certain line on it and said, “This shall be the kingdom of Albania, and its king shall be Prince William of Wied.” Again we have a king-made map with the usual trail of grievances.

This arrangement robbed Montenegro of Scutari, robbed Serbia of its seaport on the Adriatic, and robbed Greece of the country west of Janina (yȧ nï′nȧ). France and Russia did not like this program, but they did not feel like fighting the Triple Alliance to prevent its being put into effect.


Changes as a Result of the Two Balkan Wars 1912-13

The three little countries, separated from a great part of their new territory, now turned to Bulgaria, and, practically, said to her, “Since we have been robbed of Albania, we will have to divide up all over again. You must give us part of your plunder in order to ‘make it square.’” Now was the time for the ancient ill-feeling between the Bulgarians and their neighbors to show itself. In reply to this invitation, Bulgaria said, in so many words, “Not a bit of it. Our armies bore the brunt of the fight. It was really we who conquered Turkey. Your little armies had a very insignificant part in the war. If you want any more land, we dare you to come and take it.” And the Bulgarians made a treacherous night attack on their recent allies, which brought a declaration of war from the three little nations.

This quarrel, of course, was exactly what Germany and Austria wanted. It accomplished their purpose of breaking up this Balkan alliance under the protection of Russia. So with Austria and Germany egging on Bulgaria, and Russia and France doing their best to induce Bulgaria to be reasonable and surrender some land to Greece and Serbia, the second Balkan war began in 1913 almost before the last cannon discharged in the first war had cooled.

Again, Europe was astonished, for the victorious Bulgarians, who had been mainly responsible for the defeat of the Turks, went down to defeat before the Serbians and Greeks on the bloody field of Bregalnitza (brĕg′ȧl nĭt zȧ). To add to Bulgaria’s troubles, the Turks, taking advantage of the discord among their late opponents, suddenly attacked the Bulgarians in the rear and stole back the city of Adrianople, which had cost the Bulgarians so much trouble to capture. In the meantime, Roumania, which up to this point had had no part in any of the fighting, saw all of her neighbors growing larger at the expense of Turkey. The Roumanian statesmen, asking what was to be their share of the spoils, and moved simply by a greedy desire to enlarge their kingdom, declared war on Bulgaria also.

Poor Bulgaria, fighting five nations at once, had to buy peace at the best price she could make. She bought off Roumania by giving to her a strip of land in the country called the Dobrudja (dō brood′jȧ) between the Danube River and the Black Sea. She had to agree to a new boundary line with Turkey by which the Turks kept Adrianople. She had to give Kavala and the surrounding country to Greece and the territory around Monastir (mō nȧ stïr′) to Serbia, although these districts were inhabited largely by her own people.

Bulgaria had in vain appealed to her ancient friend and protector, Russia. The Russians were disgusted to think that the Bulgarians had refused to listen to them when they urged them to grant some small pieces of land to Greece and Serbia at the close of the first war. They felt that the Bulgarians had been headstrong and richly deserved what they got. Therefore, Russia refused to interfere now and save Bulgaria from humiliation. In the end, Austrian diplomacy had accomplished a great deal of mischief. The Balkan alliance under the protection of Russia was badly broken up. The old hostility between Serbia and Bulgaria, which had been buried for the time being during the first Balkan war, now broke out with greater force than ever. Bulgaria sulked, feeling revengeful against all of her neighbors, but especially angry at Russia, who had always been her friend before.

Questions for Review
  1. Why did the Germans desire a road to the east?
  2. What was the one thing on which the Balkan nations were united?
  3. What was Russia’s purpose in helping to form the Balkan Alliance?
  4. Why did the great powers interfere to prevent the four little countries from carrying out their secret agreement?
  5. What was the cause of the second Balkan war?
  6. Which powers were glad and which were sorry to see it begin?
  7. Why was Bulgaria angry with all her neighbors?

A Modern Dreadnaught

Chapter XVI.
Who Profits?

The race for power on the sea.—The “naval holiday” declined.—The declining birth-rate.—The growth of the Socialists.—The militarists of Germany.—How wars cure labor troubles.—The forces behind the war game.—Profits and press agents.

Let us turn back to the great powers of Europe. We spoke of their mad race, each nation trying to build more ships and bigger ships than its neighbors and to outstrip them in cannon and other munitions of war. The German navy had been growing by leaps and bounds. From being the sixth largest navy in the world, within ten years it had grown to second place. But, fast as the Germans built ships, the English built them more rapidly still. England built a monstrous battleship called the Dreadnaught, which was twice as heavy as any other battleship afloat. Germany promptly replied by planning four ships of the dreadnaught class, and England came back with some still larger vessels which are known as super-dreadnaughts.

At last, the English first lord of the navy, Mr. Winston Churchill, proposed to Germany that each country take a “naval holiday.” In other words, he practically said to Germany, “If you people will stop building warships for a year, we will also. Then at the end of the year, we shall be no worse off or better off than we were at the beginning.”



Germany laughed at this proposal. To her, it showed that England could not stand the strain very much longer. “Besides,” said the Germans, “it is all very well for England to be satisfied with her present navy, which is half again as large as ours. If our navy were the strongest in the world, we too would be glad to have all nations stop building warships,” and they laid down the keels of four new super-dreadnaughts.

But other things disturbed the peace of mind of the German militarists. For a long time, the population of France had not been increasing, while Germany almost doubled her numbers from 1860 to 1900. Now, to their dismay, the German birth-rate began to grow less and they saw the population of Russia growing larger by 20% every ten years. Again, they learned that Russia was about to build a series of railroads near the German frontier which would enable them to rush an army to attack Germany at very short notice. The Germans already had such railroads in their own country, but they did not propose to let their neighbors have this advantage also.

Again, France had recently passed a law forcing every young man to put three years in military service instead of two. This would increase France’s standing army by 50 per cent. The German people, who up to this time had been very docile and very obedient to the military rule, were showing signs of discontent. The Socialists, a party who represented the working people largely, and who were strongly opposed to war, had been growing very fast. In the last election, they had gained many representatives in the German congress, and had cast over 4,000,000 votes. The only thing that kept them from having a majority in the Reichstag (the German congress) was the fact that in some districts, the voters of the other parties combined against them. In this way, the military class still held control of the German government, but it was afraid that it would not be for long.

With nearly half the able-bodied men in the country spending their time drilling and doing guard duty, the other half of the population had to earn money enough to support their own families and also the families of the men in the army. As one writer has put it, “Every workingman in Europe carried a soldier on his back who reached down and took the bread out of his platter.”

The program of Bismarck was still in the minds of the military leaders of Germany. The military class must rule Prussia, Prussia must rule Germany, and Germany must be the greatest power in Europe. To their minds, war between Germany and her allies and the rest of Europe must come. Being warriors by trade and having nothing else to do, they saw that, if the great war were postponed much longer, the chances of Germany’s winning it would grow less and less. France and Russia were growing stronger and Germany was unable to catch up to England’s navy. It should be remembered that this class made up a small part only of the German nation. Their influence was all out of proportion to their numbers. They controlled the government, and the government controlled the schools and the newspapers. The people believed what they were told. They were simply parts of the war machine. Bismarck’s policy had been to crush his enemies one by one. He never entered a war until he was sure that Prussia was bound to win it. In like fashion, the German military chiefs of 1914 hoped to conquer France and Russia before England was ready. It was the old story as told by Shakespeare. “Our legions are brim full, our cause is ripe. The enemy increaseth every day. We, at the height, are ready to decline.”

Russia, too, was having her troubles. After the czar had promised the nation a constitution and had agreed to allow a duma or parliament to be called together, the military class, who were trying to keep the common people under control and in ignorance as much as possible had been able to prevent the duma from obtaining any power. It had much less freedom than the German Reichstag. It was permitted to meet and to talk, but not to pass laws. If any member spoke his mind freely, he was sent to Siberia for life. There were murmurs and threats. There were labor troubles and strikes. The people of Russia, especially those living in cities, were learning how little freedom they had, compared with citizens of other countries, and the time seemed ripe for a revolution.

It has always been the policy of kings to take the minds of their people off their own wrongs by giving them some foreign war to think about. Although the Russian government did all that it could to prevent the war without completely betraying Serbia, still the war probably put off the Russian Revolution for two years.

It must be kept in mind that in Germany and especially in Prussia there was a class of people who had no trade but war. These were the so-called Junkers (Yo͝onkers), direct descendants of the old feudal barons. They were owners of rich tracts of land which had been handed down to them by their fore-fathers. The rent paid to them by the people who lived on their farms supported them richly in idleness. Just as their ancestors in the old days had lived only by fighting and plundering, so these people still had the idea that anything that they could take by force was theirs.

Bismarck was a Junker of Junkers. He had nothing but contempt for the common people and their law-making bodies. In the early days when he was Prime Minister of the Prussian kingdom, the Congress had refused to vote to raise certain moneys through taxes that Bismarck advised, because he wanted to spend all of it in preparations for war. In spite of the vote of the representatives of the people, Bismarck went right on collecting the money and spending it as he wished. Later on, after the Prussian army had won its rapid victories, first over the Danes, then over the Austrians, and lastly over the French, the Prussian people, swollen with pride at what their armies had accomplished, forgave Bismarck for riding rough-shod over their liberties. But Bismarck was able to do what he did because he had the backing of the king and the great land-owning Junker class.

In 1870 this was the only class in Prussia that had any power. By 1914, however, a change had come about. The wonderful development of Germany’s trade and manufacturing had brought wealth and power to the merchant class and these had to be considered when plans for war were being formed.

Naturally, the outbreak of war disturbs trade very much, especially trade with foreign countries. A great deal of the German commerce, carried on with Great Britain, the United States, South America, and far distant colonies, had to travel over the ocean. German merchants would never support a war cheerfully if they thought that their trade would be interrupted for any length of time. So the Junkers, when they made up their minds to wage war for the conquest of France and Russia, persuaded the merchants that after these countries had been conquered they would be forced to give a big sum of money to Germany which would more than pay her back for the full cost of the war. Then the Russians would be compelled, as a result of the war, to promise to trade only with German merchants and manufacturers, and thus everybody in Germany would be much richer.[6]

[6] When England came in, the merchants of Germany were very down-hearted, for they saw all their over-seas trade cut off at a blow. But the Junkers called together the leading merchants and bribed them with promises. In the year 1918 one of the prominent manufacturers of Germany made a statement which got out and was published in the countries of the Entente. After telling how the blame for the war was to be laid at the door of the land-owning, military class, he confessed that he personally had been bribed to support the war by the promise of thirty thousand acres of Australian land, which was to be given to him after Germany had conquered the world. This, of course, was pure piracy; the motto of Prussia for some time had been that piracy pays.

There was one class of manufacturers who did not lose trade, but gained it through a war. This was composed of the makers of guns and munitions. They were clamorously back of the Junkers in their demands for war. These people profited by preparation for war. They kept inventing newer and stronger guns so that the weapons which they had sold the governments one year would be out-of-date the next, ready to be thrown on the scrap heap. In this way, the factories were kept working over-time and their profits were enormous. This money, of course, came out of the taxes of the common people.

Their surplus profits the munition makers invested sometimes in newspapers. It was proved in the German Reichstag in 1913 that the great gun-makers of Prussia had a force of hired newspaper writers to keep up threats of war. They paid certain papers in Paris to print articles to make the French people think that the Germans were about to attack them. These same gun-makers in Berlin tried to persuade the German people that the French were on the point of attacking them.

All of this played into the hands of the Junkers by making people all over Europe feel that war could not be avoided. Thus when the Junkers were ready to strike and the great war broke out, people would say, “At last it has come, the war that we knew was inevitable.”

Questions for Review
  1. Why did Germany decline to take a “naval holiday”?
  2. What is meant by “strategic railroads”?
  3. Why were the military leaders alarmed at the growth of the Socialist Party?
  4. What was the fate of popular government in Russia?
  5. How did the Junkers owe their power to the feudal system?
  6. How were the German merchants won over to war?
  7. What part had the gun-makers in bringing on war?

Chapter XVII.
The Spark that Exploded the Magazine

The year 1914.—England’s troubles.—Plots for a “Greater Serbia.”—The hated archduke.—The shot whose echoes shook the whole world.—Austria’s extreme demands.—Russia threatens.—Frantic attempts to prevent war.—Mobilizing on both sides.—Germany’s tiger-like spring.—The forts of the Vosges Mountains.—The other path to Paris.—The neutrality of Belgium.—Belgium defends herself.

The year 1914 found England involved in serious difficulties. Her parliament had voted to give home rule to Ireland. There was to be an Irish parliament, which would govern Ireland as the Irish wanted it governed. Ulster, a province in the northeast of Ireland, however, was very unhappy over this arrangement. Its people were largely of English and Scotch descent, and they were Protestants, while the other inhabitants of Ireland were Celts and Catholics. The people of this province were so bitter against home rule that they actually imported rifles and drilled regiments, saying that they would start a civil war if England compelled them to be governed by an Irish parliament.

There were labor troubles and strikes, also, in England, and threatened revolutions in India, where the English government was none too popular. Altogether, the German war lords felt sure that England had so many troubles of her own that she would never dare to enter a general European war.

Meanwhile, the Serbians, unhappy over the loss of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria, were busily stirring up the people of these provinces to revolt. The military leaders who really ruled Austria, were in favor of crushing these attempted uprisings with an iron hand.

One of the leaders of this party, a man who was greatly hated by the Bosnians, was the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of the emperor and heir to the throne. He finally announced that he was going in person to Sarajevo (sä rä yĕ′vō) in Bosnia to look into the situation himself. The people of the city warned him not to come, saying that his life would be in danger, as he was so hated. Being a headstrong man of violent temper, he refused to listen to this advice, but insisted on going. His devoted wife, after doing her best to dissuade him, finally refused to let him go without her.

When it was known that he was really coming, the Bosnian revolutionists laid their plans. They found out just where his carriage was to pass, and at almost every street corner, they had some assassin with bomb or pistol. One bomb was thrown at him, but it exploded too soon, and he escaped. Bursting with indignation, he was threatening the mayor for his lax policing, when a second assassin, a nineteen year old boy, stepped up with a pistol and shot to death the archduke and his wife.

Many people have referred to this incident as the cause of the great European war. As you have been shown, however, this was simply the spark that exploded the magazine. With the whole situation as highly charged as it was, any other little spark would have been enough to set the war a-going.

The Austrian government sent word to Serbia that the crime had been traced to Serbian plotters, some of them in the employ of the government. It demanded that Serbia apologize; also that she hunt out and punish the plotters at once. And because Austria did not trust the Serbians to hold an honest investigation, she demanded that her officers should sit in the Serbian courts as judges.

Imagine a Japanese killed in San Francisco, and think what the United States would say if the Tokio government insisted that a Japanese judge be sent to California to try the case because Japan could not trust America to give her justice! The Serbians, of course, were in no position to fight a great power like Austria-Hungary, and yet, weakened as they were, they could not submit to such a demand as this. They agreed to all the Austrian demands except the one concerning the Austrian judges in Serbian courts. They appealed to the other powers to see that justice was done them.

Russia growled ominously at Austria, whereupon Germany sent a sharp warning to Russia that this was none of her affair, and that Austria and Serbia must be left to fight it out. In the meantime, Serbia offered to lay the matter before the court of arbitration at the Hague. (In 1899, at the invitation of the czar of Russia, representatives of all the great powers of Europe met at the Hague to found a lasting court which should decide disputes between nations fairly, and try to do away with wars, to as great an extent as possible. The court has several times been successful in averting trouble.)

Great Britain proposed that the dispute between Austria and Serbia should be judged by a court composed of representatives of France, England, Italy, and Germany. Austria’s reply to the proposals of England and Serbia was a notice to the latter country that she had just forty-eight hours in which to give in completely to the Austrian demands. In the mean-time, Mr. Sazanoff, the Russian minister of foreign affairs, was vainly pleading with England to declare what she would do in case the Triple Alliance started a war with France and Russia.

Kings and ministers telegraphed frantically, trying to prevent the threatened conflict. The story was sent out by Germany that Russia was gathering her troops, mobilizing them, as it is called. As Russia has so much more territory to draw from than any other country, and as her railroads are not many and are poorly served, it was figured that it would be six weeks before the Russian army would be ready to fight anybody. Germany, on the other hand, with her wonderful system of government-owned railroads, and the machine-like organization of her army, could launch her forces across the frontier at two days’ notice. As soon as the Germans began to hear that the Russians were mobilizing their troops against Austria, Germany set in motion the rapid machinery for gathering her own army. She sent a sharp message to Russia, warning the latter that she must instantly stop mobilizing or Germany would declare war. Next the Germans asked France what she intended to do in case Germany and Austria declared war on Russia. France replied that she would act in accordance with what seemed to be her best interests. This answer did not seem very reassuring, and without any declaration of war, the German army rushed for the French frontier.

Now ever since the war of 1870, France had been building a line of great forts across the narrow stretch of ground where her territory approached that of Germany. Belfort, Toul, Epinal, Verdun, Longwy, they ranged through the mountains northeast of France as guardians of their country against another German attack. To rush an army into France over this rough country and between these great fortresses was impossible. Modern armies carry great guns with them which cannot climb steep grades. Therefore, if Germany wanted to strike a quick, smashing blow at France and get her armies back six weeks later to meet the slow-moving Russians, it was plain that she must seek some other approach than that through the Vosges Mountains.


A Fort Ruined by the Big German Guns

From Aix-La-Chapelle near the Rhine in Germany, through the northern and western part of Belgium, there stretches a flat plain, with level roads, easy to cross. (See map.) Now, years before, Belgium had been promised by France, Prussia, and England that no one of them would disturb its neutrality. In other words it was pledged that in case of a war, no armed force of any of these three nations should enter Belgian territory, nor should Belgium be involved in any trouble arising among them. In case any one of the nations named or in fact any other hostile force, invaded Belgium, the signers of the treaty were bound to rush to Belgium’s aid. Belgium, in return, had agreed to resist with her small army any troops which might invade her country.

