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THE EASTERN QUESTION
EuROPK has iioverbeen without an ' Eastern Question'
of some kind. The (livinion between East and West is
a very ancient one, and wherever such a division exists
there must necessarily be a wide debatable land in
which there will be interaction or conflict political,
social, and religious. At times some powerful political
organization, such as the Roman Empire, or a imifying
spiritual force, such as Christianity, may imnose peace
on this debatable land and encourage a period »f fruitful
intercourse between the two 'civilizations', o use a
convenient though a dangerous word. At other times,
as for instance durin<T; the wars between Greece and
I'cMsia. at the time of the great Mahometan attack, or
during the Crusades, East and West have been in
•-■'Vnt spiritual and military conflict. The frontier has
! shifted backwards and forwards, and it is
. at any given moment to say where Europe ends
?mt Asia begins. At all times there has been much that
is Asiatic about the eastern part of the ' Kiirope ' of our
maps, and in the Middle Ages the frontier of Latin
Christendom, of those countries whose religious life had
its centre in Rome, was in many respects the boundary
of Europe. In the south the Ea.stern Empire, that is to
say that eastern half of the old Roman Empire which
had its capital at Constantinople, tended to become more
' oriental ' as time went on ; and in the north there was
a great difference between the Russians, who had been
converted to Christianity by missionaries from Con-
4 THE EASTERN QUESTION
Mtantinoplo, and the Poles, who owwl religiouB obedience
to Rome. This Asiatic v-haractcr of rMsi. n. Knr..i)o
was nut urallv intensified when in tlu- t liiiC rnt 1. cent m y
the M..nL'ols. a peopl.' who Lad «<.nie originally from
northe rn Cliina, conquered and settled in Russia, and
when in tlie tourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Otto-
man Turks became the masters of the J^alkan IVninsnla
and of many lands to the north of it. M the (•l.)s.- of
the Middle Ages, therefore, and for the two centuries that
followed, the • Eastern Question ' was concerned with the
Turks, their victories and theirdefeats. In the eighteenth
century a new power appeared in the North, Russia, stdl
in many respects oriental in character, hut prepared and
anxious to carry on with the no pacific and wcakenmg
Turkish Kmi)ire an uninterrupted struggle for the mastery
of the East. Thus in t he nineteenth century the Eastern
Question was concerned with the relations between
Russia and Turkey, as well as with the ini ernal condit ,on
of those two empires. So matters stood ni 1!>12 ; then
sudileidy with the tirst Balkan war and the driving back
of the Turks to the n -ioii of Constantinople the whole
problem was changed. The Turks seemed to be practically
obliterated, the antagonism between the rival Christian
nationalities that had once been under Turkish rule was
raised to fever-heat, and, most omhious change of all, the
dan'H i- of foreign intervention became acute. Hitherto
it liad been the aim of England and France, and indeed
of aU lovers of peace, to isolate the storm region in
South-east Europe, to promote cither better government
under the Turks or to see that what they lost should be
gained bv the small Christian states and not by any of
the Great Powers. Thus would both the peace of Europe
be secured and the independence of small states. For
the moment this policy was successful. The Turkish
THE EASTERN QUESTION
t<p()tl.s wviv divided luM kh ii (Jrt-ece, Jiiiliraria, and St-rvia.
and till- (licit I'dNM i> lookt d (til. Ailsl I la did. iiidci-d.
iufsist on the pu'dcrviitiou df Albuiiiau indt'iM Mdi'iicc in
order to limit Servia on the west ; but the ])rupo8uI was
in itself perfectly reasonable, though no doubt difficult
to carry out, and it met with geiierul agreement. Un-
fortunately tlial victory ot pcaci t'iil diplomacy was not to
be lastiii<;. 'I he racial (juarrel.s within the old Turkish
frontiers merged into u wider movement which extended
far beyond the Balkan Peninsula, the Servian question
passed into the Souti>ern Slav question, and the diplo-
matic Ijarriei which had been set up lound the storm
region were ,-^>vept away. llus^ia and Austria came
into the contlict and the world was ablaze. It would be
absurd to say that Servia is the cause of the War ; that
cause is to be found in much more far-reaching antagon-
isMi.s, but it cannot be denied that it was the Eastern
Question, in this its most recent phase, that ])rovided
the sparis . That evil spirit which had so troubled our
fathers, and which was thought to be finally laid when
the Christians of Europe had been emancipated from the
Turk, suddenly reappeared once more in fatal conspiracy
with (Jernian war-policy.
These few vvords of introduction show huw great is the
part played in this Eastern Question by races', "racial
movements and ' racial problems ', and before describing
the condition? in south-eastern Europe it is essential to
turn for a moment to the meaning of this word, ' race
It represents obviously enough certain broad distinctions
between men. An Englishman, for ixistance, is in a
number of ways unlike an Italian. But when we try
to obtain an accurate definition we find that the term
is elusive. What exactly is the Anglo-Saxon race ?
