A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 19

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EVENTS IN BULGARIA


was not forthcoming, so she declared war, and was badly beaten at Slivnitza. Austria intervened and stopped the fighting. The Porte saved its face by appointing Alexander governor of Rumelia, a practical acceptance of the fact that he had got it and meant to keep it. Only a threatened blockade by a British squadron restrained Greece from attempting to snatch compensation for herself.

But Alexander's triumph wrought his fall. The tsar's indignation was high; Russian conspirators kidnapped the Bulgarian king, forced him to sign his abdication and carried him over the border. But the national government carried on under his indomitable minister Stambulov; Alexander, less courageous, threw up the struggle in the face of the tsar's implacable hostility, and resigned the crown which the Bulgarians would have restored. Stambulov, fervidly anti-Russian, remained dictator until in 1887 a new prince was found — ready to take the risks and play a waiting game — in Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg. Meantime, the Balkan states continued to seethe.

As concerned the Balkans, then, the actual outcome was that Russia lost ground, since she succeeded in alienating both Rumania and Bulgaria without definitely attracting Serbia or Greece under her influence. Austria had gained by establishing herself in Bosnia and giving to that region an administration better than it had ever known before. Great Britain had acquired a dominating influence at the Porte, though she was too unsympathetic to Turkish methods for the satisfaction of the Turkish government, which continued in its old ways, but with a much smaller Christian population under its rule than of yore. And between the several Balkan states there was no love to lose, while none of them was conscious of a deep debt to any European Power for disinterested services rendered.

Bismarck's position as the dominating factor in international politics was unchanged. From France in isolation there could be nothing to fear for a long time to come, and to keep her isolated was no very difficult task. A republic which could set up no administration of tolerably convincing stability could hardly be attracted by, or attractive to, the iron despotism of Russia. Between her and Great Britain Egypt provided a constant source of friction; and an opportunity occurred for providing another between her and Italy, incidentally attracting the latter to the Central Powers.

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