IN THE EUROPEAN CRISIS
employment of the nations of Austria-Hungary as helpless instruments, and the subjection of the smaller nations which form that peculiar zone between the West and East of Europe. Poland, Bohemia, Serbo-Croatia (the South Slavs), are the natural adversaries of Germany, of her Drang nach Osten; to liberate and strengthen these smaller nations is the only real check upon Prussia. Free Poland, Bohemia, and Serbo-Croatia would be so-called buffer states, their organisation would facilitate and promote the formation of a Magyar state, of Greater Roumania, of Bulgaria, Greece and the rest of the smaller nations. If this horrible war, with its countless victims, has any meaning, it can only be found in the liberation of the small nations who are menaced by Germany's eagerness for conquest and her thirst for the dominion of Asia. The Oriental question is to be solved on the Rhine, Moldau and Vistula, not only on the Danube, Vardar or Maritza.
Great Britain protecting the liberty of Belgium was led by the right feeling of justice; all nations, especially the unfree, appreciated the noble decision of the English nation; the fact that Great Britain in protecting Belgium protects herself and Asia, does not impair her merit. Justice is not only noble, it is quite sensible and useful too.
I will conclude with a confession. I prepared this lecture at the very moment when Serbia was about to be attacked by Germany and her baggage-porters, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria. But more than once the sceptical thought has struck me: is this the time for talking about small nations, when the vital thing is simply to afford protection to one of them? Feeling this incongruity, I will comfort myself with the saying of a Slav thinker: "A good word is a deed also." I can at least promise that all the lecturers at the new school of Slavonic Studies will spare no effort to make it a success and through it to contribute, however imperfectly, to drawing closer the relations between Britain and the Slavonic world.