Does it include the Scotch or the Irish ? If we make
THE EAiSTERiN QUESTION
'race' simply a matter of heretUtary deMoent thm
English. Srotch, and Irish arc all mixed riu'cs, and the
' Aiifilo . Saxon * race s. cms to vanish alto^'ct her. In
order to get a clearer dehnition it is not uncommon to
make language the test of race. Yet this is a most ttn-
tnistworthy test. Men with very different racial oharac-
tcristics often speak the same language. Tn any case
it will tend very tuucIi to cIcaiMM ss of thought if we make
a diutinctiun between ' race " and " nationality The
latter term should be kept for the description of a
definite body of people, large enough to be to some
extent Helf -sufficient, who have a perniaiient wish to be
united in a political community. Ilacc. language, re-
ligion, past history, geographical position - all these
bonds of union w ill help to produce t hestatcof mind which
makes a nationality, but they should not be confused
with it. ThuH the Swiss are a natinn h, cause they desire
to be miitcd politically. This disirc llity have in spite
of t he absence of nearly all t he t ics mcnt ioncd above : and
it should be respected by other nations. In other words
' nationality ' is a question of human will and desire,
' race ' is one of hereditary descent or ph3rsical charac-
Now (hn-ing the last hundred years race and language
have had more iiitlueuce on nationality than they have
ever had before. In the eighteenth century, for instance,
political and racial divisions cut across each other in
many directions, and the French Revolution took no
account of race. Jiut in the nineteenth century the
principle that populations of the same race and language
should be politically imited and independent gradually
came to be recognized as almost self-evident. It became,
in fact, one of the most powerful political forces of the
century, breaking some states to pieces and building
up othen. Its triumph, huwcver, hag not been with*
out (liiiiypr. In llic earlier staLjes oppressed iiation-
alitie.s miturally uttructed Hyiupathy; hut in time
natiuiialiticH, once they had grown iK)werful, proved that
they too could be both oppr^re and warlike, and they
added racial bittemeM to oppression and to war. It is
not iltogcthe- an advatitajje that the wars of races
liHve tak 'II the p'-icc of thi' wars of kings. Again, race
instead of being ecognized biuiply as one of the sources
of national feeling has been put in its place, pliyslcal
characteristics have been preferred to human will and
political loyalty. Th«i ^..'ople of Alsme, in spite of being
(Jerinau by desicnt, were ent luisiasticaily attached to
France ; Germany, liowever, maintanied that she
had the ' right ' to compel them to become Germans
mentally as well as physically. To-day, too, there are
many Gernums wlioclaim llollaiui and the Flemish parts
of Belgium because the people in those countries are of
Teutonic stock. VVc should not, therefore, be too ready
to accept racial similarity as the basis of territorial
rearrangements. Each case must be examine' m its
own merits. It is, indeed, ([uite possible that , itioal
systems which can link together difTercpt rf^. es, as the
British Empire does, may provj a grci'^r benefit to
mankind than those in which , liticai d. visions are
deepened by racial exdusiveness.
The Balkan Peninsula, to which we must now return,
is a country where races were numerous and contentious
even before the coming of the Turk; yet the shore of these
Turks in the Eastern Question has long been so pre-
dominant, and their power is still so much alive, that it
is natural to begin with them.
The Ottoman Turks \\ ere a branch of a people who in
the eleventh century had migrated from central into
THE EA.sTKItX QI ESTION
western Asia, and wlio. thoutrli for a time (liheii \n\vk
l)y the Crusades, settled down i)eriiiaiieiitly in Syria and
Asia Minor. Tliis westward niovenieut the Ottomans
resumed once more in the fourteenth century. They
crossed into Europe and rapidly extended their conquests
over the greater part ; f tiie Balkan Peninsuhi. They
owed their sncof^ss to tine military qualities, lo tlie
mutual antagonisms lietween tlie small Christian states
with whom they came into contact, and to the absence
of any substantial or enduring resistance from the nations
of the west. In 1453 Constantinople, and with it the last
fragment of the Eastern Empire, fell into Turkish hands
and became the capital of constantly ex]ianding do-
minions. The great Sultans of the sixteenth century
exercised a real, if unequal, authority over south-eastern
Europe, western Asia, and nortliern Africa. Even as
late as 1683 the Turks were knocking at the gates of
Vienna. From that moment their decline was rapid, and
they lost much territory in central Europe ; but at the
beguming of the nineteenth century the Turkish Empire
still nominally included the whole of the Balkan Penin-
sula south of the Carpathians, and it had lost little in
.\sia or Africa. The tieii wliich kept these .seatteretl
province^ together were religious and military. The
immense majority of the Sultan s subjects were Maho-
metans, and amongst them, as amongst most Eastern
peoples, ])at riot ism is mainly religious. Acceptance of
the .Moslem religion overrides, to a degree astoiushing
to us, every distinction of c()k)ur. race, or class. A pure-
blooded Turk who is as whi^e as any European is pre-
pared to treat a Mahometan negro on lines of absolute
equality. Religion, too, as in mediaeval Europe, entered
into everyday life, into the legal system, into military
service, and into the political and social organization.
THE EASTERN QUESTION
Tt is indeed hard to think of any tie but religion which
could bind toprether the many pe()])les and races, Berber,
Egyptian, Arab, Syrian, Albanian, and Turk, which made
up the Mahometan part of the Empire. This religious
bond was strengthened by the fact that since 1517 the
Sultans have been recognized as Caliphs by the larger of
the two sects into which the Moslem world is divided.
The Caliph is to some extent looked upon as the successor
of the Prophet, though it is doubtful what authority the
Sultan could exercise as Caliph beyond his own political
The government of the Turkish Empire was entirely
oriental. The Sultan was supreme within the 'imits
allowed him by Moslem religious law ; and under him the
governors whom he set over the different provinces were
luicont roiled except by their fear of the Sultan, their fear
of rebellion, and the strength of custom. A strong
governor would sometimes make himself practically in-
dependent, and the Sultan might have to encourage a
local rebellion in order to secure his fall. There was
nothing corresponding to a legislature, nothing like a
modern administrative system. Taxation was haphazard
and primitive in its methods, and the property of in-
dividuals but very ill protected against the illegal
exactions of the governor or his agents. Under such a
system there was almost unlimited scope for personal
tyranny, but there was none of that steady administrative
pressure which a modern government can bring to bear
upon a population. A bad governor might cause a great
deal of suffering to his subjects, but he could effect no
permanent change in their thoughts or their manner of
It is not easy for the West to untlerstand the East.
We may, therefore, easily exaggerate the evils of oriental
THE EASTERN QUESTION
government. Much depended on the personal character
of the ruk'r. Life and property were insecure : the
economic development of the country, and the establish-
ment of much that we know as civilization, was therefore
impossible. Yet the supreme test of a government is the
type of character which it produces or allows to develop.
Judged by this standard the East has a strong defence.
Few Europeans have acquired a knowledge of Eastern
peoples without doing justice to many admirable quali-
ties. Nor would it be easy to say whether, on the
whole there is more happiness in the East or the West.
