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Department
History
Course
HIS102Y1
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Winter

Description
Empires in Conflict and Competition Talking Points: • We are talking about more than one Empire, their all in different kinds of open and/or indirect conflict. Sometimes they are in competition and sometimes they are also in cooperation with each other. We are going to talk about balances and imbalances of power among the different empire. • The Ottoman Empire as the so called “Sick Man of Asia.” The Ottoman Empire was considered the Sick man because it was an essentially a declining empire. It became a problem because, what do you do when such a large empire is threatening to fall apart? • The Crimean war which was an attempt to rebalance power among the empires. • The Great Game Introduction: Balances and imbalances of Power Timeline: 1815-1914 ( Roughly from the Congress of Vienna to the first World War) The Congress of Vienna 1815 • After the congress of Vienna the European powers thought that they had balanced the power out amongst themselves • They had created what was referred to as the concept of Europe • This meant that the European powers had agreed that any time balance of power became imbalanced they would take action to rebalance it; agreement among them to maintain a certain balance of power • No one was too big or too powerful, and they did not let anyone dominate the others • To do this they engaged in a lot of shifting alliances • These were alliances needs, so they sometimes put aside patriotic hatred of each other and moral questions (like democracy), it was all power politics • There was also other types of competition in these empires as they were competing for influence inAfrica and in parts ofAsia • Here we a get a sense of both direct and indirect conflicts • In some cases they intervened directly in small wars and in a few cases they went to war with each other • In others cases they just engaged in low level conflicts and espionage and intelligence work When you have this balance of power, what happens when one of the big land masses is being governed by an empire that cant keep its act together, its falling apart, it cant maintain control of its subsidiary parts, it is so weak that it is inviting invasion from its neighbor near Russia They called it the Sick man of Asia The Ottoman Empire as “Sick man of Asia” *They did consider Turkey part of Europe* • It became an international problem; something that they were always concerned about • In earlier years the Ottoman Empire had been great empire with culture, economic influence, and religious spread, but that pretty much died out by about the 1700‘s • It was still a multicultural, multiethnic, multi religious empire and that began to become a problem because now you have the people wanting to separate • Meanwhile the neighbors around it are getting stronger; Europe and the European powers are getting stronger as well as Russia • Russia is partly in Europe partly in Asia, most Europeans consider the Ottoman Empire to be completely Asian, even though had conquered a chunk of Eastern Europe The Ottoman Empire even in this period was split between modernizing westernizing elites and • the more traditional • Even more than Russia with its multi ethnic makeup it was being threatened by these splits • Caught in the balance of power; was the weakest member of this balance of power • In the 1770’s it lost the Crimean peninsula to Russia • Another way they thought of this was the so called “Eastern Problem” “The Eastern Question” This does not mean east as in China, it just means if your in Europe looking east and you get to the Ottoman • The Eastern Question meant what are we going to do about this whole area of WesternAsia, where there is a looming power mapping, the threat of Russia, and the possibility of this threatening the kingdom • There was a series was a whole series of war which different parties here were trying to gain advantage over each other Examples • Russo-Turkish Wars: there were several of these wars, in many of these the Russians came out ahead • In some of those wars the Russians gained the Balkans (what used to be Yugoslavia) and the Caucasus ( part of land in between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea) • One of the Russo Turkish wars settled in the 1870‘s with Russia gaining a huge amount of territory • At that point the European powers decided that was too much territory and the decided to intervene They decided to redo the peace settlement, they redid whats called the Congress • of Berlin (1878) and (Bismarck) the councillor of Germany was the one instrumental in executing it • Point is that: All the European powers, headed by Bismarck, intervened between the Russians and Turkish to say that Russia took too muck territory, you have to give some of this back, we are going to weaken the power of Russia • They could not do much about the Ottomans but we are at least going to make sure that Russia doesn't take over • They split up Balkans and Bulgaria and created unrest in those areas because they were not happy with the way that things were divided • It was not a peace settlement that solved any problems it was one that compromised • Also involved in this was the Greek Independence War, 1821-32 • In 1822 the Greeks declared independence but they didn't actually finish the war until 1832 • This is a war that a lot of Europeans took interest in this war because it was Greece the creator of classical civilization fighting against the Turks for their independence • The European powers did not officially get involved but many individuals went to help in the fight The poet (Lord Byron) is the most famous of them, he actually died in • battle • It was a romantic act to help Greece become independent • There was also a series of Anglo-Afghan Wars • These were wars where Britain was fighting againstAfghanistan • There were several of them, the earliest coinciding with the Opium war and latest of them was in 1919 • In many of those Britain came out the worse • In some cases they were humiliated by theAfghans and in other cases through the use of superior technology the manage to power them into submission • Some of the problems were: • The difficult terrain of Afghanistan, you cant s
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