Henry Wickham Steed, The Hapsburg Monarchy (London: Constable and Company, Ltd., 1919)
BARON VON AEHRENTHAL
When, in 1903, Russia and Austria-Hungary agreed upon the February and Murtzsteg Programmes, they were doubtless inspired to some extent by solicitude for the welfare of the Balkan Christians, but were also, and perhaps principally, anxious to preserve their political influence in the Balkans. The name "Murzsteg" has often been used as a catchword to denote a policy of agreement between Austria-Hungary and Russia for the moral if not the actual partition of the Balkans. Nothing has transpired entirely to substantiate this view, at least as far as Russia is concerned, though in the case of Austria-Hungary there may have been the arriere-pensee that, by engaging jointly with Russia in the work of reform, the Monarchy would be pegging out for itself a future sphere of influence in such manner as to keep open the road to Salonica. Russia, then engaged in a diplomatic, and on the eve of an armed
struggle with Japan, desired, by agreement with Austria-Hungary, to prevent the single-handed intervention of the Monarchy in the Balkans, while not appearing to neglect the cause of the Balkan Christians. The Macedonian Reforms were therefore designed by Russia to improve the lot of the Balkan Christians while guaranteeing them and Russia against the expansive tendencies of Austria-Hungary. Count Goluchowski, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, was much criticized in Austrian Imperialist circles for not taking advantage of Russian embarrassments in the Far East and of the revolutionary movement that accompanied and followed the Russo-Japanese War, to intervene in the Balkans, annex Bosnia-Herzegovina, establish a firm hold over Servia and make the Hapsburg Monarchy politically mistress of the Morava and Vardar valleys. But Count Goluchowski, though not a genius, was a statesman of upright mind and endowed with a large measure of common sense. The idea of playing false to Russia was repugnant to him. He felt, moreover, that to force on a Balkan crisis by singlehanded intervention would be to incur risks which the Monarchy might not be able to face. From 1903 to 19o6 both Austria and Hungary were involved in severe internal crises. In Austria, parliamentary government had practically ceased to exist and with it the constitutional possibility of raising money for extraordinary military purposes. In Hungary, Parliament was in revolt against the Crown and not disposed to sanction even a modest increase of the Army. The idea that the Monarchy might escape from its internal embarrassments by a policy of foreign adventure was indeed ventilated by some advisers of the Crown but neither the Emperor nor Count Goluchowski gave it serious consideration. Besides, the German conflict with France and England over Morocco - the German Emperor's provocative visit to Tangier (March 31, 1905) took place within a month of the defeat of Russia at Mukden (February 24 to March 10, 1905) - caused Germany to deprecate any Austro-Hungarian action which, while endangering German interests
in the Near East, might diminish the efficacy of the support which the Monarchy could give to Germany in case of European complications. In other words Germany was prepared to take advantage of Russia's weakness on her own account but would have looked askance at any Austro-Hungarian attempt to follow her example. In these circumstances Count Goluchowski wisely adhered to the principle quieta non movere and co-operated steadily, though perhaps without enthusiasm, in the work of Macedonian Reform; but lie was careful to remind Germany, through his organs in the press, that the casus foederis could not arise for the Triple Alliance in connexion with transmarine questions, and that, should Germany become involved in a conflict with England and France over Morocco, Austria-Hungary would not be bound to lend her armed support. Simultaneously he began to work for the improvement of Austro-Hungarian relations with Italy - then ranged alongside of the Mediterranean Powers against German pretensions in the Morocco question - and ratified, during meetings with the Italian Foreign Minister at Abbazia (1905) and Venice (1906), the Austro-Italian Agreement in regard to Albania, which he had concluded verbally with the Marquis Visconti Venosta in 1897 and by an exchange of notes in 1900. Germany, whose reading of the Triple Alliance has usually been that close and direct relations between Vienna and Rome are undesirable, inasmuch as they diminish the power of Germany over her allies and tend to give unnecessary independence to Austria-Hungary and Italy, watched these tendencies with disfavour; and despite the help loyally given by Count Goluchowski to Germany at the Conference at Algeciras in the spring of 19o6, the German Emperor dealt him a blow that went far to render his position untenable. By way of marking his displeasure at the Francophil attitude of Italy during the Conference of Algeciras, the Emperor William addressed to Count Goluchowski a telegram praising his action during the Algeciras Conference as that of a "brilliant second on the duelling-ground." The telegram was published
- whether spontaneously or not is unknown. Contemporary diplomatic rumour pretended that the publication had been asked for by the German Ambassador in Vienna who was alleged to have expressed astonishment that the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister should not have made known to the world so "flattering " a testimonial. In any case, the suggestion that Austria-Hungary was a mere "second" to Germany wounded Austro-Hungarian pride; and when, in the following autumn, difficulties arose between the Hungarian Government and Count Goluchowski, the latter took occasion to withdraw from office. In him the Emperor Francis Joseph lost a faithful servant and the Monarchy a statesman whose qualities his fellow countrymen have since learned to appreciate at their true value.