Many of the worst moral and social evils w hitli are the
fruit of our economic conditions are absent in a simpler
society where family life is very vigorous and men are
content to live as their fathers lived before them.
Though every European who has lived in the East
realizes the necessity of many practical reforms, few
would wish to see a wholesale introduction of Western
civilization. It is evident, however, that such a system
will be least successful where the bond of ' religious
patriotism ' is absent ; and the government by the
Turks of their Christian subjects became a difficult
problem as soon as Turkey began to lose her prestige
as one of the great military Powers of the work!. It
then became possible for foreign Powers to interfere in
the internal government of Turkey, and to encourage
resistance . Under such circumstances it is not surprising
that the Turk was considered the ' sick man ' of Europe,
and that his speedy death was prophesied at intervals
throughout the nineteenth century. It must be remem-
bered, however, that his authority did not rest simply
on his military power : no authority can do so for any
length of time. It depended on the fact that, however
bad his government might seem from a Western point of
THE EASTERN QUESTION
view, it had at least the waving virtue of not interfering
with tlie national habits and ideas of the different
Christian peoples. No effort was made, even in the days
when Turkish military power was unquestioned, to
' assimilate to use government pressure in order to
change the character of a people. On the contrary, the
Turks, while t' -ating the Christians as inferiors, still
recognized their religion, their language, and even their
corporate organization. Thus Bulgarian and Greek
villages were able to live side by side and to preserve
their national life in a manner which has been impossible
since Turkish rule has been removed. Nor is it fair
to account for this toleration by a cunning policy of
strengthening Turkish authority by dividing its adver-
saries : for the Turks acted in this mapner in the days
of their strength as well m in the days of their weakness.
It is rather to be explained by the oriental character of
Turkish rule and their familiarity with the idea of poli-
tical organizations based on religion.
The Turks, perhaps unfortunately for them, were not
content to remain oriental. Throughout the last century
there was a movement among them in favour of intro-
ducing European reforms. Some of these, such as the
military reforms of Mahmoud 11, were essential to the
existence of Turkey ; others were obvious practical
reforms, such as the regular payment of officials. There
were other changes more distinctively Western, such as
the introduction of European education and dress, and
attempts to imitate Western political institutions. This
movement culminated in the " Young Turkish ' revolution
of 1908. It was brought about by the impossible govern-
ment of the late Sultan, who had set all the educated
classes, whether Turkish or Christian. air^iitiKt him ; and
at first the ' Young ^Turks ' included, besides others,
THE EASTERN QUESTION
much of what was host in Turkey. After a time, how-
ever, tlie worst elements in the party hegan to prevail.
These were partially westernized individuals who had
often lived in European capitals and had, in any case,
lost all respect for the reUgion and the practices of their
own iieople — men, in a word, who illustrate the difficulty
of combininfr East and West without loss of character.
Th(> constitution which tlie Young Turks set up was in-
tended to conciliate the Christians, and it succeeded at
first, but not for long ; while, on the other hand, the army
was revolutionized and weakened. The Balkan States
saw their opportiuiity : and they succeeded, much 1o the
surpriseof European both forniiiiga Leagueand defeating
the Turks. The Young Turkish party still appears to
prevail at Constaiitinople, but it is to be hoped that its
place may soon be taken by men who are better repre-
sentatives of the good qualities of the Turkish race.
Without good qualities the Turks could not j)ossibly
have kept even elemental y order in the Balkan Peninsula.
Tt is a patchwork of rival nationalities, a population
amongst whom a genuine love of fighting and an astonish-
ing courage are found combined with a remarkable
capacity for hatred and cruelty. The second Balkan
war showetl that these passionate little peoples could
attack one another more fiercely than they had fought
their old Moslem masters.
The relative positions of th(> Balkan States will be best
studied in the map. but it must be remembered that
so-called racial majis record the frontiers not of race but
of language, and that in many districts, especially in
Macedonia, sucii maps are of no value at all, since the
races were inextricably mixed up with one another.
Since the recent wars migratiosi f\}v\ ])in«sacre have con-
siderably simplified these racial puzzles.
THE EASTERN QUESTION
Of all the Christian populations of the Pen.inoula the
Greeks are by far tlie most nurneio'is. The old Greek
stock has been mingled uilh many of the races which
at different times have visited the country ; but, what-
ever their origin, the modern Greeks form a vei-y 'istinct
nationality, iuid they speak a lanji'i.aue which, thanks to
a modern classical revival, is very like ancient Greek.
They played a great part in the old Turkish Empire; for
besides peopling Greece and the islands with a hardy
and primitive population, they were scattered through
all the towns and l)eeanK' successful merchants
administrators. The Turk has never tid-c'Mi kindly to
any profession except those of the farmer and the soklier,
and he was glad to use for all kinds of oflicial work
the Greek, whose military incapacity he despised. The
Greeks were the first among the Christian races to secure
the complete indepcadence of at least a portion oi' their
race. 'J'his success they won in 182S. They owed it more
particularly to the ind(jmitable perseverance of the semi-
barbarous peasantry and islanders ; but since those heroic
days it is the urban and educatetl ( Jreek who has become
the most eharacteristie type. The Greeks, loo, controlled
the ecclesiastical organi''.ation of the Christian subjects
of Turkey. The immense majority ^'f these belonged
to the orthodox Greek Church, and its head was the
Patriarch at Constantinople. The Turks, who were
themselves organized oii a religious l)asis, recognized
the authority of the Patriarch and bishops over their
Hocks; and ail members of the Orthodo.v Church; what-
ever their race, were habituaUy known as Greeks, just
as all Moslems were ca'led Turks. It was only by de-
grees, during the course of the iiineteenth century, that
the >-thcr Christiasi po}>H!;>' -f T\!rk«:^y, ^^f^rvi='n,
Roumanian, and Bulgarian, emancipated themselves from
14 THE EA8TEKX QUESTION
this Greek rule. After the formation of the kiiigdoui of
Greece a very coiusiderableGrei'k jjopuiatiou still remained
Hubjecl to the Turk. They \\ ere to be found particularly
in Salonica, Constantinople, and all the coast towns round
the Aegean Sea. They formed, too, the majority of the
population in most of the islands : and i.i Crete, where
they have ])reserved the vigoiu- with the barbarity ot
the heroic days, they have steadily destroyeil or pushetl
out the Turkish minority. On the mainland they have
been more peaceful. They challenged the Turks indeed
in 1897, but with very unfortunate results. They are
verv successful traders, and they have (Uvoted much
eare and money to education. Tiny are great politicians,
but their politics have not got a good reputation. In
the recent Balkan wars the Greeks fought much
better than in 1807, i)ut they had to meet neither the
best Turkish nor the l)est Jiulgarian troo))s. There can
be no doubt, on the other hand, Hiat they destroyed
Bulgarian villages and their inhabitants in a cold-
blooded manner and, apparently, with the deliberate
purpose of claiming the district s as entirely Greek. Since
Greece was the only Power which possessed a tieet she
was a))le to seeuie a large share in the s})oils of the.se
wars. Salonica fell to her lot with 17,t»Utl si^uare miles
of territory, and in addition to this a number of islands.