In spite of the fact that their nation had signed this treaty, the Germans started their rush toward France, not through the line of forts in the mountains, but across the gently rolling plain to the north. They first asked permission of the Belgians to pass through their country. On being refused, they entered Belgian territory just east of Liége (lï ĕzh′). The Belgians telegraphed their protest to Berlin. The Germans replied that they were sorry but it was necessary for them to invade Belgium in order to attack France. They agreed to do no damage and to pay the Belgians for any supplies or food which their army might seize. The Belgians replied that by their treaty with France, England, and Germany they were bound on their honor to resist just such an invasion as this. They asked the Germans how Germany would regard them if they were to permit a French army to cross Belgian territory to take Germany by surprise. The Germans again said that they were sorry, but that if Belgium refused permission to their army to cross, the army would go through without permission. It was a dreadful decision that Belgium had to make, but she did not hesitate. She sent orders to her armies to resist by all means the passage of the German troops. The great war had begun.


Map showing the Two Routes from Germany to Paris.

As we look over the evidence the German war lords must bear the blame, almost alone.

The Austrians had been eager to attack Serbia, even in 1913, thinking that this little country had grown too powerful, as a result of her victories in the two Balkan wars. But Austria had counted on “bluffing” Russia to keep out, as she had been bluffed in 1908, and when she saw that this time the Russians meant business, she became frightened and sent word that she might be willing to settle the question without fighting. But the Germans were bent on war, and as they saw their ally wavering, they sent their warning that Russian mobilization would be considered a ground for war.

Now this was ridiculous. In 1908, when the trouble over Bosnia was at its height, both Austria and Russia had their armies mobilized and ready for war for weeks and months. Still no war came out of it. It looked as if Germany was hard put to it to find an excuse for launching her plan to conquer Europe.

Questions for Review
  1. Why did Ulster object to home rule?
  2. What were the hopes of the Serbians regarding Bosnia?
  3. Why did Russia interfere between Austria and Serbia?
  4. Why did Russia mobilize her troops?
  5. Why was the road through Belgium chosen?

Chapter XVIII.
Why England Came In

The question of Italy and England.—Italy’s position.—The war with Turkey.—Italy declines to join her allies.—England is aware of the German plans.—The treaty with Belgium.—The “defensive” war.—The “scrap of paper.”—Germany’s rage at England’s declaration of war.—England does the unexpected.

France, Belgium, Russia, and Serbia were combined against Austria and Germany. Little Montenegro also rushed to the help of her neighbor and kinsman, Serbia. The question was, what would Italy and England do. Italy, like Russia and Germany, had been having trouble in holding down her people. A revolution had been threatened which would overthrow the king and set up a republic. The Socialist Party, representing the working class, had been growing very strong, and one of their greatest principles was that all war is wrong. They felt that the Triple Alliance made by the Italian statesmen had never bound the Italian people. Throughout the entire peninsula, the Austrians were hated.

You will remember that France had aroused the Italians’ anger in 1881 by seizing Tunis. Italy had hoped to snap up this province for herself, for the Italian peninsula was crowded with people, and as the population increased, it was thought necessary that colonies be established to which the people could migrate to have more room. Finally in 1911, in order to divert the minds of the people from revolutionary thoughts, the government organized an expedition to swoop down on Tripoli, which, like Egypt, was supposed to belong to Turkey.

This meant war with the government at Constantinople, and Germany and Austria were very angry at Italy, their ally, for attacking Turkey, with which the Austrians and Germans were trying to establish a firm friendship. However, “self-preservation is the first law of nature,” and the Italian king and nobles valued their leadership in the nation much more than they dreaded the dislike of Germany and Austria.

The Germans had counted on Italy to join in the attack on Russia and France, but the Italian statesmen knew the feelings of their people too well to attempt this. Of late years, there had been growing up a friendship between the people of Italy and those of France, and the Italian generals knew that it would be a difficult task to induce their men to fire upon their kinsmen from across the Alps. Therefore, when Austria and Germany demanded their support in the war, they replied by pointing out that the terms of the Triple Alliance bound Italy to go to their help only if they were attacked. “In this case,” said the Italians, “you are the attacking party. The treaty does not bind us to support you in any war conquest. What is more, we were not consulted before Austria sent to Serbia her impossible demands. Expect no help from us.”

Now the great question arose as to England. The English statesmen were not blind to the German plan. They saw that Germany intended to crush France first, capturing Paris and dealing the French army such an overwhelming blow that it would take it a long time to recover. Then the German armies were to be rushed back over their marvelous system of government-owned railroads to meet the on-coming German tide of Russians.

The Germans knew that they were well provided with ammunition and all war supplies. They knew that they had invented some wonderful guns which were large enough to batter down the strongest forts in the world. They did not have very much respect for the ability of the Russian generals. They had watched them bungle badly in the Japanese war, ten years before. If once France were brought to her knees, they did not fear Russia. Then after France and Russia had been beaten, there would be plenty of time, later on, to settle with Great Britain.

The English statesmen, as we have said, were aware of this plan. They saw that if they were to fight Germany, this was the ideal time. However, Great Britain, having a government which is more in the hands of the people than even that of republican France, did not have the system of forcing her young men to do military service. Her little army in England was made up entirely of men who enlisted in it because they wished to, and because they received fair pay. If England were to enter a great war with Germany, there must be some very good reason for her doing so. Otherwise, her people, who really did not hate the Germans, would never enlist to fight against them. The question was, would anything happen to make the English people feel that they were justified in entering the war on the side of France and Russia.

You will remember that England, France, and Prussia had promised each other to protect Belgium from war. Even in the war of 1870, France and Prussia had carefully avoided bringing their troops upon Belgian soil. Now, however, with the German army invading Belgium, the English statesmen had to decide their course. As heads of one of the nations to guarantee Belgium’s freedom, they called on Germany to explain this unprovoked invasion. The Germans made no answer. They were busily attacking the city of Liége. Great Britain gave Germany twenty-four hours in which to withdraw her troops. At the end of this time, with Germany paying no attention still, England solemnly declared war and took her stand alongside of Russia and France.

The Germans were furious. They had no bitter feeling against the French. They realized that France was obliged, by the terms of her alliance, to stand by Russia, but they had confidently counted on keeping England out of the war. In fact, the German ambassador to England had assured the German emperor that England had so many troubles, with her uprising in Ireland and threatened rebellions in India and South Africa that she would never dare fight at this time.

The English people, on the other hand, were now thoroughly aroused. If there is one thing that an Englishman prides himself on, it is keeping his word. The word of the English had been given, through their government, to Belgium that this little country, if it should resist invasion, would be protected, and this word they thought must be kept at all hazards. It made no difference that, aside from her great navy, England was utterly unprepared for the war. Like the decision which Belgium had had to make the day before, this was a crucial step for the British to take, but to their everlasting honor they did not hesitate. In the case of Germany’s declaration of war the German laws say that no war can be declared by the Kaiser alone unless it is a defensive war. Therefore, as one American writer has pointed out, this is the only kind of war that the Kaiser ever declares. The German military group, having control of the newspapers, put in a lot of stories made up for the occasion about French soldiers having crossed the border and shot down Germans on August 2nd. They told how French aviators had dropped bombs on certain German cities. As a matter of fact, the French soldiers, by orders of their government, were drawn back from the frontier a distance of six miles in order to avoid any appearance of attacking the Germans. The City Council of Nuremburg, one of the cities that was said to have been bombed by the French, later gave out a formal statement saying that no bombs had fallen on their city and no French aviators had been seen near it. But the German government gave out this “news” and promptly declared a “defensive” war, and the German people had to believe what they were told.

Very different was the case in England. Here was a free people, with free schools and free newspapers. Just as every German had been taught in the schools of his country that Germany was surrounded by a ring of jealous enemies and would one day have to fight them all, so the people of England had been taught in their schools that war between civilized peoples is a hateful thing and must finally disappear from the earth.

The English labor leaders who themselves protested against the war at first, in hopes that the German Socialists would do the same, were doomed to be grievously disappointed, for in Germany the protests against war were still more feeble. The newspapers, with few exceptions, as was previously pointed out, were under the control of the military leaders and the manufacturers of war materials. These papers persuaded the German people that England, through her jealousy of Germany’s great growth in trade, had egged on Russia, France, and Serbia to attack Germany and Austria, and then had declared war herself on a flimsy pretext. At first the entire German nation believed this. Until Prince Lichnowsky, the former German ambassador to Great Britain, published a story in which he told how the German government had forced the war in spite of all that England could do to prevent it, the Germans thought, as their war chiefs told them, that the war was forced upon Germany by her jealous enemies.

Thus the military leaders of Germany, descendants of the old feudal nobles, were able to make the whole German nation hate the English people.

When the English ambassador to Berlin went to see the chancellor (as the prime-minister of the German Empire is called) and told him that unless German troops were immediately withdrawn from Belgium, England would declare war, for the Belgian government had a treaty signed by England promising them protection, the German chancellor exclaimed. “What! Would you plunge into this terrible war for the sake of a scrap of paper!” The chancellor was excited. As you have been told before, the Germans were sure that England, being unprepared for the war, would never dare to go into it. This threatened to upset all their well-laid plans for the conquest of France and then Russia. For the moment the chancellor forgot his diplomacy. He blurted out the truth. He showed the world that honor had no place in the minds of the German war lords. To the English a treaty with Belgium was a sacred pledge; to the Germans it was something which could be torn up at a moment’s notice if it stood in the way of their interests.

There was a violent outburst against England in all of the newspapers of Germany. A German poet wrote a dreadful poem called “The Hymn of Hate,” in which he told how while they had no love for the Frenchman or the Russian, they had no hate for them either. One nation alone they hated—England! “Gott strafe England” (may God punish England) became the war cry of the Germans.

Everything had gone according to their pre-arranged plans until England decided that her promise given to Belgium stood first, even before the terrible loss and suffering of a great war. That any nation should put her honor before her comfort and profit, had never occurred to the war leaders of Germany.

Questions for Review
  1. Why did Italy make war on Turkey in 1911?
  2. Why did not Italy join in the attack on France?
  3. What was Germany’s plan?
  4. How is the English army different from others?
  5. What reason had England for declaring war?
  6. Had the German’s expected England to attack them? Give reasons for your answer.
  7. Why did the phrase “scrap of paper” make such a deep impression on the world?
  8. Why did the war lords hate the British so deeply?

Chapter XIX.
Diplomacy and Kingly Ambition

Turkey throws in her lot with the central empires.—The demands of Italy.—She joins the Triple Entente.—The retreat of the Russians.—The Balkans again.—Bulgaria’s bargaining.—German princes on Balkan thrones.—The central empires bid the highest for Bulgarian support.—The attitude of Greece.—Roumania’s hopes.

To return to the great war. The diplomats of both sides made all haste to put pressure upon the governments of the countries which were not engaged in the struggle, in order to win them over. Germany and Austria worked hard with Italy, with Turkey, and with Bulgaria. The Turks were the first to plunge in. The party headed by Enver Bey (the young minister of war) saw that a victory for Russia and her allies meant the final expulsion of the Turks from Europe. Only in the victory of Germany and Austria did this faction see any hope for Turkey. It was the latter part of October (1914) when Turkish warships, without any provocation, sailed into some Russian ports on the Black Sea and blazed away with their big guns.

Some of the older Turkish statesmen were terrified, and did their best to get the government at Constantinople to disclaim all responsibility for this act of their naval commanders. The “Young Turks,” however, were all for war on the side of Germany. What is more, Russia, always anxious for an excuse to seize Constantinople, would not allow the Turks to apologize for their act and keep out of trouble. She declared war on Turkey, and was quickly followed by France and England.

Both sides now set to work on Italy. It was plain that all the sympathies of the Italian people were with France and England. The six grandsons of Garibaldi formed an Italian regiment and volunteered for fighting on the French lines. Two of them were killed, and at their funerals in Rome, nearly all the inhabitants of the city turned out and showed plainly that they too would like to be fighting on the side of France.

You will remember that Italy wanted very much to gain the provinces of Trentino and Istria, with the cities of Trent, Trieste (trï ĕs′te), Pola (pō′lä), and Fiume (fē ū′me), all inhabited by Italian people. The possession of these counties and cities by Austria had been the greatest source of trouble between the two nations. Italy now came out boldly, and demanded, as the price of her keeping out of the war, that Austria give to her this land inhabited by Italians. Germany urged Austria to do this, and sent as her special ambassador, to keep Italy from joining her enemies, Prince von Bulow, whose wife was an Italian lady, and who was very popular with the Italian statesmen.

For months, von Bulow argued and pleaded, first trying to induce Italy to accept a small part of the disputed territory and then, when he found this impossible, doing his best to induce Austria to give it all. Austria was stubborn. She did not take kindly to the plan of giving away her cities. She offered to cede some territory if Italy should wait until the end of the war.

This did not satisfy Italy. She was by no means certain that Austria and Germany were going to win the war and was even less sure that Austria would be willing, in case of her victory, to give up a foot of territory. It seemed to the Italian statesmen that it was “now or never” if Italy wished to get within her kingdom all of her own people. In the month of May 1915 Italy threw herself into the struggle by declaring war on Austria and entering an alliance with Russia, France, and England.


Russian peasants fleeing before the German army

Meanwhile, the Russians were having difficulties. They had millions and millions of men, but not enough rifles to equip them all. They had plenty of food but very little ammunition for their cannon. Austria and Germany, on the other hand, had been manufacturing shot and shells in enormous quantities, and from the month of May, when the Russians had crossed the Carpathian Mountains and were threatening to pour down on Buda-Pest and Vienna, they drove them steadily back until the first of October, forcing them to retreat nearly three hundred miles.

In the meantime, the Balkans again became the seat of trouble. You will recall that Bulgaria, who had grown proud because of her victory over Turkey in the war of 1912, was too grasping when it came to a division of the conquered territory. Thus she brought on a second war, in the course of which Greece and Serbia defeated her, while Roumania took a slice of her territory and the Turks recaptured the city of Adrianople. The czar of Russia had done his best to prevent this second Balkan war, even sending a personal telegram to Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria and to King Peter of Serbia, begging them for the sake of the Slavic race, not to let their quarrels come to blows. Bulgaria, confident of her ability to defeat Greece and Serbia, had disregarded the Russians’ pleadings, and as a result Russia did not interfere to save her when her neighbors were robbing her of part of the land which she had taken from Turkey.

It will be recalled that Macedonia was the country which Bulgaria had felt most sorry to lose, as its inhabitants were largely Bulgarian in their blood, although many Greeks and Serbs were among them. Therefore, just as Italy strove by war and diplomacy to add Trentino to her nation, so Bulgaria now saw her chance to gain Macedonia from Serbia. Accordingly, she asked the four great powers what they would give her in case she entered the war on their side, and attacked Turkey by way of Constantinople, while the French and English were hammering at the forts along the Dardanelles.[7]

[7] England and France needed wheat, which Russia had in great quantities at her ports on the Black Sea. On the other hand France and England, by supplying Russia with rifles and ammunition, could strike a hard blow at Germany.

The four powers, after much persuasion and brow-beating, finally induced Serbia to agree to give up part of Serbian Macedonia to Bulgaria. They further promised Bulgaria to give her the city of Adrianople and the territory around it which Turkey had reconquered. But Bulgaria was not easily satisfied. She wanted more than Serbia was willing to give; she wanted, too, the port of Kavala, which Greece had taken from her. This the allies could not promise.

In the meantime, Bulgaria was bargaining with Austria, Germany, and Turkey. France, England, and Russia were ready to pay back Serbia for the loss of Macedonia, by promising her Bosnia and Herzegovina in case they won the war from Austria. In like fashion, Austria and Germany promised Bulgaria some Turkish territory and also the southern part of the present kingdom of Serbia, in case she entered the war on their side.

Now the king of Bulgaria, or the czar, as he prefers to call himself, is a German. (As these little countries won their independence from Turkey, they almost always called in foreign princes to be their kings. In this way it had come about that the king of Greece was a prince of Denmark, the king of Roumania was a German of the Hohenzollern family, while the czar of Bulgaria was a German of the Coburg family, the same family which has furnished England and Belgium with their kings.)

The Bulgarians themselves are members of the Greek Catholic Church, and they have a very high regard for the czar of Russia, as the head of that church. Czar Ferdinand had no such feeling, however. He wanted to be the most powerful ruler in the Balkan states, and it made no difference to him which side helped him to gain his object.


A Bomb-Proof Trench in the Western War Front

About this time, the Russians had been forced to retreat to a line running south from Riga, on the Baltic Sea, to the northern boundary of Roumania. The French and English had been pounding at the Dardanelles for some months, but the stubborn resistance of the Turks seemed likely to hold them out of Constantinople for a long time to come. The checked Italians had not been able to make much headway against the Austrians through the mountainous Alpine country where the fighting was taking place. In the west, the Germans were holding firmly against the attacks of the British and French. The czar of Bulgaria and his ministers, thinking that the German-Austrian-Turkish alliance could win with their help, flung their nation into its third war within four years. This happened in Octoher, 1915.

Now at the close of the second Balkan war, when Serbia and Greece defeated Bulgaria, they made an alliance, by which each agreed to come to the help of the other in case either was attacked by Bulgaria. Roumania, too, was friendly to Greece and Serbia, rather than to treaty Bulgaria, for the Roumanians knew that Bulgaria was very anxious to get back the territory of which Roumania had robbed her, in the second Balkan war. In this way, the Quadruple Entente (Russia, Italy, France, and England) hoped that the entry of Bulgaria into the war, on the side of Germany and Turkey, would bring Greece and Roumania in on the other side.

The Greek people were ready to rush to Serbia’s aid and so was the Greek prime minister. The queen of Greece, however, is a sister of the German emperor, and through her influence with her husband she was able to defeat the plans of Venizelos (vĕn ĭ zĕl′ŏs), the prime minister, who was notified by the king that Greece would not enter the war. Venizelos accordingly resigned, but not until he had given permission to the French and English to land troops at Salonika, for the purpose of rushing to the help of Serbia. (Greece also was afraid that German and Austrian armies might lay waste her territory, as they had Serbia’s, before England and France could come to the rescue.)

Meanwhile poor Serbia was in a desperate state. The two Balkan wars had drained her of some of her best soldiers. Twice the Austrians had invaded her kingdom in this war, and twice they had been driven out. Then came a dreadful epidemic of typhus fever which was the result of unhealthful conditions caused by the war. Now the little kingdom, attacked by the Germans and Austrians on two sides and by the Bulgarians on a third, was literally fighting with her back to the wall. She had counted on Greece to stand by her promise to help in case of an attack from Bulgaria, but we have seen how the German queen of Greece had been able to prevent this. Serbia hoped that Roumania, too, would come to her help. However, as you have been told, the king of Roumania is a German of the Hohenzollern family, a cousin of the emperor, and in spite of the sympathy of his people for Italy, France, and Serbia, he was able to keep them from joining in the defense of the Serbs.

