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Balkans; the defeat of Austria-unless Italy gains by the valour of her arms a permanent and powerful position on the eastern shores of the Adriatic-means that Russia will gain that predominance. Italy must see to it that neither of these alternatives is realised. Austria must be defeated and dismembered; and Italy, aided by Greece and Roumania—both nations strongly akin to Italy—must make herself the bulwark against excessive Slav influence in the Balkan peninsula. The spread of Italian influence will moreover react favourably on Italian trade. It must not be forgotten too-it is argued—that Italy's entry into the field would hasten the end of the war, and that its prolongation would inflict greater economic losses on the country than would the cost of a campaign. Lastly, Italy, prepared for war, would be in a position to bargain with France and England for substantial concessions in return for her help-a favourable loan, for instance, and the cession, if not of Tunis, at any rate of Obok (Jibuti).
So much for the Nationalist thesis. Unfortunately it leaves out of account one vital element, of the truth of which the majority of Italians are only too consciousnamely, that Italy is not yet grown-up and would overstrain herself if she attempted to assume all at once such enormously increased responsibilities. The army and navy are now no doubt in excellent trim, but it is argued on the other side—what if the Dual Alliance made a concentrated effort against their former ally? Such a move would facilitate the advance of the French, but meanwhile the result might be disastrous for Italy. Italy is not in a condition to suffer even a temporary blow; and to divide her forces between Egypt, Dalmatia and the Veneto would be courting misfortune. The unwisdom, too, of acquiring Dalmatia, supposing it were possible, is patent. As the vast majority of the population is Serb, its acquisition by Italy would only stir up trouble for the future, at the best resulting in a senseless competition of armaments.' The best bulwark against the Russian peril' is to be found in the Balkan states themselves. To suppose that Greater Servia will come under Russian influence is to fall into an error, which history has demonstrated already three times to the shame of British statesmen. Wellington insisted in 1829
on restricting the frontiers of Greece, for fear that the new kingdom should fall under Russian influence; Palmerston insisted, against the advice of Cavour, on the division of Roumania in 1856 for the same reason ; and Disraeli, for fear of Russia, upset the treaty of San Stefano at the expense of Bulgaria. Yet not one of these little states has failed to pursue a policy strictly in accordance with its own interests and independent of Russia. The only effect of the various restrictions has been to fan the flame of Balkan unrest. Apart from this question, and disregarding the chance of disaster, it is doubtful whether Italy could stand the strain of a great war. The war in Tripoli, successful as it was, proved that Italy's stamina is not great. It is still more doubtful if the economic benefits which would accrue from bastening the conclusion of hostilities would outweigh the economic cost of a campaign; and, as things stand at present, neither France nor England is willing to purchase Italy's aid by material assistance.
The majority of the nation are aware of these facts and, without wishing to commit themselves to anything so rigid as a policy of unconditional neutrality, they would prefer peace, provided that it does not injure their vital interests or frustrate the realisation of their more pressing hopes.
In an article which appeared lately in the Corriere della Sera,' Signore Borgese, author and journalist and one of the ablest and most popular of political writers in Italy, summed up the practical aims which Italy hoped to achieve as the result of the war. They are modest enough. First, a relatively stronger position in the Mediterranean in comparison with France; secondly, an indisputable predominance in the Adriatic; thirdly, a political understanding with England. Considering the many common interests of the two countries, such an understanding should not be difficult to negotiate. The second is realisable, whatever the result of the war, on the one hand by a timely occupation of Valona, and on the other by keeping intact and heightening the efficiency of Italy's naval and military forces. If Austria emerges victorious, she will at any rate not be in a position to veto Italy's permanent occupation of Valona; and the possession of that port is enough to guarantee Italy's
predominance in the Adriatic. On the other hand, if Austria and Germany are severely beaten, there will be no obstacle to Italy's command of that sea. If the peninsula of Istria is allotted to Germany or Servia, the possession of Valona will guarantee Italy's position. But Italy hopes that Istria-apart from the possibility of her being able to occupy it peacefully, so to speak, in the event of Austria losing authority over it before the actual termination of hostilities, which is not altogether an improbable supposition—will be handed over to her, not in reward for anything she may have done, but in homage to the claims of nationality and in consideration of the interests of future European peace. In this case, the time would not have come for Italy to spend money on the fortification of Valona, for with the possession of Pola it will be many years before the Serb navy will be in a position to rival hers.
