The Balkan league
I. E. Gueshoff
CHAPTER IV. THE DISSOLUTION OF THE BALKAN ALLIANCE
M. Gueshoff resigns - Coup d’état
1. The First Serbo-Bulgarian War 94
Union with Eastern Roumelia - Letter from Mr. Gladstone - Treaty of 1886
2. The Second Serbo-Bulgarian War 99
Second Balkan war
3. Facsimile of the Proclamation of King Peter 103
Manifesto of King Peter - Responsibility for the war - Enemies of Balkan union - Moral rights of Bulgaria - Justice to Bulgaria
When the Serbo-Bulgarian and the Greco-Bulgarian treaties of alliance were signed in Sofia, MM. Milovanovitch, Venizelos, and myself were Prime Ministers respectively of Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. The former met with an early death on July 1, 1912, being succeeded on September 12 by M. Pashitch. Between us three we prepared, began, and finished the Balkan war which Turkey imposed on us. My two colleagues were destined to see their countries through the war between the allies also. I sent in my resignation a month before it broke out.
Why did I resign my post ? That is no longer a secret in Bulgaria. When my opponents reproached me for taking that step and accused me of mistakes made during the Balkan war, I was forced to publish a whole book  to clear myself of the
1. Criminal Folly and the Parliamentary Inquiry, Sofia, 1914. In this book, written in reply to bitter criticisms of my policy, I proved that I was against the attack on Tchataldja ; against the plan of entering Constantinople ; against the resumption of hostilities at the beginning of 1913 which was forced on us by the coup d’état of the Young Turks on January 23, 1913.
accusations heaped on me and show my countrymen who was really responsible for the misfortunes of our nation. From this book is taken the following letter of resignation :
M. Sazonoff’s communication advising us against resumption reached M. Daneff late, and it was M. Daneff to whom we had given the order to break off the negotiations with the consent of the representatives of the Great Powers. I cannot be accused of having wished to turn the War of Liberation into a War of Conquest, as many of our nationalists, together with the Serbian and Greek chauvinists, desired to do. On January 18, 1913, I told M. Miliukoff that I was of opinion that Salonica should be ceded to Greece, which statement he published in his organ Rietch on October 17, 1913. At the Ministerial Council, presided over by the King on April 3, 1913, I insisted that our differences with Greece should be submitted to arbitration. My book shows, with documentary evidence, that neither I nor my party was guilty of altering the decision taken by the Council, which we supported to the end. The accusation of hesitancy and temporising brought against our policy is unfair. In no case could we have consented to discuss with the Serbians the subject of a rectification of the frontiers upon which the two sides had agreed. Although the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty allowed us the right to wait until the end of the war with Turkey before proceeding with the repartition of the new territories, and Russia advised us to wait until that moment, we invited Russia as early as April 1913 to assume her part of arbitrator. The Russian Orange book explains why this proved impossible. In a time of national excitement, when after the brilliant victories of the Bulgarian army it was not easy to be moderate, I endeavoured to practise that moderation which, in my opinion, was the only wise policy for Bulgaria to follow. If extremists advised and accomplished the criminal folly of June 29, 1913, not a word nor an act of my policy gave them any excuse for their conduct,
[ M. Gueshoff resigns ]
To-day we have received news by telegraph that the treaty of peace with Turkey has been signed. This ends a war which has brought dignity to the Bulgarian name and glory to Bulgaria. But at the same time it marks the beginning of the clearing up of the results gained by the allies against Turkey. Your Majesty may think it needful to confide the government of the country to a great Cabinet. In order to facilitate the formation of a new Ministry, I have the honour to beg of Your Majesty to accept the resignation of the Cabinet over which I preside.
Thanking Your Majesty in the name of the Cabinet and in my own, etc., etc.
Iv. Ev. Gueshoff.
May 30, 1913.