Now Roumania ought to include a great part of Bessarabia (bes ȧ rȧ′bi ȧ), which is the nearest county of Russia, and also the greater part of Transylvania and Bukowina (boo kō vï′nȧ), which are the provinces of Austria-Hungary that lie nearest; for a great part of the inhabitants of these three counties are Roumanians by blood and language. They would like to be parts of the kingdom of Roumania, and Roumania would like to possess them. The Quadruple Entente would promise Roumania parts of Transylvania and Bukowina in case she joined the war on their side, while the Triple Alliance was ready to promise her Bessarabia. Roumania, as was said before, was originally settled by colonists sent out from Rome, and in the eleventh century a large number of people from the north of Italy settled there. On this account, Roumania looks upon Italy as her mother country, and it was thought that Italy’s attack upon Austria would influence her to support the Entente.

Each country wanted to be a friend of the winning side, in order to share in the spoils. In this way, whenever it looked as if the Quadruple Entente did not need her help Roumania was eager to offer it, at a price which seemed to the allies too high. When, however, the tide turned the other way, she lost her enthusiasm for the cause of her friends, fearing what the central empires might do to her.

Questions for Review
  1. What was the motive of Turkey in joining the war?
  2. Why were the Russians not sorry to have Turkey declare war on them?
  3. What were the feelings of the Italian people?
  4. What were the Italian diplomats anxious to gain?
  5. What were the demands of Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria upon the Entente powers?
  6. Why did Bulgaria join the central empires?
  7. Why did Greece keep out of the conflict?
  8. What were Roumania’s hopes?

Chapter XX.
Back to the Balkans

The troubles of Crete.—The bigotry of the “Young Turks.”—Venizelos in Greece.—The pro-German king.—The new government at Salonika.—The downfall of Constantine.—The ambitions of Roumania.—Pro-Germans in Russia.—Roumania declares war.—Russian treachery and German trickery.—The defeat of Roumania.


You will remember the name of Eleutherios Venizelos, the prime minister of Greece, who tried to get that country to stand by her bargain from Crete with Serbia (pages 239-240). Now Venizelos had originally come from Crete, a large island inhabited by Greeks, but controlled by Turkey for many years (see map). In 1897 the Turks had massacred a number of Greek Christians on the island, and this act had so enraged the inhabitants of Greece that they forced their king to declare war on Turkey.

Poor little Greece was quickly defeated, but the war called the attention of the Great Powers of Europe to the cruelties of the Turks, and they never again allowed Crete to be wholly governed by them. For over a year Great Britain, France, Russia, and Italy had their warships in Cretan ports and the government of Crete was under their protection.

Finally they called in, to rule over the island, a Greek prince, Constantine, the son of the king. Eight years later he had become very unpopular through meddling with Cretan politics—on the wrong side—and had to leave.

The It was at this time that Venizelos came to the front. The Cretan government was really independent, like a little kingdom without a king, and he was its true ruler. Now all the Greeks had looked forward to the time when they might be united in one great kingdom. The shores of Asia Minor and the cities along the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles were largely inhabited by Greeks. Crete and the islands of the Aegean had once been part of Greece and they never would be content until they were again joined to it. The Cretan government was ready to vote that the island be annexed to Greece, when in 1908 there came the revolution of the “Young Turks” which drove the old Sultan from his throne (page 186).

The Young Turks at the outset of their crusade against the government were tolerant to all the other races and religions in their country. At first the Armenians, the Jews, the Albanians, the Greeks, and the Bulgarians in the Turkish Empire were very happy over the result of the revolution. It looked as if a new day were dawning for Turkey, when it would be possible for these various races and different religions to live side by side in peace.

No sooner were the young Turks in control of the government, however, than they began to change. “Turkey for the Turks, and for the Turks only” became their motto. With this in mind they massacred Bulgarians and Greeks in Macedonia (page 85) and Armenians in Asia Minor. The thought of the loss of Crete roused their anger and they began scheming to get it back under Turkish rule.

In 1910 Venizelos, seeing the danger of his beloved island, left for Greece, hoping there to stir up the people to oppose the Turks and annex Crete. His wonderful eloquence and his single-hearted love for his country soon made him as prominent on the mainland as he had been in his island home. Before long he was chosen as prime minister of Greece.

He found the country in a very sad condition. The military officers were poorly trained. What was worse, they did not know this, but imagined that their army was the best in the world. The politicians had plundered the people and there was graft and poor management throughout the government.

Venizelos made a wonderful change. He sent to the French republic for some of their best generals. These men thoroughly made over the Greek army and taught the Greek officers the real science of war.


Venizelos (left) with Greek ambassador to England

Venizelos soon showed the politicians that he could not be frightened, controlled, or bribed. He discharged some incompetent officials and forced the others to attend to business. In fact he reorganized the whole government service in a way to make every department do better work. Few countries in Europe were as well managed as was Greece with Venizelos as its prime minister.

Every Greek hates the Turks and looks forward to the time when no man of Greek descent shall be subject to their cruel rule. You have been told how the Russians have looked forward to the day when Saint Sophia, the great mosque of the Turks, shall once more become a Christian cathedral. In the same way the Greeks have passionately desired to see Constantinople, which was for over a thousand years the capital of their empire, freed from the control of the Turk. Little by little, from the time when the Greeks first won their independence from Turkey in 1829, the boundary of their kingdom has been pushed northward, freeing more and more of their people from the rule of the Ottomans. Venizelos, aiming to include in the kingdom of Greece as many as possible of the people of Greek blood, was scheming night and day for the overthrow of the Turkish power in Europe. You have been told how the Russian diplomats astonished the world by inducing Bulgaria to unite with the Greeks and the Serbs, two nations for whom she had no love, in an alliance against the Turks. Many people felt that this combination would never have been possible without the far-seeing wisdom of of Venizelos. In fact, some historians give him the credit of first planning the alliance.

His greatest trouble was with his own countrymen. The Greeks, as you have been told, have always claimed Macedonia as part of their country, whereas, in truth, there are more Bulgarians than Greeks among its inhabitants. Venizelos, having agreed before the attack on Turkey that the greater part of Macedonia should be given to Bulgaria, had hard work after the victory in convincing his countrymen that this was fair. In fact, the claims of the three allies to this district proved the one weak spot in the combination. The occupation of this country by Greeks and Serbs in the course of the first war against Turkey, while the Bulgarians were defeating the main Turkish army just northwest of Constantinople, brought on the second war. Bulgaria was not willing to give up Macedonia to the Greeks and Serbs, and her troops made a treacherous attack on her former allies (June, 1913) which brought on the declarations of war referred to.

At the close of the second war, when Bulgaria, attacked by five nations at once, had to make peace as best she could, the Greeks took advantage of her by insisting on taking, not only Salonika but also Kavala, which by all rights should have gone to the Bulgars. Venizelos was willing to be generous to Bulgaria, but the Greeks had had their heads turned by the extraordinary successes of their armies over the Turks and Bulgarians and as a result insisted upon being greedy when it came to a division of the conquered lands.

Let us return now to events in Greece after the world war had begun: In March, 1915, when the great fleets of France and England made their violent attack on the forts of the Dardanelles, intending to break through and bombard Constantinople, Venizelos was eager to have Greece join the conflict against the Turks. He felt sure that Turkey, in the end, would lose the war and that her territory in Europe would be divided up among the conquering nations. He wanted to get for Greece the shores of the Dardanelles and the coast of Asia Minor, where a great majority of the inhabitants were people of Greek blood. The king of Greece, Constantine, as has been explained, is a brother-in-law of the German Kaiser and has always been friendly to Germany. He and Venizelos had been good friends while both were working for the upbuilding of Greece, but a little incident happened shortly after the Balkan wars which led to a coolness between them.

King Constantine, while on a visit to Berlin, stood up at a banquet and told the Kaiser and the German generals that the fine work of the Greek soldiers in the two wars just fought had been due to help which he had received from German military men. This statement angered the French very much, for you will remember that it was French generals who had trained the Greek army officers. Venizelos, very shortly after this, made a trip to Paris and there publicly stated that all credit for the fine condition of the Greek army was due to the Frenchmen who had trained its officers before the war of 1912. This was a direct “slap in the face” of the king but it was the truth and everyone in Greece knew it. From this time on it was evident to everybody that Venizelos was friendly to the French and English, while the King was pro-German.

Accordingly, in March, 1915, when Venizelos urged the Greek government to join the war on Turkey, the king refused to give the order. Venizelos, who was prime minister, straightway resigned, broke up the parliament, and ordered a general election. This put the case squarely up to the people of Greece and they answered by electing to the Greek parliament one hundred eighty men friendly to Venizelos and the Triple Entente as against one hundred forty who were opposed to entering the war.

Venizelos, once more prime minister as a result of this election, ordered the Greek army to be mobilized. At this time the fear was that Bulgaria, in revenge for 1913, would join the war on the side of the Germans and Turks and attack Greece in the rear. In order to keep peace with Bulgaria Venizelos was willing to give to her the port of Kavala, which Greece had cheated her out of at the close of the second Balkan war. He felt that his country would gain so much by annexing Greek territory now under the rule of the Turks that she could afford to give up this seaport, whose population was largely Bulgarian. Constantine opposed this, however, and the majority of the Greeks, not being as far-sighted as their prime minister, backed the king. When the attack by the Central Powers on Serbia took place, as has been told, Venizelos a second time tried to get the Greek government to join the war on the side of France and England. He said plainly to the king that the treaty between Greece and Serbia was not a “scrap of paper” as the German Chancellor had called the treaty with Belgium, but a solemn promise entered into by both sides with a full understanding of what it meant. The king, on the other hand, insisted that the treaty had to do with Bulgaria alone and that it was not intended to drag Greece into a general European war. As a result, he dismissed Venizelos a second time, in spite of the fact that twice, by their votes, the Greeks had shown that they approved of his policy.

Now Greece is a limited monarchy. By the terms of the constitution the king must obey the will of the people as shown by the votes of a majority of the members of parliament. In spite of the vote of parliament the king refused to stand by the Serbian treaty. From this time on he was violating the law of his country and ruling as a czar instead of a monarch with very little power, as the Greek constitution had made him.

Things went from bad to worse. In the meantime the French and English had landed at Salonika in order to rush to the aid of the hard-pressed Serbs. You have already been told how Venizelos arranged this. Their aid, however, had come too late. Before they could reach the gallant little Serbian army it had been crushed between the Austrians and Germans on one side and the Bulgarians on the other, and its survivors had fled across the mountains to the coast of Albania. The French and English detachments were not strong enough to stand against the victorious armies of Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria. They began to retreat through southern Serbia. King Constantine notified the Allied governments that if these troops retreated upon Greek soil he would send his army to surround them and hold them as prisoners for the rest of the war. France and England replied by notifying him that if he did this they would blockade the ports of Greece and prevent any ships from entering her harbors. This act on the part of France and England, while it seemed necessary, nevertheless angered the proud Greeks and strengthened the pro-German party in Athens. The king took advantage of this feeling to appoint a number of pro-Germans to important positions in the government. Constantine allowed German submarines to use certain ports in Greece as bases of supply from which they got their oil and provisions. The Greek army was still mobilized, and the small force of French and English, which had retreated to Salonika, were afraid that at any moment they might receive a stab in the back by order of the Greek king.

In May, 1916, the Germans and Bulgarians crossed the Greek frontier and demanded the surrender of several Greek forts. When the commander of one of them proposed to fight, the German general told him to call up his government at Athens over the long distance telephone. He did so and was ordered to give up the fort peaceably to the invaders. We have already seen what the answer of the Belgians had been on a like occasion. To be sure, the French and English were already occupying Greek soil, but they had come there under permission of the prime minister of Greece to do a thing which Greece herself had solemnly promised that she would do, namely, to defend Serbia from the Bulgars.

This surrender of Greek territory to the hated Bulgarians was too much for Venizelos. He gave out a statement to the Greek people in which he declared that the king had disobeyed the constitution and was ruling as a tyrant; that he was betraying his country to the Germans and Bulgars and that all loyal Greeks should refuse to obey him. At Salonika, under the protection of the British and French, together with the admiral of the Greek navy and one of the chief generals in the army, Venizelos set up a new government—a republic of Greece.

Shortly after this the commander of a Greek army corps in eastern Macedonia, acting under orders from King Constantine, surrendered his men to the Germans, along with all their artillery, stores, and the equipment which had been furnished to them by the French to defend themselves against the Germans! In the meantime, the Bulgarians had seized Kavala.

The control of the Adriatic Sea had been a matter of jealousy between the Italians and Austrians even during the years when they were partners in the Triple Alliance. Even before Italy entered the war on the side of France and England, her government, fearing the Austrians, had sent Italian troops to seize Avlona. The Prince of Albania, finding that he was not wanted, had deserted that country, and there had been no government at all there since the outbreak of the great war. However, the presence of this Italian garrison prevented the forces of the central powers from advancing southward along the Adriatic coast.

Gradually, France and England increased their forces at Salonika. The gallant defender of Verdun, General Sarrail, was sent to command the joint army. During the summer of 1916, Italians came there to join the French and British. A hundred thousand hardy young veterans, survivors of the Serbian army, picked up by allied war ships on the coast of Albania, were refitted and carried by ship around Greece to Salonika. Here they joined General Sarrail’s army, rested and refreshed, and frantic for revenge on the Germans and Bulgars. Several thousands of the Greek troops, following the leadership of Venizelos, deserted the king and joined the allies.

Meanwhile, in Athens one prime minister after another tried to steer the ship of state. The people of Greece were in a turmoil. The great majority of them were warm friends of France and England—all of them hated the Turks. The pro-German acts of the king, however, provoked the French and English to such an extent that they frequently had to interfere in Athens. The Greek people resented this interference and on one or two occasions fights broke out when allied sailors marched through the streets of the capital. Matters reached a climax in June, 1917. The governments of France, England, and Italy felt that they could stand the treacherous conduct of King Constantine no longer. They knew that he was assisting Germany in every possible way. They knew that their camp was full of spies who were reporting all their movements to the Bulgarians. They felt that at the first chance he would order his army to attack Sarrail in the rear. They finally sent an ultimatum to him ordering him to give up the throne to his second son. The oldest son, the crown prince, having been educated in Germany and sharing King Constantine’s pro-German sentiments, was barred from succeeding his father. This seemed a high-handed thing to do but there was no other way out of a difficult situation. Constantine had allowed his sympathies with his wife’s brother to prevent his country from carrying out her solemn treaty; had ruled like an absolute monarch; had plotted with all his power for the overthrow of Russia, France, and England, the three countries which had won Greece its independence in the first place and which still desired its people to have the right to rule themselves.

The guns of the allied fleet were pointed at Athens. More than half of the Greek people favored Venizelos and the Entente as against the king and Germany. A second[8] time within four months a European monarch who was out of sympathy with his subjects was forced to resign his crown.

[8] The first was the Czar of Russia, as is told in a later chapter.

With Constantine out of the way, there was nothing to prevent the return to Athens of Venizelos. With great enthusiasm the people hailed his coming, as, once more prime minister, he summoned the members of parliament lawfully elected in 1915, and took control of the government.

In July, 1917, the Greek government announced to the world that, henceforth, Greece would be found in the war on the side of France, Great Britain, and the other nations of the Entente.


You will recall that when Bulgaria attacked Serbia the Serbs hoped for help from Roumania. For they knew that Bulgaria had a grudge against Roumania also, because of the Bulgarian territory which she had been compelled to give up to her neighbor on the north at the close of the second Balkan war. They expected this fear of Bulgarian revenge to bring the Roumanians to the rescue.

You have read how Roumania wished for certain lands in Russia as well as in Hungary that are inhabited by her own people. For a long time the government at Bukharest hesitated, fearing to plunge into the war before the time was ripe, and dreading the danger of choosing the wrong side.

The key to the situation was Russia. If Roumania were to go to war she would have to count strongly on the help of her great neighbor to the north.

Meanwhile, strange things were happening in Russia. You will remember that there are two million Germans living in that part of the Russian domain which borders the Baltic Sea. (The states of Livonia and Courland were ruled in the olden times by the “Teutonic knights.”) These Germans are much better educated, on the whole, than the Russians; they are descendants of old feudal warriors and as such are men of force and influence in the Russian government. It was a common thing to find German names, like Witte, Von Plehve, Rennenkampf, and Stoessel among the list of high officials and generals in Russia. In this way there were a great many people prominent in the Russian government, who secretly hoped that Germany would win the war and were actively plotting with this in view. “There is a secret wire from the czar’s palace to Berlin,” said one of the most patriotic Russian generals, explaining why he refused to give out his plans in advance. Graft and bad management, as well as treachery, were all through the nation. Train-loads of ammunition intended for the Russian army were left piled up on the wharves at the northern ports. Guns sent by England were lost in the Ural mountains. Food that was badly needed by the men at the front was hoarded by government officials in order to raise prices for their friends who were growing rich through “cornering” food supplies.[9]

[9] When a group of men buy a sufficient amount of any one article so as to keep it from being sold in great quantities and make it appear that there is not enough to go around, they are said to “corner” the market. Three or four men in America at various times have been able to corner the wheat market or the corn market or the market for cotton.

The czar of Russia truly desired his country to win the war. On the other hand his wife was a cousin of the Kaiser, a German princess whose brothers were fighting in the German army, and she had little love for her adopted country. The poor little Czarevitch, eleven years old, remarked, early in the war, “When the Russians are beaten, papa weeps; when the Germans are beaten, mamma weeps.” In spite of her German sympathies the Czarina had great influence with her husband, and the scheming officials who were secretly plotting the downfall of Russia were able to use this influence in many ways.

In 1916, a new prime minister was appointed in Russia—a man named Sturmer, of German blood and German sympathies. The Russians, after their long retreat in 1915 had gradually gotten back their strength, and had piled up ammunition and gathered guns for a new attack. This began early in June, 1916, when General Brusiloff attacked the Austro-Hungarians in Galicia and Bukowina and drove them back for miles and miles, capturing hundreds of thousands of prisoners. You will remember that the Bohemians, although subjects of Austria- Hungary, are Slavs and have no love for the Austrians of German blood who rule them. Two divisions made up of Bohemian troops helped General Brusiloff greatly by deserting in a body and afterwards re-enlisting in the Russian army.

