THE Balkans are the "Wild East" of Europe.  Abode of half-
barbarian peoples fired by crude ambitions and cursed by
savage blood feuds, the Balkans are a permanent political
storm-centre lying like a perpetual thunder-cloud on
Europe's southeastern horizon.  Here the late war began, and
here new wars may well arise.  In fact, the most ominous
feature of the situation is that, as a result of the late
war, Europe's "Wild East" has spread far beyond its former
borders.  Instead of being confined to the Balkan Peninsula,
as it was before 1914, it now stretches over most of east
Central Europe, which has been both politically and
spiritually "Balkanized."
     The Balkan Peninsula is the easternmost of the three
great projections which jut out from the continent of Europe
southward into the Mediterranean Sea.  Much larger than
Italy and somewhat larger than Spain, the Balkan Peninsula
differs from them in both its shape and its internal
structure.  To begin with, it is separated from the European
land mass, not by definite mountain chains like the Alps and
Pyrenees, but by broad rivers and marshy plains.  Again, the
Balkan Peninsula is neither a plateau like Spain nor a well-
defined land like Italy, but is rather an irregular mass of
rugged highlands criss-crossed by short mountain ranges
which run in every direction and break up the land surface
into many disconnected regions.


Lastly, the Balkan Peninsula is closely connected with both
Europe and Asia. Geographically speaking, it is merely the
European section of a Eurasian land bridge, divided from the
Asiatic section (the peninsula of Asia Minor) by a water
rift in places only about a mile wide.
    Geographical location and internal structure combine to
make the Balkan Peninsula a region of contending forces.  A
border-land between Europe and Asia, streams of human
migration have poured into the Balkans from both continents.
Indeed, though geographically part of Europe, the Balkan
Peninsula is more open to Asiatic than to European
penetration, because its rivers and valleys run eastward or
southward while its mountains run in ways which hinder
communication with the north and west.  Thus turning its
back on Europe and looking toward Asia, the Balkan Peninsula
has continually invited settlement from Asia, and it is
therefore only natural that Asiatic races, religions, and
cultures should have invaded the Balkans at various times,
while it is equally natural that Europe should have fiercely
resisted these Asiatic invasions.  Thus fated to be the
border-land and battle-ground of two continents, the Balkans
have been predestined to chronic turmoil and unrest.
    The one thing which might have averted these misfortunes
would have been the rise of a strong, stable people which
could have welded the Balkans into a political unity and
kept out foreign invaders.  But that was made almost
impossible by the peninsula's internal structure.  Broken up
by its mountains into many distinct regions more or less
isolated from one another, it was not suited to political
unity.  The Balkan peoples have, therefore,


naturally tended to form many separate groups, and every new
stream of invasion has tended to concentrate in some
particular region instead of spreading widely over the
peninsula.  That has made the situation steadily more
complex by adding new groups sharply marked off in blood,
speech, religion, and culture.  In the course of time, to be
sure, these various factors have spread and blended.  But
they have done so only partially and very unequally.
Strange combinations have resulted; race, language,
religion, and culture have become criss-crossed in truly
extraordinary fashion.  Thus a sort of vicious circle has
been set up: instead of evolving toward unity and stability
the Balkan Peninsula has become ever more disunited and
unstable -- which has made it less able to resist foreign
invasions -- which have further increased disunion and
instability.  The significance of all this can be grasped by
a glance at Balkan history.
    The earliest inhabitants of the Balkans whom we can
identify with reasonable certainty were of Mediterranean
stock.  They occupied the southern part of the peninsula in
very early times, though they seem to have dispossessed
still earlier stocks of whom practically nothing is known.
It was these slender, dark-complexioned Mediterraneans who
were the primitive Greeks, and who created the prehistoric
civilizations of Crete and Mycenae.  About 3,000 years ago a
series of Nordic invasions occurred which changed the
situation.  These Nordics conquered the southern Balkans and
settled down as masters.  Homer describes the first results.
Homeric Greece was ruled by an upper caste of tall, blond
Nordics, the mass of their subjects being small, dark
Mediterraneans.  Later on a


partial fusion of the two races produced the "Hellas" of
classic times, and created the brilliant civilization which
is Hellas' undying glory.  However, it is interesting to
note how essentially "Balkan" was the situation.  The broken
character of the country prevented political union.  Ancient
Greece was divided into many small states inhabited by
Mediterraneans and Nordics in varying proportions and
differing markedly from one another in temperament and
culture.  Disunion was, in fact, Hellas' undoing.  Classic
Greece tore itself to pieces by its domestic quarrels and
fell under the rule of its northern neighbors.  These
neighbors were vigorous tribes of Nordic stock, akin to the
Nordic invaders of Greece, who had settled the northern
portion of the Balkan Peninsula, and had been welded into a
powerful state (Macedon) by a dynasty of able rulers
culminating in Alexander the Great.  Alexander founded a
mighty empire stretching far into Asia, but it broke up with
his death, and the Balkans again fell into confusion until
conquered by Rome.
    Rome gave the Balkans political unity and peace, but
when Rome declined, the Balkans were overwhelmed by
misfortunes which have continued to the present day.  A
series of barbarian invasions swept the Balkans from end to
end, destroying classic civilization and wiping out most of
the old population.  These barbarian invaders were of
various racial stocks, some being of European and others of
Asiatic blood.  Alpine Slavs were the most numerous element,
and it is Slav blood which has ever since been the
predominant Balkan strain.  However, the Slavs formed
separate groups, mixed with the older populations and with
Asiatic invaders in varying proportions,


