Diplomacy and the War
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Table of contents
- Part 1: PRE-WAR HISTORY
- Part 2: THE WAR
- Part 3: INTERNAL CRISIS AND COLLAPSE
- Part 4: THE END
Part I. Pre-War History.
CHAPTER I. OUR WAR MOTIVES.
AT the moment when the revolver shots rang out in the streets of Serajevo, whose consequences plunged the world deeper into bloodshed and destruction than any other single human act, I was strongly opposed to the Cabinet of Tisza. The Government determined to demand a reckoning for the murder; and, notwithstand- ing my opposition to the Cabinet, I supported its foreign policy. The mass of the people did the same. The first question to which I must reply is, therefore : What motive caused us to support active opposition to Serbia?
Prior to the Napoleonic Coalition, the history of Europe was based upon the independent policy and mutual competition of single powers. When the Holy Alliance, wnich was born out of Napoleon's downfall, had failed, Europe reverted to the old system, but since
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the 'eighties of last century we have lived again in an age of great alliances.
Europe was divided into two camps. International policy was dominated, not by the relations of inde- pendent powers, but by the relations of the two great groups of powers. The object of forming the two groups was the safeguarding of peace, and the means to this end was the creation of the balance of power. Notwithstanding, the result of this system has been the outbreak of a war never precedented in history. Although I am of opinion that this system preserved the peace of Europe for a longer period than the conflict of independent nations could have done, I believe that such a conflict of nations could never have resulted in an upheaval so tremendous as the system of great alliances.
Clearly, it was impossible to increase armaments indefinitely at the rate necessitated by the system of big alliances ; unless the growth of armaments was healthily limited by the growth of the economic burden, it was obvious that financial ruin, world revolution, or a world war must result sooner or later. Nothing but an international agreement to restrict armaments could prevent a catastrophe, and the fact that no such solution was found is the indictment of European diplomacy.
If we wish to understand the present crisis of the world we must examine how the groups of nations were formed, and how their relationship was poisoned.
The first step towards the system of alliances was
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taken by the leading statesmen of Germany and Hun- gary, Bismarck and Andrassy. They concluded an alliance between Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1878. Andrassy did not wish to go any farther. The Triple Alliance was not his work, and neither Austrian nor Hungarian statesmen had any share in it. Andrassy's first thought always was to guard against the Russian danger, and he feared that an alliance with Italy would be regarded as hostile to France. He was afraid, moreover, that the inclusion of Italy into the Austro-German combination might lead to a Franco-Russian alliance. From the point of view of the Monarchy, he felt that a tete-a-tete with Germany promised better than a triple alliance which would bring Italy into the German orbit and thus further increase Germany's power. Andrassy would have pre- ferred England to be the third member of the Alliance, and he had succeeded in bringing England and the Monarchy into closer touch before the Dual Alliance was signed. English policy and our own ran on parallel lines in the Balkans, and when the defensive agreement with Germany was presented, Andrassy wired to the Emperor Francis Joseph on August 31, 1879, that England should be informed of this agree- ment and, if possible, drawn into it. Bismarck favoured the suggestion, but unfortunately his hopes did not materialize.
After Andrassy was dismissed, Italy approached us, her traditional enemy, because she needed Germany's friendship, and the path to Berlin led through Vienna.
4 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
Italy was anxious to form an alliance with Germany at that time, because France had frustrated her plans in Tunis, and because Italian public opinion had recognized the fact that, so long as she remained inde- pendent, she was unable to protect her interests in the Mediterranean for lack of sufficient power.
The result of Italy's entrance into the Triple Alliance was to bring about that which Andrassy wished to avoid, but which Bismarck had desired from the begin- ning, namely, opposition to France. When Bismarck in 1878 demanded that Austria-Hungary should under- take to support Germany actively in case of French aggression, Andrassy was not willing in any circum- stances to pledge his assistance, because he feared that France would regard such action as a threat and might therefore draw nearer to Russian support. In fact, Andrassy, when pressed by Bismarck, declared that he would rather abandon the alliance than promise Austro- Hungarian support against France.
No sooner had the Triple Alliance been created than the danger of a Franco-Russian alliance became immi- nent, in spite of the natural opposition of the Republic to Czarism. Bismarck recognized this opposition and worked hard to avert the danger by fostering friendly relations with Russia, although they were disadvan- tageous to us. Nevertheless, he did not succeed in holding them apart. While Bismarck was Chancellor in 1888, the French granted their first loan to Russia, a sign of political intimacy and the first step that paved the way for the Franco-Russian alliance.
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Hungary wished to uphold the Triple Alliance, partly because she had been on friendly terms with Italy since 1848, and partly because it was impossible to secure a balance of power without Italy in view of the Franco- Russian Alliance. The Ally whom we had hitherto despised would otherwise have joined the opposing group of nations. At the same time, loyal tenacity to the Alliance, once it was established, does not imply any responsibility for concluding it.
Moreover, the two groups of powers might quite well have lived together in amity and an encounter between them was by no means necessary. France, it is true, \ never fully accepted the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and clung with the whole force of French patriotism to the hope of revenge ; and Gambetta certainly expressed their mentality truly when he said that France must always think of Alsace-Lorraine but never speak of it. An honest and dependable friendship between France and Germany was inconceivable; but in view of Ger- . many's superior strength, it did not appear probable that France, which was visibly growing more peace- loving, would go to war for the sake of Alsace-Lorraine. In the early days of the Triple Alliance the greatest opposition existed between France and Italy. If this opposition had been accentuated in the smallest degree, war would have been inevitable. But as no such occasion arose, the European peace was preserved in spite of the Italian difficulty. ^
The Balkan problem would not necessarily have led to a catastrophe. I propose to go into this problem
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more fully because its investigation will reveal both the measure of Hungary's responsibility for, and also the ultimate causes of, the European War.
Since the Turkish race had lost its aggressive power, Hungary's chief danger was from Russian expansion, Pan-Slavism and Orthodoxy. Even Peter the Great had attempted to get into touch with those Serbs who fled from Turkish persecution into Hungary. Ever since then, the Czar had taken the whole of the Orthodox Slav world more and more under his wing. The Crimean War checked Russian ambition, but in the 'seventies the old danger became acute once more when Ignatiew incited the Russian Court to pursue an active Balkan policy. After the victories of the Russian Armies, it seemed as if the Czars would come to realize their ancient dreams by the erection of the double cross on the Hagia Sophia, and that Christendom in the Balkans would be ruled from Moscow.
If the idea of Ignatiew had materialized, then the situation for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy would have been impossible. The Monarchy would have been paralysed economically as well as politically if Cettinje, Belgrade, Warsaw and Moscow had been subject to one ruler. She would have been surrounded by an iron ring, and her internal power of resistance would have been sapped. Irredentism would have gathered new force from the predominance of Czarism. Ignatiew himself revealed the danger that lay hidden in the Pan- wSlavic idea, for in his memoirs he confesses candidly that his aims were not the formation of independent
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Slav States, but the union of all the Slavs under the Czars and the destruction of Germany and Austria- Hungary. In order to achieve this end, Russia in- tended to use the new Bulgaria as its tool. New . Bulgaria was to be created against the will of the Turks, the Serbs, the Greeks and the Roumanians, and when it stood there, exposed to the hostility of all its neighbours, with only Russian support to look to, the new Bulgaria was to become a Russian dependency. V
In contrast to the above, England and the Monarchy pursued a policy that considered the interests of the rest of the Balkan States and which wished to preserve Turkish power, so that the Straits and Constantinople remained in Turkish possession. The independence of the separate Christian nations was to be preserved in such a way that no individual Balkan State should obtain an artificial predominance. This policy came to be realized on broad lines at the Congress of Berlin.
In the circle of our enemies it became the fashion to trace the subsequent confusion in the Balkans to the Treaty of Berlin. This accusation is, however, totally unfounded. The Treaty of Berlin was not the cause but the result of the Balkan difficulty. The only criti- cism that can reasonably be levelled against the Treaty is that it failed to solve the Balkan problem finally. I consider, however, that it was an impossibility to find such a solution in 1878. The Bulgarian, the Balkan, and even the Great War in fact, all the events that have occurred since the Berlin Congress prove that the old Russian solution of establishing the predomin-
8 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
ance of Bulgaria was not possible without the stubborn opposition of the neighbouring States. Serbia went so far as to risk her existence rather than tolerate Bulgarian rule in Macedonia. A method of solving the Macedonian question which would have satisfied the desires of Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia could be found neither then nor since. The one-sidedness of this criti- cism is best proved by the fact that precisely those accuse the Treaty of Berlin who are doing at present what the Congress of Berlin did originally : they oppose the supremacy of Bulgaria.
Personally, I do not believe the present solution of the Balkan question to be a permanent one. Bulgaria has shed so much blood for the new Bulgaria as laid down in the Treaty of San Stefano that she will be less ready to sacrifice the hope of realizing her ideals than ever.
The difficulties of the Balkan problem are as follows : the Balkan States do not possess any traditional, his- torical or natural boundaries. Nationality alone is the motive for creating the State, and the racial mixture is so complete that these national principles are the source of continual strife. The basis of a sound national life is a homogeneous territory knit together by economic ties possessing natural borders and a popula- tion united in sentiment. In the Balkans this factor of nationality, which insists on making itself felt, is not in harmony with those other factors which tend towards the formation of a State, and hence the eternal strife. The Balkans will scarcely attain a lasting peace if left
OUR WAR MOTIVES 9
to their own devices. Only federation could render such a peace possible, but mutual hatred is too strong, mutual understanding too weak, and the general stan- dard of civilization too low. The establishment of a world peace might bring about peace in the Balkans, but not vice versa. The Balkans remain the heel of Achilles in the armour of peace. In the circumstances it is crass injustice to attribute the disturbances in the Balkans to the policy which we advocated during the Congress of Berlin.
Let us now consider the Serbian question. I admit that the quarrel between Serbia and Austria-Hungary was the cause of the European catastrophe, brought about by the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I can only repeat what I have said. The conclusion of the Congress of Berlin was the result of the acute crisis of the Serbian question ; it was an attempt at a solution but not the source of the crisis.
Those who see the origin of the quarrel in the mandate given to the Monarchy by the Berlin Con- gress maintain that it cut across the natural path of Serbia's ambition to possess Bosnia and Herzegovina, for whose liberty Serbia had in the past made great sacrifices, and that the occupation of these countries was bound to drive Serbia into enmity.
All these facts are correct, but the deduction is erroneous. The opposition was not created by our mere occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but because our occupation prevented the Serbs from ex- panding beyond those countries into territories which
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had always been part of the Monarchy. The Serbs would not have been content if Bosnia and Herzegovina had been ceded to them. Quite on the contrary; it would have spurred them on to strive with redoubled energy towards the sea and to stretch out a covetous hand upon Dalmatia and Croatia. It is true that the revolution of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina against the Turkish regime was supported by Serbia and Montenegro, but it is equally true that the Miletics pur- sued a Pan-Serbian policy in the 'sixties, and they did so at the expense of the territorial integrity of Hungary. Finally, it is also true that the rising of the Crivosccie in Dalmatia was supported by Montenegro in the hope that this section of the country would turn towards the Black Mountains. The nearer Serbia approached to the sea, the more active would her efforts have become to realize her desire for a port. A Serbia which ex- tended to the borders of Dalmatia could forgo Zara, Ragusa-Cattaro, much less than the Serbia whose boundary was formed by the Drina. To whatever extent the possibility of uniting the southern Slavs grew in probability, so did the desire to realize it in- crease in Belgrade. A long Croatian and Dalmatian border which could not be defended would only have made Irredentism more powerful and rendered the position of the Monarchy unbearable.
We occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to defend our path to the sea and our ancient possessions against the Pan-Serbian ideal. This ideal was not the result of the occupation, but the occupation was a means of defence against the Pan-Serbian ideal.
OUR WAR MOTIVES II
Moreover, the entire action was not a challenge to Serbia, nor was it directed against Serbia ; nor did it humiliate the State of Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina did not belong to Serbia, we took these countries away from Turkey and not Serbia. The troops that opposed us were not Serbian troops, but Mohammedan land- lords and the Mohammedan demagogy. Hadzi Loja inflamed the fanaticism of the Mussulman and not Pan- Serbian sentiment. Serbia would have been faced with far greater opposition than we were had she tried to occupy Bosnia, because the whole of the military power lay in Turkish hands. The Monarchy appeared, not as the conqueror of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but as the protector of Christendom with a mission to create order. No interested policy nor a desire for power led the Monarchy to Serajevo and to Mostar, but Europe had expressed its unanimous approval of England's proposal to establish us there, for no one else was con- sidered to be in a position to establish law and order.
The Treaty of San Stefano, as revised in Berlin, was not favourable to Serbia. This treaty left Bosnia and Herzegovina under Turkish supremacy, although it could not be maintained there. The countries con- cerned had access to the sea only via Constantinople, and it was certain that these unfortunate provinces would remain the scene of unrest and bloodshed. Russia did remain the scene of unrest and bloodshed. Russia did not treat King Milan at all gently, and favoured Bulgaria. The Congress of Berlin gave territories to Serbia which had been destined by Russia for Bulgaria.
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This Congress did not create any opposition between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, but on the contrary, by increasing the power of Austria-Hungary in the vicinity of Serbia, it protected Serbian interests simultaneously. Serbia drew the natural deduction from the new situa- tion ; her policy assumed a new direction, and instead of the old pro-Russian policy, an Austro-Hungarian policy was .pursued. The Treaty of Berlin was by no means the cause of that difference, which came into existence subsequently between us and Serbia, but quite on the contrary, we approached more closely to our neighbours. The Serbs felt that our will was to pre- dominate in the Balkans, and therefore they accom- modated themselves accordingly.
Unfortunately, our enemy spread abroad, as well as believed, that we wished to annex not only Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Albania and Macedonia, and that Salonika was the real aim of our policy. Not a word of this is true. There was no trace of the con- queror's ambition in Andrassy. He wished to secure for us only economic relations and political influence, and it was for this reason that he attached so much weight to his desire to prevent Serbia and Montenegro from dividing between them the Sandshak Novibazar, which would cut us off from the Southern Balkans and surround us by a South-Slavonic Empire. There was no intention of endangering those Balkan States that were striving towards an independent and peaceable existence. The leading principle of Andrassy's policy was that the Monarchy should use its powers for the
\ OUR WAR MOTIVES 13
protection of the liberty of the separate nations, and especially against the avarice or paternal attitude of the Czars, as well as the possibility of revenge on the part of the Sultan. Andrassy wished to pursue at the same time such an economic policy as would draw us and the Balkans eloser together and foster active economic relations between us. He was not bent on conquest, for the Monarchy already contained too many foreign nationalities, and the regions in question were moun- tainous and difficult of access. The task of governing them from a distance would not have been easy, and their acquisition would therefore have been of no benefit to Austria. <
The powerful position which we had occupied since the Treaty of Berlin began to bear its fruit in the 'eighties. Bulgaria, which had been liberated by Russia but repressed in its free development, came to the Monarchy to seek shelter at the time of the Batten- bergers and Stambulows. When Serbia went to war with Bulgaria, it was Prince Khevenhuller, our Ambas- sador, who saved Serbia. The ruler of Montenegro accepted a fixed annual salary from our Monarch. The sympathy and prestige which we had earned by our success in carrying out our own programme during the Russo-Turkish war, despite Russia's victories, we lost by the introduction of agricultural taxation and our enervated attitude towards the Bulgarian question. In spite of our mistakes, our position remained such that the peace of the Balkans would not have been disturbed had the European situation remained unchanged. The
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new political constellation, however, added strength to the Pan-Serbian interests, which we had repressed but failed to exterminate.
It was not inevitable that the Balkan policy outlined here should lead to permanent opposition between us and Russia. The spirit of Russian revenge was not conjured up by Andrassy, whose policy was loyal to Russia in every detail. Russia had occupied a humiliat- ing position in Berlin because she did not execute the promises she had made to us. Before Russia had decided on the Balkan War, a treaty was made between her and Austria as follows : Russia was not to decide the consequences of the Russo-Turkish War alone, but to submit the question to the Assembly of Europe. Russia was not to establish a Christian State which would endanger other Balkan States and create an artificial supremacy in the Balkans ; finally, if the status quo could not be maintained, Bosnia and Herzegovina were to be annexed by Austria-Hungary. Russia con- travened this agreement in the Treaty of San Stefano and this same agreement was sanctioned in Berlin. Andrassy did not in any way wish to exploit the difficulty of Russia's situation for purposes of her humiliation, nor did he desire to secure temporary and dangerous advantages for this country. I well remember those critical times, when European peace trembled in the balance, and when Russia violated the duties she had undertaken, and it was questionable whether Russia would give way sufficiently to make agreement possible. My father counted with certainty
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on an easy victory. The Russian Army, enervated by two years of war, lying in front of Constantinople, was faced by a Turkish Army, still capable of action, and by England. The armed forces of Austria were in Russia's rear.
Roumania, aggravated by the loss of Bessarabia, was at that time on our side. My father told me often that, if this situation led to war, the captured Russian Army would be seen marching on the Ring in Vienna. He believed steadfastly that his fame would be as great as that of Cavour or Bismarck, but he did not want war. He used to say : Russia cannot be destroyed at one fell swoop like a dangerous individual, she will sur- vive her defeat and arm for a war of revenge. The Monarchy, whose forces of existence will be drained, will have become exhausted before a fresh encounter takes place. For this reason, my father sought a solu- tion which should not create irrevocable opposition of interests between Russia and ourselves.
In the beginning, feeling in Russia was, of course, very bitter, but the blame fell chiefly upon Bismarck, who had been expected to bring pressure to bear upon us in the interests of Russia. The anxiety of Russia, however, was allayed when the Monarchy subsequently concluded a protective alliance with Germany. In view of the fact that the internal peace of Russia was jeopardized by Nihilism, Russia was neither able nor willing to pursue a policy of revenge, with the result that the old relation between the Czardom and the Monarchy was re-established. As early as the year
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1881, the two Cabinets formed an agreement, and the two monarchs met in Skierniewiece in 1884.
This harmony was disturbed again owing to the Bulgarian question in 1888, but this new tension was not caused by any desire for revenge or the wish to repudiate the Treaty of Berlin. Irony of fate decreed that the origin of the difficulty lay in Russia's attempt to prevent the aggrandizement of Bulgaria, which she demanded against our wishes in Berlin. The Czar insisted now on the execution of the Treaty of Berlin, which gives weight to my statement that the policy created by Andrassy, Bismarck and Beaconsfield did not contain the seeds of lasting opposition to the Slavonic world. The crisis was a prolonged one, but when it was over, Russia and the Monarchy once more established a harmonious relationship in Balkan policy (1892-1908).
The mutual relations of these two groups of States only assumed a dangerous aspect when the Anglo- German opposition was added to the controversy. And it was this Anglo-German tension which emphasized all other points at issue.
The policy of Andrassy and Disraeli had brought England and Austria-Hungary into closer touch with each other. Gladstone brought about a breach, but Salisbury re-established the previous harmony. In connection with Salisbury's attitude, it is interesting to note that he describes as good news the intelligence that informed him, in 1879, that the German-Austro- Hungarian Alliance had been established. Later, when
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he was Prime Minister, he took our part with deter- mination in the Bulgarian question, and assisted us in opposing the excessive demands of Russia.
In 1887 an agreement was reached between England, Italy and Austria-Hungary as to the independence of Bulgaria. When England increased her Navy in the same year, in accordance with her policy that her fleet must be at least as strong as the two next powerful navies put together, she had the French fleet in mind. England was in acute opposition to France at this time, in connection with certain Colonial interests in Africa and Asia, so that England was much more in sympathy with the Triple Alliance than with the Franco-Russian agreement. In general, therefore, England raised her voice in our favour on the main question of international policy.
When the Emperor W T illiam II made his first visit to England, he was greeted by his future rival, the Prince of Wales, with the hope that the German Army and the British Navy would preserve universal peace. The young Emperor spoke in those days (1889) of the traditions of the battles of Malplaquet and Waterloo. The first Chancellor who was nominated by the Emperor to pursue his personal policy was Caprivi, whose ten- dency was decidedly Anglophile (1890-1894). An agreement was made in 1890 between Germany and England, by which the important strategic island of Heligoland was given to Germany in exchange for African colonies. Germany's naval power gained con- siderable strength by this procedure. 2
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A few years later, Great Britain changed her policy considerably. She abandoned the policy of Pitt and Wellington, for which Palmerston started a war, and for which Beaconsfield was prepared to bring new sacrifices, and which was also approved of by Salisbury. The Empress of India, the protector of the Suez Canal, the greatest Mohammedan power, pursued a course which led her to the treaty by which Constantinople was to be left to the care of the Czar. British blood was spilt in order to destroy that powerful position which had been defended and built up by Englishmen.
How can such a change of policy be explained, especially in view of the general tenacity to tradition consistently displayed by England? The change is explained by the fact that Germany had altered, in the meantime, very considerably; internally she had developed enormous strength, and her aims had changed. Her economic forces, her exports and im- ports, grew rapidly, and emigration ceased. Germany's mercantile strength also became very much enlarged.
Bismarck had known more modest and more difficult times; he had served the King of Prussia, who did not cherish such far-reaching ambitions. In spite of his extraordinary political successes, his activity as a states- , man, even after the foundation of the Empire, was marked by caution. As the leader of the new Empire, he never for a moment overlooked the danger of Germany's political and military position in the centre of Europe. He was continually afraid of foreign alliances. The Iron Chancellor did not dare to pursue
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an international policy with all his might. His plans and aspirations never exceeded the old limit, even after the attainment of the new position and after his victories. To a certain degree his activity remained within the confines of his previous Prussian policy, even when he saw himself at the head of the German Empire. He became more cautious than ever, because his previous boldness was only the result of the fact that the Prussian position had become untenable.
The Emperor William II, on the other hand, had attained so powerful a position from the very beginning as no monarch had inherited since Louis XIV. The two Napoleons had acquired their enormous power for themselves. Among those rulers who possessed as great a power as Germany by virtue of their birth, the Czar of Russia was limited by corruption and the con- dition of his people, and the King of England was handicapped by the British Constitution.
William II grew up in the consciousness of his V enormous power. The knowledge of the developed state of German civilization, her economic resources, her capacity for organization, her numerical strength, together with the consciousness of German fame and the recognition of his own personal qualities, made him feel that he was chosen by God to express in every word and every action the enormous power which he had " inherited, and to develop it still further to the advan- tage of his people and the glorification of his own name. He personified magnificently the whole of the German race at the time of its splendid development.
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His appearance alone was proof of his consciousness of power. His handshake was powerful and his eye was keen and commanding. He allowed one to perceive in
f each word and action the power that he wielded. If ever there has been a ruler who has lived and toiled in and for his nation, and who felt the whole grandeur
Vof his people in his own person, it was William II. V The weak spot in the armour of Germany was her Navy. On land Germany was undoubtedly the -strongest State ; at sea she was negligible and occupied the sixth place in order of strength. The necessity of a stronger Navy became more and more apparent. .Germany's foreign trade grew from day to day, and she possessed countless interests and wealth which could only be safeguarded by a fleet. The Navy is not only called upon to defend concluded business, but to pre- pare the way for further activity in the same direction. Prestige on the sea is by no means barren of material
Moreover, English*, blood flows in the veins of the Emperor, and his English preference for the sea urged him on to devote the whole of his energy and authority to the development of a fighting Navy (1897-1900-1905).
>fln this way he infringed upon a domain that England dominated and will dominate, and where she has never
fallowed anyone to challenge her position.
Germany's attitude towards the Colonial problem also underwent a fundamental change. Bismarck said once that the Premiership of Salisbury was worth more to him than an African colony, and that he, Bismarck,
OUR WAR MOTIVES 21
had never had Colonial ambitions. He disbelieved in the Colonial theory to such an extent that he positively assisted France, his opponent, in their acquisition. His successor, Caprivi, once said that it was a piece of good fortune that Africa was occupied by other powers, because, if it should fall into German hands, the result would be British opposition. For him the question was "how small, and not how large, can I afford to make the Navy? "
During the reign of William II the Colonial pro-V blem became very acute in the minds of all Germans,' although Germany actually acquired fewer possessions in that period than under Bismarck's regime. Never- theless it is obvious, from all the Kaiser's actions and speeches, that he meant to seize every opportunity to increase and protect his Colonies, even at the risk of going to war. It was then that England realized that i she had a powerful and determined rival in the partition of the world.
Although the Kaiser's policy was not solely directed to the acquisition of prestige, he departed from Bis- marck's point of view, which would only have allowed , him to enter into such a question if Germany's interests were directly concerned. It is characteristic of theV Kaiser's attitude that he said, amongst other things, in a speech in 1900 : " Without Germany and without the German Emperor no great decision must ever be taken. If this should happen, the position of Germany in the world would vanish for ever, and I do not purpose that this should come to pass. To employ suitable,
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and, if necessary, violent means ruthlessly is my duty, my fair privilege."
While Bismarck was delighted that France was
longing to gain a footing in Tunis, and that England intended to subjugate Egypt, the Kaiser only saw, in such overseas expansion of the other great powers, a factor which forced Germany to expand on distant shores. This point of view involved a serious change of policy, and was a dangerous attitude for a country whose position is as continental as Germany's.
V This change was one of the main causes of the war. Germany's policy met more and more with British
. opposition, and in an increasing number of places. In Eastern Asia the opposition became well-nigh perma- nent. The Kaiser began his policy in the Far East by forcing upon Japan a peace with China which was disadvantageous to victorious Japan and favourable to vanquished China. He did this without consulting the Empress of India, and in direct disagreement with France and Russia. Consequently, England and Japan, the two naval powers, felt injured, and were
I naturally driven into each other's arms. Another consequence was that China opened her harbours in gratitude to Russia and Germany, which again excited the jealousy of England and Japan. Japan answered the Kaiser's Eastern policy by arming to such a degree that her supremacy in the East became established. The Boxer Rising began, and was the reaction against the European invasion. William II began to execute his Colonial plans where they were most dangerous,
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because the interests of all the great powers were in- volved, and there was least justification, from the point of view of civilization, for such a policy, as he was faced here by the most cultured nations of the East. *
At a later stage of this competition, England and Germany came closer together, when the Boxer Rising had been successfully put down by the mixed standing army, led by Germans, and when Russia, in taking China under her protection, had acquired an excessively good business. In 1900 England and Germany made an agreement which was directed against Russia for the maintenance of the status quo in China. But even this rapprochement only led to further opposition between England and Germany, because England interpreted this agreement to mean that Germany must prevent Russian expansion in Manchuria, and Germany refused to recognize this interpretation (1902) and approached Russia once more. At the outbreak of the Russo- Japanese War, Germany was therefore the friend of Russia, without being able to split the Franco-Russian Alliance, while England had become the ally of Japan.
Their opposition became so acute during the war that England declared to the German Ambassador that' she would be forced to support Japan, even if the latter declared war against Germany, on account of the arms which had been supplied by Germany to Russia. In other words, England supported the yellow race against her German brother.
At the time of the Spanish-American War (1898) the trend of public opinion in England was strongly
24 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
opposed to that of Germany. England sympathized with America, and Germany with Spain. Just as in the Balkan and the Russo-Japanese wars, England had placed her hopes upon the conqueror, Germany had placed hers upon the conquered.
It is a matter of public knowledge what a rift the Boer War created between the English and the German people. These two nations have been divided accord- ing to their respective sympathies and interests ever since the famous wire of the Kaiser (1896), the seizure of the German ships (1900) and Chamberlain's speech which insulted the German Army. The opposition between England and Germany was so strong that public opinion in England objected when the Govern- ments of the two countries intended to take common action against the Republic of Venezuela.
When Canada and England had decided to enter into closer economic relations with each other, the opposi- tion between Germany and England was increased still further. All the other nations accepted this policy of Chamberlain's, but Germany, on the other hand, used this occasion as a pretext to impose certain Customs Duties which contravened the fundamental principles of British imperialism.
\ The Balkan question, which some time ago had brought Germany and England into closer contact, began to increase the breach of these two countries more than ever in the 'nineties. Bismarck did not pursue
' any special policy in the Balkans, except possibly that he supported Austria-Hungary, which worked hand in
OUR WAR MOTIVES 25
glove with England. But the Kaiser played a leading part in the Balkans, and his paths diverged widely from those of England. The Kaiser's Balkan policy was not even identical with that which Austria and Hungary had pursued since the days of Andrassy. His main object was no longer the protection of the Christian peoples of the Balkans, the pacification of the various, nations by means of reforms and autonomies, but his aims were rather, firstly, to secure a military alliance with Turkey, and secondly, to exploit the whole of the Balkans as well as Asiatic Turkey. The Turkish mili- tary power, which had been called into existence under the supervision of German instructors, was to be given the task, in case of need, of threatening Egypt and the Suez Canal. *
Such a policy would not even have been compatible with England's previous policy, that is to say, the policy of Beaconsfield.
The ideas of Andrassy and Beaconsfield were mutually complementary ; the principles of establishing a balance of power in the Balkans and the predomin- ance of England in Asiatic Turkey worked together admirably. But the Near Eastern and Balkan policy^ of the Kaiser precluded Beaconsfield's policy com- pletely, because they both attempted to acquire the protection of the Mussulman world. V
This new tendency of German policy would have^ made England nervous at all times, but this was especially so in the existing circumstances, because the | economic competition between England and Germany
26 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
had become so keen as to render a war between them y possible. The opposition between Germany's Turco- phile policy and the outlook of England was all the more apparent because England began to turn her political forces against Turkey. Owing to the agita- tion of Gladstone in connection with the Armenian ^massacres, English democracy was animated by con- siderable antagonism towards the Turks. The whole of the prevalent Turkish system was disliked by England, and Abdul Hamid was hated intensely. This antipathy had been counteracted in earlier days by Britain's anxiety lest, in the event of Turkish rule passing away, Russia would control Constantinople. But for the time being that possibility seemed to have lost its terror. Since Cyprus (1878), Egypt (1892) and the Sudan (1898-99) had been brought under English influence by . Beaconsfield, Gladstone and Salisbury respectively, the result on India of the fate of Constantinople was not considered to be of the same importance as heretofore. It was regarded as much more dangerous that Turkey should be supported by Germany than that Russia should become the protector of Constantinople. \ In this way it came about that in all those questions relating to the Balkans and the Near East which had acquired an international character, England and Germany were in opposite camps. Salisbury took the I part of the Armenians and the Greeks, and the German Chancellor, von Biilow, took sides with the Turks (1897). Public opinion in England took a very serious view of a speech which the Kaiser delivered in Asia,
OUR WAR MOTIVES 27
declaring that 30x3,000,000 Mohammedans would always find in him their truest friend. How could England, with her many millions of Mohammedan subjects, be expected to receive such a statement by the Kaiser himself with equanimity ? The German ideal of an economic imperialism embodied in the projected Baghdad railway, was not regarded in England as an economic move, but as a sign of a political desire for expansion, which again was looked upon with great anxiety. ^
England made every effort to frustrate these plans. As a matter of fact, all these differences were adjusted in one way or another, but they nevertheless contri- buted largely to the growing distrust between the two nations, and feeling between them ran so high that a final breach seemed imminent.
All the minor points of opposition and the whole V tendency of the Kaiser's policy created the conviction in England that Germany was a danger to the British Empire. Many people feared a sudden invasion, and everybody felt that Germany's power was such as to render her a serious menace to England, to which some counteraction must be found. The Navy, according to English ideas, is a necessity for her but a luxury for Germany, and therefore it was almost regarded as a challenge that Germany, without taking any notice of
English anxiety in this matter, continued to increase
The real purpose of Germany's naval activity was,% as a matter of fact, the emancipation of Germany from '
28 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
England and the realization of the desire to reduce British predominance on the sea; but there was never any real question of attacking England. Germany proceeded to devote herself to this task with her usual (thoroughness and power, so that she would have endangered England's security, which would have altered the position she had occupied in the world
Under William II Germany gradually acquired a position such as England had never permitted any State to acquire hitherto. And why should England make an exception in the case of Germany ? Germany was not as dangerous for England as, for instance, the Catholic Philip II, King of Spain, or Louis XIV, Protector of the Stuarts, or Napoleon, all of whom had ruled the coastline opposite to England, or, if they did not control it, they had intended to subjugate it. At the same time, Germany's power and position was such that it is easily intelligible that England made every effort to defend herself against Germany. Great Britain did not succeed in coming to an agreement
^with Germany, and, I believe, chiefly on account of Germany's policy, which did not trust the possibility or the honesty of an English alliance, and which pre- ferred to approach Russia. In view of this, it was only natural that England made every effort to be on
. friendly terms with her other rivals, in order to be
" unfettered in case England and Germany should meet in combat. England was spurred on to pursue a new policy on account of the fact that Germany's position
OUR WAR MOTIVES 29
grew in power from day to day, and this policy is associated with the name of King Edward VII. This policy had the effect of a challenge upon the German mind. Germany saw, in the efficiency of King Edward, a belligerent spirit, and she therefore determined all the more to secure her prestige and her political posi-| tion in the world and to pursue her imperialistic policy. Germany's consciousness of power had been established by incomparable military victories and increased by her enormous economic development, and the English
attitude was nothing but food for the German desire
The French Navy was fairly powerful, and England suffered it to be so. Italy, and especially France, had acquired far greater Colonial possessions in the last decade than Germany. England's nervousness, created by the German development, was consequently regarded by the German Empire as pure jealousy and envy.
The Entente Cordiale was established in 1904. An agreement was concluded betweeii England and France which divided the European powers apparently into three groups, inasmuch as the Entente was added to the Triple and the Dual Alliance. In point of fact, however, as France was a member of the Entente as well as the Dual Alliance, Russia became an ally of England, and in this way the European powers were divided into two camps : the Entente, led by England, on the one hand, and the Triple Alliance, led by Ger- many, on the other. There were two bones of conten- tion between these two groups : one was the Morocco
30 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
question, and the other the everlasting problem of the Balkans.
In regard to Morocco, England and France had agreed that they would control the possessions of the Sultan of Turkey and the Sultan of Morocco. That < is to say, they would control Egypt and Morocco with- out attempting to satisfy, or even to question, those nations amongst whom Germany was prominent, and who were interested economically (1904).
England and France guaranteed each other what Caillaux called "la liberte de conquete." The pro- blems described above brought us twice to the verge of a European war (1905 and 1911). On both occa- sions, however, an agreement was reached. None of the parties were quite satisfied with the solution ; in France it rankled that she had to reckon with Germany, and that she had to sacrifice a Minister for Foreign Affairs on account of Germany and because she had to cede a portion of her African possessions. Germany, on the other hand, was disgusted because France had realized her aims completely in Morocco, because she had contravened previous arrangements, and because Germany was forced, in spite of all her efforts and her bellicose desires, to give way. Many sections in Germany regarded the compromise as humiliating, and public opinion expressed the belief that France had become predominant. At the Conference of Algeciras, most of the powers sympathized with France, which really gained more in position than Germany. The German terror, which had been a powerful factor during the lifetime of Bismarck, ceased in France.
OUR WAR MOTIVES 31
The Entente began at this period to gain internal strength. In the beginning it was very difficult for the French to accept English friendship, for the agree- ment with England -was preceded by severe humiliation on the part of France in Fashoda, and it was a con- dition of the Entente that France should give up for ever her policy of Colonial competition against England which she had pursued for several hundred years. The French are more passionate and more vain than the English, and therefore they are unable to forget as easily as their island neighbours. For this reason it was specially important that the Entente should sup- port France on the Morocco question, because by this means French approbation was gained for the new system. England and France signed a military con- vention which was only to be put into execution if both Governments approved of the casus belli (1905-1906).- This agreement was not formally binding, but on the one hand it made their relation more intimate, and on the other hand it implied the co-operation of both powers even in times of peace. Another consequence of this agreement was also the creation of mutual depend- ence, and it rendered separation and independent action considerably more difficult.
Italy appears to have declared that she would not fight against France, although she was bound to do so in case of French aggression. France, on the other hand, agreed to allow Italy a free hand in Tripolis. 1 This secret change found public support during the Moroccan crisis, and came to light to the extent that Italy assumed a similar point of view to the French
32 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
in the whole of the Moroccan question. Nothing but English support of the Triple Alliance could have altered Italy's attitude, because, in view of the long coastline and the oversea demands of Italy, she was not in a position to oppose the group of States which had the unchallenged supremacy on the sea. Once England associated herself with the Dual Alliance, Italy turned more decidedly towards the Entente.
The total result of the Moroccan crisis was a new spirit of hatred and resentment ; in fact, the fire had been prepared which needed but a match to set it alight.
The Balkan question became more dangerous than ever at this time, because Serbia began to pursue a Pan-Serbian policy under Russian influence.
How did this happen ?
\t The Russian Government knew that, so long as Serbia was under her influence, the Monarchy would stand as it were between two fires, and that those orthodox Serbs who lived within our borders would be subject to Czarist influence. Every Russian politician must have known that the pursuance of a Pan-Serbian
- policy under the direction of the Czar was a challenge
to the very existence of Austria-Hungary. The in- tegrity of the Monarchy was attacked by this policy in the very spot in which this integrity was of special value, because it endangered our one and only path Wto the sea.
If Russia did not wish to attack Austria-Hungary, Serbia, which was so far distant from her, was of no
OUR WAR MOTIVES 33
importance, either economically or politically. The only portions of the Balkans which were of any import- ance from the economic, military and political stand- points were those which lay in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea and the Straits. The protection ofV Serbia was only a tool in Russia's policy, which was directed against Austria-Hungary and Germany. As soon as Petrograd had taken the Pan-Serbian ideal \ under its wing, it was certain that, sooner or later, Russia would raise the Austro-Hungarian question. V
All the proposals that were made by the Petrograd to the Viennese Court ever since the days of Catherine the Great up to Gortschakoff, assumed that it was a preliminary condition of coming to an agreement with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy that Serbia should remain in the sphere of Russian influence. Kaunitz,V Metternich, Buol, Andrassy, all of those Ministers for Foreign Affairs who occupied themselves with the Balkan question, have declared more than once that any attempt on the part of Russia to dominate Serbia * meant war. Napoleon, who had the greatest knowledge of all strategic questions, said on several occasions that Belgrade was of vital importance to Austria-Hungary .V
During the Bulgarian crisis in the eighties, Bismarck, in accordance with the above, interpreted the Treaty of Berlin to the effect that the Eastern Balkans, namely Bulgaria, were under Russian influence, whereas the Western Balkans, that is, chiefly Serbia, remained under Austro-Hungarian influence. He said that he pursued an Austrian policy in Serbia and a 3
34 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
Russian policy in Bulgaria. Andrassy, as a matter of fact, did not accept this interpretation, because he did not only allow no Russian influence in Serbia, but he was of the opinion that the Treaty of Berlin excluded Russian influence in the whole of the Balkans.
There was no real difference of opinion with regard
to Serbia, because everybody knew that the Treaty of
. Berlin did not sanction any Russian interference there.
Moreover, it cannot be assumed that Russia had traditional ties with Serbia of such a nature as would substitute the ties of mutual interest.
During the days of Napoleon, Russia sacrificed Serbia completely, which was fighting for its liberty, in order to secure Russian interests.
During the Treaty of San Stefano, Russia's attitude ./towards Serbia can hardly be described as friendly.
At the time when the armies of the Battenbergers threatened Belgrade, Austria, and not Russia, saved King Milan. rRussia, moreover, had frequently sanc- tioned our annexation of Bosnia. She did so for the first time in Reichstag during the interview between Gortschakoff and Andrassy, and for the last time in Buchlau during the discussion between Iswolski and Berchtold.
When the Czar wanted to be on friendly terms with us, he admitted that Serbia came within our sphere. Even during the present crisis, Sasanow said to our Ambassador : " He has no feeling for the Slavs in the Balkans. They are a heavy burden."
For a long time Serbia endorsed the European
OUR WAR MOTIVES 35
attitude and worked hand in glove with the Austrian Monarchy. It was only after the withdrawal of King Milan that Serbia began to alter her course, and it was the dynasty of the Karagyorgyevics which placed Serbia permanently under the protection of Petrograd.
The cause of this change of policy is explained by the fact 4hat the Monarchy had lost some of her prestige in the East which Russia had gained. Milan had approached us because our influence was decisive during the Congress of Berlin, but as soon as this influence weakened the Serbian relation to us changed accordingly.
There was an occasion on which Austria-Hungary might have regained her influence in Belgrade and made it predominant. When the last Obrenovis had been murdered in a shameful manner, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs proposed to our Ambas- sador, Prince Lichtenstein, that we should occupy Belgrade, establish law and order, and take over the Government for a while. This action proves that the Russian interest in Serbia was not as constant and as profound as it was recently stated to be. The request to occupy Belgrade was not accepted, and the Dynasty of the Karagyorgyevics gained in strength, and this very dynasty, which owed her existence to us, took sides with Russia.
The first sign of our antagonism towards Serbia was, an economic one. Andrassy had intended to exploit the political situation created by the Treaty of Berlin, not by means of conquest, but by the creation of
36 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
powerful economic relations which are tantamount to moral conquest. Instead of this, we wanted to close our borders towards the East by preventing the import of Serbian cattle in every way, as our activities had suffered considerably in the West owing to the im- position of German agricultural duties (1905). The unhappy demand that Serbia should order her guns in Skoda caused considerable dissatisfaction and estrange- ment. The extraordinary difficulties placed in the way of the cattle trade created bad feeling against us, just at the time that Serbia began to fear us less, because the Monarchy had been weakened owing to internal difficulties.
Embitterment and the belief that we were gradually becoming weaker led Serbia towards a Russian policy.
Serbia gained courage especially on the strength of the Anglo-Russian Alliance (1907-1908). The policy of Russia underwent a change at this time, in conse- quence of which Russia was inclined to accept the pro-Serbian policy of Serbia, in spite of the obvious dangers and the provocative -character of such a pro- cedure. The chief attention of the Czar Nicholas ever since his ascension to the throne was given to the Far East. The example of Bulgaria had proved that, notwithstanding the sacrifices that Russia had made, it was impossible to look to this state for satisfactory I support. In spite of all her sacrifices, Russia was very nearly forced to surrender the whole of her in- fluence in the Balkans, and she had to content herself finally with very small results. Russia was obliged to
OUR WAR MOTIVES 37
accept the Coburgs in spite of the fact that she had despised them in the beginning. Finally it became evident that the advantages which Russia had anti- cipated in the Balkans were relatively small compared I with the advantages which Russia was able to secure for herself, economically and territorially, in Asia. In view of these considerations, Russia made every effort to subjugate the Far East. ^
Russia's efforts in this direction were frustrated, however, by the Japanese and by the influence of Great Britain. The reaction set in. Just as the failure of the Balkan policy had prepared the activity in Asia, so did the absence^ of success in Asia and the victories of Ojama and Toto facilitate the policy of Hartwig with its Serbophile tendency. The Czarist regime could, nevertheless, not endure inaction. Russia felfy that continual interruption of her aggrandizement, which had not been impeded for hundreds of years, was dangerous to the Czarist prestige and might cause their downfall. Therefore the failure of one policy only bred the thought of further aggression ; and for this reason an active policy in the Balkans was sub- * stituted for Asiatic activity. This Russian tendency was strengthened, moreover, by the anti-German policy of England. Consequently, Russia succeeded, in 1907 and 1908, in gaining a certain freedom of action in Europe soon after she had been met by an impenetrable obstacle in- Asia. *
The tension between Russia and ourselves was thrown into bolder relief because, just as Russia was
38 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
anxious to make use of her position in order to pursue her old Balkan policy, we made arrangements to in- crease our activities there. While Russia was pre- occupied in the Far East, our Minister for Foreign Affairs pursued a passive policy. Just at the time that Russia turned her attention once more to the Balkans, we had a Minister for Foreign Affairs who pursued the most self-conscious policy of aggression and who was determined to increase our prestige in the East and to multiply our economic activities. I refer to Freiherr von Aehrenthal. The first step of this energetic and ambitious statesman was to secure the railway com- munication with Salonika. This action alone caused considerable jealousy in Petrograd, although it was entirely justified and not aggressive in any way.
The tension became relaxed, because the policy of Iswolski had not yet taken an antagonistic direction. His policy required certain results in the East, but if they could be achieved in harmony with Russia, so much the Better. Aehrenthal and Iswolski met in 1908 in Buchlau, and it seemed as if there was a possibility of reaching an agreement. In exchange for a suitable solution of the question of the Straits, Russia was inclined to support the annexation of Bosnia and Herze- govina. The discussion, however, did not define the manner of the solution nor its date. Aehrenthal, of course, proceeded to publish the annexation, and Iswolski felt that he had been betrayed because the question of the Straits had not been settled. The result was an acute diplomatic battle, in the course of which
OUR WAR MOTIVES 39
Serbia incited to war and a European war became imminent.
