Despite the apathy and disorganization of the Balkan peoples in 1870, the revolt in Bosnia and Herzegovina only five years later found immediate response and spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. The explanation is to be found in the local conditions prevailing in Bosnia- Herzegovina and also in the effect of certain ideologies and foreign propaganda upon the South Slavic people.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the two westernmost provinces of the Ottoman Empire, were held in a state of semifeudal serfdom by a unique Moslem Serbian landowning class. At the time of the Turkish invasion four centuries earlier, the native Serbian nobility accepted Islam and retained their lands. But the bulk of the population remained Christian, of both Catholic and Orthodox varieties. At the time of the revolt, out of a total population of l.2 million in the two provinces, 40 per cent were Moslem, 42 per cent Orthodox and 18 per cent Catholic.
Only a handful of the Moslems were large landowners, the remainder being peasants who were exploited in the same manner as their Christian counterparts But the Christians were more susceptible to foreign influences and were more dissatisfied with their lot. In practice, though not in law, they were bound to the estates of the Moslem landowners. They had the right to own landed property but the difficulties in the way of acquiring land were so formidable that few were able to surmount them. Peasants paid one third to one half of their crop to the landowner and also one eighth to the tax farmer. The latter also collected petty taxes on animals and on specific produce. In fact, as elsewhere, these tax farmers were a grievous burden because they paid a cash sum for the privilege of collecting the taxes and then proceeded to fleece the peasants mercilessly in order to secure a large return on [heir investment. It made no difference to them if the crops were poor and the peasants were in difficulty. Indeed, the immediate cause for the 1875 revolt was the crop failure of the previous year and the unrelenting pressure of the tax farmers.
These conditions had existed in Bosnia-Herzegovina for centuries. By themselves they do not explain the wide ramifications of the 1875 uprising. It is necessary to take also into account certain currents of thought and foreign influences. The most important of these were Pan- Serbism, PanSlavism, and Hapsburg expansionism.
Pan-Serbism persisted despite the assassination of Prince Michael. It is true that Milan had little sympathy for revolutionary movements. He looked to Vienna for support and followed the Austrian policy of opposing agitation among the South Slavs under foreign rule. But the popular sentiment for liberation and national unity was too deep-rooted to be banished by disapproval from above. Baron von Kallay, the Austrian diplomatic representative in Belgrade, warned his government in 1873 that "the mistaken notion that Serbia is called upon to play the role of Piedmont among the Slavs of Turkey is so strongly rooted that the Serbs no longer can understand that the Slavs of the different Turkish frontiers should seek aid and protection from any state except Serbia." (4) The following year the Serbian relational assembly, or Skupshtina, voiced the national aspiration as follows in its address to the throne: "To direct the scattered forces of our people toward a serious and common action, to reach an understanding with and to draw closer to our fellow peoples who have the same objectives, the same interests, and the same dangers, that is the road on which the national Skupshtina ardently wishes to see always its illustrious sovereign." 5 Thus Pan-Serb agitation continued despite the opposition of Milan. There can be little doubt that it had significant influence on the unredeemed brothers across the frontier in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Pan-Slavism was also a major factor in Balkan affairs during these years Its origins go back to the Slavophil cultural movement which stressed the intrinsic value of Russian as against Western European culture. Political overtones soon appeared and Slavophilism gradually was transformed into Pan-Slavism. The emphasis now was on the unity of all Slavs under the aegis of Russia. In 1858 the Slavic Welfare Society was established in Moscow, where a Slavic Ethnographic Congress was held in 1867. The cause was also furthered by the extremely popular books published by two prominent Pan-Slav leaders, General Rotislav Fadeev (Opinion on the Eastern Question 1870) and Nicholas Danilevski (Russia and Europe, 1871) . The general thesis advanced was that the Slavs were young and vigorous in contrast to the decadent Western Europeans, and that with the aid of Russia they should free themselves from Turkish and Austrian domination and unite in a great confederation of which Russia would be the leader and Constantinople the capital.
Of particular importance for the Balkans was the well-known PanSlav diplomat, Count Nicholas Ignatiev, who represented Russia at Constantinople between 1864 and 1877. Ignatiev believed firmly in the principle of Slavic unity, which was to take the form of common action against the arch enemy, Austria-Hungary. "The Austrian and Turkish Slavs must be our allies, the weapons of our policy against the Germans." These views, it should. be noted, were quite different from those of Ignatiev's superiors in St. Petersburg. The contrast was particularly noticeable regarding the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Russian foreign minister, Prince Alexander Gorchakov, was of the opinion that "the Turkish Slavs can be made happy at the hands of the Government of Vienna, that Russian interests will not suffer from the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria." Ignatiev, on the other hand, considered it preferable to "postpone all thoughts of solving the Eastern Question, of liberating Bosnia and Herzegovina from Turkish domination rather than surrender these provinces to Austro-Hungarian rule and sacrifice the future of the Serbian nation."(6) Being the person that he was, Ignatiev had no compunction about working toward his Pan-Slav goal despite the official policy laid down by his superiors in Petrograd.
It is impossible to estimate how much influence Pan-Slav doctrine. had on the Balkan peoples. A French expert reported in 1876: "I have visited the Turkish Empire several times. I have had occasion to see Slav. Serbian, Montenegrin and Bulgarian patriots on the Danube or on t] Adriatic. I always found them very dissatisfied with the Ottoman regir but determined not to substitute Russian domination for it." (7) This and other evidence of a similar nature suggest that the "Mother Russia" approach of the Pan-Slavs was not too popular in the Balkans. On the other hand, Pan-Slavism cannot be ignored, especially during the thirteen years when Ignatiev was in Constantinople. He was undoubtedly the best-informed ambassador in the Balkan Peninsula, and, after 1870, he was so influential in Turkish government circles that he became known as the vice-sultan.