and therefore formed no cement of political cohesion.
Meanwhile, the older population had stood its ground at
various points, especially at Constantinople, which became
the seat of the so-called Byzantine Empire -- Greek in
speech and culture though extending into Asia Minor, and
inhabited by a very mixed population.  Throughout the Middle
Ages the Balkans were torn by complicated struggles between
the Byzantines and the various Slav peoples.  As the
Byzantine Empire declined, the Slav groups built up
barbarian "empires" of their own, though they soon broke
down into the chronic Balkan turmoil.
    Then, about 500 years ago, Byzantines and Slavs were
alike overwhelmed by a mighty wave of Asiatic conquest --
the Ottoman Turks.  For centuries the Balkan Peninsula lay
under Turkish rule.  But the Turks never succeeded in giving
the Balkans peace or prosperity.  On the contrary, they
merely introduced new complications and sowed the seeds of
future troubles.  Turkish domination bore within itself the
germs of decay.  Most terrible of conquerors, the Turks were
the poorest of assimilators.  They remained a mere Asiatic
army camped on European soil, and never succeeded in
impressing either the Mohammedan religion or their Turkish
language upon the mass of their Christian subjects.  What
the Turks did was to degrade and brutalize the Balkan
peoples.  The Turkish conquest everywhere destroyed the
strongest and best elements of the population, who perished
on the battlefield or went into exile.  The remnants of the
upper classes embraced Mohammedanism in order to keep their
privileges, and thus became merged with their conquerors.


The mass of the population, deprived of its natural leaders
and reduced almost to slavery, sunk to the level of an
oppressed peasantry significantly called by their Turkish
masters "Rayah" -- "cattle."  What civilization they had
possessed vanished, though memories of better days lived on
in legends which glorified the past into a sort of Golden
Age and formed the basis of those extravagant national and
imperial claims that have so afflicted the Balkans in modern
    Such was the situation when Turkish power had so
crumbled that the Balkan peoples began one after another to
regain their lost independence.  So artificial had been
Ottoman rule that as the Turkish tide receded the old
landmarks reappeared above the flood, muddy and damaged by
long immersion but substantially the same, and the Balkan
peoples resumed their old lives once more.
    They resumed their old lives.  Note that well.  It is
the key to the whole story.  The Balkan peoples are not
"young," as we are apt to think.  They are very old; in
fact, so many Rip Van Winkles aroused from a long sleep with
all their mediaeval racial characteristics and political
aspirations practically unchanged.  For them the last five
centuries have been a dream -- or a nightmare.  One thing
only do they remember -- their "glorious pasts," and they
are each determined that their special past shall live
again.  But this made inevitable a resumption of the old
quarrels before the Turks came, when the Balkan peoples had
fought each other for centuries, and during that long period
had each gained a short-lived Balkan supremacy.  This shows
clearly in the rival claims which are to-day put forward.
Because a province belonged to


a certain mediaeval Balkan Empire, it must go to the
particular state which to-day bears the same name, and since
some districts belonged to all those empires in turn, the
rival claims form a veritable Gordian knot which can be cut
only by the sharp sword of war.  Truly, among the Balkan
peoples "a thousand years is but a day!"
    All this is somewhat hidden from Western eyes by the
fact that the Balkan peoples have acquired a superficial
knowledge of Western political ideas, and have learned to
clothe their thoughts in Western phrases like "nation" and
"race."  The Balkan peoples, however, pervert the true
meaning of such terms into mere jingo propaganda.  The truth
of the matter is that these peoples are not yet "nations" in
the Western sense; they are, rather, groupings of kindred
clans or tribes, with primitive political ideas and with
aims handed down from the crude mediaeval past.  What each
of the Balkan peoples hopes in its heart of hearts is to
dominate the whole of the Balkans and eventually to destroy
its rivals by "converting" the conquered peoples to its
particular language, church, and way of thinking.  That is
what makes Balkan quarrels so ferocious; each people
realizes that its very life may be at stake, and is
therefore ready to fight its opponents' imperialistic
aspirations to the death.
    The primitive character of the Balkan peoples shows not
only in their foreign policies but also in their domestic
politics.  Despite high-sounding constitutions and elaborate
parliamentary forms copied from Western models, Balkan
politics are crude and backward.  Power is usually in the
hands of some masterful individual or dominant group which
"makes" elections and rules by a combination


of "strong-arm" methods and bribery.  As for the
"Opposition," it often refuses to play the parliamentary
game, preferring instead to sulk or plot revolution.  Under
such conditions neither side hesitates to use violence and
assassination to gain their respective ends.  Fortunately,
other aspects of Balkan life have improved faster than its
politics.  Intellectually and culturally, considerable
progress has been made since emancipation from Turkish rule,
and an upper class has developed, some of whose members are
finely educated, cultured persons with high ideals.  As yet,
however, such persons are too few in numbers and too far
above the popular level to exercise much effect upon
political life.  The masses are still thinly veneered
barbarians, with the virtues and vices common to that stage
of human evolution.  These primitive folk are capable of
sudden and intense outbursts of boundless fanaticism and
savage cruelty unknown, or at least very rare, among more
developed peoples.
    All this gives the key to the great Balkan upheaval of
1912-1913, which was the climax of a century of struggle
against Turkish rule.  In 1912 the Christian Balkan states
at last succeeded in combining against the hereditary
Turkish foe.  But no sooner was the Turk defeated than the
victors quarrelled fiercely over the spoils.  There followed
the Second Balkan War -- a ferocious death-grapple which
ended in the despoiling and humiliation of Bulgaria,
hitherto the leading Balkan state, by the other Balkan
peoples.  The Treaty of Bucharest which closed the war was
an attempt permanently to kill Bulgaria's ambitions by
surrounding her with a ring of aggrandized and watchful
enemies.  To this end the other important