Aehrenthal, however, proved himself to be a calm and excellent fencer. He brought the diplomatic duel to a victorious conclusion. Europe recognized the annexation. The Triple Alliance proved itself power- ful, although Italy did not turn out to be independent. The faithful and energetic attitude of Germany com- bined with the personal qualities of Aehrenthal to achieve the victory. Biilow believed that this diplo- matic victory would break up the unity of the Entente, although this victory was disadvantageous.
The fundamental thought of this campaign, which was executed so admirably in its details, was wrong, and in the end became one of the causes of the European War. We had committed a definitely illegal action, and we had given an example to Italy which she hastened to imitate, partially because she felt that after our successes it was essential for her to give evidence of her prowess. This diplomatic feat did not gain for us a single man or a single halfpenny; nor did we gain in power in any way, but quite on the contrary, we had to give up the Sandschak Novibazar, we had to surrender our rights on the coastline of Montenegro, and we had to buy with money from Turkey what belonged to us already. We succeeded in turning Russia against us, but not in weakening her. The agitation in Serbia became more and more acute and hatred increased. Russia and Serbia armed them- selves, and plans of revenge were hatched in Petro-
40 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
grad. Russia made an agreement with Japan (1909), approached Italy (1908-1909), and prepared in advance a solution of the question of the Straits. This solution was not found in conjunction with us, and Petrograd, therefore, strove to achieve the same purpose behind our backs. The Czar and the King of Italy met in Raccionigi, where they agreed to support each other in the question of the Straits and the question of Tripolis respectively (1909). Serbia and Montenegro had been estranged by the assassination of King Nikita, but now a reunion took place once more.
I was Minister of the Interior about this time. For the reasons given above, I opposed the annexation. I wanted to call Serbia to account and force her to .sign an agreement by which her army would be dis- armed, and by which the constant menace of Serbia would be removed.
Russia was not as yet ready to act, as it still suffered from the Japanese defeat, and her relation to this state had not yet been defined. I was of the opinion that Serbia would give way and that it would be possible to effect the disarmament. If Serbia should resist, she would be isolated. The recent publication of the diplomatic correspondence of Serbia showed that I was justified in taking this view. Iswolski said to the Serbian Ambassador quite definitely that Russia was not yet ready, and would not stir even if Austria- Hungary attacked Serbia. I have placed this point of view of mine on record in writing in my ministerial programme.
OUR WAR MOTIVES 4!
Russia tried to approach us again under the influ- ence of the Kaiser (1910-1911). This policy, however, was so little in accordance with the tendency of public opinion in Russia that it could not be pursued. The hope of revenge had become rooted in the popular mind, and it was fanned into flame by the German policy in the Near East; that is to say, the Hamburg- Bagdad scheme. Russia felt that she was paralysed in the East, and she was now being reduced to inaction in the West.
The first triumph of Russian policy was her success\ in creating the union of the Balkans under Russian protection for the purpose of becoming a menace, firstly to Turkey, but secondly also to Austria and Hungary (1912). This union of the Balkans was a complete | defeat of our policy, and it drove us in fact out of the Balkans. If this union had been consolidated under Russian influence, Russian revenge would have been complete, and the balance of power would have changed very much to our disadvantage. *
I believed that, as soon as the Balkan States became federated, Turkish supremacy in Macedonia could not be upheld any longer, and that the Macedonian and Albanian possessions were nothing but a burden to the Sultan. In those days I considered that the suitable counter-measure would have been for us to support the autonomy of Macedonia in accordance with the demand of the Balkan States, and that we should warn Turkey that, if she refused to give way, she was likely to lose her European possessions, and further, we should have
42 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
undertaken to preserve the status quo ante, provided the federation of the Balkans respected our interests. I outlined this idea in the early days of the war (October, 1912), and described the proposal in greater detail before the delegation (November and December, 1913).
My proposal, however, was not carried out. Together with Russia, we made the impossible demand that the Christian States should be content, even in case of victory, with their previous boundaries. In conse- quence of this policy we made an agreement with /Serbia, and were forced to protect our interests against our victorious neighbour, which led to continued anta- gonism and to the increasing probability of war. The final result was that Serbia continued her policy of territorial aggrandizement in spite of our well-known opposition, and finally became a more bitter enemy of ours than ever before.
The probability of a European war became so immi- nent during the Balkan War that Russia made every effort in. all directions to improve her chances to safe- guard herself against the ever-threatening dangers of the situation. Russia agreed in 1912 with Japan that, in case of a European crisis, Japan would protect Russian interests in the Far East, without occupying Russian territory, so that Kiautschou might be snatched from Germany. Russia also concluded a naval agreement with France, and massed troops on her western frontier under the pretext of a trial mobilization.
The fact that neither the Moroccan crisis nor the Balkan War led to a European conflagration showed
OUR WAR MOTIVES 43
that, at any rate at that time, no group of states desired a war and that the wish of preserving peace pre- dominated in every cabinet.
Nevertheless, both these crises materially assisted in bringing about the European War. The Entente only remembered the German attitude in the Moroccan crisis, and thought that they saw in it the impossibility of tolerating German Imperialism. After the Balkan War, they only spoke of the ultimatum that we had delivered to Montenegro and Serbia. They forgot that Germany gave way completely in the Moroccan ques- tion, in spite of her advantageous military position which she occupied while Russia was still weak. They forgot that the Monarchy permitted the South Slavonic States to gain in strength and to realize in some degree their aggressive aims which they did not even attempt to hide. No one seemed to be aware that we had suffered territorial losses by our own creation of Albania, and that Novibazar, which had hitherto linked us to Albania, passed from our friends the Turks into the hands of our South Slavonic enemy ; they forgot, further, that we proved up to the hilt the fact that there was not a vestige of truth in the popular Salonika theory, because we allowed ourselves to be cut off from the Balkans by a South Slavonic ring.
We, on the other hand, only remembered that the Entente had wished for nothing except teaching Ger- many a severe lesson in Morocco and dictating inter- national policy without Germany, so much so that Caillaux, the most peace-loving President of the French
44 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
Republic, was able to crystallize his policy in the following words : " Le Maroc pour la France ou le conflit." The Entente took the aggressive policy of Serbia under her wing, although she did not possess any important local interests. The Entente forgot, however, that it was really obvious that they were anxious, in both questions, to take a prominent part in determining international policy in order to show that their chief consideration was, after all, the safe- guarding of peace.
The consequences of the Balkan crises were even more harmful than those of the African problem, because it had been found possible to eliminate the mutual opposition in Morocco completely (1911), whereas this was not the case in the Balkans. The opposition of the Balkans, on the other hand, was such as might lead, even without the wish of the Great Powers, to war, as in the case of the Pan-Serbian ideal.
The victories gained by Belgrade had increased her courage, and she now strove after the realization of her national programme. Having succeeded in achieving her object in Macedonia, and having conquered Bul- garia as well as weakened Turkey, Belgrade prepared the Irridenta in Austria and in Hungary. An attempt was made to undermine our security within our own territory, with the object of creating a state of revolu- tion so as to throw the Austro-Hungarian question into relief, and thereby prepare for war. Russia observed these proceedings with satisfaction and carefully ensured
OUR WAR MOTIVES 45
the tenacity to the Pan-Serbian idea in the political circles of the Serbian world.
Our leaders had to consider, more and more what steps could be taken to put an end to this danger. I was convinced that Serbia must either be isolated and then broken by means of a war, or forced to adopt a course which would lead them to abandon the Pan- Serbian idea and to approach us in a genuine spirit. It was quite clear in my mind that this object could only be achieved without a European war if our foreign policy was given a certain change of direction.
In order to solve this problem, it was necessary to ensure inaction in connection with the Serbian question on the part of the two opposed groups of states. I considered this scheme practicable. There was no direct opposition between Austria-Hungary and France and England. It was obvious that an agreement was possible with Grey, and that England regarded our position in the Balkans as harmless. We had to make use of this situation by becoming, as it were, the go- between between England and Germany ; for it was the conflict of these two states which had created the difficulty of our political situation. There were means of finding an agreement; the only problem was to find the means. Distrust and hatred between both coun- tries were powerful. At the same time, in none of the main concrete questions was there any opposition of a nature which could only be settled by resort to arms. Neither of the two states in question controlled territory which was absolutely necessary to the other one. If the
40 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
territory of the one developed in strength, no danger accrued to the other party. Any antagonism, such as between France and England in India and South America, or between Prussia and Austria, or between Savoy and Austria, in reference to the German and Italian questions respectively, did not exist between English and German interests. Nor could any opposi- tion which existed at the time be compared with the antagonism between Serbia and Bulgaria, or between Serbia and ourselves.
Bismarck once told a journalist that England would only be satisfied when Germany's economic develop- ment had been brought to a standstill. I never believed this statement for a moment, and I do not accept it even to-day. I was convinced that the means to an agreement was an undertaking with regard to naval expansion which assured British supremacy. I have always considered it the chief fault of our policy that we never made a serious attempt in this direction, and that we lost the initiative and came under the leader- ship of Berlin without succeeding in negotiating between Germany and England. I always held the opinion that an agreement would be far wiser in the interests of both than unlimited competition or even Avar.
If we had allayed Russian fears with regard to the Straits by throwing them open to her men-of-war, subject to the condition that only one battleship was to be allowed in Turkish waters at a time, I sincerely believe that the basis would have been found for a
OUR WAR MOTIVES 47
peaceable settlement of the Serbian question. It was my intention to prepare the way for this policy by getting into touch with French statesmen. Through the good offices of a Hungarian who was living in France (called Mannheim) I was to meet the one-time Minister Steg. The war, however, frustrated our meeting.
With regard to Serbia, we would have had to bring about a complete change of policy at any price. We would then have supported such change of policy by concluding a good economic alliance and assuring her by this means an easy access to the sea, but of course without any corridor, and only by means of economic facilities.
The Entente would not have had to surrender Serbia, but Only the Pan-Serbian idea, which was of value to them only as long as they intended to make war upon us, or as long as they believed that we wished to attack them. The whole idea would have lost all value to the Entente if my plan of arbitration had succeeded.
The realization of this plan would have made a\ solution of the Serbian question possible without the European War, and even without any war at all ; but in default of this plan, there was little hope of success. The mutual distrust and hatred of the two big alliances 4 did not give rise to the hope that the Entente would stand by to watch us take the sword from Serbia's hand in case they might themselves have need of it soon.
Our Government also felt the necessity for removing
48 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
the Serbian danger, but their chief fault lay in the fact that they had ceased to have an individual will in European affairs.
The Government pursued a Balkan policy, whereas the Serbian question could only be settled amicably provided an approach to European policy was made. The Serbian danger was a result of the European tension, and it could only be allayed without bloodshed by solving the main problem simultaneously.
Berchtold counted on having to settle with Serbia by force of arms as early as 1913. He was prevented from putting his conviction into practice by Italy's declaration that she would not support us in such an event. Just at the time that the unfortunate assassina- tion occurred in Serajevo, Berchtold tried to paralyse the Serbian danger by altering the balance of power in the Balkans. A memorandum which was published recently, and written before the murder at Serajevo, shows that it had been intended to gain Bulgarian sympathy for this purpose, and to define Roumania's position, which was admirable in intention but not quite sufficient. The essence of the question lay in the improvement of our relation to the Entente.
Attempts were made in this direction, but not with \sufficient determination. England and Germany suc- ceeded in reaching agreements with regard to single questions. The question of the Portuguese Colonies was solved in 1913-1914; the problem of the Bagdad Railway was the subject of an agreement in 1914; but 1 these agreements did not by any means solve those
OUR WAR MOTIVES 49
questions which were the main causes of the mutual distrust; though these agreements coincide with the Anglo-French and the Anglo-Russian agreements, they* did not imply, as in the two last mentioned cases, a new change of policy. V
The naval question could not be solved. After the\ Morocco crisis, and after the last war in the Balkans, an attempt was made, in the year 1912, to arrive at a solution of this question, but without success. The rivalry on the high seas continued between the two * world powers. As far as the question of the Straits was concerned, nothing whatever happened, and feeling in Russia towards us became worse from day to day. V
The part played by General Liman von Sanders caused further anxiety. His activity was regarded as an attempt to improve the Turkish Army while placing it under German command. The danger of German* predominance in Constantinople became very imminent.*
The German Government gave way, and thereby solved this question in the way in which she had solved many other questions in a friendly spirit, but the result was only an increase of the distrust which had arisen in settling several other points at issue previously.
The Russian press was up in arms, especially the Nowoje Wremja, which, under pretext of the Russo- , German trade agreement, started a campaign against Germany. The Russian military command invented one occasion for war after another. The Minister of War boasted that he was ready for battle, and called upon France openly to arm. The mobilization was 4
50 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
prepared, and not only by means of internal arrange- ments, which always assist mobilization, but also by means which only facilitated the mobilization then, and which would have represented a heavy financial loss if this mobilization were not carried out. Russia, for instance, kept under arms certain categories which were due to be discharged from their military service, by calling up other similar categories. By means of the transportation of troops and by massing them, the mobilization was really in progress. The Czar paid a visit to King Charles of Roumania and practically begged for his friendship.
\ The question of the Straits began to assume a more and more important part in Russian policy, because the state of Russian economy had suffered severely during the last Balkan war as the Dardanelles were not in Russian possession. Instead of trying to find an international solution, which would have been a feasible one, Russia's thoughts turned towards acquisition, which was a bellicose solution. Sasanow said in a public speech in February, 1914, that it was the historic
I mission of Russia to take possession of the Straits. He did not see the possibility of realizing this mission in the near future, but the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs could not take any responsibility for preserving the status quo in the Balkans, and therefore he thought it necessary, even then, to announce the military pro- ject of an occupation of the Straits. The whole of the Russian Government was in full agreement with the Minister for Foreign Affairs as to the urgency and
>l importance of this problem.
OUR WAR MOTIVES 51
By this means Russian policy set itself an aim whichV could not be realized without a universal war.
The attempt at arbitration with England also strengthened the military party in Russia. The more the chance increased of finding a way out of the Anglo- German opposition, the more did Russia attempt to render the relation within the Entente more intimate and to destroy the possibility of bridging relations between London and Berlin. Iswolski attempted to conclude a proper alliance with England in April, 1914. Negotiations were also begun in connection with a naval convention. Even the statesmen of France were surprised how much Grey was inclined to enter into a relation with Russia similar to the one with France. The competition in armaments increased \ everywhere enormously. In 1913 Germany made tremendous efforts to increase her power by internal development. France took refuge in the adoption of three years military service. Austria and Hungary developed their military power.
Such, then, was the position of the world at the timeV of the murder in. Serajevo. This murder was not an isolated assassination, but it was the final link in a long chain of events. The air was charged, and the explosion took place. In this atmosphere of mutual distrust a question had to be solved which would have presented considerable difficulties even if the greatest confidence had existed; for the nature of the con- troversy was that Serbia demanded, on the basis of her nationality principle, that which was our undoubted
52 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
and valuable property. The whole world felt that this was not done to a particular person, but that it was symbolic of the murder of the representative of the ^Monarchy. The whole world was aware that this murder had not been done by isolated fanatics, but that it was the result of the glowing hatred of a community a hatred which had been heaped with the glowing coals of the official policy of the Serbian state. For this reason it was natural, and met with universal satisfac- tion, that the Monarchy decided to call Serbia to account and force her at all costs to disarm. The fact that the shot was fired by a Bosnian subject on Bosnian terri- tory alters nothing in the situation ; for this Bosnian was of Serbian nationality, pursued Serbian policy, and was the tool of an impulse that emanated from Serbia, and he wished to act in Serbia's interest. If the Entente point out that the life of the Czar had often been endangered by intrigues to murder him which were hatched on foreign territory, and that the President of the French Republic, Carnot, was assassinated by an Italian, and that, further, neither Russia nor France demanded satisfaction from those countries where the plot was originated, I reply that, although this is true, it does not prove anything because, in the case of Serajevo, the situation was different from any other. Generally it has been a ques- t tion of anarchistic murders and not those perpetrated for national reasons and committed in pursuance of the antagonistic policy of a neighbouring state. The other assassinations referred to were not perpetrated
OUR WAR MOTIVES 53
in the interests of enemy states. The intentions of the murderers were repudiated and condemned by the country whose citizens were responsible. The question that I ask is, whether France would have accepted the murder of Sadi Carnot without a murmur if this deed had been the result of the agitation of the Italian press, dynasty and Government, which incited to the conquest of Nice, Savoy and Tunis, and which placed the dagger of agitation into the hands of fanatics so that they might draw their deadly weapon against the representative of the French Republic?
I have now given my answer to the first question, and I have shown the reasons why the large majority of the nation, as well as myself, accepted the news of the ultimatum without anxiety, in spite of the fact that I knew nothing of the ultimatum previously, and that I did not consider our procedure advisable either then or at present. We simply felt that it was a question of protecting vital national interests and of supporting a defensive policy which was the duty of every patriot, whether he approved of the methods of the Government or not.
I admit that it is possible to be animated by a public spirit which would not think of resorting to physical force in such dangerous situations, even after such an act of defiance. I further concede that it is possible that an attitude could be taken up which inclined to abandon its own rights, or which is prepared to submit its most vital questions to an international jury. The nation which is prepared, in similar circumstances, to
54 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
place its fate at the mercy of the love of justice of other peoples, has a moral right to demand that we should do the same. But such a nation does not exist, because, in similar circumstances, no one has staked independence upon the favour of a third party.
^ The question that had to be answered was not, whether the murder of Serajevo and the participation of Serbian society offered sufficient grounds before a strict court of justice for demanding satisfaction and
I imposing a penalty ; but the question that had to be decided was, what guarantees were necessary in order to destroy for ever the Serbian policy which was associated with this murder and which continually
Sthreatened our existence and the peace of Europe ? The Peace Palace at The Hague has never delivered judgment in such a case. Even the protagonists of international reform expressed the general opinion at that time that questions which related to national honour and national existence were not fit to be brought before any court of justice.
' When Kriiger demanded, in- a question of similar importance, that England should be guided by the decision of a tribunal, England refused Kriiger's demand. In the treaty that was concluded between England and France it was stated, expressis verbis, that questions of this sort did not come within the jurisdiction of any court. Accordingly, as we did not wish to entrust the question of our existence to the international convention at The Hague, we followed a policy which was hallowed by precedent. In view
OUR WAR MOTIVES 55
of the general attitude and the previous precedents, no nation has the right to make accusations against us. When the nation greeted the idea of calling Serbia to account with enthusiasm, and flocked to perform their military duty, the nation felt that she was not only justified in her procedure but was also pursuing a purely defensive policy. The attitude which our nation adopted then is no reason why she should be ashamed now.
It is to be hoped that the terrible consequences of the present war will induce all nations to insist on ' settling international conflicts by peaceable means. If those principles, however, which it is hoped will pre- dominate in the future, do not decide to condemn all peoples which have waged war hitherto, then no accusa- tion can be brought against us, because there was nolS a single creature in Hungary that desired to go to war for the sake of conquest or aggrandizement. It was almost an axiom that there were sufficient non- Hungarians on Hungarian soil, and that it would be a mistake to risk even the life of a single human being for the sake of conquest. Moreover, we never imagined ourselves to be powerful enough to expect
to play an important part in the policy of Europe,
IP even as a result of war.
No one dared to hope for the defeat of Russia,\ which would have made it impossible for her for a long time to pursue an aggressive Czarrst policy. No sensible Hungarian would have been prepared to I sacrifice himself in order to force France and England
50 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
V to their knees and to establish the predominance of Germany on the Continent. Quite on the contrary, every small nation was interested, like our own, in preserving the balance of power, because her own downfall was rendered possible by a European con- flagration. We only adopted the decision to declare war in order to preserve our own possessions. Any assertion to the contrary is either an error or a lie. The attitude of Tisza during the decisive Cabinet
I meeting is proof of my assertion. The very Hungarian who was accused more than anyone else of inciting to this war, and who was murdered for this reason, and who was Hungary's sole representative in the vital Cabinet meeting, was the man who suggested, before the assembly of the ministers, pro foro interno, and not for any tactical reason, that a resolution should be moved not to wage a war of conquest and not to acquire any Serbian territory. Amongst all those present, Tisza was the man whose attitude was the most
I WILL now turn my attention to the question, who\ wanted the world war : was it Germany, which strove for the supremacy of the world and thereby caused the war ? Or was it England, which sought to destroy the German Navy that was being built up and which attempted to repress the development of her economic ' prowess out of envy against Germany? Was it Eng- land which incited France to revenge and fostered the traditional lust for expansion in Russia ? Or did Russia desire and cause the war? ^
Frederick II, King of Prussia, inherited rich coffers and a powerful army. Silesia was a pleasant addition to his provinces, and the King felt that he was endowed with great qualities, and he sought after fame ; conse- quently he attacked Austria.
The great Italian statesman Cavour came to the conclusion that he could only achieve the union of all the Italians over the corpse of Austria, and he there- fore sought an excuse for war, and won Napoleon III over to his projected .idea of attack. |
Bismarck knew that without repressing Austria it was impossible for Prussia to gain supremacy in
58 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
Germany, and he therefore sought a pretext for allying himself with Austria.
Who has played the part of these men during the course of recent events? Grey or Bethmann-Hollweg? Poincare or William II ?
\ The Central Powers, Germany and Austria, did not want a European war, but we wanted to defeat Serbia. The zenith of the political aims of our Government was the preservation of what existed, and not conquest for the sake of which it would have been worth while to risk a world war. The only German idea which altered the existing relation of the powers was the development of her navy, and even this thought did
not involve the destruction, or even the weakening, of the power of other states, but it was only the exter- nalization of her own prowess. In fact, this very ambition of our ally would have retarded the war most successfully, because it is surely obvious that the development of her Navy could only reach maturity during times of peace. The outbreak of war, before Germany had passed through the danger zone of naval weakness, threatened certain destruction to the results she had achieved at the expense of great sacrifices.
V Austria-Hungary, however, was determined to solve the Serbian question fundamentally, because she was convinced that, unless she received substantial guaran- tees after the murder of Serajevo, Serbia would never
.abandon her aggressive policy, the Monarchy would run the risk of becoming paralysed, and her future would be in danger of falling to pieces like a sheaf
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 59
of wheat that is untied. In the circumstances there could be no hope that the situation in the Balkans | would improve pit would be certain, rather, that the situation would deteriorate. "^
Germany felt that the members of the Entente had not taken Serbia under their protection because they considered the demands of Serbia justified in them- selves, but because Germany realised that the Entente regarded Austria as the outer bulwarks of the advanc- ing might of Germany. The Entente only supportedV Serbia in opposition to us because they intended to cut off Germany from the Near East. If we had col- lapsed under this pressure, Germany would have had! to surrender herself to the coalition whose aggressive aims were so strongly resented by public opinion in Germany. Germany sought refuge wherever vital* interests attempted to solve the problem by wresting the double-edged sword from Jugo-Slavia. It was for this reason that von Tschirschky, the Ambassador, as he told me personally, tried to persuade us to take up an energetic attitude, and he let us feel for the same reason that Austria-Hungary would lose her value as an ally for Berlin if she failed to solve this question. And it was also for this reason that the Kaiser and his Chancellor were of the opinion that immediate military action was most advantageous (June 7).
During the first Cabinet meeting which considered the consequences of the murder, all the Hungarian and Austrian Ministers, with the exception of Tisza, demanded the war and considered that immediate
6O DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
action which would surprise Serbia was the only means to the desired end. It was only Tisza who prevented the realization of this conviction. He was ready to be content with a diplomatic victory which should be the starting point for a more active policy that was to improve our position.
However, this attitude did not finally dictate the policy of the Monarchy. When the ultimatum was drafted, and during subsequent events, the intention of forcing Serbia to war became paramount. Serbia gained an opportunity of avoiding war by the action of Tisza, but our subsequent procedure appeared to 'have had the intention of making it difficult for Serbia to make use of this opportunity without serious humiliation.
The data in the new Red-book make it quite clear that Vienna considered war with Serbia as the best solution. At the same time, these data show that the European War was not desired in Austria. In fact, |is it necessary to prove this? Is it not obvious that the old Monarchy and its old ruler did not want a European war? Does not the fact that we took the initiative prove that we were concerned with more modest aims than the World War? Not a single Minister, be he German, Austrian or Hungarian, .spoke of the necessity of seizing the opportunity to defeat Russia or the Entente, or of deciding once and for all the position between the two world alliances by force of arms. The World War was only spoken of as a possibility, which had to be risked only as it was
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 6 1
inevitable anyhow. The whole of our diplomatic force was exhausted by the attempt to sever the European from the Serbian questions. We were prepared to sign an agreement with Russia with reference to the preservation of our interests. We were prepared, for the sake of Russia, to make favourable conditions of i peace to Serbia, only we were determined to be armed while we demanded a reckoning from her. Tisza's suggestion, not to make territorial conquests at the expense of Serbia, was accepted unanimously by the Cabinet Ministers in the hope that the World War might thus be avoided. ^
When we recognized clearly that this object was unattainable, and that the Serbian war would cause a European conflagration, our policy changed its course. Russia mobilized her army against Austria-Hungary on July 29. We realized fully that France would support Russia's attitude. Grey gave Bethmann- Hollweg to understand quite clearly that he could not count on British neutrality, and that it was possible ' that England would decide^ rapidly on intervention.
The Kaiser, who was prepared to accept the Serbian reply as a basis of negotiations, was alarmed by the danger of European war, and advised acceptance urgently. Bethmann-Hollweg wrote an almost threat- ening note to Berchtold, and advised him to accept Grey's suggestion according to which we were to arrest the progress of our troops, retain Belgrade as a hostage, anoT accept the intervention of the Great Powers between us and Russia.
62 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
A certain change of policy now became noticeable in our Government. We entered into a discussion with Russia concerning the Serbian ultimatum (July 30). Although Berchtold had refused to accept a similar proposal on July 28, made by Sasanow, we were also
' prepared to consider the conditions of negotiating a quatre which we had refused hitherto. We did not abandon the idea of defeating the Serbian Army, because the Minister for Foreign Affairs said that we had to anticipate another attack on the part of Serbia in two or three years, but he did not know whether the first attempt would not result in further measures to meet us.
V The diplomats of the Entente began to hope again. Russia, however, proceeded to order a general mobili- zation, which suddenly put an end to the possibility of peace. Germany had already indicated that, in case Russia should mobilize against her, Germany would
. be forced to do the same, and that a general German mobilization meant war. When Russia mobilized, in spite of the knowledge of these circumstances, every- body felt in Berlin that Russia meant to go to war, and it is an unquestionable fact that Russia was aware that the result of her mobilization would be a European >twar. Sasanow transmitted a note on July 29 to Poincare' to the effect that his military measures made it necessary to reckon with the inevitability of war. Berlin regarded it as her first duty to increase her chances of victory by rapid entry into the war, and to exploit the advantages which lay in speedy action.
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 63
Even after the Russian mobilization had cut short negotiations peace could still have been secured. The attempts at negotiation were not completed. They had not failed finally as yet. There was still a chance that Austria-Hungary would arrest the advance of her troops and enter into further negotiations. It was still possible that the Entente would allow the defeat of Serbia and be content to save Serbia after a military defeat by securing terms which would ensure the independence and the existence of this country.
It was the mobilization of the Russian Army which^ put an end to these possibilities. What motives led her to this mobilization ? Did the Entente want the war ? What do we know concerning the intentions of the members of the Entente? Are not they the criminals we have been looking for ? -#*$?
There is no doubt whatever that France had cause to enter the world war.
Alsace-Lorraine could only be returned to FranceV as the result of a European war. The shame which France suffered during 1870 and 1871 could only be wiped off by German blood. Documents which have only recently seen the light of day prove that, ever since the formation of the Entente Cordiale and after the Moroccan crisis, France had felt the approach of an enormous contest, of an historic reckoning.
During the Moroccan crisis (1911) the French Ambassador in London, Cambon, who was a respon- sible individual, told the Serbian Ambassador in London that the opposition which existed then would
64 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
probably be settled by a friendly arrangement, but such an agreement would not remove for any length of time the dangers which were threatened by the aggressive policy of Germany. The result of such an agreement would only mean the postponement of the war for three or four years. France was fully aware that in any case she would be forced into war. France,, as well as her allies, was of the opinion that, even at the cost of great sacrifices, it was necessary to post- pone the war for some time that is to say, until 1914
While Poincare was President in 1912, he told Iswolski : " The outlook of France is definitely peace- .' ful, and she neither seeks nor desires a war. But Germany's attitude against Russia would change her point of view immediately," and he felt sure that in such an event Parliament and public opinion would approve unanimously the determination of the Govern-
<ment to support Russia with force of arms. At the same time he strengthened this statement by what he told the Russian Ambassador : in the course of con-
I versation Poincar said to Tittoni that if the Austro- Serbian antagonism led to a general war, Russia could count with absolute certainty on the armed support of
} During the Balkan War (1913) the Russian Ambas- sador to London, Count Benckendorf, who was a competent and disinterested witness, reported to his Government : " De toutes les Puissances, c'est la France seule qui, pour ne pas dire qu'elle veut la
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 65
guerre, la verrait sans grand regret. En tout cas rien ne m'a indique qu'elle contribue activement a travailler dans le sens d'un compromis. Or, le compromis, c'est la paix, en dehors d'un compromis c'est la guerre ! " The Russian Ambassador wrote : " La situation, telle que j'ai pu 1'observer, me parait etre que toutes les Puissances travaillent en realite a la paix. Mais de toutes, c'est la France qui accepterait 1^ guerre avec le plus de philosophic. La France, comme il a ete, c'est reprise. Elle a, a tort ou a raison, confiance complete en son arme'e ; le vieux levain de | rancune reparait; elle pourrait bien juger les circon- stances plus favorables aujourd'hui qu'elles ne le seraient plus tard." %
A certain discussion seemed also to point to France's warlike aims. This conversation took place a few weeks before the perpetration of the murder in Serajevo, between Karolyi and the President of the Republic, Poincare*, the substance of which I learnt from Karolyi personally during the last weeks of the war. Poincare" tried to persuade Karolyi to induce Hungary to change her alliance, and to come in on the side of the Entente in the war which the President expected in 1915. If Hungary decided to desert the German Alliance and Austria, Poincare promised him complete independence. The President also pointed out that Germany could not be victorious in the war, as Italy would desert the Alliance.
The above shows that France had regarded the war> as inevitable, and the catastrophe was dreaded less and * 5
60 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
less. The main object of French policy was to prepare for the war. No documents have been found which prove that France intended to provoke the war which she considered inevitable, either in the year 1914, or at any other definite moment. No agreement is known
~"~ which would have forced France to such an action. All that is clear is that France was absolutely deter- mined to enter into the war as soon as Germany and Russia should become actively hostile, and this had been known in Russia for some time, with the effect
1 that Russia experienced a sense of great security and freedom of action, and finally it facilitated the out-
Mbreak of the war.
Nl Russia also had a motive for a European war. Byzantium, which Russia loved so dearly and which was the gateway to the sea and the outlet for the richest portion of her country, could only be won by means of a European war. Moreover, Jugo-Slavia could only be created out of a pool of blood a fact which was very well known in Petrograd.
In 1898, during the annexation crisis, the Russian Ambassador in Bucharest, Prince Urusoff, said to the Serbian Ambassador : " Nobody in his senses could have imagined that Austria-Hungary would surrender of her own free will the occupied provinces, and that they would fall to Serbia." This possibility can only " result in an unfortunate war for Austria-Hungary,
>ior in a successful revolution in Bosnia." During the same critical time, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iswolski, said to the Serbian Ambassador that
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 6^
it was well known Austria would never cede Bosnia and Herzegovina without war to Turkey, and much less to Serbia. The Czar said the same thing.
"The Czar," said a Serbian diplomat, "gave ex- pression to his great sympathy for Serbia, advised a peaceful attitude because our cause was just but our preparation was weak. The question of Bosnia and Herzegovina will only be decided at the point of the sword." Notwithstanding that Russia knew this, she\ did everything to support and strengthen Pan-Serbian ambitions. And the Czar continued : " Our advice I is : agreement with Turkey, peaceful attitude, military preparation, and wait."
When Gutschkow informed Serbia, in 1909, during the Bosnian crisis, that Russia could not interfere in this question, he added with reference to the future : " As soon as our armaments are complete, we will settle up with Austria-Hungary. Do not begin a war now, for this would be suicide. Keep your intentions secret and prepare yourselves, for the days of your joy are about to come." The Serbian Ambassador reported that Bobrinski had told him : " There was no hatred against Austria, but the fact that Austria humiliated us has let loose a terrible wrath and hatred against her, for which she will pay dearly."
On another occasion Iswolski expressed the following opinion to the Serbian Ambassador: "Serbia will be\ condemned to a miserable life until the hour of the disruption of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has struck. I The annexation has brought this moment nearer, and
68 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
when the moment actually arrives, Russia will open the Serbian question and solve it. Iswolski realizes
^*that the battle against the German nation is inevitable." During the Balkan War the Serbian Ambassador reported concerning the new Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sasanow : " He is inspired with con- fidence by our power after our great successes, and he believes that we will shake the foundations of Austria-
. Hungary. We are to content ourselves with what we will get and to regard it only as a stepping-stone, for
/ the future belongs to us."
In* the year 1913, also during the Balkan difficulty, Sasanow repeated that Serbia must work for the future " when she will receive considerable land from Austria- Hungary." Sasanow informed the Russian Ambas-
v sador in Belgrade, Hartwig, in 1913 : " Serbia has passed through the first stage of her historic course, and in order to achieve the end she will have to endure a terrible battle, which will involve risking her very existence. The promised land of Serbia lies within the territory of Austria-Hungary, and not where she is striving at present, and where the Bulgarians stand / in her path. In the circumstances it is of vital interest to Serbia to preserve her alliance with Bulgaria on the one hand, and on the other hand to prepare her- self with steady and patient labour to the degree that 'is necessary, so that she may be ready for the future battle which is inevitable. Time is working in favour of Serbia and towards the destruction of her enemies, who are already displaying certain signs of disruption.
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 69
A breach between Bulgaria and Serbia would be a chance for Austria, and the agony of Serbia would only be prolonged for many years." Is it possible to be v more explicit ?
In the same year the Serbian Ambassador in Petro- grad reported that an authoritative person had brought the following to his notice : " We are immediately faced by the danger of a general European War, and the reason that this war had been avoided at the expense of moral sacrifices, was to be traced, among other things, to the desire to give the allies in the Balkans opportunity for recovery, and to prepare them- selves for possibilities which may come to be realized within the near future."
The chief representative of the. Pan-Serbian idea, Pasics, wired to Belgrade in 1914 that the Czar had told him that he had " done his duty to the Slavs," by mobilizing during the Balkan War against Austria- Hungary. The Czar encouraged Pasics to induce\ Serbia to approach Roumania, because the Roumanians who were domiciled in Austria and Hungary were anxious to join up with Roumania. When the Serbian President boasted before the Czar that the Southern Slavs gravitated outwards, he noticed that the Czar was very pleased. Nicholas expressed the hope that* the Russian banks would now take a greater interest in Slavonic countries than they had done heretofore. He said that Austria treated her Slav citizens very badly, and he emphasized that this procedure was sure to be avenged. The Czar expressed the greatest joy*
7O DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
on hearing that Serbia possessed a powerful army. .When Pasics gave vent to the project that there should be an alliance by marriage between the Serbian and the Russian dynasties, so that the Queen would be the Czarina of all the Southern Slavs, the Czar accepted this suggestion according to the report of the Serbian statesman " with visible joy." This characteristic interview ended with the statement of the mighty Czar that he would " do everything for Serbia."
All this proves that in 1908 and 1909 Russia did not want a war a propos of the Bosnian annexation, but only because she considered herself to be too weak ;
Vbut, on the other hand, it shows that she had already approved of the Pan-Serbian idea. Russian diplomacy worked steadily in order to ensure that Serbia should not surrender her aggressive wishes, although she knew that the realization of these wishes could only
be rendered possible after the war. In connection with the Balkan War, Russia did not yet desire an armed conflict, but again, only because her prepara- tions were incomplete, at the same time, with incredible care, she fed the flame from which the present fire- brand was lit. By encouraging Serbia to keep alive the Pan-Serbian ideal, she made sure that this was
"Xdone at our expense and not at that of Bulgaria. ^ Russia's responsibility for the war is therefore not in question. Russia collected the materials for the
European conflagration with conscious tenacity.
She had determined upon our destruction, whether by war or by revolution.
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? "Jl
The only question that remains is whether the Government of the Czar had decided upon the war for 1914. Positive proof is not forthcoming on this point. At any rate, the main obstacle to peace must be sought in the fact that after Russia had sent Serbia upon the evil errand which led to the catastrophe she could not allow Serbia to become the victim of our punishment.
Russia, moreover, did not wish to accept a solution which took the sword out of the hands of the Kara- gyorgyevics.
England had least cause to desire the world war\ The German colonies were not sufficient to make it worth while. The price would not have been worth the gain. It would also have been unprofitable to attempt to destroy Germany's ability to compete in the economic race by means of the sword. To kill your own customer would be unwise. And the expenses of a world war would be so enormous that it could never be good * business. The destruction of the German fleet would, of course, be a serious interest, but the threat which lurked in the German fleet was paralysed by the naval activity of England and the system of alliances, even without the risk of war. The result of this situation was that no recent communications exist which reveal in any single detail that England had belligerent intentions.
When England found that she was unable to come to an agreement with Germany, she gathered together an enormous camp against her rival. The attitude of Great Britain added poignancy to the situation. This
72 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
procedure encouraged Germany's enemies so much that the idea of revenge became stronger in France and it facilitated the bloody game that Russia played with Serbia. But I am unaware of any statement made by a responsible British statesman which in any way indicates belligerent intentions.
In fact, one has to recognize that English policy took great pains to avoid the acceptance of any respon- sibility and as long as she did not risk the friendship Nof France, England acted in the interests of peace. . During the last conflict in Morocco, Grey adopted an attitude which did not calm the anxiety of the French President, Caillaux, sufficiently for him to dare to count with certainty upon the military support of England, and he therefore became very cautious.
During the period of the Balkan War, Poincare" was of the opinion that England would support Russia in case of war by diplomatic means, which, Poincare" added, did not necessarily preclude the possibility that England would go a step further. In the report which has been mentioned previously concerning the French readiness for action, Count Benckendorf emphasized the fact that the French Ambassador, Cambon, relied upon the assistance of England and trusted that feelings of honour or the consciousness of her national pride 'would press the sword into the hand of Great Britain. At the same time he laid stress on the fact that the British Government and public opinion wanted peace and were trying to effect a compromise. Although he was of opinion that England might well appear upon
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 73
the scene as the protector of France, it cannot be denied that British policy was rather a harbinger of caution than the herald of war.
Even during the last crisis, England appears to have pursued a careful policy, as she succeeded in avoiding any obligation up to the last moment which forced her to give active support to France, without losing the confidence of her allies.
The Russian Ambassador wired, on July 27, that the confidence which Berlin and Vienna had reposed in England's neutrality was justified no longer. At the same time he does not appear to have counted positively upon England's assistance. On the 3Oth, that is to say on the day before the French Ambassador, Cambon, was told by Sir Edward Grey that he was not in a position to promise that England would par- ticipate in the campaign, Cambon said to Benckendorf that he believed the position in Parliament was not sufficiently defined for Grey to speak openly at present. This was known to mean that the Govern- ment was not yet able to state with certainty .that it would support Russia and France. The Russian Ambassador said on the 3Oth : " Grey sees the position clearly," and knows "that caution is necessary." Public opinion regarded the whole of the Serbian affairN as purely a Slav question, and the Government could not participate as long as public opinion was not behind it. Only if France became endangered could the * question be decided in England. " The affair with Serbia" had no weight in public opinion. "In the ^
74 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
North of England the financial, commercial and indus- trial interests were against the war." In such circum- stances, said the Russian Ambassador, the " hopes which had been placed upon England might turn out to be deceptive." And it was possible that the expression of Russia's confidence in England might
r -paralyse Grey's action. The decision to enter into the war was brought about by the breach of Luxemburg and Belgian neutrality. For this reason Iswolski considered the breach (August 2) as "advantageous" for France.
These dates place a greater responsibility upon Sir Edward Grey as an individual than official communi- cations have revealed. These communications reveal that Russia knew earlier than we could possibly know that Grey intended to interfere against us, a fact which reduced the chances of peace, although nobody could know, either in Petrograd or in Paris, whether Grey's policy would remain supreme. Grey did not wish to bring about the European conflagration on any account. When he had the choice of offending France and Russia, with the possibility of losing them as allies for the future, or of risking the war in favourable circumstances, he chose the latter modus operandi. / I am not aware of an agreement or of any action or any statement made by any responsible person which could make it seem even probable that England had planned a war of aggression either for 1914 or for any subsequent date. If this had been the intention of Asquith's cabinet, the Irish question would not have
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 75
been forced and the possibility of war would have been prepared for more efficiently. I am therefore unable to- see in "perfidious Albion" the breaker of the peace who was ready for and knew everything.
Frederick II., Cavour, and Bismarck could approxi- mately gauge the consequences of their undertaking. The relation of the measurable Powers which fought against each other in the European War could, how- ever, not be ascertained so easily. The suffering and the risk which are involved in war are of such fantastic dimensions that it is scarcely credible that anybody wanted to bring about ithe European War unless he was convinced that it wa^s inevitable anyhow.
Accordingly, I would fiot care to level the accusation of having brought about the war intentionally against anybody. My personal impression is that not one of the statesmen who were in responsible positions wanted the war at that moment.
During the crisis, all Governments appeared to seek an agreement.
Even Russia does not seem to have wanted to force the war at any price.
From all this I deduce that the World War is ratherV the result of mistakes, hatred, corruption and distrust, than the outcome of political strategy. I do not know of a single political action which does not appear . justified by the assertion that the party in question was convinced that her opponent was determined upon war. Even the general mobilization of the Russian Army may conceivably be traced to the fear of the Russian ^
76 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
^Military Command that we intended to attack them, and that they believed that, unless they accelerated matters, the rapidity of action on the part of Austria
| might be decidedly detrimental to Russia. For who could deny that there was much in our attitude which
. led others to believe that we wanted the European
f > The real cause of the World War was not conscious political determination, but the instinct of distrust and self-preservation. This statement is rendered plausible by the fact that the war was not declared because political determination and political aims failed to
I arrive at a compromise, and because all negotiations were utterly and finally futile; the war was brought about because, in the course of the negotiations, the feeling of distrust and the instinct for self-preservation led to military measures which were diametrically opposed to the instincts of self-preservation and distrust all the other States.
A most instructive book could be written about those speeches which were the result and also the cause of mass-suggestions which called forth the belligerent atmosphere during the last decade, and which suc- ceeded in frustrating the peaceful intentions of most of the States.
The unpremeditated and frequent outbursts of hatred on the part of the French strengthened Germany in the belief that it was impossible to live peaceably with France. Her people were convinced that France would seize the first opportunity to eradicate the bitter memory
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 77
of Sedan. The utterances of many statesmen who led public opinion, the press and also persons outside the public arena, testify to the fact that France would never ' forget or forgive Germany for Sedan and Alsace- Lorraine.
The speeches of the Serbian Nationalists and the% Serbian press, as well as the contempt that was poured upon our ruler, Francis Joseph, deepened the conviction that the Serbian question could only be solved by a | resort to arms. The feeling between the two peoples was poisoned, not by any single political action but by thousands upon thousands of revelations of public sentiment.
Nothing corrupted the Austro-Italian friendship more than the irresponsible press which clung to the old reminiscences of political demagogy, the distrust and antipathy which was rife in the Nationalistic sections of the public and which were revealed so frequently in insults and street brawls. The atmosphere of mutual antipathy and mutual distrust made it all the more difficult to uphold the friendship between us and Italy and, at the same time, made it all the more easy to create a quarrel. When Field-Marshal Conrad relies upon the fact that events in regard to Italy have justified him, the question must be asked : did he not heighten the antagonistic feeling of our ally immeasurably, by allowing his intention of attacking Italy to become known publicly, and by conducting a press campaign against Italy ?
The relation between England and Germany was also
78 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
Nrfpoisoned chiefly by threatening words. It was not so much that the respective interests were really so funda- mentally opposed ; nor was it the action of the States in question which led to the great catastrophe, but rather | public feeling which had been excited by the irre- sponsible press. I will illustrate with a few examples the process which resulted in the enmity between these two great nations. To begin with, I will cast a glimpse xinto the English press.
The Saturday Review wrote in 1895 : " In case of a war with Germany we can only win and lose nothing." In 1897 the same paper wrote : " England and Germany have become rivals everywhere. These many small oppositions are the greatest casus belli which 'has ever existed." " If Germany collapses to-morrow, there will be no Englishman who will not be rich the day after."
In 1902 we read in the National Review: " Germany is the enemy. The leadership of the world belongs to the Anglo-Saxon and the Slav elements."
When England and Germany pursued a common policy with a view to protecting common interests in Venezuela, the English press interfered for this reason and voiced the suspicion that Germany was harbouring plans for conquest.
The Army and Navy Gazette published the following in 1904 : " The moment has arrived for us to have a reckoning with the German fleet."