Baron von Aehrenthal, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at St. Petersburg, who succeeded Count Goluchowski at the Vienna Foreign Office, was a man of a very different stamp. Goluchowski had been jovial, loquacious, lightliving but withal a diplomatist whose word was his bond, and in whom no ambassador had ever detected the shadow of deceit. Aehrenthal was a Bohemian-German with a strain of Jewish blood who had been brought up in the Clerical and bureaucratic school of Kalnoky. A man of few words, to each of which he gave a special meaning - a meaning not always identical with that understood or intended to be understood - secretive, ambitious and hardworking, he brought with him to the Ballplatz new methods and a new spirit. Ambassadors who had welcomed his appointment as that of a diplomatist with whom it would be easier to transact serious business than with the genial, society-loving Goluchowski, complained within a few months that Aehrenthal "avait etabli autour du Ballplatz une paisse atmosphere de mauvaise foi." He came from St. Petersburg with a reputation for Russophilism - a reputation valuable to a diplomatist on the Neva, embarrassing to a statesman on the Danube. Before he had been a year in office he was accused of servility towards Germany
- an accusation not damaging to a Minister whose position could not have been consolidated without the good-will of Berlin. Whether he was ever sincerely Russophil may be doubted. A shrewd English observer who knew him well at St. Petersburg averred that, in his heart of hearts, Aehrenthal despised the Russians. His friends in Russia belonged to a small coterie of ultra-conservative Grand Dukes and politicians whose ideas on Russia and on the principles of government were in harmony with his own. He surveyed European politics from a Russian reactionary angle of vision, distrusting Liberal States and constitutional tendencies. Towards England his original attitude was one of distrustful contempt qualified by ignorance. Germany he respected for her attachment to Realpolitik, her indifference towards ethical considerations and her readiness to employ any means for the attainment of her ends. His programme was to resuscitate the old League of the Three Emperors for the defence of conservative and monarchical principles - but with its pivot at Vienna, not at Berlin. By this means he hoped to restore to the Hapsburg Monarchy a greater measure of diplomatic independence than it had enjoyed since the conclusion of the Austro-German Alliance and to make Germany and Russia by turns serve Hapsburg purposes. Within the limits of his conception of Hapsburg interests, Aehrenthal was an ardent patriot who brought to the service of his patriotism a cool head and a statesmanlike fibre of which the value was diminished only by inexperience and by a resentful and sometimes ungovernable temper. His readiness to trade upon the good faith of others was in no respect due to moral cowardice ; and his tenacity in the pursuit of his aims would have ensured him greater success than he achieved had it not been accompanied by mental inelasticity and by reluctance to tack as rapidly as changes of wind and current might require. Experience and adversity matured his judgment ; and by his death in 1911 the Monarchy, which had paid and is paying heavily for his education in practical statecraft, was deprived of his services
at the moment when they would have been most valuable. The figure of Aehrenthal is not devoid of a certain tragic grandeur and the mark he left on the Monarchy is, for good or evil, indelible.
