A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 36

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THE WORLD DRIFT TO WAR


was the intensification of Slavonic hostility to the German-Magyar domination over the Slavs in the Austrian empire. It was generally believed that the Austrian heir presumptive — Francis Ferdinand, a nephew of the aged emperor Francis Joseph — favoured a constitutional reconstruction which would have placed the three races on an equal footing; but the ascendancy party was too strong to allow such a solution to be attempted; the racial antipathy was fostered by pan-Slavism within and without the empire, and the fruit thereof was bitter.

For two years there was no further move. Each of the Entente Powers had its Own domestic troubles. England was in the thick of a prolonged constitutional crisis, in the course of which Edward VII died and was succeeded by George V; conflict raged round the powers of the House of Lords, arising from the unexpected exercise of their technical right to reject the financial proposals of the Liberal government, which were carried in the Commons by the support of the Irish parliamentary party. The strife was marked by exceptional bitterness, which increased in virulence when, after two general elections in twelve months, which proved the parties within Great Britain to be of all but equal strength, the Irish group obviously held the scale; and the Liberals held that their pledge in 1905 to suspend their avowed Home Rule policy was no longer valid.

At the same time one section of the British press was crying aloud that the British navy was no match for the German navy, while another section was proclaiming with equal fervour that expenditure on naval construction was blatant folly. Also in India the Morley-Minto Scheme was introduced, admitting Indians to the enlarged provincial councils, exciting lively opposition among British officials and residents in India; while it was accompanied by a highly seditious agitation in the vernacular press, which was treated by the Indian government with what was zealously denounced as pusillanimous leniency or intolerable tyranny according to the predilections of the critic.

Between factions at home and Indian unrest, it did not appear that any formidable intervention in European affairs on England's part was to be looked for, whatever her commitments to the other Entente Powers might be. Russia's weakness had been manifested by the Bosnian affair. In 1911 Germany made the real testing move. France's paramount

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