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EDITORIAL ? FINANCIAL'
Al'TOM OBI LES J-Jh* Jtoii STrflmtte EDITORIAL ? FINANCIAL AUTOMOBII.FS PART III EIGHT PAGES. SUNDAY, AUGUST 1.3. 1016. PAUT III. EIGHT PAGES. THE NEW PROMISE OF "TROUBLE INTHE BALKANS" Germany's One Place in the Sun, Her Berlin to Bagdad Adventure, Is Threatened by Coming AlliedThrust Out of Salonica. By FRANK H. SIMONDS. Author of 'The Great War." lor several days tho reports coming1 from the Balkans and appoarir.fr in the ?bbbbj in var.ous parts of the world have mdicatcd that there is imraediate promise of ece more Allied offensive, this timei from Salonica. Nor is it too much to say that the effect of a successful Allie*! drive from Salonica to the Danube would be of more considerab'c influence than anything else in changing the faee of the world eonflict. The reason for thia ia perfectly patent. ?frhen Germany. with her Austrian ally.i went south, crushing Serbia and Monte- j negro and by enlisting Bulgaria opening, the road to Constantinople and beyond. < she actually accomplished more from the political point of view than by all herj other much lc?s successful, if more daz iling, triumphs. For mary years Berlin and Vienna had dreamed of an expansion to and beyond the jEpean ar.d the Hellespont. Sea power had effectively elosed Tcutonic hopes of expansion in the Far East and of more than limited colonial development in Africa and the Far East. As long as Britain remained supreme on the blue water the aajrUying colonies of Germany were boand to fall to the British in any war, a? the progrcss of events in the pres? ent eonflict has demonstrated. The March to the Naar Ea?t. But the march to the Near East was overlar* i. Seated at the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, Germany could command the crossing to Asia, she would be beyond the reaeh of naval power and her expan? sion could spread through Anatolia and down lb Suez as well as outward toward Per.ft:i. and even India. A reorganized Tun.fth army, strengthened and stiffened by Ttfttonic contingents, could restore the Osmar.li empire and threaten Britain at Suez, the "heel of the British Achilles." And all of this dream the successful campaign of last winter, for the time at least, transformed into reality. The de? struction of Serbia bound Berlin to By rantium and the Bagdad railroad pro lonj-ed the line far down toward Mesopo tamia. The train which to-day starts at Ar-wcrp and halts only at the Stamboul quay is for the Germans a sign and sym M of that "place in the sun" they have lons* sought It is the solid achievement of the war. It is Wholly conceivable that Germany might now, or after a few more months Bf tha ternfic sacrifices that are daily ol her, eonsent to cvacuate France and mtore Belgium. She might even re tire from Ra ftaij Poland and persuade her Au-tnan ally to make certain conces ? i Italy iri the Trentino. She might accept the loss of her Af rican and Asiatic colonies, nut all these would be but com paratr.e Iobbbji if she could retain her rjprcn.a.'y ia the Balkans and her mas tery of tin Turk'** dominions. Mittcleuropa. ! 1 er loa^aaa, aha would still Lftve agjwrfed from the war a gainer, and in due course of time that Mitteleuropa of wc have heard M much would be? come a reahty ar.d the Germans would he afg m a coalition which extended aVaaj the Baltic to the Persian Gulf, ^hich touched Ef-ypt at Suez and men ?*d India from Busra. Given a few years (,f peace to organize her conquests, Germany would be established permanent ?V in Western Asia, across the exit of ?, on the flank of Brit.iin, through ?af Mahometar. influence a threat to the Moslem populations of France, Britain,1 Russia and even Italy. Therefore it is safe to conclude that Cn'y eomplete defeat, a defeat far more ^nsiderahle than wc have yet any imme diat* prom:m of, would bring Germany 10 surrender what she has won between; "* Danube and the /Egean. For such a: ,Qrrender would bolt the doorway to thej ****? Rutiia would c.tabliih heraelf at1 the Straits, the Turkish Kmpire would be partitioned among Germany's enemies and the rea) bulk would sooner or later come to the nation which, seated at Scu tari and in Armenia, would infallibly pen etrate and absorb Anatolia. A Deciairei Defeat. On the other hand, if an Allied offen? sive, starting at Salonica, where a huge Anglo-French-Serb army has been con centrated, eould cut through the forces of the Central Powers in the Valley of the Vardar, reach the Danube by Skoplie and Nish, then the German dream would be extinfruished, there would bo no longer any hope of profit after peaee which might compensate for the past sacrifiees or the future suffering that war entailed. Such a defeat wojld be far more effective than any retreat in Northern France or Belgium, any withdrawal in Poland and