As to the motives of my resignation, they were well known to every one concerned. My policy of coming to an understanding with our allies without bloodshed, of keeping the Balkan Alliance intact, of having recourse to arbitration with Serbia and Greece, did not meet with approval. For this reason I thought it my duty to leave the head of the State to decide whether it would be necessary to call in fresh politicians for the settlement of our differences with the allies. I had been the first artificer of the Balkan Alliance and I became its first victim, not so much on account of the sacrifice I made in resigning the Presidency of the Ministerial Council, but because of the criticisms to which I exposed myself for leaving my post at a critical moment, But I was obliged to
resign because I was not in unity with the Crown, and because I was of the opinion that such a critical situation imperatively called for a coalition Ministry on the broadest possible basis. I had a deep-rooted conviction that none of the other parties, once they were in office, would have undertaken the heavy responsibility of a second wrar. And as a matter of fact, M. Daneff’s Cabinet which assumed office after the failure of an effort to form a large concentration Government, and which included members of two political parties, decided unanimously on June 22, 1913, that M. Daneff should go to Petrograd, and that our differences with Serbia and Greece should be submitted to arbitration.
Contrary, however, to the unanimous decision of the Bulgarian Government and without the knowledge of the Cabinet, on June 29 the Second and the Fourth Bulgarian armies, acting on order from the Headquarters, attacked our allies. Those who advised and ordered these attacks have been blamed by no one more implacably than by me. The text of the orders was published by the Carnegie Commission which, in its report, rightly qualifies them as shifty and childish. But however much History may condemn this criminal act, she must acknowledge that the Bulgarian nation is not responsible for it. Every one knows how Bulgaria entered the Balkan war. After a mobilisation, approved by the Ministerial Council, the National Assembly was called
[ Coup d’état ]
to vote the war credits. The Sobranjé approved of the mobilisation and voted the credits. After the Turks had declared war, a manifesto to the nation was issued, bearing the signatures of the King and the Ministers. Is it possible to make this same nation answerable for a coup d'état, a criminal folly, accomplished without the consent of the legislative body and even without the knowledge of the responsible Government ? Bulgarian courts of law have publicly established that the Bulgarian Government did not decide to declare war on the allies. On January 21 last the Bulgarian publicist M. D. Misheff was tried for libel. He produced in court a certificate of the Secretary of the present Ministerial Council which, as is well known, is a sworn enemy to the Progressists and Nationalists who were Ministers on June 29, 1913. This certificate, bearing the date of January 20, 1915, No. 66, ran as follows :
The Secretariat of the Ministerial Council certifies by these present that the reports of the Ministerial Council contain no minute ordering the opening of hostilities against the Greeks and Serbians, on June 29, 1913.
This certificate is given to M. D. Misheff of Sofia for presenting to the Departmental Court of Sofia, in connection with the criminal proceedings, No. 2865/1914.
(Signed) M. Arnaoudoff, Secretary.
The only constitutional body of the Bulgarian nation, the Cabinet, therefore knew
nothing of the order given to attack certain of the troops of the allies ; it even countermanded the movement, which had evidently been made against its will. It appealed to the Russian Government to intervene and stop hostilities both on the side of the Serbians and of the Greeks. Our former allies categorically refused and declared war on Bulgaria. The text of the Serbian proclamation declaring war proves beyond doubt that it was no mere irresponsible factors but the Ministers themselves, who had decided to seize the first opportunity to declare war on Bulgaria. They thus completed the harm begun by the orders of June 29. The Balkan Alliance was at an end.
I shall certainly not undertake to apportion the responsibilities for this calamity. But as I am responsible to History for the conclusion of the Balkan Alliance, I do not think that I have fulfilled my duty unless I record everything needed by the future historian in order to form a definite judgment on this affair. I.
I. The First Serbo-Bulgarian War
Twice in twenty-eight years the Serbians have declared war on us.