The Daily Chronicle wrote in 1905 : " If we had destroyed the German fleet last year, the peace
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 79
of Europe would have been secured for sixty years."
The passionate anti-German propaganda which had been carried on for many years was created by Lord Northcliffe, than whom there is no statesman more responsible for the outbreak of the war. The revela- tions which came to light as a consequence of party quarrels, and the accusations made at the time of the Morocco Crisis in 1911, caused the impression among public opinion in Germany that England wanted to catch the German fleet unawares and to destroy it.
Chamberlain's speech and Billow's answer at the time of the Boer War in connection with military atrocities, together with the threat made by the Secretary for War, Lee, that the British Fleet could y annihilate the enemy squadrons before the public was aware that war had been declared, all tended to incite the two nations against each other. These statements were, however, rather the result of distrust of the one " nation for the other, and the attempt to express the feeling of the country rather than the expression of belligerent intentions. The fault, however, does not."* lie on one side only. Germany also supplied ample material for suspicion. Even the words of the Ka&ser, who was peaceful and Anglophile at first, did much towards the creation of British antipathy. The Kaiser knew how to express his thoughts with so much pregnant force and in such winged words, that every- thing he said was remembered, and often appeared to disclose intentions which the Kaiser never cherished.
8O DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
How much ill-feeling was caused against the person of the Kaiser because he once said that he expected his soldiers to shoot their fathers and their brothers if he ordered them to do so ! And again, the reported state- ment that German soldiers were to give no quarter to the Boxers during the Chinese Expedition. The first statement was only made for the purpose of emphasizing the absolute necessity of discipline; the second was merely the result of a momentary passion and corre- sponded in no way to the real inner life of the Kaiser,
>i>ut did him immense harm. The famous telegram addressed to Kruger and the statement that Germany's future lay on the sea had an especially unfortunate
effect in England. The attitude of the German press also did incredible damage in England during the Boer War. Moreover, the fierce words of the Crown Prince created the impression that the peaceful policy of
^Germany would not last for a long time.
The agitation of the German Navy League gave rise to the idea that the Navy was being built against England, just as Lord Roberts' agitation for the increase of the standing army was regarded in Germany as a preparation for an attack against the German Emperor.
The chances of peace were frustrated most success- fully by the pan-Germans by their articles and speeches, which expressed their fundamental idea that the German nation was the first in the world and destined to command everywhere. The pan-German idea was celebrated with terrible orgies, especially during the Centenary of the Battle of Leipzig (1913).
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 8l
During the Moroccan crisis, it was not so much the nature of the German attitude, but the way in which it was expressed, that offended British vanity. The per- sonal appearance of the Kaiser in the harbour and the despatch of a man-of-war to Agadir, reacted upon public opinion in England like an insult.
If I now summarize my investigation up to date-, after all that I have said, I arrive at the following . conclusions :
The tension, the danger of war and the distrust were\ so enormous and so constant in Europe, that Russia pursued the dangerous policy of associating herself with pan-Serbian ideas and fostering them secretly a procedure which was suffered consciously by the Great Powers of the West.
The passionate feeling which had thus been created then became uncontrollable and culminated in the atrocity of Serajevo.
This tragedy forced us to settle with the Serbian . danger, and we were met by a Russian attitude which condemned the murder and was consequently prepared to permit the humiliation of Serbia to a certain extent, but which refused to allow a weakening of Serbian aggressive power, which alone could have assured internal and external security. Russia also needed the alliance and the strength of Serbia for the future. France supported Russia, and England supported France, which was the natural consequence of the general policy of these States and the result of the fear of German supremacy. 8
82 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
No power wanted the World War, possibly not even Russia. Up to the last moment attempts were made to find a peaceable solution. The difficulties of the situation, however, were more powerful than the deter-
Mmination of the statesmen. Before the attempt at negotiations had failed finally, the general distrust and the fear of being attacked unprepared and the con-
. viction that the European War, which had been expected so often, was inevitable after all, resulted in a military situation which could not be arrested in its progress. The mobilization of Russia brought the
^final decision with it.
If a compromise had been found for the Serbian question, it would have been possible to postpone but not to prevent the war. Real peace could only have been attained by a change of the previous policy of the Great Powers.
- The heaviest burden of responsibility must be borne
by Russia, because she' positively fostered Serbian
^aggression and she took the last and decisive step prior
the outbreak of war.
> The fundamental causes of the European con- flagration were, firstly : the general hatred and the general conviction that the war would break out sooner or later. This attitude caused the pursuance of policies
"which were bound to bring their own revenge in their wake, for they were prepared to sacrifice the future of the greater Powers. The second main cause of the
^Great War was the Anglo-German rivalry.
The question could be put whether I do not really
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 83
agree, by virtue of what I have said above, with the assertion of social democracy that the World War was a natural and inevitable consequence of the capitalist system, and that therefore anyone who wanted to pre- serve peace must help to bring about the supremacy of social democracy.
I believe the answer is in the negative. At the same time it must be admitted that the seeds of the World\ War grew upon the soil of Imperialism, and upon the soil of that Imperialism which competes in the interests of enormous industrial production for colonies. The nature of this Imperialism was to guard its territories by protective tariffs, whose competition was carried. on during a time of complete international anarchy. There can be no question that only modern indus- trialism and capitalism rendered the war technically possible, and that the insane competition of im- perialism weakened the feeling of human solidarity and raised the sentiment of nationality above the clouds.V The foregoing, however, does not prove that the World War was a necessary consequence of capitalism and bourgeois society. The wars of to-day are as detri- mental to capitalism and .bourgeois society as to humanity in general. The colossal cost of war, the loss of human material, and the political excitement which goes hand in hand with war, are of the utmost danger to production and internal order. They involve, moreover, such a collapse of civilization that the war is as little in the interests of the capitalistic world as the world of labour. The wars which we had known
84 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
hitherto were means and milestones in the development of imperialism. The war which we have now experi- enced would, however, dig the grave of imperialism if it were repeated again. But the enormity of its size and its technical means combined to make war such an immeasurable misfortune that no single country and no economic system can gain any advantage from it. No .party but the anarchists could possibly desire such a calamity. Anyone who wishes to preserve the existing social order can be nothing but a friend of peace. The attempt of social democracy to strive after international solidarity and solution is certainly a factor of great importance for future peace. Nevertheless, it is an attempt which could only secure peace if it did not deny the essence of peace itself by making class hatred and class trouble one of its principles, which have since led to the destruction and the wars of the Bolsheviks. Social democracy could only achieve a lasting peace if v it had discovered the secret of settling the divergent interests and sentiments which are based upon territorial and national possessions, and even social democracy, is incapable of achieving this end. The wish to achieve it is not sufficient.
The great questions whether the social order based upon the principle of private ownership should con- tinue or whether communism should be established, and the question as to what part both principles are to play in the political economy of all nations, must in my opinion be settled in accordance with the demand of local circumstances, human nature, economics, and the
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 85
laws pertaining to them, but not from the point of view of war or peace.
One of the lessons of the war has been that every order of society must foster the interests of peace equally. We have learnt that every effort must be made to achieve one aim, the aim which removes the obstacles between class and state interests and which furthers the safety of humanity, in order to regulate armaments automatically and to bring peace under the protection of new institutions and to remove inter- national anarchy. Capitalism, the regime of the bourgeoisie, and patriotism, cannot support a repetition of the present world war any more than social demo- cracy. A war of such dimensions ceases to be a rational weapon of imperialism. The enormity of modern war is also the bankruptcy of imperialism, for the victors themselves are unable to draw any serious advantages from it. Moreover, the destructive power of such a war will increase from year to year in proportion to the advance of modern science.
During the war, many people thought that they could trace the cause of the war to the spheres of culture. Either side glorified its own culture, and considered it incompatible with that of the other party. This theory, however, is the product of the diseased mental atmosphere of the war, and is entirely untenable. When some time ago a German book with this tend- ency came into my hands for instance, the work of H. Chamberlain concerning the superiority of the German genius and German culture, for which it is
86 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
claimed that it is the only way to salvation, the thought suddenly flashed through my mind as to whether by chance we were not fighting unconsciously under the influence of German suggestion for a mental tyranny which justified the greed of a certain type. However, I very soon sought and found similar writings emanat- ing from the Entente which calmed my anxiety. The Entente has a complete literature which traces the war to German mentality and which emphasizes the one-sidedness of German culture, and the political immorality of Frederick II, Nietsche, and Treitschke. These works have taught that the culture, love of freedom and democracy of the more cultured West are destined to fulfil their function by suppressing German barbarism in the interests of humanity.
In opposition to the above, I am of opinion that mankind must utilize all these various cultures equally. Mankind is as much in need of the German genius as of the genius of France, England and Italy ; and I believe, further, that the mental independence of the small nations forms a factor that must be counted as an asset to the world. The main characteristic of the advance of modern times and its superiority to Roman culture lies in its versatility. It is not my intention to draw a comparison between these cultures and to dis- tinguish between them, for everyone contains, notwith- standing their possible weaknesses, an immeasurable value, and every one of them contains much that is noble and useful and beautiful, and we certainly have need of them all. He who wishes to repress any
WHO PERPETRATED THE WAR? 87
individual and fundamental development robs man- kind. The rivalry between various forms of culture has nothing in common with armed warfare. The era has passed when Arabian and Christian cultures meant to attack each other by force of arms, and when the Catholic faith made war upon Protestantism. If any culture had strayed into wrong paths, the weapon of the mind must be brought to bear upon it and not bombs and aeroplanes.
There is no point of view which is more unjust or more one-sided than the political cynicism which regards political selfishness as a German monopoly. It is true, however, that there were several German writers who emphasized and justified political egoism ; at the same time, it was by no means only German writers who did so. Machiavelli alone proves that, in the domain of political theory, the palm of cynicism cannot be awarded to the Germans. In the realm of practical politics there is also no nation which has the right to sit in judgment upon another, because the history of every people relates countless selfish actions. If we wish to condemn the unquestionably cynical remarks and the unscrupulous actions of Frederick II of Prussia, we must not forget the enormous services which he rendered and the tremendous love which he brought to his people, and we must not forget that Louis XIV or Napoleon I shed at least as much blood for the sake of ambition, and that they have broken their word at least as often as Frederick the Great.
88 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
When we consider the question of the war, we must preclude the question of the value of various forms of culture. Peace will never become a permanent peace until all the races cease to indulge in chauvinistic exaggeration which leads to mutual contempt. They must realize that they must learn from each other and that they depend upon each other. They must learn that Frenchmen, Englishmen and Americans would not be where they are at present if they had been unable to benefit by the great achievements of German culture. The same argument also applies to the other camp. All the world over, mankind must return to labour shoulder to shoulder, and establish a solid foundation for humanity.
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE.
IT is far easier to discover which nation displayed the greatest diplomatic ability than to discover what measure of responsibility rests upon each country. In the domain of diplomacy the Entente have proved themselves to be our masters. It cannot be denied that, even before the war, England succeeded in carry- ing off incomparable diplomatic victories over Germany.
Let us compare the relation of England and Germany between 1900 and 1908. In the first years England fought a hard battle against the Boers. It seemed as if the power of the greatest empire of the world was about to be shattered by the heroism of a small nation, and that the story of David and Goliath was going to be repeated. Public opinion of the world turned against England. England could say to herself at the beginning of this century what Germany could say to herself in 1914, namely, that she had lost the sympathy of the world, but there was this difference : Germany still had allies, whereas England was completely isolated. Lord Rosebery complained that his country was hated in an unparalleled manner throughout the whole world. The leader of the opposition, Campbell-
9O DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
Bannerman, cried out in these bitter words : " We have lost our blood, our treasure, our might and our prestige and the source of our strength has become dried up; we have forfeited the sympathy, the recog- nition and the esteem of the world."
In France public opinion reached white heat against England on account of Fashoda and in consequence of the pro-Boer sympathies which were prevalent in Paris. The hatred of England was so strong as to put the hatred of Germany into the background. Although this hatred was not so deep, it was all the .more poignant. The French Parliament took the part of the Boers, and the French press cast aspersions even upon the old Queen Victoria.
England's old rival, Russia, began to get a footing in China, Tibet and Persia. She entered into com- petition with England everywhere, so much so that India was in danger. Petrograd wished to intervene on behalf of the Boers, and brought about a convention in Berlin and Paris for the purpose.
The tendency in America was to justify the Boers and to condemn England.
The position of England was just as difficult as Germany's position was advantageous. Every path was open to Germany in all directions. She was on excellent terms with Russia, because that country needed Germany's sympathy on account of her Asiatic expansion. France was never more nearly in sympathy with Germany than in 1899, after the Dreyfus case, while the army was disorganized and social peace was
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 91
disturbed by the militant policy of the Church. Of all the statesmen France has ever had, it was their President, Waldeck-Rousseau (1899-1902), who was most inclined to find a modus vivendi for co-operating with his mighty neighbour. Austria-Hungary was not tied as yet by the danger of the Balkans, but she placed all her power at the service of the Alliance. The Monarchy had made an agreement with Russia. The Balkan States pursued a peaceable and modest policy. Germany played a leading part in Constantinople. At this time Germany obtained the concession for building the Bagdad Railway, and simultaneously the whole of the civilized world fought against the Boxer Rising under the leadership of Germany. French soldiers were under the command of a German Field-Marshal. Holland considered a plan, as a result of the sufferings of the Boers, of forming a tariff union with Germany. How changed was the position eight or ten years later ! England proved once more the greatness of her nation. She transported a greater number of troops oversea than had ever been done before. English democracy had proved that she was capable of endur- ance and also able to support her own imperialism. The Colonies remained loyal. England made an agree- ment with America. The feeling of solidarity between the two Anglo-Saxon races became more and more deeply rooted. England gained an ally in Japan, who proved to be stronger than Russia and who saved India. The antagonism of France declined, and the Entente Cordiale was established. The rivalry of centuries
92 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
came to an end, and antagonistic Russia gradually became a friend. Italy, although a member of the Triple Alliance, sought the friendship of France and came under British influence. Serbia was at the dis- posal of England through Russia, and paralysed the power of our Monarchy.
What brought about this complete change ? England had scented the foul air of decay, and she recognized that if Imperialism gained strength in all directions, and if the desire for oversea possessions became supreme in every State, her splendid isolation became untenable. England knew, moreover, that she could not save herself without making sacrifices, and that she must pay if she wanted to gain real value. In other words, she read the signs of the times.
England did not fear risk or shame, nor did she shrink from sacrifice. She gained Japan by being ready to ally herself with the yellow race against a white nation. This decision was certainly not an easy one, but it was necessary, and for this reason the decision was taken without delay in London. In order to defend her possessions in India with the sword of Japan, England accepted the danger of having to face a Franco-Russian coalition in opposition to herself and Japan. England wanted to approach France, but not- withstanding, she risked making the alliance with Japan. Her calculations proved to be correct. Japan succeeded in arresting the progress of France's ally, Russia, and England succeeded at the same time in gaining France, Japan's friend, as ally. It was
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE Q3
partially the personal ability of King Edward which won France. Partially it was also due to England's decision to meet France's colonial demands even at the expense of real interests. England made heavy sacri- fices by abandoning the idea of including Morocco within the sphere of her own power, and by allowing France, who had been her rival hitherto, to get a foot- ing in Fashoda and near to Gibraltar, and finally, by her offer to risk everything in the interests of France in Morocco. In order not to cause jealousy in France, England sought to find a counterbalancing factor in the Moroccan question, by transferring responsibility to Spain. These sacrifices and this circumspection have been amply rewarded in England, for she succeeded in binding the rival of centuries to her with chains.
England also knew how to attach Russia to herself by a similarly bold decision. England had convinced France in Fashoda that it was futile for France to attempt to occupy a leading position in international policy without her. Having surmounted this test of strength, England gained French sympathy by con- cessions and extreme courtesy. England's procedure with regard to Russia was just the same. It was the duty of Japan to teach Czardom that modesty which could alone make a union with England possible. But even after the Russian forces had been sapped, her sympathy could only be gained by considerable sacri- fices. Hitherto, England had frustrated Russia's desire for expansion in every way, but during this period
94 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
England was forced to permit Russian expansion, and even to assist her in those places in which such expan- sion was least dangerous to England. As there was no agreement between Germany and England, it would have been dangerous for England to oppose the Russian attempts at expansion in the future, because Germany and Russia might have formed an alliance with a view to threatening the connection between Suez and India and China. Napoleon I had often contem- plated forming a Franco-Russian alliance with a view to attacking England via Turkey and Egypt, and through Central Asia. The same danger might become acute once more in a new form. The arm of Germany would extend as far as Bagdad at an early date. What would happen to England's position if the Czar in- creased the pressure of the Kaiser by threatening Central Asia ? It would have been easy for Russia to come to terms with Germany and to advance with her on the Constantinople-Bagdad line. The adoption of such a course might have led much more easily to Russia's revenge against Japan and to securing for herself the enormous resources of China and domi- nation in Afghanistan and Persia. All these objects were within Russia's reach if she could form an alliance with Germany against England, who had forced her hitherto to complete inaction. While the Boer War was in progress, the Russo-German alliance was about to be created. England was faced by the most acute danger. In order to avoid this danger, England was obliged to render possible and even to facilitate the
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 95
expansion of Russia wherever it was least dangerous. England feared Russia's advance into Asia in the direction of China or Persia far more than her terri- torial aggrandizement in the Balkans. Having induced Japan to check the advance of Russia in Manchuria, and having paralysed Russia's scheme in Persia (1907), England supported Russian ambitions in the Balkans. England was all the more ready to adopt this policy because she was thereby put in a position to defend herself the more easily against the danger that lay in Constantinople. If Russia had really succeeded in carrying'off substantial territorial victories from Turkey, thereby penetrating the first line of defence of the Indian Empire, England would still have had time to form a second line of defence. In the event of the dreams of Peter the Great and Catherine II coming to be realized, in spite of the fact that Pitt, Palmerston and Disraeli had fought against their realization, England would attempt to re-create the empire of Alexander the Great. With Egypt at her back, she would lay hands upon Arabia and Mesopotamia, so that Malta, Cyprus and Egypt should become connected with India by an unbroken British Empire.
The new British system of alliances was faced by considerable difficulties. One of England's friends, Russia, had to make peace with another of England's friends, namely, Japan. Russia and Japan had to forget the bloody events of the recent past. The fact that England succeeded in carrying out this policy is in itself the highest praise of her diplomatic ability.
96 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
An agreement was made between Russia and Japan which facilitated the growing intimacy between England and the other two powers.
English diplomacy succeeded, moreover, in gaining the friendship of Japan and North America, in spite of the strained relations of the two last-named States. England entered into an agreement with Japan by which she undertook to defend her in case of North American aggression, and at the same time England succeeded in gaining the friendship of the United States. England made considerable sacrifices to gain this end during the Boer War. England had the right to bring the new junction of the world's transport, namely, the Panama Canal, at any rate partially, under her influence ; but Great Britain abandoned this valuable privilege in favour of the United States by leaving the Canal entirely under American influence, merely to gain the goodwill of the United States.
England did not have to make any sacrifices in order to gain Italy. It was France, rather, who did this by ceding Tripolis. Moreover, no particular ability was needed in order to gain Italy. At the same time, it needed considerable art to induce Italy to enter into intimate relations and friendship with the Entente with- out ceasing to be a member of the Triple Alliance.
It would be exceedingly interesting to gain an insight into the details of this diplomatic work. It is an achievement which deserves a place by the side of the enormous performance of Bismarck. This great German statesman succeeded in subduing his political oppo-
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 97
nents one after another. He succeeded in holding France, Austria-Hungary and Russia apart, and at the end of all his victories he proved his ability by estab- lishing an alliance which has governed the world in order to preserve peace and the security of Germany's position.
Theorists delight in comparing the courses of the nations to the courses of the stars, which are guided by eternal laws. Such a method, however, is seriously at fault. The automatic consequence of the action of the nations is not the cause of action by the state in the way in which the combination of the centrifugal and centripetal forces brings about the movement of the stars, but the action of a state is determined by the view which is taken of the interests concerned, and this is indeed a movable feast. These views are subject to the irresistible influence of the feelings and moods and attitudes of the statesmen. And for this reason the art of politics is not only concerned with the correct calculation concerning the interests of the state, but also with bringing influence to bear upon the states concerned. A statesman must seek to bring about such a set of circumstances as will appear to be in the interests of the state when viewed in the light of the policy he wishes to pursue. On the other hand, his ability depends on his success in influencing other states in the manner he desires. He must know how to give such a tendency to the views and feelings of foreign states that they are led to pursue a course of action which is in agreement with his own convictions. 7
98 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
A statesman must possess a tremendous knowledge of human nature, tact, ability, and the agility which enables him to apply the means in his power correctly and to understand the leaders of foreign nations. He must be adaptable, agile and cautious and, in certain circumstances, he must also be bold, in order that he may inspire confidence, sympathy and respect amongst the members of foreign nations. At the present day those means find favour in the eyes of statesmen which enable them to play upon the psychology of the masses and which are suitable for exercising the power of suggestion over public opinion.
Englishmen have excelled in the application of these means. They have proved themselves to be far superior in these matters to the Germans during the last epoch in their history. When Germany no longer possessed such a genius as Bismarck, the diplomatic training, and the greater political talents of the English race made themselves felt. It was not so much the superiority of single statesmen as the political weight of the nations which were united in the Entente, and especially the ability of the English nation, which brought about unfavourable diplomatic results for us.
One of the most powerful means of English diplo- macy is the enormous political prestige of her nation. German genius is just as deep and just as wide as that of an Englishman or a Frenchman. The culture of Germany is as old, as versatile and as profound as the culture of any other nation in the world. Her greatest men belong to the greatest that have ever lived. Know-
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 99
ledge was more general and more profound in Germany at that time than in any other country. Capacity for organization, discipline, and the art of united action, had achieved an incomparable degree of perfection in the past fifty years in Germany. None the less, in the sphere of politics Germany was unable to attain her natural position for a long time. Ever since the days of the Hohenstaufen she had ceased to occupy a lead- ing position. The Germany of the Hohenzollerns was always regarded as an upstart who threatened the traditional rights of other nations. The prestige of Germany was not as large nor as stable nor as traditional as that of Englishmen, which has never ceased to develop for centuries past. The ability of Englishmen was greater than that of the Germans in Paris, Rome, Constantinople and Petrograd. More- over, Englishmen generally inspire more sympathy because their inner life is rather freer and the idea of militarism does not permeate them.
England also spent much more money on her wars than Germany. She also conducted a great many more of them than Germany, and she subjugated many more foreign races. The English race is the most imperialistic in the world ; in fact, one may say that since Rome, she is the greatest conqueror, and the only really successful conqueror the world has known. At the same time, England's constitution and her internal organization are the freest because the State and the Government are absolutely bourgeois and not in any way militaristic. England is the only great
IOO DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
nation in Europe where general military service is not obligatory, and the Army has, relatively speaking, very little political influence in England, with the result that this country does not create that militaristic and hard impression which was created by the German Empire. England was able to gain the sympathy of modern democracy more readily than Germany. Behind King Edward there was a military power just as large as that which was at the back of the Kaiser. Ability and tact in foreign politics enabled King Edward to have as decisive a word in all questions of peace and war as the Kaiser, who always came arrayed in the full glory of his authority, and at the same time the King of England always created the impression of a middle- class gentleman and always appeared in plain clothes, whereas the Kaiser always embodied the idea of the War Lord.
The difference that has been described above can always be traced among the members of the nations which their rulers represent. The German diplomat could easily be led on to show his power, and he loved to point to the sharp sword of his powerful nation. The fist of an Englishman may be as rough as that of a Prussian Junker, but his glove is made of softer leather. The Englishman has much more pleasant manners; he is not as flattering or as agile as the Frenchman, nor does he possess as much esprit as the latter, nor does he display the profound and versatile knowledge of a German ; but social intercourse with an Englishman is the surest and most pleasant, and
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE IOI
this is an important item for a diplomat. The English type is imitated everywhere. Anglomania and snobbery are diseases that have spread far and wide, but they are also powerful weapons of English diplomacy. Many people are glad to be mistaken for Englishmen. A large proportion of our diplomats are very much impressed by the English gentleman. Most of our diplomats are proud, if they meet an English lord, and they believe blindly whatever a Salisbury or a Grey says to them. The natural, easy and simple appear- ance of Englishmen gives the impression of honesty. However, in the blood of every Englishman there is so much political experience and such a tradition of self- government as has never been inherited by the sons of another nation. Every Englishman has been brought up in the school of international politics and self- government in a measure in which no son of the same social strata of another nation, either in the past or in the present, has ever done.
The phenomenal successes which were achieved during the reign of King Edward VII I do not trace to the genius of single statesmen, but rather to these general national characteristics which have been bred in the nation and developed by their freedom and their power in the \vorld. Together with French diplomacy, which has also admirable traditions and a sound school, English diplomacy knew how to exercise its influence over the press and the large mass of the people of foreign countries. No other alliance and no other State had so much material for the purpose of influencing
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the outside world as the Entente. The Entente pos- sessed the main cables and the great international financial trusts; they controlled the largest newspaper organizations and telegraph agencies, and were assisted by the enormous prestige which surrounds Englishmen and Frenchmen. No group of States has ever had at its disposal a force that was so suitable for propaganda as those forces which are aided by the pride and solidarity of the Anglo-Saxon race.
The classical example of how a foreign State can win public opinion will always be the action of the Entente in Rome. The Entente succeeded in obliterating the memory of half her past and the necessity of executing her contractual duties in a short time. They succeeded, moreover, in gaining such power over public opinion that the influence of the Entente proved stronger than the constitutional elements during a moment of crisis.
Unfortunately, these diplomatic victories were facilitated by the policy of Germany. At a time when it would have been easiest to frustrate the grouping of the new States, Germany did not give enough con- sideration to this question. While Englishmen were making great sacrifices in order to gain greater ends, Germany did not want to deny herself anything, but rather to secure all her interests simultaneously. The aim of German policy was to preserve the existing alliances and to establish her continental predominance by this means. On the other hand, Germany intended to develop her power at sea to such an extent that in case of emergency she should be in a position to tackle
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 103
England single-handed, so that it should be possible for her to acquire colonies independently of Great Britain. In the interests of her economic and im- perialistic development, Germany intended to exploit every possibility, and she believed that this purpose was best served by seeking allies who were weaker than herself. The allies that Germany was looking for were allies whose friendship did not have to be bought by serious sacrifices, and allies which subsequently passed under German control. Germany was afraid that an ally who was equal to herself in strength, or even superior, might exploit Germany's strength and then desert her. Nobody believed in Berlin that the powers of the world would unite against Germany, even in the event of Germany failing to acquire their friendship. Germany did not intend to destroy any other great power or to damage their interests. In the knowledge of her anxiety for peace and the consciousness of her strength, Germany counted on the fact that the great powers of the world, which had many opposing interests, would not sacrifice much that was of value to them in order to ally themselves against Germany.
The traditional opposition between England and France, and England and Russia were estimated in Berlin to be so strong that the anti-German coalition of these powers was not regarded as an immediate danger. Even at a time when Berlin recognized that France approached England and that England approached Russia, one did not believe in such a solidarity of interests as would induce these nations
IO4 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
to decide upon common action. If Germany had intended to conquer Russia and to acquire Russian territory, or to shake the foundations of Russia's position in the world, Germany would have made every effort to gain the friendship of England, just as Bismarck spared no means at his disposal in order to keep Napoleon III at a distance until he had finished with Austria, and in order to appease Russia until he had vanquished France.
If the Kaiser had wished to fight England, he would most certainly have been prepared to make the greatest sacrifices in order to ensure the neutrality or the alliance of Russia; as, however, he only wished to foster the peaceable development of his country, and as he was of the opinion that his own might was sufficient to protect his interests, he placed a greater value upon the preservation of his own independence than upon the conclusion of new alliances.
This policy would have been justified if the rest of the world had entertained the same opinion of Germany which the Germans entertained about themselves. Unfortunately, however, this was not the case. The Germans would not believe that the world feared and distrusted her. They did not recognize the fact that foreign States saw in certain actions of Germany a desire for conquest, whereas, as a matter of fact, the Germans only wished to make themselves felt economically. Moreover, foreign States suspected Germany of an attempt to establish monopolies where the Germans only thought of participation. The
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE IO5
Germans failed particularly to realize with what anxiety England regarded her policy, which could so easily have endangered England's position. No true German would believe that England was prepared, even at the cost of heavy sacrifices, to safeguard herself by the creation of strong alliances.
In this manner it came about that at decisive moments the strong will and great activity of England was not opposed by an equally strong will and an equally great activity. Germany could easily have found numerous opportunities, especially in the first years of the century, in order to prevent the alliances which were already created from threatening her. In fact, Germany could have gained the sympathy of England. England made an effort to acquire Ger- many's friendship (1898-1901) and this very fact is England's greatest justification of her subsequent policy. Before England set out to create a league against Germany, Chamberlain offered Germany an alliance, but unfortunately without sucess.
Germany rendered England an enormous service during the Boer War by her correct attitude, notwith- standing the fact that the general feeling of the people was against the Government. In fact, when Russia, in conjunction with France,, intended to intervene, Germany prevented this plan, by making it a condition of her co-operation that France should give adequate guarantees for Germany's possessions, including Alsace-Lorraine. Germany did not demand a counter- service for this great help from England, unless we
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are to regard the agreement relating to the possible purchase of the Belgian colonies as a counter-service. It should, however, be observed that this agreement remained an agreement and nothing more. Germany did not conclude an alliance, nor did she solve the great colonial question, as, for instance, the question of Morocco, which England would have been glad to have seen settled favourably to and by Germany and in such a way as to satisfy France.
Von Billow, the Chancellor, was afraid of a union with England. Like Bismarck, he did not consider a union with England as sufficiently safe in view of the fact that England was subject to changing party governments. But I believe that they made a mistake in holding this opinion. Subsequent events have proved this completely. Politically, England has been schooled so well, and is imbued by so much imperial- istic tradition, that questions of foreign policy are only rarely made the subject of party politics, and once public opinion has been secured to adopt a certain tendency in foreign politics, there is more guarantee in this fact than in any secret treaty or the determination of the ruler.
Billow was afraid that England would exploit Germany to prevent Russia's progress in Asia, which threatened England but not Germany, and, having done so, that England would leave Germany in the lurch. This fear, however, was based upon very slender foundations. As England was interested chiefly in the Asiatic question, it was easy to allow
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 107
England's predominance in all concrete questions, and to confine oneself to playing a smaller part.
German policy, however, did not intend to bind itself with England in any way. Germany was deter- mined to pass through the dangerous time of the build- ing of her Navy by able diplomacy, and, having executed this plan, she meant to emancipate herself from England entirely.
Billow did not intend to go to war with England later on. He wanted merely to acquire a position in the world which was not dependent upon England, and for this reason he was not in a position to tie himself to Great Britain.
After the favourable opportunity had been allowed to pass without making use of it, it was already more difficult to gain the friendship of England, but I am firmly convinced that this could have been done at a later period by a serious convention with regard to the Navy. In the year 1912, when the Morocco question had been settled, and on the eve of the new com- plication in the Balkans, an attempt was made to reach such an agreement. Bethmann-Hollweg, who was Chancellor at the time, made an effort to approach England, but he was not successful. England desired to come to an agreement with regard to the building of the fleet. Germany was prepared to do the same, but only subject to a previous political agreement to the effect that England would take up an attitude of sympathetic neutrality in case Germany was attacked on the continent. England, however, was not prepared
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to undertake such an obligation definitely. In view of the fact that all the great powers were on her side, and that there was no opposition between England ancl France or England and Russia, it was not as necessary for her to pursue the policy of an alliance with Germany with as much determination as at the time of Chamber- lain's attempt. England was afraid that, by entering into such an agreement, which was opposed to the traditions of British policy and which made her accept more far-reaching undertakings than those which she had undertaken towards France and Russia, she would endanger her friendship with these two powers.
According to the English point of view, her friend- ship would have been the automatic result of removing all the concrete questions at issue. England's friend- ship and mutual trust would have been firmly estab- lished provided an agreement with regard to the fleet had been arrived at, and for this reason England did not consider that it was necessary to express her good- will in a previous agreement. According to German opinion, however, a political alliance would have had to precede the agreement with regard to the Navy. Which party was in the right and what method should have been adopted to secure this settlement? Both parties wished to act in accordance with the traditions of their own customs. And I must say that I believe that both systems would have led to the desired goal. The misfortune of the situation was that public opinion trusted Germany so little, and that public opinion was animated by such antipathy that there was no tendency
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 1 09
to make an exception for Germany as had been made for Japan. Accordingly, England did not wish to accept the German method, while public opinion in Germany rejected the method desired by England. For this reason it was impossible to improve the mutual relation of the two countries, in spite of the fact that, in my opinion, I believe both Governments honestly strove to do so.
The sympathy of Russia might also have been gained. If Billow had accepted the Russian proposal which has been mentioned above during the Boer War, he would have created a cleft between England and Russia by means of which Russia and Germany would have entered into closer relations. Billow, however, was afraid that Russia wanted to exploit the German Empire against England and afterwards, when Billow had plucked the chestnut from the glowing ashes, he suspected Russia of intending to desert Germany.
During the Russo-Japanese War, England took the side of Japan and even threatened Germany because of the help which she had afforded to Russia. The German Kaiser made an attempt at that time to gain the friendship of the Czar, and an agreement which was full of promise was made between them in the year 1905. The matter, however, was not pursued because Russia was already too much under the influence of French money and did not dare to break with France. The Kaiser managed the weak Czar, the autocrat, the sovereign, in a most masterly manner; at the same time, he failed to find a solid basis for a common policy of both nations.
JIO DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
I have always regarded an alliance with one of the great powers as essential, because I felt that the independence which we preserved towards these powers put us at a disadvantage and created too much matter for controversy. Personally, I always supported an alliance with England. When the Kaiser was in Vienna, after the annexation of Bosnia, I had a con- versation with him after the dinner at court, during which I mentioned that, having barely escaped the danger of war, it would be highly desirable to improve our relations with England, in order to avoid a repetition of the same danger. The German Kaiser, however, broke off the discussion, and I noticed that the steps I had suggested either did not correspond with his intentions, or that he regarded them as impracticable.
I regarded the tension with England as a decided mistake. Germany was a power in the ascendant, and developed more and more economically, and it was therefore intelligible and only a natural, instinctive desire on the part of Germany to make her power felt upon the sea and to emancipate herself entirely from England. But at the same time this effort was a bad speculation. It could not be expected that the German Navy would rival the British in size and power, or even exceed the proportion of power accepted by England. The only thing that could happen was that England would increase her own shipbuilding activities exten- sively through Germany's competitive efforts. It was quite impossible that England should give up her
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE III
supremacy on the sea, because this question has always been a question of life or death for the British Empire. No matter how peaceable German policy was, it is nevertheless a fact that England did not trust the peaceful intentions of Germany, and that she was imbued by a feeling that, once the German fleet approached the English fleet in strength, Germany would be a much stronger factor in view of her infinitely greater army than England, and that Germany might possibly yield to the temptation of pursuing a less peaceful policy than she would do during the time of her naval weakness. The possibility had to be considered in London that a combat with England could come about much more easily in such circumstances, and that such a combat might be fatal for the British Empire. Germany might have known that England would remain successful in the com- petition of armaments, because firstly, Great Britain was much richer; secondly, because the English army was far less expensive than the German one ; and thirdly, because public opinion in England understood the necessity for the fleet far better than public opinion in Germany.
The preservation of a strong and powerful army was a tradition in Germany as well as a necessity, whereas the fleet was a new passion. Public opinion in Ger- many had to face the question sooner or later whether the Empire would not collapse under the burden which she would have to bear if she meant to support the upkeep of the most powerful army as well as one of the
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most powerful navies, if she wanted to exceed the building activity of England. If this competition led to war with England, before the balance of power had been altered, the result of all these efforts would only be either that more millions would find their graves in the depths of -the sea, or that the booty of England would contain an even greater measure of German energy. When Germany decided to pursue a naval policy, she deserted the sphere in which she was almost unconquerable, and acquired a vulnerable spot in her armour. Germany attempted to make herself felt where she was weak. In the interests of Germany I would have feared a powerful ally less than a powerful enemy. I did not believe that the acquisition and defence of any colonies which could be acquired with- out an international war showed promise of substantial gain. Germany could have derived far greater economic advantages from the colonies of other States than from her own, because even at that time England and America were more substantial purchasers of German goods than the German colonies. Serious emigration, which could only have been obviated by colonies for Germany, existed no longer. In my opinion, Germany would have succeeded in acquiring colonies far more easily if she had entered into an alliance with England, than by entering into open competition with Great Britain. Germany could have achieved this end as long as she did not acquire the necessary power to enforce that which was not given to her willingly. If the German Empire had entered
THE DIPLOMATIC SUPREMACY OF THE ENTENTE 113
into an agreement with England, she could have pro- ceeded to build a powerful fleet far more easily than during the continuation of an antagonistic relation* which contained without doubt the danger of a European war.
A friendly relation to England would also have served the purpose of strengthening the Triple Alliance because Italy, on arcount of her long coast, was dependent upon England and would hardly have been in a position to oppose Great Britain in case of war. The interests of Austria-Hungary would also have gained considerably by such a relation, because a Triple Alliance which could lean upon England for support would have been able to pursue such a policy in the Balkans as would have satisfied all our desires there completely.
An agreement with England could be achieved far more easily than an agreement with Russia, especially since the Russo-Japanese War.
There never really was any opposition of interests V between England and Germany. If there had been no naval competition between these two powers, and if England had not been convinced by her belief that she was forced, in order to protect her own position, to ally herself with Germany's enemies, Germany and England * would not have been found in opposite camps. England took up a point of view which was antagonistic to Germany in Morocco, only for the sake of France, and in the Balkans only for the sake of Russia. In both cases this attitude was against England's local interests, 8 V
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and England's own desires could have been satisfied far more easily by adopting a line of action parallel to
\that of Germany. The Anglo-German opposition was not created by the opposition of their interests but the antagonism called forth opposing interests. The difficulty of reaching an agreement was not to be found
' in such opposition of interests as existed, but rather in the mutual distrust and the antipathy which developed between the two nations to the detriment of the whole
All the experience of the foreign policy of the new German Empire up to the Chancellorship of Billow, proves how natural a friendly relation would have been between her and England. Bismarck owed the success of establishing German unity in a large measure to his friendship with Russia. This greatest of all Junkers felt more sympathy with the conservative policy of Czardom than the Parliamentary system of England. He did not trust in a friendship with England because
,. he considered British policy changeable and because he had no means of influencing public opinion in England ; whereas the Court of the Czar hid no secrets from him, and Bismarck always knew how to treat the Czar with masterly skill. Bismarck never really pursued an international, but only a continental, policy, and he expected more from the old friendship with Russia than from a friendship with England. For this reason Bismarck was a convinced Russophile even after 1870, when he stood at the head of the new Empire. Nevertheless, he developed very soon a policy
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that ran on parallel lines with England, and the union with Russia became automatically less solid. The foreign policy of Bismarck harmonized in a large/,- measure with British policy, and was accordingly in opposition to the policy of the Czar.
The Balkan policy of Austria-Hungary and the Balkan policy of the Czar split Bismarck from Russia. He made tremendous efforts to bridge the gulf, but without success, and he was forced finally to put himself on our side. If we had entered into the Russo-Turkish' War, Germany would have supported England and Austria-Hungary and made a stand against Russia. The main item of Bismarck's policy during his Chan- cellorship was the Treaty of Gastein, which was made as a protection against Russia and caused considerable joy in England. Later on, Bismarck attempted to renew his friendship with Russia, but in spite of some measure of success he came very near to opposing Russia, because of the support afforded by England to Austria-Hungary. Germany did not make an alliance with England, but gave England preference, so that England, Austria-Hungary and Italy could unite to take common action in the Balkans in order to create a balance against Russian influence.
Bismarck's English policy found full expression in the interesting letter which the Iron Chancellor wrote in 1877 to Salisbury while the latter was Prime Minister. In this letter Bismarck laid down the following principles : Germany will never permit that- France gains the ascendancy over England ; he
Il6 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
regarded with pleasure the fact that England, Austria- Hungary and Italy had combined for the purpose of
^protecting their interests in the Balkans. He regarded it as impossible that Germany would ever go to war against the power from which support was expected in
. case Germany should be attacked by Russia ; the peace of the world was threatened by the ambition of France and Russia, but not by England, Austria-Hungary and Germany, all three of which were thoroughly contented
Germany's policy should have been directed accord- ing to these principles during the last decade.
In my opinion an agreement with England would have been the most advantageous combination, and the worst possible situation was that Germany failed to define her position either with England or with Russia. It was this situation which led to the World War and to the conclusion of it which has been so fateful for us. If Germany could not make an alliance with England, she should have formed a solid alliance with Russia, even at the expense of serious sacrifices. Germany ought to have chosen between the policy of Tirpitz or the Hamburg-Bagdad policy.
The decision to pursue both these policies was bound to bring its own revenge.
Part II. The War.
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES.
THE war was inaugurated in such difficult circum- stances that it was not permissible to commit any further mistakes. Absolute supremacy in military and political leadership alone could have ensured satisfac- tory results for us. Unfortunately, however, our diplomacy failed us during the war. Nothing damaged the Central Powers so much as the invasion of weak and neutral Belgium, although there are sufficient precedents. As a rule, the belligerent parties dis- regard international law during war. There is no nation which has never done so, and there is no war in which international law has not been violated. No international principle which endangers success is ever respected in war, for the following reasons. To begin with, international law is a lex imperfecta, and there is no court which is in a position to pronounce judg- ment in such a case, and there is no power in a position to enforce the adhesion to the rules of inter- national law, because the existence of the state is in question. Moreover, the state is the highest judge of
Il8 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
her own actions, and every party to the war expects the worst from his opponent and must necessarily do so in accordance with experience.
I do not know of a single nation which would have lost a war or waged one under much more difficult circumstances because she respected international law.
England has not always regarded the violation of Belgian neutrality as such an appalling breach as she does to-day. An English official, a military attache", occupied himself not long ago with the question as to whether the neutrality of Belgium should not be violated against Belgium's wishes (1912). While England supported the Triple Alliance and regarded Russia as her enemy, Dilke (1887) asked what England would do if Germany should violate Belgian neutrality in a war against France. The Government press took up the point of view that this could not be avoided, and that England would have to content herself with securing Belgian neutrality and independence in the treaty of peace. Dilke summarized his experiences by saying that he realized that England was determined to get rid by any pretext of obligations which she had contracted.
In the present war, the breach of Belgian neutrality was not the only action which was legally question- able. Our enemies also violated international law. The neutrality of Greece and Corfu was not respected. The blockade of Central Europe was also an action that contravened international law. Nevertheless, I regard the invasion of Belgium as a great misfortune
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES
and a great mistake. To begin with, it cannot be denied that we committed the first illegal action by the invasion of Belgium, and that this fact could serve as a justification or excuse of all subsequent breaches of the law. This action turned the public opinion of the whole world against us, which brought a decisive influence to bear upon the whole course of the war. The sufferings of Belgium made England's interfer- ence easy, and gave the strongest weapon to the military party in Italy and created hatred in America.
Bismarck, who was a statesman no one can accuse of sentimentality, recognized that it would be a mistake to begin a war against France by violating the neutrality of Belgium. When the Belgian question was opened in Englandj as I have already mentioned, in 1887, Bismarck said in his paper: "Germany would never begin a war with the violation of a European agree- ment. Anyone who thinks that political leadership is subjected to the point of view of the General Staff and not vice versa, is making a grave error."
The real motive of the British Government which V decided her to interfere in the war was not the breach of neutrality which had been committed in Belgium, but the fact that England could not allow Germany, which was antagonistic to her and which had been her rival during the last decade, to gain unquestionable, supremacy on the continent, and especially could England not permit that Germany should rule over the coast that lies immediately opposite to England after vanquishing France. Nothing but the sufferings
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of Belgium could silence the pacificism which was so >tdeeply rooted in the general feeling in England.
The invasion of Belgium also created painful sensa- tions for us. We recalled other occasions as precedents in vain. Everyone felt that the originators of this breach would not gain glory by their action. We defended this action only because we were forced to do so, and because we felt that one could not begin a war of life and death with a feeling of guilt, and because we knew that the German Government had only been guided by patriotic conviction when they came to this erroneous decision. At the same time, it pained all of us to expose a nation to the terrors of war which had not contemplated attacking us. The evidence which has subsequently been produced as to the belligerent intentions of Belgium I do not consider to be tenable.
Personally, and quite apart from the legal stand- point, I considered this action of the German Govern- ment to be a great mistake, because it was the result of the out-of-date war programme of Schliessen. His idea was the result of the assumption that France could be isolated and vanquished by German supremacy before the Russian Army appeared upon the field. This assumption, however, no longer corresponded to the facts. The effect of the Russian Army made itself felt much more quickly than ore could assume at the time Schliessen formulated his plans. Moreover, France did not remain isolated, for the very reason that Belgian neutrality had been violated. It was British
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 121
support which caused the cessation of the rapid suc- cesses of Germany. I had always been of the opinion that the best plan would have been to attack Russia first and content oneself with defensive action in the West. I will give my military reasons for taking this point of view later, and will only point to the political reasons here.