Volhynia, in bringing Germany to peaee. It is for this reason that I believe the campaign in the Balkans, to which every sipn points, may easily prove far more important in its politieal effects than any? thing that will happen in Picardy or even Galicia in the present year. Now, what is the exact military situation at the present moment in the Balkans? Nine months ago an Anglo-French army which had come too late to save Serbia fell back sullenly from Macedonia into Greece, took its stand before Salonica and across the neck of the Chalcidice Peninsula under conditions strikingly recalling the recoil of Wellington behind the lines of Torre. Vedras in the Napoleonic Wars. The mass of the Serb army, fleeing over the Alban ian Alps, reached the coast at St. Jean de Medua and at Durazzo, took ship for K'orfu and came to temporary rest on this island, reduced to abject misery and for j long out of the war. Joffre Overruled Kitchener. There was a time when it seemed likely that German, Austrian and Bulgarian troops would pass the Greek frontier and attempt to repeat the exploit of Soult at Corunna, when he foreed thc army of Sir John Moore to take ship. But this did not happen. The Central Powers paused at the Greek frontier. Austrian troops en? tered Albania and approached Valona, but an Italian army here stobd safely under conditions recalling the army at Salonica. From that hour to the present there has been a slow but steady rise in the strength of the Allied forces at Salonica. Kitch? ener, who oppo.ied the transfer of British troops to Salonica, was overruled by Joffre in a memornble interview, when the Freneh commander visited Britain. There was a further interview between Kitchener and Briand, which is a basis for legend al? ready. But the up.-hot of the matter was that the Freneh decided that Salonica should be held ar.d that there should be a promise, at thc least. of a future deliver ance of Serbia. Thereafter Sarrail, who defended Ver? dun in the opening campaign, but was re? moved by Joffre because of differences of opinion, was sent to the Near East with a itlTtng Freneh army. Many of the British troop.. withdrawn from Gallipoli passed to the mainland. In a few months there were not less than a quarter of a million Freneh and British troops in this region, :in 1 backed by a .strong fleet they had transformed the easily defensible position into a praetically impregnable stronghold, another Torres Vedra_. By spring a re? stored and equipped Serbian army was brought over from Corfu, and at the pres? ent hour the Allies have an army that is rarely estimated at less than a half million and has recently been deelared on interest ing authority to exceed 650*000. All question of an attaek upon Salonica was over with the winter. In due course we were informed that the Freneh and British troops were bt-ginnii:;* to push out from the sea coast and were approaching the old Serb frontier. Only the other day there was official report of Serbian ad THE BALKAN PENINSULA. The Heavily Shaded Line Shows thc Allied Position. vances along Lake Presba, which is close to the Alhanian line and only a short dis tance from Monastir, the chief city of Macedonia. Such a force would be in touch with the Italians pushing out from Valona. The Allie* at Salonica. We may, then, assume that something over half a million Allied troops are now occupying a line but little south of the former Serb-Greek frontier, while an Italian army of little less than 100,000 is covering its western flank at Valona. The Allied troops are based upon two rail? roads, or rather three, the Salonica-Mon aatir railroad, passing through Vodena, which crosses the firing line just south of Monastir; the main Belgrade-Salonica line, which goes up the Vardar Valley, and the Salonica-Adrianople line, which parallels the Belgrade line for some miles and then turns east, south of the Greek frontier, and follows the .-Egean shore to Bulgarian territory. Facing them the Allies have practically the whole Bulgarian army, but allowance t>eing made for losses in the three recent war-i this cannot number more than 200, 000, for Bulgaria is compelled to keep rear guard troops in Macedonia and Old. Serbia, and she is also obliged to maintain forces to watch Rumania, whose intentions are never certain. As far as the Black Sea coast is concerned Bulgaria seems to be relying upon Turkish troops, stationed at Varna and Burgas, to prevent an attack by a Russian army convoyed by the Black Sea fleet. In addition there has been a considera ble Teutonic force to the northeast of Salonica, covering the Struma Valley, the direct route to Sofia, up which the present Grei'k King led his victorious army in the Second Balkan War, and covering also the railroad from Salonica to Adrianopie, where it enters Bulgar territory. This railroad is the sole