Congress of Berlin
Overview
 
The Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 in 1878. In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize the countries of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, who led the Congress, undertook to stabilize the Balkans, recognize the reduced power of the Ottoman Empire, and balance the distinct interests of Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

; at the same time he tried to diminish Russian gains in the region and to prevent the rise of a big Bulgaria.
Encyclopedia
The Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 in 1878. In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize the countries of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, who led the Congress, undertook to stabilize the Balkans, recognize the reduced power of the Ottoman Empire, and balance the distinct interests of Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

; at the same time he tried to diminish Russian gains in the region and to prevent the rise of a big Bulgaria. As a result, Ottoman holdings in Europe declined sharply; Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 was established as an independent principality inside the Ottoman Empire; Eastern Rumelia
Eastern Rumelia
Eastern Rumelia or Eastern Roumelia was an administratively autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire and Principality of Bulgaria from 1878 to 1908. It was under full Bulgarian control from 1885 on, when it willingly united with the tributary Principality of Bulgaria after a bloodless revolution...

 was restored to the Turks under a special administration; and Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

 was returned outright to the Turks, who promised reform. Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 achieved full independence, turning over part of Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 to Russia and gaining Northern Dobruja
Northern Dobruja
Northern Dobruja is the part of Dobruja within the borders of Romania. It lies between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, bordered in south by Bulgarian Southern Dobruja.-Geography:...

 in return. Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 finally gained complete independence, but with smaller territories, with Austria-Hungary occupying the Sandžak (Raška) region
Sandžak
Sandžak also known as Raška is a historical region lying along the border between Serbia and Montenegro...

. Austria-Hungary also took over Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, whereas Britain took over Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

.

The results were first hailed as a great achievement in peacemaking and stabilization. However, most of the participants were not fully satisfied, and grievances regarding the results festered until they exploded in world war in 1914. Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 made gains, but far less than they thought they deserved. The Ottoman Empire, called at the time the "sick man of Europe," was humiliated and significantly weakened, rendering it more liable to domestic unrest and more vulnerable to attack. Although Russia had been victorious in the war that occasioned the conference, it was humiliated at Berlin, and resented its treatment. Austria gained a great deal of territory, which angered the South Slavs, and led to decades of tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bismarck became the target of hatred by Russian nationalists and Pan-Slavists, and found that he had tied Germany too closely to Austria in the Balkans.

In the long-run, tensions between Russia and Austria-Hungary intensified, as did the nationality question in the Balkans. The congress was aimed at the revision of the Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of San Stefano
The Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78...

 and at keeping Constantinople
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 in Ottoman hands. It effectively disavowed Russia's victory over the decaying Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War. The Congress of Berlin returned to the Ottoman Empire territories that the previous treaty had given to the Principality of Bulgaria
Principality of Bulgaria
The Principality of Bulgaria was a self-governing entity created as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. The preliminary treaty of San Stefano between the Russian Empire and the Porte , on March 3, had originally proposed a significantly larger Bulgarian territory: its...

, most notably Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, thus setting up a strong revanchist demand in Bulgaria that in 1912 led to the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

.

Background

In the decades leading up to the Congress of Berlin, Russia and the Balkans had been gripped by a movement known as Pan-Slavism
Pan-Slavism
Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid-19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires, Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice...

, a desire to unite all the Balkan Slavs under one rule. This movement, which evolved similarly to the Pan-Germanic
Pan-Germanism
Pan-Germanism is a pan-nationalist political idea. Pan-Germanists originally sought to unify the German-speaking populations of Europe in a single nation-state known as Großdeutschland , where "German-speaking" was taken to include the Low German, Frisian and Dutch-speaking populations of the Low...

 and Pan-Italian
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 movements that resulted in the unification of their respective nations, took different forms in the various Slavic nations. In Imperial Russia, Pan-Slavism meant the creation of a unified Slavic state under Russian direction – essentially a byword for Russian conquest of the Balkan peninsula. The realization of this goal would result in Russia’s controlling of the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 and the Bosphorus, giving it economic control of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and substantially increasing its geopolitical power. In the Balkans, Pan-Slavism meant unifying the Balkan Slavs under the rule of a particular Balkan state – though which state was meant to serve as the locus for unification was not always clear; initiative waffled between Serbia and Bulgaria. From the Balkan point of view, the peninsula needed a Piedmont, and a corresponding France to sponsor its unification. Though the views of how Balkan politics should proceed differed, both began with the deposition of the Sultan as ruler of the Balkans and the ousting of the Ottomans from Europe. How this was to proceed, or whether it was to proceed at all, was the major question to be answered at the Congress of Berlin.

