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   Chapter 5 PEACE PROPOSALS

The Audacious War By Clarence W. Barron Characters: 9969

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


The Bagdad Railroad-The English Oil Concession-The German Alliance with Turkey-Austria the Hand of Germany-The Decay of Turkey-The New Map.

How ridiculous are American peace proposals concerning the Audacious War of 1914 may be judged from this announcement which I am able to make:-

The return of the French government from Bordeaux to Paris was determined upon from two points of view: safety and political necessity. The French people were angered that Paris should have been deserted, but notwithstanding the political reasons, which were more forceful than the public will be permitted to know, the return would not have been undertaken had not the military authorities considered the move a safe one. How safe will be evidenced by this-that at both Bordeaux and Paris this problem was before the authorities: "Events have now progressed so far that it is time for the Allies to consider what will be their terms of peace. These terms must be divided into many classes, ranging from those in which only one of the Allies has an interest to those in which all have an interest. Of course, the latter will be the most complex, and it is time now to begin with the complexities of the most far-reaching situation. This is Mesopotamia and the Bagdad railroad."

Now who in Washington knows anything about Mesopotamia or the Bagdad railroad? Yet here is the key of the most far-reaching problem in any peace proposals. It is because this matter can now be settled that the plunging of Turkey into the war by Enver Bey has made all Europe rejoice. The Germans think Turkey is another 16 1/2-inch howitzer or "Jack Johnson" putting black smoke over the British empire. The rest of Europe now knows the whole of Turkey is on the table, and the carving, it is believed, will be had with no plates extended from either Austria or Germany. For the first time the Turkish problem can be really settled instead of patched.

Some years ago I was astonished to learn in Europe that American banking interests, and American contracting and engineering firms in alliance therewith, had their eyes upon Asia Minor and the possibility of its development by American railroad enterprise. I was astonished to learn that some people at Constantinople had authority for the use of the name of J. P. Morgan & Co. Indeed, a railroad concession in Asia Minor, the details of which it is not now necessary to go into, had been arranged, I was told, and lacked only signatures. The American people felt that the Germans were the little devils under the table who stayed the hand of the Sultan, and kept his pen off the parchment. Never would the signature come down on that paper, although declared to have been many times promised.

The English were, of course, vitally interested in any railroad concessions in Asia Minor as opening the route to the Persian Gulf and India. Money talks with Turkey as nowhere else. The Germans had made a great impression upon the Bosphorus. Nobody at that point in the geography of the world could fail to see the wonderful commercial progress of the Germans and the military power that stood behind ready to back it up.

A concession for a railroad from the Bosphorus to Bagdad and through Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf finally went to Germany, and the signature of the Sultan was at the bottom of the paper. There was, of course, the usual Oriental compromise, and the concession for the oil fields of Mesopotamia went to the English; but the signature of the Sultan is still lacking to that piece of paper.

English statesmen announced that the Bagdad railroad was a purely private enterprise, financed in Germany by people associated with the Deutsche Bank. They had later to confess that error. Germany laughed and later openly announced that the Bagdad railroad was a Prussian enterprise of state. In fact, this concession, which is likely to be famous in history when the Allies win, was handed over to the German Emperor personally by the Sultan.

Already a thousand miles of this road have been constructed through Asia Minor to Mosul. The concession carries the mineral rights for ten miles on either side of the railroad, except through the oil fields of Mesopotamia, said to be among the greatest of the oil fields of the world. They are really part of the famous Russian oil territory between Batum and Baku, or the Black and Caspian seas, which extends not only south into Mesopotamia but is now being developed far to the north in the Ural Mountains of Great Russia.

Steadily the influence of Germany progressed with Turkey, now through one channel, now through another. When the Bulgarian war broke out, it was German guns and German officers and German money that upheld the Turks. The French put their money on Bulgaria by bank loans to her treasury. The Russians backed Servia. The French laughed and so did all Europe when the Turkish troops manned by German officers were beaten back to Constantinople and the Bosphorus.