Balkan states, Serbia, Rumania, and Greece, concluded an
anti-Bulgarian league.
    The so-called "Peace" of Bucharest was thus no peace.
It was merely a whetting of knives.  Anticipating a probable
next war, all parties began to consolidate their territorial
gains by the process known as "extirpation."  This process
consisted in the rooting out or forcible conversion of
hostile minorities, thus attempting to make national lines
correspond with political frontiers and to assure the
fanatical loyalty of the whole future population within any
given state border.  The ruthlessness with which these
persecutions were conducted scandalized the outside world
and enormously envenomed Balkan hatreds.  The wretched
victims of "extirpation" streamed into their respective
motherlands by the hundred thousand, and there sowed
broadcast the seeds of fury and revenge.  Each Balkan people
swore to crush the accursed foe and erect its special
greatness upon his ruin.
    Such was the poison-gas of unslaked hatreds and gnawing
ambitions which inflamed the Balkans at the outbreak of the
Great War.  In fact, that war began in an attempt of Austria-
Hungary to crush the nationalistic aspirations of Serbia to
annex its kinsmen who lived under Austrian rule.  Once more
the Balkans became a battleground, and once more unwise
peace treaties sowed the seeds of future strife.  Bulgaria,
which had joined the Central Empires and shared their
defeat, was punished even more severely than she had been
after the Balkan Wars.  Serbia and Rumania, which had chosen
the winning side, were given large slices of disrupted
Austria-Hungary and thus expanded beyond the Balkans into


Central Europe.  Greece, which had also joined the Allies,
was rewarded with territories both in the Balkans and in
Asia Minor.  Such were the treaty settlements at the close
of the Great War.  Yet already the Greek "settlement" has
broken down, and few unbiassed observers believe that the
other arrangements will last.  The truth of the matter is
that the Balkans are still in flux and that almost anything
may happen.  When we come to consider the Balkan states
separately we shall see how profoundly unstable conditions
are at the present time.  Before doing so, however, let us
pause to remember that Balkan instability arises, not merely
from superficial matters like badly drawn peace treaties,
but even more from fundamental factors like the lay of the
land and the nature of its inhabitants.  Once again, let us
remember that the Balkans have always been a border-land
where races, religions, languages, and cultures have met and
fought in endless turmoil.  The present Balkan peoples are
not yet true nations, and they are certainly not races, but
rather combinations of widely varied racial elements mixed
in different proportions.  Alpine Slav blood is the largest
single factor in their racial make-up, but it is so
intermingled with other strains and so cross-cut by
nonracial factors like language, religion, and culture that
it forms no real bond of union between the Balkan peoples.
Bearing in mind these underlying truths, let us now glance
at the several Balkan states as they stand to-day.
    Our survey had best begin with Jugoslavia, the enlarged
successor of Serbia and to-day the most powerful Balkan
state.  The name Jugoslavia means "Land of the South Slavs,"
and symbolizes the political union of the various


branches of the south Slav stock.  The Jugoslavs are
descended from tribes of Alpine Slav blood which settled the
northwestern Balkans shortly after the fall of the Roman
Empire.  These tribes were closely related in blood and
speech, but the broken character of the regions in which
they settled marked them off into groups politically
distinct from one another.  And presently the physical
barriers which separated them were reinforced by barriers of
religion and culture.  The southern tribes (the ancestors of
the Serbs) took their Christianity from Constantinople, and
became Greek Orthodox in faith and Byzantine in culture.
The tribes living to the northward or along the coast of the
Adriatic Sea (the ancestors of the Croats and Slovenes) were
converted to Christianity from Rome and took their culture
from the European West.  The result was that the Serbs
looked east while the Croats and Slovenes looked west,
neither branch of the Jugoslav stock having much to do with
the other.
    The Croats and Slovenes soon lost their independence.
The Slovenes were subjugated by the Austrian-Germans, the
Croats fell under the rule of the Hungarians, while the
tribes of the Adriatic coast came under Italian influence
exercised by the Venetian Republic.  The Serbs remained
independent but were divided into several petty states and
played a minor part in Balkan history until the latter part
of the Middle Ages, when an able chieftain named Stephen
Dushan united the Serb states, overran most of the Balkan
Peninsula, and built up an "empire."  Dushan's empire was,
however, short-lived.  It fell to pieces after his death and
the fragments were soon afterward engulfed by the tide of
Turkish conquest.