For the present the appetite of Greece is probably satis-
tied, though she is doubtless allowing her semi-inde-
]>endent guerillas to invade southern Albania. Her
main preoceupat ion must be to keep \\ hat she has recently
acquired, and she probably looks for danger from two
quarters, either from the buying or the building of a fleet
by the Turks or from a Bulgarian revival. In the first
case lu r iieul_v uciiuiied i.->laini> iind her own coasts
would be exposed, and in the second she might easily
THE EASTERN QUESTION
lose some of her Macedonian conquests. We may hope
that with enlarged territories and new responsibilities
the Greeks may bring into their political life a dignity,
a reserve, and an hoi -jsty which have hitherto been
lacking ; but in any ( ase the (iieek oi the future is not
likelv to oniuhite tiie Greek of ancient days. It is no
discredit to them to say that whatever may happen
their great achievements lie behind them in the
It is the future which we instinctively think oi when
wc turn to any section of the Slav race. The Slavs are
the most numerous race in Europe. Out of a population
of some 400,000,000 over 150,000,000 speak one of the
numeit)U8 Slavonic languages. They are not recent
immigrant> into Europe. There is evidence of their
existence, .il least in the neighbourhood of the Danube,
very early in our era. Their moveaients in the sixth
and seventh centuries are on record. They are, therefore,
an ancient as well as u very numerous race. Yet they
seem to have profited neither by numbers nor time.
Numbers should have meant ]K)wer. and tiiiic brings
opportunities f( >r rule . As a matter of fact Slav " empires '
of considerable extent have from time to time c 'me into
being in different portions of the vast Slav lands. But
they have never lasted more than a few generations.
Russia is the one exception, and even in Ru.'^sia there
is hardly as yet a stable [)()liti( al organization. In the
last century, however, there was much stirring among
the Slavs. Russians, Poles, and Bohemians have in
very different ways borne witness to the vitaliU' of the
race. It is ditHcult not to believe that they will play a
very much greater part in the political history of the
luture. The must southern of all the Slav iHjpulations
is to be found in south-eastern Europe o^ jupying a
THE KASTEKN QUESTiOX
wide Im'II of foimtry rouudi'v speaking between the
Danube ami tlie Drave on the north-east, and the
Adriatic ou the 80uth-west. The Ht)uth-ea»tern half of
this district is inhabited by the Hervianw ; north-west
of them eoine the Cioatians, and finally a small Slav
people, with uIiomi \\c aie not concerned, the Slovenes.
Kast and])arll\ .^onthof the Servians ar<' t he Huljii.iians,
a [)eople who speak a Slavonic language and have long
been considered Slavs ; but they are not Slavs by origin,
and they will be dealt with later on. The Sei vians have
been, on the whole, one of the inmc haekwaid of the
Slav peoples, though they had a lirief pi'iiod of glory in
the fourteenth eentury. not long before their eoiu^uest
by the Turks. They were often restive under Turkish
rule, but rarely suc essful. .\ considerable number of
Servians became Moslems. The tir.-t step towards their
independence was made in IS12 with Kiis.sjan help, and
ill 187S the Kingdom of Servia sci ured its complete inde-
pendence. It did not, however, include all the Servians.
Austria was allowed to occupy the large province of
IJosiiia. and many Servians rcmainei I under diicct
TiU'kish rule. There was also the little principality of
Montenegro established in a rugged and mountainous
district not far from the Adriatic and peopled by men
of Servian race. It had never owed much more than
a nominal allegiance to the Turks, and foi- generations
the Montenegrins carried on a luthless vendetta waifare
with their neighbours the Albanians. They too owed
their independence in the nineteenth century to Russian
As a T-esult of these territorial arrangements Servia
became the centre of a movement for a " (Jreater Servia '.
iur ambition w,i.> to iiu iude vvilhin iici i'loiit ieis aii the
people of her race, in the past Servia had often Ijeen
THE EASTERN QUESTION
licll)c(l In" Aiistriaiis ii<f;unst the Tinks. hut now Austria
l)ec<iine the ouciny hecausf she uc'cu})ied Bosnia, territory
claimed by Servia, and because it was known that many
Austrians hoped, if the Turkish Empire broke up, to
push the Austriiui dorniuions ri^ht down to the sea at
Salonica. These teiritorial aml)itioiis Servia only very
partially satistied alter the two lialkan wars of 1012,
the first against the Turks, the second against Bulgaria.