On succeeding Count Goluchowski in October 19o6, Aehrenthal's immediate intention was to revive the closer and more exclusive co-operation with Russia that had marked the beginning of the Austro-Russian understanding Of 1897 and, up to 1906, the execution of the February and Murzsteg Programmes. The British tendency towards the complete internationalization of the work of Macedonian Reform appeared to him reprehensible both in itself and because it implied a readiness on the part of Russia to fall into line with the Western Powers and to accept their Liberal standpoint. The greater part of the Mrzsteg Programme had already been executed. The Administrative and especially the judicial Reforms contemplated by Clause IV. of the Programme alone awaited definition and application. Aehrenthal wished the judicial Reform to be organized on an Austro-Russian as distinguished from the all-round international basis that had been adopted for the Financial Reform. M. Isvolsky, the new Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, decided, however, towards Christmas 19o6 to admit the internationalization of the judicial Reform and thus confirmed Aehrenthal's suspicion that Russia was drawing closer to England. Within a few days of receiving the Russian intimation, Aehrenthal conceived and discussed with intimate friends the policy, which he executed a twelvemonth later, of abandoning the Austro-Russian Agreement of 1897 and of ceasing to support the work of Macedonian Reform in return for a concession from Turkey for the construction of an Austro-Hungarian railway through the Sanjak of Novi Bazar from the Bosnian frontier terminus at Uvatz to the Turkish railhead at Mitrovitza. Nevertheless he did not at once abandon all idea of co-operation with Russia on another basis, nor of preventing the Anglo-Russian entente which he apprehended as an obstacle to his scheme
of reviving the Three Emperors' League. In the spring of 1907, after a visit to Prince Bulow at Berlin, Aehrenthal made to M. Isvolsky a proposal of which the details have never been divulged, though its general character is known to several European governments. It was to the effect that the Austro-Russian understanding of 1897 should be enlarged so as to include Germany on the one hand and France on the other. The basis of this entente a quatre was to be a scheme of "compensations" all round, including, probably, the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina for Austria-Hungary, the opening of the Dardanelles for Russia, the diplomatic and financial support of France for Germany in the Baghdad Railway question and a benevolent attitude on the part of Germany towards French policy in Morocco. In what form these proposals were made is not precisely known, but it is known beyond possibility of denial that M. Isvolsky declined Aehrenthal's suggestion for an entente a quatre early in May 1907. The Russian Foreign Minister doubtless felt that the proposals were meant to be a master-stroke of Austro-German diplomacy but that it was not quite clear whether Russia and France would secure commensurate advantages. The opening of the Dardanelles did not depend upon Austria-Hungary alone, and the withdrawal of Austro-Hungarian opposition would still have left Russia face to face with England and other Powers. True, the object of estranging Russia from England might have been attained and, in the meantime, Austria-Hungary would have secured Russian consent to the annexation of BosniaHerzegovina. Similarly, a Franco-German "deal" in regard to the Baghdad Railway would have given Germany an immediate and France a merely prospective advantage. The main object of the proposals was naturally to break up the Anglo-French entente and to thwart the growing rapprochement between England and Russia or, in other words, to prevent the formation of the Triple Entente which Aehrenthal and Germany alike regarded as a serious danger. M. Isvolsky was too Liberal in his views
and too convinced that Russian disasters had been, at least indirectly, due to the German influences which had encouraged Russia to turn her eyes away from Europe, to welcome suggestions of which the ultimate effect would have been to bring Russia once again under German influence and to perpetuate the conflict between Russia and England. England had given Russia sufficient proofs of good faith during 1903, the year preceding the Russo-Japanese War, to convince Russian statesmen that there was no truth in the German thesis that England had promoted the war in order to weaken Russia. While Germany had persistently supported the Russian view that Japan was bluffing and would "climb down" at the last moment if Russia remained firm - private letters from Prince Bulow maintained this view as late as January 1904 - England had used diplomatic and private influence to convince Russia that Japan had her teeth set and to persuade the Russian Government to avoid war by a friendly settlement. The Russian Government, suspecting that England was acting only as diplomatic "second" to her ally, Japan, paid no heed to these warnings and advice, which were nevertheless renewed with insistence before hostilities became inevitable. Not only did England not promote the war in the Far East but she did her utmost to ward it off, if only out of fear that she herself might be drawn into it. Nevertheless, the thesis that Japan would give way at the last moment triumphed at St. Petersburg over the British thesis that Japan was in deadly earnest; and when war broke out at the beginning of February 1904, King Edward and Lord Lansdowne were able with a clear conscience to seek ways and means of localizing a conflict they had striven to prevent.