Dushan's empire is important only as it forms the basis for
modern Serb dreams of Balkan domination.  Note that Dushan's
empire never included the Croats and Slovenes.  It was thus
purely a Balkan, not a "Jugoslav," state.
    The Turkish conquest not only destroyed the flower of
the Serb stock and reduced the remainder to an oppressed
peasantry, but also caused a religious split which still
exists.  In the highlands of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a
mountainous region lying between Serbia proper and the
Adriatic, a large part of the population was converted to
Islam, and became fanatical Moslems who lost all sense of
kinship with their Serb brethren.  On the other hand, a few
Christian Serbs fled to the inaccessible crags of
Montenegro, just south of Bosnia, and there maintained a
wild independence which the Turks were never able to break.
It was the Montenegrins who for centuries kept alive the old
Serb traditions.  This was perhaps the chief reason why the
Serbs were the first Balkan people to throw off the Turkish
yoke, a little over a century ago.  Modern Serbia started as
a small state with a rude peasant population, but it slowly
grew in power and prosperity, although its progress was
hindered by the turbulence of its political life.    As
Serbia grew, she began to dream of her former greatness and
to aspire to unite all the Serbs in a single national state.
As matters then stood, more than half the Serbs remained
under Turkish rule in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the west and in
Macedonia to the south.  Also, Montenegro remained separate
and independent.  Furthermore, as time went on, Serb
ambitions grew still greater.  No longer content with the
idea of uniting all the Serbs, Serbian


nationalists began to dream of including the Croats and
Slovenes in a larger south Slav unity.  Thus the ideal of
"Jugoslavia" was born.  But this naturally alarmed Austria-
Hungary, whose very existence would be threatened by any
such development.  Since Serbia was the champion of the
Jugoslav idea, Austrian policy aimed at keeping Serbia down.
The quarrel gradually became a deadly feud which presently
got involved in the general tangle of European politics that
preceded the Great War.  Serbia was backed by Russia and
openly plotted to disrupt Austria-Hungary, and establish
Jugoslav unity on its ruins.  But Austria-Hungary was backed
by Germany and thus felt strong enough to risk crushing
Serbia at the first opportunity.  Then came the Balkan Wars
of 1912-1913.  From them Serbia emerged victorious and
confident, while Austria grew more alarmed and implacable.
In this tense atmosphere the assassination of the Archduke
Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, by Serb
nationalists in June, 1914, caused the explosion of the
Great War.  After a heroic resistance, Serbia was overrun 
by the Austro-German armies, aided by the Bulgarians, who
joined the Austro-Germans to revenge themselves upon the
Serbs for Bulgaria's defeat in the Balkan Wars.  However,
the victory of Serbia's allies, the Western Powers, not only
restored her independence, but also realized her dream of
Jugoslav unity.  The peace treaties of 1919 erected the
present "Jugoslavia," a powerful state, with an area of
96,000 square miles and a population of 12,000,000.
    At first sight Jugoslavia looks strong and assured of a
prosperous future.  In reality, Jugoslavia is rent by grave


internal quarrels and is surrounded by hostile neighbors.
Jugoslavia is to-day a state, but she is as yet very far
from being a nation.  Brought suddenly together after ages
of separation and divergent development, the various
branches of the south-Slav stock do not fuse.  So long as
they were politically divided they could sympathize with one
another.  Now that they all live in the same house they see
mutual differences rather than common likenesses.  And there
are so many varieties of Jugoslavs!  Out of Jugoslavia's
12,000,000 population only about 4,500,000 are true Serbs,
who dominate the situation and "run" Jugoslavia.  But all
the other Jugoslavs are more or less opposed to this state
of things.  The 500,000 Montenegrins object to the way in
which their heroic individuality has been arbitrarily merged
with the Serbs.  The 800,000 Mohammedans of Bosnia and
adjacent regions, though Serbs in blood, are sullen and
rebellious, their sympathies being with the Turks rather
than with their Slav kinsmen.  As for the 5,500,000 Croats,
Slovenes, and Dalmatians, Roman Catholic in religion and
West European in culture, they look down on their Balkan
relatives as semi-barbarous heretics and object strenuously
to being ruled by Serbs, whom they consider their inferiors.
Lastly, there are nearly 1,000,000 Bulgarians, Magyars, and
Rumanians to whom the very word "Jugoslavia" is anathema.
    The fact is that, as things now stand, the term
"Jugoslavia" is a misnomer.  The new state should be called
"Greater Serbia."  It is the Serbs who to-day run the
country -- and they run it with a heavy hand.  A rough,
primitive folk, the Serbs have got where they are by fighting 


and they think almost solely in terms of force.  By a series
of successful wars they have built up a strong, unified
state.  However, they know that this means a ring of hostile
neighbors.  Accordingly, when the other Jugoslavs talk of
turning the new state into a Federation with wide local
rights for the various elements, the Serbs denounce such
talk as treason.  Serb leaders will tell you frankly that
they intend to go on governing with the strong hand until
they have "made" the other elements into "good Jugoslavs."
But the other elements promptly answer that this merely
means "good Serbs," and they go on to say that they won't be
made into Serbs and that they do not intend to tolerate the
rough, tactless Serb soldiers and officials who have been
set over them.  And this is causing grave difficulties.
Already parliamentary government has broken down, the Serbs
ruling by a veiled dictatorship, with the Croats and
Slovenes suddenly rebellious and with Montenegro and
Macedonia full of brigandage and unrest.  This cannot go on
indefinitely.  It seems pretty clear that Jugoslavia must
ultimately become a Federal state if it is to endure.
Unless the Serbs realize this, the other elements will plot
secession -- and Jugoslavia will fly to pieces.  Meanwhile,
Jugoslavia's neighbors watch and wait.  Hitherto the chief
thing that has kept the Serb-Croat quarrel within bounds has
been their common hatred of Italy, which opposed Jugoslav
aspirations.  If war had resulted, the Jugoslavs might have
developed a real national consciousness in the struggle
against a foreign foe.  But Italy has now compromised her
differences with Jugoslavia, so foreign pressure has been
relaxed and domestic quarrels flare up unchecked.


