South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (I)

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Preface 

At the beginning of the 20th century the Great European Powers,[i] divided into two totally antagonistic political-military alliances, were preparing themselves for the final settling of accounts among each other concerning the new division of political-economic spheres of influence and the redistributing the colonies around the world. Their different interests overlapped upon the territory of South-East Europe, much more look down at the other parts of the globe, for the reason of the exploitation of the regional natural wealth and to take advantage of the military-strategic importance of South-East Europe as the strategic hinterland of East Mediterranean and the most fitting bond between Central Europe and the Middle East.

The German driving towards Baghdad, the Austrian-Hungarian and the Italian towards Thessaloniki (Salonika), as well as the Russian towards Constantinople/Istanbul, were going through the Balkans or South-East Europe, while at the same time France and Great Britain intended to protect status quo in the region. For Berlin and Vienna, it was more than obvious that the road to the oil-fields of the Persian Gulf is running exactly across the Balkans.[ii]

A struggle for the domination over South-East Europe by both the Central Powers (Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary) and the Entente Cordiale (France, Russia, Great Britain) at the turn of the 20th century, especially in the years just before and during the Balkan Wars (1912−1913) appeared as diplomatic and economic introduction to the First World War (or the Great War, 1914−1918).[iii] Each member of these two military-political alliances had its own interests in various natures (geopolitical, economic, financial, military, confessional, etc.) in the region. A policy toward South-East Europe at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century by each member of the Great European Powers was directed and executed exactly according to these national (and Capitalistic) interests.[iv] Particularly the German Balkan policy turned out to be of the crucial importance for the future national liberation struggle of the Balkan people and states by having a direct impact to the solving of the Eastern Question in the years from 1912 to 1918.

The German “Drang nach Osten” policy and South-East Europe

The unified German Empire, proclaimed in Versailles in January 1871, contemplated to balance the division of world’s colonies, the markets and the sources of the world’s raw material.[v] Exceptionally the pan-Germanic movement, established in 1891, propagated the making of a powerful German global empire. In order to do it, a new distribution of the world’s colonies was of the first necessity to be done.[vi] The Balkans was one of the regions in the world, which had to be “redistributed” in the German favor.[vii] In the spirit of such a policy, the German Parliament (Reichstag) issued the law regarding the enlargement of the German navy in 1898 for the reason “to secure the maritime interests of Germany”. In the next year (1899), during the First International Conference in The Hague the German Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II Hohenzollern (1888−1918) openly stated that “the sharpened sword is the best guarantee for the peace”.[viii]

The pan-Germanic imperialism after the German unification in 1871 was primarily directed towards the East under the motto “Drang nach Osten”. One of the aims of this policy was to make the Ottoman Empire subservient in economic and political points of view in order to exploit reach natural potentials of this multicontinental country. However, in order to do this, the French and the British influence in South-East Europe, Asia Minor (Anatolia) and the Middle East had to be diminished while, at the same time, the Russian penetration into the Balkans and the Straits should be made as impossible as by supporting the political status quo in the region. In the German concept of “Drang nach Osten” foreign policy, the Suez Canal was to be under Berlin’s domination for the purpose that Great Britany would be cut off from its overseas colonies in Asia, Africa, and the region of Pacific Ocean. Around the year 1900, the German capital investment in the Ottoman Empire already pressed back the French and the British ones. It was 45% of the German capital out of total foreign capital investment in the Ottoman Empire just before the Balkan Wars started in 1912.[ix] The Ottoman trade was financed in the first place by the German Deutsche Orientbank.[x] The Ottoman army was provided with the war material and technique, especially by the artillery, from the German military factories (Krupp, Mauzer). The Ottoman army was restructured and modernized according to the German war strategy primarily due to the German military mission in the Ottoman Empire led by General von der Goltz.

The German financial-political expansion in the Ottoman Empire reached its peak when the German building companies got a concession to construct the Baghdad Railway (Konia-Baghdad-Basra) – the railway line which had an extremely significant economic and military-strategic importance for the Middle East. In this context, it is not so surprising that the German Middle East’s and Balkan policies were very close to each other. Namely, as between Germany and the Ottoman Asia Minor was located the Balkan Peninsula it was as plain as day clear to the German diplomats that South-East Europe might be under the German financial, economic, political, and even military domination and control. The creators and proponents of the “Drang nach Osten” policy saw the Balkan railways as the natural link between the railways in Mitteleuropa (Central Europe) under the Germanic rule and those in Anatolia and further in the Persian Gulf.[xi] Shortly, the railway network connecting Berlin and the Persian Gulf, running throughout South-East Europe (the Orient Express), should be financially dominated and controlled by the German banks. For that reason, the German foreign policy did not support any political changes in the Balkans and, therefore, the Ottoman Empire should avoid the destiny of further disintegration after the 1878 Berlin Congress.[xii] However, the Ottoman Empire would be surely dissipated by the creation and enlargement of the Christian Balkan states at the expense of the Ottoman Balkan territories.[xiii]

The projected German imperialism was directed towards the Middle East but via Austria-Hungary and the Balkans. Practically, in order to realize the policy of “Drang nach Osten”, Berlin might put under its own control the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary and the rest of South-East Europe. Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia, and Edirne were the main railway’s ties on the path to Istanbul, Baghdad, and Basra, while Pola (Pula), Trieste, Dubrovnik (Ragusa), and Kotor (Cattaro) should be transformed into the chief German basis for Berlin’s domination over both the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It was exactly the Russian newspaper Новое время from April 29th, 1898, which warned the Russian diplomacy that as a result of the German political-military-economic penetration into the Ottoman Empire “Anatolia will become the German India”.[xiv]   

The Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary was imagined as the forerunner of the German interests in South-East Europe and, in this respect, the Viennese imperialistic policy at the Balkans was welcomed and supported by Berlin and the pan-Germanic politicians in Potsdam.[xv] The reason for the German political supervision of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary was a strong Austro-Hungarian economic and financial dependence on the German capital and financial investments. Such Austro-Hungarian subjection to the German economic-financial control and, therefore, its inability to act politically as an independent state was seen from the fact that 50% of the Austro-Hungarian export was directed to the German market. Even before the Bosnian-Herzegovinian crisis in 1908−1909, the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary was financially depended on the German banks (the Dresdner Bank, the Deutsche Bank, the Darmschterer Bank, and the Diskontogezelschaft Bank). At the same time, the Balkan states were becoming gradually as well as more financially subjected to the control of the same German capital. For instance, the main German investor in Serbia was Berlin’s Trade Society (the Berliner Handelsgezelschaft), while Serbia’s export to Germany in 1910 reached 42%.[xvi] The similar situation, for instance, was with Bulgaria too. Her import from Germany and Austria-Hungary was 45%, while 32% of Bulgaria’s total export was directed toward Germany and the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.[xvii]

The principal aim of such German financial-economic Balkan policy was to transform the Ottoman Empire into “its own India” and for that reason Berlin became the chief protagonist of the Balkan status quo policy, helping to “the Bosporus’ sick man” to redeem. Subsequently, Berlin and Vienna aimed to prevent the creation of anti-Ottoman Balkan Alliance under the Russian umbrella.[xviii]

Nevertheless, there were two crucial points of the Austro-German disagreement in relation to their collective Balkan policy:

1)      While the Habsburg Emperor-King wanted to see only Bulgaria as a new member state of the Central Powers, for the German Emperor Serbia could be included into this political-military bloc too. For Vienna, Serbia and Montenegro should be kept out from the Central Powers in order not to influence the Austrian South Slavic population against the Viennese court.