These ways and means led within three months to the Entente Cordiale between England and France. France had replied to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 by concluding with Russia a Convention that practically extended the Dual Alliance to the Far East. Since France, like England, had
vainly used her influence at St. Petersburg to prevent the Russo-Japanese War, it was clearly to the interest of both countries not to be drawn into hostilities in spite of themselves. They therefore "paired" and neutralized each other. This negative agreement might not have been practicable but for the success of King Edward's first visit to Paris in May 1903. From the moment of his accession, King Edward had worked to promote more cordial relations between England and France, not only out of a sincere liking for France but from recognition of the dangers to which England had been and might again be exposed by Lord Salisbury's policy of "splendid isolation." The South African War had revealed the shortsightedness or rather the over-longsightedness of that policy which kept the gaze of England fixed upon the uttermost parts of the earth and led her to overlook stumbling-blocks and pitfalls at her very threshold. At the darkest moment of the South African War a proposal had been made to revive against England the Franco-Russo-German Coalition that had been directed against Japan after the Treaty of Shimonoseki. France and Russia had declined the suggestion but the lesson was not lost upon King Edward, then Prince of Wales, who determined, on ascending the throne, that England should not again be exposed to such a danger. He therefore sought to improve relations with France and at the same time to render Russia a service by preventing the war in the Far East. In the latter respect he failed but his failure actually gave England an opportunity of arranging with France to "contract out" of the Russo-Japanese struggle and of concluding, three months later, a more positive convention in the form of the Anglo-French Agreement of April 8, 1904 concerning Egypt and Morocco.
The conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War by the Treaty of Portsmouth and the growing tendency of Russia towards constitutional reform naturally led to an improvement in Anglo-Russian relations. Confidence in British good faith, the first condition of such an improvement, had
been steadily growing in influential Russian circles; and some Russian diplomatists formerly Anglophobe, like the late M. Zinovieff, Russian Ambassador at Constantinople, had discarded their prejudices and become frankly Anglophil. These developments were highly displeasing to the German and Austro-Hungarian Governments. Germany, not unnaturally, placed an objective "construction" upon King Edward's subjective desire to remove points of friction between England and her Continental rivals, and accused England of aiming at the encirclement and isolation of Germany. Austria-Hungary, or rather Aehrenthal, descried in the Anglo-Russian rapprochement an obstacle to his scheme of reviving the Three Emperors' League and a tendency dangerous to Austro-Hungarian policy in the Balkans. Since the days of Andrassy the Vienna Foreign Office had based its dealings with England upon the principle that British antagonism to Russia strengthened the position of the Monarchy as the rival of Russia in the Near East; and upon the consideration once defined by Andrassy in conversation with a British Ambassador at Vienna in the phrase that, in case of an Anglo-Russian conflict, "Austria-Hungary could apply a strong mustard plaster to the back of Russia."  Unlike Andrassy, Aehrenthal was Anglophobe or, at least, very contemptuous of British power in Europe. "What can England do to us?" he asked repeatedly of visitors who warned him during the Annexation Crisis not to ignore British influence in the Near East. Nevertheless the possibility that Russia might come to an agreement with England seriously disturbed his calculations and led him in the spring Of 1907 repeatedly to complain to Prince Urussoff, the Russian Ambassador at Vienna, of the Anglophil tendencies of the Russian Ambassador at Constantinople. M. Isvolsky's rejection of the Bulow-Aehrenthal proposal in May 1907, for an Austro-Russo-Franco-German entente caused Aehrenthal to suspect that Russia was on the eve of succumbing to British blandishments and after the con
firmation of his suspicions by the publication of the Anglo-Russian Convention of August 31, 1907, he matured the plan which five months later brought about the first open breach between Vienna and St. Petersburg.