The Great Powers in the Balkans

The Balkans were a major stage for competition between the European Great Powers in the second half of the nineteenth century. Great Britain and Russia both had stake in the fate of the Balkans. Russia was interested in the region both ideologically as a pan-Slavist unifier and as a way to secure greater control of the Mediterranean, while Great Britain was interested in preventing Russia from doing exactly that. Furthermore, the unification of Italy and Germany had stymied the ability of a third European power, Austria-Hungary, to further expand its domain to the southwest. Germany, as the most powerful continental nation after the Franco-Prussian War of 1871
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 and one without large direct interests in the settlement, was the only power which could mediate the Balkan question.

Russia and Austria-Hungary, the two powers most invested in the fate of the Balkans, were allied with Germany in the League of Three Emperors, founded to preserve monarchy and conservatism on continental Europe. This meant that the Congress of Berlin was mainly a dispute among supposed allies with conflicting goals. Otto von Bismarck and the German Empire, the arbiter of the discussion, would thus have to choose before the end of the congress which of their allies to support. This decision was to have direct consequences on the future of European geopolitics.

The Treaty of San Stefano

After the Bulgarian April Uprising
April Uprising
The April Uprising was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria as an autonomous nation in 1878...

 in 1876 and the decisive Russian victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, Russia liberated almost all of the Ottoman European possessions. The Ottomans recognized Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia as independent, and the territories of all three were expanded. Russia created a large Principality of Bulgaria as an autonomous vassal of the Sultan. This expanded Russia’s sphere of influence to encompass the entire Balkans, something that alarmed other powers in Europe. Great Britain, which had threatened war with Russia if they were to occupy Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, and France, which still harbored resentment over Russia’s role in the defeat of Napoleon, did not want another power meddling in the Mediterranean or the Middle East, where both of them were prepared to make large colonial gains
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

. Austria-Hungary desired Habsburg control over the Balkans, and Germany wanted to avoid their allies going to war. The German chancellor Otto von Bismarck thus called the Congress of Berlin to discuss the partition of the Ottoman Balkans among the European powers and to preserve the League of Three Emperors in the face of European liberalism.

The Congress was attended by the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, France
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

, the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

, the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Delegates from Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

, Romania
Kingdom of Romania
The Kingdom of Romania was the Romanian state based on a form of parliamentary monarchy between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of Romania...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 attended the sessions concerning their states, but were not members of the congress. The congress was solicited by the rivals of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, particularly by Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, and hosted in 1878 by Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

. The Congress of Berlin proposed and ratified the Treaty of Berlin
Treaty of Berlin, 1878
The Treaty of Berlin was the final act of the Congress of Berlin , by which the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdul Hamid II revised the Treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3 of the same year...

. The meetings were held at Bismarck’s chancellory
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

, the former Radziwill
Radziwill
The Radziwiłł family is an noble family of Lithuanian origin. The descendants of Kristinas Astikas, a close associate of the 14th century Lithuanian ruler Vytautas, were highly prominent for centuries, first in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, later in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the...

 Palace, from 13 June 1878 until 13 July 1878. The congress revised or eliminated 18 of the 29 articles in the Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of San Stefano
The Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78...

. Furthermore, using as a foundation the treaties of Paris (1856)
Treaty of Paris (1856)
The Treaty of Paris of 1856 settled the Crimean War between Russia and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, Second French Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The treaty, signed on March 30, 1856 at the Congress of Paris, made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all...

 and Washington
Treaty of Washington (1871)
The Treaty of Washington was a treaty signed and ratified by Great Britain and the United States in 1871 that settled various disputes between the countries, in particular the Alabama Claims.-Background:...

 (1871), the treaty effected a rearrangement of the Eastern situation.

Main issues

The principal mission of the World Powers at the congress was to deal a fatal blow to the burgeoning movement of pan-Slavism
Pan-Slavism
Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid-19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires, Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice...