In regard to the Mediterranean, the relations between Italy and France have never been very cordial.
The section of the people inspired by Pan-latinism is insignificant. France is considered to be animated by jealousy of Italy's progress and by fear that the day is not far distant when Italy will take her place as leader among the Latin nations. Moreover, the Italian character does not mix well with the French. Accordingly, many Italians do not conceal their pleasure at the prospect of emerging unscathed from the perils of a great war, while France is expending her blood and treasure so profusely. The efforts of France to enlist Italy on her side have been interpreted, not as a sign that the Triple Entente is in need of another ally, but as due to a desire to see Italy make sacrifices proportionate to those which France is making. The influential Bolognese journal, .Il Resto del Carlino,' has even suggested that the reason why France has as yet done comparatively little in the Adriatic is the desire not to weaken her fleet in relation to that of Italy; and the ‘Stampa' of Turin has declared that for the same reason the forcing of the Dardanelles is not to be hoped for, as the task would fall to the lot of the French, Altogether Italy's rivalry with France is a powerful argument in favour of a continuance of a policy of neutrality, and in the meantime of reorganising and
equipping her army and navy to a degree of efficiency never before attempted.
This middle policy of a conditional neutrality, 'armed and vigilant,' is supported by the large and heterogeneous body of citizens represented in Parliament by the so-called Liberal Party, which is actually the party in power. They require a new cause to arise before Italy commits herself to war. They are particularly jealous of Italy's honour. The Italians are a very selfconscious race, and they bitterly resent the charge so often made against them abroad-at one time perhaps not undeservingly--that they are an unscrupulous people. They are anxious to live down this evil reputation; and they consider that to declare war against their old allies on a mere pretext and without the presence of some new cause, such as the failure of Turkey to prevent the Pan-Islamite Campaign from spreading into Libya, would be a dishonest action. The government in the hands of Signor Salandra may be trusted to keep Italy's honour bright. Signor Salandra has gained the con. fidence of the mass of the people; and the country is congratulating itself that at last it has a Government on which all can implicitly rely. If the Government decides on war, it can in its turn rely on the people to make all the necessary sacrifices, gladly and willingly. For the present-and the majority of the Italian people note the fact with relief and satisfaction-everything points to an indefinite continuance of the policy of 'armed and vigilant neutrality.'
Årt. 7.—THE WAR IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER.
I.-BY LAND. In the article which appeared in the October number of this Review the chief events of the war were reviewed up to the end of September. At that period a great battle had raged without intermission for more than a fortnight on the heights north of the Aisne from its junction with the Oise to Berry au Bac, and thence eastwards along a line passing south of Rheims across the plain of Champagne and through the forest of the Argonne to the neighbourhood of Verdun. The line then curved southwards along the heights east of the Meuse to the vicinity of St Mihiel, where the French and Germans faced each other on opposite banks of the river, and, again turning eastwards, traversed the undulating district of the Woevre to the Moselle at Pont à Mousson. Intermittent fighting was also proceeding along the frontier of Lorraine and in the Vosges, which still continues, without, however, having exercised any direct influence on the main operations, the scene of which has lain throughout to the west of the Moselle. The enemy's forces in Belgium, which had previously been employed in containing the Belgian field army based on Antwerp, and in covering the lines of communication traversing that country, had been concentrated for the attack on Antwerp, in which a force of artillery, stated to comprise two hundred guns including numerous howitzers of large calibre, was also employed.
The retreat of the Germans from the Marne had been so hurried that it seemed likely at first that the heights north of the Aisne were being held merely as a rearguard position to cover the reorganisation of the main armies, and the preparation of a defensive position further north. It soon became evident, however, that the position was of great strength, and was occupied in force with a view to stubborn defence. Further to the east, the enemy's retreat, which had been conducted with more deliberation, ceased on reaching the line already indicated. The utmost efforts of the Allies failed to make any material progress on any part of the front. What at first appeared to be a rearguard action on a large