A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 27


SERBIA AND BULGARIA


sympathy, but certainly not intervention. The absorption of Finland into the Russian system disturbed no one but the Swedes. The subordination of the Slavs within the Austrian empire to Austrian or Magyar domination made Slavs everywhere look to Slavonic Russia, developing the race hostility between Slav and Teuton; but the time was not ripe for a duel — and the astute sultan was very well aware that all the Powers would fight shy of active interference with his doings, lest they should thereby be brought into active collision with each other. The inflammability of the Balkan peninsula was the standing menace to that general peace which the concert of Europe was most anxious to preserve, while that same desire paralysed the concert itself for drastic action. Incidentally, since Germany had no territorial interests of her own in the Turkish empire, Abdul Hamid, having nothing to fear from her "friendship" and possibly much to gain, was ready enough to cultivate it, while the kaiser was thoroughly alive to the advantages that might accrue therefrom.

In the Balkan storm centre, Serbia was too much torn by domestic troubles to endanger the peace of her neighbours, though a period of reconstruction was promised by the fall of the Obrenovitch dynasty and the accession of a prince of the former rival house of Karageorgevitch in 1903; though the consequent development of pan-Slav doctrines was ominous from the Austrian point of view.

In Bulgaria, Ferdinand watched and waited while Stambulov ruled, till the chance came in 1894 accepting the minister's resignation — much to the surprise of Stambulov himself, who was assassinated not long afterwards. Ferdinand was far too wary to commit himself to provocative action in any direction, while he was especially careful to cultivate the good will of the Porte on one side and Germany on the other. With a Hohenzollern reigning in Rumania and a Coburg in Bulgaria — both states which declined to regard themselves as Slavonic, and both having very definite grudges against Russia — the gravitation of both towards the Central empires was inevitable.

When definite trouble arose, it was within the Turkish dominions. It appeared in 1894 there was a revolutionary movement in Armenia which needed repressing. The Turk repressed it, finding himself under the unhappy necessity of massacring some 50,000 of the population before the European

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