2)      The German Kaiser was not willing to support the Austrian policy to enlarge Bulgaria at the Greek and Romanian territorial expense because of the family links between Germany’s Hohenzollerns and Greece’s Kings George and Constantine, Romania’s King Karol respectively.

However, despite these disputes, both Berlin and Vienna reached, for instance, a common agreement on the question of Albania: in the case of the Ottoman withdrawal from the Balkans, as greater as Albanian independent state was to be created and to exist under the Germanic protectorate and support (i.e., of Germany and Austria).[xix]

The Austro-Hungarian Balkan course

After the unification of Italy (1859−1866), when the Austrian Empire lost all of its Italian provinces,[xx] the focal sphere of interest of Viennese foreign policy became South-East Europe, especially its central and southern regions. Following the metamorphosis of the Austrian Empire and its transformation into the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary in 1867 (the Aussgleich or the Agreement),[xxi] Vienna and Budapest directed its economic and political expansion in the first place toward Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sanjak (Raška), Kosovo- Metochia, Albania, and the Buy of Thessaloniki in the Aegean Sea. For the Austro-Hungarian ruling establishment, this direction of Viennese-Budapest’s foreign policy was determined by both Austro-Hungary’s geographical position and the inner (ethnic) structure of the state, as the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Berhtold clearly stated on May 2nd, 1913.[xxii] In another word, it meant that the planners of the Austro-Hungarian foreign policy saw the Balkans as Habsburg’s colonial dominion with the city of Thessaloniki as a southern focal economic seaport of Austria-Hungary (Trieste was a northern focal economic seaport of the monarchy, while the Bay of Kotor was the main navy base of the Dual Monarchy). The Austrian interest in South-East Europe, principally in Central and South Balkans arose simultaneously with the Italian intention to transform the Adriatic Sea into the Italian mare nostro and to control South Albania with the Strait of Otranto, likewise with the Russian intendment to acquire Istanbul with the Straits. Threatened that Italy would close the Adriatic gate to the Austro-Hungarian overseas trade, Viennese and Budapest’s politicians intended to transform the northern part of the Aegean Sea with the Buy of Thessaloniki to the principal Austro-Hungarian export-import seaport open to the world’s market. The prominence of the territory of present-day Albania for Rome and Vienna-Budapest must be seen in the context of the Italian-Austro-Hungarian conflict for the dominance over the Adriatic Sea. Certainly, for both sides, it was apparent that who is governing Albania is at the same time controlling the Adriatic Sea.[xxiii]

In order to implement a cardinal goal in its Balkan policy – to dominate over the Morava-Vardar’s valley and the Buy of Thessaloniki, the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary obtained significant concessions for the building of the Balkan-Ottoman railway lines. The first direct railway traffic on the line Vienna-Budapest-Thessaloniki-Istanbul started due to the Austro-Hungarian financial capital in 1888. Four years before the beginning of the Balkan Wars in 1912, the Ottoman import from the Austro-Hungarian market was extended to 22% out of total Ottoman import. As it was done with the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary was putting as well as the Balkan states under its financial and political dependence after the 1878 Berlin Congress. Thus, it was signed the Railway Convention with Serbia in 1880, the Trade Contract with Serbia in 1881, the Secret Convention with Serbia’s Prince Milan Obrenović IV in June 1881, the Veterinary Convention with Serbia, the Trade (1875) and the Customs Union with Romania in 1883, etc.[xxiv] For the matter of fact, just before the 1906‒1911 Custom War between Serbia and the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian financial capital already had the leading role in and control of Serbia’s export-trade. In addition, more than 85% of Serbia’s export was directed to the Austrian-Hungarian market, while 90% of Serbia’s import was coming from the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.[xxv] 

For the better understanding of Serbia’s dependence on the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary after the 1878 Berlin Congress,[xxvi] on the first place of importance, it should be shortly elaborated the 1881 Secret Convention signed between Serbia’s and Austria-Hungary’s monarchs. According to the Convention, the Principality (the Kingdom from 1882) of Serbia could not without Vienna-Budapest’s approval conclude any political agreement with the foreign countries. In addition, Serbia gave up propaganda, political, and all other activities to liberate the Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sanjak and to annex these two provinces in which at that time the majority of the population were the Serbs. In fact, according to the Convention, the westward (across the Drina River) territorial enlargement of Serbia was unable and for that reason in the coming decades Belgrade’s foreign policy was directed southward, or in another word, toward Kosovo-Metochia, Macedonia, and Albania with one of the main tasks to get direct exit to the sea. By giving up an idea to occupy Sanjak after 1878, Serbia at the same time rejected the option of the Serbian-Montenegrin political unification. Such reality had a serious consequence for the upcoming Balkan Wars as the exit of Serbia to the Adriatic Sea by the unification with Montenegro was impossible, Belgrade intended to acquire the sea cost for continental Serbia by the occupation of present-day North Albania’s littoral on the Ionian Sea (at that time part of the Ottoman Empire). Simultaneously, Montenegro sought to occupy the city of Scutari (Skadar) on the eastern coast of the Lake of Scutari, mainly populated by the Albanians, as the city which was in the 11th century a capital of the Principality of Zeta (according to the Montenegrin historiography, that was the first national state of the Montenegrins).[xxvii]

The highlight of the Austrian-Hungarian success in its Balkan policy against the Russian influence in the region was the decision by the Bulgarian Government to accept the Austro-Hungarian project of building the trans-Balkan railway line Vienna-Belgrade-Sofia-Istanbul at the expense of the Russian project to construct the railway line Ruse-Sofia. In fact, after this decision, Bulgaria was gradually becoming a part of the Habsburg’s sphere of interest in South-East Europe involving Bulgaria at the same time into the military alliance of the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy). Therefore, 50% of Bulgarian export-import was directed in 1910 toward Germany and the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.[xxviii] Finally, as a consequence, Bulgaria became a member-state of the Central Powers’ alliance in 1915.[xxix]