supply line for that army, aside from the bad road up through the Struma Pass and over the crest into Kustendil, where a branch line from Soria terminates. The Bulgarian armies in Macedonia (are dependent upon the main Belgrade Salonica line for supplies and upon the Nish-Sofia-Adrianople line for communi eation by rail with Bulparia. There is a good road over the mountains from Skop lie, by Kumanovo to Kustendil, but no rail . road. The Bulgarians in Monastir depend entirely upon highways, the best coming from Veles, where it leaves the Vardar Valley, snd the Belgrade Railroad by Prilip to the Monastir Plain. Such Aus trian forces as may be facing thc Italians in Albania have only wretched trails lead ing back by Ochrida to Monastir, by Dibra and Prisrend to the Skoplie-Novi Bazar Railroad and by such service as can be maintained by the sea. Obviously when the Allies do strike i their blow will be threefold. Their main thrust will be up the Vardar Valley tow? ard Skoplie, and thence to _.___. following the Belgrade-Salonica railroad. If they ean reach Klsfc they will cut the railroad which binds Berlin and Vienna to Con stantinople and, save for Danube River steamers, isolate Bulgana and Turkey from their allies. There is also certain to be a joint op? eration by the Serbs, who are already active before Monastir, snd the Italians, who hold Valona. The former will under take to clean the Bulgarians and Austrians out of the Monastir Plain, taking the city ?f Monastir. The latter will endeavor to clear Albania and reach the old Monte negrin frontier, with the city of Scutari as their objective. Finally, there is bound to be some ef? fort made to move east and drive the Austro-German troops out of the lower reaches of the Struma Valley and east ward along the Salonica-Adrianople rail ' road, but this lsst will hardly be of more than minor importance, unless the Allies shall undertake to follow the route of the Greek King up the Struma Valley, tow-j ard Sofia, which is unlikely, in view of the extreme difficulty of transport in this region and the strength for the defensive supplied by the mountain positions. Delay Help* Allie*. Why have the Allies so far postponed their thrust? The answer must be fonnd in political as well as military considera tions. The attacks upon Austria and Germany by Russia on the east and by Britain and France on the west have al? ready compelled the Central Powers to withdraw a considerable portion of their troops from the Balkans. In fact, the withdrawals began at the time the Ger? man blow at Verdun was being prepared This leaves more and more of the burden of defending Macedonia to the Bu'.garians, and it gives the Salonica army of the Al? lies an increasing advantage in numbers. There are evidences, too, that Italy, al? ready on the offensive along the Trentino front, is about to attack at the Isonzo. This might compel the Austrians to re call their last battalions from the Balkans, as they have already called home most of their troops in Albania. [N'OTE: Thia artiele uas uritten ju.*t before neua of tlie Italian mtccea.t on tke honzo uas rcceiied,] In such a situation Bulgaria would either have to faee a combat wholly un equal or else change sides. No one will predict that the latter will happen, but no one will believe that it is impossible. The war has not gone as the Bulgarians ex? pected, and, despite the easy conquest of Macedonia, Bulgaria has since had to bear the great costs of a protracted war, the end of which does not appear in view. She undertook to help destroy Serbia, but will she remain to fight Britain and France as well? This is the political riddle. The military considerations are simpler. The longer tha Allies wait at Saloiuca, j while the pressure against the Central Powers on all the other fronts is growing, the fewer German and Austrian troops will remain to bar their way to the Dan? ube and t_*_ more certain they will be of a decisive success. This, I think, is the main factor. We shall hear many rumors of Btilgarian surrender. They may prove ac curate, but I do not believe Allied strat i gy is chiefly based on the notion that Bulgaria, having sold out to Berlin, can be bought back by London and Paris in advance of a real military disaster in the field. But unquestionably such a disaster would bring the collapse of Bulgaria. The war is unpopular, although all Bulgaria desires to have and to hold Macedonia and see Serbia reduced to nothing. There ;s the bitter memory of the fiasco of the Second Balkan War, and there is a strong Russophile party, which has no immediate power but is by no means inactive. If Bulgaria, by gold or by defeat, should be brought to change sides, then the whole eomplexion of affairs in the Balkans would be changed, and there would be a perma? nent and complete severance of communi etitions between the Central Powers and Tur .ey, with the cessation of the flow of the munitions neeessary to maintain Turk ?