To her original 3,000.000 inhabitants she added 1,700,000
more, but she was eut ofT fi-oni the Adriatic- by Albania,
and from the XcL'ean hv the <oeeks at Salonica. while
liosnia still rem lined in AusLrian hands. The Servian
problem is, however, still further complicated by its
relations with Croatia. The Croats dwell to the north
and north-west of S<m'\ ia and Bosnia. They are closely
allied to them, hut they are a more edueaterl and
develo])ed ])eople. Most of them never came under the
Turkisli yoke, and they have long been mend>ers of the
Austria-Hungarian Empire. Now it must be remembered
that Austria-Hungary is a ' Dual Monarchy ', that
Austria ])roper and Hungary are almost separate etnui-
tries. They have, for instance, distinct legislatures
sitting in different capitals, Vienna and liuda-Pcsth.
The Croats are in tho Hungarian part of the Dual
Monarchy, and ever since the beginning of the Slav
revival in the middle of the last century there has
l)een almost unintcri'uptcfl frietion between Croat and
Hung;>rian. Of recent years the struggle between the
two peoples has increased in intensity. Servia has
naturally endeavoured to profit by this movement and
to include Croatia in her schemes for a ' Greater Servia '.
The Servians are born fighters and make excellent
soidieis, bill they liiivt- liud in the par>t an unhappy
fondness for assassination and intrigue. The murder
THE EAkSTEKiN yUE8'riON
(»f their late kiri^' and qiurii wan crcdita l)lc iicitlur n'
the aiiny nor to the people. There can be no doubt that
there wa« an extenHive Servian movement within the
borders of the Austrian dominionH, a ' South Slav
danger ' threatening both Au>tria and Hungary, and all
the more serious because of the known an<l natuial
sympathy between llushia and Servia. rnturtunately
the Austru-Hungarian CJoverinneuts have proved entirely
incapable of dealing with this problem and finding any
peaceful solution. The Archduke who was recently
murdered had. indeed, been endeavunrin<i to reconcile
Aiisti'ians and Slavs by sacrilicinu: HuiiL;.iry. His plan
was to separate tlie Slav (Ustriels fntni Hungary and to
give them ' Home Rule '. This jwlicy was opposed by
the anti-Slav party at Vienna, by the Hungarians, w ho
would lose a eonsiderabie province, and by SeiviaJis
who hoi)ed to unit»> to Servia the discoiitented Slavs
under Austro-Hungariaa rule. After the murder of the
Archduke all idea of conciliation was abandoned, and
both Austria and Hungary decided for war.
East of Sorvia, south of the Dar i be, is Bulgaria. The
Bulgarian people s(>em to have conie into Europe with th<-
Huns. They were not 8ia vs, and spoke a language which
did not belong to the European family of languages.
Their original home probably lay in the plains north
of ihe Caspian and farther east. Very soon, however,
they ac(piired the langua<i<' aii<l many of the character-
istics of the Slavs whom they conquered, and until the
present day they have generally been spoken of as Slavs.
Their recent war with the Servians has now revived these
almost prehistoric distinctions. At different epochs
during the Middle Ages the Bulgarians were the prevailing
power in tiie Balkans, masters of the Siav>, and even at
times the successful antagonistis of Coustdutiuopie. After
THE EASTERN QUESTION
the I'urlsi^li c .lUiUest the> ^ulloivd iUi fxlraonlinuiy
t ( lipsf. From a military point of view they were com-
pletely under Turkish control, and in other matters
Greek inlliu m' • prevailed entirely ovtM' Bulgarian. The
(M'clfsiastical or^Muizatioii was (!rcck. (ireek \^a^ tlir
lanixiia^fc of all ihc educated elas>es. Euglishmen
t ra verisiiig the i t'iiiimy in the tirst half of the last century
spoke of the people as if they were all Greeks. Slowly,
however, the Bulgarian nationality reasserted itself,
eHi)ecially after tlie ('rinican War. iJy 187(» tlu-y had
sccined ('cclesiasl ical self-government, and live years
later they rehelleil. largely in response to a Russian
propaganda, against the Turks. That revolt was put
down in a way which won for the Turks an uneii viable
notoriety, thou^di nvent i vents both in the Balkan
Peninsula and elscuhei'e have shown that ' atrocities '
are no Turkish monopoly. The Bulgarian revolt was
followed by a Russian war on Turkey in 1877-8, and
the victory of Russia led to the formation of the Bul-
garian 8tatc. It consisted of the district between the
I)anul)e and the JUlkans, with a semi-attached province
south of the lialkans, a province which was delinitely
united to Bulgaria a few years later. This new princi-
pality was still nominally imder Turkish suzerainty, and
remained so till I'tOS, but its chief ambition was to
extend itself to the Aege;in and to include the districts
where Bulgarian villages were to be found, though they
might be mixed up with a Greek or a Turkish population.
The history of Bulgaria has been a very stormy one.
Though the people owed much to the Russians they
dreaded from the first the intiuence of lUissia. On the
one hand, Russian propagandism was carried on Avith
extraordinary thoroughness ; on the other, the Bulgarian
Government fought hard for its independence. The
THE EASTEUN KSTION
first MtilL'.iriiiii I'lincc. AlexuiKlcr of HiittciilKUL' «:is
kirliia |»|M'(1 by tlif IJilHsiaii paitv. aiwl tilt" st miiji- willed
iiiinistt'r who ruled duriim tlio HrKt years of the present
Hovereign w«m inurdeml. Recently the Bulgarian
Government iip|Kvir» to have come tj;ore under Russian
il»Hueiice and there is little douht that the lialkaii
lii'Mirue wlii( li was f()iiiie<( (ty Kerdiiiand of litdjraria
aj^iiiust Turkey hiis seemed at least the diplomatie
support of RuHt<iu. In the war which followed the
BulgariauH showed great military efficiency and were un-
expectedly successful, riifdituri itely for themselves, in
a ntonieiit of madness they cliallenL'cd tlicir iccent allies,
suH'ered a series of (U'feats, and lost some oi their con-
(|ueHt8 both on the western and their eastern frontiers.
They are considered by many, however, to be the most
pro<rressive and the most eflieient of the Balkan States,
and t heir friends inaititain tli.it w hen t hey ha ve recos t-reil
from the ecmseqiienics of defeat and repai-ed tluiir
resouiX'eH, they will onee more endeavour to secure a
pi-edominant position in the Peninsula.
most northerly of the states that were included
I iM'V a<;o in the Turkish Kmpire is lloumania.
