Serbians in peril

LAST Thursday, in discussing the Russian advance in the southern sector of their front, it was remarked that “a long time back, when the anticipated Russian recovery was first beginning to manifest itself (and to justify the hopeful but much criticised views consistently expressed in this column) the injunction was offered ‘Watch Czernovitz’.

“The success our Ally is achieving there is in every sense remarkable and these operations more than any other are likely immediately to affect the German plan.”

It is pleasing to find a writer of Mr Edgar Wallace’s standing endorsing views which, while held by many who closely follow events, are advanced somewhat timorously, for the necessary courage is thus imparted to venture further into the ordinarily unprofitable fields of speculation.

There is no mystery as to Czernovitz and its meaning.

The map - Bukovina, Bessarabia, Roumania - provides all the explanation that is necessary.

Russia is endeavouring in the north to give to Roumania the moral and material support which Anglo-French forces are offering Greece in the south and south-east.

Time and events may conspire against the fruition of the joint project but already the fear that these countries would be jockeyed into casting in their lot with our enemies is diminishing and if we can only develop our plans with sufficient celerity the greater hope may yet be realised.

The immediate position, so far as the Balkans is concerned, is to all appearances bad.

The new invasion of Serbia from Visegrad means that the pressure against the hero nation is now on three fronts, east, north and west, and that only in the south-westerly direction is retreat open, while even in this direction the Bulgarian occupation of Uskub presents a dangerous menace.

Germans and Bulgarians are now less than 30 miles apart and everything, or nearly everything, depends upon the Anglo-French forces.

If the Allies can re-establish command of the Vardar Valley (the French success on the Krivoloak-Rabrovo front, with its threat against Bulgarian communications with Ishtib and Veles, suggests that this is possible) the situation would be retrieved.

There are other factors at work.

The Bulgarians may yet realise that they have been tricked.

The well-informed Morning Post correspondent suggests that Greece, at all events, is beginning to see through German designs.

He says: “I am informed on good authority that the Greek Staff are beginning to see that the German invasion of Serbia was more or less a price of bluff to entice Bulgaria into war.

“Instead of the 800,000 men announced by the German party here (Athens) barely one-fourth of that force was detailed for the Serbian campaign.”

This gradual enlightenment, even if tardy, will probably have an important influence on the situation so far as the Hellenic Government is concerned.

It was suggested here the other day that the beginning, middle and end of Germany’s Serbian adventure was a vampire-like effort to secure new blood to delay for yet another year the inevitable dissolution and in today’s Morning Post it is remarked, in a leading article, that “the Serbian enterprise, which at first would indicate a plenitude of resources, in reality, with more likelihood, betokens the soreness of want”.