The weak spot in the side of the Entente was Russia.\ I always counted upon the internal collapse of this country. The events which took place after the Japanese war and the growing discontent allowed one to suppose that it was highly probable that a serious defeat of the army would bring about an internal | collapse, and that this internal collapse would carry with it complete military and political destruction. As I had no insight into the diplomatic and military reports of the actual situation, I was in the position of believing in the Russian revolution almost up to the moment when it occurred, and I was just giving up^ hope when the catastrophe was imminent.
The natural continuation of the diplomatic battle would have been to attack Russia, against whose aggressive policy the war was directed. The most favourable beginning of the fight would have been common action of the allies, which could naturally only occur in the Russian theatre of war; that is to say, in the only theatre of war where both allies were inter- ested to the same degree. The strongest political argument for an offensive against Russia was that by this means only could the neutrality of England be
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secured and only thus could the attitude of the demo- cracy of the whole world be influenced favourably. It would have been as difficult for the democracy of the West to mobilize her influence in favour of Czardom as it was easy to create enthusiasm for the preservation of international law and the defence of poor Belgium.
In order to carry out rapidly the plan of war con- ceived by Schliessen, Germany risked the blame of declaring war against several nations one after the other, all of which could have been avoided if we had directed our offensive against the East.
As the Belgian question had to be solved, I cannot conceive why Germany did not make a proposal to the British Government to renew the agreement which Gladstone made in the year 1870 with Napoleon and the Emperor William. This suggestion was to the effect" that Germany was inclined not only to respect the neutrality of Belgium, but even to protect it by force of arms, if England would undertake to do the same in case of French aggression. If England had accepted this proposal, everything would have been in order and the neutrality of England could have been regarded as secure. If, on the other hand, England had not accepted this proposal, which was probable, because England was only interested in 1870 in the fate of Belgium, whereas now she was interested in the position of France, England would have lost her most advantageous casus belli. If England had rejected the means by which in 1870 Belgian neutrality was saved, by her own initiative she would have betrayed
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her intentions and it would have become known publicly that England refused to draw her sword either in defence of Belgium or in defence of international law.
When I told Bethmann-Hollweg my point of view during the war, he told me that he had not been in a position to undertake this step, because the military command did not permit the slightest delay but had urged an instant offensive in the interests of success. I failed to see this, as no serious loss of time was to be anticipated. Lengthy discussion need not have been entertained, as England had only to say yes or no. The agreement made between Bismarck and Gladstone was ready on the table ; it was only necessary to accept or refuse it.
It is, of course, true that the offensive against France very nearly realized the success that was expected of it when the Battle of the Marne frustrated all our hopes and nothing remained out of the whole com- binatio'n except the blame.
I also did not consider the manner in which the Serbian question was brought up to be a fortunate one. The latest Austrian Red Book shows that two points of view existed which were opposed to each other. One opinion was that war was to be com- menced immediately, and so as to effect a surprise; the other opinion was expressed in the desire that a peaceable solution should be found by making diffi- cult but nevertheless acceptable conditions, and that war should not be declared unless these conditions
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were rejected. The course of action that was finally decided upon was in accordance with neither of these points of view. I am under the impression that the proposal of Tisza was used for the purpose of trans- ferring the blame for the war to the opponent ; at the same time it seemed that official policy regarded the war as the proper solution. The note was drafted in such a way that its acceptance was very difficult indeed.
This decision was fatal ! The intention was apparent and became even more clear when we refused Serbia's conciliatory answer and declared war. We were thus unable to throw the blame off, and furthermore, we were accused of intrigue. If our Government did not consider the war against Serbia necessary, the note should have been worded differently, and Serbia's answer should have been used as a basis for negotia- tions. If, on the other hand, we wanted the war, then Serbia's policy, which led to the assassination in Serajevo, was sufficient cause, as these actions endangered the integrity of the Monarchy. Even later on there was no, other motive for the war which could not be challenged than this one, as the investigations which were made in Serajevo did not even throw any suspicion upon the Serbian Government, which allowed one to suppose that they had taken part in the pre- paration for the murder. For this reason immediate action would have been more valuable than the trans- parent pretence of long-suffering and mercy. Rapid military success and a rapid offer of acceptable peace
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conditions in case the Entente had interfered, would have removed the danger of a world war far more easily than the method which was actually adopted.
But in my opinion our position was not quite hopeless even then. The control of our internal line of communications, Russia's organic weakness, the incomplete development of the British Army, our greater military rapidity and our more homogeneous and superior leadership, all combined to make it possible that we would be able to contest the fight successfully in spite of the numerical superiority of our enemies and in spite of British supremacy at sea. It was quite certain, however, that we had a very difficult fight before us, and that we should have prevented the entry of new enemies into the war even at the cost of the heaviest sacrifices. Unfortunately, however, we failed to achieve this end.
Italy was the first state with whose entry into the war we had to reckon. When Italy did not support us at the outbreak of war, it was quite clear to me that our main efforts would have to aim at preventing Italy's entry into the war against us. The danger was already apparent through her motives for neutrality. In explaining her motives she described our policy as aggressive. As the quick military successes on which we had counted with certainty did not occur, I felt that the neutrality of Italy could only be secured by giving her territorial concessions. Although it was a painful decision to hand over territories which are one's legal right for merely political reasons without getting
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any support of arms thereby, I considered nevertheless that this step was inevitable.
Cavour renounced the traditional seat of the dynasty in 1859, Savoy; and also the birthplace of Garibaldi, Nice, in order to create the ItaJian union. In the course of the war, Turkey gave back to Bulgaria those territories which Turkey had only recently acquired in order to assure herself of a free hand during the war that she had commenced. And should not we also have made sacrifices in order to be able to defend our existence ?
I felt no confidence that we would be able to meet another foe, and Italy's entry into the war seemed to me all the more dangerous as I was certain that Roumania would follow her example simultaneously.
In the first instance, it would have been our duty to make territorial concessions only in case we could thereby secure Italy's active co-operation, or if our victories resulted in rearranging the continental balance of power in such a way that Italy would have ground for satisfaction. At the same time, we should not have rejected Italy's demands, even if she had insisted upon actual handing over of the territory in question. This statement seems obvious when it is considered that our existence trembled in the balance. We should even have displayed inclination and goodwill, and we should have avoided, by careful circumspection, giving the impression that we were only following the line of least resistance, and that we were only intending to give way to superior force and would entertain thoughts of revenge in case victory fell to our lot.
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AVhen I saw that in the autumn of 1914 nothing was done in this direction, I began to feel very restive. During December I called upon Berchtold in order to communicate my anxiety to him. I saw that the Minister for Foreign Affairs had already considered this question a good deal, and that he came close to agreeing with my point of view. I got the impression that he intended to gain time without making Italy bitter or running the risk of making her distrust us. Our General Staff was of the opinion that a decision could be enforced within eight months at the outside. Berchtold proceeded to allow a great deal of this time to elapse without making our relations with Italy any worse. But then he was also of the opinion that a decision would have to be arrived at shortly.
On January u I was again with Berchtold, and cautioned him to take a decision. The Minister for Foreign Affairs informed me that since our last dis- cussion a decided step in the right direction could be noted, because the Italian Ambassador, Avarna, had notified officially for the first time the Italian demand for Austrian territory. I received the impression that Berchtold shared my opinion and recognized the necessity of a friendly agreement. He asked me what relationship existed between Tisza and myself, and whether I believed that I could influence him. I replied thereupon that I had supported Tisza since the outbreak of the war, but that the political situation was never touched upon in our conversation, where- upon Berchtold begged me to call upon the Vienna
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representative of the Hungarian Government, Burian, and to communicate my point of view to him.
I carried out Berchtold's wish and Burian told me personally that in his opinion Italy brought forward the territorial question because they regarded Berchtold as excessively conciliatory, and that the Italians had gathered courage from the journey of Prince Billow to Rome. He believed that the Italians could be taught to keep such demands to themselves by more forcible and self-conscious language. Burian considered it possible that the moment might arise later on when it would be necessary to cede territory to the Italians, but he considered that at this time such an attempt would be premature. He expected an important mili- tary success in Galicia which would damp Italian aspirations for ever.
It was only on the following day, January 13, that I learnt that Berchtold had resigned, and that Burian was to be his successor. I regarded future develop- ments of this question with the greatest anxiety because I was afraid that Burian 's attitude might create such distrust in Italy that an advantageous solution of this question might be rendered impossible in the future.
The anticipated military success which was to be the reoccupation of Przemysl unfortunately did not take place. Burian conducted, as can be seen in the Red Book, much more forcible negotiations with Italy than Berchtold, because Italy did not alter her intentions. The conviction grew in Rome that Italy's aims could only be achieved by force of arms.
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If the Government had believed in the peaceable solution she would have reduced her agitation and ceased her armament activity. Italy, however, pro- ceeded to arm, whereby her self-consciousness was increased and the decision to enter into the war was facilitated. The Government, moreover, did nothing to prevent the agitation against us ; quite on the con- trary, this agitation was fostered by all possible means. In consequence of these circumstances, a peaceable solution became daily more difficult, and the Italian demands increased continually in size. The Repub- licans, the Irridentists, the Francophiles, the enemies of Austria, all worked ceaselessly to make the war inevitable. The Entente also made every effort to. bring this about. The pressure which England asserted by means of her enormous superiority on the sea was also very successful. No means to foster the agitation were left untried. The sufferings of Belgium were part of the most successful means to this end, and in the name of democracy and the freedom of nations the crusade was preached.
Nevertheless, the majority of Parliament supported neutrality. Giolitti, the political leader of the majority, announced in the Italian press at the end of January that it appeared that the concessions could be obtained without war. In view of the general terrorism, he did not dare to appeal publicly for peace. At the same time, he attempted, by emphasizing the possibilities of peace, to create an atmosphere in support of it.
During this period I attempted, by means of articles 9
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published in Rome, to create to the best of my ability the belief that we entertained friendly feelings towards Italy although they did not come to our assistance, and that we were inclined to come to an understanding. It was, of course, impossible to define my standpoint accurately before the Government had publicly declared her readiness to make territorial sacrifices.
In the Neue Freie Presse, I wrote on January 27, 1915, as follows : " If Italy wishes to settle the question that exists between us at this critical moment by means of a friendly agreement, and if Italy remains neutral, she can count with certainty upon Austria-Hungary as her constant ally. We will be in need of Italy's friendship even after victory. It rests with Italian statesmen that this friendship is made secure and permanent. It would be a mistake to assume that because Italy did not join us we entertained any bitter feelings against her. We have made friends, as it were, with this decision of Italy's for all time and without any mental reservations. We must recognize that the interpretation of the obligations which Italy has accepted are Italy's sovereign right, and no one can condemn the policy which is determined to enter into the world war only if this is inevitable and if Italy is forced to do so by absolute necessity."
" It is my unshakable opinion that, with a little goodwill and on the basis of the Triple Alliance, it should and must be possible to place the relationship of the two neighbours during the present crisis upon an even more solid basis than has existed heretofore."
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What good, however, could such declarations achieve- as long as the official negotiations remained barren of results ?
When the Italian Parliament met in February, it looked as if the Government and the leading politicians had agreed that Italy must acquire neutrality at our expense and even at the cost of a war.
An evil result of the distrust was Sonnino's demand on March 13, in which he suggested an immediate execution of the possible agreement, and the fixing of a period of fifteen days for the negotiations.
The tactics of delay brought about a gradual change in the problem itself. In the beginning we had to come to an understanding with the Italian Government. In April, however, we had to negotiate over the heads of the Government with the Parliamentary majority. This problem was, of course, more difficult than the previous one, but it was not insoluble. The majority still seemed to want peace. The war involved such risk that anyone who was not a fanatic naturally fought shy of it. The Catholic party, the Social Democrats, the workmen and the majority of the peasants wanted to avoid the war. The King did not desire the war either. The possibility of peace, therefore, still existed, even against the will of the Government. Just at this time Venizelos, who had agitated for war, fell in Athens, and the love of peace of the brave King gained a victory over the policy of the Government. Was it not possible that the same should occur in Rome?
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There was only one means to attain this end : by means of a rapid decision we should have offered every- thing which we were prepared to give as the price of Italy's neutrality, and by some means or other we should have published our offer. Instead of proceeding in this manner, we merely gave way. Even at this moment we did not create the impression that we were seriously determined to bring about an understanding. The conviction grew in official Italian circles that a friendly agreement was dangerous because the victory which we might owe to Italy's neutrality might be used by us for purposes of revenge.
Even the moment at which we finally made an offer was unfavourable. We made our first territorial offer on March 28, one week after the fall of Przemysl (March 22). Our later and more complete offers followed in rapid succession at a time when an agree- ment had already been reached between the Italian Government and the Entente (April 25) in consequence of which Italy would have had to violate her new agreement. But even at this time there were such powerful forces arrayed against entry into the war that the majority party was not lost finally. The Govern- ment was not as yet the unchallenged master of the situation. The majority in Parliament was decidedly in favour of Giolitti. The Government could only succeed by combining with the terrorism of the street. The Government resigned on May 17, and by screams of revolution frightened everybody who dared to assist in the formation of a cabinet. With the greatest
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expenditure of effort we continued to fight up to the last moment. Billow negotiated untiringly at this time. In accordance with Tisza's request I made an inter- pellation to him with a view to calling forth a mani- festation by which the Hungarian Parliament declared her readiness to adhere to Italy's friendship in future (May 17). We made new concessions, but Sonnino cried out sarcastically : " Troppo tardo." Terror and passion throttled every counter-argument. The majority in Parliament gave way, and the Government declared war on May 23.
If this crisis had occurred while no agreement had as yet been reached between Italy and the Entente, and before public opinion was imbued with the feeling that we would regard an agreement as such a disgrace that we would have to reject it at the first opportunity, everything could still have been regularized.
Could we have counted on Italy's tenacity to neutrality if we had come to a final agreement, and need we not have feared that she would desert us in the end? We are not justified in assuming that the Italian Government would, of their own accord, have violated her definite undertaking before the ink was dry upon the signatures. Moreover, it is to be assumed that her neutrality wquld have brought about such successes that our friendship would have developed into an imperative interest for Italy. It is also to be assumed that if the Italian attack had not hampered our fighting power for years, we would have gained such successes on the other fronts, especially in the
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East immediately after Gorlice, that Roumania would also have come in on our side. And can it not be assumed that, if Italy and Roumania had been neutral, in consequence of which the collapse of Russia would have been brought about earlier than it actually occurred, we would have had an opportunity of con- cluding a loyal peace by agreement before we entered into a conflict with America, and it is probable that we would have remained so strong that Italy, in her own interests, would have adhered to the new agreement ?
Moreover, the assumption that Italy would not honour the agreement did not play a leading part in the consideration of the Government, because the Government was determined to conclude the alliance with Italy.
The outbreak of the Italian war was a catastrophe. Her entry into the war influenced our position so adversely that it became one of the main causes of the tragic conclusion of the war. A further result of these events was that the relation between Vienna and Berlin became even worse. If Prince Billow and our diplomats had played their cards together, I believe that they would have achieved a favourable result. As, however, this was not the case, Billow's attempt to keep Italy out of the war did not only fail, but left with us a painful feeling permanently and became one of the main causes of that unsatisfactory relation between us two allies, to which I will return later.
I was not informed as to the attitude of Roumania during the war. I am not in a position to judge
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even to-day whether it would have been possible to prevent Roumania from going into the war. At the same time, I am under the impression that Roumania's attitude was chiefly determined by our military situa- tion, and that Roumania would only have remained neutral if it had not believed that we would lose, and especially if we could have retained supremacy in the Eastern theatre of war. This circumstance was like- wise a tremendous argument for turning our main forces against Russia.
A terrible mistake in our attitude was our relation to America. I did not believe that Wilson intended to take part in the war. I was rather of the opinion that it was his ambition to see his name immortalized in history as the creator of international peace. No one could have desired a more noble part. To put an end to the most murderous war in history and to represent, during the most important peace negotia- tions, all the feelings and common interests of humanity, and to play the part of the judge who stands above all parties, would be the most glorious problem for any man or any nation. By such a course of action, Wilson would also have fulfilled America's tradition, which was that America would never interfere in the problems of Europe. I believe even to-day that it would have been possible to prevent the Americans from entering into the war, but we should not have offended against her interests or her pride, and we should never have created such a casus belli as we gave to England by the violation of Belgian neutrality.
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Such a ground for war was only a means for mobilizing the widest sections of democracy.
America could not possibly wage an unpopular war. Bismarck said very beautifully in his letter addressed to Salisbury, to which I have referred above, that no matter who was Kaiser and no matter what the Kaiser wished, it was impossible to mobilize the millions of Germans if the nation did not comprehend the causes of war and did not approve them. This applies undoubtedly to America much more than to Germany. . With the U-boat war we furnished an ideal casus belli to America. The self-consciousness of America was offended because her threats were disregarded. In view of her highly developed trade, America considered her interests endangered by the U-boat war. The killing of women and children also offended American sentiment. The disregard of international law, more- over, furnished the military party with a powerful weapon against the Central Powers. And finally, if there had been a possibility of preserving peace, this possibility vanished in consequence of the fact that the plan was made public that the German Government had intended to ally herself against America, with Mexico and Japan. Germany had determined to make an ally of Mexico, which was the object of the deepest hatred and the most bitter contempt in America.
When I was in Berlin in the summer of 1916, I had an opportunity of discussing this question with several leading politicians. The Chancellor gave strength to my conviction that the use of the U-boat war was a
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fatal error. He explained to me that the submarine warfare could not bring about a military decision, but rather, that it could only press America into the war, in which case we were bound to lose, because, under the given circumstances, we were not capable of coping With the enormous military power of America.
The leaders of the Conservative party, on the other hand, expected everything from the U-boat war. I was astonished when I saw and heard with what pre- judice and determination they clung to the hope that by this means they would force their chief enemy, England, upon her knees.
I do not know what can have persuaded Bethmann- Hollweg to alter his point of view with regard to this question. It is possible that in the meantime he had come to the conclusion that America would come into the war anyhow, and it is possible that he gave way to the pressure of public opinion. It is also possible that he did not dare to advise the Kaiser to renounce this weapon on account of the pressure of public opinion. He may have asked himself the question whether the Kaiser would not be made responsible and condemned if, in spite of the pressure brought to bear by the experts and public opinion, he was afraid for political reasons to use this weapon of which so much was expected? Unless I am much mistaken, similar reasons led the Kaiser to order the Zeppelins not to bombard London. I have been told that even such attacks on the British capital were naturally opposed to the inclinations of the Kaiser. The Chancellor also
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was little delighted at the prospect, but the public expected so much from this procedure, and would not have understood or allowed any consideration to be shown for England which had punished Germany so severely by the blockade. I must therefore assume that the responsible personalities were forced to swim with the general stream in opposition to their better judgment. *;-"
If their conscience had prevented them from resorting to the use of these arms, no pressure of public opinion would have made them give way. They were only afraid to use these arms because they regarded them as unsuited to their purpose.
If we mean to be just, we must understand this. It is premature to expect completely dispassionate judg- ment, but the time must come when nations who are opposed to each other will be in a position to judge each other's actions correctly. Public opinion among the nations of the Entente is convinced that the German people had consciously brought about the war in order to secure for themselves the supremacy of the world, and consequently the Entente was revolted when she saw that her opponents used such cruel means as the Zeppelins and U-boats for the realization of so criminal an aim. This accusation, however, is unfounded. The instinct of self-preservation makes people in the anxious moments of a fight for life and death judge things in the light of what will assist their means of action most forcibly, and of what will satisfy their consciences. The German nation was convinced that the jealousy
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of England, the desire for revenge in France, and the ambition of the Slavonic world, had combined in order to rend the German Empire to pieces. The German people believed themselves to be the victims of a Macchiavellian plot which had been hatched a long time ago. They believed that they were face to face with a plot the contemptibility of which could only be rivalled by the hypocrisy and intrigues of the members of the Entente. And in believing the above, the German nation was, of course, revolted to see that so dastardly an attack made use of the cruel weapon of the blockade. Those, however, who did not judge the intentions of the enemy so hardly found in this general opinion the justification of a reckless means of pursuing the war, because they did not want a war against the Entente. The Kaiser and the Chancellor, who were appalled by the idea of a European war, and who believed that they had gone to the very limit of their power to prevent this war, compatible with the interests of the nation, and having condemned the motives of the Entente strongly, were prepared to use the most powerful means in order to save the nation that had been committed to their charge. Englishmen and Frenchmen, who saw the psychological result of the destruction wrought by German airmen and who were influenced by the sufferings of their innocent brothers, from whom they could discover what mental condition is produced by the use of brutality against defenceless men, could understand what an immeasurable revolt was created by the wholesale murder of the blockade
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in the minds of the German people. Many more unarmed citizens perished in our country behind the front line than in the countries of the Entente. The submarines only injured such individuals as were in dangerous zones; there were relatively only a few Zeppelins, whereas the blockade caused everyone to suffer without exception. Special suffering was caused to the diseased, the poor,, the aged, and the children. Among these sections the war reaped a rich harvest. If we failed to conquer the enemy, or if we were not prepared to throw ourselves entirely upon his mercy, we had to face seeing the population of part of our possessions given over to starvation, and therefore a feeling was created which led us to desert all feeling of consideration and to choose any means wEich pro- mised success. It was not cruelty but consideration which was regarded as a crime against the Fatherland and women and children.
It is a terrible thing, and perhaps the most tragic element of the catastrophe which has fallen upon the world, that highly cultivated nations, which stood upon a lofty moral basis, were plunged into such an attitude of mind. For this reason it is neither true nor just to condemn single nations, because every nation which took part in the war has shown brutal traits, and everyone was more or less criminal. Let us look within and recognize that much of the beast clings to man. He who resorted to the weapon of the blockade has no right to despise and to condemn the party who resorted to submarine warfare, and this argument applies vice
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versa. Whoever used either of these weapons would also have used the other if he had the opportunity for doing so. Anyone who believed his nation exposed to the extremest danger in consequence of an unjust weapon will consider himself justified in using all and every weapon of which he would never think in ordinary life, especially if his opponent uses uncommonly brutal means. I believe that this statement will make many enemies for me, and that I will satisfy no one, but this fact cannot detain me from recognizing the truth without taking into consideration its momentary effect, because only truth has the power to heal. At the same time, I wish to emphasize the fact that this attitude must not be identified with the Hungarian nation ; it is my personal point of view, for which I alone am responsible. Our Government, it seems, opposed the U-boat war for a long time. The Government did not believe in its effectiveness, but finally gave way. When Tisza, one of the leaders of the Opposition, communicated to me the decision of the Allied Governments, we were already faced with a fait accompli. He requested me to take note of the decision which had been reached. From the point of view of the experts I had no inde- pendent opinion and I could not possess one. No facts were at my disposal. In view of the fact that, notwith- standing what Bethmann-Hollweg had told me per- sonally only a few months since, and had nevertheless agreed to this measure, I gained the impression that the submarine fleet had increased in a quite unexpected measure and that its military effectiveness had become
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much more decisive than had previously been believed. Of course, I entertained the greatest anxiety of its effect upon America's attitude, and I did not let this anxiety pass unstated. Tisza also counted upon the interven- tion of America, but he pointed to the hope expressed in military circles that the war would be decided in European theatres of war before America could organize her army and before she was able, in view of the difficulty of the submarines, to send her forces to the Continent. He seemed to be more afraid of the moral effect of the intervention of the great Republic, and he feared especially the possibility that such European States would follow the example of America which were closer to the scene of action. He did not expect the submarines to bring about so sudden a collapse of Eng- land as the more sanguine members of the Admiralty of our nation expected. But in personal conversation with me he supported the view that the U-boats would exercise a decisive influence in the European theatre of war, because they would make the transport of troops and the arming of our enemies so much more difficult. It seems that even he expected a final victory in the French theatre of war as the result of this action.
However, these conversations proved themselves to be inaccurate. Our enemies retained their liberty of movement, and the Anglo-French front could not be broken down, nor could England be starved. America brought her troops at the right time, and with enormous power, to Europe, without making it impossible to supply the Entente with all necessities. The war was
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thus lost for us permanently. The prophecies of Bethmann-Hollweg had come true word for word.
I noted the decision of the Government in Parliament, but I remarked, in my speech of February 26, 1917, " that the use of the U-boat war was only right if this weapon was so effective that the intervention of new enemies would be less disadvantageous than the greatness of the advantage brought to us by the use of this weapon. Whether this will be so or not, we cannot tell; for this we (the Opposition) cannot accept any responsibility. The Military Command aJone is responsible." I did not wish to shake the faith of the nation by subsequent and fruitless doubts, and I did not w T ant to spread any unrest. In a similar situation I would act in the same way. If I, as a responsible member of the party which supported this decision, had given my approval, it would be quite another question. In any case, I would only have done so if the calculations of the War Office had convinced me of the correctness of this step. On no account would I have done so under pressure of Germany, as Czernin did, who prophesied the fatal consequences of this decision with uncommon clarity and certainty, and accepted responsibility for it none the less. In this war, in which everything was at stake for Austria and Hungary, the victorious conclusion of which became more doubtful every day, it was not permissible to commit new errors knowingly for the sake of anybody or as the result of any pressure. One should rather have severed the relations between Germany and
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Austria-Hungary than resort for her sake to such a means the detriment of which was subject to no doubt. One must not destroy a nation for the sake of the wrong calculation and the strong-headedness of a friendly statesman and military leaders who have been entrusted with the care of Government.
With regard to the questions of foreign policy which were raised during the war, it was the Polish question that engaged my attention most. I was the first to bring this question before the public in the article which I wrote for the Neue Freie Presse in September, 1915. And it was I who started the discussion on this pro- blem in the Hungarian Parliament on December 17, 1915. I considered it one of the most urgent and most important of all our problems. Justice, our own in- terests, instinct and calculation, all urged us on in the same direction. The only right policy was to make every effort to gain the Polish nation for ourselves. Our enemies delight in accusing us that we intended to ruin the small nations. It was almost a battle cry that the Entente had to protect all weak nations against us. The fate of Serbia and of Belgium made such an agitation easy. A just solution of the Polish question and the liberation of a subjugated nation, together with making amends for an old crime, would have been a brilliant refutation of the accusations that were made against us. There was an admirable opportunity to improve our compromised position before the public opinion of the whole world. Moreover, we were in a position to gain a friend in one of the main theatres
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of war, and also to acquire good military material within a certain period of time. The Habsburg Monarchy could have achieved the one expansion which really meant an increase in power. The reason for this was that this expansion was not in antagonism to the sentiment or the interest of the population in question ; and, so far from involving the restriction of the liberty of the people, would have resulted in their liberation. By this means we would have deprived Russia of one of her bulwarks of attack, we would have secured an advantageous strategic border, and would not have created a position which would have been unbearable for the Czar.
In my opinion, the only right solution of this ques- tion would have been the so-called Austro-Polish solution. A sovereign State should have been created out of Galicia and out of Russian Poland, on whose throne the Polish people should have placed our ruler. Instead of a Dual Monarchy, we would have gained a Triple Monarchy.
Any other solution would have been dangerous for us, because, even in case of victory, any other solution would have led to the loss of a certain portion of territory, or, at any rate, it would have endangered it. It could easily be seen that, if we did nothing in the interests of the Polish nation, Poland would take refuge under the wing of Russia. Poland would have nothing further to expect from us, and would therefore turn as a last hope to Russia, which, although it was not in a position to liberate her, could at any rate unite 10
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the Polish nation which had been torn into three parts. This feeling would also have become dominant in Galicia, which always shared the sentiments of the Polish nation and remained an alien to Austria. If we left Poland to Germany, this would mean the painful enslavement of the Poles, which frightened them more than Russian tyranny. They would merely exchange a Slav ruler for a German one who was stronger, and with whom they had had more serious encounters in the last decade than with their Russian ruler. A new division of Poland between Austria-Hungary and Germany would only have been a repetition of the historic crime, and would justify the accusations that were brought against us, and foster revolutionary tendencies at a time when the danger of revolution was imminent anyhow. We would have acquired one of the bitterest enemies in one of the most important theatres of war, instead of obtaining a friend.
If we had made the attempt of converting the Govern- ment of Warsaw into an independent country, we we would only have created artificially a beehive of Irridentism. The only object for a country that was so small and so incapable of supporting her own exist- ence was necessarily liberation and alliance. We would have created for ourselves a new Serbia, with the difference that the unity of the Polish people was a positive fact, whereas the unity of the Southern Slavs was only an apparent one.
The idea of mutual possession did arise in the minds of the Governments of the two states, which was an
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imitation of our unhappy occupation of Silesia, and would have led us only once more into difficulties with Germany. The mere idea of a protectorate was an insult to the Poles, because this attitude seemed as if the Polish nation, with her tremendous historical past, needed a guardian, and this notion was in itself insulting.
The idea that Poland as an independent State should enter into an alliance with Austria-Hungary found favour with the King-Emperor Francis Joseph as well as his successor Karl. None the less, we did not take a serious step in this direction. Our leading statesmen were unable to view the situation clearly for a long time. Tisza was decidedly against this plan. When I told him for the first time that I was a supporter of this solution, he expressed the greatest surprise. " Surely you do not wish to risk the principle of the Dual Monarchy," he said, "you, the son of the man who created the idea, and you, who have always been a faithful supporter of this system."
He thought that Hungarian interests might be endangered because in certain questions Austria and Poland could combine and thereby obtain a majority vote against Hungary. He was in favour of winning Poland for the Monarchy, but he wanted to join this country to Austria much in the manner in which Croatia was tied to us. In order to establish the balance between Austria and Hungary, he wanted to bring Dalmatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina under the Hun- garian crown. All my arguments in favour of the
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proposed solution were in vain. I pointed out in vain that, although Dualism would cease to exist, the independence of the Hungarian states would appear in greater relief. In conjunction with Trialism the common army would also cease, and in questions of foreign policy it would be necessary to give the Hungarian Parliament the power to veto. Bureau- cratic and centralized Austria would disappear as the result of this solution, and the Polish nation, which was a national State, would become the natural ally of Hungary, which was also organized upon a national basis. I pointed out in vain that Dualism would cease to have any right to existence if Poland were tied to Austria, and in consequence a nation with 40,000,000 people would be confronted by the nation of the Holy Crown of St. Stephen, which only numbered 20,000,000. I pointed out that it was impossible to rule Warsaw from Vienna, as this degree of independence, which did not satisfy Croatia with her two millions, could satisfy Poland with her twenty millions even less, especially in view of her great past. Tisza recognized that it was in the interests of Europe, the Monarchy, the Dynasty and Hungary, that Poland should join us. At the same time I pointed out in vain that the principle of Dualism was anyhow untenable if this principle prevented the alliance between Poland and ourselves. Tisza, however, would not give way. He came to the conclusion that it was better for Poland to remain Russian or to be divided than for us to change our constitution. The idea of Dualism was such a funda-
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mental bedrock of the whole of our political system that he did not wish to endanger the principle, even when the war had created an entirely new situation.
The powerful individuality of Tisza lacked that mental elasticity which renders adaptability easy. He did not belong to those statesmen who continually learn by ceaseless observation, and who are ready to adjust themselves to new events. In most questions he took up the attitude which he had acquired in his youth. As a leading statesman, he regarded it as his -duty to realize and to preserve everything which he had considered true as an adolescent youth, and to which he clung during the whole course of his career with all his faith and tenacity. This tenacity was one of the factors which made his power of action so great. This trait made a great impression on his supporters and increased their trust. On the other hand, his weakness was that he did not recognize that the changes of life often necessitate a change of policy.
This new idea, however, did not meet with difficulties only in Hungary, but also in Austria. A large number of the Austrian statesmen were not inclined to lose Galicia for Austria in order to gain Poland for the Monarchy. They wanted to have a guarantee that Poland would depend economically upon Vienna and would do so permanently in order that the Austrians would not have the same experience with Poland as they had already had with Hungary, whose markets they had had to buy from time to time by means of difficult negotiations. The real Austrians were offended be-
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cause even the Poles of the highest society and those who were the most spoilt pets of the court were guided chiefly by their national Polish sentiments. It was with difficulty that the truth came to be recognized that the union could only be of advantage if it involved the satisfaction of the Polish nation, and that only this method was a moral one, and that every other solution involved new dangers for us. After the fall of Tisza, Hungary did not oppose the Austro-Polish solution, but no clear agreement had been reached between the Austrian and Hungarian Governments, and in fact I believe that even the Hungarian Government had not arrived at a firm decision.
This situation made it only more difficult to arrive at an agreement in this matter with Germany. When I went to Berlin in the autumn of the year 1915, on account of this very Polish question, I discovered that an agreement with Germany, especially with Bethmann- Hollweg, was possible. This statesman recognized that the history and the sentiment of the Poles had created an unbridgeable gulf between them and Germany, and that the only natural solution which corresponded to the will of the people was the idea which I represented. In case of economic and military agreement with Germany, the Chancellor would have been prepared to accept this idea of mine. However, Bethmann-Hollweg was not the master of the situation in Germany. Strong forces were at work against him and against the Austro-Polish solution. The military command would not hear of giving up Poland. They were of
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opinion that the Germans had conquered Poland and that we were incapable of organizing Poland and of defending her against Russian pressure, and that this question was very important for Germany, as Poland protected our eastern border. The military staff also considered that only German force and German dis- cipline could succeed in turning Poland into a country capable of resistance. They pointed to the experience in Galicia, to the numerous treacheries among the Ruthenes, as proof of the fact that Austria was not capable of liberating Poland from Russian influence. There was, moreover, little sympathy among the Germans for the Poles, and little trust in their good- will. German industry wanted to secure Polish raw material for itself. The Pan-Germans would possibly even have placed their hands upon German Austria ; they did not want to hear anything of the idea that Poland should be added to the Habsburg Monarchy. The smaller our expectations of expansion were in the West, the more difficult was it to make the Germans accept a solution which would place our dynasty at the head of Poland. Moreover, the opinion was expressed that they could not face German public opinion and come home empty-handed, although they were the stronger, while we, the weaker ally, acquired a new kingdom.
In consequence of the difficulties of this coalition, a certain distrust began to spread, very unfortunately, in German circles. The question was raised whether in case Warsaw and Prague should come under the
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sceptre of the same ruler, Silesia would not be com- pletely surrounded and endangered. They wondered whether a kingdom with twenty million Poles would not press the dynasty of Habsburg into Slav tendencies, and whether Polish influence would not make the alliance with Germany impossible. In such circum- stances it was very difficult to gain the consent of Berlin, especially as long as we did not know precisely what we wanted ourselves, and did not know how we were to include this new freed country into the Habsburg Monarchy. The difficulty was increased, moreover, by the fact that we did not see clearly our- selves, nor did Germany, how the German-Austro- Hungarian relation was to be developed. In conse- quence of the uncertainty of our attitude, it was also impossible that a strong public opinion in our favour could be formed in Poland.
When I visited the German Chancellor in the summer of the year 1916 for the second time, he also considered the idea impracticable which a few months earlier he had approved in conversation with me. Germany now wanted to make out of the Warsaw Government a proper State under a German prince. This idea, however, was wrong and did not come to be realized. Finally we made out of the annexed provinces an independent country.
The new Polish State was given neither body nor soul. Poland was made independent on paper, but in point of fact she remained divided between the two neighbouring powers without any independence. The
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administration was supplied by a foreign army. Polish regency had no real sphere of activity. The borders of the country were not determined, and the independence on paper really only made the actual dependence all the more unbearable, and even this was not enough. For this shadow of independence, the sacrifice of blood was demanded, and it is almost naive to think that these sacrifices were not made for the Polish army but for the army which was led by Germans. On the day on which the kingdom of Poland was proclaimed, soldiers were demanded from this State whose existence was purely imaginary.
Both the two allies rivalled ceaselessly with each other, with the result that the respect for both of them was undermined, and it was impossible to gain Polish sympathy, which would have been easy, as Poland had always favoured us. We crowned the mistake that we had made hitherto by giving the province of Cholm in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk to the Ukraine. The majority of the population of Cholm is Polish. More- over, Cholm is necessary, from every point of view, for the military defence of Poland, and is specially dear to Polish patriots on account of the many battles which Poland has waged for it in the past. The Poles accused our Government, on account of allowing this province to go to the Ukraine, of breach of faith.
The state of affairs in our Polish policy was there- fore highly unfavourable. This policy weakened the alliance with Germany, failed to gain the Polish nation, nor did it create the expected military force, and
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rendered a separate peace with Russia more difficult. If there had been more mutual trust and more complete agreement with the Polish nation in view of the well- known sympathy, and if our decision had been reached with greater rapidity, the Polish question would have served as a link for the two allies and have brought about real and substantial support on the part of the Poles, together with the military assistance that we longed for so much. If the policy of Hindenburg and Ludendorff had been followed, we would at any rate have made it easier to come to a separate agreement with Russia. As it was, we had no advantages, only dis- advantages. This sad result was hardly changed by the fact that when the war was already lost and it was obvious that our will would not decide the Polish question, Germany approached our standpoint, and the mistake with regard to Cholm was made good. All this was much too late !
The Polish question leads necessarily to a discussion of our relations with Germany, for these questions are organically bound up with one another. I have already pointed out that our Polish policy was detrimental to our relations with Germany. After the Italian question it was the Polish difficulty which, more than anything else, disturbed the harmonious co-operation of both powers. And the unsatisfactory relationship between these powers was not without its effect on the situation in Poland.
Just as mistakes had been made in the Polish question, so were mistakes made in the German question, and
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they were made by both sides. The mistakes made on the part of Germany, apart from their handling of the Polish problem, lay in the tactless attitude of the separate newspaper organs, the boasting of their superiority, and in the repeated official expressions of contempt; in other words, the chief mistake they made was one of bad manners. There was no disloyalty, and they fulfilled their duties as allies, but nevertheless the feeling of bitterness grew with us from day to day. On our side there was much defiance and petty quarrelling, hand in hand with blind obedience. Our behaviour often made the impression on me of a smirking and servile menial. We should have shown much more trust towards Germany, and we should have recognized the true relation of power without fear. On the other hand, it would have been necessary to assume more independence in the more important questions. I was afraid, and I did not keep this from the Emperor Francis Joseph, that Austria-Hungary must lose in any case, as the Monarchy would be on a bad footing with the conquerors and those who were the strongest. If the Monarchy lost the war, this was natural and inevitable ; but in view of the bad relations between us and Germany, the distrust and the contempt which spread in Berlin, even a common victory would have brought dangers for us in its train. Such an event would have subjected us to German control. In order to avoid this, I considered it necessary to clear up the relations with Germany, and to define the objects of the war.
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For a long time I was a supporter of the so-called Central European solution, but not in the way in which this was understood by Friedrich Naumann, who wanted to create a complete fusion of the States of the allies, which would have involved the complete dis- solution of the weaker monarchy in the German power. W'hat I had before my mind's eye was a purely defensive, dissoluble political alliance, together with a military convention. Such a military convention would have made it possible to control the equal armaments and equipment of the armies, subject to mutual supervision, without interfering with the independence of the leadership or with the parlia- mentary right of determining the strength of the force or settling the war budget. Economically I was in favour of recognizing the right that Germany and we would give each other advantages which other and most favoured states could not demand ipso jure. The economic convention which was to be concluded should be the subject of renewed and free agreement from time to time. The agreement that I contemplated was to be such that any opposition or quarrel between us should be decided by an international court so that a war was made impossible by legal guarantees.
I considered such an agreement necessary because the harmonious co-operation of both allies was secured during their fight for life and death, upon which the existence of both depended. By this means the German fear would disappear, and distrust be annihilated. The German Army would protect the Austrian and Hun-
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garian frontier, and they would have made sacrifices so that the Polish Crown and our own might be placed upon the same head. At the same time Germany would be strengthened by the fact that this agreement would make any friction within the Coalition impossible.
I also considered co-operation necessary, because it was obvious to me that the war would not be changed into a permanent peace by mutual pacification of the two groups of states. And I also considered it neces- sary because I did not think -that the protection of the results which had been achieved could be safeguarded without an alliance. After the war, which demanded such terrible sacrifices, we would not have been able to solve the problems of internal restoration even in case of victory by ourselves. It would have been impossible to look to our vanquished enemies for support, so that we were anyhow dependent upon one another. The problem that was before us was quite clear to me. The fundamental principles of my policy were always these : it was our duty to represent mutual pacification, peace and the interests of mutual understanding within the alliance, and to secure the peace which was based upon supremacy by the creation of constant institutions which would render the peace permanently secure. I always saw our duty in the fact that we had to negotiate between Western and Eastern Europe and thereby prepare mutual understanding. This part would have been easier to play because Poland was at heart always Francophile, and I can assert with pride that we Hungarians entertained, neither before nor during the war, any hatred against our enemies.
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This intimate relation between us and Germany would also have been necessary because we should have played this blessed role of negotiator during the war. In the actual position in which we found ourselves we were not able to do anything useful in this direction. Our petty jealousy and apprehension undermined the trust of Germany, and other nations placed less and less faith in us because of our unbounded obedience. We were considered to be more dependent than we were in reality. The Czar Nicholas said once that when he spoke about Russia he also meant to imply Austria, because Austria was dependent upon Russia's decision. It is true that Germany did not say the same, but in point of fact this was the actual situation. We had ceased to be independent factors, and our will was not taken into account because nobody seriously believed in our emancipation from Germany, and finally Germany did not place any more trust in us. How could we then have assisted in ameliorating the Anglo-German and the Franco-German tension ? An agreement with regard to the future, and disarming German mistrust, should have been our first step, and this relation, based upon trust, once it had been secured, should have been exploited self-consciously and openly in the interests of European understanding.
I also recognized clearly that in case of a common victory Germany would press Central Europe upon us in any form which pleased her. For this reason, would it not have been wiser to have made an agreement with Germany while Germany still needed us and before she
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had obtained a world hegemony? During the war Germany needed us just as much as we needed Germany. At that time we would have been able to protect our interests; a procedure which became highly problematical later on. I also believe that we would have made peace more easily if our common action had been established. The calculation of the Entente that we could be played off one against the other would have fallen to the ground. And the condition that we demanded could have been reduced if our future had anyhow been secured by the formation of a Central Europe. I do not think that I am mistaken when I assume that America and England acted in the interests of French integrity in defiance of their traditions, only so that France, which sought protection on her Rhine frontier, might be exchanged for Anglo-Saxon assist- ance, and that France could therefore renounce her demands. The creation of a Central Europe would have exerted a similar influence upon Germany.
On the other hand, I was afraid that a peace by agreement would be impossible because, in order to frustrate the creation of a Central Europe, the Entente might wage war to the bitter end. When we were already in a very bad position, and I thought the only salvation could be found in a rapid attempt to make peace, I gave up the idea of a Central European con- centration ; in fact, I considered it mistaken to continue negotiations with Germany concerning a long economic treaty, because even thrs gave the military party in enemy countries a weapon against us. I was not
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afraid, however, that a previous agreement would endanger the possibility of a peace by agreement. Quite on the contrary, I counted upon the fact that a solution between Germany and us would make the con- clusion of peace more easy and would render other concessions superfluous.
At one time there was a decided determination in Germany to create a Central Europe. On our side there was no decided opposition to this plan, but I believe that there was also no definite policy in favour of it. As far as I know, the military command did not want to hear anything of a military convention, but there were strong supporters among the German Austrians and the Hungarian agriculturists for an economic approach to Germany. This policy was also included in the programme of the Cabinet of Wekerle, but the idea met with strong opposition from a certain section of industry and from the Czech and South Slavonic parties and from all those elements of the Monarchy which entertained antagonistic feelings towards Germany. The suitable moment was allowed to slip by. It became more and more difficult to achieve an advantageous result, until I finally con- sidered the pursuance of this policy a mistake in view of the diminished prospects of victory. My only thought was how to secure peace an object which would only have been endangered by continued negotiations with Germany. ,
With regard to our relations with Germany, I only wish to emphasize that during the war I considered a common, homogeneous military command as absolutely
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necessary, and that I did everything in my power to bring about the absolute control of Hinde-nburg. Our main advantage lay in our internal line of operations, which we could only exploit provided a concentration was carried out according to a common plan. The prestige of Hindenburg was also very great among us. Public opinion recognized him to be the great Field- Marshal of the war. The thought of success was asso- ciated with his name, and trust in the leader is already half the victory. The necessity of common leadership was recognized later on by the Entente, and events have proved that the Entente was only able to achieve a military victory after she had secured unity of command.
At an early time I recognized the necessity of agree- ing upon the conditions upon which we were ready to make peace.
We had to take three possibilities into consideration.
