A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 38

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THE WORLD DRIFT TO WAR


which left her in possession of Tripoli and her captures in the Aegean, while the doubtful bonds which held her to the Triple Alliance had been loosened.

Almost at the moment when Turkey and Italy were signing the peace, four Balkan states were declaring war on Turkey, where the Young Turks had thoroughly established their ascendancy, exiled Abdul Hamid and set in his place his feebleminded brother Mohammed V, but had by no means dissolved the amity with Germany. Their rule in Macedonia was no more to the liking of the independent Balkan states than that of Abdul Hamid. The Cretan leader, Venizelos, had now become the trusted minister of the king of the Hellenes. Mainly through his diplomacy, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro reconciled their differences and united in the Balkan League with a view to the liberation and absorption of Macedonia upon agreed lines, as an alternative to its erection into an independent state; the various negotiations between state and state having been conducted separately without any of the Powers being privy thereto. This point was reached before midsummer in 1912.

At that moment the Albanians, whom no one, Mahomedan or Christian, had ever been able to rule except by sheer force of a dominating personality like Skanderbeg, revolted against the Turkish governors, whose troops mutinied and either joined the rebels or broke before them, and the Albanians began to invade Macedonia. At Constantinople the Young Turks, who were held responsible, were turned out of office. In September the new league appealed to the Powers to intervene; the Powers remonstrated, but forbade the league to move, but by the middle of October war had been declared between Turkey and all the states of the league.

There followed, before the concert could recover from its astonishment, an amazing débâcle. The old Turkish array had been broken up, and a new one was in course of organization under German officers — but it was not yet organized. Each of the league states had its allotted task. The Greek fleet swept the seas; in the western area; the Serbs routed the Turks in one battle after another; in the eastern the Bulgars were threatening Constantinople and investing Adrianople. Before the end of November the Greeks only just anticipated the Bulgars in capturing and occupying Salonica. Then the Powers stepped

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