World War Notes

CLASSICAL MUSIC OF WORLD WAR I

An article called World War One and Classical Music is found at 

https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/classical-music

Following is a presentation given by Jim at the Loveland Public Library on November 8, 2018:

A WORLD REQUIEM by John Foulds

The music is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPU2A99rR6k

John Foulds’s (1880–1939) epic A World Requiem of 1919–21, conceived as a memorial to the dead of all nations, requires 1,250 performers. Unlike a conventional Requiem, it is not a straight setting of the Latin Mass. The text, assembled by Foulds’s wife Maud MacCarthy (1882–1967), is a mix of Latin, English biblical passages, excerpts from The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1628–1688), a Hindu poem, and passages by MacCarthy herself.  Note from https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/world-requiem

Between 1923 and 1926, John Foulds’ A World Requiem was performed each year in London on November 11, Armistice Night, according to https://www.theguardian.com/music/2008/jan/04/classicalmusicandopera.shopping

The opening words are from the Latin funeral service:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine; Et lux perpetua luceat eis
(Lord, grant them eternal rest; and let the perpetual light shine upon them).
The piece then changes to English words of consolation and quotes from the Psalms.

Here are some selections. The numbers are the minute and second shown on the youtube screen:

1:20 Choir enters softly singing Requiem Aeternum
3:00 baritone solo in prayer for those “who died for their cause.”
4:24 treble voices, soft brass, to an “amen.”
5:26 Baritone singing from Psalm 23 (24): Yea, though I walk through the valley of death.”
6:14 Full choir, “requiem aeternum”, softer and softer to an ending chime.

Here is a selection from later in the work:
10:28  Choir, increasing volume and chaos to major climax
12:24   tenor, from Psalm 46 (47): “be still and know that I am God)

(the reason for the parentheses is that the Psalms are numbered differently in the Protestant and Catholic Bibles)

PATRIOTISM: ENCOURAGING THE HOME FRONT

The Fringes of the Fleet. The Fringes of the Fleet is a booklet written in 1915 by Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936). The booklet contains essays and poems about nautical subjects in World War I. It is also the title of a song-cycle written in 1917 with music by the English composer Edward Elgar and lyrics from poems in Kipling’s booklet.

Example: The Mine Sweepers.Music at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1NzuW8UeB8. Words at http://www.lieder.net/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=47504

An example of patriotic music from Germany is:

The Fatherland Overture . By Max Reger
(Eine Vaterlandische Ouverture).

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htnu5MqzZFo

he wove together several national melodies, all well known to his audiences, starting with the Deutschlandlied (‟Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”). This, of course, is the famous Austrian Imperial hymn composed by Joseph Haydn that had become a popular patriotic song in Germany with new lyrics composed by Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841. (In 1922 it became the official German national anthem, and was re-adopted after World War II.) According to the often repeated but probably untrue story (that Reger must have read in the papers), German soldiers sang this melody as they marched into the battle of Langemarck, Belgium in October 1914,… in addition to Gelübde (‟Vow”), familiar from Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture (1880).

(Notes from http://americansymphony.org/max-reger-a-patriotic-overture/)

(play beginning, then 1148 to end at 1402.)
You can hear the original anthem at https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=deutschland+uber+alles&view=detail&mid=452F197B41D9790FFFDB452F197B41D9790FFFDB&FORM=VIRE

Following are two pieces written in honor of countries that were invaded:

CARILLON, by Edward Elgar.

A tribute to Belgium. Music at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfWsB8l8zd0

(At this youtube site, Carillon is the first 5 minutes. The music then continues with the following piece:)

POLONIA, by Edward Elgar

 

On 13 April 1915 the Polish conductor Emil Młynarski asked Elgar to compose something, thinking of how Elgar’s Carillon had been a recent tribute to Belgium, but this time using Polish national music. It was first performed at the Polish Victims’ Relief Fund Concert in the Queen’s Hall, London on 6 July 1915.

 

SHOCK AT FIRST CASUALTIES

 

LAMENT, by Frank Bridge.

Dedicated to a girl killed on the Lusitania.
Audio:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdKWwhwbgV0(play beginning to 224)

 

THREE WAR SONGS. Music by Charles Ives,

American composer. 1915

In 1915, Ives began to write his thoughts about the war and about the nature of the governments that were pursuing it. He wrote a note to the effect that physical bravery is commonplace, but that the moral bravery not to go to war was badly needed. After Wilson declared war, hesupported the war effort by organizing volunteer units of ambulance drivers and donating an ambulance, and began writing political tracts, such as “Stand by the President and the People.” He began aligning himself against wealthy interests in favor of reforms that would strengthen direct popular democracy. He cut back on his composing to do this, although he did work on the Concord Sonata and wrote three songs directly related to the war.

