Peoples, Many Problems
One of the characters
in Kipling’s novel The Light That Failed is a British war correspondent
who “always opened his conversation with the news that there would be trouble
in the Balkans in the spring.” Toward the end of the story, when “trouble”
broke out in the Sudan instead, he had to admit that he was wrong about the Balkans.
But his gloomy prediction could easily have been right; for in Balkan history—as
in world history—the theme of violence is unhappily recurrent.
occasion, troubles that first broke into the open in the Balkan Peninsula have
spread and engulfed large parts of Europe and even, in 1914–18, of the world.
The complex clash of forces that has given the Balkans the name of “powder
keg” and “tinderbox” of Europe may well spark future world conflicts
if a lasting solution is not found. And a world war, we now know, even if it starts
in some unheard-of corner of the Balkans, involves the United States.
is important for Americans to understand the problems of the Balkans. Can they
be settled? If the Balkans were left to themselves, could they find the way to
peace and happiness? Are the troubled Balkans a miniature of the troubled world?
And are their problems—on a smaller scale—the problems that plague
and perplex the world?
Let The Presses Roll!
this pamphlet goes to press the lightning progress of the war is forcing the Balkan
Peninsula into political upheaval. By the time you read these lines the situation
may have developed far beyond what appears here.
would be futile to hold the presses in an attempt to bring in last minute occurrences.
History is being made so fast that in the end the pamphlet would probably lag
farther behind events than it does as you read it.
will need to take this into account, therefore, and to supply from the best possible
sources whatever additions and revisions are necessary to bring the story up to