Of course, the Jugoslavs may come to an understanding with
one another and become a true nation.  At present, however,
the prospects look rather dubious.

    From Jugoslavia let us turn to Bulgaria.  Here we find a
very different situation. If Jugoslavia is suffering from
victory, Bulgaria is suffering from defeat.  Yet defeat has
not quenched hope.  Toughest and stubbornest of all the
Balkan peoples, the Bulgars nurse their wounds and await
better days.
    This attitude springs from their inheritance.  Racially
the Bulgars are Alpine Slavs crossed with Asiatic Finnish or
Turkish blood.  That cross has produced a stock noted for
patient determination and dogged energy.  The Bulgars are
great workers -- and they can work together.  This capacity
for "team-play" is a great advantage to the Bulgars, because
the other Balkan peoples are so much more prone to internal
quarrels.  Despite their recent defeats and present
misfortunes, the Bulgars may yet outstrip their rivals.  It
is well to remember their favorite proverb: "The Bulgar on
his ox-cart pursues the hare -- and overtakes it !"
    Bulgaria has had a checkered past.  During the Middle
Ages the Bulgars played a leading rble in the Balkans.  For
centuries they and the Byzantine Greeks fought fiercely for
Balkan supremacy.  Twice the Bulgars built up powerful
"empires," though these presently collapsed into the chronic
Balkan turmoil.  The Turkish conquest bore harder upon the
Bulgars than upon any other Balkan people.  So thoroughly
were they crushed that less than fifty years ago the Bulgars
were an obscure population


of wretched serfs, exploited to the limit of human
endurance, whom the world had so completely forgotten that
many Western travellers passed through their land without
becoming aware of their existence.
    The victorious war which Russia waged against Turkey in
1877 freed most of the Bulgars from the Turkish yoke and set
up a Bulgarian state.  This new state developed with
extraordinary rapidity.  Although the Serbs and Greeks had
been liberated much earlier, Bulgaria soon passed them both
in national progress and became the leading Balkan state.
Awakening from their long slumber, the Bulgars recalled
their past and determined on a yet greater future.  The
first step in their programme was the political unity of the
whole Bulgarian stock.  A large fraction of the Bulgarian
people remained under Turkish rule in Macedonia, the central
region of the Balkans.  Once possessed of Macedonia, the
resulting Big Bulgaria would be far and away the most
powerful Balkan state.  Thereafter Bulgaria might hope to
subjugate the other Balkan peoples and expel the Turks from
Constantinople, founding a true Bulgarian Empire which would
dominate the Near East.
    That was Bulgaria's ideal, evolved in the very first
years of its political life.  Such an ideal appeared absurd
for a little peasant state just freed from Turkish
servitude.  But, if Bulgaria's dreams were great, her waking
hours were long, and they were all given up to strenuous
endeavor and rigid self-denial.  These high hopes became
part of the developing national consciousness.  They braced
every Bulgar to gigantic efforts.  The way Bulgaria pinched
and taxed herself for nearly forty years


to create proportionately the greatest war machine in the
world showed this folk to be possessed of a sombre power and
ferocious energy which made the goal seem less impracticable.
    At last Bulgarla's hour seemed to have come.  In the
year 1912 Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece combined against the
Turks, who were defeated and driven to the walls of
Constantinople.  The Balkans were free from Turkish rule.
Unhappily, this was merely the beginning of fresh troubles.
The victors promptly quarrelled over the spoils --
particularly over Macedonia.  Bulgaria had gone to war with
Turkey for Macedonia and claimed the greater part of it as
her reward.  But this Greece and Serbia refused.  Macedonia
has, in fact, been for ages an apple of discord.  In the
first place, it is the geographical and strategical heart of
the Balkans, so that whoever possesses it automatically
gains something like Balkan supremacy.  In the second place,
it is a racial crossroads where all the Balkan stocks meet.
The Macedonians are an extraordinarily mixed population,
race lines being blurred even more than in other parts of
the Balkans.  Yet this does not prevent the various Balkan
peoples from concocting elaborate "statistics" and other
propagandist arguments "proving" the Macedonians to be the
biood-brothers of each and every one of them.  The tangle of
rival claims is thus inextricable.  As for the Macedonians
themselves, the majority seem to feel themselves Bulgarians,
though there are strong Serb- and Greek-feeling minorities,
not to mention minor elements like Albanians, Rumanians,
Turks, Jews, and Gypsies.  The fierce wrangle which broke
out among the Balkan states after their victory over


Turkey culminated in a ferocious war in which Bulgaria was
defeated.  Serbia and Greece divided Macedonia between them
and promptly proceeded to expel or forcibly convert the
Bulgar-feeling inhabitants.  Bulgaria sat by in helpless
rage until the Great War gave her a chance for revenge.  But
Bulgaria again lost, and by the peace treaties was left
disarmed before her fully armed neighbors.
    Owing to these misfortunes Bulgaria has sunk from her
former position of the most powerful Balkan state to a place
far below Serbia, Greece, and Rumania -- all of whom to-day
vastly outstrip Bulgaria in area and population.  Bulgaria
now possesses only 40,000 square miles of territory and less
than 5,000,000 inhabitants.  Yet Bulgaria remains a factor
to be reckoned with.  Certainly, Bulgaria seems to-day to be
the most solid of the Balkan states.  Her very defeats have
left her with a thoroughly Bulgarian population, free from
those rebellious minorities which are such dangerous
internal weaknesses to her swollen neighbors.  Meanwhile the
Bulgarian peasant works as hard as ever, and the war losses
are being repaired.  Who can tell what opportunity may come
to Bulgaria through some sudden shift in the strange
kaleidoscope of Balkan politics?  For, in the Balkans, the
one thing certain is -- uncertainty!