The first time was November 14, 1885. King Milan wished to frustrate the union of Bulgaria with Eastern Roumelia, the very union which had raised enthusiasm in England and France, and of which the Emperor Alexander III had said to the
[ Union with Eastern Roumelia ]
Bulgarian delegation, sent to Copenhagen to solicit his approval, that “there could be no question of disunion.” I heard these words myself, being a member of the deputation. From Copenhagen I was ordered by the Bulgarian Government to proceed to London and plead the cause of union against King Milan. On October 16, whilst calling on Lord Salisbury, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I chanced to meet in the waiting-room of the Foreign Office M. Chedomil Mijatovitch, the Serbian Minister in London. The latter wished to justify the policy of King Milan, and from his defence I saw with horror what futile motives had induced the Serbian ruler to involve two kindred nations in war. After the interview I wrote to the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs :
M. Mijatovitch admits that the Serbians have let slip the right moment for an invasion of Old Serbia, and that if they now attacked Turkey they would be beaten, and for this reason King Milan, who must take some action, will probably invade Bulgaria. “It is very sad,” said M. Mijatovitch, “and I hope that at the last moment some way may be found of avoiding this danger. But what is one to do when for the last three years your Government has behaved so badly to us ? Why did you take Bregovo from us ? Why did you promise to intern Pashitch and Pavlovitch and then allow them to plot ? Why did you make the present revolution without first consulting us ? Why, even now, do you not come to a brotherly understanding with us ?” Such are the principal grievances of M. Mijatovitch. I answered them and brought
him to recognise that it would be very dangerous for them if their thoughtless aggression provoked complications and interventions whose consequences their narrow-minded selfishness disregarded. In my opinion, only one of M. Mijatovitch’s observations deserves attention : it would be better to arrest the Serbian agitators, and if the Government has not done so already, to approach the Serbian Government with a view to a direct understanding.
I must say that before receiving my report the Bulgarian Government had sent the late M. Grecoff to Serbia, but he was not received. Had he been granted an audience, he would have disproved the assertions of King Milan’s advocate that we had taken possession of the insignificant little island of Bregovo, and that we had interned M. Pashitch. The irony of fate decreed that M. Pashitch, then a Bulgarian functionary, should afterwards become Prime Minister of Serbia and that M. Mijatovitch should undertake the defence of his anti-Bulgarian policy.
The policy of King Milan did not meet with any approval in Western Europe. In England it was the object of general reprobation, which found vent in the following letter which I then received from Mr. Gladstone :
Hawarden Castle, Chester,
October 15, 1885.
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter and need scarcely assure you of the interest I take in the affairs of the Balkan Peninsula, and especially of Bulgaria.
[ Letter from Mr. Gladstone ]
I was astonished to see in the newspapers a private letter of mine to M. de Laveleye, or at least the greater part of it, which I suppose has been translated and retranslated. However that may be, I hope it will do no harm if it is understood simply to say that I am in favour of recognising the accomplished fact, that I hope the union will be real, and that I do not at all approve of such movements as those threatened by Serbia and Greece, whose right to interfere with countries beyond their boundaries I cannot recognise.
I do not think that I ought to say more, as in these tangled affairs it is easier to do harm than good. In any case, I shall certainly not fail to give the greatest attention to any letter I may receive from you.
I remain, dear sir,
W. E. Gladstone.
But despite the indignation of public opinion in Europe, King Milan, at the instigation of the Austrian Government, declared war on us in terms that present a striking analogy with the proclamations of certain Great Powers during the present European war. Here is an extract from the communication addressed to us on November 14, 1885, announcing the declaration of the war :
The commander of the First Division and the frontier authorities simultaneously announce that to-day, November 13, at 7.30 in the morning, the Bulgarian forces attacked the positions occupied by a battalion of the First Infantry Regiment, on Serbian territory in the neighbourhood of Vlassina.
The Royal Government regards this unprovoked aggression as a declaration of war, and I instruct you to notify the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs that Serbia, accepting the consequences of this attack, considers herself in a state of war with the Principality of Bulgaria, beginning from Saturday, November 14, at 6 o’clock in the morning.