In northern France, the British and French had at last gained more guns and bigger guns than the Germans had, and by sheer weight of metal were pushing the latter out of the trenches which they had held for over two years. It seemed to Roumania that the turning point of the war had come. With the Russians winning big victories over Austria, and the French and English pushing back the Germans in the west, it certainly looked as though the end were in sight.

Now the king of Roumania, as you have been told is a Hohenzollern, a distant cousin of the Kaiser of Germany, but, just the opposite from the case in Greece and Russia, his wife was an English princess, and she was able to help the party that was friendly to France and Great Britain. The man who had and worked early and late to get his countrymen to join the Entente was Take Jonescu, the wisest of the Roumanian statesmen, the man who predicted at the close of the second Balkan war that the peace of Europe would again be broken within fourteen months.[10]

[10] As an actual fact, there was only twelve and a half months between wars.


What The Allies Wished

By the summer of 1916, the Roumanians had at last decided that if they wanted to get a slice of Bessarabia from Russia and the province of Transylvania from Hungary, they must jump into the war on the side of the Entente. It is claimed by some that they had planned to wait until the following winter in order to get their army into the best of condition and training, but that the treacherous prime minister of Russia, Sturmer, when he found that they were determined to make war on Germany and Austria, persuaded them to plunge in at once, knowing that they were unprepared and that their inexperienced troops would be no match for the veterans of the central powers. At any rate, about the first of September Roumania declared war on Austria and joined the Entente.

The French and English had wished the Roumanians to declare war first on Bulgaria and, attacking that country from the north while General Sarrail attacked it from the south, crush it before help could arrive from Germany, much in the fashion in which poor Serbia had been caught between Austria and Bulgaria a year previously. The Roumanians, however, were eager to “liberate” their brothers in Transylvania, and so, urged on by bad advice from Russia, they rushed across the mountains to the northwest instead of taking the easier road which led them south to the conquest of Bulgaria. (See maps.)

Illustration: Messen

How Roumania was crushed

Germania, Turkey, and Bulgaria at once declared war on Roumania. The battle-field in France, owing to continued rains and wet weather, had become one great sea of slimy mud, through which it was impossible to drag the cannon. General Brusiloff in Galicia had pushed back the Austrians for many miles but a lack of ammunition and the arrival of strong German re-inforcements had prevented his re-capturing Lemberg. The Russian generals on the north, under the influence of the pro-German prime minister, were doing nothing. The Italians and Austrians had come to a deadlock. The country where they were fighting was so mountainous that neither side could advance. North from Salonika came the slow advance of General Sarrail. His great problem was to get sufficient shells for his guns and food for his men. All the time, too, he had to keep a watchful eye on King Constantine, lest the latter launch the Greek army in a treacherous attack on his rear. For the time being, then, the central powers were free to give their whole attention to Roumania.

Profiting by the mud along the western front and trusting to the Russians to do nothing, they drew off several hundred thousand men from France and Poland and hurled them all together upon the Roumanians. At the same time, another force composed of Turks, Bulgarians, and some Germans marched north through the Dobrudja to attack Roumania from the south. Thus, the very trick that the French wished Roumania to work upon Bulgaria was now worked upon her by the central powers. France and England were helpless. They sent one of the best of the French generals to teach the Roumanians the latest science of war, but men and guns they could not send. Look at the map and see how Roumania was shut off from all help except what came from Russia. Here Sturmer was doing his part to help Germany. Ammunition and troops which were intended to rescue Roumania, never reached her. The Germans had spies in the Roumanian army and before each battle, knew exactly where the Roumanian troops would be and what they were going to do.

The German gun factories had sold to Roumania her cannon. On each gun was a delicate sight with a spirit level—a little glass tube supposed to be filled with a liquid which would not freeze. Slyly the Germans had filled these tubes with water, intending, in case Roumania entered the war on their side, to warn them about the “mistake.” When the guns were hauled up into the mountains and freezing weather came, these sights burst, making the guns almost useless. Overwhelmed from both the northwest and the south, the Roumanian army, fighting gallantly, was beaten back mile after mile. Great stores of grain were either destroyed or captured by the Germans. The western part of Roumania where the great oil wells are, fell into the hands of the invaders, as did Bukharest, the capital.

Sturmer had done his work well. Germany, instead of being almost beaten, now took on fresh courage. Thanks to Roumanian wheat, Roumanian oil, and above all, the glory of the victories, the central powers were now in better shape to fight than if Roumania had kept out of the war. The German comic papers were full of pictures which declared that as England and France had always wanted to see a defeated Hohenzollern they might now take a long look at King Ferdinand of Roumania.

Questions for Review
  1. What was the great disappointment connected with the rise to power of the “young Turks”?
  2. What would you say was the secret of the success of Venizelos in Greece?
  3. What mistake did the Greeks make at the close of the war of 1913?
  4. What was the real cause of the strife between Venizelos and King Constantine?
  5. Would King Constantine have been justified in holding as prisoners the French and British troops who were driven back upon Greek soil?
  6. What right had Venizelos to set up a republic?
  7. Was it right for the Entente to force the resignation of King Constantine?
  8. What made Roumania decide to join the Entente?
  9. How was the Roumanian campaign a great help to the Central Powers?

Chapter XXI.
The War Under the Sea

Britannia rules the waves.—Enter the submarine.—The blockade of Germany.—The sinking of the Lusitania and other ships.—The trade in munitions of war.—The voyages of the Deutschland.—Germany ready for peace (on her own terms).—The reply of the allies.—Germany’s amazing announcement.—The United States breaks off friendly relations.

You will remember how hard the Germans had worked, building warships, with the hope that one day their navy might be the strongest in the world. At the outbreak of the great war in 1914 they were still far behind England in naval power. On the other hand, it was necessary for the English to keep their navy scattered all over the world. English battleships were guarding trade routes to Australia, to China, to the islands of the Pacific. The Suez Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Island of Malta—all were in English hands, and ships and guns were needed to defend them.

The German navy, on the other hand, with the exception of a few cruisers in the Pacific Ocean and two warships in the Mediterranean, was gathered in the Baltic Sea, the southeastern part of the North Sea, and the great Kiel Canal which connected these two bodies of water. It was quite possible that this fleet, by making a quick dash for the ports of England, might find there only a portion of the English ships and be able to overwhelm them before the rest of the English navy should assemble from the far parts of the earth.

Winston Churchill, whose name you have read before, had the foresight to assemble enough English vessels in home waters in the latter part of the month of July, 1914, to give England the upper hand over the fleet of Germany. As a result, finding the British too strong, the Germans did not venture out into the high seas to give battle. A few skirmishes were fought between cruisers, then some speedy German warships made a dash across the North Sea to the coast of England, shelled some small towns, killed several men, women, and children and returned, getting back to the Kiel Canal before the English vessels arrived in any number.

A second raid was attempted a few weeks later but by this time the British were on the watch. Two of the best German cruisers were sunk and the others barely escaped the fire of the avengers.

About the first of June, 1916, a goodly portion of the German fleet sailed out, hoping to catch the British unawares. They were successful in sinking several large ships, but when the main British fleet arrived they began in turn to suffer great losses, and were obliged to retire. With the exception of these two fights and two other battles fought off the coast of South America (in the first of which a small English fleet was destroyed by the Germans, and in the second a larger British fleet took revenge), there have been no battles between the sea forces.

The big navy of England ruled the ocean. German merchant vessels were either captured or forced to remain in ports of neutral nations. German commerce was swept from the seas, while ships carrying supplies to France and the British Isles sailed unmolested—for a time. Only in the Baltic Sea was Germany mistress. Commerce from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was kept up as usual. Across the borders of Holland and Switzerland came great streams of imports. Merchants in these little countries bought, in the markets of the world, apparently for themselves, but really for Germany.

However, not for long did British commerce sail unmolested. A new and terrible menace was to appear. This was the submarine boat, the invention of Mr. John Holland, an American, but improved and enlarged by the Germans. In one of the early months of the war three British warships, the Hogue, the Cressy, and the Aboukir, were cruising about, guarding the waters of the North Sea. There was the explosion of a torpedo, and the Hogue began to sink. One of her sister ships rushed in to pick up the crew as they struggled in the water. A second torpedo struck and a second ship was sinking. Nothing daunted by the fate of the other two, the last survivor steamed to the scene of the disaster—the German submarine once more shot its deadly weapon, and three gallant ships with a thousand men had gone down.

This startled the world. It was plain that battleships and cruisers were not enough. While England controlled the surface of the sea, there was no way to prevent the coming and going of the German submarine beneath the waters. All naval warfare was changed in a moment; new methods and new weapons had to be employed.

At the outset of the war the English and French fleets had set up a strict blockade of Germany. There were certain substances which were called “contraband of war” and which, according to the law of nations, might be seized by one country if they were the property of her enemy. On the list of contraband were all kinds of ammunition and guns, as well as materials for making these. England and France, however, added to the list which all nations before the war had admitted to be contraband substances like cotton, which was very necessary in the manufacture of gun-cotton and other high explosives, gasoline—fuel for the thousands of automobiles needed to transport army supplies, and rubber for their tires. Soon other substances were added to the list.

An attempt was made to starve Germany into making peace. The central empires, in ordinary years, raise only about three-fourths of the food that they eat. With the great supply of Russian wheat shut off and vessels from North America and South America not allowed to pass the British blockade, Germany’s imports had to come by way of Holland, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries. When Holland in 1915 began to buy about four times as much wheat as she had eaten in 1913, it did not take a detective to discover that she was secretly selling to Germany the great bulk of what she was buying apparently for herself. In a like manner Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries suddenly developed a much greater appetite than before the war! The British blockade grew stricter. It was agreed to allow these countries to import just enough food for their own purposes. The British trusted that they would rather eat the food themselves than sell it to Germany even at very high prices. The Germans soon began to feel the pinch of hunger. They had slaughtered many of their cows for beef and as a result grew short of milk and butter.

To strike back at England, Germany announced that she would use her submarines to sink ships carrying food to the British Isles. This happened in February, 1915. There was a storm of protest from the world in general, but Germany agreed that her submarine commanders should warn each ship of its danger and allow the captain time to get the passengers and crew into boats before the deadly torpedo was shot. Still the crew, exposed to the danger of the ocean in open boats, and often cast loose miles from shore, were in serious danger.

The laws of nations, as observed by civilized countries in wars up to this time, have said that a blockade, in order to be recognized by all nations, had to be successful in doing the work for which it was intended. If England really was able to stop every boat sailing for German shores, then all nations would have to admit that Germany was blockaded; but if the Germans were able to sink only one ship out of every hundred that sailed into English ports, Germany could hardly be said to be carrying on a real blockade of England. In spite of protests from neutral nations who were peaceably trying to trade with all the countries at war, this sinking of merchantmen by submarines went on.

In May, 1915, the great steamship Lusitania was due to sail from New York for England. A few days before her departure notices signed by the German ambassador were put into New York papers, warning people that Germany would not be responsible for what happened to them if they took passage on this boat. Very few people paid any attention to these warnings. With over a thousand persons on board the Lusitania sailed, on schedule time. Suddenly the civilized world was horrified to hear that a German submarine, without giving the slightest warning, had sent two torpedoes crashing through the hull of the great steamer, sending her to the bottom in short order. A few had time to get into the boats, but over eight hundred men, women, and children were drowned, of whom over one hundred were American citizens. Strange as it may seem, this action caused a thrill of joy throughout Germany. Some of the Germans were horrified, as were people in neutral countries, but on the whole the action of the German navy was approved by the voice of the German people. With a curiously warped sense of right and wrong the Germans proclaimed that the English and Americans were brutal in allowing women and children to go on this boat when they had been warned that the boat was going to be sunk! They spoke of this much in the manner in which one would speak of the cruelty of a man who would drive innocent children and women to march in front of armies in order to protect the troops from the fire of their enemies.

A storm of indignation against Germany burst out all over the United States. Many were for immediate war. Calmer plans, however, prevailed, and the upshot of the matter was that a stern note was sent to Berlin notifying the Kaiser that the United States could not permit vessels carrying Americans to be torpedoed without warning on the open seas. The German papers proceeded to make jokes about this matter. They pictured every French and English boat as refusing to sail until at least two Americans had been persuaded to go as passengers, so that the boat might be under the protection of the United States.

However, in spite of Germany’s solemn promise that nothing of the sort would happen again, similar incidents kept occurring, although on a smaller scale. The American steamers Falaba and Gulflight were torpedoed without warning, in each case with the loss of one or two lives. Finally, the steamer Sussex, crossing the English Channel, was hit by a torpedo which killed many of the passengers. As several Americans lost their lives, once more the United States warned Germany that this must not be repeated. Germany acknowledged that her submarine commander had gone further than his orders allowed him and promised that the act should not be repeated—provided that the United States should force England to abandon what Germany called her illegal blockade. The United States in reply made it plain that while the English blockade was unpleasant to American citizens, still it was very different from the brutal murder of women and children on the high seas. England, when convinced that an American ship was carrying supplies which would be sold in the end to Germany, merely took this vessel into an English port, where a court decided what the cargo was worth and ordered the British government to pay that sum to the (American) owners.

This was resented by the American shippers, but it was not anything to go to war over. The United States gave warning that she would hold Germany responsible for any damage to American ships or loss of American lives.

All of this time the Germans were accusing the United States of favoring the nations of the Entente because they were selling munitions of war to them and none to Germany. They said that it was grossly unfair for neutral nations to sell to one side when, owing to the blockade, they could not sell to the other also. When a protest was made by Austria, the United States pointed out that a similar case had come up in 1899. At that time the empire of Great Britain was at war with two little Dutch Republics in South Africa. The Dutch, completely blockaded, could not buy munitions in the open market. Nevertheless, this fact did not prevent both Austria and Germany from selling guns and ammunition to Great Britain. (It must be made plain that the United States government was not selling munitions of war to any of the warring nations. What Germany wanted and Austria asked was that our government should prevent our private companies, as, for example our steel mills, from shipping any goods which would eventually aid in killing Germans. The United States made it plain that our people had no feeling in the matter—that they were in business, and would sell to whomsoever came to buy; that it was not our fault that the British navy, being larger than the German, prevented Germany from trading with us.)

In the meanwhile explosions kept occurring in the many munition factories in the United States that were turning out shells and guns for the Allies. Several hundred Americans were killed in these explosions, and property to the value of millions of dollars was destroyed. It was proved that the Austrian ambassador and several of the German diplomats had been hiring men to commit these crimes. They were protected from our courts by the fact that they were representatives of foreign nations, but the President insisted that their governments recall them.

The Germans made a great point about the brutality of the English blockade. They told stories about the starving babies of Germany, who were being denied milk because of the cruelty of the English. As a matter of fact, what Germany really lacked was rubber, cotton, gasoline, and above all, nickel and cobalt, two metals which were needed in the manufacture of guns and shells.

Finally, in the summer of 1916, came a world surprise. A large German submarine, the Deutschland, made the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and bobbed up unexpectedly in the harbor of Baltimore. In spite of all the trouble that the United States had had with Germany over the sinking of ships by submarines, the crew of this vessel was warmly received, and the cargo of dyes which she brought was eagerly purchased. The Germans, in return, loaded their ship with the metals and other products of which Germany was so short. As one American newspaper said, the Deutschland took back a cargo of nickel and rubber to the starving babies of Germany. Once more the Deutschland came, this time to New London, and again her crew was welcomed with every sign of hospitality.


The Deutschland in Chesapeake Bay

In December, 1916, at the close of the victorious German campaign against Roumania, the central powers, weary of war and beginning to feel the pinch of starvation and the drain on their young men, made it known that as they had won the war they were now ready to treat for peace. This message carried with it a threat to all countries not at war that if they did not help to force the Entente to accept the Kaiser’s peace terms, Germany could not be held responsible for anything that might happen to them in the future.

President Wilson, always apprehensive that something might draw the United States into the conflict, grasped eagerly at this opportunity, and in a public message he asked both sides to state to the world on what terms they would stop the war.

The Germans and their allies did not make a clear and definite proposal. On the other hand, the nations of the Entente, in no uncertain terms, declared that no peace would be made unless the central powers restored what they had wrongfully seized, paid the victims of their unprovoked attack for the damage they had done, and guaranteed that no such act should ever be committed in the future. They also declared that the Poles, Danes, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians, Alsatians, and Serbs should be freed from the tyrannous governments which now enslaved them. In plain language this meant that the central powers must give back part of Schleswig to Denmark, allow the kingdom of Poland to be restored as it once had been; permit the Bohemians and Slovaks to form an independent nation in the midst of Austria-Hungary; allow the people of Alsace and Lorraine the right of returning to France; annex the Italians in Austria-Hungary to Italy, and permit the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina to join their cousins to the southeast in one great Serbian nation.

When these terms were published the German government exclaimed that while they had been willing to make peace and perhaps even give back the conquered portions of Belgium and northern France in return for the captured German colonies in Africa and the Pacific Ocean, with the payment of indemnities to Germany, now it was plain that the nations of the Entente intended to wipe out utterly the German nation and dismember the empire of Austria-Hungary; and that since Germany had offered her enemies an honorable peace and they had refused, the only thing left for the central powers to do was to fight to the bitter end and use any means whatsoever to force their enemies to make peace.

In other words, here were the two conflicting claims: Germany said, “We have won the war. Don’t you recognize the fact that you have been beaten? Give us back our colonies, organize a kingdom of Poland, out of the part of Russian Poland which we have conquered, as a separate kingdom under our protection, but don’t expect us to join to this any part of Austrian or Prussian Poland. (Prussian and Austrian Poland are ours. You wouldn’t expect us to give up any part of them, would you?) Allow us to keep the port of Antwerp and maintain our control over the Balkan peninsula. We will restore to you northern France, most of Belgium, and even part of Serbia. See what a generous offer we are making!”

The Allied nations replied, in effect: “You now have gotten three-fourths of what you aimed at when you began the war. If we make peace now, allowing you to keep the greater part of what you have conquered, you will be magnanimous and give back a small portion of it if we in turn surrender all your lost colonies. Hardly! We demand, on the other hand, that you recompense, as far as you can, the miserable victims of your savage attack for the death and destruction that you have caused; that you put things back as you found them as nearly as possible; that you make it plain to us that never again will we have to be on guard against the possibility of a ruthless invasion by your army; that you give to the peoples whom you and your allies have forcibly annexed or retained under your rule a chance to choose their own form of government.”

Then said the Germans to the world, “You see! They want to wipe us out of existence and cut the empire of our allies into small bits. Nothing is left but to fight for our existence, and, as we are fighting for our existence, all rules hitherto observed in civilized warfare are now called off!”