His partner suggested that he make a song out of an already well-known poem, In Flanders Fields by the Canadian insurance man and Army doctor John McCrae. (notes from https://www.allmusic.com/composition/in-flanders-fields-song-for-voice-piano-s-277-k-6b56-mc0002391872)

The texts for In Flanders Fields and  They are There are at http://www.lieder.net/lieder/assemble_texts.html?SongCycleId=230

Note that Ives does not follow the exact wording in the They are There poem.

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96gcgV4h1Ao. In Flanders Fields starts at 2:48, and They are There starts at 529.

THE SPIRIT OF ENGLAND

by Edward Elgar, 1917
Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5xT1ytn49Q

Text: http://www.classical-music.com/thespiritofengland

HORRORS OF WAR

BEYOND ZERO.

Footage from the war. Film by Bill Morrison. Music by Alexandra Vrebolov. Performed by Kronos Quartet. Debut performance of the music in 2014.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfJbmpYdaYU

background info at https://kronosquartet.org/projects/detail/beyond-zero-1914-1918 and https://www.sfgate.com/music/article/Aleksandra-Vrebalov-Kronos-Quartet-debut-Beyond-5371053.php

 

MORNING HEROES

is a choral symphony by the English composer Arthur Bliss. The work received its first performance at the Norwich Festival on 22 October 1930. Written in the aftermath of World War I, in which Bliss had performed military service, Bliss inscribed the dedication as follows:

“To the Memory of my brother Francis Kennard Bliss and all other Comrades killed in battle”

Bliss himself said that he suffered from a repeating nightmare about his war experiences and that the composition of Morning Heroes helped to exorcise this.

WAR ELEGY

by Ivor Gurney. 11 minutes.
Ivor Gurney returned after 15 months at the front, having been shot and gassed, but with five of his most enduring songs, some written practically in the front line. One mud-spattered manuscript, a setting of ‘By a Bierside’, was written by the light of a stump of candle in a trench mortar emplacement.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LGGHH4_ws0

MEMORIALS AFTER THE WAR

REQUIEM

by Frederick Delius
Wikipedia article on the Delius Requiem:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_(Delius)

The dedication “To the memory of all young artists fallen in the war” was clearly not in Delius’s mind at the outset, as there was no war happening at that time. The text does not literally quote any specific author, but is derived in spirit from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, while also redolent of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and the text of Gustav Mahler‘s Das Lied von der Erde.

The chorus appears in every section, along with either the soprano or baritone soloist. The soloists do not sing together until the final section:

  • Our days here are as one day(chorus, baritone)
  • Hallelujah(chorus, baritone)
  • My beloved whom I cherish was like a flower(baritone, chorus)
  • I honour the man who can love life, yet without base fear can die(soprano, chorus)
  • The snow lingers yet on the mountains(baritone, soprano, chorus)

Additional notes: http://thompsonian.info/delius-requiem-carley-article-1994.html

Audio:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGMJAG0JFNI
play 116-448, 2654-2746

WAR REQUIEM

Benjamin Britten was commissioned to write a requiem in honor of the reconsecrated Coventry Cathedral, famously destroyed during the Battle of Britain, and first performed there on May 30, 1962. The pacifist composer blended the traditional Latin requiem mass with the English words of Wilfred Owen, the greatest poet of World War I.

The Latin Requiem mass, sung at funerals, was built up gradually by multiple authors from the 10th to 14th centuries.

Wilfred Owen, who wrote some of the best British poetry on World War I, composed nearly all of his poems in slightly over a year, from August 1917 to September 1918. In November 1918 he was killed in action at the age of twenty-five, one week before the Armistice. The Requiem includes eight of his poems.

(From WIKIPEDIA ABOUT WILFRED OWENS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Owen

The full text of the Britten Requiem  https://www.its.caltech.edu/~tan/Britten/reqtext.html

Also https://genius.com/albums/Benjamin-britten/War-requiem

Audio:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym7W3J34vJo

End of Presentation.

 

The Impact of World War I on the countries of Europe

 

This is the script for a presentation givenby Jim at the Loveland Public library in 2017.