The ii.iine was originally i,'iven to the lanyua^c sj)ok<'n
by the inhabitants. Tlie people theniselvcs were
generally known as Vlachs, and the country consisted
of two principalities of Wnllaehia and Moldavia ; they
wcreeuvrontly spoken of as the " Daniihian Priiu ijialities".
The languaae is a Latin laiigiiaLM'. (I'lived lik(> Ttalian or
French from the popular Latin of the iioman Empire.
Considering, however, that what we now call Boumania
lay right in the path of so many invasions from the east,
of Goths, of Huns, of >Shivs, and of other races who
])onred into iiie Loinan pjnpii'c. it is e\t i eiiu'iy unlikely
that the llouiiuimans represent tlie old luliabitants ot
THK EASTKRN QUr.STTOX
th<« I'vuina'i I'lovinro. They imiht Ik- a \wy iiiix('<l race,
Duriim the ix iiinl of Tmkish supremacy the I'riiuipali-
ties were never for long under direct Turkish rule, but
normally enjoyed pretty complete autonomy. They
suffered, however, very HcriouHly from the Turco lluswiaii
wnrs which hetMii with IV-tcr the Creat and continued
intermittently (hiriiiu' ilie ci^'liteent h and nineteenth
centuries. At the lieginninv, of the nineteenth century
Russia exercised certain rights of Protectorate over them,
and after 1859 the two principalities were united and
called Roumania. In 1800 they elected as tlicir Prince
a inemher of the younj^er hraiich of th • royal Prussian
family, and in 1878 after the Turkish vvav, in wliicii tlie
Roumanians gave very valuable help to Russia, they
secured their complete and formal independence of
Turkey. Three years later their IVince took the title
of King. The j^co^rraphical position of Roumania makes
it necessarily the most pacific of the Bidkan States.
Every (hsturbance of the status quo in the Balkans, any-
thing which tends to weaken the separate states renders
more likely a Russian intervention, and from sucl \n
intervention Roumania would be the first to tsuffer. Sh<'
succeeded in almost entirely ki'ejnng out of the recent
Bidkan wars, though, in the interests of peace, she
helped to bring about the surrender of Bulgaria. The
Roumanians give the ij)ipression, therefore, of being the
most ' wcdtern , the least " ljarl>aric " of this extraordi-
nary group of little states. Like her sister states, how-
ever, Roumania has lier national ambitions. Across the
Carpathians, under Hungarian rule, live some three
million Roumanians who would probably be willing
enf.ugh to jom their kinsfolk on the east. There are
also iittle settlements of V lachs scattere<l aboui the hills
of tlie Balkan Penuisula itself, quiet folk without national
THE EASTERN QUESTION
nmhition as a rule, wlio got on very well with the
'I'm ks ami wcic allowed l)y thoin to live in their own
way. 'I'liey will no doulil obtain ii.ore rej^ular govern-
ment but less tolerati(jn tnjin their new Servian or
There remains y(^t another Balkan race, and that the
oldest of all. The Albanians, who have beeii already
mentioned as in a sense 'Turks " because they are mostly
Moslems, are almost ceitaiuly the d.'scendants of the
tribes who occupied the same country in Roman times,
and they may go back to very much earlier days.
Securely established in their very inaccessible hills, they
have watched many invach rs come and go. The Turks
never really coniiuered them, and they became Moslems
chiefly that they might take part in the Tm*kish cam-
paigns in central Europe. Besides the Mahometan
Albanians in the centre, there are Catholic Albanians in
the north, close to ]\rontenegro. and (Jreek .Albanians in
the south, who are now included in the Greek kingtlom.
Even this superficial survey of the Balkan Peninsula
as it was in the past century will show that the task of
maintahiing law and order was one that would have
taxed the resources, whether moral or material, of any
government. Th(» (establishment by 1878 of the states
of Greece, Servia, and Bulgaria diminislied the responsi-
bilities of the central government, but even then there
remained Greeks, Servians, and Bulgarians mider
Turkish rule. These were constantly being encouraged
by their indei)eu(lent kinstulk lo rise against the Turks
and to struggle with one another. Xor were the reforms
which the European Powers recommended and which
the Sultan sometimes adopted of much avail, for the
good governm(>nt of Turkey was not at all to the
interest of the Christian states. Each nationality was
THE EASTERN QUESTTOX
working; for its own indciiondonco and supremacy, not
for a law and ordfr which should he common to all.
Under such conditions it would not ha\c Ijeen wonder-
ful if from merely internal reasons European Turkey
had become a scene of confusion and smouldering revolt.
As a matter of fact, however, foreifjn intervention has
been continually at hand to add to the confusion, and at
times the Eastern Question seemed to be narrowed down
to a struggle between Russia and Turkey. They were
the two great antagonists in the East, and the weaker
Turkey tecomes the greater is the share which Russia
will have in the ultimate solution. It is therefore
more than ever essential to understand something of the
character and aims of Russia.
It is difficult enough to describe briefly the character
of any country, however compact and constant ; but
what can be said of Russia, a country which covers
enormous spaces, includes numerous races, contains
classes in very different stages of mental and social
development, and where, for the last ten years, a revolu-
tion has been in progress, partly violent, partly peaceful,
which "must necessarily affect the character both of the
people and of the state ? The only possible course is to
describe Russia as she was in the nineteenth century,
and then to suggest the direction in which changes
Russia till the close of the seventeenth century may be
described, for the sake of brevity, as an ' oriental " state.
The process of bringing her into " Europe ' was begun
b}' Peter the Great and it continued fitfully during
the eighteenth century, a time which was passed in
alternating periods of Western influence and Russian
nationalist reaction. During the later years of the cen-
tury the work of Peter was carried on with extraordinary
THE EASTKRX QUF:STT0X
sucooss hy ( ';it licrinc J I , a masteifnl woman 1)orii of
ii small German princely family. She understood better
than any native Russian sovereign the national senti-
ments of the RusHian people, while she carried out the
jiolicy of a ^n'cat and unsciiipulous Eiuopean Power.
