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the broad principles on which the map of Europe should be reconstructed at a future Congress. In the first place, the desires of the various nationalities to be united under a Government of their own are to be fulfilled. In the second place, territorial rearrangement will be made which will strengthen the peaceful nations, which will make unlikely a war of revenge, and which will secure the maintenance of peace for a very long time. In the third place, the nations which have fought and suffered are to receive suitable compensation, while those which have merely looked on will presumably derive little or no advantage from the general recasting of frontiers. Apparently there are only four questions which might lead to serious disagreement among the Allies. These are the question of Austria-Hungary, the question of Poland, the question of Constantinople, and the question of Asia Minor. All four questions are closely interwoven.
Russia is a Power which is viewed by many Englishmen with a good deal of distrust. Many people in this country fear that when Germany and Austria-Hungary have been defeated, Russia will become too powerful. They ask, Where will be the counterpoise to Russia if Germany should suffer great territorial losses, and if the Dual Monarchy should no longer form a single State, but should become dissolved into its component parts in accordance with the principle of nationality? To many Englishmen who have watched with concern the constant and apparently irresistible progress of Russia in Asia, that country is a dangerous, aggressive Power. They remember that many Russian generals and writers have recommended an expedition against India; that Czar Paul, during his short and tragic reign, actually prepared such a venture; that his successor, Alexander the First, also contemplated an attack on India by land; that more than once Russia has been at war with Great Britain. However, most of those who are thinking of Russia's aggressiveness and her former hostility to England are probably unaware that
her hostility was not without cause; that England, fearing that Russia might become too powerful, endeavoured, at the bidding of her enemies, to prevent Russia's expansion, especially in the direction of Constantinople and of the Far East; that at the time of the Crimean War, not Russia, but England, was apparently in the wrong; that Lord Beaconsfield prevented Russia reaping the fruit of her victory after her last war with Turkey; that, angered by England's attitude and incited by Bismarck and his successors, Russia not unnaturally endeavoured to revenge herself upon this country in the only part where it seemed vulnerable.
The problems of Poland, of Austria-Hungary, and of Asia Minor, which will be very fully considered in other chapters, are perhaps less dangerous to the maintenance of good relations among the Allies than is that of Constantinople. The question of Constantinople has for many decades been considered the most dangerous problem in Europe. Constantinople is supposed to be a point of vital interest not only to Russia, but to Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, and this country as well. As the Turks have plunged into the War and have attacked the Allies, they have forfeited England's good will and traditional protection. The settlement of the problem of Constantinople can no longer be shelved. Therefore, it seems best to consider it frankly, dispassionately, and without prejudice.
We have been taught in the past that the possession of Constantinople will decide the fate of the world,' that Constantinople dominates the world,' and that 'Russia's possession of that position would be fatal to Great Britain's position in India.' In these circumstances it seems necessary not only to consider the character of Russia's foreign policy and of the Russian people, but to study the problem of Constantinople in the light of history and with special reference to Russia's future.
Since the time of Napoleon the question of Constanti
nople has loomed particularly large, and probably unduly large, on the political horizon. Apparently the strategical importance of Constantinople is at present generally overestimated, because the last few generations, instead of studying critically and without prejudice the real importance of that town, have been mesmerised by the pronouncements of the great Corsican warrior, and have repeated his celebrated saying that Constantinople is the key of the world,' although it is nothing of the kind.
According to many popular historians, Russia has 'always' tried to wrest India from England and to make herself mistress of the world by seizing Constantinople. From some of the most serious historical books, and even from dry diplomatic documents, we learn that Russia's policy of seizing with Constantinople the dominion of the world was initiated by her greatest ruler, Peter the Great, who recommended that policy to his successors in his celebrated political testament. History, as Napoleon has told us, is a fable convenue. Napoleon himself has skilfully created a fable convenue around the town of Constantinople, and most of the mistaken views as to Russia's world-conquering aims have been engendered by that great genius who has mystified England during a whole century, and who has been responsible for a century of misunderstandings between England and Russia. It seems therefore timely and necessary to consider Russia's actions in the direction of Constantinople and of India by means of the most authoritative documents existing, the vast majority of which are not given in English books. They will be new to most British readers, and they may help in destroying a century-old legend which has served Napoleon's purpose of sowing enmity between Russia and this country.
The political testament of Peter the Great, which plays so great a part in historic and diplomatic literature, has, as far as I know, not been translated into English. There are several versions of that document. The following passages, which are taken from the combined versions given.
by Sokolnicki and Lesur, are those which should be of the greatest interest to English readers:
Austria should be induced to assist in driving the Turks out of Europe. Under that pretext a standing army should be maintained and shipyards be established on the shores of the Black Sea. Constantly progressing, the forces should advance towards Constantinople.
A strict alliance should be concluded with England. Predominance in the Baltic and in the Black Sea should be aimed at. That is the most important point. On it depends the rapid success of the plan.
My successors should become convinced of the truth that the trade with India is the world trade, and that he who possesses that trade is in truth the master of Europe. Consequently no opportunity for stirring up war with Persia and hastening its decay should be lost. Russia should penetrate to the Persian Gulf and endeavour to re-establish the ancient trade with the East.
The influence of religion upon the disunited and Greek dissenters dwelling in Hungary, Turkey, and Southern Poland should be made use of. They should be won over. Russia should become their protector and obtain spiritual supremacy over them. . .
Soon after opportunities will become precious. Everything should be prepared in secret for the great coup. In the deepest secrecy and the greatest circumspection the court of Versailles and then that of Vienna should be approached with the object of sharing with them the domination of the world.
In the following paragraphs the author recommends that Russia should bring about a world-war ostensibly regarding Turkey, that she should set all the other Great Powers by the ears, and while they are engaged in internecine struggles seize Constantinople, make war upon all her opponents, subdue them, and make herself supreme throughout the world.
Peter the Great died in 1725. He greatly enlarged the Russian frontiers, organised, modernised, and Euro
peanised the country, and fought hard to give it an outlet on the Swedish Baltic, where he created Petrograd. His successors, guided by Catherine the Second, endeavoured with equal energy to give Russia a second outlet to the sea in the south, at Turkey's cost, and apparently they carried out to the letter the recommendations contained in the political testament of Peter the Great. Prophecies are usually correct if they are made after the event. The famous political testament was apparently written, not in Peter the Great's lifetime, but a century after, when Russia had succeeded in acquiring the shores of the Black Sea and had become the leader of the Slav nations belonging to the Greek Church. Peter the Great's political testament was first published in a book, 'De la Politique et des Progrès de la Puissance Russe,' written by Lesur in 1811, at a time when Napoleon had resolved upon a war with Russia. It was published to influence European, and especially English, opinion against that country. According to Berkholz (Napoleon I, Auteur du Testament de Pierre le Grand'), Napoleon himself was the author. The abrupt telegraphic style of the composition indeed greatly resembles that of its putative author. The best informed now generally consider the will of Peter the Great to be a forgery. Bismarck, who was on the most intimate terms with Czar Alexander the Second, described it as apocryphal' in the fifth chapter of his Memoirs.' The value of Peter the Great's will as a document revealing the traditional policy and traditions of Russia is nil.
The desire of Peter the Great's successors to conquer the Turkish territory to the south of Russia, and to acquire for the country an outlet on the Black Sea, was not unnatural, for at a time when transport by land was almost a physical impossibility in Russia the country could be opened up and developed only by means of her splendid natural waterways and of seaports. As Russia's most fruitful territories are in the south, access to the Black Sea was for her development far more important than an