INTRODUCTION.  This presentation includes the four empires that were ended through the war, and the new countries that were formed from them after the war. It portrays the situation before the world that led someone to say already in 1908 that “War is inevitable.”  It includes both the event that started the war and the tensions that might have eventually brought war even if that event had not occurred.

 

THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE. The Ottoman Turks began to expand in 1283 first be invading Europe and later by taking the Middle east and North Africa way from the Mamluk dynasty. By the 1800,s, the Russian Empire had taken its territories along the north edge of the Black Sea, and the areas in Europe were revolting. Because it was unable to retain its lands, the Czar as early as 1850 had already called it “the sick man of Europe.” The Ottoman lands along the north of Africa had long been governing themselves, deferring to the Sultan in name only. By the late 1800’s, European countries had taken control of these areas.

 

The major countries did not want any one of them to become dominant in the region  if the Ottomans were to disintegrate.  The discussion among them about how the Ottoman lands could be fairly divided among them was called “The Eastern Question.”  By the beginning of the war in 1914, the European part of the Empire was left with  only a small strip of land across the straits from Anatolia (today’s Turkey). By 1909 a group  called the Young Turks had succeeded in obtaining a constitution and a parliament, and had selected a new Sultan to replace one they felt was too dictatorial. After war broke out, the parliament did not want to enter the war, but the Minister of Defense secretly made an alliance with Germany, because he saw that Germany was winning a lot of battles at first, and reasoned that if the Ottomans were on the winning side, they could get some of their land back. As it turned out, that side lost, the empire ended, and the secular country called Turkey had only the land of Anatolia.

 

THE RUSSIANS.  The Russians began expanding out from Moscow in 1480, by throwing off the dominance of the Mongols (the part called the Golden Horde). By the 1800’s, the empire had expanded through Siberia to the Pacific Ocean, and had occupied the north shore of the Black Sea. When Catherine the Great occupied these lands in the 1700’s, she advertised for German farmers to come and create farms and villages on those lands.

 

The Russian Czars encouraged the countries in the Balkans to rebel against Turkish rule for several reasons. If the Ottoman soldiers were putting down rebellions in the Balkans, the y could not send as many soldiers to fight the Russians in the north. Most of the people in the Balkans were Slavs, and most of the Russian people also were Slavs, so the Russians would want to help their fellow Slavs. Finally, most of the people in the Balkans belonged to the Eastern Orthodox churches, so Russian felt it was its duty to protect them. Sometimes when one of the Baltic areas was rebelling, the Russians would start to fight against the Ottoman soldiers in another part. Late in the 1800’s, after many of the Balkan countries had succeeded in getting self-rule, the czars were against wars that would change boundaries. That’s because they were not strong enough to defend themselves against the western countries.

 

When the war began, Russia was an ally of France. That alliance was formed after 1905, when Russia’s navy and army were destroyed by the Japanese. France was willing to lend money to Russia to help it rebuild its army.

 

GERMANS.  Germany and Austria had been together for 1000 years in the Holy Roman Empire. The empire ended in 1806 during the time of Napoleon. The 39 independent states, then joined together as the German Confederation. Austria was the dominant power in that confederation. The strongest state in the north was Prussia. In 1866 Prussia won a war with Austria, so it could form a new confederation consisting only of the northern countries, where it could be dominant. Then in 1870 Germany won a war with France. Germany took over some land along their border called “Alsace and Lorraine.”  (France under Napoleon had taken this land from Germany in 1806, and after World War I it was given back to France. Hitler took it again in 1939, and after Wrodl War II it was given back to France.)

 

The war motivated all the northern states to work together, and they then united as the German Empire. The word “Reich” is translated as empire. This new empire called itself the “second Reich.”  That is why Hitler called his empire the “Third Reich.”  The king of Prussia became its emperor. The German word is Kaiser, which is the German way to say Caesar, the title of the Roman emperors. (The Russian word Czar also is their way to pronounce Caesar.) The main official under the German emperor was called the Chancellor.

 

The name of the chancellor at this time was Bismarck. His next step was to make friends again with Austria, so they could stand together against France and Russia. It was important to Bismarck to have Russia as an ally, because if there was another war with France, he did not want to fight Russia at the same time. However, in 1888 a new emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II,  came to power. Wilhelm dismissed Bismarck, and then ended the alliance with Russia. He felt Germany would easily be able to fight against France and Russia at the same time. In World War I, Germany indeed had to fight against both.

