Peace on the Road to World War I.

To understand the causes of a major war, whether regional or global, it is necessary to analyze the prerequisites for the start and outcome of a previous war. Many of the reasons and causes of the First World War are the consequences of the Napoleonic wars.

After the defeat of Napoleon, France lost its leading position in Europe. Having suffered a series of strong defeats from the French, the Austrian Habsburg Empire was greatly weakened. Finally dropped out of the group of great powers - Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands (Holland). For example, in 1812 — 1826. independence achieved most of the Spanish colonies in Latin America. The Netherlands was occupied by France in 1810, and during the period of the Napoleonic occupation, the House of Orange signed an agreement with London, according to which England was given "temporary control" over all the Dutch colonies. In reality, this meant the decline of the Dutch colonial empire. Guyana, Cape Colony (South Africa), Ceylon in the end no longer returned to the power of the Netherlands.


The Italians ceased to be "world bankers". As a result, the winner was Britain, which knocked out a number of European competitors from the group of leaders and greatly weakened others. London became the leader in the field of naval fleet, in the economy, financial sphere, world trade.

In fragmented Germany, the French occupation caused a powerful surge in national identity. The various branches of the Germans — the Bavarians, Prussians, Saxons, Hessians, Westphans, etc. — felt themselves one people in the face of the occupiers. This was a prerequisite for the unification of Germany.

The victory over Napoleon strengthened the position of the Russian Empire in Europe, it confirmed the status of the most powerful continental power. Alexander I tried to play the role of the main European arbiter. From that time until the Crimean War, Russia began to be called the "European gendarme."

The Holy Union of the Sovereigns, created in 1815, became the tool with the help of which they planned to support peace in Europe. It includes the strongest powers of Europe - Russia, Prussia and Austria. This was the first attempt to create a collective governing body that was supposed to maintain peace, stability and the rule of law. It was believed that the Holy Alliance in its activities will adhere to the principles of the inviolability of borders, the legitimacy of monarchies and will be able to resolve conflicts by peaceful means.

But as a result of unity did not work, London was not going to give up leadership in Europe to Russia. At the Congress of Vienna, a secret union of England, France, Austria, directed against the Russian Empire, was concluded. Collectively, problems could not be solved; the coalition principle prevailed over collective interests.

German question

Prussia remained dissatisfied with the outcome of the victory over Napoleon. It should be noted that at that time two powerful states were fighting for the predominance in fragmented Germany - Prussia and Austria. Vienna did not want to lose its hegemony in Germany and, using the principle of "legitimism", stood up for small German princes who did not want to fall under the rule of the Prussian king. Therefore, Prussia made a significant contribution to the victory over Napoleon, but did not receive any noticeable dividends from this. The desire of the Germans to unite was not implemented. A purely formal German alliance was created, the highest body of which was the Frankfurt Diet of representatives from 38 of the German states, where Austria had a leading role.

In the group dissatisfied with the outcome of this war were not only the Prussians, but also the Italians, on the peninsula after the French occupation, the position of Vienna was again restored. Poles suffered as well. The dreams of “Greater Poland”, which they dreamed of restoring with the help of France at the expense of the Russian Empire, failed. The Duchy of Warsaw became part of Russia, albeit with considerable autonomy — by its own Sejm and even by the army. So arose German, Italian and Polish questions.

I was unhappy and France, although she was slightly “punished”. Russian emperor Alexander I insisted that France stay within the borders until the start of the Napoleonic expansion. But the French still dreamed of a great empire and leadership in Europe. In their policies they have relied on the "principle of nationalities" - the right of every nation to self-determination. He was directed against the multinational empires - the Austrian and Russian.