The Xapoleonic wars left Russia the predominant ])ower
on the Continent, and on the whole she maintained that
position till near the end of the niii( <:eenth century. The
Crimean War was really a drawn battle which did not
diminish her prestige. But though Russia was so
important a Eiu'oj)ean Power, ..ne was still very unique
in character. From a political point of view her ])opnla-
tion consisted of two very distinct classes. The mass
of the [)eople were still very oriental. They consistetl
then, as they consist now, of peasants to whom religion
is really the chief foundation of the State. This vast
peasant state was govcned by an official class, central-
ized and autocratic. At its head were some of the ablest
statesmen in Europe — ^few of them were in fact Russians
by birth. The chief foreign minister from the time of
Napoleon to the Crimean War could not ev^n talk
Hiissian. Between tliese intelMftMit. all-})owerful officials
and the mass of the population there was no intermediate
middle class. There were indeed many men and women
who had received a Western education in the Universities,
people who combined knowledge and high intellectual
endowments with something of the primitive Russian
sentiments and ])assions. It was from ahHUig these
■ intellectuals ", as they are sometimes oalL'd, that the
great novelists came, men who are among the princes in
the world of European letters ; it is among them too
that most of the anarchists have been found. This
class indeed, Iwjili on account of its passionate and
unpractical character, and because of its want of contact
THE EASTERN QUESTION
with the peasants, was not able .seriously to eoiitrol the
otiicial class. The result was a system of government
tyrannous in many of its features to an extent incredible
in the West. It was not till 1905 that some of the most
elementary principles of religious freedom were admitted
hy the liussian state. Autocratic governineiit at home
was accoiupauied by a policy of systematic expansion
abroad. To such an extent has this policy been success-
ful that a little state, whose name was hardly known at
the end of the seventeenth century, included two
centurier later one-seventh of the land surface of
How far this policy of conquest was in accordance with
the wishes of the Russian people it is difficult to say, but
there can be no doubt that one of the forms which it
took, conquest from the Turks, was profoundly popular.
To the Russian people the Tmkish war was the renewal
of the Crusade, the manifest task of Holy Russia : to the
statesmen and ofl&cials it meant a stage on the road to
Constantinople and the Mediterranean. So throughout
the nineteenth century the Turkish war continued
uninterru]>tedly in its many shapes and forms. • jme-
times it was direct conquest and annexation that was
aimed at ; sometimes, as before the Crimean War, Russia
tried to control Turkey by securing rights of protection
over her Christian subjects ; sometimes, as in the last
years of the century, she exorcised what was practically
a protectorate over the Turkish government itself. In
all this policy Russia has had three diflRculties to face :
first, the military power of the Turks which ought to have
been successful in 1829, which did succeetl in 1854, and
whicli was near success in 1S77 ; secondly, the suspicion
with which she was regardetl by the Christian pcojjles in
he Balkan Peninsula ; and thirdly, the opposition of
THE EASTERN QUESTION
the Western Povvera, though the iiiiportaiuc of the
help which they gave tiie Turks has been mucli exag-
If the nineteenth-century policy of Rvissia can be
tlescribed very broadly, and neglecting for the moment
the reforms of Alexander If, as one of systcmutie
expansion abroad and systematic repression at lionie,
what are we to look forward to in the twentieth ? It
must be admitted, to begin with, that the high hopes
with which the Rnssian Revolution of 1905 was greeted
have not been fulfilled. Revolution has been followed by
reaction, though the reaction has never been complete.
The essentials of a representative system remain, though
legislative power is still in the hands of the Emperor.
Underlying this progress i.'^ an economic change. The
growth of industry is gradually forming a middle class,
and, considering what enormous Luideveloped forces
Russia controls, industry is certain to continue growing.
At the same time the begumings of constitutional
liberty, the development of numicipal gov^ernmei't . and
the many efforts made to deal with rural and other
problems — all these forms of political and social activity
will help t bring the educated classes, the " intellectuals
into closer touch with the realities of political life, and
to give them more sense of responsibility.
Amongst the most immediate consequences of the
Revolution of 1905 were the restoration of autonomy to
Finland and the grant of some measure of Home Rule
to Poland, concessions which were withdrawn when the
reaction prevailed at Petrograd. Shoidd Russia, after
this war, succeed in uniting under her suzerainty the
three parts (>( divided Poland, the autonomy which has
been promised the Poles will become a practical necessity,
and the reconciliation between Pole and Russian ought
THE EASTERN QUESTION
to cluiiige ontiifly the chamcter of Russian ruie ; it
nhoulcl mean tiie weakening of the central bureaucracy
and a tendency towards a federal system. What has
boi'U grautetl to Poland and Finland will l)o demanded,
though no doubt lo u lessor extent by South Russia.
Indeed it is obvious that ih a country so vast, so hetero-
geneous as Russia, decentralization is the first condition
of any real constitutional progress. Reconciliation with
Poland will also nimlify at once the relations between
Russia and the other Slav peoples beyond her frontiers.
A loose feileral connexion with the Balkan States would
be accepted by people who would look upon the supre-
macy of the old Russian Government in that Peninsula
as in every way disastrous. It is at least conceivable
that the great Slav movement of the future may be made
compatible with the independence of other nations both
great and small through this federal solution. A loose
federal union between all the English-speakuig peoples
would not be a danger to the world ; but their formation
into a strong centralized and military state would be
regarded as an intolerable menace.
