OCR Interpretation

New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, August 13, 1916, Image 17

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1916-08-13/ed-2/seq-17/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for 5

J-Jh* Jtoii STrflmtte
SUNDAY, AUGUST 1.3. 1016.
Germany's One Place in the Sun, Her
Berlin to Bagdad Adventure, Is
Threatened by Coming
AlliedThrust Out
of Salonica.
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
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.
! 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 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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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

xml | txt