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BULGARIA'S UNCOMPROMISING POLICY

The Bulgarians were blind to all facts and considerations but the abstract terms of the treaty with Servia. It was a fact, however, that the war against Turkey had been fought by four Allies. It was a fact that the Ottoman government had ceded European Turkey (except Albania) to these four Allies. No two of the Allies could divide between themselves the common possession. A division made by the four Allies might contravene the terms of a treaty which existed between any two of the Allies prior to the outbreak of the war. In any event it was for the four Allies together to effect a distribution of the territory ceded to them by Turkey. For that purpose a conference was an essential organ. How otherwise could the four nations reach any agreement? Yet the Bulgarians--army, government, and nation--were obsessed by the fixed idea that Bulgaria enjoyed not only a primacy in this matter but a sort of sovereign monopoly by virtue of which it was her right and privilege to determine how much of the common spoils she should assign Servia (with whom she had an ante-bellum treaty), and, after Servia had been eliminated, how much she could spare to Greece (with whom no treaty of partition existed), and, when Greece had been disposed of, whether any crumbs could be flung to Montenegro, who had indeed very little to hope for from the Bulgarian government. And so Bulgaria opposed a conference of the four prime ministers though a conference was the natural, obvious, and necessary method of disposing of the common business pressing upon them.

The attitude of Bulgaria left no alternative but war. Yet the Bulgarian government failed to reckon the cost of war. Was it not madness for Bulgaria to force war upon Greece, Servia, and Montenegro on the west at a time when Roumania was making demands for territorial compensation on the north and Turkey was sure to seize the occasion to win back territory which Bulgaria had just wrested from her on the south? Never was a government blinder to the significant facts of a critical situation. All circumstances conspired to prescribe peace as the manifest policy for Bulgaria, yet nearly every step taken by the government was provocative of war. The Bulgarian army had covered itself with glory in the victorious campaign against the Moslem. A large part of European Turkey was already in Bulgarian hands. To imperil that glory and those possessions by the risk of a new war, when the country was exhausted and new enemies lay in wait, was as foolish as it was criminal. That way madness lay. Yet that way the policy pursued by the Bulgarian government infallibly led. Must we assume that there is some ground for suspecting that Austria-Hungary was inciting Bulgaria to war? We must leave it to history to answer. If the result was a terrible disaster, that was only the old Greek Nemesis of the gods for the outraged principles of reason and moderation.



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