. The movement caused serious concern in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, and even more so in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, which was afraid that the repressed Slavic nationalities would revolt against the Habsburgs. London and Paris
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 were nervous about the diminishing influence of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and about Russian cultural expansion to the south, where both Britain and France were poised to colonize Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. Through the Treaty of San Stefano, the Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, led by chancellor Alexander Gorchakov, had managed to create a Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n autonomous principality under the nominal rule of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, thus sparking British well-entrenched fears of growing Russian influence in the East. The new principality, including a very large portion of Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

 and with access to the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

, could easily threaten the Straits
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 that separate the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 from the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. This arrangement was not acceptable to the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, which considered the entire Mediterranean to be a British sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

, and saw any Russian attempt to gain access there as a grave threat to its power. On 4 June, before the Congress opened on 13 June, Prime Minister Lord Beaconsfield had already concluded a secret alliance with the Ottomans
Cyprus Convention
The Cyprus Convention of 4 June, 1878 was a secret agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire which granted control of Cyprus to Great Britain in exchange for their support of the Ottomans during the Congress of Berlin...

 against Russia, whereby Britain was allowed to occupy the strategically placed island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. This agreement predetermined Beaconsfield's position during the Congress and led him to issue threats to unleash a war against Russia if it did not comply with Turkish demands. Negotiations between the Austo-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Andrássy
Gyula Andrássy
Gyula Count Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály et Krasznahorka was a Hungarian statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Hungary and subsequently as Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary...

 and the British Foreign Secretary Marquess of Salisbury had already "ended on 6 June by Britain agreeing to all the Austrian proposals relative to Bosnia-Herzegovina about to come before the congress while Austria would support British demands."

Bismarck as host

The Congress of Berlin is frequently viewed as the culmination of the "Battle of Chancellors" involving Alexander Gorchakov of Russia and Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 of Germany. They were able to effectively persuade other Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an leaders that a free and independent Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 would greatly improve the security risks posed by a disintegrating Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. According to German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 historian Erich Eyck, Bismarck supported Russia's persuasion that "Turkish
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule over a Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 community (Bulgaria) was an anachronism
Anachronism
An anachronism—from the Greek ανά and χρόνος — is an inconsistency in some chronological arrangement, especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other...

 which undoubtedly gave rise to insurrection and bloodshed and should therefore be ended." He used the Great Eastern Crisis of 1875 as proof of growing animosity in the region.

Bismarck's ultimate goal during the Congress of Berlin was not to upset Germany's status on the international platform. He did not wish to disrupt the Three Emperor's League by choosing between Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Austria
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 as an ally. In order to maintain peace in Europe, Bismarck sought to convince other European diplomats on dividing up the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 so as to foster greater stability. During the process of division, Russia began to feel short-changed even though it eventually gained independence for Bulgaria. One can therefore see the underpinnings of the alliance problems in Europe prior to the First World War. One reason why Bismarck was able to mediate the various tensions present at the Congress of Berlin stemmed from his diplomatic persona
Persona
A persona, in the word's everyday usage, is a social role or a character played by an actor. The word is derived from Latin, where it originally referred to a theatrical mask. The Latin word probably derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", with the same meaning, and that from the Greek πρόσωπον...

. He was an ardent pacifist when international affairs did not pertain to Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 directly. He viewed the current situation in Europe as favorable for Germany, therefore any conflict between the major European powers threatening the status quo was against German interests. And at the Congress of Berlin, "Germany could not look for any advantage from the crisis" that had occurred in the Balkans back in 1875. As a result, Bismarck claimed impartiality
Impartiality
Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.-Philosophical concepts of impartiality:According to Bernard Gert, "A is...

 on behalf of Germany at the Congress. This claim enabled him to preside over the negotiations with a keen eye for foul play
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

.

Though most of Europe went into the Congress expecting a diplomatic show much like the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

, they were to be sadly disappointed. Bismarck, unhappy to be conducting the Congress in the heat of the summer, had a short temper and a low tolerance for malarky. Thus, any grandstanding was cut short by the testy German chancellor. The ambassadors from the small Balkan territories whose fate was being decided were barely even allowed to attend the diplomatic meetings, which were mainly between the representatives of the Great Powers.

According to Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, the congress saw a shift in Bismarck's Realpolitik
Realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...