 

One of the German colonies in Africa was in between the northern and southern colonies of Britain. The British leader of the South African colonies, Cecil Rhodes, had the dream of uniting all of east Africa. This makes it easy to see why some British people might have been glad if Germany lost its colony during a war. That indeed did happen. After the war, Britain was given control of that colony, which today is called Tanzania.

 

Germany also had control over a coastal region in north China. They built a brewery there which is still in operation, called Tsingtao beer. During World War I, Japan allied with Britain and France, defeated the Germans in China, and after the war that part of China was given to Japan. This made the Chinese people angry, and was part of the turmoil in China that eventually led to the formation of the Communist Party there which took over China in 1949.

 

Britain had taken control of the Suez canal in 1875, and did not want Russia be dominant in the Ottoman area and thus be able to prevent it from using the canal. Nevertheless, in 1907, Britain along with France had become allies with Russia. These three were called the the “Triple Entente” and later the “Allied powers,” and were joined by others after the war began. Germany and Austria were called the “central powers,” and were later joined by others. The king of England, the emperor of Germany, and the emperor of Russia were all descendants of Queen Victoria, who had ruled Britain during most of the 1800’s.

 

Britain had more colonies than any other European country. Britain therefore felt it had to have the largest and strongest navy, so it could protect the merchant ships that sailed to the colonies. As Germany gained in population and industrial might in the early 1900’s, Britain wanted to make sure its sea power was the strongest., so in 1906 construct a huge battleship called a “dreadnought.” Germany felt threatened, and built one of its own in 1907. By the time war broke out, England had 20 and Germany had 14.  However, Britain won most of the battles between ships during the war.

 

THE BALKANS. Crossing from Anatolia into Europe, one finds Bulgaria and then Serbia next to it. These people in these two countries are mostly Slavs. The Slavs had migrated from the north into the Balkans during the AD 500’s. In the 600’s, another group called the Bulgars arrived, and ruled over the Slavs in the area now called Bulgaria. As time passed, the Bulgars assimilated with the Slavic people, so both countries as classed as Slavic. Serbs had a golden age of influence and dominance in the 800’s and 1200’s, and then was occupied by the Ottoman Turks in 1389. Bulgaria had a golden age in the 1300’s shortly before being taken over by the Ottoman Turks in 1398. The Slavic peoples felt they were treated harshly, and began to rebel in the early 1800’s. Serbia was the first to obtain self-rule, but recognizing the Sultan as ruler, in 1828. Bulgaria was much later. When it fought for self-rule, the Russian army aided it by also attacking the Ottomans. Bulgaria was given a large amount of land at the peace treaty, but in 1878  France and Britain forced it to become smaller, but demanded that the Ottomans recognize self-rule for these two countries. In another war in 1912, Serbia and Bulgaria each gained more land from the Ottomans. Then in 1913, Bulgaria fought against Serbia because it felt it had not been given a fair share of the newly conquered land. Bulgaria lost that war, and desired to regain it  Because of the tensions in the region, the Balkans were called the “tinder box” of Europe.

 

Many in Serbia had the dream that all the Slavic countries that were gaining self-rule from the Ottomans could be united. But when Bosnia, another Slavic country, rebelled against the Ottomans, it was taken under the rule of the Austrian Empire. Back in AD 389, when the Roman Empire was divided into an east and west part for administrative purposes, the line of division ran between what later became Serbia and Bosnia. The western half of the empire become Roman Catholic, and the eastern half became Eastern Orthodox. Despite that, many people in Bosnia agreed with the dream of uniting. This uniting took place after World War I, when Serbia, Bosnia, and other nearby Slavic countries came together as Yugoslavia. (Yugo means south; the north Slavs would be the Czechs and the Polish).

 

AUSTRIA.  At the time when the Holy Roman Empire ended in 1806, its emperor was named Joseph. Joseph was a member of the Habsburg family, from which emperors had been chosen since 1438. Joseph kept the rule of that part of the empire, added other possessions of the Habsburg family, and started a new empire which he called the Austrian Empire. By the time World War I arrived, the emperor was named Franz Joseph I.