The trade contracts with Romania signed in 1875 and 1883 enabled Austria-Hungary to undertake the export of capital into this South-East European country.[xxx] Finally, the economy of Bosnia-Herzegovina (after 1878 under the Austro-Hungarian occupation and administration) was totally under Viennese-Budapest’s exploitation especially the wood’s and mine’s industries.[xxxi] 

The territory of present-day Albania and the lands inhabited by the Albanians have very significant value in the concept of Austria-Hungary’s Balkan policy. It was true primarily because of rich Albania’s natural resources and its tremendously important geopolitical and strategic position as the territory located at the very entrance to the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, the Austrian-Hungarian military establishment in Vienna-Budapest did not hide that Albania “must be in close economic, cultural and political relations with the Monarchy”.[xxxii] The another reason for such “close” ties between Albania and Austro-Hungary was a plan by the Viennese Military Court Council to transfigure Albania into the chief barrier and counterbalance against both the Serbian-Montenegrin pretensions on the territories of Macedonia, North Albania, and Kosovo-Metochia and the Italian and the Greek aspirations on the present-day South Albania and the littoral of the Adriatic Sea. However, Italy, which after its national and political unification in 1859‒1866 was becoming very significant and respectful economic and political European player[xxxiii] was the principal and strongest political actor to oppose the Habsburgs to convert Albania into their own economic and political colony. At the turn of the 20th century, Austria-Hungary and Italy became the only masters of the Albanian economic life. For instance, the main part of the export-import trade through the Ottoman-Albanian seaport of Valona was controlled by the Austrian-Hungarian financial capital. Similarly, the Austrian “Lloyd” and “The Fiume Oboti Company” self-possessed the chief portion of Albania’s overseas trade. Lloyd’s steamboats maintained in 1913 around 73% of the Albanian steamboat’s traffic. The most important mines and the best forests in Albania were under the Austro-Hungarian economic exploitation. However, the Austrian-Hungarian domination over the territory of Albania was tremendously challenged in 1913 when Italy in a clean manner disagreed with Vienna’s intention to get a concession to construct the first Albanian railway line from Scutari to Valona. Generally, just before the outbreak of the Balkan Wars in 1912, the territory of present-day Albania was economically much more depended on the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary than on the Ottoman Empire.[xxxiv]

The Austro-Hungarian policy of transforming South-East Europe into its own colonial possession allowed Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Romania to have their own Governments, rulers, diplomacy,[xxxv] to use the national languages or to have a fictive autonomy within the Monarchy, but all of them at the same time have to be highly economically, politically, financially and military depended on Vienna-Budapest.[xxxvi] Probably the Kingdom of Serbia was the main spine in the Austrian-Hungarian eyes at the Balkans since the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1804−1813 when de facto an independent state of Serbia under the Russian protection was established.[xxxvii]

The real reason for such Austro-Serbian antagonism, which finally led the world to the Great War of 1914−1918[xxxviii] was, on one hand, the Viennese intention to dominate over the South Slavs at the Balkans and, on other hand, Belgrade’s intendment to include all Serbs from the Ottoman Empire and the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary into unified national state of the Serbs, respectively.[xxxix] The most belligerent political factor in the Dual Monarchy, the Court War Council, was suggesting to the Emperor (Kaizer) Franc Joseph I Habsburg to resolve the Yugoslav Question by the military occupation of small Kingdom of Serbia. A Chief of the Austro-Hungarian General-Staff, Conrad von Hezendorf was calling for Emperor’s attention that if the Austro-Hungarian army would occupy the city of Niš in South Serbia, South-East Balkans would be under the monopoly of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.[xl] Nonetheless, the Emperor was not willing to accept such policy as 50% of the population of the Dual Monarchy was of the Slavic origin. In other word, in the case of Serbia’s or both Serbia’s and Montenegro’s annexation by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the Slavic element would prevail over the Germanic and Hungarian ones combined.

From 1878 onward, the Viennese policy toward only two free, sovereign and independent Yugoslav states, Serbia and Montenegro, was focused on thwarting Belgrade to unite Serbia and Montenegro into a single national state. Subsequently, as the best instrument to keep Serbia and Montenegro in political separation, Austria-Hungary found to build the railway line from Sarajevo to Kosovska Mitrovica via Sanjak of Novi Pazar.[xli] This railway line should become a part of the Austro-Hungarian wider railway network which was connecting Vienna and Budapest with Istanbul, Thessaloniki, and the Albanian seaport of Valona.[xlii]                                       

Italy and the Balkans

After the unification of Italy from 1859 to 1866,[xliii] the Italian administration accepted the foreign policy of the creation of a greater Italian state which should resemble a certain extent on the ancient Roman Empire.[xliv] The project of a “New Roman Empire” was directed toward the Italian direct control or territorial acquisitions of the parts of the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and certain territories in North Africa and Asia Minor. However, for the very reason that the Italian attempt to conquer African Ethiopia in the years of 1886−1896 failed, the Italian pivotal aim of the foreign policy after the Ethiopian War was directed toward the Balkans.[xlv]    

However, there were two most important focal points of the Italian interest in the region of South-East Europe: 1) Albania, and 2) East Adriatic littoral. The press in Italy at the turn of the 20th century (around 1900) called openly the whole Adriatic Sea as the Italian Mare Nostrum (Our Sea). To be a master of the Adriatic Sea became the principal precondition for the Italian economic and political infiltration into the Balkan Peninsula. Special importance for the Italian Balkan policy was Albania and the Albanian populated Balkan lands for the very reason that the main direction of the Italian penetration into South-East Europe was seen to be via Valona, Elbasan, and Bitola with the final destination at the Bay of Thessaloniki. The Italians verily followed, in this case, the ancient Roman military road Via Egnatia, which connected Italy with the East (with Byzant/Constantinople and further with Asia Minor).[xlvi] By contrast, the Austro-Hungarians followed in their penetration into the Balkans different but also the ancient Roman military road – Via Militaris, from Belgrade (Singidunum) via Sofia (Serdica), Plovdiv (Philippopolis), and Edirne (Adrianopolis) to Istanbul (Constantinople).[xlvii]

The Italian project of the Trans-Balkan Railway-Line is the best illustration of the Italian Balkan plans and way of economic-political infiltration into South-East Europe’s hinterland. Rome, in order to be more active in the Balkan affairs, required in 1902−1904 that the Italian police forces would implement necessary reforms in the Ottoman Bitola (Monastir) Vilayet.[xlviii] In the year 1911, when the 1911−1912 Italo-Ottoman War started,[xlix] the Italian trade and financial capital already prevailed over the Austrian-Hungarian one in the area of Albania’s littoral of both the Ionic and the Adriatic Sea. What regards the whole territory of the Ottoman Albania, as the focal Italian point of colonial expansion in South-East Europe, in the years of the 1912−1913 Balkan Wars the presence of the Italian capital in the country reached the second place, just behind the Austrian-Hungarian one. The Italian trade companies mastered around 25% of the export-import trade from Scutari and 30% from South Albania. The total financial operations in the cities of Valona and Durazzo (Durrës) were done by the Italian banks but primarily by the Society for the Trade with the East.

