To start with, Macedonia, the host, as well as Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and other east European backwaters hardly qualify for the title "central European". Mitteleuropa is not merely a geographical designation which excludes all but two or three of the participants. Moreover, the disparity between the countries assembled in the august conference precludes a common label.
In a word, when opportunity suddenly appears like the bridegroom of the Gospel, the German will be found waiting, with girded loins and trimmed lamp. He has distributed the parts of each nation in the international drama, and if the rôles cannot be taken over to-morrow, he will wait until the day after. Cf. Friedrich Naumann, Mitteleuropa.
For the Russian capitalist class, therefore, it was of the most vital importance that Germany's power should not be increased, as it would of necessity be if the Entente submitted to her threats and permitted Serbia to be crushed by Austria, and the furtherance of the Pan-German Mitteleuropa designs.
Above all, to-day our thoughts and our sympathies are moved towards Serbia, whose undaunted courage wins day by day our unbounded sympathy and admiration." During the lecture on the Problem of Small Nations in the European Crisis, Professor Masaryk outlined his political programme which he has ever since insisted the Allies should adopt, to destroy the German plans of Mitteleuropa.
The issue really at stake was: Central Europe either Pan-German or anti-German. If Germany succeeded in preserving Austria-Hungary, the Pan-German plans of Mitteleuropa would be a fait accompli, and Germany would have won the war: the Germans would, with the aid of the Magyars and Bulgars, directly and indirectly control and exploit over one hundred million Slavs in Central Europe.
Like the Czechs, the Poles are threatened by the Pan-German schemes of Mitteleuropa and "Drang nach Osten," to which they are bitterly opposed. These plans can be checked effectively only by the establishment of a strong and united Poland with access to the sea, a strong Czecho-Slovak State, and a united and independent Yugoslavia and Rumania.
The "deepened alliance" concluded between Germany and Austria-Hungary in May, 1918, resulting in the complete surrender of Austria's independence, is in fact the natural outcome of a long development and the realisation of the hopes of Mitteleuropa cherished by the Germans for years past.
We will quote only a few passages from an article written by deputy Rasin which read as follows: "The war has brought our problem home not only to us but to the whole world. Nothing could have better expressed our situation than the propaganda of Mitteleuropa. Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria had to form a bridge for the imperialistic march of Germany to the Persian Gulf via Constantinople and Bagdad.