    The story of Greece is perhaps the most dramatic in
world history.  No other people has probably ever passed
through such extremes of glory and decline.  Grave though
Greece's situation is to-day, it should not be forgotten
that the Greek people has endured even greater disasters


in the past -- yet has survived.  And it is this which lends
the Greeks faith in their future.
    Modern Greece draws its inspiration from two main
sources: Ancient Hellas and the Mediaeval Byzantine Empire.
This latter source is often overlooked by Western observers,
but to Greek minds it is the more important.  The ties
between Modern Greece and Ancient Hellas are dim and remote.
The ties with Mediaeval Byzantium, on the contrary, are
close and unbroken.  Modern Greece may feel itself to be the
spiritual heir of Hellas, but it knows itself to be the
political heir of Byzantium, and a restoration of the
Byzantine Empire is at once the keynote of Greek patriotism
and the basis of Greek politics.  Greece's political goal is
expressed in a phrase: "The Great Idea."  Herein Greek aims
differ markedly from those of the other Balkan peoples.  The
aspirations of the other Balkan peoples never stray much
beyond the boundaries of the peninsula.  The Greek dream,
however, is truly imperial in its far-flung horizons.  The
Great Idea is a revival of Mediaeval Byzantium, incarnated
in a new Greek Empire seated at Constantinople, which shall
embrace both the Balkans and Asia Minor and shall win back
the whole Near East to Hellenism.
    At first sight the Great Idea may seem mere wild fancy,
but when we look closer we see that it is a logical
outgrowth of Greece's historic past.  When Ancient Hellas
declined and finally fell under Roman rule, it did not lose
its identity.  The Hellenic stock, to be sure, greatly
altered, most of the Nordic strains that had formed the
ruling class during Hellas' great days dying out, while the
Mediterranean strains which survived became considerably


mixed with other racial elements.  Nevertheless, the Greek 
language and Greek culture not only maintained themselves 
in Greece itself but also spread over both the Balkans 
and Asia Minor, so that when the Roman Empire collapsed 
in Western Europe and transferred its capital to
"Constantinople" (the new name given by the Roman Emperor
Constantine to the Greek city of Byzantium) it came into a
Greek atmosphere, lost its Latin character, and was
transformed into the Greek "Byzantine Empire."  With Western
Europe sunk in the turmoil of the Dark Ages, the Byzantine
Empire became the centre of European civilization.  It also
became the seat of Eastern Christendom, for about this time
Christianity split in twain, the West following Rome while
the East adhered to the "Orthodox" Church, which was
thoroughly Greek in character.  It was the Orthodox Church
which converted the Slav invaders of the Balkans, and
however bitterly the Slavs fought the Byzantine Empire they
nevertheless acquired a Byzantine Greek religious and
cultural stamp which could not be effaced.  Indeed, this
Greek stamp became even more pronounced after the Turkish
conquest.  To the Turks all their Christian subjects looked
very much alike.  They therefore considered the Byzantine
Greeks as the natural spokesmen for the Christian elements,
and the Balkan Slavs welcomed this arrangement since the
Greeks were best fitted to stand between them and their
Turkish masters.  Down to the reawakening of the Balkan
peoples about a century ago, religion rather than
nationality was the test of men's allegiance, so the Balkan
peoples thought of themselves as "Greek Orthodox" and very
little else.


   We are now in a position to understand the peculiar nature
of the Greek "Great Idea," and to realize how it differs
from the aspirations of the other Balkan peoples.  Those
aspirations are all founded on a more or less tribal
nationalism.  The Great Idea, on the other hand, is based on
a religious imperialism.  In fact, the Great Idea is
essentially cosmopolitan, and is fundamentally opposed to
the ideas of both nationality and race.  The Greeks have
never been able really to adjust themselves to the modem
nationalist philosophy.  In their heart of hearts they still
believe that the Christian inhabitants of both the Balkans
and Asia Minor should be one people, spiritually united in
the Greek Orthodox Church and politically united in a Greek
Empire.  Certainly the Greek ideal has succeeded in binding
together very different racial elements.  The present
"Greek" populations scattered so widely over the Balkans and
Asia Minor are of many different stocks.  Yet they are all
ardent supporters of the Great Idea.
    When the Greeks revolted against the Turks a century 
ago they hoped for a general rising of all the Christian
elements.  In fact, the first outbreak took place, not in
Greece itself, but far to the northward in what is now
Rumania, which had long been governed by Byzantine Greeks
appointed by the Turkish Sultans, and where the educated
upper class was then strongly Greek in feeling.  However,
the revolutionists were quickly disillusioned.  The other
Balkan peoples, already obscurely stirring to nationalist
ideas, refused to move, and the Turks were thus able to
concentrate against the Greeks, who were massacred
wholesale, and deprived of the privileged position


