The Treaty of San Stefano provided that Bosnia-Herzegovina be granted the reforms proposed by the Constantinople Conference, though with some modifications. Serbia and Montenegro were to be made independent and somewhat enlarged. Rumania was also granted full independence and was to receive part of the Dobruja in return for southern Bessarabia. which went to Russia. Russia was to acquire, in lieu of the greater part of the financial indemnity which she claimed, Batum, Kars, Ardahan, and Bayazid in eastern Asia Minor. Bulgaria was to be established as an autonomous principality with an elected prince. The most significant provision of the treaty had to do with the territorial extent of the new principality. With the exception of Constantinople, Adrianople, and Saloniki, it included virtually all the territory between the Danube in the north, the Black Sea in the east, the Aegean Sea in the south, and Lake Ohrid and beyond in the west. Thus a greater Bulgaria was created and European Turkey virtually annihilated.
Leaving aside for the moment the volcanic question of Macedonian ethnology, it is clear that from the diplomatic viewpoint the San Stefano Treaty was bound to arouse opposition in all quarters. Austria complained with justification that the new Bulgarian principality violated the stipulation in the Budapest Treaty that no large Balkan state was to be established. Disraeli was convinced that the principality would be merely a Russian outpost and that it would give Russia access to the Aegean and virtual control over Constantinople. He also feared that Russia's acquisitions in Asia Minor would culminate eventually in a Russian base on the Gulf of Alexandretta.
Both the Greeks and the Serbs also were opposed to San Stefano. The Greeks had attempted to enter the war after the fall of Plevna but, being vulnerable to sea power, they were forced to remain neutral by the threat of a British blockade. Naturally they were bitter when the war ended with Bulgaria becoming the largest state in the Balkans while they received nothing. The Serbs found San Stefano equally distasteful. They had re-entered the war two days after the surrender of Plevna. Austria warned them to strike south toward Macedonia rather than west into Bosnia. They heeded the warning and occupied a considerable area while the Turks were fleeing before the Russians. But now all this territory was to be incorporated in the Bulgarian principality. The Serbians protested to St. Petersburg, but were informed bluntly that Russia's interests came first, Bulgaria's second, and Serbia's last. The Belgrade government naturally was indignant and decided to hold the land it occupied, even to the point of resisting the Russians by force.
The Russians undoubtedly expected this opposition. Probably they took more than they expected to keep in order to have some surplus for bargaining. They had long recognized the right of the other powers to pass upon such articles as infringed upon the 1856 settlement. They now agreed to attend a congress in Berlin to reconsider these articles. But they did not anticipate the degree to which San Stefano would be mutilated before a settlement could be arranged that was satisfactory to all the great powers.
Before the congress met, much diplomatic activity occurred. Britain and Russia tried to win the support of Austria-Hungary but both failed to pin down the evasive Andrassy. So the new British foreign minister, Lord Salisbury, approached the Russians directly for a preliminary agreement before the congress. The Russians were ready to compromise because their army was in no condition for more fighting and the revolutionary movement at home was becoming serious. On May 30 the two powers signed an agreement covering the general lines of settlement. The most important modification of San Stefano was the splitting of Bulgaria into two parts divided by' the Balkan Mountains. The Austrians were now afraid that they would be isolated at the congress; hence on June 6 they also concluded an agreement with the British. They undertook to support Britain on various points concerning Bulgaria, and the British in turn were to back any proposal regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina that Austria might present. After these preliminaries the' congress convened at Berlin on June 13.
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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