The Balkans

The importance of the decline of Ottoman power

The importance of Balkans to different countries

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 05-06-12 15:54

Key Facts

  • The Balkans were divided among surrounding powers but the vast majority were owned by the Ottomans, however, the Ottoman was in decline and since 1832 when Greece achieved their independence the Ottoman empire continued to break up with Serbia and Bulgaria breaking away in 1878.
  • Balkan nationalism was mainly encouraged by Serbia as they wanted to united with Serbs in the Balkand to re-create Greater Serbia, however, other Slavs also demanded their independence.
  • Austria-Hungary was a scattered Empire and ruled over lots of Slav subjects and they wanted to stop the growth of nationalism as they feared this would mean many of their Slav subjects would break away weakening their Empire.
  • So Franz-Joespeh thought it would be a good idea to conquer Serbia because if the Serbs broke free then other Slav subject would want to do the same.
  • Russia used a narrow strait called Dardanelles owned by the Ottomans to sail to the Mediterranean for trade, however, they feared with the break up of the Ottomans that their access would be cut off. So they were keen to establish pro-Russian governments in the Balkans by promoting nationalism and helping liberate countries.
  • Britain and France wanted to keep Russia out of the Balkans to protect their own tarde.
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Explain why there was tension in the Balkans befor

1. Since 1832 when Greece achieved its independence from the Ottomans, the Ottoman Empire went into decline, and other countries such as Serbia also wanted to achieve their independence. However, the Ottomans wanted to hold onto their Balkan territories in order to keep their Empire in Europe, but as more countries broke away, such as Serbia and Bulgaria, the Balkan states started demanding their independence from the Ottomans. Serbia was one of the main countries encouraging this nationalism as since their independence wanted to re-create Greater Serbia and so unite with Serbian Slav subjects. So there was tension between the Balkan states who wanted independence and the ottomans who wanted to keep their Empire.

2. Serbia's encouragement of nationalism then caused tension with Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary had a scattered empire and ruled over lots of Slav subjects, it was against nationalism as this would mean that their Slav subjects could break away and this would weaken their empire. Serbia wanted to promote nationalism and unite with the Serbs that were living in Austria, this alarmed the Habsburgs because if the Serbs were liberated, other Slav subjects would want independence dramatically weakening their empire. So Franz Joeseph thought it would be a goo idea to conquer Serbia, and therefore, tension between the countries was high as there was a conflict of interests.

3. Then because Austria-Hungary were trying to prevent the rise of nationalism, perhaps, the main reason why there was tension in the Balkans because Habsburg interests conflicted with thos of the other Great Power- Russia. Russia was keen to promote pro-Russian governments in the Balkans beacuse with the decline of the Ottoman Empire it did not want its access to the the Mediterranean (through the Dardanelles) to be cut off. So in order to establish these pro-Russian governments Russia encouraged Nationalism and helped to liberate the Balkan States, which was clearly opposing the aims of the Habsburgs and so this caused tension between the two countries. Russia also worried Britain and France because they wanted to protect their own trade in the area.

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Key features of the Bosnian Crisi 1908

1. One feature was that Austria-Hungary did not support nationalism, as they feared it would lead to the independence of their Slav subjects which would weaken their empire, and so they supported Ottoman conitunation. This meant they were happy to provide 'protection' over the state of Bosnia for the Ottomans as they did not have enough power, as this meant they could prevent nationalism occuring in this area.

2. However, in 1908 when a revolution in Turkey meant they might try to reclaim Bosnia Austria-Hungary announced they had formally annexed the state. This caused tension as Turkey considered their territiory to be seized, Serbia would no longer be able to unite with Serbs from Bosnia, and Russia objected to increase in Habsburg power.

3. Turkey became satisfied when they were offered compensation but Serbia and Russia were so angry they considered war, however, they had to back down when Germany showed it would stand by its ally.

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Key features of the Balkan Wars

1. One key feature of the Balkan wars is that the Balkan states wanted independence from the Ottomans, and so wanted to remove the Ottomans from Europe. They got their chance when the Young Turks revolution failed, and so came Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro came together to form the Balkan League and declared war on the Ottomans in 1912.

2. Another feature was that the Balkan League was successful (in just three weeks they had pushed the Ottomans as far back as Adrianople) and this worried Austria Hungary who feared this would lead to nationalism which wou.d weaken its Empire. So the Habsburgs persuaded the Great Powers to draw up a peace treaty to the end the fighting.