The first possibility was victory. The second was the victory of the Entente, which became probable in the measure in which the war was prolonged. The third possibility was an agreement before a final decision, which I regarded as the most advantageous for us since Italy had entered into the war. It was not necessary to provide for the possibility of the second case, because, in the circumstances, we would not have had anything to say in fixing the conditions of peace. We had, therefore, only to find a common programme, which we must carry through in case of victory, or which must serve as a basis in case of negotiations. 11
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The conditions which could be obtained were fixed by the cause of the war. If the famous phrase of Clausewitz was right, that the war was only the armed continuation of the political battle which led to a combat, it is equally true that the peace negotiations were the logical conclusion of the armed exertions of the belligerents. The aims were to remain the same throughout the three phases; only the means were to change. Victories often make it possible to carry the aims of the war far beyond the causes of it. At the same time, it is rarely a sound policy to exceed the original purpose and to suit the demands completely to the results. The fall of Napoleon was due to the fact that he wanted to realize the possibilities which he had achieved by means of his military genius. For this reason every one of his wars was the cause of another one. He finally created an empire which could not be maintained permanently, and he made so many enemies that their united efforts made it impossible for him to resist them. It is very much to the credit of Bismarck that he kept the demands of Prussia in 1866 within the confines of the original purposes for which he went to war, and that he was not carried away by the possi- bilities which victory offered him.
It is a general rule that one may only conquer that which one can keep and that which assists actually to strengthen the conqueror. One must only strive after such a position of power as bears relation to one's constant strength, and not one which aims at a position which is only the result of passing military successes
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or momentary alliances. Anyone who disregards this changes the fortune of to-day into the misfortune of to-morrow.
Moderation in case of victory was the only right policy for us. The relation of power was unfavourable from our point of view. If we had exploited the possible victory completely, we would only have exposed ourselves to the feelings of revenge of the superior powers. There was no necessity to develop the position of our power; our only aim was to secure those factors which existed already, and our conditions had to be made accordingly.
The most natural and the most justified demand was the removal of the main cause of the war. The Serbian danger had to be abolished. And we would have been able to achieve this if we had ceded Macedonia to Bulgaria, and if we had contented ourselves with adjust- ment of our strategic frontiers which assured the military domination of the valley of the Danube and the Bay of Cattaro. The remaining portions of Serbia and Monte- negro might have developed into a federal state capable of existence together with Scutari under King Nicholas, provided they obtained a port and an army which could safeguard internal order and by making a tariff union with ourselves.
Our headquarters and certain political circles in Austria, however, demanded the conquest of the Serbian and Montenegrian people in toto. I was attacked strongly in the press by Teschen on account of my moderate attitude. Leading military personalities took
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the view that the Serbian danger could only be removed if the whole of the domain of Serbia was united under the sceptre of the Habsburgs. It was my opinion that the Serbs, who were accustomed to independence, would never content themselves with a new situation created in this manner. To bring them the unity of the Southern Slavs would have been quite useless, and they would only have used it in order to secede and acquire their freedom in the process. I am convinced that the real motive in the South Slav problem is not to be found in the desire for union in the nation, as was the case in the really homogeneous Polish people, but that the main stimulus was given by the desire for independence. Internal unity does not exist among the Southern Slavs. The history of centuries, the fight between East and West and between Rome and Byzantium, and between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, have torn the internal unity of feeling to pieces in spite of the ethnographical cohesion. The various elements of the Southern Slavs are also influenced by their topography to pursue an autonomous and independent existence. Their local patriotism has always been stronger than their national feeling. All that is happening now after the war in Croatia and Bosnia, i.e., the great opposition to a centralized Serbia, speaks in favour of the correctness of my point of view. One can see already that the Jugo-Slavs do not form a political unit. And anyone can see that it is difficult to rule Zagreb, Serajevo and Ragusa from Belgrade, and it would be even more difficult to rule Belgrade from any one of these towns.
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If we had attempted to put Jugo-Slavia under Croatian leadership we would have made an impossible demand. If we had permitted that Jugo-Slavia was formed upon a Serbian basis, we would have sacrificed those Croatians who fought bravely on our side, and we would have added strength to Irridentism within our own borders. If we had held the Croatians and Serbians apart, we would have offended the imperialistic tendencies of both parties. Furthermore, I did not consider it to be in the interests of the Monarchy to increase the nationalities on a large scale. The majority of Hungarian opinion agreed with me on this point, and Tisza, Apponyi and Karolyi took a similar attitude to my own. For this reason alone it is absurd to look for the origin of the war in any Hungarian desire for conquest where only the necessity for defence made Hungary take any part in the outbreak of the war.
With regard to Germany, it would have been desir- able to acquire a portion of Lithuania and Kurland. Apart from this, she would have been able to secure for herself enormous economic advantages in Russia, but any conquest further west was regarded by me as a fatal error. The conquest of French, Belgian or Italian territory bore within itself the seed for a war of revenge. In the West the only thing which could have been discussed would have been a very small strategic re- adjustment, together with mutual exchange of territory ; this applied as much to Germany as to ourselves. The mistake made by Germany which led to the European
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War was that she crossed the path of England and Russia simultaneously. In concluding 1 a peace, this mistake was not to be repeated; otherwise, the peace could never have been a real one. One would have had to content oneself with closing the doors of Russian aggression, separating Russia from France, and pacify- ing the West.
I never considered it possible to conquer England in such a manner that the British Empire would be forced upon her knees. If, however, we had achieved a victory on the continent and brought about a peace by agreement, it would have been possible to regain the German colonies and to effect a territorial exchange, which would have heightened the ability of these colonies to support themselves.
When I was in Berlin at the end of 1915 and during the summer of 1916, I touched upon these questions in conversation with Bethmann-Hollweg, and I noted with satisfaction that we were in agreement. The peace programme which had been sketched above was the maximum of that which we could demand in case of victory. I soon realized, however, that we would have to content ourselves with less than this maximum, and in 1916 I saw that if we could secure the status quo ante along the whole line, this would amount to complete success.
Our position was comparable with that of Frederick II, King of Prussia, during the seven years war, whose tremendous success consisted in the fact that the far more powerful coalition against him was unable
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to conquer him. We could have been more than con- tent, if the enemy coalition had failed to bring about our downfall. A peace before the final decision was so much in our interests and in the interests of humanity that I would always have been prepared, in case of necessity, to make territorial sacrifices in order to secure peace.
I was one of the first who spoke the word " peace " in parliament on December 7, 1915, when Tisza replied that he agreed with everything that I had said, but that he bore me a grudge nevertheless for having said it. In my opinion, the main impediment in making peace before a final decision was reached lay in the fact that the Entente did not wish to conclude peace before they had achieved complete victory. Accordingly, for the benefit of the foreign public I expressed myself twice on this subject in the Revue Politique Internationale (Autumn, 1916, and Autumn, 1917). As the conviction which I held then is best expressed by these essays, and as the questions dealt with are still actual to-day, I quote the following from them :
" La prolongation de la guerre n'est qu'un crime centre 1'humanite; les avantages, que Ton pourra retirer d'une victoire finale ne valent pas les sacrifices en vies humaines qu'elle exigerait."
I pointed out that the war need not be continued in order to reform international law, which was asserted to be the case by the Entente. I explained that we also were ready to accept such reforms, and, moreover : " le probleme d'une paix durable trop complique* pour
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qu'un homme detat responable puisse se contenter d'en chercher la solution dans une simple re" forme du droit international. Pour assurer la paix d'une facon se"rieuse, apres la guerre actuelle, il faudra tout d'abord eliminer les antagonismes irre*ductibles, il faudra sur- tout empecher que de nouvelles sources de conflits soient cre"ees dont jailliraient inevitablement des guerres nouvelles."
I pointed out that the complete victory of the Entente would by no means lead to the long peace which they expected : " La periode de paix que 1'Entente promet a Phumanite" sera indubitablement compromise par la rivalite* des vainqueurs."
In the first of my two articles I pointed to the rivalry between England and Russia, which, however, has lost its importance in view of Russia's collapse. In face of the possible Anglo-Russian conflict, however, the competition between America and England has been substituted. This situation is, perhaps, not an imminent one, but it is an undeniable danger of the future. Concerning this I wrote in my second article : " Le succes de l'Am6rique ne signifia-t-il pas sa preponderance en meme temps que la de'che'ance de 1'Europe?" ; . . " Au point de vue e"conomique Londres n'est plus le centre du monde. Or si les Etats-Unis sauvent 1'Entente par leur intervention militaire, c'est encore ceux qui joueront le premier r61e diplomatique. Quelle ne sera pas la force d'attraction de la puissante Union Ame'ricaine sur le Canada et sur P Australia." . ?uj -^ " Que deviendra 1'ideal de la
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plus Grand-Bretagne en face d'un panamericanisme triomphant? L'imperialisme de Roosevelt est-il com- patible avec 1'heritage politique de Joseph Chamber- lain? "
I also mentioned that the expansion of Japan might lead to conflict which would endanger peace. Italy also would be dissatisfied : " Meme en cas de triomphe, 1'Italie ne jouerait qu'un role secondaire; certes, elle deviendrait la maitresse de 1'Adriatique, mais dans la Mediterranee et en Afrique, ou ses ambitions 1'appellent, elle serait condamne a s'effacer devant 1'Angleterre."
The rivalry between Italy and the Slavs will become so serious as to threaten war : " Us se disputent deja pendant la guerre la possession de la rive orientate de 1'Adriatique. La, il est impossible de tracer une ligne de demarcation entre les deux races; la il est Evident que Tune tomberait sous la domination de 1'autre." . . . . "Si 1'Italie ne recevait rien de Phe'ritage ottoman, elle serait decue dans ses ambitions impe"rial- istes. Si elle en obtient quelque chose, il y aura des nouvelles possibilites de conflits entre elle et ses allies d'aujourd'hui, car, en Afrique et en Asie-Mineure 1'Italie ne pourra jamais jouer qu'un role efface, ce qui lui serait surement douloureux apres les immenses espoirs qu'elle nourrissait."
" L'amiti anglo-francaise parait encore la plus assuree. Cependant, le partage de la Turquie et des colonies allemandes ne sera nullement facile et peut toujours creer des amertumes nouvelles." " Lorsque la haine de 1'Allemagne sera assouvie lorsque de
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nouvelles surfaces de frottement se creeront entre les puissances le probleme anglo-francais entrera aussi dans une nouvelle phase."
In addition to the rivalry of the conquerors, there is also : " un danger nouveau : la revanche des peuples vaincus. Quatre-vingt millions d'Allemands habitent au centre de 1'Europe un territoire compact. Leur science, leurs talents d'organisation, leur grand patrio- tisme, leurs quality's militaires et e"conomiques, leur natalit^ croissante sont des facteurs dont aucune dfaite, aucune humiliation, aucun traite" de paix ne pourra les priver et qui seront en contradiction criante avec la situation nouvelle qu'on veut leur imposer. Meme si 1'empire germanique subit un morcellement nouveau, si son unite est supprimee en droit public, rien ne pourra empecher que son pass glorieux, le souvenir des vertus admirables qui se manifestent dans la guerre actuelle, ne maintiennent Punite* des ames en de"pit de tous les artifices et de toutes les restrictions."
Neither Hungary nor Bulgaria nor Turkey will be won very easily for the programme of the victorious Entente. I defined this as follows : " La victoire de la Quadruple-Entente signifierait le partage de la Turquie, I'asservissement de la Bulgarie par la Rus- sie, le de'membrement et raffaiblissement de PAutriche- Hongrie, la decentralisation et le morcellement de PAllemagne, y compris la perte de ses colonies."
And the continuation of the war to the utmost limit in spite of the possibility of peace would lead to revolution : " Refuser consciemment une possibilite de
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paix, c'est e*branler dans 1'ame des peuples la confiance a l'egard des formes des gouvernements que les e"tats representent aujourd'hui, c'est rendre odieux 1'ordre social contemporain, c'est reparer la voie a ses de"trac- teurs." " Comment empecher que le me'contentement sans cesse croissant qui gronde dans les masses popu- laires hostiles a la guerre ne conduise a une boulever- sement absolu de 1'ordre social?" " Pourquoi ne pas mediter 1'exemple que nous offre la Russie? La tsarisme, et avec lui tout le systeme bourgeois, s'effondrent sous le poids de leur responsabilite en ce qui concerne la guerre. Les gouvernements qui refusent la paix lorsqu'elte est possible ne peuvent pas fermer les yeux sur le pril qui les mnacera si la guerre mondiale, au lieu de conduire a une paix capable de guerir les plaies, se transforme en guerre civile, guerre autrement passionne*e et autrement des- tructice que la lutte actuelle. Les experiences de 1'Histoire ne sont-elles pas la pour servir de Ie9on aux classes dirigeantes? Faut-il que chaque nation passe par 1'^cole de la souffrance, faut-il que chacune fasse a ses propres frais 1 'experience du chaos qu'elle pourrait eviter si elle avait des yeux pour voir? "
My chief hopes for a permanent peace were based upon the fact that : " le re"sultat de la guerre signi- fierait une d6faite de rimperialisme conquerant." " Une guerre qui finit sans 1'ecrasement d'une partie des belligeVants, une paix qui maintient Pe"quilibre des forces dans leurs traits fondamentaux, une solution qui ne comporte aucune realisation imp^rialiste, ne
172 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
pourraient encourager personne a la repetition des horreurs actuelles. Les adversaires de la guerre auraient beau jeu dans tous les pays, car nulle part les sacrifices consentis ne pourront etre considered comme une mise de fonds heureuse. En Angleterre, on finira par se convaincre de rimpossibilite" d'e"craser 1'Alle- magne, car il sera difficile de mettre sur pied une coalition encore plus puissante que celle de la Quad- ruple-Entente. En Allemagne, on comprendra que la Grande-Bretagne est invincible et que sa supre"- matie navale constitue un fait accompli jusqu'ici inebranlable avec lequel il faudra compter.
Comparez les deux tableaux que nous venons de tracer et dites ou il faut chercher les vraies garanties de la paix future; est-ce dans l'expe*rience que l'e"qui- libre du monde ne peut plus etre facilement bouleverse* par le sabre et que la victoire elle-meme est une mauvaise affaire, ou est-ce dans la preuve qu'il est tou jours possible de cre"er par Fe'pee des empires gigan- tesques a 1'instar d'Alexandre le Grand, de Jules Ce*sar et de Napoleon, et que les guerres sont toujours des operations fructueuses? Laquelle des deux cartes porte-t-elle les marques d'une oeuvre destined a durer : celle que certains hommes d'etats tiennent a octroyer au monde dans leur enivrement de victoire et de haine, ou celle qui re"sultera d'un compromis en s'accommodant, dans ses lignes essentielles tout au moins, des ne"ces- site"s de revolution historiques ?"
I also pointed to the necessity of making sacrifices for the sake of peace before the decision was reached,
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 173
in the following paragraph : " Aujourd'hui 1'Entente n'est pas vaincue. Meme 1' Italic, a laquelle les Puis- sances Centrales viennent de porter quelques rudes coups, continue a resister heroiquement. La paix que Ton pourrait conclure en ce moment devrait compter avec ce fait. Celui qui desire la paix actuellement et nous le desirons sincerement ne peut poser de conditions humiliantes pour aucune des parties belli- gerantes." . . . " Sur aucun point nos desirs n'excluent le respect des interets de chacun, nulle part nous ne voulons humilier aucun de nos adversaires, nulle part 1'Autriche-Hongrie ne s'opposera a une politique de conciliation permanente."
Nevertheless, it was excessively difficult to realize the peace by agreement. The position of the Entente was comparable with our own. Our self-consciousness could be satisfied completely by our brilliant resistance, but for all that we were opposed to an enormous supe- riority of power. Many people in the nations of the Entente saw a humiliation in the fact that an absolute victory had not been achieved. On the other hand, we did not believe that the aggressive policy of one of the enemy powers was a constant danger for us and for mankind a belief which the agitation " God punish England " failed to make general. The majority of the Entente believed honestly that without the subjugation of Germany the freedom and justice of the world would always be in danger, and that the greatness and security of their own country would become illusory. Whereas we were guided by the feeling that the time was against
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us, the Entente, and especially England, was con- vinced by what Kitchener said in Egypt in the course of a private conversation as follows : " The battles will perhaps be won by the Central Powers, but the war will certainly be won by the Entente, because she is able to endure longest." How could the idea of a peace by agreement be carried out successfully in view of such an attitude held by the Entente ? Was it ever possible ? Czernin and Ludendorff assert that such a possibility never existed. They point out that concrete and acceptable conditions were never submitted to us. This may be true, but it does not prove that if we had approached the matter differently the Entente would not have accepted such conditions. The question is not only whether we allowed actual opportunities to slip past, but also whether a better policy would not have been capable of creating advantageous opportunities for peace.
At any rate, the conditio sine qua non of bringing about a peace by agreement was : first qf all, unified action, the display of power and self-consciousness in order to shake the consciousness of victory in the Entente. I considered it to be the greatest crime to use the will to make peace as a tool for internal politics. At any rate in our midst, the agitation of the pacifists brought about the certainty of the prolongation of the war. Among the Entente the result was that the conviction grew that we were already conquered and that a compromise was no longer necessary. The pacificist propaganda in Austria and Hungary was
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 175
especially mistaken because it was entirely superfluous. The young King wanted peace and only peace, and everybody knew it. Public opinion also was in favour of peace. A military party of any importance existed neither in Vienna nor in Budapest. It would have been impossible to continue the war as soon as public opinion had obtained any knowledge of the possibility of con- cluding peace. Even the leaders of the army advised peace for a long time.
The difficulties which were placed in the way by Germany should not have been surmounted by pacifist propaganda but by an energetic, secret action on the part of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. On final analysis, I would not have been held back even by the threat of a separate peace, only I would have exerted my utmost power to avoid public quarrels, because this could only increase the consciousness of victory in the circles of the Entente.
As* a matter of fact, the opposite generally occurred. The opposition between Vienna and Berlin became public, and we were not in a position to exert a moder- ating influence in Berlin because they knew there very well that it was possible to persuade us against our own inclinations. Would the Entente not have used less violent language, and would the friends of peace in London and Paris not have found a more fruitful soil for their aspirations, if we had co-operated more and if the war agitators of the enemy had not always been in a position to point to the decisive political power of German militarism?
176 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
By means of an able propaganda we ought to have exploited, and we could have exploited in a far greater degree, firstly our desire for peace, and secondly the refusal of our enemies to make one. I approved of the official peace proposals which we had made at the end of the year 1916; in fact, I recommended that such a step should be taken in October, 1915, to Bethmann- Hollweg personally. In other words, I was prepared to pursue such a course once Serbia's power had been broken down, only I was of the opinion that the greatest importance would have to be laid on the fact that such a step should not be regarded as weakness on our part. It was a question of political tact and ability to reconcile the two contradictory considerations of displaying simultaneously the readiness to make peace and the ability to wage war. A peace move could only be made when the military position was favourable. At the same time an effort should have been made to get in secret touch with the enemy. My chief trust lay in England, and I was of the opinion that the main duty of Austria-Hungary was to get into touch with London. But it was impossible to give a complete trial to these possibilities, because our relation with Germany was never sufficiently good for Germany to regard such an action without jealousy.
In Hungary the Social Democrats and Karolyi's party expected to bring about peace by the propagation of the annexation principle and of the principle of no mutual compensation, which resulted in increased activity on the part of the International. I always
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 177
regarded this expectation as dangerous and short- sighted. The Social Democrats were not sufficiently strong to enforce the peace. The general mobilization, the unusual power which was at the disposal of the Government, and the highly developed nationalistic and imperialistic feelings made it easy for the Govern- ment to counterbalance the efforts of the International so long as exhaustion and military catastrophe had not become established. In many places a considerable proportion of the Social Democratic workers joined the military party.
I considered the one-sided acceptance of the funda- mental point of view \vhich approved of a peace without annexation, completely mistaken, because this would have persuaded our opponents that, no matter how much they demanded from us, and no matter how long they continued this murderous war, and no matter how much they might be conquered, we would have tied ourselves in such a way that we could demand nothing either in money or in territory. It w r ould have been nothing but a positive instigation to the military party to continue the war. In case of victory they could hope for everything from us ; in case of defeat they were protected from the worst consequences of their own policy. We enhanced the value of the favourable conditions made by us before a final decision, by the continuation of the wa* with the risk that this involved. It might have been right to offer to accept on a suitable occasion the status quo with an emphasis upon the fact that our demands would alter in accordance with the 12
DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
situation ; in fact, it might even have been advisable to bring territorial sacrifices in case of necessity, but anything binding should have been avoided on principle because it is impossible to depart from this policy without moral loss. A politician who accepts the socialistic and pacifist theory becomes a slave of his belief, and cannot, without heavy moral damage, become a politician in the opposite camp again. This was the weakness of Count Czernin, who cloaked him- self with the mantle of pacificism and wanted to secure at the same time the possibility of exploiting practical political measures. This contradiction between words and action also became the heel of Achilles in the historic figure of Wilson. The appropriation of the battle-cry of the socialists assured to socialism such a power against which a defence could only have been led successfully if peace had not been brought about in spite of their efforts.
Ludendorff and Tirpitz describe in their memoirs the publication of this desire even after a peace by agree- ment, as a mistake. As in their opinion the enemy did not desire to reach an agreement but to achieve victory, only the readiness to fight, energy and endur- ance could have saved us.
This last assertion ceitainly corresponds with the truth ; but it was a failure to analyse the psychology of modern nations, to assume that this tenacity and this endurance could be kept alive by promises and by imperialistic successes. As the defensive aim was the only justifi- cation of the war in the eyes of the masses, and since
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the conquest by mighty parties was abhorred in principle by the multitude, and since complete victory could hardly be hoped for when seriously considered, the unity of our inner front line could only be achieved by the proclamation of moderation, the defensive objects, and the peace by agreement. There was nothing that endangered the determination to go to war in a higher degree than the policy which placed the peace pro- gramme of the military party in the foreground and the pretence which asserted that the war had to be continued in accordance with the demands of the General Staff and the big industries. From the point of view of concluding peace and continuing the war, we would have been in the best position if it had been possible to exploit theoretical success by elastic and modest war aims, which at the same time permitted it to be recognized that we were ready to make peace as soon as our previous position could be guaranteed.
I considered the situation most favourable for peace after the success at Gorlice, after we had beaten the Russians, after the Italians could not achieve any visible success, and after the Serbians had been conquered. This was at the end of the year 1915. -I also considered the moment after the Russian Revolution as favourable, as our Eastern front gradually became freer, and when the Western Powers were exposed to the danger that those victorious armies which had greater achievements to their credit than any army in the whole course of history would be turned with the whole of their power against them (1917). Unfortunately, however, the
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exploitation of this opportunity was made more difficult by the mistakes which we had committed. We paid a heavy price for the fact that, especially at that time, we were not united. The famous resolution adopted in the German Reichstag was the product of an atmosphere of panic, and created an impression of increasing weakness. At the same time, however, the German Government and the highest command made an imperialistic policy felt which was in opposition to this resolution. In consequence of the confusion of this situation, it was difficult to have faith in our honesty. We could neither command respect nor inspire confidence. The chief mistake, however, was made at the time of the peace negotiations at Brest- Litovsk, during which the means of the negotiations were mistaken as well as their aims.
The means of negotiation were mistaken because they lent weight to Bolshevism, because it was regarded as a revolutionary act that the leading Ministers of two Emperors sat down at the same table and negotiated for weeks with bourgeois representatives of any sort of authority of the enemy. Trotzki boasted truly that the strikes in Berlin, Vienna and Budapest were the direct echo of the negotiations in Brest-Litovsk. While negotiations were proceeding, the Bolshevists attempted, by means of pamphlets, to make the soldiers of the German Army and of our own unfit for battle, and to cause a revolution behind our front line. All this could have been foreseen in advance. It was impossible to come to an agreement with the Bolshevists. One should
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES l8l
not have negotiated with them, because they were in constant and irreconcilable opposition, not on account of their foreign policy but on account of their principles, to every form of bourgeois society and to every unity of the state. They should only have been approached with a sword in one's hand and with orders and an ultimatum.
There was acute opposition on the one hand between our demands, and on the other between the point of view from which we started and the means of solution we adopted. Our procedure^ was not an honest one. We clothed our imperialism in the cloak of socialism and pacifism. The Ministers spoke of peace without annexation and without compensation, while in Berlin the German mind was occupying itself with the realiza- tion of the greatest imperialistic scheme which had ever been conceived. This conception consisted in the idea that Germany should, by circumventing Austria- Hungary, obtain a communication apart from the Hamburg-Bagdad line over Kiew and Central Asia to Asia and India, and that this communication should lead through countries which were to be subjected to the military influence of Germany. Round the table at Brest-Litovsk everyone spoke of the right of self-deter- mination of nations, but the one party wanted, under the protection of the German Army, to carry out their own will, whereas the other were determined to carry out the will of their own people under the protection of the Red Guard.
The chief blame of this mistake rests upon Germany.
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The programme of Count Czernin, which he recom- mended for acceptance to the German Government, was a perfectly sound one. Our Monarchy did not aim at any imperialistic ideals, but it only sought to secure the possibility of supplying the Monarchy with food and was not even able to achieve this modest end. The Ukraine, which was disorganized and exhausted by war and revolution, was not able to supply us with the expected raw materials.
The peace of Brest-Litovsk supplied a weapon to those who had always asserted that the victory of Ger- many would mean a German domination of the world and the enslavement of all other peoples. This hap- pened at a moment when the possibility of making an advantageous peace could have been gained perhaps most easily if we had exploited the position which we had gained by the defeat of the Russians and had remained modest in our demands.
I considered the method of negotiations proposed by General Hoffman, which was a rapid and decided soldierly appearance together with moderate conditions as the proper means of procedure. He wanted less socialistic turn to the conversation, less imperialistic ambition, and more determination and rapidity of action.
I also did not consider the way in which Roumania was treated a happy one. I was of the opinion that it would have been better not to make peace with Roumania before the complete defeat of her army had been brought about. At that time Roumania was sur-
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 183
rounded on all sides. In the opinion of competent authorities, it would have been easy then to overcome the Roumanian army completely. As it happened, however, that portion of the Roumanian army which remained intact became a constant danger in case we should fail to come to an agreement with the West.
We were continually threatened by the policy of the court in Jassy, which was approved of by the Entente. With regard to the conditions of peace that should have been demanded from Roumania, I would only have desired an adjustment of the frontiers and the leading statesmen of Hungary agreed with this view of mine. In broad outlines, Wekerle, Apponyi and Tisza also shared my opinion. There were only very few Hun- garian politicians who thought of larger conquests at the expense of Roumania. Karolyi and the Socialistic party were in favour of a peace without annexation and without indemnity. The monarch also was inclined to accept this point of view. I was unable to ascertain the point of view of Count Czernin, in spite of the fact that I negotiated with him on this subject. Czernin was trying to point out that the disadvantageous effect of our policy at that time was due to the demands made by Hungary. This attempt of his, however, was unjusti- fied, and due to his well-known hatred of Hungary. The peace of Brest-Litovsk and not the peace of Bukarest, was decisive for the European situation, and the result would have remained exactly the same if we had not taken the scarcely populated frontier region of Roumania. If, however, this unimportant adjustment
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of the frontiers met with so much opposition, this occurred only because this measure was taken at a time when we were playing with pacifism and socialism, for which Hungary is in no way to blame. Another cause of the discontent was due to the heavy demands made in the course of the negotiations on the part of Germany. Germany intended to make Roumania practically an economic colony of her own, and went so far as to make us, the neighbouring state, anxious, and we felt ourselves injured. In addition, there were the requisitions made by the army, which are used now, after the war, by the Roumanians as a justification for their own plundering.
The few pieces of wooded country which Hungary had gained by the peace of Bukarest have not played an important part in Roumania's interference or in the cause of their desire for revenge. The territorial decisions of the peace of Bukarest would only have been an example of moderate policy if they had not been an integral part of the promises made to Russia and if the economic conditions had been more moderate. It was a serious mistake made in drawing up the Treaty of Bukarest that we injured Germany's economic demands made against Bulgaria with reference to the Dobrudscha, and this procedure subsequently became one of the causes of Bulgaria's secession.
The negotiations of Brest-Litovsk and Bukarest had an injurious effect upon Austria-Hungary's determina- tion to continue the struggle, because they created the impression that, even in case of victory, we would lose
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 185
our independence. A Germany which would take over the leading political and economic r61es in Warsaw, Kiew and Bukarest, would have placed us at a con- siderable disadvantage.
I was not conversant with the secrets of diplomacy except at the time when, in consequence of a decision of the Chamber of Deputies, Count Albert Apponyi, Stefan Rakovszky and I myself were informed of the exact position by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Burian. This period, however, was brought to a close when Burian declared that he did not feel justified in informing us of secrets of international policy which were not purely his own. (This took place from the 6th of July to the 23rd of August, 1916.)
Regarding the state of affairs from outside, I gained the impression that there was no real opportunity for concluding peace. It appears now, however, that negotiations took place w r hich promised serious pos- sibilities of peace. The negotiations referred to were those which Count Revertera conducted at Czernin's request with the French Count Armand in August, 1917, in Switzerland, and which Czernin made public in the last speech which he delivered as Minister for Foreign Affairs. It was the speech which contained an attack upon the French President Clemenceau. I understand that those negotiations led to a favourable result. Clemenceau was not as yet at the head of the French Government, and the defeat of the Russian front exercised a depressing effect upon the Allies, and in consequence there was a strong peace tendency in
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Paris. Confidence in victory had been shaken. It must be admitted that the French demanded Alsace-Lorraine, but in the exchange they promised to return the German colonies, and they even promised to extend them. Furthermore, they were prepared to give Germany a free hand against Russia in the Eastern section. They also demanded from us those regions which were inhabited by Italians.
Czernin considered these conditions favourable, and if one considers the final result there can be no difference of opinion to-day that such a peace would have been more desirable. The Germans, however, would not hear of such a treaty. They counted upon victory, and conducted the negotiations in such a forcible manner that Czernin gained the impression that, if Austria- Hungary wanted to enforce peace, the German Army would immediately occupy Bohemia. Consequently, Czernin gave way and peace was not achieved. The fearful struggle and the butchery of mankind continued, Clemenceau became the head of the French Govern- ment, and we reached the final act of the tragedy.
Czernin was undoubtedly in a very difficult position. If he had entertained any hope that we should be victorious, or that we would, at any rate, be able to resist long enough for him to hope for better conditions of peace, I could understand that he gave way to German influence. But Czernin regarded the future as sinister. While he was still Ambassador in Bukarest, he urged peace because, in his opinion, victory was out of the question. As Minister, he handed a memoran- dum in April, 1917, to the Kaiser, in which he explained
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that the Monarchy could at most resist until the end of the year, and that the Monarchy was faced with military collapse and revolution.
In such circumstances, I cannot understand his pro- cedure. An individual has the right, and may even have the duty, of sacrificing himself for the sanctity of his word. But Governments are not entitled to demand completely hopeless sufferings and sacrifices from those millions of people in whose name they are acting on account of the wrong attitude of the power to whom they have been tied by an alliance. Moral law is valid also in politics. Meanness is also mean in- politics, and to keep your word is also a duty in politics, and not only a duty, but also to your own interests, for trust is a political power of the first order and even honesty is the best policy. Just as a financier who does not fulfil his pledges generally suffers most in the long run, because he loses the confidence of his fellows, so does a statesman prove himself to be short-sighted who regards deceit and deception as the main means of his policy. To desert an ally in order to secure certain advantages without any necessity for so doing, is a disgrace and generally a disadvantage. England pur- sued such a policy in the Spanish War of Succession, and Prussia did the same in the Austrian War of Suc- cession, and a similar procedure was adopted in the war against the French Revolution. The employment of such means is short-sighted because it decreases the nation's ability to form other alliances. A Minister, who, during this terrible war, is in full possession of the facts and has access to reliable data, in view of
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which he recognizes that a catastrophe is inevitable, and who knows, moreover, that a peace can be concluded honourably and that his own interests may at the same time be preserved, who nevertheless sacrifices his nation upon the altar of the mistakes of his allies, cannot be judged by ordinary standards. In such circumstances a breach with the ally is not only a right but it is a duty to mankind and to his own country. Czernin failed to take such a step because he was afraid that the Ger- mans would turn against him and that civil war would result in Austria. In his opinion, a breach with Ger- many would not have led to peace, but at best to a new war.
I must, however, regard this attitude as most sur- prising. In his report which has been published he explains that the forces of Germany were well-nigh exhausted, and that German statesmen in responsible positions had admitted this to him. How could he believe, in such circumstances, that Germany would be ready to decide to attack us, and thereby isolate herself completely and place herself in an entirely untenable position ? How could he believe that the German people would sanction such a decision of the military command if it became known publicly that it was possible to conclude an honourable peace and that we severed ourselves from Germany only because the German Government would not accept the conditions?
Public opinion and the Majority Party in Germany, which had already raised its voice in favour of the well- known peace resolution, would have brought about the
OUR POLITICAL MISTAKES 189
fall of any Government which had dared to enter upon -a new and hopeless combat. Moreover, Ludendorff wrote : " Nobody ever thought of exercising military pressure upon Austria-Hungary." Czernin would have rendered a great service to Germany and the whole of humanity if he had persisted in carrying out the policy which his insight suggested to him.
Erzberger spoke of a second possibility of peace when he mentioned the peace mission of the Pope, but I do not consider this mission important. It was rather a proof of the Pope's anxiety and readiness for peace than any evidence of an inclination to make peace on the part of the Entente. England gave an evasive reply to the Pope's peace mission by saying that the negotiations could not be considered seriously because it was un- known what intentions Germany cherished concerning Belgium. In view of this declaration, it was by no means clear that England was determined to conclude a peace even if Germany had given a satisfactory answer with regard to Belgium. By giving an evasive answer to the suggestions emanating from Rome, Germany made a mistake, but she did not refuse any peace proposals that came from the Entente. If Germany had utilized this opportunity and given a satisfactory reply with regard to Belgium, the peace parties of the Entente would have gained courage and the Pope might have found an opportunity to continue the beneficial effect of his work successfully. Nevertheless, we are not in a position to speak of a peace proposal of the Entente which has been rejected.
OUR MILITARY MISTAKES.
IN addition to the mistakes that we made in our foreign policy, the result of which only increased the number of our enemies of whom we had a sufficiency, and which only decreased our slender hopes for peace, we also added military errors. We owe the greatest gratitude to our armies because they performed miracles. They fought almost unceasingly against superior numbers, and took more prisoners than our enemies. They conquered more fortresses, they won more battles, and they have occupied larger areas, than any army in this war or than any previous fighting force. I am also of opinion that our leadership was superior to that of the enemy. Certain campaigns will remain classics in the annals of military history. The masses justified themselves completely. Jhere were far more heroes than one could have expected from the present generation. But we made such serious military mistakes that we were prevented from achieving such successes as might perhaps have led us to an advan- tageous peace.
The Austro-Hungarian armies suffered from such organic weaknesses as to deteriorate the capacity of the
OUR MILITARY MISTAKES IQI
first-class material. These mistakes could be felt in the whole of the organism of the State. The long reign of Francis Joseph was not favourable to the develop- ment of such talent as existed. This ruler loved the punctual, assiduous bureaucrat, whereas he was rather shy of men who possessed profundity of thought and who were endowed with great gifts. In fact, one might almost say that he was afraid of the last- mentioned type. The so-called asses' ladder was the normal means of promotion during his reign. In- fluence, birth, and bureaucratic talent sometimes succeeded in obtaining preferential treatment; but genius and real power hardly ever succeeded in so doing. The spirit of bureaucracy lay heavily upon everything, and mediocrity stood the best chance of promotion. Francis Ferdinand, on the other hand, sought to discover talent and showed sound insight in many cases. Unfortunately, however, it happened very often that the personalities chosen by him com- bined talent with a tendency to intrigue. Baron Conrad, who was his right-hand man in military questions, possessed decided talent, an individualistic character, was by no means an intriguer or a flatterer, but he was not endowed with a great knowledge of men, nor did he possess the ability to make an end of the rule of mediocrity and intrigue in his immediate surroundings. The General Staff remained a special body within the body of the army. There was an absence of that healthy interchange between it and the troops, that organic cohesion which existed, for
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example, in the German Army. All advantages, dis- tinctions and promotions fell to the portion of the General Staff, and all the dangers and suffering fell to the part of the troops. It was scarcely possible for officers commanding troops in the field to get into the General Staff, and they were always superseded by the successful candidates coming from the military schools. Heavy work and the uncertainty of the future ruined the nerves of the officers. The continuous effort for promotion, which could only be obtained over the corpses of friends, the desire to curry favour with superior officers, and the victory of the flatterer in this competition, all combined to weaken moral courage and to reduce the readiness to accept responsibility for its own sake. Enterprise became smaller and smaller, and one met far more often with lip-service among the General Staff and in the higher posts. In the German Army, where the iron discipline was certainly as strong as with us, independence and boldness were much more pronounced, and promotion was not only expected from above as was the case with us. One could note frequently during the war with dissatis- faction the hatred and distrust which officers in the field bore towards the General Staff.
The second great organic weakness of this army was the fact that the Hungarians, the race which fought with most enthusiasm next to the Germans, did not feel itself to be an integral part of this army, nor did they regard it as their own. Among the higher ranks of the officers there were only a few Hungarians, and
OUR MILITARY MISTAKES 1 93
among the highly placed Hungarians there were only a few of purely Hungarian outlook. The Hungarians returned from the war with a multitude of complaints. During the war I spoke to countless Hungarian politicians who used to be ardent exponents of a common army and who were in favour of the German language as the only language for the army, but now, after they had gained their experience, they regarded the creation of an independent Hungarian army as one of the most urgent problems. In many places where there was a lack of Hungarian officers, the Hungarian troops believed they were justified in detecting a hatred of Hungary. Thousands upon thousands of Hun- garian soldiers gained the impression that they were selected for posts of danger, and that recognition fell to anyone rather than themselves. All these experi- ences led to the fact that Hungarian troops rejoiced when they were detailed to go into portions of the German army, in spite of the rough treatment and the strong discipline of the Germans, which is naturally opposed to the Hungarian temperament. The military virtues of the Hungarians were not fully exploited, and the army did not develop that power of which it would have been capable under better organization and leadership. The experiences and impressions gained by the Hungarians in the theatre of war made them bitter and became one of the sources of the October revolution. This state of affairs is ever to be regretted, for the human material of the army was the best in existence. The Hungarian peasant, if he is com- 13
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manded by a correspondingly able body of officers, is the best soldier in the world. And in view of the circumstances he brought about miracles; but he would have been even better if one had placed him in purely national surroundings during times of peace.
One of the greatest advantages we enjoyed was our internal line of communications, which permitted us to move our forces, according to plan, from one theatre of war to another. Unfortunately, however, this advantage was exploited only rarely because, in order to do so, we would have had to have complete harmony in leadership, which we lacked. Without knowing any of the details, I nevertheless had the worrying impression that all was not well with us in this direction. Whenever I had an opportunity of discuss- ing the subject with a leading personality of Germany or Austria, I generally heard the bitterest complaints against the ally. The political lack of harmony was also reflected in the military leadership.
The book written by Novak, which is a glorification of Conrad, throws an interesting light upon these quarrels and upon the mutual feeling. The book is a crystallization of the anti-German spirit which was dominant in our army. It is quite certain that also our enemies did not remain untouched by the weak- nesses of the coalition. This is proved by many of the mistakes they made, which they were able to bear, whereas we, who had far smaller forces at our disposal than our enemies, could not afford to commit any errors. Nothing but complete harmony, faultless
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leadership and the favour of fortune could have secured a victory for us. I do not wish to enter the labyrinth of military questions, but I only want to point to some mistakes which were made on our side.
From the very beginning I was convinced that we ought to concentrate our forces against Russia, and that, unless the momentary position forced us to adopt different methods of procedure in other theatres of war, we ought to attack our strongest enemy on the con- tinent until he collapsed completely.
Apart from the political reasons which I have given earlier on, I came to this conclusion in view of the strategic position of Poland. Our Eastern frontiers were suitable to an offensive and unfavourable to the defensive plan of campaign. The situation was un- favourable for defence because the kingdom of Poland is in such a central position that the Russian Army can from there threaten Berlin, Budapest and Vienna in a similar manner, and could force us to hold large forces in readiness in order to defend our capital. By exploit- ing the advantages of the internal lines of communi- cation the Russian Army could defeat our forces separately. As soon as we confined ourselves to the defensive, we had to gather together enormous forces, and even they had to be exposed to the danger of being vanquished separately. For an attack, however, the strategic position was very favourable. The Russian Army marched into Poland in such a state of confusion that the army could almost be throttled, provided we attacked the army from both ends with energy. More-
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over, every tactical success could easily develop into enormous strategic results.
It appears that our military command intended to commence the attack in the Russian theatre of war, but they failed to enforce this plan with the Germans. It appears, moreover, that our military command at the beginning of the war was of the opinion that the Germans would direct greater forces towards the Eastern theatre of war than was actually the case. It was a serious disadvantage for us that this calculation turned out to be erroneous, and that the Austro- Hungarian Army, which was relatively weak compared with the army of Russia, had from the beginning to develop an attack of such a size as she should only have done if her army had been equivalent to that of Russia. This attack, moreover, was made in accord- ance with old principles of tactics and our soldiers did not dig trenches. Human life was not spared then as it ( was later. Consequently, we lost material and were pressed back at the same time. The Germans were forced to take more troops from the Western front and transport them to the Eastern front, the consequence of which was the failure of the Battle of the Marne and the German troops did not arrive in time in Galicia.
While the battle was still raging in Galicia which had been inaugurated in unfavourable circumstances, and while our army was suffering heavy losses which could never be replaced, we used excessive powers against the Serbs in opposition to the advice of the military command. In the Serbian theatre of war we
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conducted an offensive twice over, without having sufficient power to do it, and at a time when we needed every single soldier in a more important theatre of war. On the first occasion we shed more blood than was necessary without achieving a permanent success, and we excited the jealousy of the Italians. The second offensive led to a catastrophe which was perhaps the saddest in the whole of the war. When Potiorek had the victory apparently already in his hands, he risked everything. He divided his army into two parts, sent one portion towards the north in order to deliver the keys of Belgrade into the hands of the highest War Lord for the glorification of the Emperor's Jubilee (2nd December, 1914); w T hereas he committed the other portion, consisting of worn-out troops, who were far distant from their reserves and from munitions, to a battle which he lost completely. It was a tragic and classic example of lip-service and the menial spirit of the courtier. By this procedure small Serbia gained an enormous victory over her powerful neighbour.
The result was that in Galicia and in Serbia we lost the flower of our army without achieving a correspond- ing result. The defeat could be made good, but the dead could not be raised to life again. The good name of the army, moreover, suffered so severely that, not- withstanding many proofs of courage, many brilliant ideas and many fair victories, the blemish could never be removed completely. Our self-assurance, which was never too firmly rooted in Austria, began to waver.
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Many events would have developed along different lines if the war had been started with satisfactory results against Russia.
It would never have been correct to begin a serious offensive against two different enemies in two different theatres of war. The main attack should always have been directed against one object. This rule was also disregarded in the year 1916, when two attacks were launched simultaneously against Verdun and against the Italian Army. In my opinion, neither the one attack nor the other was desirable. I considered, rather, that after the defeat of Serbia, the offensive should have been resumed against Russia, especially as that offensive had achieved such brilliant results after Gorlice. Verdun resisted the onslaught. The offensive which had begun so successfully in Italy had to be arrested because Brussilow had penetrated our eastern frontier near Luck. This Russian success, which would not have occurred if we had not given the Russians time to reorganize themselves, and if we had exploited our great successes during 1915 with all our force, finally determined Roumania in entering the war.
It is a classical example of the unhealthy structure of the Coalition that as Novak points out in his book Baron Conrad knew nothing of the offensive of Verdun which had been prepared secretly by Count Falkenhayn.
Was it a mistake, or was it inevitable, that we did not continue the offensive in the year 1917 which we
OUR MILITARY MISTAKES 1 99
made upon the Italian front until the Italian army had been vanquished completely, and further, that we did not extend our offensive against Serbia as far as Salonica ? I am not in a position to judge this question fully, but at any rate it was a misfortune. At the same time, I could not avoid the impression that we did not exploit our successes sufficiently, and that we changed the aims of our operations too often, and that the last attack against Italy was made without due preparation and that it was based upon a fundamental mistake originally. Finally, there is another question that must be asked : was the forcing of the last offensive in the West not based upon a complete mis- apprehension of the relation of strength, and would it not have been better at that time to confine oneself to the defensive and to aim at such resistance as would bring about a peace by negotiation rather than putting all the eggs into one basket?
The most serious mistake of the military command was certainly the absolutely erroneous calculations with regard to the effects of the submarine war and the ability of America. It was a mistake which ultimately developed into the final cause of the catastrophe.