Aus

tria extended the hand of friendship to Bulgaria and induced her to attack her allies, Servia and Greece, thus making the second Balkan war. The result was the loss by Bulgaria of part of the territory she had acquired and a further augmentation in the importance of Servia. Bulgaria has never forgiven either Servia or Austria for this defeat.

The Servians are the pure-blooded Slavs, while the Bulgarians have a Turkish admixture, whence their great fighting qualities. The Roumanians just north of Bulgaria are Italians, and the defeat of Turkey in Africa by Italy did not lessen the importance of this enterprising nation on the Danube, fronting Austria-Hungary and Russia. Both Austria and Germany were losers in all three wars; while the treaty ending the second Balkan war magnified Servia of the Slav race of Russia. This is the important and crucial point in race and geography.

Austria, as the hand of Germany, still demanded a union of all these Balkan states with Turkey and under the aegis of Austria,-which meant, of course, Germany.

The aim of Germany in alliance with Turkey was, through Austria in quasi-sovereignty over the Balkan states, to carry German influence by the Bagdad railroad right through Asia Minor to the Persian Gulf. Germany would thus be, when the work was finished, a mighty military empire with rail communications cleaving the center of Europe and extending through Asia Minor to Eastern waters. With her growing steamship lines she would touch her colonies in the Pacific and her mighty naval base at Kiao-Chau in the Far East.

Now, while Germany is besieged on all sides and Italy and Roumania are preparing to go into the war with the Allies that they may have their part and parcel in the settlements, it is recognized that it is none too early for the Allies to consider the map of the entire eastern hemisphere and tackle that most difficult problem, the Bagdad railroad, from which Turkey, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, the great historic countries of the world, must be parcelled out or dominated and developed.

The followers of Mohammed are no longer a unit. They number 175,000,000 people in the aggregate, but India and Egypt have gradually receded in sentiment from decadent Turkey, now numbering only about 20,000,000 people, and defended by an army of about 1,000,000. But this is no longer an army of united, fighting Mohammedan Turks; only a mixed army lacking in unity, discipline, efficiency and financial base.

Indeed, such are the financial straits of Turkey that a ten per cent tax has been levied upon the property of the people. If you hold property in Turkey and cannot pay ten per cent of the value the authorities have assessed against it, it may be sold or confiscated for the tax.

Where the money goes, nobody knows. German influence with Turkey has a financial base; 6,000,000 pounds sterling or 100,000,000 marks went from Germany to Constantinople just before the war, according to reports I have from people in the international exchange markets. From diplomatic sources I learn that this was just one half of the payment made by Germany to Turkey. The other 100,000,000 marks was probably paid in war supplies, including the two famous German warships that the English allowed to escape from the Mediterranean into Turkish waters.

The little English boy was right who returned from school the other day and said, "Hurray! I don't have to study any more geography; the old maps are to be torn up and the new map has not yet been made."

It is because of the making of this new map that European diplomacy is rolling on underneath the surface faster than ever before. Bulgaria has demanded as the price of her neutrality that she shall have what she lost in the second Balkan war. The Allies have responded: "What you get must depend upon what Servia gets from Austria and in the carving up of Albania." Austria-Hungary may lose Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia, and some more. So far as Servia acquires territory here Bulgaria may push farther south, recovering Adrianople and more sea coast on the Aegean.

Roumania wants Transylvania just north in Hungary, occupied by 2,500,000 people, the majority Roumanians-this will make her 10,000,000 people-and Italy wants territory from Austria and naval ports on the Adriatic sea.

Neither Italy nor Roumania has its full war supplies and equipments. Servia, however, has been terribly pounded by Austria and but for her good fortune in pushing Austria back out of Servia in December, the Roumanians with their 450,000 well-organized troops might have had to come to her assistance earlier than was prepared for. Indeed, it is now expected that Italy and Roumania will move against Austria within a few weeks. Russia and the Allies are making their agreements for this intervention.

And what does America know about these movements on the European chessboard, and upon what basis should she aspire to be arbiter or peace adviser?

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