Rumours that Aehrenthal was contemplating the abandonment of the Murzsteg basis were current in Vienna during the spring and summer of 1907. They arose chiefly from the pessimistic language employed by Aehrenthal himself in regard to the condition of Macedonia and the prospects of the judicial Reform in conversation with diplomatic and other personages. It was further rumoured that the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian Heir-Presumptive, had, in conjunction with the Chief of General Staff, begun to study the question of a railway through the Sanjak of Novi Bazar. Aehrenthal feigned, however, to be interested in the completion of the work of Reform in Macedonia, and actually drafted the judicial Reform jointly with M. Isvolsky during the latter's visit to Vienna in September-October 1907. M. Isvolsky considered that the joint authorship of the Reform placed its authors under an obligation to support it at Constantinople and to insist upon its application. Aehrenthal thought that the Reform might be made an object of barter with Turkey. Having agreed with Aehrenthal that the draft Reform should be submitted to a Conference of Ambassadors at Constantinople prior to its presentation to the Porte, M. Isvolsky left Vienna for St. Petersburg, and proceeded some weeks later to visit the Tsar at Livadia. Questioned by the Tsar as to his arrangements with Austria-Hungary, the Russian Foreign Minister reported that he and Aehrenthal were in entire agreement, and that they had together crossed every " t " and dotted every "i" of the last reform prescribed by the Murzsteg Programme; whereupon the Tsar produced a secret despatch from Constantinople stating that Aehrenthal had offered the Porte to drop the judicial Reform if Turkey would grant Austria-Hungary a concession for the construction of a railway through the Sanjak of Novi Bazar.
Indignant that doubt should thus be cast upon the good faith of his Austro-Hungarian colleague, M. Isvolsky replied that the despatch must be founded on a malicious rumour; and the Tsar, accepting M. Isvolsky's argument, threw the despatch into the fire. Nevertheless, it was speedily proved to have been accurate and M. Isvolsky's confidence to have been misplaced. In the course of December 1907, the Dragoman of a European Embassy at Constantinople actually obtained a copy of the Austro-Hungarian proposal to the Porte; and when the Conference of Ambassadors met to consider the judicial Reform, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, Marquis Pallavicini, joined his German colleague, the late Baron Marschall von Bieberstein, in obstructing it. Towards the middle of January 1908, Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at St. Petersburg, was instructed to inform M. Isvolsky that Baron von Aehrenthal would announce to the Delegations at the end of the month that Austria-Hungary had applied for and had been granted a concession to construct the Novi Bazar Railway. Despite M. Isvolsky's entreaties that the announcement should not be made public, Aehrenthal, who was anxious to score a parliamentary success, informed the Delegations on January 28, 1908, that the Railway would be constructed and that it would "constitute a new and important route from Central Europe to Egypt and India."
The precise purpose of this pompous announcement has never been quite clear. In view of facts subsequently brought to light, it may be doubted whether Aehrenthal himself knew exactly what effect he meant to produce by bartering the judicial Reform for the Novi Bazar Railway. Analysis of his work as Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister leads irresistibly to the conclusion that his foresight and power of imagination were inferior to his tenacity and power of resistance. He possessed also a faculty for self-deception that often led him and his subordinates to believe a given situation to be other than it really was. It is conceivable that he may have thought a railway through the Sanjak to
be a great acquisition for the Monarchy - the very Sanjak which he was to abandon nine months later, ostensibly as a pledge of his friendly disposition towards Turkey and as a sign to Europe that the Monarchy no longer dreamt of territorial expansion, but really as a concession to Italy and in obedience to the Austro-Hungarian General Staff, which insisted that, in case of war, the Sanjak would be a veritable death-trap for Austro-Hungarian troops and that the real line of advance towards Salonica lay along the Morava valley through the heart of Servia. Aehrenthal appears not to have known, when negotiating with Turkey for the railway and when announcing triumphantly to the Delegations the impending construction of a new route from Central Europe to Egypt and India, that his line would be considerably longer than the existing line by way of Belgrade and Nish, and that the conversion of the Eastern extension of the Bosnian Railway from Sarajevo to Uvatz to a normal gauge, would be almost impossible from an engineering standpoint and prohibitively expensive from the standpoint of the financier. These elementary facts he learned later. Meanwhile the blow had been struck at Russia, and, as far as Austria-Hungary was concerned, the work of Macedonian Reform was at an end.
