After the Assassination of King Alexander

Courtesy Reuters

THE Croatian and Macedonian terrorists who thought that by removing King Alexander they could break up the Jugoslav state and give "freedom" to Croatia and Macedonia, like their patrons in neighboring countries who played upon their fanaticism, ignorance and cupidity, saw in the King's visit to France an opportunity to carry out their long-planned plot. They saw also that it was almost the last moment when the execution of the plot might conceivably accomplish the results they desired.

To their dismay, King Alexander's prestige had been augmenting during the past two years, both at home and abroad. As long ago as 1927 Poincaré spoke to me of King Alexander as "one of the few statesmen of Europe." But not until recently did it begin to be generally recognized that he possessed political talents of the first order. This increase in prestige had come mainly from his patient handling of a series of difficult and dangerous international situations. He had helped strengthen the Little Entente, and had held it firm in the face of Italy's ambition to exercise the balance of power in continental Europe, between Germany and France, by increasing the weight of the discontented states at the expense particularly of the Little Entente. This ambition had been revealed in Italy's vigorous championship of treaty revision and her efforts to secure guardianship over Austria rather than participate in a general guaranty of Austrian independence or see Austria established as a self-reliant member of a Danubian economic confederation. He had succeeded in bridging the gap with Bulgaria; and as a result the rival Macedonian bands which had been plaguing the Bulgarian Government and using its territory as a base for operations in South Serbia had at last been broken up and scattered. He had made the experiment of paying a visit to Ankara, and had impressed Mustapha Kemal by his directness and vigor. This had helped make it possible for him to forward the project of a Balkan Entente without alienating Bulgaria, thereby,

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