*h military forces and the subventions which keep Turkish finance going. It is safe to conclude that some time in the next two or three months, at least be? fore the Balkan winter approaches, we shall see a great thrust out from Salonica. If it succeeds then there will be the big gest change in Bethmann-Hollweg's war map that can be conceived of, and there will be the complete extinction of the chief hope that German statesmen and publi cists cling to, of a greater Germany after the war and a future for German eeonomic and colonisl expansion beyond the fron? tier. of the German Empire of 1914. li tha thrust fails, then the lituayon Decision of the Whole War May Come from Vic? tory in the Balkans. Copyright 191ty?The Tribune Ass'n. will be left as it is, and the outlook for the future will depend on the progrcss or lack of progress that has been made in the Eastern and Western and Italian fields. But the longer the attack is dclayed, while the other offensives are calling baek the German and Austrian troops in the Bal? kans, the aurer the Allies will be of suc? cess and the less will be the Bulgarian en? thusiasm for remaining with her present partners. What tha Allica Can Offer. Remember always, too, that the Allies can offer Bulgaria the Thracian district*, including Adrianople and the country north of the Enos-Midia line, which were lost to Turkey in the Second Balkan War, after they had been acquired in the first, They can also, with the consent of Serbia, leave Bulgaria that portion of Macedonia east of the Vardar, which Serbia was will? ing to cede a year ago. But only with Serbian consent could this be done, and there is very great reluctance now to ask Serbia to make any further sacrifice since the mistakes of Allied diplomacy brought about her present agony. Allied delay may also be conditioned on the fact that a Greek election is at hand, and a victory by Venizelos wvuld put Greece in the hands of the friends of the Alliea and inaure a real neutrality if not an active support, from the Hellenic gov? ernment Already the Greek army has hreen demobilized and the old dangers from German intrigue in Athens and ascendancy in the mind of King Constantine are at an end. It is by no means certain that tho election will not be followed by a revolu tion whether Venizelos wins or is de? feated by German influence and royal in? terference, and the Allies would be in a better posture to deal with the Greek problem if they were not already com mitted to a Macedonian campaign. Sooner or later, by early autumn at the latest, howevc*-, this Balkan push is to come. It may easily turn out the most important of the various Allied operation?. Its relation to all the others is perfectly clear, and the fact that it is contemplated indicates the manner in which Allied mili? tary direction has now been coordinated and the movements on all fronts harmo nized. The Road to Nith. But it is essential to emphasize the <hf ficultics of the Balkan campaign. The Vardar Valley is in many places little more than a canyon, the Germans have had many months to cons^truct defensive positions for their allies and the country is so restricted that the advantage of num bers, which the opponents of Bulgaria plainly possess, will be considerably if not decisively offset. Again the real test will come in the matter af artillery. The road to Skoplie and Nish i?, then, long and hard. Until the Alli.'s reaeh Nish their campaijn will have no di-cisive value, although a successful ejection of the Bulgars from Macedonia may, by de priving them of their profit in the German alliance, cool their loyalty to their partners 'and open the way for a change of align 'ment. All in all, the Balkan campaign may prove the most interesting and the jmost important of the present summer 'and autumn. It is worth close watching, 'and it reveals the rapidly mounting curve !of Allied resourees and the patent weak tening of the strength of the Central Pow Jers, since they have been compelled M greatly to reduce their effectives on this highly important front. Allied victory here will have a tremen dous effect in Bucharest and in Constanti? nople, but these are things that may well wujt. upon the progress of the campaign its*>'f. What should ba realized is that the British and French drive at the Somme, even the Russian offensive in Galicia and Volhynia, are only component parts of one comprehensive scheme, which also includes ? an Italian attack on the Isonzo and a thrust up from Salonica. This combined and concentric attack on several fronts simul taneously is nothing more m.r less than Grant's strategy of lHt*4, and once more there is great light to be found by a atudy of the Civil War i amp.ng-is of the closiag year.