that they had heretofore enjoyed.  After years of bloody
fighting, Western Europe intervened and set up an
independent Greek state, but this state was so small and
weak that in Greek eyes it was little more than a mockery of
their hopes.  The majority of the Greeks were left outside
its frontiers, mainly under Turkish rule.
    Under these circumstances the larger aspects of the
Great Idea fell into the background.  The Greeks had to
confine their efforts mainly to building up their new state
as a nucleus for later efforts.  This was a slow and
difficult task.  Until the beginning of the present century
Greece played a minor role in Balkan affairs.  Her first
real chance came when the Balkan states made their alliance
against the Turk in the year 1912.  From both the Balkan
Wars which ensued Greece came out the big winner.  With a
minimum of loss she doubled her territory and population,
her chief conquest being southern Macedonia with its great
port-city of Salonika -- next to Constantinople the richest
prize in the Balkans.  These remarkable successes fired the
Greeks with wild enthusiasm and brought the Great Idea once
more to the front.  Then came the Great War, which brought
to Greece an extraordinary series of successes and failures.
For a moment it looked as though the Great Idea was to be
realized.  The Peace Conference seriously considered giving
Greece Constantinople, and, though this was finally denied
her, Greece was given a large slice of Asia Minor including
the great port-city of Smyrna.  At that dramatic hour Greece
appeared to have become the leading state not only of the
Balkans but of the whole Near East.  The peace treaties had
virtually condemned Turkey to death and, with the


destruction of her arch-enemy, Greece might well hope to
establish something very like the empire of her dreams.
    Suddenly, almost without warning, Greece was plunged
from her pinnacle of triumph to the depths of defeat.  A
shift of European politics left her unsupported, the Turks
made a desperate rally, and the Greek armies in Asia Minor
were broken.  The Greek cause suffered the most terrible
disaster that had befallen it since the Turks wiped out the
Byzantine Empire 500 years before.  The very foundations of
Hellenism in Asia Minor were destroyed, for the Turks,
determined to make any fresh attack impossible, proceeded to
root out the whole Greek population.  Fully 2,000,000
Asiatic Greeks were either massacred or driven as starving,
diseased refugees to their distracted motherland.  The
situation was made still worse by the political disturbances
which broke out in Greece itself.  Filled with fury and
despair, the Greeks vented their rage upon one another.
Greek politics are habitually turbulent, and Greece is to-
day rent by bitter factional disputes.
    Unless Greece speedily pulls herself together she may
suffer still further losses.  The Balkans are a primitive
land where the weak usually get short shrift.  Greece still
has things worth taking, and there are those quite ready to
take them.  Not only would Bulgaria jump at the chance to
seize the tongue of Greek territory (taken from Bulgaria by
the peace treaties) which bars Bulgaria from the
Mediterranean, but Jugoslavia is also to be feared.  Though
technically Greece's friend, Jugoslavia looks longingly at
southern Macedonia and Salonika, possession of which would
give Jugoslavia a Mediterranean


outlet and clinch its Balkan supremacy at one and the same
time.  When I was last in Belgrade, the Jugoslav capital, I
heard much talk about Salonika, and some Serbs made no bones
of stating that they would seize it if a good opportunity
    Greece thus stands to-day in a very dangerous situation.
In many ways she is worse off than Bulgaria.  Yet, here
again, no one can predict with certainty what the morrow may
bring.  In the Balkans fortune's wheel turns swiftly,
political combinations shift with amazing suddenness and
startling surprises may be in store.

    Finally, let us consider Rumania, the fourth important
Balkan state.  Rumania is the link between the Balkans and
both Central and Eastern Europe.  Geographically she lies
mainly outside the Balkans, but historically she has been so
closely connected with Balkan affairs that she forms a
logical part of the Balkan area.
    Of all the Balkan states Rumania gained most by the
Great War.  The peace treaties more than doubled her pre-war
territory and population, so that to-day she exceeds even
Jugoslavia in size and wealth.  With her present area of
122,000 square miles (larger than Italy), her population of
over 17,000,000, and her rich agricultural and mineral
resources, Rumania looks almost like a first-class Power.
However, as so often happens in the Balkans, appearances are
deceptive.  In reality, Rumania's very gains have produced
such grave internal problems, and made such bitter foreign
foes that Rumania's future is extremely troubled and
    The Rumanians themselves are a curious folk.  They


illustrate the power of language and culture to form a
national consciousness out of varied racial elements.  The
Rumanians are obviously of extremely mixed racial origin.
Alpine Slav blood seems to be the largest element in their
make-up, though there is also a considerable infusion of
Mediterranean blood, together with diverse Asiatic strains.
Nevertheless, the Rumanians speak a Latin language and
proudly consider themselves full-fledged members of the
"Latin Race" (there being, of course, no such thing).
    How, then, do we find a Latin-speaking folk living along
the lower Danube in the southeastern comer of Europe,
hundreds of miles from the other Latin-speaking peoples?
The Rumanians themselves explain the mystery by claiming to
be the descendants of Roman colonists planted north of the
Danube by the Emperor Trajan after his conquest of that
region in the second century A.D.  Racially this does not
mean much, because Trajan's colonists were undoubtedly a
miscellaneous lot of provincials with very little "Roman"
blood.  But culturally the picturesque legend probably does
give the reason for the persistence of Latin speech along
the lower Danube.  Flooded though these regions were by all
sorts of barbarian hordes for centuries after the fall of
Rome, the Latin-speaking population possessed cultural
traditions superior to their conquerors and, as so often
occurs in such cases, converted the conquerors to their
speech and customs.  Precisely what happened we do not know,
for the Rumanians do not appear as a distinct people until
well into the Middle Ages, when we find them settled both in
the fertile plains north of the Danube and in the


