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ALBANIA A CAUSE OF FRICTION

There were also external causes which contributed to the deepening tragedy in the Balkans. Undoubtedly the most potent was the dislocation of the plans of the Allies by the creation of an independent Albania. This new kingdom was called into being by the voice of the European concert at the demand of Austria-Hungary supported by Italy.

The controlling force in politics, though not the only force, is self-interest. Austria-Hungary had long sought an outlet through Macedonia to the Aegean by way of Saloniki. It was also the aim of Servia to reach the Adriatic. But the foreign policy of Austria-Hungary, which has millions of Serbs under its dominion, has steadily opposed the aggrandizement of Servia. And now that Servia and her allies had taken possession of Macedonia and blocked the path of Austria-Hungary to Saloniki, it was not merely revenge, it was self-interest pursuing a consistent foreign policy, which moved the Dual Monarchy to make the cardinal feature of its Balkan programme the exclusion of Servia from access to the Adriatic Sea. Before the first Balkan war began the Adriatic littoral was under the dominion of Austria-Hungary and Italy, for though Montenegro and European Turkey were their maritime neighbors neither of them had any naval strength. Naturally these two dominant powers desired that after the close of the Balkan war they should not be in a worse position in the Adriatic than heretofore. But if Servia were allowed to expand westward to the Adriatic, their supremacy might in the future be challenged. For Servia might enter into special relations with her great sister Slav state, Russia, or a confederation might be formed embracing all the Balkan states between the Black Sea and the Adriatic: and, in either event, Austria-Hungary and Italy would no longer enjoy the unchallenged supremacy on the Adriatic coasts which was theirs so long as Turkey held dominion over the maritime country lying between Greece and Montenegro. As a necessity of practical politics, therefore, there emerged the Austro-Italian policy of an independent Albania. But natural and essential as this policy was for Italy and Austria-Hungary, it was fatal to Servia's dream of expansion to the Adriatic; it set narrow limits to the northward extension of Greece into Epirus, and the southward extension of Montenegro below Scutari; it impelled these Allies to seek compensation in territory that Bulgaria had regarded as her peculiar preserve; and as a consequence it seriously menaced the existence of the Balkan Alliance torn as it already was by mutual jealousies, enmities, aggressions, and recriminations.



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