As a matter of fact, there had been no Bulgarian attack whatever. The war was thus begun without plausible motives against a kindred country, which had sent all its available troops against the Turks. People remember how that war ended. In less than a fortnight King Milan was beaten and the Bulgarian army, on its way to Nish, was stopped by Count Khevenhüller, the Austrian Minister in Belgrade. On February 1, 1886, a conference met in Bucharest to draw up a treaty of peace between victorious Bulgaria and vanquished Serbia. Sent thither as representative of my country, by a strange coincidence I met the same M. Mijatovitch, whom I had seen in London, as Serbian delegate. An event unparalleled in the history of conferences then took place. We had already come to an agreement with M. Mijatovitch about the first two articles of the treaty—concerning the re-establishment of peace and friendship between the two countries, and the granting of amnesty —when a message arrived from King Milan, saying that he would accept no other treaty than the following single article : “Peace is restored between Bulgaria and Serbia, beginning from the day of the signature of
[ Treaty of 1886 ]
the present treaty.” We signed the treaty of peace, consisting of this single article, and did not take an inch of territory from Serbia.
It goes without saying that impartial history will not hold the Serbian nation responsible for the acts of King Milan. But we have also the right of hoping that neither will it hold the Bulgarian nation responsible for the partial attack of June 29, that fatal act of irresponsible agents of which the Serbian Government took advantage to rob us of wide provinces that by the treaty of March 13, 1912, it had acknowledged to be Bulgarian.
II. The Second Serbo-Bulgarian War 1913
Here also, as in the examination of the relations between the allies during the Balkan war, I shall make use, where possible, of foreign documents.
On June 29, 1913, the attack took place. On the following day the Bulgarian Government gave orders to stop military operations and requested M. Nekludoff to telegraph to Petrograd and urge the intervention of Russia with Greece and Serbia to prevent hostilities. M. Nekludoff sent the following message (Russian Orange book, No. 271) :
According to news received to-day serious conflict has arisen between the Bulgarian troops and the Serbian and Greek troops. I n view of his immediate departure for Petrograd, M. Daneff begs you to
take steps at Belgrade and Athens to prevent further fighting.
M. Sazonoff at once dispatched this pressing request to the Russian representatives in Greece and Serbia. At the same time he sent a reassuring telegram to Sofia. The reply from Athens was conciliatory, but at Belgrade he met with a downright refusal. All these telegrams will be found reproduced in the Russian Orange book, under Nos. 274, 276, 278, and 279.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Sofia
June 30, 1913.
Explain to M. Daneft that any frontier incidents will, by causing fresh excitement, make it more difficult to induce Serbia to hand in the Memoir, and will place M. Pashitch in an impossible position. We are of opinion that if M. Daneff does not wish for war, he should take decisive measures to re-establish tranquillity in the front ranks of the army.
The Russian Minister in Athens to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs
June 30, 1913.
Owing to simultaneous Bulgarian attacks on the Serbian and Greek frontiers, the King is starting for Salonica to take command of the Greek army. The fleet has received orders to start at once for Elefteris, where according to official information, the Greek troops have cut off the advancing Bulgarian
[ Second Balkan war ]
forces. M. Venizelos thinks that although war is not declared, the Greek Government is bound to take the necessary measures for defence. He is ready to conclude an armistice if the Bulgarian Government officially declares that the advance of the Bulgarian troops is due to a misunderstanding.
The Russian Minister in Athens to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs
July 1, 1913.
The Minister regards the forward march of the Bulgarian troops as an attempt to produce an accomplished fact, and to consolidate by violence the Bulgarian right to occupy Greek territories.