 

The Austrian Empire included peoples of many nationalities. The largest in number were Slavs, but the German-speakers were the ruling class. The ethnic group in Hungary are called Magyars. That group had arrived in the area during the 800’s, and formed a kingdom in AD 1000. This Magyar kingdom had a time of prosperity and high culture in the 1400’s, but around  1526 they were divided. The western part was taken by the Habsburg family, and the eastern part, called Transylvania, was invaded and occupied by the Ottomans. Around 1700 the Austrians drove the Ottomans out, and took control of all of Hungary. In 1867 Hungary became independent from Austria but was still ruled by the Habsburg emperor. Hungary had its own parliament, but the Emperor was still in charge of the army and foreign affairs. This arrangement was called the “Dual Monarchy,” and from that time the empire was called the Austro-Hungarian empire. Because there was so much ethnic strife within the Empire, the Habsburgs were considering offering the same bargain to other ethnic groups.

 

The person who would become the next emperor was named Franz Ferdinand. He was in favor of offering independence to the Bosnians, like the Hungarians had, and thought this might lessen the Bosnians desire to unite with the Serbs.  So in 1914 he made a visit to Bosnia. When his travel plans became known, someone in the Slav foreign office made plans to have him killed. This person had formed an organization called “Unite or Die,” also known as the “Black Hand.”  The prime minister was suspicious and sent a note of warning to the Austrian government. However, the note apparently was not clear enough, because the travel plans continued as usual. When the car paused, someone shot and killed Franz Ferdinand. The killer was a Serb who was living in Bosnia.

 

DECLARATIONS OF WAR. War did not begin immediately. The Emperor’s war department  thought it should teach the Serbs a lesson by having a short war, and did not think that the other great powers would interfere. It made sure that its ally Germany would back it up. wanted to reduce tension, but military and public opinion pushed. The main parties in Parliament were socialists, and thus against war.  “There is little or no evidence that Germans planned war in the summer of 1914.”  “In authorizing Austria to act against Serbia, they thought this would prevent war.” The Austrian Emperor’s war department sent an ultimatum to Serbia, with conditions that it knew were impossible to meet. The Serbian government however did not want war’ it met all the conditions except two (which it could not do under its constitution), and offered to have a peace arbitrator. The war department though “was clearly determined to make war on Serbia —  the chancellor asked Francis Joseph to declare war “because the Triple Entente might try to bring about a peaceful solution.”  At the last moment, the German emperor counseled patience, but it was too late. (quotations from Encyclopedia Britannica).

 

Russia had promised to protect Serbia, so when the Emperor declared war on Serbia, Russia declared war on Austria. Germany had promised to protect Austria. so Germany then declared war on Russia. Germany knew that Russia was an ally of France, so that Germany would have to fight both of them at the same time. The decision was made to defeat France quickly, before the Russian troops would arrive. The plan was to send German troops through Belgium so they could get behind the French army and force them to surrender. To do this, the German government asked Belgium to let their troops pass through peacefully. However, Belgium refused, so Germany had to defeat Belgium first. This took a week, and by that time the French had sent troops north to block the Germans. The Germans were unable to get behind the French army, so the two armies faced each other across a line of trenches that changed little over the next four years.

 

Meanwhile the German army was having success fighting against the Russian army. This is what led the war minister of the Ottomans to become an ally of the Germans.  Then the Bulgarians, angry because some of the land they had conquered was taken by the Serbs, also became allies of the Germans.

 

American public opinion when the war started was “let’s keep out of it.” A slogan when Woodrow Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 was “He kept us out of war.” However, the United States did join the war in 1917. The immediate excuse was that German submarines had sunk 3 American cargo ships. Another problem was that the Germans had contacted Mexico about fighting the US, so it could get some of its land back from the US. This contact was discovered by the US. It was called “the Zimmerman note.”  With the help of US economic aid and troops, the Germans and Austrian were defeated in 2018. President Wilson then played a major role in the peace negotiations.

 

In 1917 the Communists took control of Russia. Lenin made a treaty with Germany, who because they had lost so many men while fighting Russia, said that Russia could not leave the war unless it gave up Poland, Ukraine, Finland, and the “Baltic countries.” Those places came under the control of the Soviet Union after World War II, and today are independent countries.

 

RESULTS OF WORLD WAR I

 

The German empire was ended, and replaced with a constitution and parliament (the new state was called the Weimar Republic). In the west, it gave up Alsace and Lorraine. In the east, it gave up land so that the country of Poland could exist again. Germany lost its colonies. It was told to pay a large amount of money to the winners of the war.

 

Austria had felt it could put Serbia in its place without causing a wider war, but when Germany attacked Russia, Austria had to fight Russia instead of Serbia. After the war, the Austrian empire was ended, and each of its parts became an independent country. The Slavic countries in the south — Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, joined with Serbia to create Yugoslavia. Bulgaria did not join Yugoslavia.  (Yugoslavia lasted until 1989, which its parts formed independent countries).