With the marriage of the Italian hear of the throne, Vittorio Emanuel Orlando, with the Montenegrin Princess Helen (Jelena), a daughter of the Montenegrin Prince Nikola I, in 1896 the door to Montenegro was open for the Italian capital and political influence. Up to 1912, the Italian capital was predominant in Montenegro’s economy. For instance, the concession to construct the first Montenegrin railway-line (Bar-Virpazar) was given to the Banca Comerciale Italiana. The same bank started to exploit the steamboat traffic at the Lake of Scutari.[l]

The Italian intention to use Albania’s territory as the bridge for its penetration into South-East Europe, as well as to transform the Strait of Otranto into the Italian Gibraltar, followed by Rome’s wish to annex Alto Adige (Süd Tyrol), Istria, and Dalmatia led Italy to the open clash with Vienna-Budapest upon the lordship over the Adriatic Sea and the Balkan hinterland.[li] At that time, the Austro-Hungarian belligerent military and political circles created a motto: “Our future is in the Balkans, our stumbling block is Italy”. In order to dismiss the main obstacle for the Austrian-Hungarian predominance in the Balkan affairs, a Chief of the Austrian-Hungarian General Headquarters Conrad von Hötzendorf advised the Emperor “firstly to settle the affairs with Italy”.[lii] Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a hearing of the Austro-Hungarian throne, predicted in February 1913 in his conversation with Conrad von Hötzendorf that “our principal enemy is Italy and against Italy, we had to fight one day in order to regain Venice and Lombardy”[liii] (lost during the wars for the Italian unification).

For the Italian Balkan policy, the most dangerous Austrian-Hungarian plan with regard to the region of South-East Europe was a design of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary to transform present-day North Albania into the Austrian-Hungarian foothill for the further advance towards the Balkan hinterland. For that reason, Italy made serious efforts to thwart the Austro-Hungarian intention to master the east-central portion of the Balkans, including the areas populated by the Albanian majority or minority as Albania proper, Kosovo-Metochia, East Montenegro, and West Macedonia. In other word, to keep Vienna-Budapest as far as from the Strait of Otranto became a crucial goal of the Italian policy in the Balkans around 1900. An additional problem for Italy was Serbia’s territorial pretension on present-day North Albania as well as the Greek wish to dominate over North Epirus (present-day South Albania).[liv]

In order to obviate the Serbian-Greek division of Albania, Italy in principle did not support the creation of the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire since the league would make stronger both Serbia and Greece. Rome showed its real attitude toward the Balkan League[lv] when Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bulgaria proclaimed the war against the Ottoman Empire in October 1912 as Italy at the same moment put an end its military operations against the Ottoman Empire in Lybia in order to make better Ottoman military position at the Balkans against the members of the Balkan League.[lvi] The Italian newspapers at that time were writing that “the Slavdom is coming via Montenegro to the Adriatic”; the Slavdom which was “just behind Albania” and in the following years and decades the Slavdom will require Bosnia-Herzegovina, Trieste, Istria, and Dalmatia.[lvii] The Italian diplomatic representative in Vienna even tried to convince the Austrian-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs that for the sake of the Italian geopolitical[lviii] and economic interests in the region, Serbia was more dangerous than the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.[lix] Consequently, regardless of the whole spectrum of the Italian disputes with Austria-Hungary on supremacy over South-East Europe, the disintegration of the Balkan League was their joint interest. Their common goal was “to prevent Slavic domination over the Adriatic Sea”.[lx]

Surely, the question of the division of the spheres of influence over the region of South-East Europe between the European Great Powers including Italy as well as was one of the focal causes of friction which threatened to upset the peace of Europe at the turn of the 20th century as they were:

  • A naval rivalry between the United Kingdom and the German Empire.
  • The French intention to return lost Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1871 (as a consequence of the 1870‒1871 Franco-Prussian War).
  • The German Empire accused the Triple Entente to “encircle” it but, in essence, the Germans have been very disappointed with the results of their imperialistic (Weltpolitik) policies after the German unification in 1871 as their overseas colonial empire was small in comparison with those of other European Great Powers – the same expansionistic syndrome that Italy had after its own political unification in the 1860s.
  • Russia was suspicious of the ambitions by the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary in South-East Europe and worried about the growing military and economic power of the German Empire.
  • The Serbian nationalistic patriotism based on the desire to liberate the Serb nation from control by other states, i.e., the Ottoman Empire and the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary and, subsequently, to establish a Greater Serbia as a national state of all Serbs.
  • The Austro-Hungarian desire to launch a “preventive war” to destroy and occupy the small Kingdom of Serbia before she became strong enough to provoke the breakup of the Dual Monarchy and, therefore, to resent the transformation of Serbia into the Russian client state.[lxi]
  • The Italian desire to get more overseas colonies and territories on the eastern littoral of the Adriatic Sea. In another word, the nations that have been historically divided, such as the Germans and the Italians, could only join in the imperial game when they had come together and formed a single military and financial political unit, i.e., the nation-state. And as soon as did it their first act on the international arena was to try to acquire overseas territories, i.e., colonies. But they were among the most brutal of the imperialists as they have been late in comparison to the others.[lxii]
  • The desire by the Triple Entente to keep the pre-war status quo in international relations.

Arising from all these resentments and tensions abovementioned came a series of political events which culminated in the outbreak of the Great War in the summer of 1914 in which Italy took active military participation from May 1915.[lxiii] In the Great War, Italy was hoping to get the Italian-speaking provinces of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary followed by the territories along the eastern littoral of the Adriatic Sea. In order to realize its own war aims, Italy signed in April 1915 a secret London Treaty with the Cordiale Entente according to which, France, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Empire promised Italy Trentino, South Tyrol, Trieste, part of Dalmatia, Istria, Adalia, some islands in the Aegean Sea (the Dodecanese with Rhodes), and finally a protectorate over Albania. The member-states of Cordiale Entente hoped that by keeping part of the Austro-Hungarian troops occupied at the Italian front, the Italians would relieve pressure on the Russians that would have positive effects for France and the United Kingdom on the Western Front. However, in the practice, the Italian army fighting in the Alps against the soldiers of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary made little headway and their efforts were to no avail. As a consequence, the Russians were unable to progress at the Eastern Front against Austria-Hungary and Germany.      

 

To be continued

 

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2019

 

Endnotes:

[i] Great power is a “state deemed to rank amongst the most powerful in a hierarchical state system, reflected in its influence over minor states” [Heywood A., Politics, Third Edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 450].

