OUR WAR MOTIVES
Hungary wished to uphold the Triple Alliance, partly because she had been on friendly terms with Italy since 1845, and partly because it was impossible to secure a balance of power without Italy in view of the Franco-Russian Alliance. The Ally whom we had hitherto despised would otherwise have joined the opposing group of nations. At the same time, loyal tenacity to the Alliance, once it was established, does not imply any responsibility for concluding it.
Moreover, the two groups of powers might quite well have lived together in amity and an encounter between them was by no means necessary. France, it is true, never fully accepted the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and clung with the whole force of French patriotism to the hope of revenge; and Gambetta certainly expressed their mentality truly when he said that France must always think of Alsace-Lorraine but never speak of it. An honest and dependable friendship between France and Germany was inconceivable; but in view of Germany's superior strength, it did not appear probable that France, which was visibly growing more peace-loving, would go to war for the sake of Alsace-Lorraine. In the early days of the Triple Alliance the greatest opposition existed between France and Italy. If this opposition had been accentuated in the smallest degree, war would have been inevitable. But as no such occasion arose, the European peace was preserved in spite of the Italian difficulty.
The Balkan problem would not necessarily have led to a catastrophe. I propose to go into this problem