London continued his policy in line with the principle of "divide and rule", using everywhere disgruntled groups in the interests of Britain. This policy can still be called the “export of revolutions”. England supported the struggle of the Latin American national liberation movements and at the same time the revolutions in Spain and Portugal. As a result, the new states in Latin America and the weakened old European powers fell under the political and financial-economic influence of the British. London began to prevail in the Ottoman Empire, helping the Turks play against Russia. It was during this period that the Anglo-Saxons and the Turks stepped up their attention to the Caucasus. Into this region through Turkish ports went weapon, money. North Caucasian highlanders began to make more frequent raids on Georgian and Russian settlements, Cossack villages. Petersburg responded by increasing military activity in the Caucasus, and a lingering and bloody Caucasian war began.

Eastern question

In 1821, a rebellion began against the Ottomans in Greece. The Orthodox Greeks saw in St. Petersburg a patron and protector, this worried London and Vienna. They began to insist on the principle of legitimacy, insisting on a “political solution”. While there were negotiations, the Turks drowned the uprising in the blood. The Greeks were disappointed in Russia, from which they received no support. Here the British changed their tactics - they supported the Greek national liberation movement, and attracted the French.


The situation changed only with the decisive Nicholas I, he insisted on the right of the combined Anglo-French-Russian squadron to use force in case of Turkish disobedience (the squadron was supposed to prevent the transfer of the punitive forces of the Turks to Greece). As a result, the combined Turkish-Egyptian fleet was destroyed in the brilliant Navarino battle, and the main role in the battle was played by the Russian squadron under the command of Login Petrovich Heyden. The Russian ships took the brunt of the enemy fleet, destroyed the entire center and right flank of the enemy fleet. In this battle, the ship "Azov" under the command of Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev destroyed 5 enemy ships, including the flag-ship under the flag of Tagir-pasha and the flagship ship Mukharrem-bey.

After that, the Turks launched a war against Russia (1828-1829). But after Paskevich’s brilliant victories in the Caucasus — Kars, Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikh, Atskhur, Ardahan, Poti and Bayazet were taken in 1828, Erzerum and Dibich, who triumphed over Bulgaria and ended up on the outskirts of Istanbul, were forced to ask for 1829 of the world. The world of Adrianople assigned Russia a part of the eastern Black Sea coast (including Anapa, Sujuk-Kale, Sukhum) and the Danube Delta; Istanbul recognized Russian supremacy over Georgia and part of Armenia; Moldavia, Wallachia, Greece gained autonomy. In 1830, Istanbul was forced to recognize the complete independence of Greece.

At this time, the French went to the conquest of Algeria, supporting the separatism of the Egyptian Khedive against Istanbul. Nicholas I took advantage of this and helped the Turks against Egypt, the sultan in response went to the conclusion of a profitable Petersburg Unkiar-Iskessess treaty (1833). In fact, it was a defensive alliance of the Ottoman and Russian empires. Because of the intrigues of the British through 8, it was not renewed for years. In 1841, the London Convention was signed, replacing the alliance of the two powers with collective patronage over Turkey by five states (Russia, England, France, Austria and Prussia), the status of the straits became neutral - the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles were closed for the passage of warships of all countries, including Russia.

Peace on the Road to World War I.

Navarin battle 1827 of the year.

Rise of the 1830 of the Year

In the 1830, the uprising began in Poland, at the same time the Belgians rebelled, oriented toward France and wanted to secede from the Netherlands. The French public demands to send troops to Belgium and Italy, to support the Poles. But Paris, which was stuck in the conquest of Algeria, could not unleash a new war in Europe.

The revolt of the Poles suppressed, their autonomy was severely curtailed. Belgium shifted to London and gained independence. Her neutral status was guaranteed 20 December 1930g. at the London Conference of Great Powers.

Prussia during this period was able to create the Customs Union, which united the 8 states into a single economic space. Decisions in it were taken only unanimously, and when Vienna, having recollected herself, tried to enter it, Berlin blocked its adoption.

1848 Revolutions of the Year

The problems that had been accumulated in Europe, which the British skillfully stirred up, splashed out in the 1848 revolutions of the year, which were held under the slogan of “freedom of nations”. An uprising was crushed in Paris, 11 was shot by a thousand people, and Louis-Bonaparte ended up in France, who then proclaimed himself Napoleon III.