[ii] Поповић В., Источно питање, Београд, 1928, 8, 210−216; Цвијић Ј., Балканско полуострво и јужнословенске земље, Београд, 1966, 10−12.

[iii] On the new imperialism, new militarism, and WWI, see in [Magone M. J., Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction, London‒New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2011, 49‒52].

[iv] On Capitalism and its enemies from 1800 to 1918, see in [Marr A., A History of the World, London: Macmillan, 2012, 383‒465].

[v] On the German unification in 1871, see in [Darmstaedter F., Bismarck and the Creation of the Second German Reich, London, 1948; Pflanze O., Bismark and the Development of Germany. Volume I: The Period of Unification, 1815−1871, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1962; Medlicott E., Bismarck and Modern Germany, Mystic, Conn., 1965; Pflanze O., (ed.), The Unification of Germany, 1848−1871, New York: University of Minnesota, 1969; Rodes J. E., The Quest for Unity. Modern Germany 1848−1970, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1971; Michael J., The Unification of Germany, London−New York: Routledge, 1996; Williamson G. D., Bismarck and Germany, 1862−1890, New York: Routledge, 2011; Headlam J., Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire, Didactic Press, 2013].

[vi] Paul Rorbach became the most influential German proponent of the creation of the great German overseas empire. He was writing that creation of a great German empire in the world cannot be fulfilled without the great world war, i.e. without “the blood and the lead”. About the concept and practice of colonialism, see in [Berger S., (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe 1789‒1914, Malden, MA‒Oxford, UK‒Carlton, Australia: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006, 432‒447].

[vii] On the creation of the mass nationalism in Germany, see in [Mosse G. L, The Nationalization of the Masses: Political symbolism and mass movements in Germany from the Napoleonic wars through the Third Reich, Ithaca, NY: Cornel University Press, 1991].

[viii] Kautsky K., Comment s’est déclanchée la guerre mondiale, Paris, 1921, 21. Attempts to reach disarmament by some kind of international agreement and/or treaty began at the Conferences of The Hague in 1899 and 1907. However, both of them ended without any significant result [Palmowski J., A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century World History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, 171].

[ix] On the foreign investment in the Ottoman Empire at the eve of the Great War in the context of political domination over the country, see in [Готлиб В. В., Тайная дипломатия во время первой мировой войны, Москва, 1960].

[x] On the penetration of the German financial capital in the Ottoman Balkans in the first decade of the 20th century, see in [Вендел Х., Борба Југословена за слободу и јединство, Београд, 1925, 553−572].  

[xi] On the German geopolitical concept of Mitteleuropa, see in [Naumann F., Mitteleuropa, Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1915; Meyer C. H., Mitteleuropa in German Thought and Action, 1815−1945, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1955; Katzenstein J. P., Mitteleuropa: Between Europe and Germany, Berghahn Books, 1997; Lehmann G., Mitteleuropa, Mecklemburg: Mecklemburger Buchverlag, 2009].

[xii] In 1878, the Berlin Congress, where the Great European Powers redraw the political map of South-East Europe after the Great Eastern Crisis and the 1877‒1878 Russo-Ottoman War, placed the Ottoman province of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary (which annexed it in 1908) and recognized an independence of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro while tributary Principality of Bulgaria received an autonomous status. Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, and Romania got territorial enlargements at the expense of the Ottoman Empire [Ference C. G. (ed.), Chronology of 20th-Century Eastern European History, Detroit‒Washington, D. C.‒London: Gale Research Inc., 1994, 393].  

[xiii] Hobus G., Wirtschaft und Staat im südosteuropäischen Raum 1908−1914, München, 1934, 139−151.

[xiv] Архив Србије, Министарство Иностраних Дела Србије, Политичко Одељење, 1898, Ф-IV, Д-I, поверљиво, № 962, “Српско посланство у Петрограду – Ђорђевићу”, Петроград, April 18th [old style], 1898.

[xv] The German Prime Minister (Kanzellar) stated during the crisis upon the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908 that the German Balkan policy will strictly follow the Austro-Hungarian interests in the region.   

[xvi] Алексић-Пејковић Љ., Односи Србије са Француском и Енглеском 1903−1914, Београд, 1965, 35−42.

[xvii] Жебокрицкий В. А., Бьлгария накануне балканских войн 1912−1913 гг., Кийев 1960, 59−61.

[xviii] Huldermann V., La Vie d’Albert Ballin, Payot, Paris, 1923, 207−213; Die Grosse Politik der Europäischen Kabinette 1871−1914, Vol. XXXIV, № 13428, № 12926, Berlin, 1926. About the Serbian endeavor to create the Balkan Alliance in the mid-19th century, see in [Пироћанац М. С., Међународни положај Србије, Београд, 1893; Пироћанац М. С., Кнез Михаило и заједнићка радња балканских народа, Београд, 1895].

[xix] Pribram A. F., Die politischen Geheimverträge ÖsterreichUngarns 1879−1914, Wien−Leipzig, 1920; Преписка о арбанаским насиљима, Службено издање, Београд, 1899; Documents diplomatiques français, Vol. II, Paris, 1931; Архив министарства иностраних дела, Извештај из Цариграда од 25.-ог септембра, 1902, Београд; Ilyrisch-albanische Forschungen, Vol. I, 1916, 380−390; Neue Freie Presse, 02−04−1903; British documents on the Origins of the War, 1899−1914, Vol. V, London, 68−72.  

[xx] About the Italian unification and the Habsburg Monarchy, see in [Rene A. C., Italy from Napoleon to Mussolini, New York: Columbia University Press, 1962; Delzell C. F. (ed.), The Unification of Italy, 1859−1861. Cavour, Mazzini or Garibaldi?, New York, 1965; Beales D., The Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy, London, 1981; Hearder H., Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento, 1790−1870, London, 1983; Smith D. M., Cavour and Garibaldi, 1860: A Study in Political Conflict, Cambridge, 1985; Coppa F., The Origins of the Italian Wars of Independence, London, 1992; Smith D. M., Mazzini, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994; Lucy R., The Italian Risorgimento. State, Society and National Unification, London−New York: Routledge, 1994; Beales D., Biagini F. E., The Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy, London-New York: Routledge, 2002; Riall L., Garibaldi: Invention of a Hero, New Haven−London: Yale University Press, 2008; Riall L., Risorgimento: The History of Italy from Napoleon to Nation State, New York−London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; Clark M., The Italian Risorgimento, London−New York: Routledge, 2013].

