Page:Diplomacy and the War (Andrassy 1921).djvu/40

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importance, either economically or politically. The only portions of the Balkans which were of any importance from the economic, military and political standpoints were those which lay in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea and the Straits. The protection of Serbia was only a tool in Russia's policy, which was directed against Austria-Hungary and Germany. As soon as Petrograd had taken the Pan-Serbian ideal under its wing, it was certain that, sooner or later, Russia would raise the Austro-Hungarian question.

All the proposals that were made by the Petrograd to the Viennese Court ever since the days of Catherine the Great up to Gortschakoff, assumed that it was a preliminary condition of coming to an agreement with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy that Serbia should remain in the sphere of Russian influence. Kaunitz, Metternich, Buol, Andrassy, all of those Ministers for Foreign Affairs who occupied themselves with the Balkan question, have declared more than once that any attempt on the part of Russia to dominate Serbia meant war. Napoleon, who had the greatest knowledge of all strategic questions, said on several occasions that Belgrade was of vital importance to Austria-Hungary.

During the Bulgarian crisis in the eighties, Bismarck, in accordance with the above, interpreted the Treaty of Berlin to the effect that the Eastern Balkans, namely Bulgaria, were tinder Russian influence, whereas the Western Balkans, that is, chiefly Serbia, remained under Austro-Hungarian influence. He said that he pursued an Austrian policy in Serbia and a