In spite of all these mistakes, however, the final collapse did not take place in any theatre of war, as a result of the many clever ideas, the many admirable combinations and the incomparable material of our armies, but upon the internal front. When Bulgaria deserted us and paralysed our power of resistance, our troops were upon enemy territory and they had not
2OO DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
been vanquished. We could record more glorious military successes than our victorious enemies. It was not a defeat of the military front which led to our failure, but it was the collapse of the internal front which led to the military catastrophe.
In order to understand the collapse, we must there- fore turn our attention to the internal situation. We must examine what causes created the crisis in Hungary which led to the fall of the Monarchy.
Part III. Internal Crisis and Collapse.
I AM setting myself a painful task in speaking of the collapse which overthrew everything, or which, at any rate, shook to its foundations that order, for which countless Hungarian patriots have fought and suffered for a thousand years, and for which our heroic soldiers bled, and for which the whole of patriotic Hungarian society, men, women and children, mobilized their enthusiasm and for which I also have worked and lived.
During the war I once declared in Parliament that the opportunism and lack of courage of Hungarian society had shaken my belief in the virtues of the Hungarian people. In view of the heroism and endur- ance which we witnessed during the war, I am, however, proud once more of my nation. I know, moreover, that I have every right to say so. Even to-day it is a consolation to remember with what heroic enthusiasm, manly endurance and ennobling determination the majority of the Hungarian nation sacrificed everything they had, as well as their blood, for the holy cause of continuing their existence.
Although this memory is a rich source of satisfac- tion, pride and hope, it is also a source of fearful embitterment. All the holy determination, all the virtue and the love of country, all the suffering, were
2O2 DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
in vain. We ha,ve been destroyed, our country has been torn to pieces, and we have become paupers. The fight against the enemy has been exchanged for a class war. The most cruel class tyranny and other quarrels are bleeding us to death. We may boldly assert that our fate amongst all the belligerent nations is the hardest of all !
How could this happen ? What causes have led to this terrible tragedy, in which it was my sad fate to play a part?
The development of Hungary had been under an unfortunate constellation for a long time. In the course of the last half-century, ever since the adjust- ment of the year 1867, we should have made good the mistakes of centuries, and we should have strengthened and developed ourselves, but unfortunately this did not occur to a sufficient degree.
The tragedy of the past century had been that we had had to seek assistance against the superior power of the Turks, and that the ruler to whom we offered the crown of Stefan in exchange for his help, did not identify himself with the Hungarian nation. The nation and the dynasty did not understand each other sufficiently. The object of the nation was "herself," the object of the dynasty was also "herself." The general interests of the countries dominated by this dynasty did not unfortunately hold together. The nation, goaded by her instincts, sought to establish an independent national life, based upon a protective alliance with other states. The instincts of the dynasty,
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on the other hand, urged her towards the creation of an imperial unity.
From time to time the nation desired complete inde- pendence (Rakoczi, Kussuth), the dynasty, on the other hand, demanded a complete fusion (Caraffa, Joseph II, Bach). Generally, a compromise was found between the opposing tendencies, compromises which satisfied the momentary interests but which were not able to produce a real power or a real harmony.
The nation and the dynasty rendered each other great services. Buda and South Hungary were liberated from the Turkish yoke by troops that had been gathered together by the Habsburgs. The Habsburgs repre- sented the idea of the national unity of Hungary at a time when our dominion was torn into three peices. The dynasty also owed us a great debt of gratitude. Hungary protected Austria against the Eastern danger. The Zrinyi saved Vienna. Marie Therese owed her throne to the insurrection of the Hungarian nobility. The victories of Napoleon failed to destroy the Habsburg dynasty only because the Hungarian nation remained faithful. Notwithstanding all these mutual services, we in Hungary never quite forgot the period of tyranny and repression, and Vienna always remembered the struggles with the Kuruczen. None of our kings participated personally in our battles; not one of them identified himself truly with the people. Amongst our rulers it was only Marie Therese who spoke warm words to us, but only in her own interest. On the other hand, the Hungarian
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nation never regarded herself as part and parcel of their ruler. Those Hungarians who became courtiers lost their nationality in the eyes of those who remained at home. As they were precluded from foreign politics, the Hungarian statesmen lost their European horizon. They did not share the cares 'and ambitions of their king, and therefore could not exercise a decisive influ- ence over him. The Hungarian nation was often forced to shed its blood for foreign purposes, for the rule of the Habsburgs in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The final result of these discords was that the nation preserved her rights on paper, but actually surrendered her independence in practice and became a province. The power of the Hungarian States could not be used for the development of the internal strength of the nation, as in the case of France, Prussia, Austria or Bavaria. As the Hungarian nation had to dedicate most of her energies to the protection of her constitu- tion, the mental energy of the nation acquired a tendency to make itself felt in a negative way, that is to say, they made themselves more felt by asserting those rights which were designed for their protection rather than by creating new ideas for the furtherance of her economic and administrative possessions. The mentality of the lawyer took the place of the mentality of the statesman. The result was that we were unable to keep pace with the development of the world. Economically, we remained backward, and we failed to obliterate the economic damages wrought by the long rule of Turkey.
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After the Napoleonic wars and the reaction to them, the nation entered upon the modern phases of her development. Cultural and economic competition grew more powerful and intensive, while Hungary was threatened with her downfall unless we regenerated ourselves; and it was at this time that we were saved by the mighty renaissance which is associated with the names of Szechenyi, Kossuth, Deak, Kolcsey, Vorosmarthy, Petofy. Unfortunately, however, this new development of our national consciousness only brought us into conflict with the idea of the Empire. Our first efforts to raise ourselves once more to the European level led to the battles in 1848 and 1849, finally to Vilagos and to complete suppression.
It was the function 'of the last half-century to obliterate the effect of this depressing heritage. After many bitter lessons and many severe tests, Francis Joseph recognized that the dynasty must turn its attention to gaining the sympathy of the Hungarian nation. The adjustment which took place in the year 1867 was intended to realize this idea. Even in those days there were a few, and to-day there are many, who hold the opinion that this adjustment could not lead to the desired end because a common foreign policy and a common army had been decided upon. I did not agree with this opinion, and I do not do so now. In the beginning everything went splendidly. The mere fact of the coronation, the economic develop- ments, the restitution of the integrity of the Hungarian States, the influence of great statesmen like Deak,
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Andrassy, Eotvos, made the ruler a part of the nation, the very ruler in whose name Haynau and Bach created the revolution. The King spent much of his time in Hungarian society, and the Queen, who had learnt to love the Hungarian nation, and who was worshipped by them, negotiated, thanks to her genius, between her husband and the Hungarian nation. Rudolf, his successor, also had Hungarian sympathies. Con- fidence and hope combined in mutually interdependent factors : the nation and the king. The nation gradu- ally accustomed herself to regarding the narrow family circle of the king as Hungary, but unfortunately the dynasty remained a stranger because its members were unknown.
This promising epoch was of short duration. The king regarded the adjustment of 1867 as a contract between the nation and himself, a contract which was based upon the assumption that the nation should not interfere with the unity of the army, that the leadership in military questions was left entirely to him, in ex- change for which the king undertook to respect the re-instituted constitution. When the demand became increasingly urgent in Hungary that the Hungarian portion of the army should be reorganized upon a national basis, when the opposition attempted to influence the rights of the king in military matters by parliamentary means, when that party gained in strength which aimed at a complete change of the 1867 adjustment, the king was disappointed and even hurt. He was afraid that the national motive might have a
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deteriorating influence upon the military efficiency of the army.
He acted in complete good faith. He thought that he had kept his word, and that therefore he could justly demand that the nation should carry out her promise. However, his point of view was wrong. The nation had not abandoned in 1867 the rights which were re- instituted according to the constitution, and which referred to military questions. The nation had un- doubtedly the right to sanction the number of recruits from year to year and to make such conditions restrict- ing their numbers as would be binding upon the rights of the Chief War Lord.
There is no such thing as stagnation in life. The nation could regard the status quo in the new army as satisfactory only as long as it served her own pur- poses, or as long as they appeared to be advantageous for political reasons. As soon as the nation considered that existing circumstances demanded a reform, it was natural that they sought to make their determination felt. The action of Parliament could only have been avoided if the king himself had ordered the necessary developments step by step. This gradual progress, however, did not come about. The spirit of the army was prepared to adjust itself to the rights of the State, only very slowly. It was impossible that the nation should send her sons without opposition into an army in which the special patriotism of the Hungarians was repressed by an artificial communal feeling, and in which the Hungarian language and the Hungarian flag did not play a corresponding role.
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The national tendency gained strength through the theory that the law which brought about the adjustment, especially in regard to questions regulating the army, the " Hungarian Army " is mentioned, and it was therefore regarded as the duty of the king to organize the Hungarian Army on a Hungarian basis as a supplementary portion of the entire forces.
Personally, I regarded this theory as no less erroneous than the theory of the king.
I have fought against this idea as much as against the wishes of the king. Nevertheless, this theory was far spread and accentuated the opposition because it caused the impression that the king would violate the law. The struggles of the Hungarian nation had in the past century been designed to protect the constitu- tion against the interference of the king, and for this reason the struggle was increased, because the quarrel concerning the army could assume the old shape and because Parliament could demand the desired reforms as part of the execution of the law.
The situation in Parliament also assisted in increas- ing the conflict. After the many crises, the country needed rest in order to devote itself to economic and cultural work after the many political battles. The regime of the first Tisza recognized this necessity. This regime bears an extraordinary resemblance to the regime of Walpole in England in the eighteenth cen- tury, whose historical duty was the same as that of Tisza's regime. Koloman Tisza was the greatest tactician of the Hungarian Parliament and he possessed
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enormous knowledge of human nature and great tact. He was a past-master at exploiting the weaknesses of men. He had the power of organizing a well-dis- ciplined party, he was an able debater who never tired his audience by scientific explanations, but who knew how to find the right phrase which was necessary for every argument, to create enthusiasm in his party and to convey the impression that the speaker was in the right. His ambition did not lead him to the creation of great ideas, but he tried to avoid heated controversy ; he wanted to assure a quiet and long period in office, much as the English statesman above referred to had done. Moreover, he knew how to direct the elections admirably.
But the Government of Tisza lasted too long, just as the Government of Walpole. He did not seek able collaborators any more than the English statesman. All the talents that existed combined in opposition against him as against Walpole. As a statesman his personality lacked brilliance, and his regime exercised no power over the imagination. He was unable to satisfy the idealists and concerned himself primarily with opportunism.
Parliament is based upon change of Government ; and if this change is not brought about, the public life becomes poisoned. It is a well-known fact that a party which monopolizes power loses its sense of respon- sibility towards the nation and brings about its own downfall. A party, however, which remains in opposi- tion too long becomes embittered. Such a party feels 14
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hurt, both in its patriotic convictions and its individual egoism. And the embitterment is especially great when the minority believe that their victory is impeded by the violence of the Government and their corruption, in such circumstances the opposition is prepared to employ any means, and they develop a state of mind which is comparable to civil war. This occurred during the last years of Walpole's regime, just as in the last years of Tisza's Government.
This bitter fight for power was turned into one of the means of agitation in the army question, because it had been able by itself to make feeling run high, and for this reason it was well adapted for the exploita- tion of public sentiment.
The armaments debate ;n the year 1889 formed the turning point in the parliamentary history of Hungary. In addition to the new proposals made usually with care and ability by Tisza, an unpopular and erroneous departure from the earlier laws had crept in, which rendered the Parliamentary battle very acute. This question has never disappeared from the order of the day ever since. Parliament could not find peace or prosper any more. The 'opposition gained support from popular feeling, but met with an obstacle in the shape of the king, who saw in the military demands a danger and a breach of faith. The harmony between the king and the nation was placed in the forefront of the political combat.
The regime of Tisza was unable to survive the blows which had been dealt to it in the course of the armaments
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debate. His downfall, however, did not involve neces- sarily a change of party in Parliament or a fall of the old party, but it only meant that the party obtained a new leader as president a process which only added a new and evil element to the diseased condition of public life. The majority which remained unchanged displayed the same obedience, the same faith to the new leaders, and thereby lost its sting and its respect. It is a natural condition of a well functioning Parlia- mentary system that the leader is chosen by the con- fidence of the party. This, however, did not occur before Stefan Tisza. The Government was led by Szapary, Banffy, Szell, Khuen-Hedervary, Wekerle, and only by nomination of the King. Every new crisis, every new formation of the Cabinet, meant a new humiliation and difficult situation. A politician who but yesterday was a leading general becomes a common soldier to-day in his own old troop. A politician who but yesterday was his subordinate, or who even attacked him, became a leader overnight. The supporters of the majority displayed a new enthusiasm from one day to another for a different politician, and saw in him the providential statesman. This applied as much to the Members of Parliament as to the press.
The real historic trait of Hungary is decentralization. Ever since 1867, however, everything became centralized gradually. The economic life, the administration, and the railway communication, all lead to Budapest and emanated from there. The whole of the political power rested in the hands of the Government. Party interests
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and the effort to defend the national unity did not permit the creation of a real autonomy. Every day more and more individuals depended for their existence upon the Government. National economy gradually came within the sphere of the banks, and these banks, with their position and their influence, were in the service of the majority party. The opposition gained considerable popularity in vain ; they were not strong enough to get into power. They did, in fact, succeed, after heated scenes, in causing the downfall of the Government, but they failed to take its place. They were strong enough to bring about the downfall of single ministers, but they lacked the power to break the party monopoly. The victory of the Opposition would have involved a defeat for the King. In such a situation feeling of responsibility cannot be developed among the Parliamentary minority. Their policy was purely one of opposition, and not one which contem- plated the realization of the demands that they made to-day.
I will not go into a description of the various stages of the fight. On the one side the fight was waged with violence on the part of the Government and sometimes with the aid of the most brutal means. The royal authority was employed, and sometimes great Parlia- mentary ability was displayed. At others, the Govern- ment appeared to give way and to make peace and gain sympathy with smooth words. On the other hand, the Opposition, fought by means of heated debates and obstruction, and even by technical obstruction such as
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the revelations with regard to the Panama affair, etc., until finally Stefan Tisza, the most outstanding leader of the Government party, made a proclamation in order to paralyse this obstruction, the result of which was that he was forced to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. The election which resulted returned the Opposition in a majority for the first time since 1867.
The whole of this period was dominated by the military question, even at times when quite other problems appeared in the foreground, as, for example, the policy of the Church. The Government partially raised these questions in order to remove the military question from the order of the day, and in view of the attitude of the Opposition to the armaments question ; the King stuck to the Government party out of fear through thick and thin, although in the question at issue, that is to say, the question of the marriage laws, he shared the point of view of the Opposition entirely.
The King did not give way to the demands of the new majority which was formed as a result of Tisza 's election. He was, of course, prepared to give them the power, but not as based upon their programme, but as based upon his own. The conflict in regard to the military question developed into a conflict with regard to the constitution. The majority wanted to bring about the downfall of the regime of General Baron Fejevary, which was represented by the minority in Parliament. The minority, on the other hand, sought to suppress the majority by aid of the power of the Government. Finally, Parliament, which would give
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way to nothing but violence, was dispersed by military force. The Government of the minority was unable to protect the Crown. The King was accused of having broken his oath. The confidence in the King and the good old relations between the nation and its ruler, the hope of the future, were also shaken by the fact that there was a general belief that the new successor to the throne, Francis Ferdinand, did not love the Hun- garians, that he was determined to counteract their efforts, that he worked for the idea of a unified Monarchy, and that he would not allow himself to be crowned King. The sad present was spoilt by even more sad possibilities of the future. Those who had hitherto placed their confidence in the good intentions and ability of Francis Joseph, and who had conse- quently more or less accepted the excesses of his regal power, could not do the same now when they realized that the royal power would probably before very long pass into the hands of the Prince of Estei.
It was a fatal mistake that the complications of the regime of Fe"jeva>y were not unravelled in spite of all my efforts by a solution of the military question, but by the provisional exclusion of it. The Opposition, it is true, acquired power, but the opposition in regard to the military question continued none the less and drove a cleft between the King and his new Government. The Army was weakened internally at a time when there was the possibility of our standing in need of it at short notice. The nation was dissatisfied and thought it humiliating that the majority was unable
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to carry out its programme, provided it contained a national element. The Hungarian people regarded their constitution as worthless. The King had no trust in his Government, and the Government had the feeling that it could look for no support from him. The King visited his Hungarian capital less and less. His old confidants disappeared one after another. The personal ties which had linked the King to Hungarian society became loosened. The idea which in its creation had given rise to so many fair hopes fell to the ground.
During this long crisis I often had the opportunity of appearing before the old King. As one of the leaders of the Opposition, I negotiated between the King and the Opposition.
In the beginning, when the military question began to occupy the forefront, I was strongly in favour of not forcing the language question in the army as a party question, but that the Government on its own initiative should tend towards this end, so that the spirit of the army should undergo a change, and that the majority of the officers should be drawn from Hungary and that Hungarian patriotism should be given a place in the army in accordance with its deserts. If this had been done, it might have been possible to avoid the disas- trous fight which broke out later. However, nothing was done.
When I saw that the natural demand for a national army was developing into political determination and could not be obviated, I used the whole of my power
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to represent this determination to the King and to persuade our ruler to fulfil their demands. It was difficult for me to take up an attitude of opposition to the King. The Crown of the Holy Stefan demands reverence. It represents everything for which a Hun- garian lives. That portion of the history of the world which is associated with his person and his great age, his many sufferings and his incomparable qualities, demanded this reverence. Unfortunately, I was often forced to take up an attitude which was displeasing to him, but he never allowed me to feel his dissatisfaction, and he suffered every interjection. I had the impres- sion that he did not take my attitude amiss, because he recognized that I was guided by disinterested motives. Politically, we became estranged, but not personally. Francis Joseph was every inch a grand seigneur; and he had a simple, natural way about him. He made one feel at home, but one could not forget for an instant in whose presence one was. His mind was observant and never diffuse. His way of debating was most interesting. He argued ably, loved humour and a little joke. His appearance was sympathetic, and there was charm in his eye. He never said more than he meant to say, he was absolutely discreet. He never repeated anything which he had heard from somebody else, nor did he ever play the r61e of father confessor. Everybody knew that whatever he told the King was as good as buried there. No one ever had to suffer for whatever he had advised the King. During the council meetings of the Crown, he knew how to preside most
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ably and how to summarize decisions. He was quite at home in the most divergent branches of the life of the State, and he had an enormous experience and a good knowledge of human nature at his disposal. He was a bureaucrat of the first order, indefatigably assiduous and punctual as a clock. He lived exclu- sively for his duties, and was prepared to sacrifice everything to them, even his views, his liberty and his comfort. He was one of the most objective men that I have ever known, and never allowed himself to be guided by his feelings. His being lacked all impulse completely. In his hands everyone was only a tool. He possessed little genius, and he had a command of detail rather than a power to view things as a whole, for he occupied himself far too much with the details of each department to allow him to find time to weigh the main decisions. He was a good stylist and possessed clear, sound taste, but he had no trace of an artistic nature. For anything new, uncommon or modern, he had absolutely no comprehension.
He probably did not possess a warm heart. At any rate, he knew how to control his feelings. Shortly after the terrible death of the Crown Prince Rudolf, my father had to see the monarch on a political subject, namely, the question of the new armament-proposals in connection with which he advised the King to give way. The King was the more calm, or at any rate, appeared to be so, of the two men. He began at first to talk about the official business. If nature had given him a more sensitive heart, he would never have been
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able to bear for so long or so heroically the many misfortunes which visited him in the course of his long reign. He was just and could be generous, but he was never friendly. He treated his ministers well as long as they were in power, and as long as they were in power he gave ear to what they had to say ; but as soon as a minister had fallen, he exercised no more influence upon him, and the King was not even curious to hear his opinion.
The greatest successes of Francis Joseph took place during the Government of my father; at that time he gained the sympathy of the Hungarian nation and became an integral part of the nation. It was at this time that he acquired Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that he played a leading part in international policy. But since my father had left office he did not listen to him any more. It was hard for the King to part from my father, but afterwards my father had the impression that he was glad to be rid of the statesman whose con- victions were too independent and too strong, and whose superiority was felt by the King.
With mechanical and polite simplicity he parted from his old advisers and accustomed himself to the new ones, if his interests or his duty demanded it. He possessed no initiative. He was accustomed from childhood to choose from the plans that had been worked out by others. He laid great stress upon the necessity of energy, but I cannot say that I found him truly energetic. By nature he was conservative. He was always afraid of bold decisions and possessed a
INTERNAL CRISIS AND COLLAPSE 2IQ
peaceful nature through and through. All his wars ended in disaster, so that he had little optimism left. He was never a victim to the desire for fame, and he only wanted to end his life without incurring new risks.
He never felt the desire to realize great ideals. His highest ambition was to fulfil his duty. He accepted, as final the judgment of history, even when it went against him. He did not long to be revenged against Italy, nor did he wish to regain his position in Germany. He did not strive to regain the absolutism which he had lost, but he defended tenaciously that which existed and did not wish to cede anything of it. For this reason, he continued the long battle with Hungary which destroyed his popularity, because he was of the opinion that the Hungarians wanted to reduce the sphere of his legal power. For this reason, he accepted the enormous responsibility for the war at his advanced age, because he was con- vinced that an attempt was being made to rob him of that which was his own. During the time when it was given to me to get to know him more intimately, I could notice two strong convictions. The one was his attach- ment to the German alliance, which was never near his heart, but which his common sense had recognized as a necessity. The second conviction was his attach- ment to dualism, or rather, to dualism according to his interpretation, by which the army remained completely within the sphere of his power.
It was often painful for me, as I was tied by
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memories from my early childhood and by reverence for my father that I found myself in opposition to the old King. At the same time, the reverence and attach- ment which I felt for him made it my duty not to adapt myself to his pet ideas, or to run after his moods or those of the nation, but only to advise that which was good for them.
I have often been told that owing to this policy of mine in connection with the army question, I placed myself at variance with the traditions of my father. I will not examine the details of this question before a foreign audience, but I will content myself with point- ing out that, of all the lessons which I received as the inheritance of my father, the one which is the most sacred to me is the one that told me that I must never do anything but that which my conviction demands. I could face the responsibility of all my mistakes except in the event of my sacrificing in a cowardly manner that which was my conviction. My conviction, how- ever, demanded that I should desire a change of our system of government.
At a time when the whole world bristled with arms, and our situation was especially dangerous, it was im- possible to accept without protest a situation in which every increase of our army led to serious complications. It was necessary at such a time to make the army popular and to bring the army and the King into closer contact with the people.
I also saw a serious danger in the fact that the same party was at the head of affairs since Koloman Tisza
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and that a large portion of the nation began to regard the King as an enemy. If the party monopoly that had existed up to date was to continue, one had to reckon with revolutionary feeling.
I wanted to minimize the power of the Government, to secure the freedom of the elections, and to de- centralize the administration. I thought that the uncertainty of the future was sufficient reason for this
This point of view of mine brought me into oppo- sition with Stefan Tisza, who sought to fight the danger which he also had recognized by an even mort strict regime and by a more decided predominance of his party. With regard to the military question, he adopted the point of view of the King completely, not because he shared the attitude of the ruler, but because he was of opinion that the King was acting in accord- ance with his rights if he exercised his authority in the question of the army, according to his point of view, and because the harmony between the King and the nation seemed to him to be more important than the reform of the army. By the introduction of a common administration of the State and by a powerful dis- ciplined party, as well as a rigid adherence to the order of the day in Parliament, he thought he could manage the Opposition, which was a factious one in his opinion. In the days of our youth we were friends, and our political careers began in the same camp. I was the one who departed from our common political tendency, and he was the more logical of the two. Nevertheless,
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I am still of the opinion to-day that the victory of my policy alone would have been able to restore the popularity of the King, to establish the harmony between him and the nation, to strengthen the army, to introduce a healthy party change in the Government, and to lend such a solidity to the whole Government that it would have been strong enough to face the storms that were ahead of it.
The old friendship developed into a powerful antagonism, but I nevertheless valued immensely the personality of Tisza in the midst of the most strenuous political strife. The fact that I often opposed him, and led a ceaseless campaign against him, did not alter anything in the fact that I regarded him as a brave individual with great powers, as a thorough Hun- garian, a patriot and a first-rate Parliamentary leader, who wielded the powerful might of an agitator. It gives me great satisfaction to reflect that we succeeded in healing our breach before his death.
His system and his fundamental ideas were from beginning to end those of his father. His individuality, however, was unlike that of his father in many respects. His father avoided difficulties; he sought them. His father was cautious; he was bold and daring. Passion and anger could never be discerned in the father, and he was never insulting, and never said anything but what he intended to say. The son, on the other hand, allowed himself to be carried awav by the heat of the combat, and was insulting even when he did not mean to be so. Tisza the elder was
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a Parliamentary tactician ; Tisza the younger was a political athlete. The individuality of the father made the functioning of his system more easy, whereas the personality of his son rendered it more difficult. Both of them were absolutely determined to control their party and their Cabinet, and suffered no interference and could only bear individual independent person- alities with difficulty. Both wanted to make the party which they controlled all-powerful in the State, on the English pattern. They wanted to do so without the English decentralization, without the English public opinion, without the English law, and without the freedom and the independence of English- men. The individual qualities of Koloman Tisza hid his despotism and made him bearable. The nature of Stefan Tisza, on the other hand, made it more difficult to endure this system. In addition, Koloman Tisza was popular, while he was the leader of the Opposition, and with this enormous backing he gained the leader- ship of the Government. Stefan Tisza, however, began his political career at a time when the star of his father began to wane in the political sky, a fact which made Stefan Tisza 's position more difficult. He was never in the Opposition, and he shared from the first moment of his appearance the unpopularity of the Government party. He personified from his youth onwards the idea of party monopoly.
Wekerle's Government, which had been formed from the Opposition which gained the majority after Tisza's election, was turned out when the bank question arose.
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When the privilege granted to the common banks expired, a large portion of the Coalition Government wanted to create an independent Hungarian bank, whereas the King repudiated this plan upon the advice of the most distinguished Hungarian experts. The King, therefore, was once more in opposition to the majority in Parliament. The old Liberal Party revived under the name of "National Labour Party," but they retained the old leaders and the old spirit.
Thus it came about that the battle between the National Labour Party and the Opposition broke out once again a propos of the armament-proposals. Stefan Tisza, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, succeeded in forcing the new proposals through by violation of the ordinary routine. The police entered the Chamber of Deputies, the Opposition was removed from the house by force, indescribable scenes took place ; one member received a sword wound in the house, and another fired several shots at Stefan Tisza, who sat in the President's chair. Parliament could only meet under military protection.
The difficulties of the position were heightened by the question of the electoral laws. No organic reform had been achieved in this direction since the year 1848. The vote was so restricted that the Hungarian Parlia- ment was the only Parliament in Europe from which the Socialists had been excluded. At a time when a moderate reform would have sufficed, nothing was done. The question of the electoral laws had appeared in one form or another on account of its internal
INTERNAL CRISIS AND COLLAPSE 225
importance, but no new electoral law was passed. The King himself raised this question at the time of Feje- vary as a battle-cry against the Majority, who were defending the national point of view, and in raising this question he used all his might. By this means he played the Socialistic idea off against the spirit of nationalism which had become uncomfortable. The Minority Government of Fejevary, which represented the will of the King, used the popular desire for a general and equal vote as well as for voting by ballot in the course of the fray. Momentary success was achieved. The whole manoeuvre was to the detriment of the national cause, as they were attacked from under- neath while they were fighting the powers above them, and because, at a time when they were met with bayonets, they failed to control the streets.
By this means the Crown, however, was not able to secure the sympathy of labour, which saw in the democracy of the court only a democracy of necessity, and the Crown, moreover, injured Hungarian national feeling, which regretted bitterly that the King of Hungary sought an agreement with the international rather than with the national Hungarian tendencies.
Unfortunately, the problem of the election was not solved in spite of the King's initiative. By virtue of an agreement with the King, the Government of the Opposition had to introduce general suffrage, which I wanted to realize as a member of the Coalition Ministry of Wekerle in another shape. I regarded it as a dangerous step that all of a sudden we were to change 15
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from a restricted vote to general suffrage with a secret ballot. Unfortunately, the unity of the Majority was split up by the bank question before my proposals could be discussed. There is a great deal which would have been different at the outbreak of the war if the working classes had been represented in the Chamber of Deputies, and they would certainly have been repre- sented if my proposals had been adopted. As a result, the whole procedure was negative in effect, and in view of the King's attitude and the fruitless experiments, the whole problem of the elections became a greater bone of contention than ever. The National Labour Party was now faced with the difficult problem of solving the complex electoral question. They actually did solve this problem formally, by passing the proposed laws, but this solution did not bring about any satisfaction. This could only have been brought about if the new vote of the industrial workman had helped them to acquire a corresponding representation in Parliament. Since the reform of the Labour Party did not succeed in gaining this object, the problem remained, in spite of the new reform, one of the most burning questions of the day.
In this way the outbreak of the war found the nation on the threshold of new internal difficulties, after it had passed through other great internal problems. National and social demands armed themselves for a new attack. The Opposition had lost the first battle against Tisza, but no end had as yet been put to the existing enmity.
A new and bitter struggle was developed a propos of the nationalization of the administration. Stefan Tisza
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wanted to secure his system permanently by this reform. The Opposition, however, recognized clearly that by this means Tisza would secure the party monopoly for himself for ever, and that on the thresh- old of a dangerous epoch all power would be centralized in the hands of the Government. To-day it does not matter who was in the right : Tisza or the Opposition. All that is important, and unfortunately also very sad, is that the outbreak of the war found the nation in a mood which approached civil war, that party was ranged against party and class against class, and that social intercourse had ceased, even between the leading statesmen, and that, furthermore, the country had to do without its King and a great portion of the nation did not regard him as an unprejudiced ruler, but rather as a partisan. It was a common saying in the circles of the Opposition that the King was the first honorary member of the National Labour Party. It was an exceedingly delicate matter that common opinion considered that the principle of authority had had its day, and that its second source, namely, Parliament, was an institution that had been played out because, during the elections, serious abuses were discovered and because impossible scenes took place during the negotiations.
The saddest heritage of this unfortunate period, how- ever, was the disappearance of manners, and especially the distortion of political manners. More people lived by politics than for politics. Convictions were less and less strong, and individuals, less and less independent,
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but there were proportionately more opportunists. This lack of individuality and independence of char- acter, together with the opportunism of the age, has revenged itself especially in the days of the present great upheaval. At a time when the nation had to display an almost superhuman effort, she was found to be internally diseased.
In order to complete the picture of the existing difficulties, I will point out that the relations between Austria and Hungary and then between Hungary and Croatia, had suffered serious blows. We were faced by the necessity of concluding an adjustment such as is always accompanied by friction, agitation and struggles. The demand for an independent bank which led to the downfall of Wekerle's Government, and the fact that the Independent Party, though only for a short time, could have obtained a majority, caused serious anxiety in Austria. Our relations to Croatia had assumed a serious aspect for a long time. The hatred against the old Liberal Party had brought the Croatian and Hungarian Opposition together. When the Hungarian Opposition gained a victory, the Croatian Opposition gained one likewise, and the only Croatian party which had been faithful to the union with Hungary was thereby defeated. We ourselves helped our greatest enemy, that is to say, the Opposition which was in sympathy with Serbia, to power, and then, by the nature of the circumstances, we became opposed to them. When the Hungarian coalition lost power, we were waging a desperate fight
INTERNAL CRISIS AND COLLAPSE 22Q
with the Serbian coalition, and attempted to create, upon the ruins of the coalition, by the aid of the Catholic Croatians, such a party as would support the union with the Hungarian States.
The new Government of National Labour continued these efforts, but only until probably as the result of the influence of the successor to the throne, Francis Ferdinand Stefan Tisza changed his course and trans- ferred the power to that Serbo-Croatian coalition which was really opposed to us at heart, and which was the exponent of the pan-Serbian idea. At the outbreak of the war our enemies, therefore, met with a Government in Croatia which sympathized with them, and they encountered a policy in Serbia which was in open opposition to our foreign policy.
I must also mention here that the national opposition in Austria had paralysed Parliament completely, and that at the outbreak of the war the untalented and bureaucratic ministry of Stiirgkh conducted affairs without authority or without Parliament.
In view of such internal circumstances, is it not in the nature of a bad joke to assert that we were determined, without a compelling cause and at our own instigation, to fight the enormous power of the Entente, and that the old King, who had failed in every war hitherto, and who recognized clearly that he was fitted for anything rather than to guide his State through the greatest war in the world, should have approved of such an adven- turous policy ? I will never forget the tragic impres- sions which I received when I was commanded to
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appear before the old Emperor during the war. Bowed and broken, without will and without strength, he sat upon his chair. In full possession of his power of judgment, he recognized plainly the enormous respon- sibility that rested upon him, and he knew that he had to solve a problem which demanded Napoleonic powers, as every final decision rested with him, and as every living power had been placed in his hands. Anyone who has witnessed this spectacle and who knew the difficulties of our internal politics, who was aware of the dangers of a European war, could not believe for one instant that the Monarchy would have entered into this combat if she had not regarded it as inevitable.
In spite of the situation that has been sketched above, the enthusiasm was general at the beginning of the war, and people were dominated by the admirable determination to leave all internal quarrels on one side and to combine all forces in the interests of the war. The tragedy of Serajevo had made the danger apparent which surrounded the Monarchy. We, the leaders of the Hungarian opposition, decided instantly to cease our oppositional activity and to support the Govern- ment. In my opinion the same procedure should have been observed as was observed everywhere else : a new Government should have been formed out of a coalition of all parties-rbut this did not occur. Tisza thought the continuation of the homogeneous Government which was subjected to his leadership more important than the Parliamentary peace and the concentration of all forces.
If the war had had similar results to the campaigns of
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1866 or 1870, and if we had opposed our foe victoriously, with a rapid succession of victories, and if a favourable decision had been arrived at within a few months, then this situation might have been preserved. The war, however, began to drag out. The old hatred and the old distrust spurred on to new quarrels. Deputies from the provinces brought with them at the beginning of each session the complaint that the old party rule had been preserved in the provinces, and the power which special measures had transferred to the Government was being used for party purposes. I will not go into the question as to whether these statements corre- sponded with the truth or whether they were exaggerated, but one thing is a fact, that this attitude and this assumption were spread in many sections of the population and that they poisoned the general feeling. The leaders were only able, by the exertion of the utmost powers, to preserve the Treuga Dei. When, however, we ourselves were dissatisfied with the war- policy of the Government, when we considered that the Government had deteriorated our position by their procedure against Italy, when we began to have our doubts on account of Tisza's Polish policy, and when those who were concerned with the policy of supplies and equipment condemned this policy then even we were unable to remain passive any longer. It would have been as unjust to reopen the old battle based upon the old opposition as it would have been unjust to render passive support as soon as points of difference occurred in the war policy.
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It was a natural result of the long war that among the internal political questions the problem of electoral reform forced itself with fundamental power into the foreground. Many considered that the reform of the vote was more important than any other reform, and many believed that the war lent the demand of the populace irresistible force and internal justification, many hoped that the social peace which was of such importance during the war could be attained by a quick reform, but everyone pressed for the extension of the voting rights.
I recognized from the very beginning that this reform was now inevitable, and that an extension which only satisfied the demands of the artisans among the Labour Party would not be sufficient, and that those enormous masses which bled for us in the theatres of war and which laboured for the nation at home would have to be included in the new measures. When election reforms had been passed or promised in England, Prussia, Roumania and Italy, and when we were dependent upon the support of the masses, it was impossible to evade the reform that had been promised so often.
The Government took up an attitude of severe refusal. Nevertheless, it would have been the only correct and the only conservative policy to act in advance of the pressure that was being exerted and to solve the question by the display of the Government's own initiative as long as it was still powerful.
The question of land reform also arose together with
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the electoral problem. In other countries the idea also made itself felt that soldiers, or, at any rate, invalided soldiers should be given land of their own. In our case, this natural wish combined with an idea of a radical change of ownership. " Grund und Boden dem Volke ! ' ' This was the pet cry by aid of which much agitation was set on foot. Karolyi and his supporters accepted the battle-cry and thereby created considerable popularity for themselves in the country. It was easier, however, to throw out such a battle-cry than to realize it, especially at such a time.
It cannot be denied that the agricultural position in Hungary was unsound. Nowhere is the relation between owners and workers so unfavourable to those whose life is dependent upon the soil. Something had to be done. It was, however, impossible to increase the division of the land at a time when it was imperative for the supply of the nation and the successful bearing of the burden of the war that the most intensive and undisturbed agricultural labour should be proceeded with.
The fact that the law of individual possession was endangered had a damaging influence upon agricultural activity. At a time when the necessity for increased production became burning, an agitation was especially dangerous, because a too far-reaching division of agricultural possession is damaging to production. There was no need of demagogic battle-cries, but there was need of knowledge and serious consideration of the interests of everyone and a reform carried out in
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accordance therewith. Such a procedure, however, was only rendered more difficult by the unbridled agitation that took place. In this connection, initiative from the authorities and energetic action would have been the most cautious and the most conservative policy.
Just as the germs of disease develop in the body during a fever of long duration, so did every evil flourish within the body of the nation under the pressure of the long war. The military question was rendered worse by the experiences in the theatres of war. The hatred between parties that had lasted for decades in its diseased excess was fanned into flame because the excessive monopoly of power remained untouched, the Government acquired unusual power by virtue of the support of the Opposition, who had passed special resolutions, at a time when the great interests of the State demanded the co-operation of all parties and the co-operation of all mental forces. And the sufferings of the war added new sufferings to the old ones, all of which, whether rightly or wrongly, were used to blame the Government.
I do not wish to describe the details of the internal difficulties. The aim of the Opposition was firstly to achieve a coalition and to bring about a union of all the forces in the interests of the war. When this attempt had failed, I tried to divert the activity of the Opposition to the control of our foreign policy, which was most important. It was quite impossible to master the parties. The struggle extended to everything.
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The activity of the other parties created the fear that the party of Karolyi might gain the upper hand owing to their continuous agitation.
During the time of King Karl, I was in favour of a parliamentary battle along the whole of the line, because at that time I anticipated obtaining results from this procedure. I saw in advance with certainty that the new King would look about for new men, and that he would attempt to inaugurate a new tendency. I also knew that his interests demanded such a course of action, because it would have been a fatal mistake to take upon his shoulders the old hatred by preserving the old regime. If the old regime had been continued, it might have led to a revolutionary atmosphere in certain circles. I feared, moreover, that if the new regime continued to neglect the Opposition, so great an embitterment would be created that a catastrophe was bound to occur in view of the given and difficult circumstances. The monopoly of the one party, which had lasted so long already, had this disadvantage any- how : that the Conservative element of this party had become accustomed to a revolutionary atmosphere, and in certain leading strata of society a dangerous amount of hatred had been accumulated against the dynasty and the Government.
I advised the King to demand concentration, which is the most natural and best form of Government during the war. The King, however, adopted the platform of electoral reform and dismissed the Government of Tisza because his Government was not prepared to go far
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enough in the question of the election. As I have already stated, the reform of the election was un- doubtedly urgent. The new Government had to make electoral reform one of the first items in their pro- gramme, but the initiative on the part of the King was not suitable in so delicate a question. If, however, he persisted in doing so, it was necessary that the royal promise should be carried out quickly.
Any further hesitation was all the more dangerous as the basis of the new proposal was an agreement with the Socialists, because, when the King had resolved to tackle the problem of the election, I attempted, in order that the royal promise might come to be realized without too radical a reform and without excessive difficulty, to come to an agreement with the Social Democratic Party.
I succeeded in so doing, and this agreement subse- quently became the programme of the Cabinet of Esterhazy, and later on of the Cabinet of Wekerle. On the basis of this agreement, Vazsonyi, who had also played a leading part in calling this agreement into existence, drew up the proposals when he was Minister of Justice.
As soon as it became evident that the existing Parlia- mentary majority would not allow the new reform to pass which had been accepted by the King on the basis of this agreement, the Chamber of Deputies should have been dissolved. And if new elections, no matter for what reason, were impossible, the Govern- ment was bound to abide by its proposals, which had
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been made on the strength of the promises they had already given. However, this did not happen. The proposal was changed in accordance with the desire of Tisza, which was impossible without such alteration as violated the agreement.
Political and Parliamentary struggles of the acutest nature generally only touched leading society, that is to say, the real political world. The votes of the soldiers, however, stirred up the minds of the lower strata of the people in view of all the declarations which had been given and the promises which had been made. The trust in the King and in the Government was shaken in widespread circles. It was said that the vote had been promised under pressure of" the night- mare of the Russian Revolution, and this promise had been broken as soon as the pressure had been relieved. This impression brought about so violent an agitation against the person of the King that its later fruits were inevitable. I have often pointed to this danger in the Chamber of Deputies and in various articles. This caution, however, was merely refuted by the argument that I intended to increase the agitation by this pro- phecy. My arguments were treated as if it was the mention of, and not the disease itself, which did harm. Since the proposals for electoral reform had been changed, it was impossible for the non-revolutionary element to moderate those elements which tended towards revolution. Those leaders who were deter- mined to bring about an upheaval, or those who were ready to do anything in order to preserve their influence, met with no opposition.
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If the King had lived in Hungary, it would have been easy to call forth royalistic sentiments and to work against the destructive work of the agitators. In defiance of all advice, however, the King would not go to Budapest. The memory of the brilliant day of coronation and the understanding of the King for the idea of a Hungarian Army, all these were unable to preserve the old glory and popularity of the Crown. In regard to the Hungarian Army the King took the initiative himself, which was all the more surprising and all the more satisfactory, and which implied a great change, because the one-time successor to the Crown, Francis Ferdinand, had told me in the year 1908 that we would have to accept his point of view on the military question, because three ruling generations had adopted this attitude : Francis Joseph, he himself and Karl.
But even this advantageous turn in the tide was unable to bring about a change in the general feeling. The promises in regard to the army did not satisfy the general mass of public opinion any longer, because people were not inclined to believe the promises, because the promises made with regard to the election had not been kept, and because no real improvement could be shown in the military problem. And the promise which had lost its satisfactory effect in Hungary- caused an evil reaction in Austria and in certain military circles because it increased the quarrel between Austria and Hungary and made politics fashionable in the army, and thereby weakened our hope of a sound solution.
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The catastrophe was brought on by this development of affairs, because, at so critical a period, the control of affairs lay in the hands of a minority Government. This Government did not enjoy any respect because it was unable to carry out its programme, and because it did not fight as tenaciously for its programme as had been expected of it. In fact, this Government owed the continuation of its existence only to the mercy of the majority, which was antagonistic to it.
When the Opposition took over the Government, I thought one might expect the advantage that the old hatred would not weaken the capacity for action of the Government, and that the burden of responsibility for the fateful future could be borne more lightly by the new elements than by the old ones. The respon- sibility for the war did not attach to these new forces, and I counted upon the fact that those new elements which had suffered most from the war and had least to lose by it, and could therefore threaten the existing order most easily, would approach the Government and would consequently be more easy to satisfy. I knew, however, that in the beginning it would be a weak spot in the new regime that it did not enjoy a Parliamentary majority and that it lacked experience of Government. The unfortunate development of affairs resulted in adding the unpopularity of the old regime to the in- experience and lack of discipline of the Opposition, which, moreover, suffered from the weakness which is always associated with a Minority Government and which renders it incapable of action in the long run.
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In consequence of these circumstances, it was impos- sible during the last phase of the war for the con- stitutional elements of the nation to exercise control. They enjoyed no respect, no trust, there was no body of which the people believed that it spoke and acted for the people and in their interests. The masses suffered and believed that they played the part of the stepdaughter who has been deceived and whose fate has been decided without consulting her.
In addition to the above, the food problem excited a deep hatred in the widest circles against Austria. The frontier was closed, and in many ways an independent tariff area was established de facto, since the supplies of Austria depended upon the action of the Hungarian Government. I did not occupy myself in detail with this question, but I was always in favour of giving greater supplies to Austria in spite of the fact that all the people in responsible positions and the experts considered this method as impossible. As the average food supply was more favourable in our country than in Austria, it was easy for the agitators to gain a victory in spite of our powerful arguments. The blame for the many errors of the Austrian Government was laid to the charge of Hungary. If the Austrian Govern- ment had requisitioned with the same energy in Bohemia and Moravia, which she demanded from us, Austria could have been fed much better. This, how- ever, was denied, and Austria was made to believe that it had to starve only on account of Hungarian selfishness.
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The national opposition which appeared to relax in the early days of the war under the influence of patriotism, increased more and more, especially in Austria. The treachery of Czeckish and Ruthenian regiments excited glowing hatred against them. Many a German or Hungarian died or was captured or wounded simply because his brother in arms had broken his oath and had gone over to the enemy. Even in Hungary the situation was not controlled as much as in Austria on account of the opposition in national questions. The majority of the Roumanian intelli- gentsia proved faithless where the enemy broke in, and a considerable portion of the Serbs and certain Ruthenes did the same ; but the conflict of the nationalities had not paralysed our power as yet. The majority of the nationalities justified themselves and fulfilled their duties faithfully as citizens. Serious revolutionary attempts were not to be found anywhere.