 

Hungary gave Transylvania to Romania (most people there were Romanian). Hungary gave up Slovakia, which joined with Bohemia to become Czechoslovakia. (In 1992 the two parts separated again to become the Czech Republic and Slovakia). The Ottoman Empire was ended, and in a few years a new nation was created called Turkey which occupied Anatolia. The Armenians who lived in the east part of Anatolia were massacred several times by the Turks. During the war, they were killed because they were Christians and so were seen as possible collaborators with Russia. After the formation of Turkey they were massacred again. Armenians living in Russia became a section of the Soviet Union, and after 1989 that part became an independent country.

 

In north Africa, the western European countries continued to develop their colonies. France controlled Algeria until 1962, Tunisia to 1955, and along with Spain controlled Morocco to 1956. Italy controlled Libya until 1942, then Britain and France controlled it until 1951. Britain continued to control Egypt until 1922.

 

In the Arab countries, France was given control of Syria, and Britain was given control of Iraq and Palestine. The boundaries were drawn by two men, one French and one British, so the boundaries are called the Sykes-Picot line. Arabia became an independent country under the Saudi family.

 

In the US, the day that fighting stopped was commemorated as Armistice day, and in our time has added commemorations of other wars and is now called Memorial Day.

 

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SOURCES OF QUOTATIONS

The Austrian Government was clearly determined to make war on Serbia —  the chancellor asked Francis Joseph to declare war “because the Triple Entente might try to bring about a peaceful solution.”  Austria felt it could put Serbia in its place without causing a wider war, BUT when Germany attacked Russia, Austria had to fight Russia instead of Serbia. EB Austria p 514

 

About Bulgaria: “The desire to win back what was lost (to Serbia) was the main motivating factor for Bulgaria to enter WW! On the German side. EB Bulgaria p 360.

 

About Germany: Bethman wanted to reduce tension, but military and public opinion pushed. The main parties in Parliament were socialists, and thus against war.  “There is little or no evidence that Germans planned war in the summer of 1914.”  “In authorizing Austria to act against Serbia, they thought this would prevent war.” But after war was declared, all the parties united behind the country. EB Germany p 92.

 

The Eastern Question (ie, the fragmenting of Ottomans with European unwillingness to see Austria and Russia divide it among themselves) was the CAUSE of WW1. EB Balkans p 578.

 

Moltke in 1912 said “war – the sooner the better.”  EB Intl Relations p 739

 

SICK MAN. John Russell in 1853, in the run up to the Crimean War, quotes Nicholas I of Russia as saying that the Ottoman Empire was “a sick man—a very sick man,” a “man” who “has fallen into a state of decrepitude”, or a “sick man … gravely ill”. (from Wikipedia)

 

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IMPORTANT DATES:

 

Dates before 1886.

 

  1. Ottomans take Egypt & Palestine from Mamluks. Wikipedia says the caliph there was transferred to Istanbul, but EB (Ottoman p 932) says this is a baseless legend, and the all sultans except the last one were caliphs.

 

  1. As an outcome of losing its attack on Vienna, Ottomans lost Hungary.

 

In 1768 Russia defeated Ottoman fleet and occupied Crimean area.  Catheriine the Great ruled from 1762 to 96. Russia began inciting revolts in Balkans to weaken Ottomans, claiming a right to be protector of Christians. Russia moreover promoted pan-slavism, in which all slavs would form a federation. The Sultan after 1768 brought in French military instructors, though ulema (muslim leaders) did not want westernization.

 

1808 Sultan (mahmud I) established “new army,” massacred janissaries. Control already fading over outer provinces. Serbia had been revolting since 1807 because of oppression of janissaries, and allied with Russia.  EB Ottoman p 929.

  1. After Napoleon, Holy Roman Empire ended, the Habsburg emperor ruled his family lands as the Austrian Empire, and united with Prussia and the small northern states as the Confederation. Austria as the largest country was dominant in the Confederation. Russia had influence in the Balkans due to being a patron or Eastern Orthodox Christians, but Austria wanted to protect its frontiers and Britain wanted to protect Suez canal.

 

  1. Serbs autonomous.

 

  1. European powers aid Greek independence by defeating Ottoman fleet. Ind by 1832

 

1830 Serbia gains autonomy as Russians fight Ottomans. Belgium separates from Netherlands. Poland uder Russia since 1815 now becomes officially so. Ali in Egypt ind. From Sultan.