3. However, the fighting started again but this time the Balkan states started fighting each other over disagreements about the land won previously. When the wars were over they resulted in the Ottomans losing all their European possessions and Serbia, Greece and Romania winning land from Bulgaria. Serbia emerged as the most powerful Balkan state.

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Second Balkan War

  • Bulgaria turned on its former allies as was unhappy with the land won in previous war.
  • Romania also joined in to try and win lands from Bulgaria
  • Ottomans joined in and took back some of the land which it had lost in first Balkan war.
  • Serbia emerged from these wars as the most powerful Balkan country.

-was dissastisfied because during the wars had captured part of the Adriatic coastline and ceased to be a landlocked country. Austria-Hungary did not want Serbia to grow in power and become and even greater threat so insisted that this territroy be taken from them.

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Explain why there were several crises in the Balka

There were several crises in the Balkans because of various tensions between countries however, all these reasons are linked because they were results of each countries own intentions conflicting, leading to disputes that caused crises.

1. Perhaps the main reason why there was the several crises in the Balkans was because Austria-Hungary was trying to oppose nationalism whilst, Serbia and Russia were trying to encourage it. This is what caused the Bosnian crisis, beacuse the Habsburgs were worried that the rise in nationalism would mean Slavs in their empire would want independence which would weaken them, and so afetr providing protection for the state of Bosnia when Turkey looked like it would reclaim it they announced they formally annexed the state so that they could prevent nationalism in this area. However, because Serbia wanted to united with the Serbs in Bosnia and Russia objected to the increase in Habsburg power they considered war, this then involved Germany so Russia had to back down. If the Habsburgs weren't trying to oppose nationalism then perhaps this crisis would have been avoided.

2. It was then this Serbian determination to promote nationalism so it could re-create Greater Serbia that was an important factor in creating the Balkan League, which led to the crisi of the First Balkan war. Other states which also formed the Balkan League were Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro and it was the determination to achieve independence for the Balkan States which meant in 1912 the Balkan League declared war on the Ottomans.

3. Then, there was the crises of the second Balkan war because the states wanted more land, and there were arguments over land gaince in the first War, meaning that Bulgaria turned on its former allies to start the second Balkan War.

  • So overall, it was because each country in the Balkans wanted to become more powerful, and so there were disputes between countries that spraked off the several crises that occured there.
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Explain why tension between the Great Powers Incre

Tension between the Great Powers increased in the Years 1908-13 because of several disputes all linked because they were caused by each country wanting to become more powerful.

Perhaps the main reason why tension between the Great Powers rose was because of the Agadir Crisis 1911, this was a major reason because it increased tension between France and Britain who were very powerful countries at the time and Germany who was also becomming an increasingly powerful Great Power. It caused tension because Germany was angry at the French increase in power as they took control of Morocco so it sent the Panther to threaten them. Yet, this worried Britain because they thought Germany were trying to set up a port there which would increase their power, and so the British responded by threatening Germany with war if they continued to bully France. Germany were forced to back down for a worthless part of the French congo, increasing tension because they were determined to not look foolish again and to win the next contest.

Then there was a similar power conflict in the Balkans, as Austria-Hungary were trying to resist the rise of nationalism which cam as a result of the declining Ottomans, yet Serbia was trying encourage nationalism so it could unite with Serbs from other countries and re-create Greater Serbia. Russia were also supporting this nationalism in order to try and create pro-Russian governments in the Balkans so their access to the Dardanelles which they needed for trade was not cut off. These contrasting intentions lead to the Bosnian Crisis, which also could have been the main reason why tensions increased, because Austria annexed Bosnia after protecting it for the Ottomans when they did not have enough power. This made Serbia angry as it could not unite with Bosnian Serbs and Russia objected to this increase in Habsburg power, so both countries considered war. However, Germany showed it would stand by its ally and so Serbia and Russia were forced to back down, creating very high tensions between them and the Habsburgs.

Then on top of this after the second Balkan war in 1913 Serbia had gained part of the Adriatic Coastline and ceased to be a landlocked country, however, Austria-Hungary feared this increase in Serbian power would mean they would try to unite with Austrian Serbs which would lead to the other Slav subjects wanting independece and so weakening their empire. So the Habsburg insisted that this territory was taken from Serbia. This made tensions high as Serbia along with Russia who were also wanted to decrease Habsburg power became convinced one day they would have to go to war against the mighty Habsburgs.

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