In the latter part of January, 1917, the German government announced that, inasmuch as they had tried to bring about an honorable peace (which would have left them still in possession of three-fourths the plunder they had gained in the war) and this peace offer had been rejected by the Entente, all responsibility for anything which might happen hereafter in the war would have to be borne by France, England, etc., and not by Germany. It was stated that Germany was fighting for her existence, and that when one’s life is at stake all methods of fighting are permissible. Germany proposed, therefore, to send out her submarines and sink without warning all merchant ships sailing toward English or French ports.

In a special note to the United States, the German government said that once a week, at a certain time, the United States would be permitted to send a passenger vessel to England, provided that this boat were duly inspected and proved to have no munitions of war or supplies for England on board. It must be painted all over with red, white, and blue stripes and must be marked in other ways so that the German submarine commanders would know it. (It must be remembered that Germany insisted that she was fighting for the freedom of the seas!)

Now, at all times, it has been recognized that the open seas are free to all nations for travel and commerce. This proposal, to sink without warning all ships on the ocean, was a bit of effrontery that few had imagined even the German government was capable of.

President Wilson had been exceedingly patient with Germany. In fact, a great majority of the newspaper and magazine writers in the country had criticized him for being too patient. The great majority of the people of the United States were for peace, ardently. The government at Washington knew this. Nevertheless, this last announcement by Germany that she proposed to kill any American citizens who dared to travel on the sea in the neighborhood of England and France seemed more than a self-respecting nation could endure. The Secretary of State sent notice to Count Von Bernstorff, the German ambassador, to leave this country. Friendly relations between the imperial government of Germany and the United States of America were at an end.

Questions for Review
  1. How did the submarine boat change methods of warfare?
  2. What is contraband of war?
  3. Was it right to prevent the importation of food into Germany?
  4. Why would a nation which manufactured a great deal of war material object to the sale of such material to fighting nations by nations at peace?
  5. Show how this rule, if carried out, would have a tendency to make all nations devote too much work to the preparation of war supplies.
  6. Show the difference between the British blockade and the sinking of ships by German submarines.
  7. Would the blowing up of American factories by paid agents of the German government have been a good enough reason for the United States to have declared war?
  8. How did the voyages of the Deutschland prove that the United States wanted to be fair to both sides in the war?
  9. What reasons had Austria and Germany for wishing peace in December 1916?
  10. Why did President Wilson ask the warring nations to state their aims in the war?
  11. How did Germany try to justify the sinking of ships without warning?

Chapter XXII.
Another Crown Topples

The unnatural alliance of the Czar and the free peoples.—The first Duma and the revolt of 1905.—The Zemptsvos and the people against the pro-German officials.—The death of Rasputin and other signs of unrest.—The revolution of March 1917.—The Czar becomes Mr. Romanoff.—Four different governments within eight months.—Civil war and a German effort for peace.

It will be recalled that the great war was caused in the first place by the unprovoked attack of Austria on Serbia and the unwillingness of Russia to stand by and see her little neighbor crushed, and that England came in to make good her word, pledged to Belgium, to defend that small country from all hostile attacks. Thus the nations of the Entente posed before the world as the defenders of small nations and as champions of the rights of peoples to live under the form of government which they might choose. You will remember that when the central powers said that they were ready to talk peace terms the nations of the Entente replied that there could be no peace as long as the Danes, Poles, and Alsatians were forcibly held by Germany in her empire and as long as Austria denied the Ruthenians, Roumanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, and Italians in their empire the right either to rule themselves or to join the nations united to them by ties of blood and language. France and Great Britain especially were fond of saying that it was a war of the free peoples against those enslaved by military rule—a conflict between self-governed nations and those which were oppressing their foreign subjects. Replying to this the central powers would always point to Russia. Russia, said they, oppressed the Poles and Lithuanians, the Letts, the Esthonians, the Finns. She, as well as Austria-Hungary, has hundreds of thousands of Roumanians within her territories. Her people had even less political freedom than the inhabitants of Austria and Germany.

The nations of the Entente did not reply to these charges of the Germans. There was no reply to make; it was the truth. In fact there is no doubt that French and British statesmen were afraid of a Russian victory. They did not want the war to be won by the one nation in their group which had a despotic form of government. On the other hand the high officials in Russia were not any too happy at the thought of their alliance with the free peoples of western Europe. Germany was much more their ideal of a country governed in the proper manner than was France. As you have been told, many of the nobles of the Russian court were of German blood and secretly desired the victory of their fatherland, while many Russians of the party who wanted to keep all power out of the hands of the common people were afraid of seeing Germany crushed, for fear their own people would rise up and demand more liberty.

You will recall that there had been unrest in Russia at the time of the outbreak of the war; that strikes and labor troubles were threatened, so that many people thought the Czar had not been at all sorry to see the war break out, in order to turn the minds of his people away from their own wrongs.

At the close of the disastrous war with the Japanese in 1905, the cry from the Russian people for a Congress, or some form of elective government, had been so strong that the Czar had to give in. So he called the first Duma. This body of men, as has been explained, could talk and could complain, but could pass no laws. The first Duma had had so many grievances and had talked so bitterly against the government, that it had been forced to break up, and Cossack troops were called in to put down riots among the people at St. Petersburg, which they did with great ferocity. All this time there had been growing, among the Russian people, a feeling that they were being robbed and betrayed by the grand dukes and high nobles. They distrusted the court. They felt that the Czar was well-meaning, but weak, and that he was a mere puppet in the hands of his German wife, his cousins the grand dukes, and above all a notorious monk, called Rasputin. This strange man, a son of the common people, had risen to great power in the court. He had persuaded the Empress that he alone could keep health and strength in the frail body of the crown prince, the Czarevitch, and to keep up this delusion he had bribed one of the ladies in waiting to pour a mild poison into the boy’s food whenever Rasputin was away from the court for more than a few days. The poor little prince, of course, was made sick; whereupon, the Empress would hurriedly send for Rasputin, upon whose arrival the Czarevitch “miraculously” got well. In this manner this low-born fakir obtained such a hold over the Czar and Czarina that he was able to appoint governors of states, put bishops out of their places, and even change prime ministers. There is no doubt that the Germans bribed him to use his influence in their behalf. It is a sad illustration of the ignorance of the Russian people as a whole, that such a man could have gotten so great a power on such flimsy pretenses.

The real salvation of the Russians came through the Zemptsvos. These were little assemblies, one in each county in Russia, elected by the people to decide all local matters, like the building of roads, helping feed the poor, etc. They had been started by Czar Alexander II, in 1862. Although the court was rotten with graft and plotting, the Zemptsvos remained true to the people. They finally all united in a big confederation, and when the world war broke out, this body, really the only patriotic part of the Russian government, kept the grand dukes and the pro-Germans from betraying the nation into the hands of the enemy.

It was a strange situation. The Russian people through the representatives that they elected to these little county assemblies were patriotically carrying out the war, while the grand dukes and the court nobles, who had gotten Russia into this trouble, were, for the most part, hampering the soldiers, either through grafting off the supplies and speculating in food, or traitorously plotting to betray their country to the Germans. With plenty of food in Russia, with millions of bushels of grain stored away by men who were holding it in order to get still higher prices, there was not enough for the people of Petrograd to eat.

As you were told in a previous chapter, the German, Sturmer, was made prime minister, probably with the approval of the monk, Rasputin. Roumania, depending on promises of Russian help, was crushed between the armies of the Germans on the one side and the Turks and Bulgars on the other, while trainload after trainload of the guns and munitions which would have enabled her armies to stand firm was sidetracked and delayed on Russian railroads. “Your Majesty, we are betrayed,” said the French general who had been sent by the western allies to direct the army of the king of Roumania, when his pleas for ammunition were ignored and promise after promise made him by the Russian prime minister was broken.

Of all the countries in Europe, with the possible exception of Turkey, Russia had been the most ignorant. The great mass of the people had had no schooling and were unable to read and write. It was easier for the grand dukes and nobles to keep down the peasants and to remain undisturbed in the ownership of their great estates if the people knew nothing more than to labor and suffer in silence. There was a class of Russians, however, the most patriotic and the best educated men in the state, who were working quietly, but actively, to make conditions better. Then too, the Nihilists, anarchists who had been working (often by throwing bombs) for the overthrow of the Czar, had spread their teachings throughout the country. Students of the universities, writers, musicians, and artists, had preached the doctrines of the rights of man. While outwardly the government appeared as strong as ever, really it was like a tree whose trunk has rotted through and through, and which needs only one vigorous push to send it crashing to the ground.

It is generally in large cities that protests against the government are begun. For one thing, it is harder, in a great mob of people, to pick out the ones who are responsible for starting the trouble. Then again it is natural for people to make their protests in capital cities where the government cannot fail to hear them. A third reason lies in the fact that in large cities there are always a great number of persons who are poor and who are the first ones to feel the pinch of starvation, when hard times arise or when speculators seize upon food with the idea of causing the prices to rise. Starvation makes these people desperate—they do not care whether they live or not—and, as a result, they dare to oppose themselves to the police and the soldiers.

There had been murmurs of discontent in Petrograd for a long time. This was felt not only among the common people, but also among the more patriotic of the upper classes. In the course of the winter of 1916-17, the monk, Rasputin, as a result of a plot, was invited to the home of a grand duke, a cousin of the Czar. There a young prince, determined to free Russia of this pest, shot him to death and his body was thrown upon the ice of the frozen Neva.

About this time the lack of food in Petrograd, the result largely of speculation and “cornering the market,” had become so serious that the government thought it wise to call in several regiments of Cossacks to reinforce the police.

These Cossacks are wild tribesmen of the plains who enjoy a freedom not shared by any other class in Russia. They are warriors by trade and their sole duty consists in offering themselves, fully equipped, whenever the government has need of their services in war. They were of a different race, originally, than the Russians themselves, although by inter-marrying they now have some Slavic blood in their veins. Their appearance upon the streets of Petrograd was almost always a threat to the people. Enjoying freedom themselves and liking nothing better than the practice of their trade—fighting—they had had little or no sympathy with the wrongs of the populace, and so were the strongest supporters of the despotic rule of the Czar. At times when the Czar did not dare to trust his regular soldiers to enforce order in Petrograd or Moscow, for fear the men would refuse to fire upon their own relatives in the mob, the Cossacks could always be counted upon to ride their horses fearlessly through the people, sabering to right and left those who refused to disperse.


Crowd in Petrograd during the Revolution

The second week of March, 1917, found crowds in Petrograd protesting against the high prices of food and forming in long lines to demand grain of the government. As day succeeded day, the crowds grew larger and bolder in their murmurings. Cossacks were sent into the city, but for some strange reason they did not cause fear as they had in times past. Their manner was different. Instead of drawing their sabers, they good naturedly joked with the people as they rode among them to disperse the mobs, and were actually cheered at times by the populace. The crowds grew larger and more boisterous. Regiment after regiment of troops was called in. The police fired upon the people when the latter refused to go home. Then a strange thing happened. A Cossack, his eyes flashing fire, rode at full tilt up the street toward a policeman who was firing on the mob, and shot him dead on the spot. A shout went up from the people: “The Cossacks are with us!” New regiments of troops were brought in. The men who composed them knew that they were going to be ordered to fire upon their own kind of people—their own kin perhaps, whose only crime was that they were hungry and had dared to say so. One regiment turned upon its officers, refusing to obey them, and made them prisoners. Another and another joined the revolting forces. It was like the scenes in Paris on the 14th of July, 1789. The people had gathered to protest, and, hardly knowing what they did, they had turned their protests into a revolution. Regiments loyal to the Czar were hastily summoned to fire upon their revolting comrades. They hesitated. Leaders of the mob rushed over to them, pleading with them not to fire. A few scattering volleys were followed by a lull, and, then with a shout of joy, the troops last remaining loyal threw down their arms and rushed across to embrace the revolutionists. At a great meeting of the mob a group of soldiers and working men was picked out to call upon the Duma and ask this body to form a temporary government. Another group was appointed to wait upon Nicholas II and tell him that henceforth he was not the Czar of all the Russias, but plain Nicholas Romanoff. Messengers were sent to the fighting fronts to inform the generals that they were no longer to take orders from the Czar, but from the representatives of the free people of Russia. With remarkable calmness, the nation accepted the new situation. Within two days a new government had been formed, composed of some of the best men in the great empire. The Czar signed a paper giving up the throne in behalf of himself and his young son and nominating his brother Michael to take his place. Michael, however, was too wise. He notified the people that he would accept the crown only if they should vote to give it to him; and this the people would not do.


Revolutionary soldiers holding a conference in the Duma

The government, as formed at first, with its ministers of different departments like the American cabinet, was composed of citizens of the middle classes—lawyers, professors of the universities, land-owners, merchants were represented—and at the head of the ministry was a prince. This arrangement did not satisfy the rabble. The radical socialists, most of whom owned no property and wanted all wealth divided up among all the people, were not much happier to be ruled by the moderately well-to-do than they were to submit to the rule of the nobles. The council of workingmen and soldiers, meeting in the great hall which had formerly housed the Duma, began to take upon themselves the powers of government. Someone proclaimed that now the Russian people should have peace, and when Prof. Milioukoff, foreign minister for the new government, assured France and England that Russia would stick by them to the last, a howling crowd of workingmen threatened to mob him. “No annexations and no indemnities,” was the cry of the socialists. “Let us go back to conditions as they were before the war. Let each nation bear the burden of its own losses and let us have peace.” After a stormy session, the new government agreed to include in its numbers several representatives of the soldiers and workingmen. Prof. Milioukoff resigned and Alexander Kerensky, a radical young lawyer, became the real leader of the Russian government.


Kerensky (standing in automobile) reviewing Russian troops

Germany and Austria, meanwhile, had eagerly seized the advantage offered by Russia’s internal troubles. Their troops were ordered to make friends with the Russians in the trenches opposite. They played eagerly upon the new Russian feeling of the brotherhood of man and freedom and equality, to do away with fighting on the east, thus being able to transfer to the western front some of their best regiments. As a result the French and English, after driving the Germans back for many miles in northern France were at last brought to a standstill. The burden of carrying the whole war seemed about to fall more heavily than ever upon the armies in the west. Talk of a separate peace between Russia and the central powers grew stronger and stronger. The Russian troops felt that they had been fighting the battles of the Czar and the grand dukes and they saw no reason why they should go on shooting their brother workingmen in Germany.

At this point Kerensky, who had been made minister of war, set out to visit the armies in the field. Arriving at the battle grounds of eastern Galicia he made rousing speeches to the soldiers and actually led them in person toward the German trenches. The result was a vigorous attack all along the line under Generals Brusiloff and Korniloff which swept the Germans and Austrians back for many miles, and threatened for a time to recapture Lemberg. German spies, however, and agents of the peace party were busy among the Russian soldiers. They soon persuaded a certain division to stop fighting and retreat. The movement to the rear, begun by these troops, carried others with it, and for a time it seemed as though the whole Russian army was going to pieces. Ammunition was not supplied to the soldiers. The situation was serious and called for a strong hand. Kerensky was made prime minister and the members of the government and the council of workingmen and soldiers voted him almost the powers of a Czar. He was authorized to give orders that any deserters or traitors be shot, if need be, without trial. Under his rule the Russian army began to re-form, and the situation improved.

In November, 1917, a faction of the extreme Socialists called the Bolsheviki (Bŏl-shĕ-vï′kï) won over the garrisons of Petrograd and Moscow, seized control of the government, forcing Kerensky to flee, and threatened to make peace with Germany. These people are, for the most part, the poor citizens of large cities. They have few followers outside of the city population, for the average Russian in the country is a land owner, and he does not take kindly to the idea of losing his property or dividing it with some landless beggar from Petrograd.

The revolt of the Bolsheviki, then, simply added to the confusion in the realm of Russia. That unhappy country was torn apart by the fights of the different factions. Finland demanded its independence, and German spies and agents encouraged the Ruthenians living in a great province called the Ukraine, to do the same. The Cossacks withdrew to the country to the north of the Crimean peninsula, and the only Russian armies that kept on fighting were those in Turkey. These forces had been gathered largely from the states between the Black and Caspian Seas. Having suffered persecution in the old days, they had hated the Turks for ages and needed no orders from Petrograd to induce them to take revenge.

Finally the Bolshevik government agreed to a peace with the central powers which gave Germany and Austria everything that they wanted. The Russian armies were disbanded and the Germans and Austrians were free to turn their fighting men back to the western front. In the meantime, the Ruthenian republic, now called the Ukraine, was allowed by the Bolsheviki to make a separate peace with Germany and Austria. The troops of the Germans and Austrians began joyously to pillage both Russia and the Ukraine, hunting for the food that was so scarce in the central empires. However, for a whole year hardly anybody in Russia had been willing to do a stroke of work. The fields had gone untilled while the peasants, drunk with their new freedom, and without a care for the morrow, lived off the grain that had been saved up during the past years. As a result, whatever grain the enemy found proved spoiled and mouldy, hardly fit to feed to hogs. As the Germans went about, taking anything that they wished and as food grew scarce, the unrest in Russia grew greater.

The Bolshevik government had not set up a democracy—a government where all the people had equal rights: they had set up a tyranny of the lower classes. The small land owners, the tradesmen, the middle classes were not allowed any voice in the government. When the first National Assembly or Congress was elected and called together, the Bolsheviki finding that they did not control a majority of its members, disbanded it by force.

Little by little people began to oppose this rule. They objected to being robbed of their rights by the rabble just as much as by the Czar.

When the Russian armies were disbanded, there were some troops that refused to throw down their arms. Among them were the regiments of Czecho-Slovaks. These men had been forced, against their will, to serve in the Austrian army. They were from the northern part of the Austrian empire, Bohemia and Moravia. They were Slavs, related to the Russians, speaking a language very much like Russian, hating the Germans of Austria and anxious to free their country from the empire of the Hapsburgs. When General Brusiloff made his big attack in June, 1916, these men had deserted the Austrian army and re-enlisted as Russians. They could not get back to Austria for the Austrians would shoot them as deserters. Of course, the Austrian and the German generals would make no peace with them. Therefore, this army, 200,000 strong, kept their own officers and their order and their arms and refused to have anything to do with the cowardly peace made by the Bolsheviki. Several thousand of them made their way across Siberia, across the Pacific Ocean, across America, across the Atlantic to France and Italy, where they are fighting by the thousands in the armies of the Entente. The main body of them, however, are still in Russia (August 1, 1918), holding the great Siberian railway, fully ready to renew the war against the central powers at any time when the patriotic Russians will rise and help them. The problem of how to get aid to the Czechs without angering the Russian people is a big one for the allied statesmen.