Under these circumstances, it is impossible for him to start (for Petrograd) without receiving from the Bulgarian Government a formal repudiation of its last acts : the Bulgarian troops must retire to the line of demarcation, established by protocol, and Bulgaria must officially announce that she is willing to accept an obligatory arbitration, if not conjointly, at least simultaneously with the Serbo-Bulgarian arbitration. The situation is critical
(III. Facsimile of the Proclamation of King Peter)
The same day M. Hartwig telegraphed from Belgrade that “no peaceable measures would have any effect on the Government, because of the general excitement which has become extreme." And indeed, despite M. Hartwig’s great influence in Belgrade, they would have been perfectly useless, for Serbia had declared war by the following proclamation
before ever his dispatch reached Petrograd :
Order of the Commander-in-Chief, given in Belgrade on July 1, 1913
By my order of October 6 of last year, I summoned you to fight against Turkey for the liberation of our oppressed brothers and to reconquer and consecrate the fatal Field of Kossovo. In less than a month, thanks to your bravery, your unexampled heroism, and your self-sacrifice, you vanquished the enemy and freed Kossovo.
The Balkan war is finished. Our brothers are free. Peace is made with Turkey. Now you ought to return to your work, to your homes, to your families, to those who are dear to you and who wait you impatiently.
To my great regret, my dear soldiers, you cannot as yet return home ; you cannot yet go to see your dear ones and rest from your hard toil. The Bulgarians, our allies of yesterday with whom we fought side by side, whom as true brothers we helped with all our heart, watering their Adrianople with our blood, will not let us take the Macedonian districts that we won at the price of such sacrifices. Bulgaria doubled her territory in our common warfare and will not let Serbia have land not half the size, neither the birthplace of our hero, King Marco, nor Monastir where you covered yourself with glory and pursued the last Turkish troops sent against you. Bulgaria is washed by two seas and grudges Serbia a single port. Serbia and her makers—the Serbian army—cannot and must not allow this. They must defend their own conquests, gained with their life’s blood, against all who would
[ Manifesto of King Peter ]
touch them, even against their Bulgarian allies of yesterday.
In the war with the Bulgarians we shall have with us our Greek allies, whom the Bulgarians want to rob of their conquests, and our Montenegrin brothers, who also wish to defend the land of Serbia.
Forward, in the name of God and of our just cause.
Unfold once more the victorious Serbian banner and bear it in triumph across the ranks of our new enemy, as you bore it in triumph across the Vardar to Salonica, to Prilep and Monastir, at Kossovo and Prizrend.
Forward, soldiers! God upholds those who love their country and righteousness.
This order must be communicated to all the soldiers.
Chief of the Staff at the Headquarters, Honorary Aide-de-Camp of H.M. the King,
VOYVODE R. PUTNIK.
8th Infantry Regiment, II Class, National Army.
No. 222, July 1, 1913.
To the commander of the 1st Battalion, to be communicated in a solemn manner to the troops of the Battalion.
Commander : Lt.-Col. Simeon Yovanovitch.
Orach, July 1, 1913.
It will be seen that this Manifesto does not contain a word on the subject of the Bulgarian attacks of June 29 which, according to M. Hartwig, had produced such excitement in Belgrade. Evidently, the proclamation had been prepared before the
attacks ; otherwise, it could not have reached the Commandant at Orach, Lieut.-Colonel Simeon Yovanovitch, on July 1, the day of its alleged issue in Belgrade. Besides, in the original document, which was published in facsimile by the Mir of July 8, 1913 (whence I reproduce it), the date “July 1” and the words “given at Belgrade,” in the title, are inserted in handwriting.
Greece followed the example of Serbia. On October 27, 1912, as is clearly established by the Carnegie Commission, King Constantine had started for Salonica, carrying in his pocket the proclamation of war against Bulgaria. To the terrors of the Balkan war were now added the horrors of a war among the allies. The curse of Cain was once more branded on the forehead of nations who had won the sympathies of the civilised world by their determination and bravery in the struggle for liberty. The newspapers, which later on used all their influence on the side of the Serbians and Greeks, at this time announced that all the allies were equally responsible for the new war. The Rousskoié Slovo maintained that if Serbia and Greece did not stop military operations the heavy responsibility for this fratricidal strife would fall on the politicians of Belgrade and Athens. “If they reject the proposal of M. Daneff to cease hostilities,” the newspaper continued, “they will prove the duplicity and turpitude of their policy.” Le Temps of Paris wrote in the same sense on July 4 : “Although it appears that the Bulgarians began the attack,
[ Responsibility for the war ]
the Serbians at once showed that they only waited for an excuse to develop what had been mere frontier skirmishes into a regular war,” adding that if the Greeks had had reason to complain of cannon-shot directed at their fleet by the Bulgarians at Cavalla, they had equally disgraced themselves by the systematic killing of twelve hundred Bulgarian soldiers at Salonica.