 

  1. After Greek independence, Russia helped Ottomans against Egypt’s Ali.

 

  1. New sultan Abdukl Mezat starts Tanzimat (re-organization) giving Christians same rights as muslims; ulema against this.

 

  1. Ali gained hereditary control of Egypt. France supported Egypt against the Ottomans, but Britain joined with Germany Austria and Russia to save the Ottomans.

 

  1. warships banned from straits.

 

  1. Russia helped Austria by invading Hungary for it.

 

  1. Russia had gained a protectorate over Romania, and war there expanded into the Crimean war. Cultural library p 225.
  2. European powers helped Ottomans in Crimean War (1853-56) because they wanted Ottomans to remain as a buffer against Russia. Austria threatened to join the Crimean War in Russia did not give up Romania, and Russia thereby became an enemy of Austria. Austria’s quandary: it needed Russia to maintain the idea of monarchy, but it needed the western democracies for help against Russia and the Slavic aspirations it supported. EB Austria

 

  1. Italy united. Bulgarians start to revolt in 1862.

 

Britain wanted German help in preventing Russians and Slavs from endangering British empire. Germany wanted British neutrality while it expanded its power. Germany needed a fleet big enough to deter the British. There was concern in Britain over the decline in its dominance, so it allied with Japan. EB Intl relations p 737. To Germany the triple entente looked like encirclement, so it increased its armaments. Britain was worried when Germany built a Dreadnought.

 

CHRONOLOGY STARTING IN 1866.
1866. Prussia defeats Austria, ending the confederation, and Venetia went from Austria to Italy. Prussia gained Schleswig and Holstein. (Bismarck needed to separate from Austria so Prussia could be dominant but then needed to regain Austria as an ally as soon as possible.)

 

  1. Austria becomes a double monarchy, to maintain dominance of Germans and Magyars over their many minorities. Hungary has a separate parliament, but the emperor still handles foreign affairs, creating the “dual monarchy” called “Austro-Hungarian empire.” Later separate status was considered for Slav and Czechs, but Hungary did not want them on the same plane. Slavs proposed that Austria be the homeland empire for the Slavs, because they were the dominant ethnic group.

 

  1. Suez Canal opens.

 

  1. Franco-Prussian war leads to German Empire and French 3rd Republic. During this war, France could not protect the pope so Italy took over Rome. Austria ends its concordat with the pope. Ottomans allow Bulgarian church to be free of Greek orthodox control.

 

  1. Alsace-Lorraine taken by Germany.

 

1872, 3-emperor league (Germany, Austria, Russia) meant that Russia would not change the boundaries of the Slavic states. The Congress of Berlin ended it by taking away Russia’s gains in the Balkans.

 

  1. Stock market crash leads to anti-semitism.

 

  1. Rebellion starts in Balkans. Ottoman atrocities against rebels leads European public opinion to sanction allowing Russia to help. Britain buys Suez Canal shares.

 

  1. Ottomans massacre Bulgarians, Serbia fights against Ottomans. New Sultan, Abdel Hamid 2, allows constitution drafted by “new ottomans,” but after one meeting of Parliament, no more meetings until his last year, 1909.

 

  1. Russia fights Ottomans (who did not implement proposed reforms) on behalf of Balkan countries. As Russia gets close to Istanbul, Britain warns it by sending a fleet into the Mediterranean. Bulgaria becomes autonomous though under Ottoman sovereignty.

 

  1. CONGRESS OF BERLIN limits size of Bulgaria (its southern half is separated as East Rumelia), Ottomans must recognize Serbian and Romanian independence, and allows Austria to try to take Bosnia. (Note, Bosnia is Catholic, Serbia and Bulgaria are Orthodox, because line of division of Roman Empire fell between them.) Ottomans still had Albania. Independence of Romania recognized (it had been self-governing since 1829). Britain got Cyprus as a naval base.

 

  1. Germany and Austria form a “double alliance.” Bulgaria has democratic constitution.

 

  1. Serbia makes alliance with Austria. Bulgaria is under dictatorship to 1883.

 

  1. Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy formed; renewed in 1891, 1902, and 1912. Britain occupies Egypt1885. Serbs declare war when Bulgaria unites with Rumelia (to the south) but Serbia loses.