[xxi] Taylor J. P. A., Habsburgų monarchija 1809‒1918: Austrijos imperijos ir Austrijos-Vengrijos istorija, Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas, 1999, 167‒181. Austria-Hungary was a dual monarchy from 1867 to 1918 composed by the Austrian part and the Hungarian part in which each of these two countries had complete control over their own internal affairs. However, they have been linked by a Council of Ministers responsible for common affairs, and by the ruling dynasty coming from the House of Habsburgs. A common ruler was at the same time both the Emperor of Austria and the King of Hungary [Palmowski J., A Dictionary of Contemporary World History from 1900 to the Present Day, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 40]. About the transition to constitutional Government of the Austrian Empire from 1860 to 1867, see in [Kann A. R., A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526−1918, Berkeley−Los Angeles−London: University of California Press, 1980, 326−342]. On Aussgleich, see in [Рокаи П. и други, Историја Мађара, Београд: CLIO, 2002, 460−471].

[xxii] Hobus G., Wirtschaft und Staat im südosteuropäischen Raum 1908−1914, München, 1934, 24−27. On this issue, see more in [Williamson R. S., Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War, Bedford−St Martins, 1991; Hanebrink P., Gero A., Gaspar Zs., The Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy, 1867−1918, New Holland Publishers Uk Ltd, 2009]. 

[xxiii] As a part of the policy of the Italian economic, financial, and political penetration into the Balkans, the Italian Government established in 1900 the Department of the Albanian Language and Literature in the Instituto Orientale (Oriental Institute) in Naples [Ference C. G. (ed.), Chronology of 20th-Century Eastern European History, Detroit‒Washington, D. C.‒London: Gale Research Inc., 1994, 4].

[xxiv] Стенографске белешке Народне скупштине Србије 1881; Јакшић Г., Из новије српске историје. Абдикација краља Милана и друге расправе, Београд, 1953, 70−142; Збирка закона, уговора и погодаба о српским зајмовима (од 9. авг. 1876. до 11. јан. 1899), Београд, 1899, 603−630; Карлсбадски аранжман и страна контрола у Србији, Београд, 1908; Недељковић М., Историја српских државних дугова, Београд, 1909, 157−172; Јовановић С., Влада Александра Обреновића I (1889−1897), Београд, 1929, 315−318.   

[xxv] British Documents on the Origins of the War. 1899−1914, Vol. V, 157−170; Стенографске белешке Народне скупштине Србије 1906, 250−270; Стенографске белешке Народне скупштине Србије 1905−1906, књ. III, 1350−1410; Jugoslaviens Entstehung, Amaltthea Verlag, 1929; Дело, XXXI, Београд, 1904. Аbout the Serbian trade dependence on the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, see more in [Ђорђевић Д., Царински рат између Србије и Аустро-Угарске 1906−1911, Београд, 1962]. On Serbia’s state’s loans, see more in [Недељковић М., Историја српских државних дугова, Београд, 1909].

[xxvi] At the Berlin Congress (June 13th,‒July 13th, 1878) the representatives of the twelve European states tremendously redesigned the 1878 San Stefano Peace Treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (March 3rd) [Pasaulio istorijos atlasas: Mokymo priemonė, Vilnius: Naujoji Rosma, 2001, 190]. According to the Congress’ final accords, one can say that the main winner became the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, while the principal loser was Russia.    

[xxvii] The most important articles of the Secret Convention are № 2 and № 4. About the Convention, see in [Јакшић Г., “Историја једне конвенције”, Архив за правне и друштвене науке, Београд, 1924].

[xxviii] About the Bulgarian history from the 1878 Berlin Congress to the end of WWI when Bulgaria was within the political, economic, and financial spheres of influence by Germany and Austria-Hungary, see in [Crampton J. R., A Concise History of Bulgaria, Second Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 85‒143].

[xxix] Živko Avramovski, Ratni ciljevi Bugarske i Centralne sile 1914−1918, Beograd: Institut za savremenu istoriju, 1985, 99−172.

[xxx] About that time of Romania’s history, see in [Treptow W. K. (ed.), A History of Romania, Iaşi: The Center for Romanian Studies−The Romanian Cultural Foundation, 1996, 351−363].

[xxxi] Вучо Н., Привредна историја народа ФНРЈ до првог светског рата, Београд, 1948, 260−271.

[xxxii] Feldmarschall Conrad, Aus meiner Dienstzeit 1906−1918, Vol. III, Leipzig− München, 1922, 558.

[xxxiii] Di Scala M. S., Italija nuo revolucijos iki respublikos: Nuo 1700‒jų iki šių dienų, Vilnius: Tvermė, 1998, 167.

[xxxiv] About this period of time of the Albanian history, see in [Frucht R. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe from the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism, New York‒London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2000, 9‒11; Бартл П., Албанци од Средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, 92−161].

[xxxv] About the concept, functioning models, and different types of diplomacy in international relations, see in [Chatterjee Ch., International Law and Diplomacy, London‒New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2007: Cooper F. A. et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2015].

[xxxvi] According to Berhard Singer, a member of Vienna’s trade chamber.

[xxxvii] On this issue, see in [Ђорђевић Р. М., Србија у устанку 1804−1813, Београд: Рад, 1979].

[xxxviii] About old and new controversies on the causes of WWI, see in [Бјелајац М., 1914−2014: Зашто ревизија? Старе и нове контроверзе о узроцима Првог светског рата, Београд: Медија центар „Одбрана“, 2014].

[xxxix] Стефановић Караџић В., “Срби сви и свуда”, Ковчежић за историју, језик и обичаје Срба сва три закона, У штампарији Јерменског манастира, 1, Беч, 1849, 1−27; Гaрашанин И., Начертаније, Београд, 1844 (secret manuscript); Чубриловић В., Историја политичке мисли у Србији XIX века, Бeоград, 1958, 90−95. On this issue, see more in [Љушић Р., Књига о Начертанију. Национални и државни програм Кнежевине Србије (1844), Београд: БИГЗ, 1993; Sotirović B. V., Srpski komonvelt: Lingvistički model definisanja srpske nacije Vuka Stefanovića Karadžića i projekat Ilije Garašanina o stvaranju lingvistički određene države Srba, Viljnus: Štamparija Pedagoškog univerziteta u Viljnusu, 2011]. On the road to the First World War, see in [Clark Ch., The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2012; MacMillan M., The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, New York: The Random House Publishing Group, 2013]. On Serbia’s war aims in 1914, see in [Екмечић М., Ратни циљеви Србије 1914, Београд: Просвета, 1990].

[xl] Потемкин В. П. (уредник), Историја дипломатије, књ. 2, Београд, 1949, 163−164.

[xli] Pribram A. F., Die politischen Geheimverträge Österreich-Ungarns 1879−1914, ester Band, Wien, 1920, 267−275.

[xlii] Архив српског посланства у Паризу, Извештај из Беча, 28. I 1914, број 19; Die Grosse Politik, XXXVII, 738−740; Die internationalen Beziehungen im Zeitalter des Imperialismus, I, 95, II, 155−156, 257. 