adjacent highlands of Transylvania.  They were not a warlike
folk and were mostly subject to foreign masters, but they
were extremely persistent and prolific, and they took
advantage of the devasting wars which raged about them to
spread steadily east, north, and west, settling large
sections of Hungary and of Southern Russia -- especially the
province known as Bessarabia.  The Turks conquered the
Rumanians as they did the other Balkan peoples, but the
Rumanians were so far from the seat of Turkish Power that
they were governed indirectly by Byzantine Greek viceroys
appointed by the Sultans.  These tributary provinces, lying
north of the Danube, formed the nucleus for the later
Kingdom of Rumania.  As Turkish Power declined it seemed for
a while that the Rumanians of the Danube plains would be
annexed to Russia, which did succeed in getting Bessarabia
early in the nineteenth century.  But the Rumanians, like
the other Balkan peoples, were now awakening to national
consciousness, and after many difficulties the people of the
Danubian plains (excepting Bessarabia) succeeded in escaping
Russian annexation, threw off their vassalage to Turkey, and
established an independent Kingdom of Rumania.
    This Rumanian state was not very large, but so fertile
was its soil and so dense its population that it rapidly
grew in importance and prosperity.  Like the other Balkan
peoples, the Rumanians began dreaming of a great future and
eyed with increasing impatience the sight of millions of
their kinsmen under Russian and Hungarian rule.  Until the
outbreak of the Great War, however, such dreams of a
"Greater Rumania" had little chance


of coming true.  Rumania's "unredeemed" kinsfolk were
subjects of first-class European Powers -- Austria-Hungary
and Russia.  Furthermore, these Rumanians lived intermixed
with other populations, which added grave difficulties to
Rumanian annexation even had this been politically possible.
Rumania therefore contented herself with encouraging
nationalistic movements among the Rumanians of Hungary and
Bessarabia, her active foreign policy being mainly directed
to Balkan affairs, where she was dealing with nations of her
own size.  In fact, Rumania's sole accession of territory
before 1914 was her annexation of the Bulgarian district
known as the Dobrudja when Rumania joined Greece and Serbia,
and shared in the despoiling of Bulgaria after the Second
Balkan War.  Rumania thus gained a province with no Rumanian
inhabitants.  It rounded out her Black Sea frontage very
nicely, but it made Bulgaria her bitter enemy.
     When the Great War began Rumania adopted an attitude of
canny neutrality.  By the year 1916 Rumania made an
excellent bargain with the Allies, obtaining their promise
of Austria-Hungary's Ruman-inhabited territories, and
entered the war on the Allied side.  At first it looked as
though Rumania had made a bad bet.  The Rumanian armies were
quickly beaten and the Kingdom of Rumania was overrun by
Austro-German, Bulgarian, and Turkish forces.  Then occurred
an event which, for Rumania, turned out to be a great piece
of luck -- the Russian Revolution.  Bolshevik Russia became
the enemy of the Allies.  Therefore, when the Allies won the
war, Rumania claimed not only the Austro-Hungarian provinces
that had been promised her but Russia's province


of Bessarabia as well.  The Allies finally agreed, and
Rumania thus fulfilled her wildest dreams.
    However, Rumania's gains contained germs of trouble.
Even the pre-war Rumania had been none too stable, her
social system suffering from grave defects.  The chief
element of stability had been the fact that the great bulk
of the population was Rumanian.  Such was the country which
suddenly swelled to more than twice its pre-war size,
annexing a whole series of powerful, rebellious minorities,
and thereby making powerful embittered foreign enemies who
would be almost certain ultimately to make trouble.  Of post-
war Rumania's 17,500,000 inhabitants only about 11,500,000
are Rumanians.  Furthermore, it must be remembered that of
these 11,500,000 Rumanians, only 6,500,000 live in pre-war
Rumania, the balance being "redeemed" Rumanians formerly
subjects of Austria-Hungary and Russia.  This is important,
because the "redeemed" Rumanians differ in many ways from
those of the former kingdom, and have already had some
lively political tiffs with their kinsmen.  It is this none
too stable Rumanian bloc which has to hold down nearly
2,000,000 Magyars (Hungarians), over 1,000,000 Russians,
nearly 1,000,000 Jews, 500,000 Serbs, 500,000 Germans, and
fully 1,000,000 of lesser national groups such as Bulgars,
Turks, Greeks, Armenians, and Gypsies.  Thus far Rumania's
handling of her minorities has been characterized by
brutality tempered by bribery.  Rumanian politics have
always been corrupt, and official corruption seems to have
increased rather than diminished since the war.  These
things not only weaken the government but give encouragement
to foreign enemies.  And Rumania


certainly has dangerous foreign foes.  First and foremost
stands Russia, which has never forgiven what it considers to
be Rumania's "robbery" of Bessarabia, and which will
certainly try to get it back again -- perhaps with interest.
Then there is Hungary, stricken to her very heart by
Rumania's new frontiers.  Again there is Bulgaria, which has
not forgotten Dobrudja.  Lastly, there is Serbia, today
allied to Rumania through common dislike of Hungary, but
dissatisfied over its boundary with Rumania, which leaves so
many Serbs inside Rumania's frontiers.  Nowhere in Eastern
Europe has Rumania a real friend.  The Rumanians often call
themselves "the Latin islet in the Slav ocean."  They
instinctively distrust all Slavs -- and the Slavs have no
love for them.



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