The trouble with the Russians is that they are not educated; the result of this is that they readily believe the lies of spies and tricksters, that would never deceive an educated man.

Questions for Review
  1. Was the Russian government as harsh as that of Germany?
  2. Why was Russia a source of weakness to the Entente?
  3. Why was Rasputin killed?
  4. Why did the Czars prefer the Cossacks?
  5. What classes fought after the Czar’s downfall?
  6. How did the central powers take advantage of Russia’s troubles?
  7. How did the peace with the Bolsheviki help Germany?
  8. Explain where the Czecho-Slovak army came from.

Chapter XXIII.
The United States at War—Why?

Germany throws to the winds all rules of civilized war.—Dr. Zimmermann’s famous note.—Congress declares war.—Other nations follow our example.—The plight of Holland, Denmark, and Norway.—German arguments for submarine warfare shown to be groundless.—German agents blow up American factories.—German threats against the United States.—Germany and the Monroe Doctrine.—A government whose deeds its people cannot question.—Why American troops were sent to Europe.—Why the war lords wanted peace in January, 1918.

In the meantime, two months had elapsed from the time when the German ambassador, Count Von Bernstorff, had been sent home by the United States. The Germans, true to their word, had begun their campaign of attacking and sinking without warning ships of all kinds in the waters surrounding Great Britain and France. Even the hospital ships, marked plainly with the red cross, and boats carrying food to the starving people of Belgium, were torpedoed without mercy. The curious state of public feeling in Germany is well illustrated by an incident which happened at this time. It so happened that an English hospital ship, crossing the channel, was laden with about as many German wounded as British. These men had been left helpless on the field of battle after the Germans had retreated, and had been picked up and cared for by the British, along with their own troops. A German submarine with its deadly torpedo sent this vessel to the bottom. The wounded men, German and British alike, sank without the slightest chance for their lives. A burst of indignation came from all over Germany against the “unspeakable brutality” of the British who dared to expose German wounded men to the danger of travel on the open sea! The British were warned that if this happened again the Germans would make reprisals upon British prisoners in their hands.


Flight from a Torpedoed Ocean Liner

Week followed week and still there was no declaration of war between the United States and Germany. But in the latter part of February, the United States government made public a note which its secret agents had stopped from being delivered to the German ambassador in Mexico. It was signed by Dr. Zimmermann, German minister of foreign affairs, and it requested the ambassador as soon as it was certain that there would be an outbreak of war with the United States as a result of the sinking of ships without warning, to propose to Mexico that she ally herself with Germany. “Together we will make war on the United States,” said Dr. Zimmermann, “and together we will make peace. Mexico will receive as her reward her lost provinces of Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico.” “Ask the Mexican government,” said Dr. Zimmermann, “to propose to the Japanese that Japan break away from her alliance with England and join Mexico and Germany in an attack upon the United States.”

The publication of this note made a tremendous change in feeling in the United States. Up to this time a great portion of the people had felt that perhaps we were hasty in breaking off relations with Germany, and in their earnest desire for peace had been willing to put up with injury and even insults on the part of the Germans, excusing them on the grounds of their military necessity. The publication of Dr. Zimmermann’s note, however, showed the people of the United States the true temper of the government at Berlin. It showed them that the German war lords had no respect for anything but brute force, that the language of cannon was the only language which they could understand, and that any further patience on the part of this country would be looked upon as weakness and treated with scorn and contempt.

On the sixth of April, 1917, Congress, called into session by the President, by an overwhelming vote declared that a state of war existed between the United States of America and the Imperial Government of Germany.

At this point it may be well to sum up the causes that brought the United States into the great war. These causes may be given under two heads: (1) the war waged upon us by submarines; and (2) the German plots and threats against our country at a time when we were at peace with them. The latter, as given in pages to follow, comprise: (a) The Kaiser’s threat, (b) Admiral Von Tirpitz’s threat, (c) the blowing up of American factories and death of American workingmen, (d) the attempt to get us into war with Japan and Mexico, and (e) the spending of the German government’s money in an attempt to make our congressmen vote as Germany wished.


President Wilson reading his War Message to Congress

The Submarine War

Up to the time when the United States declared war, two hundred and twenty-six Americans, men, women, and infants, had met their death through the sinking of ships, torpedoed without warning, under orders of the German government. These people were peaceable travelers, going about their business on the high seas in passenger steamers owned by private companies. According to the law observed by all nations up to this time there was no more reason for them to fear danger from the Germans than if they had been traveling on trains in South America or Spain, or any other country not at war. The attack upon these ships, to say nothing about the brutal and inhuman method of sinking them without warning, was an act of war on the part of Germany against any country whose citizens happened to be traveling on these ocean steamers. That the action of the United States in calling the submarine attacks an act of war was only justice is proved by the fact that several other nations, who had nothing to gain by going to war and had earnestly desired to remain neutral, took the same stand. Brazil, Cuba, and several other South and Central American republics found that they could not maintain their honor without declaring war on Germany. German ambassadors and ministers have been dismissed from practically every capital in Spanish America.

In Europe, also, neutral nations like Holland, Denmark, and Norway saw their ships sunk and their citizens drowned. In spite of their wrongs, however, the first two did not dare to declare war on Germany, as the Germans would be able to throw a strong army across the border and overrun each of these two little countries before the allies could come to their help. With the fate of Belgium and Serbia before them, the Danes and the Dutch swallowed their pride and sat helplessly by while Germany killed their sailors and defenseless passengers. After the failure of the Entente to protect Serbia and Roumania, no one could blame Denmark and Holland.

Norway, too, was exposed to danger of a raid by the German fleet. Commanding the Skager Rack and Cattegat as they did, with the Kiel Canal connecting them, the Germans could bombard the cities on the Norwegian coast or even land an army to invade the country. The three little countries together do not have an army any larger than that of Roumania, and it would have been out of the question for them to declare war on Germany without seeing their whole territory overrun and laid waste.

Nevertheless public opinion in Norway was so strong against Germany that the Norwegian government, on November first, 1917 sent a vigorous protest to Berlin, closing with these words:

“The Norwegian government will not again state its views, as it has already done so on several occasions, as to the violation of the principles of the freedom of the high seas incurred by the proclamation of large tracts of the ocean as a war zone and by the sinking of neutral merchant ships not carrying contraband.

“It has made a profound impression on the Norwegian people that not only have German submarines continued to sink peaceful neutral merchant ships, paying no attention to the fate of their crews, but that even German warships adopted the same tactics. The Norwegian government decided to send this note in order to bring to the attention of the German government the impression these acts have made upon the Norwegian people.”

The two arguments that the Germans used in trying to justify themselves for their inhuman methods with the submarine are: (1) that on these ships which were sunk were supplies for the French and British armies, the arrival of which would aid them in killing Germans, and (2) that the English, by their blockade of Germany, were doing something which was contrary to the laws of nations and starving German women and children, and, therefore, since England was breaking some rules of the war game, Germany had the right to go ahead and break others.

The trade of the United States in selling war supplies to France and England was a sore spot with Germany. They claimed that the United States was unfair in selling to the Entente and not to them. Of course, this was foolish, as has been pointed out, for the United States was just as ready to sell to Germany as to the Allies, as was shown by the two voyages of the Deutschland. If our government had forbidden our people to sell war supplies at all, and if other neutral countries had done the same thing, then the result would be that all wars would be won by the country which made the biggest preparation for war in times of peace. A law passed by neutral countries forbidding their merchants from selling munitions would leave a non-military nation, which had not been getting ready for war, absolutely at the mercy of a neighbor who for years had been storing up shells and guns for the purpose of unrighteous conquest. So clear was this right to sell munitions that Germany did not dare protest, but ordered Austria to do so instead. In reply, our government was able to point out cases where Austrian firms had sold guns, etc., to Great Britain during the Boer War as you have already been told, and Austria had no answer to give.

What is more, at all of the meetings of the diplomats of different nations at the Hague, called for the purpose of trying to prevent future wars, if possible, or at least to make them more humane and less brutal to the women and children and others who were not actually fighting, Germany had always upheld the right of neutral nations to sell arms. Moreover, her representatives had fought strongly against any proposals to settle disputes by arbitration and peaceful agreements. At a time when many European nations signed treaties with the United States agreeing to allow one year to elapse between a dispute which might lead to war and the actual declaring of war itself, Germany positively refused to consider such an agreement.

As for the English blockade, England was doing no more to Germany than Germany or any other country would have done to England if the English navy had not been so strong. In our own Civil War the North kept up a like blockade of the South and no nation protested against it, for it was recognized as an entirely legal act. In the Franco-Prussian war of 1871, the Germans were blockading the city of Paris and the country around it. The Frenchmen tried to send their women and children outside the lines to be fed. The Germans drove them back at the point of the bayonet, and told them that they might “fry in their own fat.” According to the laws of war they were perfectly justified in what they did. Then, too, the English blockade, which stopped ships which were found to be loaded with supplies for Germany and took them peaceably to an English port, where it was decided how much the owners should be paid for the cargoes, was a very different matter from the brutal drowning of helpless men, women, and children by the German submarines. In one case, owners of the goods were caused a great deal of annoyance and in some instances did not get their money promptly. On the other side, there was murder of the most fiendish kind, an act of war against neutral states.

Plots and Threats Against the United States


American Grain Set on Fire by German Agents

Let us turn now to the second cause for grievance that the United States had against Germany. At a time when American citizens who sympathized with Germany were subscribing millions of dollars for the relief of the German wounded, it is strongly suspected that this was the very money, which, collected by the German government’s own agents, was being spent in plots involving the destroying of the property of some American citizens and the death of others. The German ambassador and his helpers were hiring men to blow up American factories, to destroy railroad bridges, and to kill Americans who were making war supplies for the armies of Europe. Factory after factory was blown up with considerable loss of life. Bombs, with clock work attachment to explode them at a certain time, were found on ships sailing for Europe. Money was poured out in great quantities to influence members of the United States Congress to vote against the shipment of war supplies to France and England. Revolts paid for by German money were organized in Mexico and the Islands of the West Indies. For a long time there had been a series of stories and newspaper and magazine articles trying to prove to the American people that Japan was planning to make war on us. The same sort of stories appeared in Japan, persuading the Japanese that they were in danger of being attacked by the United States. It now appears that the great part of these stories were started by the Germans, who hoped to get us into a war with Japan and profit by the ill will which must follow between the two countries.

At first, Americans were inclined to think that all of these things could be traced to German-Americans, whose zeal for their Fatherland caused them to go too far. But it has been proved beyond a doubt that all of these acts, which were really acts of war against the United States, were ordered by the government at Berlin and paid for by German money, or by American money which had been contributed for the benefit of the German Red Cross service.

In addition to these facts there were threats against the United States which could not be ignored. The Kaiser had told our ambassador at Berlin, Mr. Gerard, that “America had better beware after this war” for he “would stand no nonsense from her.” Admiral Von Tirpitz, the German Secretary of the Navy, also told Mr. Gerard that Germany needed the coast of Belgium as a place from which to start her “future war on England and America.”

American statesmen were seriously concerned at threats of this kind, for they knew that the government in power at Berlin could absolutely command its people, and by forbidding certain kinds of news and substituting other things in the German newspapers could make the German people think anything which the war lords wished them to think. Thus there was great danger that, having won the war from the Entente or having stood them off successfully until the fight was declared a draw, Germany would next attack the United States with the idea of collecting from this comparatively defenseless and very rich country the huge indemnity which she had planned to assess upon France and Russia. With this money and with the breaking down of the Monroe Doctrine, Germany could set up a great empire in South America which would make her almost as powerful as she would have been had her first plans for crushing France and Russia been successful.

You will recall, from your study of United States history, that President Monroe had warned European governments to keep their hands off South America, for the United States would act as big brother to any of the little republics there who might be attacked by a European foe. Germany in recent years has resented this very vigorously. There were nearly half a million Germans in the southern part of Brazil. Uruguay and the Argentine Republic also had large German settlements. If the Monroe Doctrine were out of the way, Germany hoped that she would be able to get a footing in these countries in which she had colonists and gradually to gain control of the entire country. In the fall of 1917 there was uncovered a plot among the German residents of certain states in the southern part of Brazil to make this territory a part of the German Colonial Empire. This discovery, along with the sinking of Brazilian ships by submarines, drove Brazil into war with Germany.

To sum up: The United States entered the war: first, because German submarines were killing her peaceful citizens and stopping her lawful trade; second, because paid agents of the German government were destroying American property in the United States, killing American citizens, and creating discord in our political life; they were pretending to be friendly and yet were trying to enlist Japan and Mexico in war against us; third, for the reason that because of Germany’s threats and her well-known policy in South America there was grave danger that it would be our turn next if the central powers should come out of the European war uncrushed.

The American government has made it plain that we are not moved by any desire for gain for ourselves. We have nothing to win through the war except the assurance that our nation will be safe. If Germany had a government which the people controlled, then the United States could trust promises of that government. But, as President Wilson has pointed out, no one can trust the present government of Germany, for it is responsible to no one for what it does. It has torn up sacred promises, which its Chancellor called “scraps of paper”; it has broken its word; it has ordered “acts of frightfulness” in the lands which it has conquered and on the high seas, with the idea of brutally forcing its will upon enemies and neutral countries alike. It has deceived its own people, persuading them that they were attacked by France and Russia, while all the time it was plotting to rule the world through force of arms.

President Wilson has said that the object of the United States in this war is “to make the world safe for democracy.” This means that a free people, who have no desire to interfere with any of their neighbors or to make conquests by force of arms, shall be allowed to live their lives without preparation for war and without fear that they may be attacked by a nation with military rulers.

We have seen how France, attacked in 1870 and threatened by Germany in 1875, 1905, of war and 1911 was obliged to match gun for gun and ship for ship with her warlike neighbor to the east. The dread of an attack by the military party of Germany hung over France like a shadow throughout forty-three years of a peace which was only a little better than war, because of the vast amount of money that had to be spent and the attention that had to be given to preparation for the war that all felt would one day come.

When once the German people have a controlling voice in the government, then, and not till then, can other governments believe the word of the statesmen at Berlin. But at present the citizens of Germany have little real power. For, while they can elect members of the Reichstag, the Reichstag can pass no laws, for above this body is the national council, whose members are appointed by the Kaiser and the other kings and grand dukes. The power of declaring war and making peace lies practically in the hands of the Kaiser alone, and at any moment he can set aside any of Germany’s laws, under the plea that “military necessity” calls for certain things to be done. In this way, he has thrown into prison those who dared to speak against the war, and has either suppressed newspapers or ordered them to print only what he wished printed; thus the German people have let him do their thinking for them.

They are a docile people. One of the first words that a German baby is taught to say is “Kaiser,” and all of the schools, which are run by the government, have taught nothing but respect for the present form of government, and almost a worship of the Kaiser himself. What it is hoped that this war will bring about is the freeing of the German people from their blind obedience to the military power, which for its own glory and pride has hurled them by the millions to death.

The United States has adopted plans in this war which are very different from any hitherto used. With the exception of some troops raised for a few months during the dark days of the War of the Rebellion, all of our armies have been recruited from men who enlisted of their own free will. In this great conflict in which we are now engaged, the government has drawn its soldiers by lot from a list of all the young men in the country between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one. Thus, rich and poor alike are fighting in our ranks.

For the first time in our history our troops have been sent to fight on another continent. Many persons have felt that we should keep our young men at home and wait for Germany to cross the Atlantic in order to attack us. Our statesmen, on the other hand, saw that the peace of the world was at stake. If Germany, Austria, and Turkey, the three countries whose people have no voice in the question of peace or war, come out of this conflict victorious, or even undefeated, the world will see again the mad race for armaments which resulted in the war of 1914. If, on the other hand, the people of these nations realize that it is true today, as in the olden times, that those people who take up the sword shall perish by the sword, they will overthrow their leaders and agree to disarm and live at peace in future with their neighbors.

The military parties in Austria and Germany wanted war. The only way by which these people can be convinced is by brute force. When they realize that they have not gained by war, but have lost, not only a great deal of their wealth, through the terrific cost of the war, but the friendship and respect of the whole world, when they realize that the nations allied against them will push the war relentlessly until these military chiefs confess that they never want to hear the word “war” again, then, and only then, will they be ready to throw down their arms and agree to join a league of the nations whose object shall be to prevent any future wars.

As long as Germany was victorious and her people thought that they were going to come out of the conflict with added territory and big money indemnities, war was popular. But with the flower of their young men slain, and the prospect of conquest and plunder growing smaller and smaller with each passing month, the Germans, too, are beginning to hate the thought of war.

The American army can give the finishing touch to the German downfall along the western front, and the sooner the Germans realize that they cannot win from the rapidly growing number of their enemies, the sooner will come the the end of this greatest tragedy in the civilized world.

The war lords knew that if the war lasted long enough they must be defeated and they were striving hard all through the years 1916 and 1917 to make peace while they had possession of enough of the enemy’s lands so that they could show their own people some gain in territory to pay them back for their terrible sufferings. The German war debt was so great that the war lords dreaded to face their own people after the latter realized that they had been deceived as well as defeated. The government had told them (1) that England, France, and Russia forced this war upon Germany, (2) that the German armies would win the war in short order, and (3) that a huge sum of money would be collected from France, Belgium, and Russia to pay the expenses of the war. The war lords dreaded to think of the time when their people, knowing that they themselves will have to bear the fearful burden of war debt, learned also that the whole tragedy was forced upon the world by the pride and ambition of their own leaders. By Christmas 1917, the Kaiser was once more hinting that Germany was ready to talk peace. He was wise, for if peace could have been made then it would have left Germany absolute mistress of all of middle Europe. Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey were more under the control of the Kaiser and his war lords than were parts of his own empire like Bavaria and Saxony. In Belgium, Serbia, Poland, Lithuania, Roumania, and northern France the central powers had over forty millions of people who were compelled to work for them like slaves. The plunder collected from these countries ran into billions of dollars. The road to the east, cut asunder by the results of the second Balkan war (see map), had been forced open by the rush of the victorious German armies through Serbia and Roumania. A peace at this time would have been a German victory. With the drain on the man power of the central powers, with dissatisfaction growing among their people, with the steady increase in the armies of the United States, time was fighting on the side of the allies.

