FOUR years ago a Rumanian statesman said to an English friend, “I expect to see this war end in a cataract of thrones.” It was an amazing prophecy, to be amazingly fulfilled. So far, the Austrian throne is the latest addition to the cataract. It seems to be gone for good, and a long chapter of European history is closed. “If Austria did not exist,” said Talleyrand, “we should have to invent it.” The Austrian empire was, in fact, a corner stone of the old European system, the system based on diplomacy and the balance of power. A new diplomacy is coming into existence, something else will take the place of the balance of power, and there is no further use for Austria. It may be asked whether there ever was any real use for it. . .
The attempt to crush Serbia launched the great war; in the war the Austrian army has gone to pieces, and the group of subject nations, held together only by force and by a family tradition, is dissolved by common consent. Seldom has history recorded retribution swifter or more complete.
The Church Times digital archive is available free to subscribers.