In view of such chronic internal suffering, we had to prepare to fight the infection of revolution, which was a product of this long war, and for which there was only one cure, namely, victory, and that never fell to our lot.
War, and especially a long war, renders the people wild and embittered, and these feelings are natural hothouses for revolution. Wild abandonment was brought about by the fact that the soldiers daily saw and caused violent destruction, that they learnt to place a low value on human life, and because they became hardened to the sufferings of others, and therefore 16
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brutality became second nature to the soldier. There is but a step between requisition and robbery. Private property ceased to be respected. The blockade created unbearable circumstances with regard to the food supply. The unspeakable sufferings, dangers and denials, the anxiety and excitement which were ex- perienced by millions in the trenches and by millions at home, the cruelty and abuse, and the excess of militarism, all tended towards embitterment and hatred. Class war was engendered by these circumstances and by the fact that the officer enjoyed greater advantages than the rank and file, and that both these elements belonged to different classes.
The consumer in general became embittered against the producer and the middleman.
Moreover, anti-Semitic feeling increased from day to day. The enormous war profits excited hatred and envy everywhere, but anti-Semitism was specially powerful because the majority of the war profits went into Jewish hands. The official was unable to live on his fixed salary, and the luxury of the new rich heightened the embitterment. Ignorant, uneducated egoists became millionaires without work, by dishonesty and clever tricks; they bragged with their money, whilst others, honest patriots, were exposed to the most inhuman self- sacrifices, while the families of these heroes were starving at home. In such circumstances it is easily intelligible that the number of those who supported the revolutionary Social Democratic Party grew from day to day.
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The respect due to officialdom was shaken in its foundations by the heavy burden of the central organi- zation of the whole economic life and by the preserva- tion of order and the supply of the army. This weakening of authority could be felt everywhere, but it led to a catastrophe where the sufferings involved defeat. Such a hatred set in against those in power and against the leading circles and classes, and such contempt went with it, that the peaceable life of the state was injured to a serious degree. Demagogues, adventurers, ambitious people and neurasthenic sub- jects took advantage of the situation and heightened artificially the great excitement which existed already.
This devastating fever went through several stages before it prevented the continuation of the war and led to the October revolution. We suffered from the first from the fact that the war had been begun with a moral error. The battle-cries of modern times and of democracy went home easily against us, and they represented an enormous power, especially during the war, that is to say, during the time when the masses made such terrific efforts, and during the time which, in consequence, developed the self-consciousness of the people. We were particularly hard hit later on by Wilson's action. Demagogues and some naive souls asked whether it was not revolting treachery to continue the war if Wilson declared, in the name of the great American Republic, that the war is not conducted against nations, but against the autocratic system which caused the war and which the people did not wish to
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tolerate any longer anyhow. Why continue the fight when the American President says that the peace will be a just one, and that it will inaugurate the age of eternal peace and the rule of justice? Is it not a duty to mankind and to one's own country to create the revolution when it is obvious that a good peace can be secured by the aid of a new and completely democratic form of government, and when we know that the old leading factors have not entered into negotiations? Is it not possible and necessary for the nation to save herself by rendering public circumstances democratic with one blow and by breaking with the old leaders? Anyone who did not believe the promises of the American President was mercilessly stamped as an agitator for war. Wilson, "the enemy," was more popular than the own statesmen of the people. Since Russia had broken down, and since the American Republic had assumed the position of Czardom, and since it had become a fact that the most democratic nations fought against the less democratic ones, the belief spread that the democratic revolution would lead to the promised Eldorado. The question was asked : Can a war be waged successfully in this manner ?
The desire for secession amongst our various nationalities was fostered strongly by virtue of the fact that, in accordance with Wilson's theory, even Hungarian politicians sought to recognize the con- structive principles of the new world in the right ot every people to determine by vote whether or no they wished to secede from the State. Money and systematic
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propaganda increased the fomenting power of these theories. The ex-officio revolutionary element increased in power because the Monarchy, having recognized the necessity of peace and the power of the above-mentioned tendencies, attempted to bring about the peace con- ditions by exploiting the jargon of the Socialists inter- nationally. The Government, however, made a serious mistake, because it was not the Government that availed itself of social democracy for the preparations of peace, but, on the contrary, it was the International which availed itself of the Government for spreading the revolutionary spirit. What enormous strengthen- ing it meant to social democracy that, at a time when the whole world naturally and rightly longed for the blessings of peace, the Governments themselves ex- pected the solution from social democracy ! What an extraordinary situation, that, while German and French citizens were murdering each other, French and German Socialists were exchanging handshakes. The leading circles placed themselves in a false position because they availed themselves of the battle-cries of the Socialists and pursued their military policy at the same time in the spirit of Ludendorff. The question was asked : How is it possible to combine the hard fight against universal suffrage with the part played by Dr. Adler and Dr. Renner in the question of universal peace during the conference at Stockholm ? If only the Socialists can bring about the peace, must the power not be given to them, and in such a case are not they alone worthy of this power?
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The sudden fall of the throne of the Czar created a deep impression. If the greatest autocrat in the world can be brushed to one side by a short revolution lasting only a few hours, what throne rested upon sound foundations? If social democracy has obtained control in Russia, why should this party deny its hope in a place where its roots lay deeper? Consequently, all hope and all expectation turned from day to day more towards social democracy. Law and order began to wane ; the revolutionaries became more bold ; they were ready for everything and dared everything because they felt that the times were in their favour. After the German Reichstag and the military command became involved in an acute struggle (July, 1917) on account of peace conditions, and since Czernin conducted a fearless battle against the leading German circles, which could not be concealed, also on account of the peace (April, 1917), the feeling increased more and more here that we were the prisoners of our ally. The feeling spread that a knot had been tied about our necks by the aid of which Prussian militarism would cast us into the abyss if this Gordian knot was not cut by the sword of the revolution. Pessimism was at work for a long time to undermine our will-power. This pessimism now spread from above, and it was only from above that this pessimism could have been defeated. Czernin had as little hope of victory as he had of peace a fact which exercised a demoralizing influence upon him and upon the whole machine of the State. After the failure of the submarine war, the only
INTERNAL CRISIS AND COLLAPSE 247
hope that remained for public opinion was that we would succeed in forestalling the development of American power by a decisive result in the West. When this hope had also proved vain, the general fear was complete. Marshal Foch, his offensive, and the fact that Bulgaria deserted us, made it evident that our day was over and that the catastrophe was inevitable and imminent. And then the question was being asked with more and more violence : Can it be allowed that on account of the friendship for Germany the nation shall be forced to drain the bitter cup of suffering to the dregs?
And now the psychological moment for the revolution had arrived !
By what internal policy could the revolution have been forestalled or diminished? With energy or with greater social feeling ? By more modern methods ?
I am of opinion that the last suggestion might have led to a result more easily than the first ; but the best means would have been the employment of both. It would have been easier to succeed by means of reforms because the collapse could not have been avoided any- how, seeing that we were unable to bring about a decision on the Continent, and before the interference of America took place. After the defeat, however, the rise of the forcibly suppressed elements and revenge would have been inevitable. Would the same thing not have happened in other countries? What would have become of the internal peace in France if she had been defeated as we were, and if the people who had
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been pursued by Clemenceau and placed under lock and key by him had obtained power ? I believe we would have had the best chances of avoiding this catastrophic collapse if those Governments which did not share the responsibility of the recent past had com- bined an understanding for the demands of the time with an energetic battle against the revolutionaries. The least chances of success, however, were to be found in our situation, where neither energy nor sufficient social spirit could make itself felt against the opposing influences, and in such circumstances the final result had inevitably to end in catastrophe. The radical leaders and their parties were merely insulted without having anything proved satisfactorily against them, but at the same time they were not rendered innocuous. Reforms were promised, but they did not come to be realized sufficiently, all of which only increased the embitterment of the masses and strengthened the revolutionary elements without in any way detracting from the revolutionary forces.
The long tragedy has now been disclosed up to the last and disgraceful act. The history of this era, during which I played a greater part, is associated with my own personal experiences.
Part IV. The End.
MY MINISTRY AT THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION.
THE Bulgarian news reached me on my estate in Siebenburgen during the shooting season. Bitter reality robbed me of the enjoyment of nature in one of the most beautiful mountainous and wooded districts. As soon as I heard of the secession of Bulgaria, I did not doubt for a moment that we ought to make peace at any price because, if we failed to do so now, the revolution would be inevitable. The internal situation in Hungary was particularly critical at this time. The administration was conducted by the Minority Cabinet of Wekerle, which had gone to pieces internally, was under the influence of its opponents, failed to carry through its programme, and was also not supported by the Crown. The Social Democrats were in touch only with the most extreme Radical Party, and in conse- quence of the competition between them they were incited to outdo each other rather than to exercise a restraining influence. The platform of electoral reform was substituted in an ever-increasing degree by a pacifist and anti-militarist programme. The weakness of the
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Government opened the gates to agitation which began to undermine the morale of the reserve divisions. In- subordination was the order of the day in the army and the navy. The excesses of certain German bodies of troops on Hungarian soil, and the increasing impression that the peace was only prevented by German militarism, began to create a tremendous hatred against Germany. The idea of making a separate peace acquired strength. The confusion on our frontiers was heightened by anarchy in the capital. The fight between parties grew daily in strength, and so did ambition. There were those who believed the nation was behind them, and thought that they were called upon, as Sieges declared concerning the tiers etat, to be everything, whereas in reality they were nothing, and there were those who believed that they alone could save the nation, which would perish without them all had the effect of pouring fuel upon the flames and of adding to the excitement of the public mind. Foreign money was also at work, and there was great danger that our internal front would collapse before the conclusion of peace and that we would be delivered into the hands of our enemy and have to depend on his mercy or cruelty.
Such were the circumstances when we, that is to say, Wekerle, Tisza, Apponyi and myself, received the invitation of Burian (October 5) to come to Vienna in order to discuss what should be done. He informed us that Germany's power had broken down to such an extent that, although she had accused especially us of cowardice, she now urged an armistice and the imme-
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diate conclusion of peace, and that she was, moreover, prepared to offer peace on the basis of Wilson's pro- gramme. This communication had the effect of a thunderclap upon me. In the very rooms where I had seen my father work for the interests of Hungary and the Monarchy with such distinction, in the very same hall where, under his guidance and imbued with the fairest hopes of the future of my country, I had begun to occupy myself with politics, in this very room I had to receive this catastrophic news.
I never believed that the theories of Wilson could be realized. Nor did I believe that unprejudiced truth would come to make itself felt, nor that there would be no difference in future between conqueror and van- quished, nor that secret diplomacy and secret alliances would cease, nor that the rights of small nations would be respected as much as the rights of the large ones, nor that the right of self-determination of all nations would be respected, nor that the colonies would be distributed in acordance with pure justice, nor that every state would be given an outlet to the sea and that the freedom of the seas would be assured to everyone alike during war and peace. In short, I did not believe the theories announced by the President of the American Republic. I regarded Wilson's statement to the effect that the majority of the nations did not any longer serve the desire for might of the single nations, but that they served the aims of humanity, as completely erroneous. I felt that the propaganda of Wilson was a more destruc- tive weapon against us than many army corps, but that,
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when peace came, his words would not be realized in deeds. It was particularly clear to me, from the very beginning, that, if the war was waged to the last stage, that is to say, until one of the opponents was forced upon his knees, then the only possibility was an imperialistic peace. The victor would exploit the acquired position for which he had paid the price of enormous danger and unparalleled sacrifice, and he would not allow himself to be impeded by any sort of moral impulse. Moreover, even among the masses, the love of humanity would not predominate but Chauvinism, the hatred against the vanquished enemy, the desire to punish him, and the effort to be com- pensated for the losses that had been sustained. Finally, I believe this phase will not be one of short duration.
None the less, I declared my readiness, in answer to Burian's summons, to accept the fourteen points of Wilson, together with the commentary upon them, as the basis for peace negotiations, because this was the only concrete peace proposal and I considered it prob- able that, if we tried to obtain new conditions from the Entente, these would be even more severe. Moreover, we had no free choice in the matter. The German opening of negotiations made the impression upon Burian that Germany would desert us and accept Wilson's proposals even if we did not agree to do the same.
I had hardly returned when I was summoned, together with Sztere"nyi, Wekerle, Windischgraetz and Tisza, to Reichenau in order to have a consultation
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concerning the internal political situation with the King, who felt the necessity of establishing a definite Govern- ment (October 7). I was still in Vienna when His Majesty was informed that it was possible for me to enter into confidential negotiations with diplomats of the Entente concerning conditions of peace in Switzer- land. Our peace-loving monarch thereupon dispatched me without delay (October u). The information that had been given to His Majesty was, however, of an earlier date, and the situation had changed considerably in the meantime. The official negotiations had begun with Wilson so that confidential discussions would already have been inopportune. The diplomats of the Entente would only have been inclined to discuss matters with me if I had been officially empowered to conclude an agreement. This, however, was not the case.
In Switzerland I gathered the impression that the Entente realized fully her military superiority, and that, especially as regards Germany, she was determined upon the most cruel method of procedure. The mere fact that the German military command demanded an immediate armistice was irrefutable proof that even Berlin regarded our position as hopeless. Public opinion of the Entente longed for a complete military victory, and they would have liked to conclude peace in Berlin as the Germans concluded peace in Paris in 1871. I further gathered the impression that the fate of Austria and Hungary had not yet been settled finally, but that our only chance of getting bearable conditions
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would be to convince the Entente that we intended to abandon the German alliance in future and that we were anxious to adopt an entirely new policy.
Several Austro-Polish and Hungarian politicians as well as myself received the news in Berne on October 17 that the Emperor had issued a manifesto in which he ordered the federation of Austria. This news was like the explosion of a bomb in its effect upon us. I asked myself a thousand questions. How was it possible to solve all the problems that arose through the manifesto during the war? How could the frontiers, the constitution, and the relation of the federal states to Hungary and Croatia be settled peaceably ? Would this new formation not degenerate into a fight of everyone against everyone ? During the war the lion's share of the battles fell to the Germans and the Hungarians in Austria. How could there be any hope of maintaining a fighting efficiency up to the conclusion of peace if those very elements which were directing the war were in danger of being beaten by a majority within the Monarchy ? I was well aware that our dualism would not emerge from the European war untouched. In case of victory I would myself have been a supporter of Trialism with Poland. At an early period I had recognized the necessity of a solution of the Croatian problem, and, on the other hand, I never entertained any doubt that, in case of a defeat, federation would be inevitable for Austria, and that the Monarchy would have to be reorganized upon a new basis, adapted to the new relation between the powers. I also knew,
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however, that as soon as these questions were raised, without guarantees for the German element and the Hungarian states, there would be a desire for secession in Austria. I was certain, moreover, that the idea of an administrative union would gain support in Hungary and that the army would be disbanded. I also con- sidered it probable that it would be impossible to satisfy the Slavs when the new organization took place, and that they would not bind themselves before they knew what was to be understood by the elastic prin- ciples of Wilson.
The object of the reorganization was the satisfaction of the non-Hungarian and non-German nationalities. Wilson was to be convinced by means of a fait accompli that there was a determination to adapt the situation to his principles. The effect of this step, however, had to be that the bitter feeling between the Germans and the Hungarians was raised to the highest pitch without being able to ensure that the other nations would be prepared to favour a programme as opposed to the proposal which promised them more, made by Wilson. It was not difficult to anticipate that, if we determined to reorganize the Monarchy upon a new basis at the time of our defeat, the Monarchy would inevitably collapse before we were able to sit down with a view to beginning negotiations. In order that no one else should annihilate us, we determined upon suicide. Before my journey to Switzerland I discussed this question fully with the King, and advised him to leave the constitutional form
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of the Monarchy untouched as long as peace was not concluded and to content himself with preparing for the new change after discussion with qualified states- men. As far as I knew, all the Hungarian statesmen were against federation except Karolyi, who was given audience after us.
I was able to notice the destructive power of the manifesto in Berne. We, who had all pulled together yesterday, separated to-day, and every one of us was filled with the thought as to where he could find a safe haven for his state or his people. The derogatory influence of the manifesto became quite public as it could be seen, from the replies of the Czechs and the Southern Slavs, that the new policy was not the result of previous agreements but an experiment, and even those were unable to permit this in whose interests the experiment had been made. Before I returned home from Switzerland, the Hungarian Government had deduced the consequences of the new state of affairs. They had adopted the point of view of administrative union and declared that the Hungarian troops would be recalled from the frontiers of the Monarchy in order to protect the frontiers of Hungary. In the midst of the general confusion, Tisza let slip the fatal words : " We have lost the war."
I was appalled. The recall of the Hungarian troops signified the disruption of our front line and also military catastrophe. If I had been at home, I would have risked everything in order to prevent this declara- tion. In view of the military possibilities, I proposed
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that all resources at our disposal had to be concentrated for the protection of the Hungarian frontier against the danger that threatened us from Roumania and the Balkans, but the actual declaration that was given divided the army into its various elements. The Hungarian troops were destined for special purposes without regard to the fact that their removal violated military honour because this action endangered to a serious extent their brothers in arms and the whole front. And if the Hungarians did no longer consider it their duty to protect the positions they had occupied hitherto and to endure by the side of their comrades, would not the rest imitate them ? Would the whole front not begin to waver and dissolve before it was possible to negotiate for peace ? There was no doubt whatever that the confession of defeat destroyed the last rags of self-confidence, that a fearful panic was created, especially at a time when this confession brought about the Italian offensive which had been contemplated. How would it be possible for the internally corrupt army to resist ? Would she not be faced by a catastrophe that would entail the sacrifice of thousands upon thousands?
As the negotiations which had been begun in con- junction with the Central Powers appeared to make the slowest progress, and as it was certain that as long as we negotiated together we could expect the most severe treatment, I returned home from Switzerland with the proposal that our late Ambassador in London, Count Mensdorff, should be sent to Berne with the mission 17
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of getting in touch with the Entente independently in order to secure our special interests. I advised that he should give a declaration to the effect that the Monarchy would be prepared, after the conclusion of peace, to abandon the old alliance and to guarantee the pro- tection of the new status quo provided this means of procedure on the part of the Monarchy would be compensated by the hope of bearable conditions. I received the assurance that, in case anyone who was commissioned to undertake this matter was furnished with suitable authority on the part of our monarch, he would be received. Unfortunately, however, nothing was done in this direction.
When I returned, the Hungarian political crisis had not yet been solved. I saw, just as I had done before my departure, three possibilities of extricating our- selves from the crisis. One possibility would have been to put Tisza into power, who would then have had to re-institute order and commence the battle against those elements which Clemenceau had opposed in France. This solution, however, would not have been a happy one in my opinion, because it would have led immediately to revolution and it would have rendered peace impossible, because the Entente would have regarded this as the victory of the belligerent reaction. I gathered from all sides in Switzerland that Tisza was to the Entente what a red rag was to a bull, and that, together with Ludendorff quite unjustly he was made responsible for the war. In other words, it would have been impossible for him to negotiate on
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our behalf. It was now no longer a question of pre- paring for war, but a question of smoothing the path to peace. Our situation was totally different from the one in November, 1917, in France, when Clemenceau took over control. In our case victory was impossible, but in France it was only a question of the defeat of a momentary depression.
The second possible solution was the formation of a Cabinet of Karolyi, with the power to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, or to create a majority by means of force. In many of our circles this was regarded from the point of view of foreign policy as the most advantageous solution ; I had, however, returned from Switzerland with the impression that Karolyi did not enjoy as much confidence from the Entente as his supporters boasted. His socialist, pacifist and revolu- tionary propaganda did not meet with the approval of those who had fought a bitter battle with the Socialists and the Pacifists at home, and who treated Karolyi 's type of politician with the utmost severity. The very fact that it was possible for Karoyli to gain power might have endangered our southern and eastern frontiers, which were still defended by the German Army. It was only natural that in such circumstances the Germans would have made their way through Hungary as a result of the conviction that Karolyi would turn against them, and something might happen which unfortunately, and to the great disgrace of the Hungarian name, actually did happen with that noble general, General Mackensen, who had defended our
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frontiers successfully and to whom we owed so much gratitude. I was also opposed to the idea of trans- ferring the power to Karolyi and his party from the point of view of internal politics, because I was afraid that demagogy would obtain the upper hand and that a revolution would be brought about which would really have been the product of the Government. One of my friends prophesied with sound calculation that, as soon as Karolyi was in a sufficiently powerful position, he would dethrone the King and all his followers by telephone.
During these negotiations I expressed the opinion to Jdszi and Kunfi that, if their party gained power, it would inevitably lead to anti-Semitism and a pogrom, for the Government would have such a predominantly Jewish character that the people of Hungary would not accept it. It was our duty to introduce the Hungarian nation to such a policy as was demanded by the new European situation, and not to place a few radical supporters of a small coterie at the head of affairs under pretext of the European situation and to govern Hungary without the participation of her national politicians.
There remained a third solution. This possibility was to form a new Government with Karolyi and his supporters, with the Social Democrats and with the various nationalities, as well as those national elements who recognized that a new tendency and a new policy was demanded by the new situation. The common programme had to be as follows : quick peace, and
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION 26 1
even, if necessary, a separate peace with a new foreign policy, administrative union, a nationality-policy based upon the autonomy of the nationalities, international protection for the rights of the minority, new electoral reform laws, preservation of internal order at any price, and equally energetic representation of our patriotic tendency as opposed to internationalism. I was con- vinced that such a coalition would be supported by the majority in Parliament, and I would have been inclined to have joined such a combination, as I was convinced that a constellation which placed me in the same Cabinet with Karoyli would have been advantageous in regard to foreign affairs. The result of this would, of course, have been that I would have had to break with my past.
Nevertheless, I was determined to do so. The political situation in which the country found itself made it the one duty of every patriot to save as much as could be saved, and having sacrificed all other con- siderations, to adopt the path that was demanded by the given circumstances in the interests of the country.
Unfortunately, the solution that I longed for was subject to many impediments. With reference to Karolyi, I believed at one time that he was inclined to unite himself with us. His party, however, did not display the slightest desire to do so. When it became certain that we had lost the war, and when we had to give way to Karolyi in certain questions, public opinion believed that he alone was able to conclude a satisfactory peace and that it was only he who enjoyed
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the confidence of the Entente completely. His party believed, in view of the increasing popularity and respect of their leader, that the time had come for him to take over the Government single-handed. The most they would have done would have been to accept, for the sake of form, a few easy-going statesmen who did not belong to their party.
My solution also was not approved of by Count Tisza, although at this time we were working together harmoniously. Since the summer session we had opposed each other violently and publicly in the House, and since then our intercourse had ceased. When Burian invited us to come to Vienna (October 5) on account of the negotiations with regard to peace, we entered the same railway carriage. We sat down together and discussed the situation as if nothing had happened between us. The danger which threatened the country brought us together again. Unfortunately, however, we could not come to a complete agreement. Tisza did not consider Karolyi and his people as worthy of participation in the Government. The pro- gramme of the new coalition was antipathetic to him. He wanted to rally the Right of the Centre party, and did not object that I attempted negotiations with the Left. He did, however, say that this effort of mine would not succeed, and then we should hold together and take up the battle against the revolutionary element.
And so the crisis continued ! We had a weak Government, conscious of the fact that they could
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not continue in power, at a time when a strong Government was essential. The evil of mistrust spread like a contagion. The agitation against every- thing that existed increased from day to day. When I arrived in Budapest (October 22) from Berne I received the gloomiest impression. Everything that I was able to observe had the effect of moral blows upon me. I held aloof from all party squabbles, and I was face to face with the most difficult and greatest problems of our national life. The influence of the deadly danger which encompassed our nation made me feel in all the fibres of my being that only co-operation and the complete exclusion of party and power con- siderations, and a division of labour, as dictated by the interests of the State, would be able to help us if it was not too late already ! Instead of this, hatred, ambition and dissension vied with each other in an unbridled and mad contest. Even the best patriotic feeling was subject to exaggeration, and to the revolutionary spirit which refused to wait any longer and which was determined to accept no compromise, but to settle everything once and for all radically. Moderate intelligence had lost command, and passion and overstrained nerves celebrated orgies. Authority lay in the dust. Everyone, even the most uneducated and frivolous, was bursting with thoughts that were to save the country. Everyone attempted to go his own way, thought he was independent, and wanted to listen only to his conscience, but actually was under the influence of mass-suggestion and merely screamed for that which everyone else demanded.
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I determined not to be dissuaded from my conviction in any circumstances, even by a hair's-breadth. I wanted to remain absolutely faithful to what I con- sidered right and necessary at the moment. I felt that I would be righting against public opinion and that I would be swimming against the stream with little hope of success, but I was nevertheless determined upon energetic action. I used all my powers to bring about the coalition of the Left and Centre, and if this had been impossible, I wanted to unite the elements on the Right for purposes of opposition, in accordance with Tisza's advice, but only on the basis of a pro- gramme that was adapted to the new era. In this spirit I negotiated with Karolyi, the Radicals, the Social Democrats and the Labour Party. I met nowhere vYith opposition on principle, but nevertheless the realization of my schemes progressed slowly.
I also got in touch with Croatian politicians. The manifesto had also raised the Croatian question. If we did not want the sword to declare Croatia's independence on its own account, and if we did not want it to turn against us, we had to take the question in hand ourselves and bring it to a decision as soon as possible. Instead of the irresponsible Government of the moment, a responsible one had to be created, and the Croatians had to be given a free hand to place themselves under the sceptre of the Habsburgs accord- ing to their discretion, subject to the condition that they would guarantee for the time being the pre- servation of the Fiume provision and the protection of
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a connection to the sea. The Croatian politicians who had returned from Vienna transmitted the message of the King, that he was inclined to adopt such a solution as soon as he was protected in so doing by a responsible Hungarian Government that controlled the majority otherwise, he was not able to do anything as he was bound by his oath. Personally, I had felt the urgency of the Croatian question for a long time. In the summer of 1918 I had stated in the Chamber of Deputies that I did not have any objection against a revision of the adjustments of 1886 if a responsible Government was constituted. At that time, however, my words did not exercise any effect. Under pressure of the situation I was now inclined to go a good deal further and to accept everything which seemed a suit- able means of paralysing Irridentism.
When I entered the Chamber of Deputies on October 24, immediately after my negotiations with the Croatians, I found the Opposition in a very excited state of mind. I was immediately^ seized by every section of the Opposition parties for a consultation, during which passionate hatred was displayed against the President, Wekerle. The Opposition was deter- mined to cause the downfall of the Government, and, if necessary, to continue the battle in the streets in order to seize the power for themselves.
For the present the battle was merely conducted with words and excitement. It was, however, noticeable that their patience was at an end and that it was necessary to make an end of this system of uncertainty
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and latent crisis which had already enervated public power for months in the past, at a time when it should have been intact and energetic. The disgusted Oppo- sition did not put forward during this improvised session a revolutionary decision, because we, the leaders who were present, declared that Wekerle would resign anyhow and that the Opposition was prepared to take common action.
Ever since the Bulgarian affair, a portion of the Opposition had pressed me to place myself at the head of the attack. I did not do so. I knew that the Government did not meet the demands of the situation. I did not dare to cause the downfall of the existing Government until I had some guarantee that a new Government could be formed which could cope with the situation. In spite of all my efforts I was not able to obtain such a guarantee. I feared that an interregnum might take place. The crisis, however, could not be avoided.
After the session of the Opposition, I got into touch with the members of the Labour Party. They called upon me in great numbers. I realized that they had no more confidence in themselves, and that one could expect no more activity from them, and that they were aware that their regime was at an end. I also received an emissary from Wekerle, who informed me that Wekerle would follow my advice. I also had a con- versation with Tisza, who seemed to have lost his usual determination. I propounded the programme which I thought necessary : electoral reform, immediate peace,
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co-operation with the Social Democrats, and I requested Tisza to give the Labour Party a free hand and to retire into the background himself.
I attempted to convince him that, if we wanted to obviate the revolution, or to throttle it in its incipience, we would have to bring about the necessary reforms without delay, as we had to guard against an increase of bitter feeling, and that we ought not to exclude those elements which were striving for power, and whose programme we had to carry out partially, but that at the same time we must surround these elements by other forces so that we were able to repress the turbulent factors and to suppress anarchy. I pointed out that in Germany also there was a new Government with a new system.
Tisza was now prepared for anything. He wanted to step aside, and to ensure that the new Cabinet would obtain the majority. For the first time he declared that he would not oppose an extension of electoral reform. He was ready to act in this manner, not because of any danger of revolution, for he believed that such a danger did not exist and that it was not worth while speaking of it, but because he recognized that, in the present circumstances, it was impossible to continue the Government without us.
How soul-racking a struggle must this indomitable man have had to go through before he gave this declaration ! At this time I was in constant touch with Tisza. He once surprised me, in the presence of Wekerle (October 6) by the remark that he had been
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deceived in his judgment of Burian. Burian, he said, had made mistakes which had destroyed Tisza's con- fidence in him. He, Tisza, was prepared to do every- thing that was in his power to bring about Burian 's downfall. " There are only two people who can be his successor," said he. "You or myself. To-day I am out of the question, therefore one can only talk of you. I will do everything I can in the interests of your nomination."
On the following day we sat, together with Prince Windischgraetz, in the same carriage and drove to Vienna to be received in audience. I brought about a discussion of the necessity of electoral reform. Tisza held his head in both hands and said in a desperate voice: "What an unhappy country this is!" He wanted to put me, his opponent, into power, and I spoiled this patriotic effort of his by the dangerous idea which he thought would ruin Hungary and which he could not support in any circumstances. I argued with him in vain that it was now impossible to avoid this reform, which had to come about, and that he, Tisza, also, must be happy if he could succeed in satisfying the nationalities, with a general electoral reform, in defiance of Wilson, and so on.
Tisza would not give way. He attempted to prove that Europe would realize that we could not continue and that nobody could demand suicide from us.
This happened on October 7; and when, three weeks later, Tisza abandoned the idea of defending his strongest convictions, this was obviously a sign of
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the revolutionary atmosphere which he refused to recognize.
Having gained the impression that concentration was finally possible, I caused Wekerle to be informed that in my opinion he should resign and a Coalition Government ought to be instituted. Thereupon the President summoned all the party leaders to a dis- cussion with him in the Chamber of Deputies. In the course of these discussions Tisza declared that he was ready to facilitate the creation of a new Government and to form a new Majority, if men like Albert Apponyi or myself would be asked to form the Cabinet, but he was not willing to do so on any account if Karolyi stood at the head of the new combination. Karolyi, who was present, declared boldly that the country would not be satisfied unless he was made President. No agreement was made except in so far that everybody knew that Wekerle had to resign.
We now had to find a successor with all speed. The greatest danger lay in the possibility of an inter- regnum. After the above-mentioned session, which had lasted until late in the evening, Karolyi dined in the circle of my family. I still attempted to bring about a Coalition Government of the Left parties, but in such a way that the whole power should not pass into Karolyi's hands.
In the meantime a telephonic communication came from the Royal Household, which had been given by Ludwig Windischgraetz, the Minister for Food, the Prince who had accompanied the King to Debreczen,
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to the effect that he wanted to speak to me in the course of the night in accordance with the highest command. Up to his arrival negotiations had to be held in abey- ance. Karolyi took his leave of us; he was expected by friends at home. I learnt later on that at this time he had determined upon revolution and had constituted a national council of Radicals and the supporters of his own party of Social Democrats without any legal authority. Thereby the possibility of intercourse between us ceased. The political crisis became a family quarrel. Windischgraetz came in accordance with the order of the King, in order to offer me the portfolio for Foreign Affairs. The foreign policy of the ruler agreed with that which I had explained to him shortly after my return from Switzerland, when I was received by him in Schonbrunn. The King also expressed the wish that I would assist him in solving the Hungarian and Austrian crisis. In the mean- time the position of the Austrian President had become untenable. If the King had asked me at that time to form a Hungarian Cabinet, I would also have accepted this. I had my connections in every direction, and it would perhaps have been easier for me than for anyone else, but personally I would have been faced by a tragic decision, because it was quite clear to me that I would have had to arrest Karolyi without delay. If duty had demanded it, I would also have been prepared to do this, but I was very glad that I was spared this painful and difficult task.
I do not in any way wish to conceal the fact that I
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would previously have rejoiced to accept the portfolio of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. My views as to the policy that should be adopted were so determined that I would have been glad to undertake the responsi- bility of executing them, because I had confidence in their correctness. But now the situation had been lost. And I only accepted the offer because at such times no man has the right to think of himself and his. own future. One had to go where one was sent and where, one believed, one might still be of use.
I saw only one way out of the difficulty : a rapid and an immediate peace which, in my opinion, could only take one shape : namely, a separate peace. With a heavy heart I decided upon secession. Even if German policy had been instrumental in preventing the realization of peace at a time when this might have been accomplished under more advantageous condi- tions, and although the pan-Germans had strengthened the military party of the Entente, it is nevertheless indisputable that the Germans have defended our frontiers more than once heroically, successfully and faithfully, and that we cannot accuse them of any dis- loyalty. I felt the greatest reverence for this people of heroes in their misfortune ; but " necessity knows no law," said Bethmann-Hollweg when he entered into Belgium.
I had no confidence that the Germans recognized the difficulty of the situation, because, if they had done so, their patriotic Kaiser would have abdicated in favour of his nephew, and the new Chancellor, the Prince o f
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Baden, would not have been able to speak about making Alsace-Lorraine a separate German country. I was afraid that the German military command, having been roused from their first intoxication, would allow themselves to be persuaded by the conviction that they were ultimately unconquerable, in order to com- mence resistance once more. I also noticed that Wilson prolonged his negotiations. When I returned from Switzerland, I brought with me the certain know- ledge that Germany and her allies would be proceeded against without any consideration whatever. The soil of France which had been devastated with merciless thoroughness was an eternal and unfortunately com- prehensible source of hatred and revenge. We were unable to assist the Germans by the continuation of the war in any way. The hope that we could achieve an honourable peace by negotiation through co-operation and the display of power, was in my opinion the greatest self-deception. The Entente would inevitably have given way under pressure of this procedure to the demands of their military parties, and continued their irresistible offensive in order to be able to dictate the terms of peace in Berlin, Vienna and Budapest. And these terms of peace would have been more severe than the present ones, because all of us would have had to shoulder the responsibility of the devastation of the last retreat, and, moreover, we would have had to suffer for it. The only way in which we could be of any use to the Germans was to convince them as soon as possible that only one possibility was left : the conclusion of
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peace even if this peace was unfavourable. With regard to the future, it was in Germany's interest that the Monarchy should save itself and approach the Entente in order to be able to negotiate between Germany and the Entente later on. The old alliance could not be maintained anyhow, as in this event the Entente would have been forced to co-operate with a view to frustrating the enemy alliance by all means in their power. If we decided upon separating from each other and determined upon new paths, there was a possibility that we might secure conditions by means of which our existence could still be secured. And if too severe conditions had been imposed upon us after we had given up the alliance which was dangerous to the Entente, and after we had made it clear that we did not intend to continue our old policy, then the peace- loving and ultimately just verdict of the public opinion of the world would have condemned these conditions, which in turn would have weakened the Entente and strengthened us. Moreover, there was more at stake for us than for the Germans. It was impossible to destroy the Germans, even by the severest peace, and the German plenipotentiaries said truly during the armistice negotiations : " A" people of seventy millions can suffer, but it cannot die." We, on the other hand, were not in a position to make a similar assertion. Austria, and especially Hungary, stood on the verge of destruction. We had risked our existence, but the Germans had only risked their position.
My main motive, however, was that the revolution 18
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could only be prevented by the offer of a separate peace. The main source of the revolutionary feeling in Hungary was the desire for peace and the conviction that we would never obtain peace in conjunction with Germany, and that we, moreover, were conscious of this fact and yet were prepared to sacrifice our country rather than secede from Germany.
To continue resistance until some sort of an honour- able peace could be arrived at was impossible for this reason, namely, that the revolution would have pre- vented it, in Germany as well as in our own country.
As soon as I had convinced myself that there was no hope of victory, that every further sacrifice was in vain, that the conditions could not be improved upon, and that all further bloodshed could only lead to revolution, my conscience did not permit me to accept the responsibility for continuing the murder. Surely enough people had been destroyed already ! Never again would I have found a second's peace if I had not opposed the continuation of this war of destruction.
Anyone who asserts that I have sacrificed the honour of the nation when I violated our duty as an ally gives a one-sided judgment. It was a question of a conflict between two duties of honour. Honour does not permit a nation to sacrifice her sons without prospect of gain. I valued this duty more highly than the duty of adhering to a contract which could not be upheld any longer, and whose purposes could no longer be achieved and which was unable to prove of advantage to either party.
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A few voices were raised which regarded the secession as right, but quarrelled with the manner of the seces- sion. It was said that we should have said openly that we refused to continue to fight, but we should not have made a separate peace. We should have avoided the evil appearance that we wanted to derive an advantage at the expense of our ally. Personally, I was not afraid of this appearance. The separate peace which Frederick II of Prussia concluded in order to acquire Silesia was disgraceful, but this secession was only painful and not disgraceful because its purpose was to save the existence of one's own people.
Moreover, even by aid of this solution the appearance of secession could not have been avoided because it would have necessitated an immediate and separate armistice. I was not prepared, for the sake of this semblance, to lose the possibility of being able to save the Monarchy. As soon as I was determined upon secession, my loyalty obliged me to inform the Germans with the greatest candour.
The first condition of successful operations on my part was that I was to be allowed a certain amount of time, and that I should constitute a Government in Hungary where the danger of an upheaval was greatest, which should either seize or break the sword of the revolution. I finally abandoned the attempt to make an agreement with the Social Democrats and with Karolyi. The chief point of opposition between us was, firstly, that they wanted to secure immediate peace by surrender of arms, and secondly, that I was
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not to be the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet of Karolyi for the Dual Monarchy but only for Hungary. I accepted neither of these conditions. I regarded the first condition as treason. If the remain- ing States did not throw away their arms, we could not do so either, and if we did it nevertheless we were utterly defenceless. Up to date we had at any rate known how to preserve our frontiers intact. If, how- ever, we put down our arms, our defenceless country would have been a prey to the invasion of our neigh- bours. The danger which hitherto we had only been able to hold off by the heroic death of millions, we were to invite by means of a single stroke of the pen. Orpheus dared to walk in the midst of wild beasts because he trusted in his wonderful playing of the lyre. Many of us saw in pacifism and socialism the panacea which could protect us from the fury of our foe. I knew that the attempt to diverge victorious imperialism by kind words was not only ludicrously farcical but that the end was bound to be a tragedy and bring about the destruc- tion of a brave and active nation. Laughter would be throttled with blood. I was convinced that we could not save our existence by calling upon Wilson's principles because Wilson would not remain the master of the situation, but Lloyd George and Clemenceau. I knew that our only chance of obtaining an acceptable peace lay in our ability to come to an agreement with this victorious imperialism, and also in our ability to con- vince this imperialism that the Monarchy was prepared to adapt its new constitution to the new order, and that
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the Monarchy was even prepared to offer their services to the Entente in so far as they were able to bring pressure to bear upon Germany to adapt herself to the new conditions.
In my opinion the calculations upon which Karolyi's policy was founded were erroneous. He believed that the war would be substituted immediately by a world* revolution, which Karolyi expressed in the October delegation : " Pacifism will suppress all the military parties of the Entente." I was of opinion that a con- siderable time would follow the war during which the danger of revolution would be threatening, but I never seriously accepted the prophecy that the revolution would gain the mastery before the conclusion of peace in the victorious countries. I regarded the statement of Marshal Foch that a victory would be a guarantee against the Bolshevik danger as an exaggeration. Nevertheless, it is indubitable that victory must render an outbreak of revolution more difficult, and that the fate of a nation could not be based on such volatile prophecies, which would facilitate an outbreak of revolution at any moment. It was not for us to indulge in prophecies, but to come to an agreement in a humble spirit with the dominating powers. One cannot attempt to solve the questions of to-day with the possible possessors of power of to-morrow. A policy based on such principles is a gamble which may not be risked at the expense of a nation's existence. It would, moreover, have been a revolutionary measure to disarm the Hungarian troops immediately, because
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the King, in his capacity as Emperor of Austria, could not have permitted such a procedure. Karolyi and his supporters did not abide by this demand of theirs up to the end. They regarded the cause of the breach of the negotiations between myself and them as the preservation of the joint Ministry for Foreign Affairs. But it was not for me to give way in this matter either. The Constitution recognized only one common Minister for Foreign Affairs. Such a separation would have led immediately to revolution in Austria, because this country could not permit that the legal ties between both countries could suddenly be dissolved without its consent. Moreover, it would not have been suitable to demolish a common diplomacy at a moment when this very diplomacy had to take instant action in the interests of the conclusion of peace. It is much easier to destroy connections that we possess in foreign countries than to create new ones. Moreover, I had arrived at the conclusion that we could only secure bearable conditions if the support of the Entente could be obtained for some form of Danube federation, and if we were able to convince the Entente that it was both possible and desirable to form a group of states which accepted whatever peace had been decided upon without further thought, and which was willing and able to pursue a new policy. My main motive, however, was the conviction that the Entente would identify them- selves with the most far-reaching aspirations of our small neighbours if they had to choose between an antagonistic Hungarian nation and a new friendly state.
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I had only one doubt in my mind, namely, whether an opposition of interests between Austria and Hungary would not make itself felt to such an extent that common representation would have been impos- sible. This scruple, however, was removed by the consideration that the interests of those states who intended to live with each other in future were com- patible with each other. Furthermore, I did not consider it necessary to present the world with the ludicrous situation of sending two Ministers of one and the same ruler to the peace negotiations in the presence of our enemies, each of which Ministers represented opposite points of view.
The idea of secession was unquestionably popular. Although social democracy, patriotism and internation- alism worked intensely in the interests of the revolution, the revolutionary feeling re-created in the final moments of the collapse, all the old nationalistic and Chauvinistic feelings of the masses which had so often been offended against and never fully satisfied, and I noticed imme- diately how difficult it would be to support the pre- servation of the union. Requests reached me from all sides that I should demand immediately the union of administration. My conviction, however, did not permit me to diverge from those paths which in my opinion were alone able to lead us to the desired goal.
I sought a solution which should make it clear to all the world that we did not wish to return to Dualism, and that we also demanded an independent Hungary. I wanted to show that the existing and lawful ties and
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the common organism would only remain in force until the peace had determined the frontiers and decided which states and countries would remain together, because, without such decisions, the new order would have had no real foundation. It was also necessary to find a means by which the representative of the new State of Hungary as created by the manifesto should participate, together with the common Minister for Foreign Affairs, in all the peace negotiations and any other decisions which would have to be taken.
It did not seem as if such a solution would be impos- sible in Austria. In my opinion, the problem would have been more easy in our case because the common Minister for Foreign Affairs would have been an Hungarian. When my hopes began to wane that Karolyi and the Social Democrats would accept respon- sibility on such a basis, I tried to bring together a Government out of the remaining popular parties. This Government was not to be such as to constitute a challenge to the democratic elements, and it was to have a programme which should satisfy to the utmost limits the demands of the time, but which should, nevertheless, be determined to preserve law and order by force.
Before I accepted my nomination, I asked everyone concerned, all of whom gave me the satisfactory answer that a sufficient and reliable military force was at our disposal in Budapest, and that this force would receive the necessary orders to make use of their armed powers. At the critical moment, however, these expectations did
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not come to be realized. We opposed all determined revolutionary powers without daring or being capable of using armed force. In the circumstances, it would have been better to have given way earlier. History has proved that the lawful constitution collapses when its representatives do not make concessions in time, or if they do not dare to continue the battle to the end once it has been started.
My undertaking was rendered almost hopeless by the fact that, when I travelled to Vienna, no Government had as yet been formed in Budapest which shared my point of view as to policy. I started on my journey without hope, but I was determined, no matter what might happen to me, to make the only possible attempt that was left to us. (October 25.) When I took over the Ministry, the situation was as follows :
The Revolution might break out at any moment in Budapest. Order had to be maintained by the weak Government which had already resigned and which had lost the confidence of the public. The most terrible news was announced from our fronts. The offensive of the Italians was continued with all its might. The first document into which I cast a glance was the report of the Archduke Joseph, that popular Hungarian soldier, who declared that the Hungarian troops did not wish to continue the fight at a great distance from the Hungarian frontier and that they wished to be ordered home. The realization of their desire would have involved the immediate collapse of the Italian front, and would have exposed us to all the ghastly
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consequences of such an event. We would have been exposed to the danger of the army becoming a devas- tating mob under pressure of the enemy barrage, and that they would spread destruction right and left throughout the country. In Austria I also found a Government that had fallen (Hussarek), and a chosen successor (Lammasch), who wanted to decentralize gradually and in a legal manner the administration which had been centralized hitherto. His labour, how- ever, was rendered very difficult by the prevalent passion and by the mutual distrust and conflict which increased daily between German nationalism and Slavophile sentiment. I was received suspiciously in Vienna because I was a Hungarian. The first event during my Ministry was a wire from the Emperor Karl, in which he communicated to his ally the German Kaiser that Austria-Hungary was no longer capable of continuing the fight and was determined to conclude a separate peace, so that the revolution and complete collapse should be avoided (October 26). Thereupon I submitted my petition for a separate peace (October 28) to Wilson and all the rest of the enemy powers.