Questions for Review
  1. Does the Zimmermann note show that the German government understood conditions in Mexico and the United States?
  2. Why did the Zimmermann note have so strong an effect upon American public opinion?
  3. What were the steps by which the United States was forced into war?
  4. Why did not Holland and Denmark declare war on Germany also?
  5. What was the main difference between the English blockade of Germany and the German submarine war on England?
  6. Was the German government responsible for the acts of its agents in this country?
  7. What is the Monroe Doctrine?
  8. Why could not the Imperial Government of Germany be trusted?
  9. How was this war different for the United States from any previous conflict?
  10. What was the greatest obstacle to peace?

Chapter XXIV.
Europe as it Should Be

Natural boundaries of nations in Europe.—Peoples outside of the nations with whom they belong.—The mixture of peoples in Austria-Hungary, and Russia.—The British Isles.—The Balkan states.—Recent changes in the map.—The wrongs done by mighty nations upon their weak neighbors bring no happiness.

We have several times shown you, in the course of this little history, maps drawn by kings and marked off by diplomacy and through bloodshed. Let us now examine a map of Europe divided according to the race and language of its various peoples. It often happens that the boundaries set by nature, like seas, high mountains, and broad rivers, divide one people from another. It is natural that the people of Italy, for instance, hemmed in by the Alps to the north and by the water on all other sides, should grow to be like each other and come to talk a common language.

In the same way, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Spain, France, Great Britain, and Switzerland have boundaries largely set by nature. On this account, it is not surprising that the map of “Europe as it should be” which unites people of the same blood under the same government, agrees rather closely in some places with the map of Europe as it is.

The boundaries of the kingdom of Spain and those of the kingdom of Portugal fit pretty closely the countries inhabited by Spanish and Portuguese peoples.

There are a few Italians in France, also a few Walloons and Flemish. Otherwise France is largely a unit. Some of the French people are found in Switzerland and others in that part of the German Empire which was taken away from France after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

The Danes are not all living in Denmark. A great many of them inhabit the two provinces of Schleswig and Holstein which were torn away from Denmark by Prussia in 1864. The high mountains of the Scandinavian peninsula separate the Norwegians from the Swedes about as well as they divide the countries geographically.

The Hollanders make a nation by themselves, but part of the northwestern corner of the German Empire is also peopled by Dutch. The territory around Aix-La-Chapelle, although part of the German Empire, is inhabited by Walloons, a Celtic people who speak a sort of French. Belgium, small as it is, contains two different types of population, the Walloons and the Flemish.

The German Empire does not include all of the Germans. A great many of these are to be found in Austria proper, Styria (sty̆′rĭȧ), and the northern Tyrol (ty̆′rol) (western counties of the Austrian Empire), as well as in the eastern half of Switzerland and the edges of Bohemia. Germans are also to be found in parts of Hungary; and in the Baltic provinces of Russia there are over two million of them.

All of the Italians are not in the kingdom of Italy. The Island of Corsica, which belongs to France, is inhabited by Italians. The province of Trentino (trĕn ti′nō) (the southern half of the Austrian Tyrol) is inhabited almost entirely by Italians, as is also Istria, which includes the cities of Trieste, Pola, and Fiume. Certain islands off the coast of Dalmatia are also largely Italian in their population.

The republic of Switzerland is inhabited by French, Italians, and Germans. Besides the languages of these three nations, a fourth tongue is spoken there. In the valleys of the southeastern corner of Switzerland are found people who talk a corruption of the old Latin, which they call Romaunsch or Romansh.

Austria-Hungary, as has already been said, is a jumble of languages and nationalities. This empire includes nearly a million Italians in its southwestern corner, and three million Roumanians in Transylvania. It has as its subjects in Bosnia and Herzegovina several million Serbians. In Slavonia (slȧ vō′nĭ ȧ), Croatia (crō a′tia), and Dalmatia (dăl mā tia), it has two or three million Slavs, who are closely related to the Serbians. In the north, its government rules over several million Czechs (chĕcks) (Bohemians and Moravians) who strongly desire to have a country of their own. It controls also two million Slovaks, cousins of the Czechs, who also would like their independence. In the county of Carniola (car ni ō′lȧ), there are one and a half million Slovenes, another Slavic people belonging either by themselves or with their cousins, the Croatians and Serbs.

The German Empire includes several hundred thousand Frenchmen, who want to get back under French control, a million or two Danes, who want once more to belong to Denmark, and several million Poles, who desire to see their country again united.

Illustration: Messen

Europe as It Should Be

Russia rules over a mixture of peoples almost as numerous as those composing Austria-Hungary. The Russians themselves are not one people. The Red Russians or Ruthenians are quite different from the people of Little Russia, and they in turn are different from the people of Great Russia, to the north. The Baltic provinces are peopled, not by Russians, but by two million Germans, an equal number of Letts and a somewhat greater number of Lithuanians. North of Riga are to be found the Esthonians, cousins of the Finns. North-west of Petrograd lies Finland, whose people, with the Esthonians, do not belong to the Indo-European family, and who would dearly love to have a separate government of their own.


Polish children

You have already been told in Chapter V that the country of the English, if limited by race, does not include Wales, Cornwall, or the north of Scotland, but instead takes in the north-eastern part of Ireland and the southern half of the former Scottish kingdom.

Turning to the Balkan states, we find our hardest task, for the reason that peoples of different nationalities are hopelessly mixed and jumbled. There are Turks and Greeks mixed in with the Roumanians and Bulgarians in the Dobrudja. Parts of southern Serbia and portions of Grecian Macedonia are inhabited by people of Bulgarian descent. Transylvania, with the exception of the two little mixture islands mentioned before is inhabited by Roumanians. The southern half of the Austrian province of Bukowina also ought to be part of Roumania, as should the greater part of the Russian state of Bessarabia. Whereas Roumania now has a population of 7,000,000, there are between five and six million of her people who live outside her present boundaries.

The shores and islands of the Aegean Sea should belong to Greece. Greek people have inhabited them for thousands of years. The Albanians are a separate people, while Montenegro and Bosnia should be joined to Serbia.

Turn back to previous maps of Europe in this volume and you will see that most of the changes that have been made of late years are bringing boundaries nearer where they should be. You will also note that wherever there have been recent changes contrary to this plan, they have always resulted in more bloodshed. The partition of Poland, the annexation of Schleswig, Alsace, and Lorraine to Germany, the division of Bulgarian Macedonia between Serbia and Greece, and the seizure of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria are good examples.

Questions for Review
  1. What countries of Europe have fairly well-marked natural boundaries?
  2. Who are the Walloons?
  3. Who are the Romansh people?
  4. To what other people are the Esthonians related?

The price of the war

Chapter XXV.
The Cost of It All

What war debts mean—The devastation of farms and villages—Diseases which travel with war—The men picked to die first—The survivors and their children—The effect on France of Napoleon’s wars—What Hannibal did to Rome—What happened to the Franks—Sweden before and after the wars of Charles XII—Europe at the close of the Great War

In the meanwhile, all the countries in the war were rapidly rushing toward bankruptcy. England spent $30,000,000 a day; France, Germany, and Austria nearly as much apiece. Thus in the course of a year, a debt of $300 was piled upon every man, woman, and child in the British kingdom. The average family consists of five persons, so that this means a debt of $1500 per family for each year that the war lasted. The income of the average family in Great Britain is less than $500 in a year, and the amount of money that they can save out of this sum is very small. Yet the British people are obliged to add this tremendous debt to the already very large amount that they owe, and will have to go on paying interest on it for hundreds of years.

In the same fashion, debts piled up for the peoples of France, Germany, Austria, Russia and all the countries in the war. In spite of what we have said above of the average income of English families, Great Britain is rich when compared with Austria and Russia. What is more, Great Britain is practically unscarred, while on the continent great tracts of land which used to be well cultivated farms have been laid waste with reckless abandon. East Prussia, Poland, Lithuania, Galicia, part of Hungary, Alsace, Serbia, Bosnia, northern France, south-western Austria-Hungary, and all of Belgium and Roumania, a territory amounting to one-fifth of the whole of Europe, were scarred and burned and devastated.

It will be years and years before these countries recover from the effects of war’s invasion. For every man killed on the field of battle, it is estimated that two people die among the noncombatants. Children whose fathers are at the front, frail women trying to do the work of men, aged inhabitants of destroyed villages die by the thousands from want of food and shelter.

In the trail of war come other evils. People do not have time to look after their health or even to keep clean. As a result, diseases like the plagues of olden times, which civilization thought it had killed, come to life again and destroy whole cities. The dreadful typhus fever killed off one-fifth of the population of Serbia during the winter of 1914. Cholera raged among the Austrian troops in the fall of the same year. For every soldier who is killed on the field of battle, three others die from disease or wounds or lack of proper care.


Rendered Homeless by War

In time of war, the first men picked are the very flower of the country, the strong, the athletic, the brave, the very sort of men who ought to be carefully saved as the fathers of the people to come. As these are killed or disabled, governments draw on the older men who are still vigorous and hardy. Then finally they call out the unfit, the sickly, the weak, the aged, and the young boys. As a general rule, the members of this last class make up the bulk of the men who survive the war. They, instead of the strong and healthy, become the fathers of the next generation of children.

In the days of the Roman republic, 220 years B.C., there stood on the coast of North Africa a city named Carthage, which, like Rome, owned lands far and near. Carthage would have been satisfied to “live and let live,” but Rome would not have it so. As a result, the two cities engaged in three terrible wars which ended in the destruction of Carthage. But before Carthage was finally blotted off the map, her great general, Hannibal, dealt Rome a blow which brought her to her knees, and came very near destroying her completely. Five Roman armies, averaging 30,000 men apiece, he trapped and slaughtered. The death of these 150,000 men was a loss from which Rome never recovered. From this time on, her citizens were made of poorer stuff, and the old Roman courage and Roman honor and Roman free government began to decline.

The Germanic tribes (the Goths, Franks, Lombards, etc.) who swarmed into the Roman Empire about the year 400 A.D., although they were barbarians, nevertheless had many excellent qualities. They were brave, hardy men and stood for freedom from tyrants. However, they fought so many wars that they were gradually killed off. Take the Franks, for example; the three grandsons of Charlemagne, who had divided up his great empire, fought a disastrous war with one another, which ended in a great battle that almost wiped out the Frankish nation. This happened about 840 A.D.

Sweden was once one of the great powers of Europe. However, about 1700 A.D., she had a king named Charles XII, who tried to conquer Russia and Poland. He was finally defeated at a little town in the southern part of Russia nearly a thousand miles away from home, and his great army was wiped out. After his time, Sweden sank to the level of a second class nation. The bodies of her best men had been strewn on battlefields reaching from the Gulf of Bothnia to the Black Sea.


Charles XII of Sweden

For eighty years after the time of Napoleon, the French nation showed a lower birth rate and produced smaller and weaker men than it had one hundred years previously. The reason for this is easily found. During the twenty-three years of terrible fighting which followed the execution of the king, France left her finest young men dead all over the face of Europe. They died by the thousands in Spain, in Italy, in Austria, in Germany, and above all, amidst the snows and ice of Russia. Only within the last twenty years have the French, through their new interest in out-of-door sports and athletics, begun once more to build up a hardy, vigorous race of young men. And now came this terrible war to set France back where she was one hundred years ago.

Picture Europe at the close of this great war; the flower of her young manhood gone; the survivors laden with debts which will keep them in poverty for years to come; trade and agriculture at a standstill; but worst of all, the feeling of friendship between nations, of world brotherhood, postponed one hundred years. Hatred of nation for nation is stronger than ever.

Questions for Review
  1. How does a nation at war increase its debts?
  2. Why do diseases thrive in war time?
  3. What became of the Goths and Franks?
  4. Why was the reign of Charles XII disastrous to Sweden?
  5. What was the effect of Napoleon’s many wars upon the strength of the French nation?
  6. Is war growing more humane?

Chapter XXVI.
What Germany Must Learn

The German plot.—What the Czar’s prohibition order did.—Where Germany miscalculated.—Where England and America failed to understand.—An appeal to force must be answered by force.—Effect of the Russian revolution.—“It never must happen again.”—The league to enforce peace.—The final lesson.

Before 1914 friends of peace in all countries, but especially in English speaking lands, had hoped that there would never again be a real war between civilized nations.

Among the people of the United States and Great Britain it was unbelievable that any group of responsible rulers would deliberately plot, in the twentieth century, the enslaving of the world through military force, as we now know that the war lords of Prussia and Austria planned it. However, the plot was not only made but was almost successful. They made, though, a great mistake in the case of England. They were sure that she would not enter the war. Her turn was to come later on, after France and Russia had been crushed. The German leaders were also mistaken in calculating the time that Russia would take to mobilize her troops. In 1904, at the outbreak of the war against Japan, the Russian soldiers had become so drunk that it was many weeks before they could be gotten into any kind of military shape. But at the outbreak of the great “world-war” the order of the Czar which stopped the sale of strong drink changed all of Prussia’s plans. Instead of taking two or three months to assemble her army, Russia had her troops marching in a mighty force through the German province of East Prussia three weeks after the war had opened. The result was that the German soldiers had to be sent back from northern France to stop the victorious march of the Slavs. The battle of the Marne, fought in the first week of September, 1914, decided the fate of the world. It hung in the balance long enough to prove that a small addition to the forces on either side might have made all the difference in the world in the final outcome. The little British army, which was less than one-eighth of the force of the Allied side, probably furnished the factor that defeated the Germans. The presence in the battle of the German troops who had been withdrawn to stop the Russians, might have given victory to the invaders.

Germany made a mistake, also, in expecting Italy to join in the attack on France. Any one of these three factors might have won the war in short order for the forces of Austria and Germany. With France crushed, as she might have been, in spite of her heroic resistance, without the help of the tiny British army, or with the intervention of Italy on the side of her former allies, it would have been no difficult task for the combined forces of Germany and Austria to pound the vast Russian armies into confusion, collect a big indemnity from both France and Russia, and be back home, as the Kaiser had promised, before the leaves fell from the trees.

As has been said, the great majority of the citizens in nations where the people rule, could not believe that in this day and age the rulers of any civilized country would deliberately plot robbery and piracy on so grand a scale. They had looked forward to the time when all nations might disarm and live in peace with their neighbors. In France alone, of all the western nations, was there any clear idea of the Prussian plan. France, having learned the temper of the Prussian war lords in 1870, France, burdened by a national debt heaped high by the big indemnity collected by the Germans in ’71, looked in apprehension to the east and leaped to arms at the first rattling of the Prussian saber.

Germany, up to 1866 renowned chiefly for her poets, musicians, and thinkers, had since been fed for nearly fifty years upon the doctrine that military force is the only power in the world worth considering. Some of the German people still cling to the high ideals of their ancestors, but the majority had drunk deeply of the wine of conquest and were intoxicated with the idea that Germany’s mission in life was to conquer all the other nations of the world and rule them for their own good by German thoroughness and by German efficiency. It may take many years to stamp this feeling out of the German nation. As they have worshipped force and appealed to force as the settler of all questions, so they will listen to reason only after they have been thoroughly crushed by a superior force. The sufferings brought upon the German nation by the war have had a great effect in making them doubt whether, after all, force is a good thing. As long as the people could be kept enthusiastic through stories of wonderful victories over the Russians, the Serbians, and then the Roumanians, they were contented to endure all manner of hardships.

Someone has said that no people are happier than those living in a despotism, if the right kind of man is the despot. So the German people, although they were governed strictly by the military rule, nevertheless, were contented as long as they were prosperous and victorious in war. With the rumors and fears of defeat, however, they began to doubt their government. There are indications that sweeping reforms in the election of representatives in the Reichstag and in the power of that body itself will take place before long.

The Russian revolution was in some respects a blow to the central powers. In the first place the fact that Russia had a despot for a ruler while England, France, and Italy were countries where the people elected their law makers, made it impossible that there should be the best of understanding between the allies. Then, again, the various peoples of Austria-Hungary, while they were not happy under the rule of the Hapsburg family, were afraid lest, if they became subjects of the Czar, it would be “jumping from the frying pan into the fire.” They would rather bear the evils of the Austrian rule than risk what the Czar and the grand dukes might do to them. Turkey, likewise, was bound to stick to Germany to the end, because of her fear that Russia would seize Constantinople. When the new government of Russia, then, announced that they did not desire to annex by force any territory, but only wished to free the peoples who were in bondage, it removed the fear of the Turks as far as their capital city was concerned; it showed the Poles, Ruthenians, and Czechs of Austria that they were in no danger of being swallowed up in the Russian empire, but that, on the other hand, the Russians wanted them to be free, like themselves; it showed the German people how easily a whole nation, when united, could get rid of its rulers, and encouraged the bold spirits who had never favored the military rule.

The nations of the Entente, including the United States, are now united in an effort to stamp out the curse of feudalism in Austria and in Germany—a curse which has disappeared from all other parts of the civilized world. They are united to crush the military spirit of conquest which exists among the war leaders of the Prussians. They are pledged “to make the world safe for democracy” as President Wilson has said; to do away with the rule of force. So long as the governments of Germany, Austria, and Turkey place the military power at all times above the civil power, so long will it be necessary to police the world. There must be no repetition of the savage attack of August, 1914. There was a time when many of us believed that some one nation, by disbanding its army and refusing to build warships, might set an example of disarming which all the world would finally follow. It now is plain that there must be a “League to Enforce Peace” as Ex-President Taft and other American statesmen have declared. The United States, Great Britain, Russia, France, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Serbia, Greece, together with Spain, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and other nations where the will of the people is the law, must unite in an alliance which will insist on arbitration as a means of settling disputes.

In 1870, Great Britain and the United States had a dispute which might well have led to war. Instead of fighting over it, however, they laid their trouble before a court of five men, a Swiss, an Italian, a Brazilian, an Englishman, and an American. This court, by a vote of four to one, decided against England, and England accepted the decision as final, although it cost her many millions of dollars.

The League to Enforce Peace must insist that each nation in the world maintain only a small force of soldiers, to be used as police for its own affairs, and there must be an international police to settle all differences between nations and to enforce the orders of the court of arbitration. In time (no one knows how soon) the people of Germany and Austria will be freed from the military rule which now has the power to hurl them into war. When that day arrives and they learn that they have been led astray by Treitschke and Bernhardi, who preached that war was a blessing to a nation and that only the powerful nations had the right to survive, they will know that “Thou shalt not kill” is just as strong a commandment today as when it first was uttered.