[xliii] On the unification of Italy, see in [Darby G., The Unification of Italy, Second Edition, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013]. The unification of Italy was a long and complex effort against the Habsburg occupiers, local Italian monarchs with the medieval origins (for instance, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies or the Duchy of Modena), and against the Vatican conservatism. The idea of unification was driven by a sense that Italy needed a modern, united democratic state in order to pull her into the modern Western world [Marr A., A History of the World, London: Macmillan, 2012, 404]. Italy was historically marked by fundamental regional divisions, tensions, conflicts, and wars. The political and economic tensions survived and after the unification in the 1960s now between the southern and the northern regions of Italy. North Italy, especially Lombardy, experienced strong industrialization after the unification which led this part of Italy to be the leading and wealthiest areas of the country and one of the wealthiest regions in Europe at the end of the last century. However, by contrast, South Italy was dominated by a share-cropping system that kept the majority of the population as landless workers who have been employed by a tiny number of large landowners. One of the central elements in the Italian politics from the unification to the conclusion of the Lateran Treaties in 1929 was the relationship between the secular authorities on one hand and the Roman Catholic Church (Vatican) on another. After the unification of Italy, in which the Vatican lost its own state and huge territories, the Pope forbade until 1918 all Roman Catholics to participate in the functioning of a new liberal Italian secular state [Palmowski J., A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century World History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, 302‒303]. In essence, the Italians ultimately could not build Italianess identity based on the Roman Catholicism for the very reason that the Pope and Vatican were very hostile to the Italian national movement (Risorgimento). The fractured nature of the Italian society, the strong linguistic diversity and regionalist identities followed by massive social conflict, and a poor education system participated as the factors which made the Italian nation a rather volatile and problematic project to be realized even up today [Berger S., (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe 1789‒1914, Malden, MA‒Oxford, UK‒Carlton, Australia: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006, 179].           

[xliv] On the history of Ancient Rome, see in [Zoch A. P., Ancient Rome: An Introductory History, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998; Gibbon E., The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London: Penguin Books, 2001: Beard M., SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2015; Baker S., Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, London: BBC Books, 2007].

[xlv] On the issue of the Italian colonialism and imperialism after the unification in 1861/1866, see in [Negash T., Italian Colonialism in Eritrea, 1882−1941: Policies, Praxis, and Impact, Coronet Books Inc, 1987; Ben-Ghiat R., Fuller M. (eds.), Italian Colonialism, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005; Duncan D, Andall J., Italian Colonialism: Legacy and Memory, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2005; Andall J., Duncan D., (eds.), Italian Colonialism: Legacy and Memory, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2005; Finaldi M. G., Italian National Identity in the Scramble for Africa: Italy’s African Wars in the Era of National-Building, 1870−1900, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2009; Finaldi M. G., A History of Italian Colonialism, 1860−1907: Europe’s Last Empire, London−New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2017].

[xlvi] O’Sullivan F., The Egnatian Way, Stackpole Books, 1972.

[xlvii] See the map in [Motta G. (Direzione cartografica), Atlante Storico, Novara, Instituto Geografico de Agostini, 1979, 28]. The another project of the railway-line in the Balkans was the Adriatic railway-road favored by Serbia but not supported either by Austria-Hungary or Italy and Bulgaria [Ратковић Б., Ђуришић М., Скоко С., Србија и Црна Гора у Балканским ратовима 1912−1913, Друго издање, Београд: БИГЗ, 1972, 19, Ћоровић В., Односи између Србије и Аустро-Угарске у XX веку, Београд: Библиотека града Београда, 1992, 108−141].

[xlviii] Архив Министарства иностраних дела, Београд, Извештај из Рима, 14. мај 1903, п. бр. 46; Архив Министарства иностраних дела, Извештај из Скопља, 16. XII, 1904; Архив Министарства иностраних дела, Извештај из Рима, п. бр. 31, 101; Documenti diplomatici, Macedonia, Roma, 1906, 151−179, 280−292; Pavolni J. V., Le problème macédonien et sa solution, Paris, 1903, 42−45; British documents on the Origins of the War, 1899−1914, Vol. V, 71. 

[xlix] Beehler H. W. C., The History of the Italian-Turkish War: September 29, 1911 to October 18th, 1912, Annapolis, MD, 1913.

[l] Ђуришић М., Први балкански рат 1912−1913, том III, Београд, 8−9; Јовановић Ј. М., “На двору црногорском, поводом успомена барона Гизла”, Записи, бр. II/1, 10−13; Ракочевић Н., Политички односи Црне Горе и Србије 1903−1918, Цетиње, 1918.

[li] About the concept of irredentism and its role in European politics, see in [Kornprobst M., Irredentism in European Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008].

[lii] Pribram A. F., Die politischen Geheimverträge ÖsterreichUngarns 1879−1914, ester Band Wien, 1920, 267−268; Feldmarschall Conrad, Aus meiner Dienstzeit 1906−1918, Vol. III, Leipzig−München, 1922, 171.

[liii] Дедијер В., Сарајево 1914, Београд, 1966, 245; Дипломатски архив, Пресбиро, Београд, италијанска штампа, јун 1913.

[liv] The territory of North Epirus was a part of the project of a Great Idea – the creation of a unified national state of the Greeks. About nation building and the project of Great Idea, see in [Clogg R., A Concise History of Greece, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, 47−99]. However, the Albanians as well as pretended on North Epirus as their ethnographic region that was for the first time clearly expressed by the First Prizren League in June 1878 when for the first time in the Albanian history the project of a Greater Albania was proclaimed [Бартл П., Албанци од Средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, 94−102].

[lv] The Balkan League was formed in March 1912 when Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro signed bilateral agreements. Their first demand was far-reaching reforms for those territories still under the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans and then, when these were not met, declared war [Pagden A., World at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West, Oxford‒New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, 390].

[lvi] Nevertheless, during the 1911‒1912 Italian-Ottoman War, Italy conquered north Tripoli and later by 1914 had occupied much of Libya, declaring it as an integral part of the country in 1939 [Isaacs A. et al. (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of World History, Oxford‒New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, 317].  

[lvii] Tribuna, June 1913.

[lviii] On geopolitics, see in [Dodds K., Global Geopolitics: A Critical Introduction, Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2005].

[lix] Готлиб В. В., Тайная дипломатия во время первой мировой войны, Москва, 1960, 214.

[lx] Pribram A. F., Die politischen Geheimverträge ÖsterreichUngarns 1879−1914, Wien−Leipzig, 1920, 292−293.

[lxi] Lowe N., Mastering Modern World History, Fourth Edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, 5‒7.

[lxii] Marr A., A History of the World, London: Macmillan, 2012, 439. About the colonial expansion of West European states, see in [Del Testa W. D. et al. (ed.), Global History. Cultural Encounters from Antiquity to the Present: The Age of Discovery and Colonial Expansion 1400s to 1900s, Volume Three, New York: Sharpe Reference, 2004]. On the colonial terror and genocide, see in [Naimark M. N., Genocide: A World History, Oxford‒New York, Oxford University Press, 2017, 34‒85].