History will, I believe, correct this judgment ; for while among the Bulgarians irresponsible factors alone were guilty, with the other allies responsible Governments regarded treaties bearing their signatures as mere scraps of paper. These treaties were trampled under foot without scruple or ceremony. Who can tell whether those that most ardently desired open rupture with Bulgaria will not be the first to repent of it ? The downfall of the Balkan Alliance and the present great war may have in store for them surprises and disappointments.
A martyr to the high ideals which it had set before its eyes, the Balkan Alliance died a martyr’s death. Nothing could be more distressing than the engagements between the allies, such as the one at Salonica to which Le Temps refers, and the battles which stained the plains of Macedonia and Thrace that had just been rescued by bloodshed in common. And nothing could be sadder than the burial at Bucharest, that Calvary of the Balkan Alliance, of the ethnic autonomy of the Balkan peoples which the latter had with one accord named as the
object of their league and the excuse for their mobilisation. Not only were incontestably Bulgarian territories divided among those who had brought about the dissolution of the alliance, but the most essential principles of ethnic autonomy were denied to the Bulgarian populations of the ravished districts.  The victors in the Roumanian capital not only overlooked the primary conditions of Balkan peace, but also forgot the eternal truth that force should never be misused. “C’est au moment ou l’on veut redoubler de force,” says Edmond Rostand, “qu’on doit redoubler de grâce.” Those to whom Bulgaria had rendered such great and valuable services had no mercy on her, they showed no magnanimity towards the country by whose superhuman sacrifices and efforts Turkey’s might was broken and the task of the other allies rendered an easy one. Bulgaria was despoiled, ruined, disgraced, and humiliated.
There are sorrows that are dumb. Silence is best suited to griefs that are ineffaceable. If, broken by these sorrows and sufferings, to-day I find strength to speak, I do so because I feel it to be my duty, before the end of the present bloody conflict, to make public
1. Nothing is more instructive on this subject than the Report of the Carnegie Commission. The treatment now meted to the Bulgarian Macedonians is dreadful, and so is the way in which they are deprived of all educational and ecclesiastical autonomy.
[ Enemies of Balkan union ]
what I know of the responsibilities for the breaking up of the Balkan Alliance, which plunged the Balkans into a fresh chaos and powerfully contributed to the outbreak of the present great war. If judging the actions of private individuals is the most difficult and exalted function of man, to judge nations is a yet more difficult and higher mission. Before the civilised world condemns the Bulgarian nation for the dissolution of the Balkan Alliance, I think it should have the patience to examine the documentary evidence of those Bulgarians who were the faithful defenders of that alliance and the irreconcilable opponents of its real enemies.
The most redoubtable of these enemies were not to be met with in Bulgaria, nor are they there to-day. After the war among the allies, it was in the Bulgarian Parliament that the first voice was raised in favour of a re-establishment of that friendship among the Balkan peoples, the lapse of which brought innumerable evils on themselves and on the whole world. This reconciliation can be attained by satisfying Bulgaria, since no vital interest of Serbia and Greece require the maintenance of the Macedonian settlement as established by the Conference of Bucharest. Otherwise Serbia would never have recognised, in the treaty of March 13, 1912, Bulgaria’s right to what was called the uncontested zone, and Greece would not have proposed through the mouth of MM. Venizelos and Gennadius to accept
as the future Greco-Bulgarian frontier the line of lakes which form the base of the Chalcidian Peninsula, in exchange for Salonica. 