Sometime, nations will learn that other nations have the right to live, and that no country can wrong another through force of arms without suffering for it in the end. In a blunted conscience, in the loss of the sympathy of the rest of the world, in a lessening of the Christ-spirit of doing good to others, the nation which resorts to force to gratify its own selfish ends, like the individual, pays the full penalty for its misdeeds. It, was a great American who said, “The world is my country and mankind are my brothers.”

Questions for Review
  1. Why did England and the United States fail to understand Germany?
  2. What right would Germany have had to an indemnity?
  3. What great change took place in Germany after 1866?
  4. Why must the war go on till Germany is crushed?
  5. What lesson must Germany learn?
  6. Why have the South American republics fought so many wars?
  7. Suggest some solution for the problem of war.
  8. What is meant by arbitration?
  9. What was the greatest mistake of those who planned the war?
  10. How did the Russian Revolution help the cause of the Entente?
  11. What is the greatest lesson taught by the war?

Pronouncing Glossary

In this glossary it will be noted that as a general rule the English pronunciation is given for names that have become at all familiar in history or geography. Thus the English Crā′cōw is given instead of the Polish Krȧ′ko͝of or the German Krä′kau.

On the other hand names like Koumanova or Dobrudja must be given as the natives of these places pronounce them, as there is no recognized English pronunciation.

In certain cases where there are several current pronunciations, the author has been forced to make a selection, arbitrarily. Thus a seaport in Greece, which has changed hands recently, has no less than five names. Its Greek name is pronounced Thĕssȧlōnyi′ki, while other nations term it variously Sȧlōni′kā, Sĕlȧnïk′, Sō′lōn, Sȧlōni′ki or Salō′nicȧ.

Some sounds, again, it is almost impossible for English speaking people to reproduce. These are indicated by English syllables which approximate them as nearly as possible.

Not every proper noun which is used in the text will be found pronounced in the glossary. It is assumed that such names as Austria, Bismarck, etc., can hardly be mispronounced.

Aboukir (ä′bö̈ kïr)
Aegean (ē jē′ăn)
Agadir (ȧ gȧ dïr′)
Aix-la-Chapelle (āks lä shȧpĕl′)
Albania (ăl bā′nï ȧ)
Algeciras (ăl jĕ si′rȧs) or (ȧljĕ sï′rȧs)
Alsace (ȧl sȧs′)
Andrassy (ȧn drȧs′sy̆)
Aragon (ă′rȧ gŏn)
Armada (är mä′dȧ)
Armenians (är mē′nï ȧns)
Arminius (är mĭn′ï ŭs)
Avlona (ȧv lō′ṅa)
Baden (bä′dĕn)
Balkan (bȧl kän′) or (bôl′kän)
Banat (bȧn′ȧt)
Basques (bȧsks)
Bastille (bȧ stïl′)
Bavaria (bȧ vā′rï ȧ)
Belfort (bĕl′fôr)
Bernadotte (bēr′nȧ dŏt)
Bessarabia (bĕs sȧ rā′bï ȧ) or (bĕs sȧ rä′bï ȧ)
Bismarck-Schönausen (shẽn how′zĕn)
Blenheim (blĕn′ĕm) or (blĕn′hīm)
Boer (bo͞or)
Bohemia (bōhē′mīȧ)
Bonaparte (bō′nȧ pärt)
Bosnia (bŏz′ni̇ ȧ)
Bourbon (bo͞or′bŭn)
Brandenburg (brăn′dĕn bûrg)
Breton (brē′ton) or (brĕt′ŭn)
Brusiloff (brū si′lŏff)
Bukowina (bo͝o kō vï′nȧ)
Bulgaria (bŭl gā′ri̇ ȧ)
Burgundians (bûr′gŭn’dï ȧns)
Burgundy (bûr′gŭn dy)
Byzantium (by̆ zăn′tï ̆um)
Caesar (sēz′ēr)
Carniola (cȧr nï ō′lȧ)
Carpathian (cãr pā′thï ȧn)
Carthage (cȧr′thāj)
Castile (cȧs til′)
Castlereagh (căs′l rā)
Cavour (cȧ vo͞or′)
Charlemagne (shär lĕ mān′)
Chauvinists (shō′vĭn ĭsts)
Cicero (sĭs′ē rō)
Cimbri (sĭm′brï)
Cincinnatus (sĭn sĭn nä′tŭs)
Constantine (cŏn′stăn tïn)
Cracow (crā′cō)
Crimea (crĭ mē′ȧ)
Croatia (crō ä′tï ȧ) or (crōä′shȧ)
Czech (chĕk)
Dacians (dā′shŭnz)
Dalmatia (dăl mā′shï ȧ)
Théophile Delcassé (tā′ō fïl dĕl cȧ sä′)
Deutschland (doitsh′lȧnd)
Devonshire (dĕv′ŏn shïr)
Disraeli (dĭz rā′lĭ)
Dobrudja (dō bro͝od′jȧ)
Dreibund (drī′bo͝ond)
Durazzo (dū rȧt′zö)
Emmanuel (ĕm măn′ū ĕl)
Entente Cordiale (ȧn tȧnt′côr dyȧl′)
Enver Bey (ĕn′vẽr bā′)
Epinal (ĕp′ï nȧl)
Epirus (ĕp ī′rŭs)
Erse (ērs)
Esthonians (ĕs thō′nï ănz)
Etruscans (ē trŭs′cănz)
Euphrates (ū frā′tēz)
Fashoda (fȧ shō′dȧ)
Fiume (fï ū′me)
Gaelic (gā′lĭc)
Galicia (găl ĭ′shȧ)
Gallipoli (găl ĭ′pōlï)
Garibaldi (gȧr ï bȧl′dï)
Gerard (jĕr ärd′)
Germanic (jẽr măn′ĭc)
Glamis (glăm′ĭs)
Gortchakoff (gôr′chȧ kŏf)
Goths (gŏths)
Granada (grȧ nä′dȧ)
Hannibal (hăn′nĭ bl)
Hanover (hăn′ō vẽr)
Herzegovina (hārt′sĕ gō vï′nȧ)
Hesse-Darmstadt (hĕs sĕ därm′stȧt)
Hindustan (hĭn do͞o stän′)
Hohenzollern (hō ĕn tsŏl′ẽrn)
Holstein (hōl′stīn)
Illyrians (ĭ ly̆r′ĭ ȧns)
Istria (ĭs′trï ȧ)
Janina (yȧ nï′nȧ)
Janus (jā′nŭs)
Jonescu (jō nĕs′ko͞o)
Jutes (jūts)
Kaiser (kī′zẽr)
Kaspar (kăs′pär)
Kavala (kȧ vä′ lȧ)
Kerensky (kĕ rĕn′skĭ)
Khartoom (kär to͞om′)
Korea (kō rē′ȧ)
Kȯrniloff (kor nï′lŏff)
Koumanova (ko͞o mä′nō vȧ)
Lamar (lȧ mär′)
Leon (lē′ŏn)
Liege (lï ĕzh′)
Lithuania (lĭth o͞o ā′nīȧ)
Longwy (lŏng′vy̆)
Lorraine (lôr rān′)
Macedonia (mă sē dō′nï ȧ)
Magyar (mŏd′yär)
Manchuria (măn chū′rï ȧ)
Marathon (măr′ȧ thŏn)
Marchand (mär shän′)
Maria Theresa (mä rī′ä tĕr ēs′ä)
Marlborough (märl′bō rō)
Marsala (mär sä′lȧ)
Marseillaise (mär sĕl yāz′)
Mazzini (mȧt sï′nï)
Mesopotamia (mĕs ō pō tā′mĭ ä)
Metternich (mĕt′tẽr nĭkh)
Milioukoff (mĭl yo͞o′kŏff)
Mirabeau (mĭr′ȧ bō)
Modena (mō dē′nȧ) or (mō′dā nȧ)
Mohammedan (mō hăm′mĕd ȧn)
Moltke (mōlt′kȧ)
Monastir (mō nȧ stïr′)
Montenegrin (mŏn tē nē′grĭn)
Montenegro (mŏn tē nē′grō)
Moslems (mŏz′lĕmz)
Murat (mü′rä)
Napoleon (nȧ pō′lē ŏn)
Nice (nïs)
Northumberland (nôrth ŭm′bẽr lănd)
Novibazar (nō′vĭ bȧ zär′)
Ostrogoths (ŏs′trō gŏths)
Ottoman (ŏt′tō mȧn)
Parma (pär′mȧ)
Piedmont (pēd′mŏnt)
Pola (pō′lä)
Poland (pō′lănd)
Pomerania (pŏm ĕr ā′nï ȧ)
Pyrenees (pĭr′ĕn ēēz)
Rasputin (räs po͞o′tïn)
Reichstag (rīkhs′tägh)
Riga (rï′gȧ)
Romansh (rō mȧnsh′)
Roon (rōn)
Roumani (ro͞o mä′nï)
Roumania (ro͞o mā′nï ȧ)
Ruthenian (ro͝o thē′nï ȧn)
Sadowa (sä′dō vȧ)
Salonika (sȧ′lō nï′kȧ)
Sanjak (sȧn jȧk′)
San Stephano (sȧn stĕ fä′nö)
Saône (sōn)
Sarajevo (sä rä yĕ′vō)
Sardinia (sär dĭn′i̇ ȧ)
Sarrail (sȧr rī′)
Savoy (sȧ voy′)
Saxony (săx′ōn y̆)
Sazanof (sä′zä nŏff)
Scandinavian (scăn dĭ nā′vĭ ȧn)
Schleswig (shlĕs′vĭg)
Scutari (sko͞o′tä rï)
Serbia (sẽr′bĭ ȧ)
Silesia (sĭl ē′shȧ)
Skipetars (skïp′ĕ tarz)
Slavic (slä′vĭc)
Slavonia (slȧ vō′nï ȧ)
Slavonic (slȧ vŏn′ĭc)
Slavs (slävz)
Slovak (slō väk′)
Slovenes (slō vēnz′)
Slovenian (slō vē′nï ȧn)
Sobieski (sō bĭ ĕs′kĭ)
Stoessel (stēs′sĕl)
Strasbourg (strȧs′bo͝org)
Styria (sty̆′rĭ ȧ)
Suevi (swē′vï)
Syria (sy̆r′ï ȧ)
Take (tä kā)
Talleyrand (tȧl′lā rȧn)
Teutones (tū tō′nēz)
Teutonic (tū tŏn′ĭc)
Thessaly (thĕs′sȧ ly̆)
Thracians (thrā′shŭnz)
Tigris (tī′grĭs)
Toul (to͞ol)
Transylvania (trăn sy̆l vā′nï ȧ)
Trentino (trĕn tī′nō)
Trieste (trï ĕst′) or (trï ĕs′tā)
Tripoli (trĭp′ō lĭ)
Tuscany (tŭs′cȧ ny̆)
Tyrol (ty̆′rōl)
Tzernagorah (tzēr nä′gō′rȧ)
Vandals (văn′dlz)
Venetia (vĕn ē′shȧ)
Venizelos (vĕn ĭ zĕl′ŏs)
Vercingetorix (vēr sĭn jĕt′ö rĭks)
Verdun (vār dŭn′)
Volgars (vŏl′gärz)
Von Bernstorff (fŏn bārns′torf)
Von Plehve (fŏn plā′vē)
Von Tirpitz (fŏn tïr′pĭts)
Vosges (vōzh)
Walloon (wäl lo͞on′)
Westphalia (wĕst fā′lï ȧ)
Wied (we͞ed)
Wilhelmine (wĭl′hĕl mïn)
Yorkshire (yôrk′shīr)


Adriatic Sea, question of the control of.
Agadir incident.
Albania, formation of the kingdom of.
  language of;
  habits of.
Alexander the Great.
Algeciras incident.
Alliance, the Holy.
Alliance, the Triple.
Alliance, the Dual.
Alliance, the Balkan.
Angles, the, invade Britain.
Arbitration of national disputes.
Armor, value of.
  origin of;
  helps to divide Poland;
  at war with France;
  at war with Sardinia and France;
  at war with Prussia and Italy;
  refuses to arbitrate Serbian trouble.
Austrians in Italy.

Balance of Power.
Balkan problem.
Bastille, fall of the.
  joined to Holland to form the Netherlands;
  guaranteed its freedom by three powers.
Blenheim, battle of (poem).
Blockade of Germany.
  part of the Holy Roman Empire;
  part of the Hapsburg domains.
Bolsheviki, revolt of the.
Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon.
Bonaparte, Napoleon.
Bosnian problem.
Bourbon family.
   rise of.
Brazil declares war on Germany.
  freed by Russia;
  left partially under the control of Turkey;
  at war;
  with five nations;
  plunges into world war;
  treacherously orders an attack on Greece and Serbia.
  origin of;
  in Macedonia.
Bulow, Prince von.
Byzantium becomes Constantinople.

Caesar, Julius.
Cape to Cairo Railroad.
Catharine II of Russia.
Cavour, Count, prime minister of Sardinia.
Celtic languages, disappearance of.
Charles V.
Charles XII of Sweden.
Churchill, Winston.
  prince in Crete;
  king of Greece.
Contraband of war.
Cracow, Republic of.

  in Schleswig.
Dark Ages.
  loses Norway;
  defeated by Prussia and Austria;
  injured by submarine campaign.
Deutschland, voyages of the.
Dictator, Roman.
Divine right of kings.
Dukes vs. Kings.
Duma, the Russian;
  asked to form a government.

Edward VII.
Elba, Napoleon’s return from.
Elector, the Great.
Electors of the Holy Roman Empire.
  power of the king of;
  in Egypt;
  troubles of, in 1914.
Entente Cordiale.
Entente, the Triple.

Fashoda incident.
Ferdinand of Bulgaria;
  enters war on side of Germany and Austria;
  attacks Serbia;
  ambitions of.
Feudal system.
Finland annexed to Russia.
   conquered by the Swedes.
  power of king of;
  execution of king of;
  in Africa;
  wars of.
Franz Ferdinand.
Frederick the Great.
French Revolution.

Gaelic language.
German Confederation.
German secret agents
  set fire to American property and kill Americans;
  try to stir up war between the U. S. and Japan;
  stir up trouble in Russia.
German tribes.
Germanic languages.
Germany, the Holy Roman Empire of.
  the modern Empire of;
  encourages France to declare war on England;
  makes friends with Turkey;
  policy toward Balkan nations;
  warns Russia;
  attacks France through Belgium.
  by the people;
  based on the consent of the governed;
  limited to the ruling class.
Governments, newness of European.
Great Britain
  offers to judge Serbian trouble;
  declares war on Germany.
  treaty of, with Serbia;
Greek Empire,
  origin of;
  fall of.
  ungenerous to Bulgarians,
  desert to Venizelos;
  join the Entente.

Hague, court of the.
Hannibal’s war against Rome.
Hapsburgs, the.
Hohenzollern family.

Indo-European family of languages.
  a battle ground of nations;
  becomes a nation;
  makes war on Turkey;
  declines to support Austria and Germany;
  declares war on Austria.

Kent, William, on Mexican intervention.
Kerensky, leader of the Russian government.
Kings, origin of.
Koumanova, battle of.

Labor troubles,
  in England;
  in Russia.
Language, relationship shown by.
Latin tongues.
Louis XIV of France.
Lusitania, sinking of the.

Marathon, battle of.
Marchand, Major.
Maria Theresa,
  Empress of Austria;
  helps to divide Poland.
Marlborough, Duke of.
Middle Ages.
Military service,
  owed to rulers;
  in Prussia;
  in France.
  origin of;
  declares war on Austria.
Monroe Doctrine.

Napoleon III.
Netherlands, foundation of kingdom of.
Newspapers, control of.
  joined to Sweden;
  danger from Germany;
  vigorously protests submarine warfare.
Novibazar, the Sanjak of.


Paris, siege of.
  German offer of;
  Allies’ terms of;
  United States’ desire for;
  Russo-German conference toward;
  German desire for.
  attached to the land;
  support fighting classes.
Peter the Great.
  kingdom of;
  partition of;
  given largely to Russia;
  revolutions in.
Preparation for war
  origin of kingdom of;
  crushed by Napoleon;
  dominated by Bismarck.

  assists Sturmer;
  is killed.
Reign of Terror.
  first French;
  second French;
  third French.
Robber chiefs.
Roman Empire, beginnings of.
Romansh people.
Rome, wars of, with Carthage.
Rothschild, the banking house of.
  hopes of;
  population of;
  declares war on Austria;
  is crushed between two armies.
  rise of;
  attacks Turkey;
  policy of;
  relations with Bulgaria;
  defends Serbia;
  ignorance of the people of;
  revolution in;
  controlled by the Bolsheviki.

  sent to Salonika;
  watching Bulgars and Greeks.
  annexed in part to Prussia;
  allied to Austria.
Salonika, Spanish Jews in.
Sardinia, kingdom of.
  trade with Austria;
  relations with Bulgaria;
  trouble with Austria;
  attacked on three sides.
  origin of;
  lands of;
  language of.
Sicilies, Kingdom of the Two.
Silesia, seizure of.
Slavic tribes.
Sobieski, John, king of Poland.
  in Germany;
  in Italy.
  origin of;
  drives out “unbelievers,”;
  becomes a republic.
Submarine boats
  sink British warships;
  sink merchant ships;
  sink the Lusitania;
  cross the Atlantic;
  begin to sink all ships without warning;
  kill Americans;
  sink Norwegian ships.
Sturmer chosen prime minister of Russia.
Sweden, decline of.

Tunis, seized by France.
  defended by France and England;
  attacks Russia.
  capture Constantinople;
  driven back from Vienna;
  the young Turks;
  tolerance of the young;
  bigotry of the young.

Ulster trouble, the.
United States,
  indignant over the Lusitania;
  warns Germany;
  defends munitions trade in reply to Austria;
  receives Deutschland hospitably;
  sends the German Ambassador home;
  declares war;
  desires nothing but to be safe from attack;
  sends an army to Europe.

Venice, Republic of.
  prime minister of Greece;
  comes from Crete;
  opposes King Constantine;
  once more prime minister.
Victor Emmanuel.
Vienna, Congress of.

  four causes of;
  cost of;
  diseases caused by;
  increasing horror of.
Warsaw, Grand-Duchy of.
Waterloo, battle of.
William of Normandy.
Wilson, President,
  patient with Germany;
  asks both sides to name their terms;
  calls Congress to declare war.