The Pan-Serbs and the Pan-Slavs were not alone responsible for the 1875 crisis. Certain elements in Austria-Hungary also were involved. It is true that only a few years earlier Count Julius Andrassy, the Hapsburg foreign Minister, had promised his Russian counterpart, Prince Alexander Gorchakov, that Austria would refrain from intervening in Balkan affairs. This commitment accorded with Andrassy's personal inclination as a Magyar. The Slavs already constituted the largest ethnic bloc in the Hapsburg Empire and he did not wish to increase their preponderance by annexing any part of European Turkey. On the other hand he was determined that Serbia should not take over Bosnia-Herzegovina and he was ready to have Austria take over the two provinces herself rather than see them absorbed in a large South Slav state.
Certain groups in Austria-Hungary disagreed with Andrassy and favored a more aggressive policy. Many South Slavs who were already under Hapsburg rule wished to include all their fellow Slavs in the empire, which was then to be transformed from a dual Austro-Hungarian state into a triune Austrian-Hungarian-Slavic state. But the most influential exponents of expansion into the Balkans were the military men. Their argument was that possession of Bosnia-Herzegovina was essential for the defense of Dalmatia, the narrow province stretching down the length of the Adriatic coast. These military leaders persuaded Emperor Francis Joseph to spend a month traveling in Dalmatia in the spring of 1875. During his journey the emperor received many petitions from the Christians of Bosnia-Herzegovina complaining of Turkish oppression and asking him for protection. The avowed object of the trip was to stimulate unrest in the Turkish provinces and in this it was successful. Francis Joseph's tour was to a considerable degree responsible for the conflagration that began in Herzegovina in July, 1875. The emperor, on his part, was convinced by the end of his tour that the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina could not be long delayed. In fact, orders were issued to the imperial forces in Dalmatia to be prepared for a march across the frontier.
We may conclude that several factors explain the outbreak and the course of the revolt in Bosnia-Herzegovina In the background were the centuries-old religious conflict and economic oppression. A more immediate impulse was provided by the extortionate tax farmers and by Francis Joseph's tour in Dalmatia. Once the revolt began, it was sustained by Austrian and Russian officials, who sought to exploit it for their own purposes. Hapsburg officials in Dalmatia, many of whom were Serbo-Croats by race, gave aid and comfort to the rebels and provided asylum for the refugees. Similarly, the Russian consul in Ragusa, the ardent Pan-Slav Alexander Ionin, frankly admitted: "I did not create the situation but I profited by it. It began as a small Stream) which might have been lost for want of direction; so I put up a stone here, and a stone there, and kept the water together."(8)
1. Cited by W. L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments 1871-1890 (New York, 1931),p.15.
2. Cited by G. Trubetzkoi, "La politique russe en Orient, le schisme bulgare," Revue d'histoire diplomatique, XXI (1907),191.
3. From 1874 memorandum of N. P. Ignatiev in izvestiia Ministerstva Inostrannykh Del (St. Petersburg, 1914),Bk.IV,p.92.
4. Cited by R. W. Seton-Watson, "Les relations de l'Autriche-Hongrie et de la Serbie entre 1868 et 1874; la mission de Benjamin Kallay a Belgrade," Le monde slave, III (August, 1926), 283.
5. N. Iorga, Correspondance diplomatique roumaine sous le roi Charles 1, 18661880 (Paris, 1923), p. 324.
6. Cited by A. Onou, "The Memoirs of Count N. Ignatyev," Slavonic Review, X (December, 1931), 390, 391.
7. A. Leroy-Beaulieu, "Les reformes de la Turquie, la politique russe et le panslavisme," Revue des deux mondes, XVIII (December 1, 1876), 530.
8. Cited by B. H. Sumner, Russia and the Balkans 1870-1880 (Oxford, 1937), p. 582.
9. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 3rd Series, CCIV, 81-82.
10. Edited by D. Harris, A Diplomatic History of the Balkan Crisis of 1875-1878: The First Year (Stanford, Calif., 1936), pp. 107-108.
11. Cited ibid., p. 120
12. Ibid., p. 379.
13. Iorga, op. cit., pp. 128-129.
14. Cited by D. Harris, Britain and the Bulgarian Horrors of 1876 (Chicago, 1939), p. 235.
15. W. F. Monypenny and G. E. Buckle, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli (New York, 1920), VI, 70.
16. H. G. Elliot, Some Revolutions and Other Diplomatic Experiences (London, 1922), pp. 285-286.
17. Cited by M. D. Stojanovic, Great Powers and the Balkans 1875-1878 (Cambridge, Eng., 1938), p. 134.
18. Monypenny and Buckle, op. cit., VI, 111.
19. Gwendolen Cecil, Life of Robert Marquis of Salisbury (London, 1921), II, 139.
20. Monypenny and Buckle, op. cit., VI, 217-218.
21. Cited by R. W. Seton-Watson, Disraeli, Gladstone and the Eastern Question (London, 1935), p. 450.
22. Ibid., p. 445.
23. Cited by Langer, op. cit., p. 160.
24. Cited by Seton-Watson, Disraeli, Gladstone and the Eastern Question, p. 490.
25. H..D. Wolff, Rambling Recollections (London, 1908), II, 265.
(Excerpts from "The Balkans Since 1453" by L. S. Stavrianos, Professor of History, Northwestern University, published in 1963 by Holt, Rinehart and WinstonLibrary of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58-7242)
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