Peace-mongering in 1913: the Carnegie international commission of inquiry and its report on the Balkan Wars
Frances Trix pages 147-162View the article abstract
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace saw the Second Balkan War of the summer of 1913 as an opportunity to extend its influence and authority. The war seemed made to order for peace advocates in that its causes were disputed, atrocities had been charged from all sides and it was geographically in Europe. The Carnegie Endowment immediately sent an international commission to the Balkans to investigate the causes of the war, and the veracity and responsibility of alleged atrocities. The Commission was also charged with studying the economic and moral losses from the war, and the lessons it could teach ‘civilized people.’ In this paper, I focus on the aims of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and the extent to which the Commission achieved them in the Balkans and in the resulting publication, The Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. I describe how the head of the Carnegie Division of Intercourse and Education conceived of the initiative, and how he worked with the Paris Carnegie office to assemble the international members. I present how political post-war difficulties affected their fieldwork in the Balkans. The Report, scheduled to be published in January 1914, appeared in French in May 1914 and in English in June 1914 – too late to rekindle interest before other events took center stage. The Carnegie Commissioners were successful in meeting many of their aims but the Report’s late publication made this moot. Still, the Carnegie Commission to the Balkans and its Report are significant as an international attempt of peace advocates to bring out the horrors of war in the year just before the First World War. They are also significant as early work to document war crimes and human rights abuse, including abuse of non-combatant citizens. In addition, the Report has been used naively as a historical source on the Balkan Wars. I contextualize it as an historical source with its strengths and weaknesses.
Key Words: peace, Balkan Wars, Carnegie Commission, human rights abuse, post-war fieldwork