[lxiii] On the Great War, see in [Hernández J., Pirmasis pasaulinis karas, Kaunas: Obuolys, 2011].


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Many conspiracy theories have been created about Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist George Soros since his rise to economic wealth. Many of them deal with the intersection between his political beliefs and his financial wealth. However, here we present a real truth on who was and is George Soros. What is missing from official George Soros' C.V. by © “Free Media Group” 2017. © “Free Media Group” 2017 Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, ...
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United States and Venezuela: A Historical Background
“Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and they own it and we want it” — (Anonymous Trump official)IntroductionUS hostility and efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government forms parts of a long and inglorious history of US intervention in Latin America going back to the second decade of the 19th century.In 1823 US President Monroe declared, in his name, the ‘Monroe Doctrine” – the US right to keep Europeans out of the region, but the right of the US to intervene in pursuit of its economic, political and military interests.We will proceed to outline the historical phases of US ...
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Understanding Albanian Nationality and Regional Political-Security Consequences
The Albanian nationhood as understood in the 19th century was part of a romanticist notion of nationality, i.e., the Albanians were the Balkan people whose mother tongue was Albanian regardless of any confessional division of Albanian people into three denominations (Moslem, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox). Within the north Albanian tribes, especially among the Miriditi, the Roman Catholic Church was very influential. The Roman Catholic Church became the main protector of the Albanian language and cultural heritage and the main protagonist of the national identity of the Albanians in Northern Albania.[1] The expression of common notions of the Albanian nationhood ...
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America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
When great powers fade, as they inevitably must, it’s normally for one of two reasons. Some powers exhaust themselves through overreach abroad, underinvestment at home, or a mixture of the two. This was the case for the Soviet Union. Other powers lose their privileged position with the emergence of new, stronger powers. This describes what happened with France and Great Britain in the case of Germany’s emergence after World War I and, more benignly, with the European powers and the rise of the United States during and after World War II.To some extent America is facing a version of this—amid ...
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BOOK: The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics
On July 11, 1995, the town of Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb army. At the time, I was the highest ranking United Nations civilian official in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In my book, Dubious Mandate,1 I made some comments on that tragedy. Beyond that, I decried the distortions of the international press in their reporting, not only on that event, but on the wars in Yugoslavia (1992-95) in general. I expressed the wish that there could have been, and must be, some balance in telling the story of what actually happened in Srebrenica and in all of former Yugoslavia, if we are ...
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Italy’s Mediterranean Policy
Italy's geostrategic significanceItaly is in a position, looking from a geographical and geostrategic point of view, to play one of the most significant political roles in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea. Italy with Sicily is dividing the Mediterranean Sea into two parts: the eastern and the western. According to Sergio Romano, this geostrategic fact is giving to Italy a possibility to play the role of "the most important factor of naval balance of powers in the region".[1] For the Italian geopolitical significance, it is important fact, as well as, that the southern NATO’s headquarters is located in Italy what ...
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Serbs Survive in Ghettos in the Heart of Europe: The “Republic of Kosovo”, a Criminal Entity
After 19 years since a part of the international community, under the auspices of NATO and the US, took control over the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, following two ethnic pogroms of the Serbs and non-Albanians occurred in 1999 and in 2004, which resulted in ethnic cleansing of around 250 000 Serbs and other non Albanians, the rest of Serbian population still survive in ghettos across the territory of self-proclaimed independent Republic of Kosovo.Destroyed 14th-century Serbian Orthodox church Samodreža in Kosovo by Muslim Albanians in March 2004 The Self proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, as a creation of the USA/NATO joint ...
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The Korean War and Crimes against Humanity
“ON JANUARY 3 [1951] AT 10:30 AM, AN ARMADE OF 82 FLYING FORTRESSES LOOSED THEIR DEATH-DEALING LOAD ON THE CITY OF PYONGYANG. … “THE NUMBER OF INHABITANTS OF PYONGYANG KILLED BY BOMB SPLINTERS, BURNT ALIVE AND SUFFOCATED BY SMOKE IS INCALCULABLE, SINCE NO COMPUTATION IS POSSIBLE. SOME FIFTY THOUSAND INHABITANTS REMAIN IN THE CITY, WHICH BEFORE THE WAR HAD A POPULATION OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND.” [UN Repository]With tension ever mounting in the Korean peninsular, all the higher every year with US bombers conducting annual drills over South Korea within direct strike range of North Korea, it is notable and deeply regrettable the West has lost all ...
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Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part VA follow-up of Professor Vladimir Kozin’s comments on NATO’s Fact Sheet about relations with Russia published in December 2014. The topics to be covered in this part:NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failure;The NATO-led mission in Afghanistan failed to stop the Afghan drugs trade;NATO’s operation over Libya was illegitimate;NATO’s operation over Kosovo was illegitimate;The cases of Kosovo and Crimea are identical;Russia’s annexation of Crimea was justified;The Ukrainian authorities are illegitimate.NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failureNATO claim: NATO took over the command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ...
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Serbia and the Balkan Wars: The Future Belongs to Those Who Do Not Surrender
Kosovo Muslim Albanian jihad fighters in the Middle East as ISIS members (2016)How accurate is the theory that there are tragic events of exceptional strength that really shape the identity of a nation? How is this happening and what if we do not learn a lesson out of those experiences?– The prominent French writer Renan wrote in his lecture “What is a Nation?” that people are often connected by memories of shared suffering, and Serbs are no exception. Today, when Yugoslavia is no more, there is no reason why Jasenovac should not be brought back to the center of the ...
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The Biggest Criminals in Global Politics
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
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The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
A peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations. Therefore, for instance, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia capitulated in 1995 to the American design regarding a final outcome of the USA/EU policy of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in November 1995 (the Dayton Agreement) followed by even worse ...
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The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel
Mark Twain on the Americans
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A Real Face of the European Union
The 1929 Lateran Treaty: B. Mussolini’s Faith-Based Initiative
Entrevista Con El Dr. Rubén Ramírez Lezcano, Candidato Del Gobierno Paraguayo A Presidir La CAF
A Contribution to Biography (C.V.) of Philanthropist George Soros
United States and Venezuela: A Historical Background
Understanding Albanian Nationality and Regional Political-Security Consequences
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
BOOK: The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics
Italy’s Mediterranean Policy
Serbs Survive in Ghettos in the Heart of Europe: The “Republic of Kosovo”, a Criminal Entity
The Korean War and Crimes against Humanity
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
Serbia and the Balkan Wars: The Future Belongs to Those Who Do Not Surrender
The Biggest Criminals in Global Politics
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
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