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Balkan Crisis of 1876-1878 - Congress of Berlin

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 3 months ago

Fixing the World: The Congress of Berlin

The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the great Eurpoean powers and the Ottoman Empire in Berlin in 1878.  In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize conditions in the Balkans. Otto von Bismarck, who led the Congress, undertook to balance the distinct interests of Great Britain, Russia and Austria-Hungary. As a consequence, however, differences between Russia and Austria-Hungary intensified, as did the nationality question in the Balkans.  The Congress was attended by Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire.  This congress proposed and ratified the Treaty of Berlin. 


The principal mission of the World Powers at the congress was to deal a fatal blow to the burgeoning movement of pan-Slavism. The movement caused serious concern in Berlin and particularly in Vienna, which was afraid that the repressed Slavic nationalities would revolt against the Habsburgs. London and Paris were nervous about the diminishing influence of the Ottoman Empire in the south and about Russian cultural expansion to the south, where both Britain and France were poised to colonize Egypt and Palestine. 


Through the Treaty of San Stefano, the Russians, led by chancellor Alexander Gorchakov, had managed to create the Bulgarian autonomous principality under Ottoman Empire's nominal rule, thus sparking British fears of growing Russian influence in the East (see also the Great Game). This state had access to the Aegean Sea and comprised a very large portion of Macedonia that could have at any time threatened the Straits that separate the Black Sea from the Mediterranean.


This arrangement was not acceptable to the British Empire, which considered the entire Mediterranean to be, in effect, a British territory, and saw any Russian attempt to gain access there as a grave threat to its power. Thus, the British joined with the Austrians in moving for wholesale revision of San Stefano.


Giving in to Russian pressure, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro were declared independent principalities. The full independence of Bulgaria, however, was denied. It was promised autonomy, and guarantees were made against Turkish interference, but these were largely ignored. The Dobruja was given to Romania; Montenegro obtained Niksic, Podgorica, Bar, and Plav-Gusinje. The Turkish government, or Porte, agreed to obey the specifications contained in the Organic Law of 1868, and to guarantee the civil rights of non-Muslim subjects. Bosnia and Herzegovina were placed under the administration of Austria-Hungary.


Russia agreed that Bulgaria should be split up into three parts. The southwestern part remained under Turkish rule. Eastern Rumelia became an autonomous province and the remainder was the new state of Bulgaria. Russia retained southern Bessarabia and Austria received the right to "occupy and administer" Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The delegates at the Congress were as follows:


Great Britain

  • Earl of Beaconsfield
  • Marquess of Salisbury
  • Lord Russell 



  • Prince Gorchakov
  • Count Shuvalov
  • Baron d'Oubril



  • Prince Bismarck
  • Prince Hohenohe
  • Chancellor von Bülow



  • Count Andrássy
  • Count Károlyi
  • Baron Heinrich Karl von Haymerle



  • Monsieur Waddington
  • Comte de Saint-Vallier
  • Monsieur Desprey



  • Count Corti
  • Count De Launay


Ottoman Empire

  • Karatheodori Pasha
  • Sadoullah Bey
  • Mehemet Ali Pasha



  • Theodoros Deligiannis


  • Jovan Ristić


Romania and Montenegro also sent delegates.


 Picture of the Berlin Congress:


Image:Berliner kongress.jpg


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