In the light of Aehrenthal's subsequent conduct and of his rancorous controversy with M. Isvolsky that filled the ensuing years, it seems probable that his principal motive was a desire to destroy the position of his Russian colleague, whom he regarded as responsible for the Anglo-Russian rapprochement. Could Isvolsky be compelled to resign by public proof that he had been outwitted, Aehrenthal and Prince Blow may have thought that it would be easier to break up the understanding between Russia and England. But Aehrenthal, who knew only the old, reactionary Russia, and was, like many Austrian bureaucrats, totally unable to reckon with moral values in politics, miscalculated the effect of his manoeuvre. Instead of turning against M. Isvolsky for having allowed himself to be duped, Russian public opinion
turned against Austria-Hungary and Aehrenthal for having played him false. M. Isvolsky, for his part, neutralized the Novi Bazar Railway scheme by putting forward a proposal for an anti-Austrian railway from the Danube to the Adriatic - a proposal which Aehrenthal accepted "in principle," with the mental reservation that much would happen before he accepted it in practice. In France and England indignation at Aehrenthal's trickery was almost as hot as in Russia. On February 25, 1908, Sir Edward Grey criticized, in moderate but telling language, the action of Austria-Hungary in seeking a private concession from Sultan Abdul Hamid at a moment when the Powers were engaged in coercing him into accepting the judicial Reform. The British Foreign Secretary insisted that it would be the duty of the other Powers now to take the work of reform vigorously in hand and to compel the Porte to appoint a Governor-General for Macedonia. Aehrenthal complained to the British Ambassador in Vienna that Sir Edward Grey's speech was "an unfriendly act," and assumed an attitude of injured innocence. "Who could have foreseen," he asked," that the Sultan would use the Austro-Hungarian application for the railway as a weapon to destroy the Concert of Europe?" But he found no reply to the Ambassador's pertinent rejoinder, "Who put a sword into the hand of a skilful fencer?"
Meanwhile the situation was fast developing. Under the influence of the Austro-Hungarian abandonment of the Murzsteg Programme, England and Russia began to concert means to ensure the efficacy of the Macedonian Reforms. During the meeting between King Edward and the Tsar at Reval on June 9 and IO, 19o8, Sir Charles Hardinge and M. Isvolsky, who accompanied their respective sovereigns, agreed upon a draft programme which is understood to have contemplated the appointment of a Governor-General for Macedonia. King Edward and the Tsar, for their part, are credibly reported to have tabooed politics entirely-a circumstance which did not prevent Aehrenthal and the
German-Jewish press of Austria-Hungary and Germany from treating the Anglo-Russian interview as a conspiracy against the status quo and as an attack, which Austria-Hungary and Germany must resist, upon the sovereignty of the Sultan and upon the administrative integrity of his dominions. In all the Jewish Freemasonic Lodges of Salonica and Macedonia, which served as meeting-places for the "Young Turkish" conspirators against Abdul Hamid, the Austro-German version of the Reval Meeting was disseminated and the doctrine was preached that action must be accelerated in view of the peril threatening the Ottoman Empire. On July 24 the Turkish Revolution broke out, the final fillip having been given by the betrayal of the Young Turkish conspiracy to Abdul Hamid, who had despatched to Salonica a trusty agent with a large sum of money to discover its ramifications. Compelled to choose between delay with the probability of detection and "removal," and the chance of success by immediate, albeit hazardous, action, the Young Turkish leaders decided to act, and the late Major Niazi Bey took to the mountains at Resna. The story of the Young Turkish Revolution, with its triumphs and disappointments, need not here be told. It is written in the events that have convulsed the Near East during the last five years. Its course and its consequences radically transformed not only the Balkan Peninsula but also the position of the Hapsburg Monarchy.
