Page:EB1922 - Volume 30.djvu/43

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AERONAUTICS

between Vienna and St. Petersburg, in order to create a basis for a permanent friendly relation between Austria-Hungary and Russia. He played a principal part in concluding the Miirzsteg Agreement of 1903. During the Russo-Japanese War he took a strong line in favour of a benevolent attitude on the part of the Vienna Cabinet towards Russia. When, in Oct. 1906, he succeeded Count Goluchowski as Foreign Minister he at first maintained the views which he had professed as ambassador. He was determined to preserve the interests of Austria-Hungary in the Balkans, but also showed himself prepared to meet the Russian wishes in the Dardanelles question. Accordingly he entered into negotiation, after the outbreak of the Young Turk revolution in the summer of 1908, with Isvolski, arranging with him Sept. 15 at the chateau of Buchlau, in Moravia, an agreement which aimed at securing for Austria-Hungary the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and for Russia the opening of the Dardanelles to Russian warships.

It was only when Isvolski's proposals were wrecked on the opposition of England, and the Russian minister protested against the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had meanwhile been accomplished, and supported the Serbs in their opposition to Austria-Hungary, that Aehrenthal abandoned the idea of a friendly accommodation with the Russian Government. In the sharp struggle during the annexation crisis, not only with Russia and Serbia, but with the Western Powers, he held with tenacious energy to his purpose, and, powerfully supported by Germany, succeeded in carrying out his intentions after excited negotiations which threatened to lead to war. The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was acknowledged by the Powers; an agreement was reached with Turkey; Serbia, after long hesitation, was obliged to submit. For this achievement Aehrenthal was rewarded by his master by elevation to the rank of Count (Aug. 1 8 1909), while at the courts of his opponents he was hated but respected.

This was the zenith of his political career. Few at this time realized the danger which arose later from the closer adhesion of Russia to the Western Powers, especially as Aehrenthal took the greatest pains to prove in all quarters, after the conclusion of the annexation crisis, that Austria-Hungary cherished no far- reaching plans of conquest. In this spirit he offered the most decided opposition to those circles at the court of Vienna which advocated a bloody reckoning with Serbia. He held fast by the Triple Alliance, for he saw in this the surest bulwark of peace. He sought to form the most intimate relations with the German Empire, but insisted on the independence of the Habsburg Monarchy, and energetically repulsed all efforts on the part of the German chancellery to set limits to that independence. One of his most difficult tasks was to adjust the ever-recurring conflicts with Italy, who, while officially supporting the political action of the Triple Alliance, often embarked on courses directly opposed to the interests of Austria-Hungary. A succession of agreements which he concluded with the Italian Foreign Minister, Tittoni, justified his efforts, and enabled him to maintain correct relations with the Italian Government. Yet, by the maintenance of his peace policy, which had the full approval of the Emperor Francis Joseph, he came into serious conflict with the party led by the chief of the general staff, Conrad von Hotzendorf, which championed a policy not afraid of energetic, warlike methods. The battle, carried on on both sides with tenacious endurance, ended in 1911 with the victory of Aehrenthal and the resignation of Hotzendorf.

In the solution of questions of internal policy Aehrenthal, as Foreign Minister, only took part in so far as they seemed to him to affect the interests of the monarchy as a whole. With the Czechs, who on his accession to office had shown some suspicion on account of his intimate connexion with the leading members of the loyal Bohemian landed aristocracy, he succeeded in maintaining reasonably good relations. As against the Magyars, he upheld the view that the unity of the monarchy must not be shaken, and he therefore offered a determined resistance to the attempts of the party of independence to intrench on the rights of the Crown in military matters. He realized the need for an

increase of the army and the reorganization of the army and navy, but he opposed the far-reaching demands of the War Minister and the chief of the general staff.

Aehrenthal married in 1902 Pauline, Countess Szechenyi. He died Feb. 17 1912.

Even during his lifetime the estimate of his political policy fluctuated violently. On the one hand it was blamed as pro- vocative, on the other as weak. After the disastrous result of the World War, bringing with it the downfall of the Habsburg Monarchy, it is still more difficult to answer the question whether the path pursued by Aehrenthal in foreign affairs was the right one. It is certain that the Entente Powers were drawn more closely together by the active part played, during his period of office, by Austria-Hungary in Balkan affairs. It is true that the chances of success for the Central Powers in an inter- national struggle were better in the years 1909 and 1911 than in 1914. But the question remains undecided whether, if his activity had been longer continued, Aehrenthal would have been able to maintain the position of Austria-Hungary as a great power without an appeal to the decision of arms. There is no doubt that Aehrenthal was a statesman of considerable mark, a man of wide knowledge and well-ordered intelligence; he was ambitious, but not vain, and an untiring worker. Moreover, in moments of great excitement he was able to maintain outward calmness. He was convinced of his own value, but had no desire to parade it. The Emperor Francis Joseph esteemed him, stood by him in the good and evil hours of his administration of foreign affairs, and repeatedly refused to accept his tendered resignation.

See B. Molden, Alois, Graf Aehrenthal: Seeks Jahre auswartiger Politik Oesterreich-Ungarns (1917); and the article "Aehrenthal" in the Deutsche Nekrologen (vol. xviii., 1917, pp. 230 seq.).

(A- F. PR.)


AERONAUTICS (see 1.260). Between 1909 and 1921, Aero- nautics, an infant to start with, had not grown as a child grows, but irregularly. One member had prospered at one time and one at another. Thus we find that enterprize in flight was early in ad- vance of all appliances; then engines developed for a period; later, structural design. Though aerodynamic theory had been far ahead it was badly neglected for a spell and was once again fostered; with this study secret and semi-magical wing shapes disappeared; after that came methodical production, first in units and subsequently in bulk; then came pilotage and the ele- ments of commercial flying. The seaplane, though less risky than the aeroplane, advanced even more fitfully and never caught it up; the airship, which was earlier and safer, still lagged behind be- cause it made less appeal to sensation and cost much more. The engine, though once in advance, fell behind, and only now (1921) is again full of promise. Landing-grounds and night alighting facilities have advanced but little, meteorology progresses slowly against fog, the enemy, but aerial navigation is at last appearing as a science.

By taking such of these elements as have separate stories and keeping them distinct in the. several sections which follow, it is hoped to present more clearly the progress and prospects of aerial science than by showing a series of moving pictures of the infant prodigy in motion as a whole.

Achievements and Performance (see Section I.). The twelve years of labour of the American Wrights culminated just before 1909 in the birth of the art as we now know it. Hazardous flights on the straight or in figures of eight; a circle over Paris; the crossing of 24 miles of sea; the excelling of the speed of an express train, a velocity once deemed monstrous and now insignificant; the scaling of the Alps; looping and inverted flying; leaving the craft by parachute; releasing the first i,ooo-lb. weight; firing the first gun; discovering how to get out of a spin; alighting by night, etc. each of these was an experience and a token of growth. Each seemed perilous and astonishing, yet they had become so common by 1921 that it was already difficult even to remember the sense of wonder.

Design (see Section II.). The advance of design occurred away from the public vision, nor were its milestones of progress coincident with the landmarks made by the great performers who relied more on their own tact in the air than on the tested and thought-out qual- ities of their craft. They chafed under the cautions of those who made stress calculations. Each " stunt " was performed before any human being knew if it was safe. How and why was design altered