The calming influence of this measure was decreased because the Government crisis still reigned supreme in Budapest. The excitement was at its height. The demagogues were afraid that they would not succeed in bringing about peace and thereby lose their right to existence, and consequently they prepared all the more for rapid action. The mentality of these people
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was revealed by an interjection of the Deputy Johann Hock in the Chamber of Deputies : " After the peace they will hold us by the throat. At present we are doing it to them." The press in no way assisted me, but, quite on the contrary, made every effort to dis- credit me and to prevent the Entente from entering into negotiations with me. Now that the fetters of the Centre had been removed, the press found no modera- tion. They called me a servant of Germany, an annexionist, an oligarch, an intriguer, they called me "the Chancellor" who gave up Hungarian indepen- dence for the sake of his personal ambition, at a moment when it would have been possible to realize it. A destructive spirit spread through the newspapers. They did everything for the sake of popularity, and they were controlled by their subscribers and the extreme elements. In Austria the Germans called me a traitor and a deserter. It was quite impossible for me to defend myself against these insults, as the revelation of our weakness was not permissible. I was also attacked on account of my policy of concluding a separate peace by those who had made the continua- tion of the war impossible by their pacifism.
The situation could only have been saved if a quick answer had been received from the Entente and if negotiatons could have been begun without delay. Events took a different course. The tactics of the Entente consisted in prolonging the negotiations. It was easy for the Entente to wait. Our power of resist- ance had gradually been exhausted.
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In the meantime the situation in Budapest became worse and worse hour by hour. No action was taken that was strong enough to paralyse the energetic and impor- tunate procedure of the revolutionaries. During the long crisis discipline had been relaxed. The revolu- tionary party was confident of victory, and the party whose function it was to protect law and order had lost all faith in themselves. This wavering could be felt throughout every portion of the organism of the state. No one who has no faith in himself will gain the con- fidence of others. My step towards peace was regarded as a failure from its incipience, and public opinion expected an immediate and favourable peace only from Karolyi, a fact which gave him and the revolution an ' enormous power. Even the greatest enemies of Karolyi wished him to take power.
Tisza himself advised the nomination of Karolyi. The idea of the completely independent Hungarian became rapidly successful. I was convinced that a Hungary that was completely severed from Austria in diplomacy and in military power would be shut off from the outside world, surrounded by enemies, a prey to the leadership of completely inexperienced men, and destined to undergo a terrible catastrophe. I was also convinced that Karolyi would not be in a position to suppress the chaos and anarchy, and that the sup- porters of the social revolution would immediately gain power. Neither of these convictions of mine were shared by any number of people in the midst of the general confusion. The only thing that could have
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saved the situation would have been to arrest the National Assembly instantly, which had based itself with complete frankness on a revolutionary foundation, and military action should have been displayed with the greatest energy without delay. In addition, an unfortunate accident occurred which spoilt the situation completely. Relations between the King and Karolyi had become so close in Godollo that Karolyi came with His Majesty's special train to Vienna, and he was fully convinced that he would arrive as President. Instead of this, however, he arrived on October 28 at his home, having waited half a day in vain, without having been received in audience, and without having negotiated with the Austrian President or myself. Was it not obvious that he would be convinced that he had been deceived intentionally ? His party was deeply hurt. The Archduke Joseph travelled in the same train as Karolyi from Vienna to Budapest with the mission of undertaking the solution of the crisis, and of being responsible, in his capacity as a soldier, for the absolute preservation of law and order. The negotiations of the Archduke led to the nomination of Hadek (October 29), who announced a correct pro- gramme, but who was unable to alter anything further in the situation. It was too late ! Our fate was finally sealed because either we actually had no more forces, or because it was believed that we did not have any, we did not use violence, and violence was only displayed by the revolutionaries. Consequently, we had to capitulate within a short time.
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Under the influence of the mob, Karolyi, before Hadek could form his ministry, was the successful leader of the revolution and was created President on the morning of October 31. On receipt of this news I immediately sent in my resignation. In fact, my presumptive successor, the brother of the previous Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Czernin, had already been selected when I remained in office at His Majesty's request. On the day of my resignation, the fifth day after our petition for a separate peace, news was received from the Entente which gave rise to great hopes that the Entente was prepared to negotiate and would make conditions which would save our exist- ence. In the meantime our army did wonders. The army resisted for days, in spite of her corrupt interior. The soldiers at the front who were not touched by the agitation from behind fought heroically. The reserves, however, refused to obey and failed utterly. In such circumstances the resistance could only last for days, or perhaps only for hours, and consequently we decided to take steps in the interest of an immediate armistice. (October 29.) The illusions from which the German General Staff suffered were made plain by the reply they gave us when we informed them that we intended to demand an armistice (November). They told us to endure until snowfall set in in the passes in the Tyrol, and that they the Germans would help us on to our legs again in the spring. This is the news that we received at a time when we could not witness the un- necessary bloodshed for a single day longer, and even
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less so until the spring. And even if we had wanted to do so in vain, the internal and the external fronts would have collapsed before the spring, and we, the responsible personalities, would justly have ended on the gallows. The revolutionary party began to increase still further. The unmerciful logic of the laws of the world's history made themselves felt once more. Successful violence can never arrest its progress half- way. Having reigned lawfully for one day, the Cabinet of Karolyi became revolutionary. It will remain a sad and unforgettable memory to think of the night during which I was most urgently summoned to Schonbrunn by His Majesty. For a long time I was unable to obtain a vehicle, and I arrived late in the Imperial Palace. The brother of the Emperor met me half-way down the Mariahilferstrasse ; Archduke Max had come to meet me with a motor in order to accelerate my journey. When I arrived in the Palace, the household urged me to hurry. I rushed upstairs, and I arrived through open doors in the study of His Majesty. The ruler stood at the telephone and handed me his second receiver. The Government of Budapest demanded that he should abdicate, and told him that, if he did not do so, bloodshed would be involved, he would be pursued and murdered, and not only he the King, but also the Archduke Joseph and the Ministers. His Majesty quite rightly did not want to hear any- thing of abdication, and did not wish to lose his crown on acount of a street revolution, seeing that he was tied to the crown by oath. The King of Hungary can
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only abdicate with the consent of the nation. The Government of Budapest petitioned thereupon to be relieved of their oath. So far the game was lost. Since the mob had given their support to Karolyi the power of the State lay in the dust, and as there was not a single statesman or a single party in Budapest which considered it possible to protect law and order, and since the army failed, the King was unable to do anything whatever. A few days earlier I had seen the only salvation in armed interference ; to-day the pre- servation of a new and royal government, or even the attempt to do so, would only be useless bloodshed. For this reason His Majesty could do nothing for the moment but to avoid all interference with the business of government. This decision, however, did not involve abdication, nor did it involve his approval of what had happened and what was about to happen, but it only meant that the King was not in a position to create a Government that could give guarantees of preserving law and order. It meant, furthermore, that he did not interfere with the progress of affairs, and that he did not wish to accept the responsibility of shedding unnecessary blood until there was hope once more that he could insist upon his rights and fulfil his duties.
Rulers have often been dethroned in many different ways, but never in the way in which this fall occurred at Schonbrunn. I was a witness to a new historical drama, and I am ashamed that this novelty was born upon Hungarian soil. I had always been convinced
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that a revolution was only possible in Hungary in face of a ruler who violated the laws and broke his oath. This, at any rate, had been the case in the whole of our history. At present, however, there was no excuse for a revolution. It was not a question of fighting for peace, because no one desired peace more heartily than the King. There was also no necessity of a fight for an administrative union, because this had already been sanctioned, and, what is more, it was an inevitable consequence of the situation. Furthermore, there were now no impediments in the way of democratic electoral reform. Finally, no revolution was necessary in order to put the revolutionary leaders into power, because they already occupied that position.
This revolution, therefore, was only the revolution of hysteria, the product of the neuroticism of the war. The cause of its success was not to be found in the organization of the revolutionary party, its military power, or the correct sequence of its actions, but in the nervousness of the whole of society and the fear of all those who protected law and order. The last-named saw no way out of the terrible situation of the country, and they did not have confidence in an advantageous peace or any hopeful result of any kind. The energy to accept the terrible responsibility of power deserted them utterly. As the best men of the nation were unable to produce a satisfactory solution, they were glad at heart that other people pressed their claims. If in the battle of life anyone is opposed to those who strive for advancement regardlessly, the former will 19
2QO DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
always be the loser, and even if he is more just, more able and more noble than his opponent. This is especially so during a revolution. The system which had been demolished by the unhappy ending of the war was not able to oppose those who thought themselves entitled to leadership, because they had seen the catastrophe coming and had opposed the policy which ended so tragically.
During the few days that I spent on the Ballhaus- platz, I experienced the most terrible time of the whole of my political life. Every minute brought me the news of a new collapse. Croatia had seceded, Bohemia had made herself independent, in Austria the pan- German and Socialist element had gained supremacy, the power of the law was diminishing, and the strength of the revolution gained from day to day. The streets were agitated, the Foreign Office was under the pro- tection of the police, and the republican idea began to gain a footing.
In Hungary the Government had committed the folly of letting the soldiers surrender their arms. In the midst of the most terrible attacks and the bloodiest struggles, our army received the coup de grace from the rear from the Hungarian Government. My mind was weighed down as it were with lead by the know- ledge that the best of us were being murdered and butchered hopelessly and in vain, on account of the sins of others, without my being able to help or to save them.
Finally, we received the severe armistice conditions.
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During the night a council took place in the presence of the King. The conditions were accepted. The military leaders declared that it was impossible to continue the fight, every minute of the continuation of the battle might cost the lives of thousands and hundreds of thousands, and the retreating army might find herself in the most desperate position, as only a few lines of retreat were open to her. The new machinery of the Austrian state functioned slowly, and the newly created power was afraid of the responsibility, and although it wanted to bring about peace, it did not wish to accept the disgrace of accepting the severe conditions that were demanded. All of this cost time and blood. We were informed that the Hungarian and the South Slavonic sailors were fighting each other. The Admiralty insisted that, while preserving the rights of the other states, we should hand over to the South Slav states our men-of-war, and we should hand over the Danube monitors to the Hungarians. With a heavy heart we had to agree to the proposal, because we still believed that by this means the ships might yet be saved for the dynasty.
The tragic seriousness of our negotiations was inter- rupted again and again by the noise in the streets.
In the meantime I did everything I could without hesitation in order to materialize my original idea. It did not seem impossible to find a modus vivendi for Austria. Nobles and peasants, the plenipotentiaries of the German Austrians, all demanded recognition of their influence on the Ballhausplatz, and demanded the
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right of seeing all correspondence without insisting upon leadership and without speaking of secession. In fact, everything and everybody turned to me with the request that I should not give up my position and that I should save what could be saved. Even those who attacked me publicly attempted to persuade me in this way.
I made an effort to gather together the threads which led to satisfactory hopes. At first the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Prince Windischgraetz, and then the former Austro-Hungarian Ambassador in London, Count Bensdorff, went to Switzerland in order to renew negotiations there. The revolution, however, had spoilt our last chances. Windischgraetz succeeded in getting in touch with the diplomats of the Entente, and gained the impression that it would still be possible to arrive at an agreement which could be accepted; but when Bensdorff arrived in Berne, the Monarchy, on behalf of which he wanted to negotiate, had already ceased to exist. The King's person, moreover, was in danger. In the midst of all the chaos, his bodyguard had dwindled. Schonbrunn was guarded by the cadets of the military college. The imperial and royal court, which a few days ago had been powerful and radiant, now began to wane openly as snow in the spring.
I took my resignation from His Majesty. My attempt had failed because it was too late. It was impossible for me to assist matters, and I had only damaged myself ; but nevertheless, I am glad that I was
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able to try. I would have had to be eternally ashamed of myself if I had not accepted the call that was made upon me, and if I had not attempted to avert the catastrophe which I had clearly anticipated. Hungary, which contained only a weak social democratic element, and which was really thoroughly royalistic, and Austria, which worshipped the dynasty and \vas terrified by any violent action, could have resisted a revolution more successfully than any other country in the world. But under the weight of the old and new mistakes which had been committed on all sides, it was the passing whim of the mob that became master of the situation and buried alike the glorious Hungarian kingdom that had existed for 900 years and the proud creation of the Habsburgs.
The French revolution was brought about because the social element which should actually have taken the lead, because it commanded superior brains and the preponderance of property, wanted to obtain the upper hand legally as \vell as morally. The middle classes, which had been repressed, wanted to place themselves in the position of the nobility, and they wanted to realize those principles which were in direct opposition to the lawful circumstances, and which had been applied in England and America for a long time, and which were demanded by the whole of the French intelligentsia. The destructive aims of the revolution had therefore to be followed by a constructive era. The powerful tyranny of French society and of the French State was shaken, but only to fall from its summit upon its broad foundations.
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The revolution, however, through which we had to live was not created by a similar necessity, but by an external political catastrophe. The power was not taken from the hands of the old section because the new section wanted to wield power according to a proven method. The new section was not in a position to demand exclusive power by virtue of their own services and by virtue of their own merits. They gained the power of government only in consequence of the momentary weakness and the momentary reversal of the old section. What will happen to a State which is made the prey of systems that have never been tried, and what will happen to a State when the power of government falls into hands which are not fitted for it, and is surren- dered to elements who owe their triumph not to their own power but to the eternal changeability of the mood of the great events of the world ?
The answer to this question would lead me beyond my real aim, because I had no part in politics in the post-revolutionary era. First of all I went into the country, and when I noticed that I could not even express my convictions in the press, and was con- demned to complete inaction at home, I travelled to Switzerland (February, 1919) and attempted to work in the interests of the nation there. There I did every- thing that was humanly possible in order to fight for the rights of the nation and in order to secure the minimum of the conditions necessary to the existence of the Hungarian State. My labours were vain. It is no longer worth while to talk about them.
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Nevertheless, I will continue the exposition of events. I will point briefly to the sad consequences of those events which I have already described, because they can best be characterized by their own consequences and because I see in the sad aftermath of the October revolution the tragic justification of my unsuccessful attempts.
THE BOURGEOIS REPUBLIC.
THE development of Hungary was subject to the dominating influence exercised by the surrender of arms since the October revolution. This influence was per- haps more derogatory than the famous order of the first Russian revolution, by which the disciplinary rights of the officers were removed, and which instituted the Soldiers' Councils. This influence was particularly evil because the first criminal demand that the Hun- garian troops were to lay down their arms everywhere was followed by the unheard-of statement of the Minister for War, Linder, to the effect that he did not wish to see any more soldiers. In consequence of this treacherous proclamation the enemy could penetrate into our country from all sides with ridiculously small and disgracefully weak forces. If the Hungarian army, which was retreating but partially capable of action, had been held together through the energy of the Hungarian Government and thoroughly organized, instead of being artificially disbanded and demoralized, it would have been easy to defend our borders against the weak forces of our enemies until the conclusion of peace. This problem was considerably facilitated by
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the conditions of the armistice, which was concluded in Italy, because these conditions contemplated fixing the Hungarian frontier as the line of demarcation in the south-east.
In these circumstances the peace would have been more favourable. The demands of our neighbour were by no means detailed at that time, and they grew in proportion to their military success. The demands of the Great Powers also increased in proportion to these successes. The Entente would never have accepted the demands of their smaller allies if they had been obliged to enforce these demands by bloodshed, which they would undoubtedly have had to do but for the fatherly care of those who wielded power in Hungary, as our neighbours, with the exception of Serbia, did not possess armies capable of action.
The Entente would have had to fetch the chestnuts out of the fire for them. The disruption of our army poisoned the nationality question. As soon as our neighbours who had been considered weak, succeeded in making their armies cross our frontier, it was in vain that our Government made fair promises to our various nationalities. They disgraced in vain the whole of Hungary's history, and it was in vain that they declared that up to date all classes of the people and all nationalities had been suppressed and exploited. Among these nationalities the desire grew to secede in proportion as foreign armies invaded us. Those who had regarded autonomy as the summit of their desires now turned from the broken-down State which had
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surrendered all hope and naturally turned towards the powers in the ascendant, the allies of the victorious Entente. The tendency to secession was furthermore increased by the fact that we had destroyed the crown of St. Stefan, the tie which had hitherto held Hun- garian society together and represented the unity of the State, and even the national councils, which exercised the highest power, could not arrogate to themselves more than to demand, according to Wilson's principles, the right of self-determination for the Hungarian race. We destroyed law and order, which was the basis of our national unity, even before our enemies would have done so.
The internal order also, as well as the whole of the economic and social life of the Hungarian States, became untenable by the disarming of the army. In order to protect peace and the security of life in the capital, the labour element had to be armed, by which process the real power slipped out of the hands of the State into the control of a class which, firstly, was in the minority, and, secondly, had been educated in the hatred against all other classes. And within this class those gained the upper hand who were determined to exploit the situation ruthlessly.
It is a natural tendency of all revolutionary upheavals that they develop a tendency towards exaggeration, and consequently untenable circumstances arise which prepare the reaction. It is always difficult to stop at the point at which the revolution really wishes to arrive. The success of one revolution prepares the way for
THE BOURGEOIS REPUBLIC 2QQ
others. As soon as might has become the source of right, there is no holding back any longer. As soon as it is given to the mob to exercise control, and as soon as a clever coup can place a man who is unknown and unimportant yesterday into the forefront of history and make a demi-god of him, others ask themselves the question why they should not attain to similar fortune. Ambition grows from day to day, and the wishes and desires of every one of the climbers grow into infinitude. More and more people are found who are prepared to stake themselves and others in order to secure every- thing at one stride for themselves or for the community. Anyone who thinks and who is cautious retires at such times. He realizes that the tendency of affairs is un- favourable to him. Only the bold and energetic gambler steps to the front. Success is attained only by a rapid decision and lightheartedness, and con- science is only ballast in this race for priority. The climber, the flatterer and the fanatic, all fall a prey to the cult of the exaggeration of the principle which has caused the revolution, for they feel that by this means they can outdo the previous leaders, or else they are driven onwards by their hot-bloodedness and by the excitement of public opinion until they collapse.
And who is to defend authority, law and order after a successful revolution ? The revolutionary of yester- day ? Yes, if that which strengthens him yesterday would not weaken him to-day ! If it was permissible yesterday to oppose violence to law, why should it be a crime to-day to direct violence against revolutionary
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force ? Why is law, peace and public security sancti- fied to-day if they were not so yesterday ? Because the revolutionary holds the rudder ? Just as Mirabeau and Lafayette were supplanted by Danton, and just as the latter was taken from power by Robespierre and Marat, and just as Lwow and Miljukow were supplanted by Kerenski, and just as Kerenski was removed by Lenin and Trotzki the sequence of events here had to be just the same.
The working classes were particularly susceptible to exaggeration owing to the revolutionary idea of Marxism with which they had grown up. The position of the socialists who are determined to create the longed- for revolution is far more advantageous than those who try to exercise a moderating influence upon it. It is in vain that they are in the right, they are unable to banish the spirits which they have called up.
If a social democrat who disapproved of the revolu- tion pointed out that even according to the teaching of Marx the social-democratic ideal can only be estab- lished in a society whose riches are on the increase, and not in an impoverished state, as ours was, then this argument is refuted by the assertion that in such a case all hope would have to be abandoned, as it is particularly difficult to create a revolution in a society which is growing richer and richer.. The completely opposite development of affairs also destroyed the belief that, according to the prophecy of Marx, the develop- ment of capitalism would cause the revolution auto- matically sooner or later, as the working classes would
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become poorer and poorer in an increasingly rich society, and wealth would be concentrated in fewer hands until the situation becomes untenable. The legality, the necessity of a gradual development by the aid of democracy, failed to exercise a moderating influence upon those who had imbibed the hope of the revolution which alone could bestow all blessings together with their mother's milk.
He who announced the revolution as principle, but who trembled at the psychological moment when the masses believed that the revolution alone could succeed, lost his influence very rapidly. The authority of Lenin and Trotzki, the first socialists who gained really great successes and who controlled the social revolution in a great State victoriously during a long period of time, is far more weighty than the authority of the revolutionary whose words are but printed wisdom and who preached moderation at the decisive moment. The doctrine of the Russian apostles is so simple that anyone can understand it. It is the same as the essence of any other Parliamentary battle. Ote toi que je m'y mette. Hitherto the bourgeoisie had exercised its tyranny. It had exploited the working classes and finally perpetrated the war. For this they had to be punished. Their power had to be broken. It was necessary to occupy their position and to rule in their stead. Even if it is impossible to obtain ideal circum- stances in the midst of the ruins that the war had created, it would nevertheless be an enormous step towards the goal if labour could obtain control. If the
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opportunity is missed, when will it ever return again ? When will the army be disbanded, when will the arms be in the hands of the working classes, when will the bourgeois deserve his punishment to such a degree as now, after the heaven-crying sins of the European War?
The dominion of the Romanoffs, the Habsburgs and the Hohenzollern, collapsed like a house of cards. Anyone who is not prepared to seize opportunity by the forelock and to forge the iron while it is hot is a coward and a traitor, and does not deserve the con- fidence of the proletariat. This method of argument was ably applied by the Russian rouble, which was placed at the disposal of propaganda purposes. The personal apostles of the great prophets, the Russian prisoners, spread the true word in great numbers.
And nobody can be found who is capable of setting a goal to this progress of disruption ! The Govern- ment commands no respect. Their popularity buried Franchet d'Esperay in Belgrade. If the Entente does not come to their assistance, their position is untenable because the basis of their existence was the assumption that the Entente extended their sympathy to them.
No sooner had Karolyi failed to bring about a satis- factory peace, when the armistice conditions of Diaz were considerably increased in Belgrade, and he was once again without prestige and dependent upon his old allies, that is to say, upon that minority which was almost completely isolated from the rest of the nation. Nothing but success could have saved Karolyi. Instead
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of success, he met with one defeat after another. He heaped error upon error. His attempts to create a revolutionary diplomacy ended in unparalleled dis- grace. Poor, wretched, vanquished Hungary wanted to create a new fashion : she thought to impose female ambassadors upon foreign Governments without their consent. This attempt, of course, failed, and its only result was that all contact between us and foreign countries ceased. While German and Austrian diplo- macy were gaining ground, our new pledged and accepted diplomacy registered nothing but losses.
The complete uncertainty of the future heightened the general state of nervousness. The more the enemy penetrated into our country, the more was the disband- ment of our army regarded in ever-increasing circles as a terrible crime. The Government clutched at every straw that offered, and began to contradict itself. The Government started with ultra-pacifist principles, and now it spoke once more of war and integrity ; it dis- banded the existing army, and now set about organizing a new one. The best possible peace was expected from this Government, and it became apparent that they were committing the nation to a hopeless war.
There was only one way out of the morass into which we had fallen: hard, serious and untiring work; but the desire to work was completely lacking. The large majority had given up regular work during the war. They wanted to rest after the excitement and the weari- ness of the centuries. The apostles of the revolution had promised them comfort and even luxury, and the
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men expected it, but instead they found disorder every- where, and they even had to suffer from the insufficiency of the necessities of life. The spirit of the revolution also reduced the desire for work, which was but faint anyhow. The masses wanted to acquire comfort, not by means of work but by means of the division of property. There was no discipline and no police. Robbery was easy and became general. The social doctrines of the day demanded communal property, but the Hungarian farmer wanted to know nothing of this; quite on the contrary, he did not only wish to retain his own soil, but he wanted to acquire the soil of others as well. In certain places this opposition led to encounters. The miners took possession by violence. It had often been proclaimed " the land for the people," and the people now wanted to take pos- session of the land instantly. They refused to wait any longer; their patience was exhausted. But how were they to take it without stealing? The bold spirits who had made these promises were now in power and were unable to keep their word. They had raised hope and expectation to the utmost limit, and were now unable to satisfy either. For this reason they lost the trust that had been placed in them, and the more they had promised, the more did they lose respect. The provinces, the open country, also fell a prey to anarchy. Political discussion, the convening of meetings, and the drawing up of political demands, engaged the time that should have been spent upon agriculture. The problem of unemployment exercised a depressing effect
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everywhere. Unemployment had either to be com- pensated in money, or the new regime would lose the support of the people and risk serious unrest.
The disgraceful murder of Stefan Tisza on the first day of the revolution, together with the fact that no search was made for the culprit, and that it was not even demanded, destroyed public safety. Who was sure of his life if such a deed remained unavenged ? Power and influence, therefore, gradually fell into the hands of the Left party.
This tendency could only have been counteracted by great determination and energy. In Germany, where the revolution had formerly given the sole control to the Social Democratic Party, and where no agreement was reached between it and the bourgeois parties, the new elements that wielded power were yet able to preserve social order better than in Hungary. The majority of socialists in Germany saw that it would be wrong to abuse the possibility which the revolution offered, and that they must not base the future upon violence, but they must regard the nation as the source of their power, and that they must give the nation an opportunity immediately of making felt its opinion. After some hesitation they broke completely with those who planned the social revolution according to the Russian pattern, and they preserved their army care- fully. Hindenburg continued to remain their leader. Moreover, the elections were treated seriously. The Social Democrats did not pretend to be the nation ; they were determined to honour the result of the elections, 20
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even if they did not gain a majority. The hesitation they displayed at the beginning had to be paid for with the price of blood later on, but they nevertheless secured their success. The Sparticists were beaten, the election proceeded, and Germany was in a position to conclude peace. The party lost sole control, but secured for itself a permanent and justified influence, because that influence was founded upon the proper basis of the execution of their duty.
The revolution broke out here as well as in Germany because the leading strata of society had sustained a nervous shock and had dropped the sword. In Germany, however, this sword was picked up again by a powerful hand, whereas in our case it was left in the dust. In Germany they did not permit any experi- ments with the body of the nation. A disciplined power, full of political traditions, took over control and proved itself worthy of this tradition. This power disposed over a developed governmental mind, and had the courage also to be unpopular. In our case, how- ever, a small faction without political tradition or experience gained the upper hand, whose governmental spirit was substituted by a spirit of anarchy. The competition for the applause of the extremists was continued. There was not sufficient courage to protect public interests. Extreme elements gained control whose purpose it was to retain the minority in power without the consent of the nation. The number of Social Democrats in the Government grew gradually, and their party gained strength throughout the country.
THE BOURGEOIS REPUBLIC
Their members were drawn from the camp of numerous and able opportunists who never lent a helping hand during distress, but who created, at a time when fortune favoured them, a dangerous feeling of false power which is eagerly revenged.
The party leaders of the Socialists were blinded and intoxicated by their fictitious power, and lost their ability of judgment and their self-control. There was no serious determination among them to place the nation's fate into the nation's hands. This fact became obvious when, after considerable hesitation, the Government proclaimed the date of the next election, and the Social Democratic party was bold enough to say that they would not submit to the judgment of the people.
The increase of the Radical elements paralysed the determination of those who were more conservatively minded, and they believed that the time for the world revolution had come, and that it was in Hungary's interests. The idea gained popularity that peace with the Entente could not be concluded by those men who had initiated the negotiations, but by the Social Democrats. The general nervousness and the lack of energy of the protectors of law and order, which had placed Karolyi at the head of affairs, now favoured the Kunfis and the Runs.
If the Government, however, has not got the courage to enter into the battle against the destructive elements, then the Government cannot be replaced by anything or by anyone in this matter. No matter how weak the
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Government may be, it can only be turned out by a new revolution. There is no electoral body which can control or defeat the Government by a vote. Further- more, it was quite impossible to organize an opposi- tion. There was no freedom of the press because the press was partially paralysed by the violence of the actual printers, and partially by the violence of the Government. Moreover, the liberty to call meetings had ceased to exist also. The bourgeosie had no weapons. No free political expression of opinion was possible in view of the fact that houses were searched, arrests made, and terrorism reigned supreme. It was regarded as a crime of the first order for a body to express its distrust in the Government, although this body was undoubtedly entitled to do so and had always exercised this right, and they had often done so at the instigation of those parties who now regarded such action as counter-revolutionary. The only energy that was displayed was directed against the bourgeosie. Any sign of life on their part was regarded as counter- revolution. The Communists, on the other hand, con- tinued their evil work without impediment. Apart from the Social Democratic workmen, only the Com- munists possessed arms. Greater political activity and a wider organization were only possible within the Social Democratic party. The power of the Government was only limited by the Soldiers and Workmen's Councils and by the armed Communists. As soon as a Minister for War made an attempt to re-establish discipline (Bartha Sestetich) and to organize an army which was
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to obey the Government and not the party, the soldiers revolted, the Minister for War was made to resign, or, rather, he was chased from his office. The army organized itself on a social democratic basis, and only members of the party were accepted into the service. Militarism took its most dangerous form because the army directed our policy, formed Governments and defeated them, and used grenades and bayonets in place of arguments and discussion. By this method the dictatorship of the proletariat was prepared, whose first condition, according to the theory of Lenin, is the disarming of the bourgeoisie and the arming of the workmen.
From this moment on the catastrophe was inevitable. The country was unable to help itself. The only help that could serve any purpose would have been for the mission of the Entente, for their own protection, to concentrate so powerful a military force in Budapest as would be in a position to protect the National Assembly against the terrorism of the mob as well as to preserve law and order. I tried to do everything imaginable to point to the truth of this fact in Paris. In vain ! Independent Hungary within its own narrow borders, which had been set up for it, was of little interest to the statesmen of the Entente, who were occupied with the great world problems. The first mutiny that was instigated in the interests of the Soviet caused the downfall of the Government. Forty-two leaders were arrested, but this victory was unable to arrest the process of disruption. Even in Russia,
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Kerenski gained the victory over Lenin before the latter could gain the upper hand. The weak attitude of the victor soon furnished proof that the vanquished repre- sented a great power, and that circumstances were in his favour. The Government hastened to inform those who were arrested that they would not be treated as criminals but as counter-revolutionaries. People who had instigated murder, theft and robbery, were to be treated in the same way as those who attempted to form an opposition during an election for the restitution of law and order, from which it was obvious that the first-named were regarded with fear and trembling. The prisoners were allowed to have intercourse in prison with their partisans.
Such was the position when the Government, under pressure of the passive resistance of society and the pressure of the Entente, recognized its position to be, untenable. The French military plenipotentiary, Vix, desired to lay down a line of demarcation that was unfavourable to us. The Government did not dare to shoulder the responsibility either of accepting or refusing these conditions, and wanted to give way to a purely social democratic government, whose osten- sible purpose was the refusal of the demands of the Entente and the preparation of armed resistance. The decision of the Government was logical to the extent that the power was already de facto exclusively in the hands of the Social Democrats, and that there was no real power behind the bourgeois elements of the Cabinet of Karolyi. When these bourgeois elements
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left the Government, nothing but the appearance was changed, and those who were actually in possession of power should have taken over the responsibility com- pletely. The new Government could have counted upon support with greater certainty, as it was com- pletely composed of members of the predominant party. The idea of armed resistance, however, was not logical and wrong. It was impossible to shake off the conse- quences of the sins that had been perpetrated already. Those who did not want to see any more Hungarian soldiers had, therefore, to see all the more Serbian, Roumanian and Bohemian ones.
The list of the sins of the Government was increased by the fact that this armed resistance fell to that portion of social democracy which was attempting to get into touch with the Internationale and with Russia. The disarmed State could not quarrel with the armed Entente, and the Social Democratic Party could do this least of all in the interests of the nation of Hungary. Social democracy could, at most, enter the fight on behalf of the programme of the Internationale against the bourgeoisie of Europe on the grounds of funda- mental principles, but they could not do so for the integrity of the Hungarian soil. Even during im- prisonment (March n) the Social Democrats agreed with the Communists that they would cease to pursue the so-called policy of integrity.
It was settled, however, that the Hungarian people had to endure all sufferings. Hungary, which bled from a thousand wounds, had to enter a new fight and
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receive new wounds, but not for the protection of her own existence, but in the interests of an idea of which the enormous majority of the nation wanted to hear nothing, and whose victory would have buried for ever the independence and the State of Hungary. Hungary had to bleed for a mortal excrescence of the world's catastrophe : Bolshevism.
Social Democracy was cautious enough to deny itself the pleasure of accepting this heroic part. Oppressed on the one hand by the Communists, and on the other by the bourgeois party, without an army and without money, they did not wish to shoulder the responsibility which even the Government of Karolyi had refused to accept. The Social Democrats were afraid that the lot of Kerenski might also fall to them : for Kerenski had failed because he was forced, in opposition to his own pacifist principles, to enter into a war when he was called upon to do so by the Communists. The Social Democratic Party was only too anxious not to deny this problem to the Communist Kunfi, and the Social Democratic candidate for the Presidency released Bela Kun, and handed over the Government to him, together with the enforced blessing of Karolyi, on March 22. He really had nothing to lose. Anyone who gained power from prison cannot afford to be particular with regard to the moment of his election.
The bourgeois members of Berinky's Cabinet were convinced that a Social Democratic Cabinet would succeed him. And they all agreed to this, including the leaders of the Social Democrats. After the last Cabinet meeting, one of the bourgeois ministers, the
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Minister for Agriculture, was stopped by soldiers and ejected from his motor. The minister protested in vain, and it was in vain that he referred to his position. The Red soldiers referred him to the command of the Soviet Government which had been constituted in the meantime, and removed the minister without further ado from his car. By this means the minister was informed that the revolution, which was inevitable, had entered upon its last and destructive phase, because nothing had been done to arrest it, and everything had been done to further it.
The Social Democratic Party and the Communists, who had hitherto fought each other for power, now joined hands and formed the Soviet Government together. It is to be assumed that the non-Communistic Social Democrats thought that they would exercise a moderating influence. Their assumption, however, was totally erroneous. The same thing had to happen as occurred when Karolyi controlled the Government and Karolyi and his people had to swim with the general stream. It was they who took over the part of Karolyi and his followers, and it was they who served as the protection for the most violent extremists. They lost their respect and their political position because they did not dare to go their own way.
The October revolution, which was a manifestation of hysteria, brought men with diseased minds to the forefront. The second revolution, however, produced lunatics and criminals.
Once more I directed my importunate request to the Entente that they should interfere and prevent other-
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wise inevitable bloodshed, and prevent furthermore the destruction of property and values whose consequences they would have to bear as well as ourselves. How- ever, I strove in vain once more. Nevertheless, it would have been easy to frustrate the constitution of a Soviet Government. A small military force would have been sufficient to frighten the Communist leaders. The French troops in Southern Hungary did not cost the Entente a penny less than they would have done in Budapest. The danger of infection was greater round about the origin of the revolution in consequence of their inaction, than the danger for the troops of the Entente would have been on the ruins of the revolution itself, on account of the fact that their military duties would have employed them. If we had been satisfied at that time that the nation would obtain bearable con- ditions of peace, almost the whole of Hungary would have been solidly behind the Entente. Instead of this, the Entente only assisted in making the Soviet regime more secure. For the first time they sent a leading statesman to Budapest. The South African politician, Smuts, recognized at once that it was impossible to come to an agreement with Kun and his followers, because Kun understood by "peace" the freedom to continue his revolutionary propaganda. Even then it would have been easy to deduce the consequences of experience and to occupy Budapest.
The Entente, however, did not move a finger. The Soviet Republic became established, and we were faced by new tortures in the future.
THE SOVIET REPUBLIC.
THE fundamental principle of the new system was the sole control of the working classes. Only workmen had the right to vote, and only workmen could be elected. Anyone who is not a member of the union even received a smaller ration than the others. The situation was like a reversal of the Middle Ages, with the difference that during the Middle Ages power was exercised by those who were the most educated and most capable of government, whereas the hegemony to-day was in the hands of the least educated. The system of the absolutism of the minority was estab- lished. Properly speaking, the control was not really even in the hands of the minority, but in the hands of a few tyrants who violated the country in the name of the minority and under the protection of arms. The dictatorship of the masses developed as usual into the dictatorship of a few. The lunacy which inspired the system was characterized by its May festivals. At a time when the majority of the people were threatened by death from starvation, these modern Neros obtained, by bartering away foodstuffs and animals, red cloth and red dyes in order to shroud the capital in red and
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to colour the Danube with their dyes. A system whose maturity is such can naturally be preserved only by means of the wildest terrorism. Thousands were cast into prison without any guilt whatever, merely because they possessed property, exercised political influence, or played a leading part in society. Innumerable murders were perpetrated. All news- papers, with the exception of the official papers of the Government, were prohibited. As terrorism is one of their main means, special troops of terrorists were formed chiefly consisting of criminals and sentenced prisoners. Those who were not murdered by the terrorists suffered the most terrible anxiety as the result of the methods of the troops. It is incredible with what ability the terrorists knew how to spread fear in Budapest and everywhere where they were in power. Everyone was convinced that he was the subject of constant espionage, and everyone felt that a careless word or an inconsidered action could cost him his life. No one can form any idea as to the horror which a few thousand terrorists created who did not live through this terrible time, or who did not see immediately after the liberation the population which had suffered by starva- tion, become anaemic and had been aged and rendered excessively nervous by the constant danger.
Hungarian society, which had been isolated in foreign countries, only heard what the tyrants in the capital allowed to be published. They gained a wrong view of the events of the world, and believed that the revolution was victorious everywhere, and for this
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reason it was necessary to accept the Soviet rule as the permanent regime. The Soviet rule, apart from its cruelty and lust for robbery, had the most terrible effects on account of its complete absence of knowledge and its inexperience. People who yesterday made boots or cleaned the streets, to-day made laws and devoted themselves to jurisprudence and the problems of administration. Those who had devoted their lives hitherto to politics and had done mental work were now obliged to do physical labour. Only very few had had any experience of that which they now had to do. The validity of law had ceased to exist, the law courts no longer functioned, and in the place of legal usage we find the whim of the moment and personal prejudice. There was no time to reconstruct, but only violence for purposes of destruction. National economy suffered under the disease of plunder and robbery. This pro- cedure was dignified with the mantle of communistic principles, but generally it was merely the product of the desire to possess the property of others. Profes- sional thieves, released out of prison, and more than doubtful personalities, continued their metier as lead- ing personalities under the protection of arms. Even people who hitherto would never have misappropriated the property of others, now disregarded all moral restraint in this connection, because they saw that anything which they did not seize was " communized " by others.
The complete destruction of all the essentials of economic productivity wrought more damage even than
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theft and robbery. The enormous demands of the workmen rendered all economic undertakings futile. Industry and agriculture suddenly lost their expert control. Everything and everywhere leadership was in the hands of the uneducated. Within a short time, even the soundest banks and the soundest industrial undertakings failed, and agriculture suffered tremen- dous damage. The soil was badly looked after; no investments were made; and only robbery took place. The crushing of trade, which became more complete from day to day, destroyed a large number of people. The complete lack of legal security destroyed all enter- prise. The desire to work, which is created by the legitime desire of the individual for profit, and which incites to new inventions and great efforts, was sub- stituted by a feeling of duty, public spirit and com- munistic morals. The Communists, however, were incapable of bringing about this substitution. The assiduity and care of the owner could not be replaced by communal ownership. The most careless organiza- tion predominated in nationalized concerns. Public property belonged to everybody and therefore nobody. The opposition between the various organs that con- trolled production, the relaxation of all discipline, the chaos of the countless "Councils," exercised a paralysing effect. The whole capital of charitable and humanitarian societies was requisitioned and wasted. The total effect of this state of affairs brought about such an impoverishment and such a reduction in pro- duction as had never occurred hitherto in so short a
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time, with the exception of Russia, where this fact was due to the same Bolshevistic regime.
The foreign policy of the Soviets was also catastrophic in its effects. In consequence of its nature and its fundamental principles, it was impossible to live in peace with bourgeois society, that is to say, with one's own neighbours. Lenin positively set the Soviet system the problem of preparing for the revolution of the proletariat in Eastern Europe. Enormous quan- tities of money were spent on this object. Apart from the fact that an enormous army was necessary for this purpose, the revolutionary propaganda used up in- credible sums of money. The money that had been requisitioned from the banks and other concerns, the sale of the jewellery and silver that had been robbed from private owners, was spent for these propaganda purposes, except in so far as they were stolen by private individuals. The last farthing of the nation that had been ruined by the war and the disaster that followed in its wake, was used to organize strikes and upheavals in Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg.
This robbed money did not suffice for covering the expenses of the excellently paid and well-fed Red Army. This was due to the fact that enormous sums of money found their way out of the country, and a great deal was amassed privately. In consequence of this, the Bolshevists had to resort to the printing press. The value of money rapidly fell, and the good old money disappeared, while the new money was not accepted as payment. By this means the system dug
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its own grave. As the Government had no more money, it had to requisition by force, and thereby the existence of the agricultural districts was endangered. Hitherto the Soviet had not dared to touch the small landowner, but the peasant nevertheless became opposed to the Soviet, because his unfailing intuition told him that once the Councils were strong enough, they would communize the peasants' property as well. In this mood the order for requisition found him, and conse- quently his feelings developed into a wild and profound hatred. Is he really to be forced once more to leave his home and to face the foe ? Even he, wfio Ts not a member of the proletariat, must go and fight, not for the protection of his country, but for the protection of the hated dictatorship of the proletariat. This dictator- ship endangered the holiest traditions and convictions. It despised patriotism, suppressed the church from school life, threatened religious education, and under- mined the discipline of the church. The dictatorship did not only violate the material interests of the country, but also injured the moral feelings of the population.
Counter-revolutions without proper preparation were therefore the order of the day. Many hundreds of brave people suffered martyrdom, many ended at the gallows, and many were murdered without being able to offer resistance. In the country the farmer fell a victim to the soldier. And all this bloodshed brought about no salvation. The martyrs did not save society, but on the contrary they created new suffering; but, at
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any rate, they served the interests of national honour, without which no regeneration can take place. The Soviet thereupon sought support from the agricultural labourers, but even they lost their confidence in the new system on account of the depreciation of the new currency. In spite of the enormous wages, which blinded them at first, many had to starve and were without shoes or clothing.
One of the weaknesses of the system was that it was dependent upon its enemies, the educated bourgeois. These worked against the system, and treason and sabotage made themselves felt in the ranks of the Red Army.
But even in the circles of industrial labour com- munism lost ground. Bread and clothing was wanted, and not socialization, politics and eternal meetings.
Only one more blow was needed, and the whole system which was rotten internally would collapse. This blow, however, could only come from outside, because the press, the railways, telephones, telegraphs,, postal service and arms were in possession of the terrorists. In the territories which were occupied by the Entente there was little opportunity of organization on a large scale. The society which was divided between the Soviet and foreign rule was unable to organize itself with any success anywhere. If it had been possible to organize only a few thousand white troops, the days of the Soviet would have been num- bered. Such a White Army, however, did not exist, and it was impossible to create one. Attempts were 21
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made in Austria and Bohemia, but these efforts were fruitless on account of the disfavour of the local Government.
In May it seemed as if we were faced by the final catastrophe in consequence of the Roumanian advance, but the Council of the Four in Paris did not allow the Roumanian army to proceed for reasons which are unknown to me. The Soviet again gained time, and the Red Army re-established itself once more. They succeeded in beating the Czechs and continued their work of destruction.
The final death-blow was dealt to communism by itself because they staked their own existence presum- ably on account of internal difficulties on one card. They determined to penetrate the Roumanian line and join the armies of Lenin. This attack of the Red Army caused the defensive of the Roumanians and then the counter-offensive, under pressure of which the dictator- ship of the proletariat collapsed. When the Roumanian army stood at the gates of Budapest, the leaders of the Communists gave in, in the hope that they could save their lives and the masses of the people. As the Social Democrats shared the responsibility for the Soviet regime with the Communists, the reaction was so great that a Government of the pure Social Demo- crats, who were in the minority, was absolutely impossible. The reign of terror of the Left parties had to give way to a far greater reaction than was intended.
At the moment we still live in the era of counter-
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revolution. We continue to live in a time when passion reigns supreme. Nothing but the permanent re-establishment of law and order and the dawn of work and reconstruction will announce the end of the revolution. However, we are on the way to con- valescence. No matter how desperate the immediate past has been, no matter how sad the present is, I nevertheless trust implicitly in the future. The Hungarian nation will yet be a strong and useful prop to European society. It is their function to preserve that single branch of the Slav family of nations, and to preserve it in the interests of civilization and humanity. This branch has belonged for many hundreds of years to the western section of the world, and it can live and flourish nowhere in the world except here in Pannonia. If the possibility of development is not allowed to this people, not only will a nation be murdered, but the working section of mankind will be robbed of an irreplaceable member, and that during the age of self-determination and the loudly proclaimed freedom of small nations.
We will never on any account submit to this destruction. Our vitality is not exhausted, and there- fore the future belongs to us ! The age of lies is fleet- ing, and the interests of mankind, and therefore our rights, will lead us to victory !