As has been shown, Austro-Hungarian statesmen had long aimed at converting the "occupation and administration" of Bosnia-Herzegovina into an annexation. Andr ssy's original idea was to annex the provinces outright, and Russia had doubtless consented to an annexation in the agreements of 1876 and 1877, as well as by the secret convention of July 13, 1878, although the last named referred only to an occupation definitive. The agreements of 1876 and 1877 were made in view of the impending Russo-Turkish War, and were intended to purchase Austro- Hungarian neutrality while Russia established a big
Bulgaria and freed the Orthodox Christians of European Turkey. Thanks to the spirited help of Rumania, Russia compelled Turkey to sue for peace, and succeeded by the Treaty of San Stefano in marking out a Bulgaria that would have lain athwart the path of Austria-Hungary had the Monarchy ever attempted to advance towards Salonica. In these circumstances it would have mattered little to Russia that Austria-Hungary should have incorporated BosniaHerzegovina in the Monarchy. With the exception of the Montenegrins, the Serbo-Croatians or Southern Slavs seem long to have been left out of account by Russian statesmen. Servia, then ruled by King Milan Obrenovitch, was regarded almost as an Austrian satrapy. Russia had not acquired a clear consciousness of the potential importance of the Southern Slav question as a whole. Had the Treaty of San Stefano remained intact, it is probable that Russia would not have objected to the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and even of the Sanjak of Novi Bazar by Austria-Hungary. But Andrassy who, like Bismarck and Disraeli, was determined that the Pan-Slav cause should not triumph and that the Treaty of San Stefano should be revised, inflicted upon Russia at the Congress of Berlin so deep a humiliation that the Russian attitude towards the acquisition of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Monarchy necessarily changed. Russia had borne the losses and the cost of the war against Turkey while Austria-Hungary, without raising a finger or incurring other expense than that of having supported some thousands of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina during the insurrection of 1875-76, was "compensated" with two Turkish provinces. British policy has rarely been worse inspired than when, under the Oriental guidance of Disraeli, it secured Cyprus as the price of peace with dishonour, helped Austria-Hungary and Germany to tear up the Treaty of San Stefano and incurred the moral responsibility for the carnage and havoc of the recent Balkan wars.
The unexpected resistance encountered by the Austro-Hungarian troops during the occupation of Bosnia-Herze-
govina and the difficulty subsequently experienced in crushing Bosnian risings, put the idea of annexing the provinces beyond the range of practical politics for nearly twenty years. Servia, moreover, came increasingly under Austro- Hungarian diplomatic control, especially after the defeat of her army at Slivnitza in 1885 and the intervention of the Monarchy to check the march of the victorious Bulgarians. Since Servia seemed destined to fall, sooner or later, into Austro-Hungarian hands, there could be no reason to rouse sleeping dogs by pressing for the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It seemed a sounder policy for Austria-Hungary to prepare a situation such as to bring Bosnia-Herzegovina and Servia, at one stroke, within the confines of the Hapsburg realms. The abdication of King Milan in 1889, the growth of Russian influence in Servia under Queen Nathalie in the early 'nineties, the quarrels and reconciliations between Milan, Nathalie, and their son Alexander, the return of Nathalie to Servia in 18 9 5 followed by that of Milan as commander-in-chief of the army in 1897, appear, however, to have convinced Austria-Hungary that it would be safer to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina as soon as possible. As has been stated, the idea of annexation was mooted by Count Goluchowski during the Emperor Francis Joseph's visit to St. Petersburg in April 1897. Russia negatived the suggestion and the matter dropped. Some nine years later, in the summer of 1 906, Count Goluchowski again broached the subject in conversation with the Russian Ambassador in Vienna, Prince Urussoff, who once more deprecated the idea. In the meantime the outlook in Servia had been radically changed by the assassination of King Alexander and Queen Draga during the night of June 10-11, 1903, and Servian policy under King Peter Karageorgevitch had tended to become more Russophil. The obscure history of the plot to remove King Alexander and Queen Draga may never be fully elucidated. The plot may, as has been alleged, have been hatched under Russian auspices but its existence was certainly known to the Austro-Hungarian
Government which was fully informed of the meetings held by the conspirators in a well-known cafe of the Vienna Ringstrasse. Early in March 1903 the late M. de Kallay, joint Austro-Hungarian Finance Minister and Chief Secretary for Bosnia-Herzegovina, informed the writer that King Alexander was in a perilous position and might not have many weeks to live; and when, immediately after the arrival of the news of the assassination, the writer reminded M. de Kallay of this prediction, he replied, "Quite true; and that will prove to you that what I tell you about the East is apt to be well-founded. Alexander was doomed and the intrigues of Nicholas of Montenegro have been nipped in the bud." The writer objected that Peter Karageorgevitch was the son-in-law of King, then Prince, Nicholas of Montenegro. " Yes," answered M. de Kallay, " but his relations with his father-in-law are so bad that he is not dangerous. Besides, the Karageorgevitchs have always had two elements in their policy-not to quarrel with Austria-Hungary and not to quarrel with Turkey, their most powerful neighbours." "Then," returned the writer, "the accession of Karageorgevitch does not mean trouble in the Balkans?" "I did not say that," rejoined M. de Kallay. "Karageorgevitch may be obliged to make himself popular by engaging in some national enterprise, though, as he is no longer young, I do not anticipate trouble in that direction; it is Nicholas of Montenegro who, seeing the defeat of his schemes to put his second son, Mirko, on to the Servian throne, may try to push forward to Prizrend through the Albanian Catholic country so as to work round towards Servia from the South. It will be the business of Turkey to deal with him."
