ALL Europe, at the moment, stands face to face with the menace
of a great and devastating war. The quarrel between Austria-Hungary
and Servia was not begun yesterday: it is a thing of some years'
standing. It is true that the recent assassination of the Austrian
Heir-Apparent through the machination of agents in Belgrade has
been made the occasion for the declaration of war by Austria
against Servia, but behind and beyond that was a long series of
plots against the House of Habsburg and the Dual Monarchy. If it
were only the assassination that constituted the casus
belli, it would be a simple matter to decide on which side our
sympathies should lie. But, if the war is extended be-yond the two
belligerent states, we may find ourselves espousing a quarrel with
which we are in sympathy only in part. It will then be the Triple
Entente against the Triple Alliance. It is a grievous
disappointment that Germany has declined to accept our Foreign
Secretary's invitation to join in a Conference of the Powers in
London, though France and Italy had already signified their
willingness to take part in it. But it is not necessary to augur
the worst from this attitude of Germany. She is believed to be
doing her best to arrive at an understanding with Russia, on whose
action depends the possibility of localizing the war. Russia,
however, will never consent to stand by while Servia is being
reduced from the position of a Sovereign State, but, if Austria
gives her an assurance that this is not her intention in attempting
to punish Servia, the general war that Europe so greatly dreads
will be staved off. Towards that happier issue the prayers of the
peoples and the efforts of responsible statesmen will be directed.
Give peace in our time, O Lord.
The Church Times digital
archive is available free to postal subscribers.