Italy was agitated, Piedmont, pushed by the British, began a war with Austria. Hungarians, Croats and Czechs rebelled in Austria itself. In Germany, revolutionaries created a parliament in Frankfurt and demanded the unification of all German lands against France. They claimed not only the French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, but also the Danish Schleswig and Holstein, the Russian Baltic states and Poland. At the same time, they proclaimed war against "reactionary" Russia "one of the necessary measures of our era."

The Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV, taking advantage of the confusion, began a war with Denmark, at the same time helping the German princes to suppress the revolutionary masses. He refused the imperial crown, which was proposed by the Frankfurt Parliament, saying that he did not want a “crown from the gutter”.

Order in Europe helped restore Russia. At the request of the Austrian emperor Petersburg sent troops to Hungary, the rebels were defeated. Vienna was able to focus on Italy and restore the situation there before the revolution. Prussia Nicholas I forced to stop the war with Denmark. Then he reconciled Austria and Prussia, in the German Union the status quo was restored. After this, joint efforts have eliminated the last pockets of revolution. Russia saved Europe from chaos and full-scale war, would have won in which only England.

Crimean War

Naturally, London could not accept this state of affairs. Again they began to incite the Ottoman Empire and France against Russia. England and France entered into a secret union with Turkey.

In Turkey, the uprisings were provoked in Bosnia and Montenegro. Vizier Reshid Pasha began to reform "tanzimat" - the creation of local self-government, introduced "equality before the law", in reality, it concerned only Muslims. Punitive troops moved against the rebels. Petersburg began to intercede for Christians. In Russia, they knew about the plight of the Turkish armed forces, so they did not consider that the war was real, they planned to do with diplomacy and a demonstration of force. And Istanbul, knowing about the support of the French and the British, became impudent, strengthened the aid to Shamil, rejected the compromise. As a result, Turkey declared war on Russia.

It is clear that the Turks themselves would not have been able to withstand the war with Russia - this was shown by the brilliant victory of the Russian squadron of Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov in the Sinop battle. England, France and Piedmont acted as a united front against the Russian Empire. Austria de facto supported them, taking the position of hostile neutrality, hoping to strengthen its positions in the Balkans after the defeat of Russia. Austrian troops occupied Moldova and Wallachia in 1854 (they were under the auspices of Russia), and a concentration of forces was carried out in Galicia. Petersburg was forced to hold against Austria significant forces that could not take part in the battles on the Crimean front. Prussia was allied with Vienna. They refused to support Paris and London in the war with Russia. But they were ready to enter the war if Petersburg did not withdraw the troops from the Danube principalities or launched an offensive in the Balkans. "Thanked" Russia and Denmark, opening the Baltic straits for the passage of the Anglo-French fleet.

Petersburg was not ready for such a war - it was practically a world war of the West against Russia. The fighting went from the Caucasus, the Crimea, the Danube region in the south, the Baltic and the White Sea in the north to the Pacific Ocean. But the Westernizers also miscalculated - the battle for Sevastopol resulted in a positional battle, which crushed all their resources and desire to fight. Military victory they failed to achieve, even Sevastopol could not completely capture.

In the Baltic, the White Sea, Kamchatka, their attacks were successfully repulsed; on the Caucasian front, the Russian army of the Turks defeated — they took Bayazet and the fortress of Kars. Therefore, the original plans of Paris and London (they included the rejection of Finland, Poland, the North Caucasus from Russia, the creation of Cherkessia dependent on Istanbul, headed by Shamil) failed. Paris, having lost up to 100 thousand people killed, realized that for “moral satisfaction” it was too much of a price, and fighting for the interests of the British and Turks is stupid. Napoleon III began to lean toward peace with Russia.

Only because of the complete diplomatic isolation of Russia went to the world. The losses were significant, but still not as serious as London had expected. Petersburg failed to "knock out to Asia", denying access to the Baltic and the Black Sea.