A change such as has been suggested in the character
of the Russian state would probably modify at once her
foreign policy. She has possessions so vast and so
imdeveloped that ex])ansi(Mi, even from the most selfish
motives, can hardly be desirable. It will be said, how-
ever, that she will still demand ' blue watt>r ' and a
Mediterranean port, will still want the 'keys of her
house ', the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Constanti-
nople is indeed a position of great value to an aggressive
state. Though it is not as im])()rtant as it was in the
days when polities were Euroj)ean only, and the chief
export of wheat came from the Black Sea ports, a strong
military power at that incomparable meeting-place of
THE EASTERN QUESTION
seuH and continents would eli ige at once the whole
.situation in the !ialkan.s and in Asia Minor ; while
Constantinople as a naval base would threaten every
Mediteri Anean Power. Should Russia, however, content
herself with a pohey of jieace and development the
present situation oilers her many ad\•antage^'. For tlie
last two centuriis the Turks have fought none but
defensive wars. Constantinople could therefore hardly
be in more inoffensive keeping. The trade of Russia has
an absolutely safe ami fi-ec passage thr()u;j.h the Straits,
while the closing of tlu' Dardaiu'lles to ships oi war
secures the Black Sea coasts of Russia from attack.
However summary may have been this attempt to sur-
vey the conditions and the problems of Eastern Eiurope,
it is clear that after the ju'esent war the Eastern Question
w ill he one of al)sorl)ing interest Thi' fate of tlie Chris-
tian nationalities of the south-east and the relations
between Christian and Moslem, between West and East,
will still be in the balance. If the Allies win it is obvious
that the solution of these problems will tlepend most of
all on the character and conduct of Russia, and we have
verv siood reason to hoiH' that when the Slav comes to
his own he will show in his political conduct that apjire-
ciation of moral forces which in % ery tlifferent ways has
distinguished both the man of letters and the peasant.
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of the policy pur.,ucd by Austria-Hungary towards the ^rbian kiogdimi.
The National Principle and the War.
By H\M<\v Mnn. :',d. net.
Consid(-rs the principle of nationality and its application to the settle-
ment oi iMuopc -;)articn!arly of S. Iv l^urope— after the War.
The British Dominions and the War.
By H. E. EoERToN. 2d. net.
ExDlauis the ideas for which the British Empire stands, and the
eial and moral issues of the present war so far as they affect the
India and the War.
By Sir Ernest Thevki.yax. Id. net. Second Impression.
Discusses the reasons which iiccoiint for the striking nwnifettationa
of Indian loyalty in the last few weeks.
The Navy and tlie War.
By J. 11. TiirusnFi i). '.id. iit t,
Estimates tlie niihtary and economic vah;e of the silent pressure
exercised by our fleet, and warns the faint-hearted and the captious of the
pwUsofkck of faith.
The Retreat from Mons.
By H. W. C. Davis. .3d. net.
Introduction ; the Dispatch of Sept. 9 ; the Statement by the War
Office, published Aug. 31. Appendixes (soldiers' narratives); two maps.
Bacilli and Bullets.
By Sir William Oslkr. Id. net. Second Impir.t.<tion.
Call? ition to the fact that disease kills more men than the bullet
in modet ^are. The most dangerous diseases are preventible by
Might is Right.
By Sir Walter Raleigh. 2d. net.
Why Germany may win ; what will happen if she wins ; why we
believe she wiU not win.
The Deeper Causes of the War.
By W. Sanday. .'3d. net. Second htiprc.mon.
The psychology of Prussian militarism ; German public opinion and
Germany's aggressive ambitions.
War against War.
Hv A. D. LiNns.w. 2d. net. Second Tmpre.mon.
Denies that war is good in itself, or a necessary evil. Power is not
the sole or chief end for which the State exist.s. National greatness,
if founded on brute force, cannot endure. International law represents
an ideal, but an idea! that may be realised.
To the Christian Scholars of Europe and America :
A Reply from Oxford to the German ' Address to
E\'ailgeli('n! C hristians'. 2d.net. Second Impression.
Tiic aiiswiT of Oxford tlieologians to a recent manifesto of th-
German cvanp licil theologians. This manifesto, which is reproduced in
the present paiiiplilet. arfriics that Germany is in no sense responsible for
the present war. I hc Oxford reply states that the German theologians
cannot hare studied eithrr the events wh'ch led up to the war, or the
political utterances of their own countrymen.
How can War ever be Right ?
By Gilbert Murray. «d. net. Second Impression.
A well-known lover of peace and advocate of psdfic mdides amies
•gainst the ToUtoyan position. Hight and honour comp^ed Britain to
make war ; and war— like tragedy— is not pore vf\L
Great Britain and Germany.
By Spenser Wilkinson. 8d. net.
Three leH. rs to the Sf.rhf/field R,},„Niran 1. By Prof. Spenser
Wilkinson, niittiiif,' Crcat I?ritain's case before American readers ; 9. By
Prof. John VV. Uurf,'f.s.s of tiie Tniversity of Cohinibia, stating Germany's
case ; 3. By Prof. Wiiliinson, in reply to Prof. Burgess.
The Responsibility tor the War.
By W. G. S. Adams. 2d. net.
A brief discussion of the question of responsibility : 1. Austria and
Serbia ; 2. The responsibility of Kussia ; S. The interventim of England ;
with a note on the issues of the War.
The Law of Nations and the War.
B}' A. Pkarce HiGGiNS. 2d. net.
The violation of Belgian neutrality and the conduct of England to
Denmark in 1807 ; the doctrine of German lawyers that military necessity
overrides the laws of war; the balance of power and the sanctity of
Nietzsche and Treitschke : The Worship of Power
in Modern Germany,
By E. Barker. 'Jd. net. Second Imprexsion.
An explanation of the main points of interest in the ethical and
political doctrines of the Grennan ruling classes.
* Just for a Scrap of Paper.'
By Arthur Hassai.l. Id. net. Second Imptrsxion.
Explains why England stands for the sanctity of European treaty- law.
The \'alue of Small States.
By H. A. L. Fisher. 2d. trI.
The author argues tli.at the debt of civilization to stn.ill states Is
in<-alculable. Tlu-y arc useful, at the present time, as laboratories of
politiiral experiments and us bulFcr-states between the greater powers.
Others in preparation.