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Ww1 Essay

1094 words - 5 pages

Examine the impact of the Congress of Berlin (1878) on political development in Europe up to 1914.

After the outbreak of the Balkan Crisis in 1875, Russia sent troops to help the Balkans to get independence from the control of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War in 1877. She defeated the Turks and forced them to sign the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878. Being afraid of the increase in the Russian influence and power, the powers called the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Although it was held to settle the issues in the Balkans, the political development in Europe was greatly affected.

By the Treaty of San Stefano, the Russian influence in the Balkan could increase tremendously. An ...view middle of the document...

With the reduction in the size of Bulgaria, the Russian dream of establishing Bulgaria as her satellite state was broken. Conservatives in Russia feared that the result of the Congress would weaken the autocracy in Russia and help to produce a revolution there. Slavophils were violently critical of the alleged weakness of Russia’s westernized representatives at Berlin. There was a widespread feeling that Russia had been the victim of a conspiracy of the other great powers and that the fruits of her victory had been undeservedly reaped by Austria and Britain. Russia was particularly disappointed with Germany. When a place had to be chosen for the meeting of the powers, Russia insisted on choosing Berlin hoping that Russian interests would suffer less at a conference held in the German capital; the Dreikaiserbund signed in 1873 and faith in the old Russo-Prussian friendship still counted for something. In the end, Russian confidence was badly shaken, for Bismarck, though trying desperately to prevent a breach between Austria-Hungary and Russia, was bound to lean towards the former in any clash of loyalties as shown in his support towards Austria in the Congress. After this, Russia moved away from Germany and began to look for another possible ally.

Besides affecting the alliance between Russia and Germany, the international relationship was affected in other ways. One of the outstanding characteristics of the Balkan Crisis 1875-8 had been the lack of stable combinations and effective alliances between the powers. None of the powers had a partner with which it was in agreement on all points. Austria and Britain worked well together in practice; but their interests were in many ways very different. Bismarck did not wish to alienate the Tsar; but he made no effort to help him defend the clauses of the Treaty of San Stefano to which both Britain and Austria objected. It was the tensions revealed by the great eastern crisis of the 1870s which ended this period of fluid great power relations. In 1879, Bismarck signed with Austria the defensive Dual Alliance which was to endure for the life-time of the German and Hapsburg Empires. On the foundation of the Dual Alliance was rapidly reared a structure of precise and binding international commitments...

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