1. I give here the text of a letter received by one of the best-known foreign journalists in Sofia a little before this time from a trustworthy person in London, commissioned to sound the Greek Minister in London, M. Gennadius, the second Greek delegate at the Peace Conference, on the concessions which the Greek Government was ready to make in our favour :
April 26, 1913.
I have just seen Gennadius—he tells me:
There is no written agreement between Serbia and Greece.
Daneff declined, when in London, to arrange frontiers with Venizelos.
Venizelos has told Sofia that the Greeks will retire from Salonica only as the result of a disastrous war.
(ci) The Greeks are perfectly willing to constitute Salonica a free port under their sovereignty, and will agree not to fortify it.
(e) They want the line of the lakes across the top of the Chalcidice and just enough behind Salonica so that it shall not be actually under Bulgarian guns.
(f) They would like an immediate agreement with Bulgaria on this point.
(g) If they can reach a definite and absolute Treaty with Bulgaria, they will be perfectly prepared to take no further interest in the Serbo-Bulgarian question about Monastir.
(h) They are afraid at present that if they do not back Serbia against Bulgaria, Ferdinand will first take Monastir, etc., from the Serbs, and then come and fight them (the Greeks) for Salonica—and naturally— if there is to be fighting—they prefer to have an ally against Bulgaria.
(i) They are quite prepared to fight for Salonica.
Probably you know most of this already—but I send it in case there may be some point new to you. Would it not be possible to have an arrangement made ?
One other point. A. told me that Lichnowsky speaking to him said : "La Cour d’Athènes autrefois était une Cour danoise et russe, mais maintenant nous pouvons la regarder comme une Cour allemande,” which perhaps shows that emperors sometimes realise the positions of their sisters !
[ Moral rights of Bulgaria ]
No one disputes the heroism with which the Serbian nation is now fighting on the side of the Triple Entente against a Great Power, but no one will also deny that Serbia cannot defeat that Power. It can only be defeated by the Entente which, for the sake of Serbia and Belgium, has entered on this gigantic war and faced enormous sacrifices. The whole world bows before the bravery and self-sacrifice of these two countries. But if braver}’and self-sacrifice give a right to liberty and national unity, if nations who display these qualities deserve to be drawn back from the abyss, has not Bulgaria won this right, does it not deserve the same treatment ? The Great Powers are exhausting themselves to save Serbia and Belgium. Bulgaria asks for no sacrifices at their hands and they are not fighting on her behalf. But Bulgaria, who contributed far more to the crushing of Turkey than Serbia contributed to that of Austria, has a right, in consideration of her past services, to ask justice of these
Powers, and to wish to be treated in conformity with the wise principles so loudly proclaimed at the beginning of the present war. M. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador in London, speaking in the name of the three Entente Powers at the Guildhall banquet on November 9, 1914, said that the Triple Entente was fighting for small and oppressed nations. Ten days after this speech, the Central English Committee, entrusted with the enlightenment of public opinion on the causes of the war, published a circular, signed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, and by two former Prime Ministers, Lord Rosebery and Mr. Balfour, which contained the following sentence : “Our cause is doubly a righteous and a just one, because we fight not alone in defence of our existence and freedom, but for the right of small nations to enjoy the same freedom ; and for civilisation and democracy, as we understand them.” If this is the aim of the Triple Entente Powers, if they really desire a durable peace, based on the principle of the free choice of the peoples, is it possible to refuse to Bulgaria those territories which the Great Powers and the Balkan States themselves recognised as her own before the rupture of the Balkan Alliance ? Is the iniquity committed in Bucharest to remain without reparation ? Will it remain so even if Bulgaria takes a tardy part in the European war, or if she takes no part in it at all, as did Greece and Serbia in 1877? The claims of the Greeks and Serbians were
[ Justice to Bulgaria ]
satisfied then. Are the Bulgarians to receive no satisfaction ?
Res sacra miser. Poor Bulgaria has, I think, more right than any other country to be judged impartially and treated like the rest.
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