. Until then, as Germany had become too powerful for isolation, his policy was to maintain the Three Emperors League. Now that he could no longer rely on Russia's alliance, he began to form relations with as many potential enemies as possible.

Legacy

Bowing to Russia's pressure, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro were declared independent principalities, though their territorial gains were cut. Russia kept South Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

, which they had annexed in the Russo-Turkish War, but the Bulgarian state they had created was first bisected, then split further into the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia, both of which were given nominal autonomy under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria was promised autonomy, and guarantees were made against Turkish interference, but these were largely ignored. Romania received the Dobruja
Dobruja
Dobruja is a historical region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast...

. Montenegro obtained Nikšić
Nikšić
Nikšić is a city in Montenegro . In 2003 the city had a total population about 75,000.Nikšić is located in Nikšić plain, at the foot of Mount Trebjesa. It is the center of the municipality , which is the largest in Montenegro by area...

, Podgorica
Podgorica
Podgorica , is the capital and largest city of Montenegro.Podgorica's favourable position at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers and the meeting point of the fertile Zeta Plain and Bjelopavlići Valley has encouraged settlement...

, Bar
Bar, Montenegro
Bar is a coastal town in Montenegro. It has a population of 17,727...

, 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. The region of Bosnia-Herzegovina was given over to the administration of Austria-Hungary, which also obtained the right to garrison the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, a small border region between Montenegro and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina were put on the fast track to eventual Habsburg annexation. Russia agreed that Macedonia, the most important strategic section of the Balkans, was too multinational to be part of Bulgaria, and permitted it to remain under the Ottomans. Eastern Rumelia
Eastern Rumelia
Eastern Rumelia or Eastern Roumelia was an administratively autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire and Principality of Bulgaria from 1878 to 1908. It was under full Bulgarian control from 1885 on, when it willingly united with the tributary Principality of Bulgaria after a bloodless revolution...

, which had its own large Turkish and Greek minorities, became an autonomous province under a Christian ruler, with its capital at Philippopolis
Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia with a population of 338,153 inhabitants according to Census 2011. Plovdiv's history spans some 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC; it is one of the oldest cities in Europe...

. The remaining portions of the original "Greater Bulgaria" became the new state of Bulgaria.
In Russia, the Congress of Berlin was considered a dismal failure. Finally defeating the Turks decisively after the many inconclusive Russo-Turkish wars of the past, many Russians expected “something colossal” – a re-imagining of the Balkan borders in support of Russian territorial ambitions. Instead, Russia’s victory resulted in a decisive Austro-Hungarian gain on the Balkan front. This gain was brought about by the rest of the European powers’ preference for a powerful Austria-Hungary, an empire that threatened basically no one, to a powerful Russia, which had been locked in competition with Britain in the Great Game for most of the century. Russian chancellor Gorchakov said of the subsequent Treaty of Berlin “I consider the Berlin Treaty the darkest page in my life.” The Russian people were by and large furious over the European repudiation of their political gains, and though there was some thought that this represented only a minor stumble on the road to Russian hegemony in the Balkans, it in fact gave Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia over to Austria’s sphere of influence, essentially removing all Russian influence from the area.

The Serbs were upset with "Russia [...] consenting to the cession of Bosnia to Austria."


Ristić
Jovan Ristic
Jovan Ristić, or Ristitch was a Serbian statesman and diplomat....

 who was Serbia’s first plenipotentiary at Berlin tells how he asked Jomini, one of the Russian delegates, what consolation remained to the Serbs. Jomini replied that it would have to be the thought that 'the situation was only temporary because within fifteen years at the latest we shall be forced to fight Austria.' 'Vain consolation!' comments Ristić.


Italy was dissatisfied with the results of the Congress, and the tensions between Greece and the Ottoman Empire were left unresolved. The Bosnians and Herzegovinans would also prove to be a problem to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in later decades. The League of Three Emperors
League of the Three Emperors
The League of the Three Emperors was an unstable alliance between Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary and Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany.- Formation 1873 :...

, established in 1873, was destroyed, as Russia saw lack of German support on the issue of Bulgaria's full independence as a breach of loyalty and alliance. The border between Greece and Turkey was not resolved. In 1881, after protracted negotiations, a compromise border was accepted after a naval demonstration of the Powers. Thus, the congress sowed the seeds of further conflicts, including the Balkan Wars, and ultimately the First World War. Interestingly, the Marquess of Salisbury, the British Foreign Secretary at the Congress, had originally supported the Russian position and the Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of San Stefano
The Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78...

