1914 by Luciano Canfora

By Luciano Canfora

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Oltre tutto i tedeschi commisero in Belgio anche un tipo di errore che si dovrebbe evitare da parte di una potenza che intende esercitare il dominio, e cioè quello di colpire gli intellettuali. Subito dopo la presa di Gand, la grande città e sede universitaria, fra gli arrestati ci fu anche il grande storico belga Henri Pirenne. Henri Pirenne e altri colleghi dell’Università di Gand furono messi in campo di concentramento. L’idea era 50 sostanzialmente quella di rendere il Belgio inoffensivo e addirittura privarlo di ogni genere di risorse.

Quest’ambasciatore ha da consegnare l’ultimatum tra le 4 e le 5 del pomeriggio. Mentre si accinge e aspetta che arrivi il momento, gli giunge un nuovo dispaccio da Vienna, un telegramma nel quale si dice che siccome il ministro 33 francese Poincaré, che si trovava in quel momento a Pietroburgo – e trattava evidentemente con la Russia al fine di rinfrescare l’alleanza, dati i pericoli di guerra – soltanto verso le ore 11 si sarebbe allontanato da Pietroburgo, era conveniente ritardare la trasmissione dell’ultimatum di qualche ora e quindi, al più presto, consegnarlo pochi minuti prima delle 5.

Il principale esponente di questa tendenza fortemente bellicista è il ministro degli esteri dell’impero austro-ungarico, il conte Berchtold, che è certamente la persona che più ha scherzato col fuoco, sino ad arrivare poi al fuoco vero e proprio, non più metaforico. Nell’ambiente di governo, nelle cerchie ruotanti intorno alla corte, tuttavia ci sono anche altre voci: c’è un vecchio saggio, il conte Tisza, il quale è tutt’altro che convinto dell’opportunità e soprattutto dell’inevitabilità del conflitto, e cerca di influenzare il vecchio sovrano.

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