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The Balkan Peninsula

This book was written in the spring of 1914, just before Germany
plunged the world into the horrors of a war which she had long
prepared, taking as a pretext a Balkan incident—the political murder
of an Austrian prince by an Austrian subject of Serb nationality.
Germany having prepared for war was anxious for an occasion which
would range Austria by her side. If Germany had gone to war at the
time of the Agadir incident, she knew that Italy would desert the Triple
Alliance, and she feared for Austria's loyalty. A war pretext which
made Austria's desertion impossible was just the thing for her plans.
It would be impossible to reshape this book so as to bring within its
range the Great War, begun in the Balkans, and in all human
to be decided finally by battles in the Balkans. I let it go out to the
public as impressions of the Balkans dated from the end of 1913. It
may have some value to the student of contemporary Balkan events.
My impressions of the Balkan Peninsula were chiefly gathered during
the period 1912-13 of the war of the Balkan allies against Turkey, and
of the subsequent war among themselves. I was war correspondent
for the London Morning Post during the war against Turkey and
penetrated through the Balkan Peninsula down to the Sea of
Marmora and the lines of Chatalja. In war-time peoples show their
best or their worst. As they appeared during a struggle in which, at
first, the highest feelings of patriotism were evoked, and afterwards
the lowest feelings of greed and cruelty, the Balkan peoples left me
with a steady affection for the peasants and the common folk
generally; a dislike and contempt, which made few exceptions, for the
politicians and priests who governed their destinies. Perhaps when
they settle down to a more peaceful existence—if ever they do—the
inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula will come to average more their