Russia's answer

Russia did not give Austria a foothold in the Balkans, autonomous Romania was born. When the French and Piedmont began the war against Austria to knock her out of Italy, St. Petersburg responded adequately to the behavior of the Austrians in the Crimean War — Russian troops were concentrated in Little Russia, on the Russian-Austrian border. Vienna was forced to keep a powerful army near the borders with Russia. In addition, St. Petersburg did not allow the German principalities to be involved in the war, stating that "the Italian war does not threaten the German Union." Austria was defeated, retaining only Venice and then only briefly.

In 1863, a new uprising began in Poland, supported from abroad - in the Austrian Galicia, the rebels had bases, in Paris there was an open recruitment of volunteers. London, Paris and Vienna again tried to speak to Russia in a tone of ultimatums. A demand was made to create a Polish government, to appoint only Poles to Polish posts in Poland, etc. In Paris, they began to draw up plans for a new coalition, proposing to restore the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in full, and give Turkey the North Caucasus. But they did not succeed in creating an integral diplomatic front - Bismarck promised Russia to help suppress the uprising of the Poles, this was in the interests of Berlin itself - part of Polish territory was part of Prussia. Chancellor Alexander Mikhailovich Gorchakov advised Britain and France not to go into the internal affairs of Russia. And then he said in general that the main reason for the uprising was the sympathy of Paris and London for the rioters, and advised the West to recommend to their wards an unconditional surrender. And Vienna, London and Paris have nothing left to concede.

"Punished" and Denmark, when the combined Prussian, Austrian forces and federal forces of the German Union in 1864, beat off the "German" provinces of Schleswig and Holstein from her, St. Petersburg did not intervene for the Danes.


His Serene Highness Prince, Chancellor, Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire, Alexander Mikhailovich Gorchakov.

Unification of Germany

Bismarck understood that the unification of Germany needed two victories - over Austria and France, since they hindered this process. He made an alliance with Italy, which claimed Venice. The pretext of war was found quickly - a quarrel over land seized from Denmark. Vienna, when she began mobilization, was accused of “preparing the aggression”. The Austro-Prussian-Italian War of 1866 was short, the Austrians were defeated very quickly.

The North German Union was created, Prussia and 21 German state were included in it. Vienna was completely removed from German affairs. The following were annexed to Prussia: Schleswig and Holstein, Hanover, Hesse-Castell, Nassau, as well as the free city of Frankfurt am Main. The future German Empire became mono-ethnic, with the complete predominance of the Germans, but without the Austrians. Austria was shaken by national movements, and as a result, a dualistic monarchy, Austria-Hungary, was formed. Italy got Venice.


Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck-Schönhausen - Prince, politician, statesman, first chancellor of the German Empire (Second Reich), nicknamed "Iron Chancellor".

The states that entered the North German Union maintained “autonomy”, but at the same time were deprived of armies, foreign policy rights, citizenship regulations, federal taxes, banks, railways, mail, telegraphs, customs, trade, criminal, trade, contractual rights, etc. A single legislative authority has been created on the basis of the Reichstag and the Bundesrat. Local elites had to obey.

Starting a war with France was not difficult - Paris itself was eager to fight. French society embraced revanchism - they wanted to take revenge on Prussia for the defeat of Napoleon. Deputies of parliament who wanted to take a more constructive position were called "traitors" and "Prussians." As a result, France ran into a terrible defeat in the French-Prussian 1870-1871 war. Austria neutralized the position of Russia. London was forced to refrain from participation after Bismarck published in the Times newspaper a French project to occupy Belgium.

Russia, taking advantage of the events, with the support of Berlin, annulled the Treaty of Paris. France lost Alsace and Lorraine and was forced to pay an 5-billion-dollar indemnity. In January, 1871 was proclaimed the creation of the German Empire.


Proclamation of the German Empire in Versailles. Bismarck (in white in the center of the picture) wanted to unite the warring German principalities in order to achieve the creation of a conservative German-dominated Prussia. He embodied it in three military victories: the Second War for Schleswig against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian-Italian war against Austria in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian war against France in 1870 — 1871.
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