. After returning from the Congress, Salisbury confessed that — in supporting Austria-Hungary instead of Russia — the British had "backed the wrong horse." According to A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

, writing in 1954: "If the treaty of San Stefano had been maintained, both the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary might have survived to the present day. The British, except for Beaconsfield in his wilder moments, had expected less and were therefore less disappointed. Salisbury wrote at the end of 1878: We shall set up a rickety sort of Turkish rule again south of the Balkans. But it is a mere respite. There is no vitality left in them."

Though the Congress of Berlin constituted a harsh blow to Pan-Slavism, it by no means solved the question of the area. The Slavs of the Balkans were still in their majority under non-Slavic rule, split between the rule of Austria-Hungary and the ailing Ottoman Empire. The Slavic states of the Balkans in fact learned that banding together as Slavs didn’t benefit them as much as playing to the desires of a neighboring Great Power, damaging the unity of the Balkan Slavs and encouraging competition amongst the fledgling Slav states. The underlying tensions of the region would continue to simmer for upwards of thirty years until they again exploded in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913
Balkan Wars
The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.By the early 20th century, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, the countries of the Balkan League, had achieved their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large parts of their ethnic...

, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, and the subsequent First World War. In hindsight, we can see that the stated goal of maintaining peace and balance of powers in the Balkans utterly failed, as the region remained a theater of conflict for Great Power politics far into the twentieth century.

Internal opposition to Andrássy's objectives

The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Andrássy
Gyula Andrássy
Gyula Count Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály et Krasznahorka was a Hungarian statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Hungary and subsequently as Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary...

, in addition to the occupation and administration of Bosnia-Herzegovina, also obtained the right to station garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar
Sanjak of Novi Pazar
The Sanjak of Novi Pazar was an Ottoman sanjak that existed until the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 in the territory of present day Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.-History:It was part of the Bosnia Vilayet and later Kosovo Vilayet and included...

, which remained under Ottoman administration. The Sanjak preserved the separation of Serbia and Montenegro, and the Austro-Hungarian garrisons there would open the way for a dash to Salonika that "would bring the western half of the Balkans under permanent Austrian influence." "High [Austro-Hungarian] military authorities desired [an ...] immediate major expedition with Salonika as its objective."


On 28 September 1878 the Finance Minister, Koloman von Zell, threatened to resign if the army, behind which stood the Archduke Albert, were allowed to advance to Salonika. In the session of the Hungarian Parliament of 5 November 1878 the Opposition proposed that the Foreign Minister should be impeached for violating the constitution by his policy during the Near East Crisis and by the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The motion was lost by 179 to 95. By the Opposition rank and file the gravest accusations were raised against Andrassy.


On 10 October 1878 the French diplomat Melchior de Vogüé
Melchior de Vogüé
Eugène-Melchior, vicomte de Vogüé was a French diplomat, Orientalist, travel writer, archaeologist, philanthropist and literary critic.-Biography:...

 described the situation as follows:


Particularly in Hungary the dissatisfaction caused by this 'adventure' has reached the gravest proportions, prompted by that strong conservative instinct which animates the Magyar race and is the secret of its destinies. This vigorous and exclusive instinct explains the historical phenomenon of an isolated group, small in numbers yet dominating a country inhabited by a majority of peoples of different races and conflicting aspirations, and playing a role in European affairs out of all proportions to its numerical importance or intellectual culture. This instinct is to-day awakened and gives warning that it feels the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina to be a menace which, by introducing fresh Slav elements into the Hungarian political organism and providing a wider field and further recruitment of the Croat opposition, would upset the unstable equilibrium in which the Magyar domination is poised.

Delegates

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

  
  • Earl of Beaconsfield  (Prime Minister)
  • Marquess of Salisbury
    Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
    Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

     (Foreign Secretary, Future Prime Minister)
  • Baron Ampthill
    Odo Russell, 1st Baron Ampthill
    Odo William Leopold Russell, 1st Baron Ampthill GCB GCMG PC , known as Lord Odo Russell between 1872 and 1881, was a British diplomat and ambassador and the first British ambassador to the German Empire. He was born in Florence in 1829 into the Russell family, one of England's leading Whig/liberal...



Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

  
  • Prince Gorchakov
  • Count Shuvalov
    Pyotr Andreyevich Shuvalov
    Count Pyotr Andreyevich Shuvalov was an influential Russian statesman and a counselor to Tsar Alexander II...

  • Baron d'Oubril


German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

  
  • Otto von Bismarck
    Otto von Bismarck
    Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

  • Prince Hohenlohe
  • Bernhard Ernst von Bülow
    Bernhard Ernst von Bülow
    Bernhard Ernst von Bülow was a Danish and German statesman.He was the son of Adolf von Bülow, a Danish official, and was born at Cismar in Holstein. His own son Bernhard von Bülow was also a German statesman and chancellor...



Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 
  • Count Andrássy
    Gyula Andrássy
    Gyula Count Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály et Krasznahorka was a Hungarian statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Hungary and subsequently as Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary...

  • Count Károlyi
    Alajos Károlyi
    Count Alajos Károlyi de Nagykároly , was an Austro-Hungarian diplomat.He was born in Vienna, into the great Hungarian family of Károlyi, whose fame dates from the time of Sándor Károlyi , one of the generals of Francis II Rákóczi, who in 1711 negotiated the peace of Szatmár between the insurgent...

  • Baron Heinrich Karl von Haymerle


French Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

  
  • Monsieur Waddington
    William Henry Waddington
    William Henry Waddington was a French statesman who was Prime Minister of France in 1879.-Early life and education:...

  • Comte de Saint-Vallier
  • Monsieur Desprey


Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

  
  • Count Corti
    Lodovico, count Corti
    Lodovico, Count Corti , Italian diplomat, was born at Gambarano.Early involved with Benedetto Cairoli in anti-Austrian conspiracies, he was exiled to Turin, where he entered the Piedmontese foreign office...

  • Count De Launay


Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

  
  • Karatheodori Pasha
    Alexander Karatheodori Pasha
    Alexander Karatheodori Pasha was a Greek statesman of the Ottoman Empire.Born in Berlin as a child of a leading Constantinople Phanariote family. His father, Stefanos Karatheodori, was personal physician to Sultan Mahmud II. After law studies in Paris, like many Phanariote Greeks he pursued a...

  • Sadoullah Bey
  • Mehemet Ali Pasha
  • Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian
    Mkrtich Khrimian
    Mkrtich Khrimian , also known as Khrimian Hayrik , was an Armenian writer, newspaper editor, and political and religious leader. He served as the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople , Prelate of Van and Catholicos of All Armenians...

     (representing Armenian population)


Romania
United Principalities
The United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, also known as the Romanian Principalities, was the official name of Romania following the 1859 election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as prince or domnitor of both territories...

  
  • Ion C. Brătianu
    Ion Bratianu
    Ion C. Brătianu was one of the major political figures of 19th century Romania. He was the younger brother of Dimitrie, as well as the father of Ionel, Dinu, and Vintilă Brătianu...

  • Mihail Kogălniceanu
    Mihail Kogalniceanu
    Mihail Kogălniceanu was a Moldavian-born Romanian liberal statesman, lawyer, historian and publicist; he became Prime Minister of Romania October 11, 1863, after the 1859 union of the Danubian Principalities under Domnitor Alexander John Cuza, and later served as Foreign Minister under Carol I. He...



Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

  
  • Theodoros Deligiannis
    Theodoros Deligiannis
    Theodoros Deligiannis, also spelled Delijannis and Deliyannis, , was a Greek statesman.-Life:He was born at Lagkadia, Arcadia. He studied law in Athens, and in 1843 entered the Ministry of the Interior, of which department he became permanent secretary in 1859. In 1862, on the deposition of King...



Serbia  
  • Jovan Ristić
    Jovan Ristic
    Jovan Ristić, or Ristitch was a Serbian statesman and diplomat....



Montenegro
Principality of Montenegro
The Principality of Montenegro was a former realm in Southeastern Europe. It existed from 13 March 1852 to 28 August 1910. It was then proclaimed a kingdom by Knjaz Nikola, who then became king....

  
  • Božo Petrović
  • Stanko Radonjić
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