England and the Near East: The Crimea

England and the Near East: The Crimea

England and the Near East: The Crimea

England and the Near East: The Crimea

Excerpt

My aim is to narrate the history of England's relations with the Near East from the death of Canning until the day when Disraeli brought back 'peace with honour' from Berlin. The period 'begins with the British fleet's destruction of Turkish sea-power at Navarino and ends with its protection of the Turkish capital against Russia. The aim, however, is not a study of diplomatic or naval history, but a general narrative in which these special features are found side by side with a study of Oriental institutions and of Balkan nationalities. Principles of selection must be adopted if the tale of a half-century is to be crowded even into the compass of three volumes, and on these a word may be permitted.

Constantinople commands the finest strategic position in the world and, as such, remains the centre of the picture. But the real question of the period was whether a spark of life could remain in the old Turkish Empire. Could the 'sick man,' who lay behind the walls of Stambul, recover his strength? The health of the Turkish Empire depended on three factors: on the ability of the Turks to reform; on the willingness of their Christian subjects to acquiesce in the process; and on the readiness of the Great Powers to help or hinder this evolution. No one of these factors sufficed by itself, Thus during the period of this volume the intervention of the Great Powers, and notably of England, was able to destroy the power of a rebellious pasha, and to check the advance of the Russian Czar. But the Great Powers could not save Turkey. She alone could save herself, and reconcile her Christian subjects to her by reform. As will be seen, the Turks in fact waxed weaker and weaker, and the Christians stronger and stronger. Yet these three factors -- the Great Powers, the Turkish governing class, and the subject races -- were intimately connected, and the Eastern question can only be understood if we know how Orientals intrigue, how Western diplomats negotiate, and what Balkan peasants think about.

This volume begins with the elevation of Sultan Mahmud to . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.