1878-A LANDMARK IN THE EASTERN QUESTION

THE chief national masses under the Turk were of very X varying racial origins, religion, traditions, and even language; they were full of intense hatreds for each other as well as for their common enemy, the Turk. The Sultan's savagery towards his Bulgarian subjects in 1876 gave an excuse for Russia to employ diplomatic methods against him, and on their failure, to invade Turkey. The Turks fought well, as usual, but were beaten and agreed by the Treaty of San Stefano (1878) to give up the greater part of their European dominions. Disraeli, the Prime Minister of Queen Victoria, was prepared to go to war to save Turkey, while his Liberal opponents were in favour of expelling the Turks "bag and baggage" from the provinces which are now Bulgaria. Austria watched in considerable discomfort and jealousy, and Bismarck, as Chancellor of a power with no direct interest in the Eastern question, invited the other parties to a conference at Berlin. He took Disraeli more seriously than Disraeli's contemporaries usually did, and together they compelled Russia to agree to terms very advantageous to Austria. Despite the League of the Three Emperors the time very soon came when Germany had to choose between Russia and Austria, and she chose Austria, because that power was believed to be more docile and dependable than Russia and because it was difficult to be friendly with Russia and England together.

The Treaty of Berlin (1878) bridged the way from the little Crimean War to the epoch of big wars between 1911 and 1922-wars all linked with the Eastern question. By the Treaty Austria was given the administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the territories were to remain under Turkish sovereignty, but Austria, after conquering them from their own rather unruly inhabitants, was to give them the blessings of Christian rule and to see that no massacres occurred. Russia restored Eastern Rumelia, which was given autonomy, as was Bulgaria, the latter under a German prince tributary to the Sultan; Eastern Rumelia and Bulgaria were very soon united. Rumania, which had supported Russia, gained the recognition of her independence, but had to cede Bessarabia to Russia and in return was given most of the Dobrudja, to which she had no claim on ethnological grounds. Great Britain obtained Cyprus, and Disraeli was able to return and to revive a sixty-year-old phrase about " peace with honour " to describe the balance of power bargain that he had struck,