This conversation took place at the joint Finance Ministry in the Johannesgasse at Vienna towards 10.30 A.M. on June 11, 1903, the morning following the night of the assassination. On June 12 the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office organ, the Fremdenblatt, commented upon the assassination in a tone so cynical that the French Ambassador felt bound, before transmitting the comment
to his Government, to ask Count Goluchowski whether the Fremdenblatt article - with its declaration that the change of regime was a matter of comparative indifference to Austria-Hungary, who required only that Servia, whether ruled by Obrenovitch, or Karageorgevitch, should maintain good relations with the Monarchy - really represented Austro-Hungarian official views. Count Goluchowski, who had not yet seen the article in print, read it through in the Ambassador's presence and confirmed the accuracy of its standpoint. A violent attack in the Zeit upon such callousness on the part of the official organ of a Monarchical State towards the assassination of Crowned Heads, moved the Fremdenblatt rapidly to change its tone and to refer thereafter to the assassination in terms of horror. Nevertheless the impression persisted in the Diplomatic Corps that the Austro-Hungarian Government was by no means displeased at the removal of the Obrenovitch dynasty; and it is an interesting fact that when Peter Karageorgevitch passed through Vienna on his way from Geneva to assume the crown at Belgrade, the Austrian authorities refrained from interfering with the crowd of Serbo-Croatians that assembled to welcome him at the Western Railway Station, although, among other manifestations, cheers were given for "Peter, King of Croatia!" Austro-Servian relations remained indeed tolerably good until the end of 1905 when Austro-Hungarian equanimity was upset by the conclusion of a Customs Union between Servia and Bulgaria, and Count Goluchowski, as a punitive measure, declared a tariff war against Servia.
From this measure of coercion dates the regeneration of Servia. The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, Count Goluchowski, who appears to have neglected the first signs of a rapprochement between Servia and Bulgaria, acted hastily and angrily upon learning that the Customs Union was virtually concluded and that it bad been ratified by acclamation in the Bulgarian Sobranye. With less circumspection than he was wont to display, he resolved to bring Servia to her, knees by excluding Servian cattle, swine, and
agricultural produce from the Austro-Hungarian market. The "Pig War" thus begun was destined to inflict greater damage upon the Monarchy than seemed conceivable at the moment. It drove Servia into a policy of economic expansion and obliged her to seek in Egypt, France, England and elsewhere the market she had lost in the Dual Monarchy. It deprived the inhabitants of the Monarchy of their regular supply of cattle and meat, and exposed them to the extortionate tactics of the Agrarian parties in Hungary and Austria which hastened to raise the prices of meat to an unprecedented level. It damaged even the Agrarians themselves by preventing the periodical renewal of their live stock from the Servian reservoir; but, most of all, it damaged the Monarchy by creating an atmosphere of animosity between Vienna and Belgrade, and by stimulating the Servian spirit of self-reliance. The Servian Government which, in normal circumstances, would probably have purchased in Austria the military material required for the reorganization of its army and would thus have become to some extent dependent upon Austria, turned instead towards France, and purchased field -artillery, ammunition and other supplies from Creusot. At the same time, Servian ill-will towards the Monarchy was increased by the attempts of the Hungarian Government to destroy the Coalition that had been formed by Serbs and Croats in the Croatian Diet, and to combat, by means of the Agram High Treason trial, the supposed pro-Servian tendencies among the Southern Slavs of the Monarchy. This, briefly, was the Austro-Servian situation in the summer of 1908 when the Young Turkish Revolution suddenly changed the terms of the Balkan problem, and convinced Baron von Aehrenthal that the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina could no longer be delayed.