 

1887 New European prince of Bulgaria is declared a usurper by Russia.

 

  1. Wilhelm 2 becomes Kaiser

 

1889 Cecil Rhodes gets charter for South Africa company

 

  1. Bismarck dismissed. After that, Wilhelm 2 ended Germany’s alliance with Russia, which then turns to France (up to then, Germany wanted an alliance with Russia in order to isolate France.) Wilhelm wanted prestige rather than security, and wanted a large German navy, which made Britain anxious. Germany began its friendship with the Ottomans, later sending military trainers.

 

  1. Franco-Russian Entente, so Russia can gain French capital for building the Siberian RR.

 

  1. Nicholas 2 becomes emperor. Franco-Russian “dual alliance”

 

1895, Ottomans kill Armenians.

 

  1. Ethiopia beats Italy. Bulgaria reconciled with Russia.

 

  1. Germany takes land In China. Russia takes Port Arthur.

 

  1. First Hague Peace Conference, called by Nicholas 2 (because he could not keep pace with industrializing countries, he wanted imitation of arms, but the other countries were involved in an arms race). Boer war, to 1902.

 

  1. Conflicting interests: The German RR challenged French financial dominance of Ottomans. European projects were supporting different RR projects.

 

  1. Victoria to Edward 7, Britain attempts alliance with Germany.

 

  1. British-French Entente Cordiale. New ruler in Serbia, relationship with Austria deteriorates. Inside Austria, Croatia was against its oppression by Hungary. The Balkan states wanted to take territory from each other but without causing European intervention. (EB Balkans p 579)

 

  1. Second Hague Peace Conference, called by Theodore Roosevelt. Russo-Japanese war. French loans rebuilt Russia’s shattered military. Britain given free hand in Egypt in exchange for France getting free hand in Morocco.

 

  1. Revolt in St. Petersburg, including mutiny on battleship Potemkin, leads to promise of constitution, German-Russian treaty. Norway separates from Sweden. Britain allies with Japan. Britain launches first Dreadnought; Germany follows in 1907.

 

  1. Russia provides constitution but then destroys the rebels. Germany requested Algerciras conference, but the other powers supported French & Spanish control of Morocco (still to be under authority of Sultan). Austria prohibits Serbian livestock imports, pushing Serbia towards Russia. Britain forces Ottomans to cede Sinai to Egypt (which Britain controls).. The Young Turks revolution demands restoration of constitution (got it in 1909).

 

  1. Second Peace conference at Hague. Wilhelm 2 and Nicholas 2 meet. Britain no longer supported Ottomans and came to an understanding with Russia, resulting in the Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia). Cultural Library 239, 241..

 

  1. Bulgaria declares independence. Bulgarian freedom means losing access to markets in Ottoman area. Germany made Russia and Serbia agree that Austria can annex Bosnia (though this broke the treaty of 1878, which only allowed them to occupy it), with compensation given to Ottomans; Serbia protests. Because Britain and France oppose Russian warships using the straits, Russia supports Serbia against Austria, and thus becomes alienated from Germany. Edward 7 visits Nicholas 2. Young Turks get garrison in Thessalonika to rebel, thus forcing sultan to restore the constitution.

 

  1. Sultan Abdel-Hamid 2 deposed; replaced by Muhammed (Mahmud) 5. German chancellor is Bethman. Britain & Germany confer about Baghdad railroad. Edward 7 visits Wilhelm 2.

 

  1. Revolt in Albania. Edward 7 replaced by George 5 (to 1936).

 

  1. Wm 2 wants “place in the sun” for Germany. Italy occupies Libya.

 

  1. Turkey closes Dardenelles. First Balkan war, by the “Balkan League,” provoked by brutality of “Young Turk” rule. Balkan countries win land from Ottomans, but do not agree on how to divide Macedonia among themselves. Austria felt it had to oppose the countries in the Balkans that were supporting revolts inside Austria.. France and Spain move into Morocco.

 

  1. Second Balkan war: Bulgaria wants more of Macedonia from Serbia; By supporting Bulgaria against Serbia, Austria alienated Romania. Russia against Bulgaria. Albania becomes independent, because Austria wanted to make sure that Serbia didn’t get it. In Ottoman empire, power seized by Committee of Union and Progress, including Enver Pasha, which ruled until 1918.

 

  1. Peace between Serbia and Ottomans. The archduke was in favor of more federalism inside the Habsburg lands (this was opposed by Hungary), so that Croatia might want to stay in the Austrian empire. The Serbian premier had tried to warn Austria about the Black Hand, (Union or Death group) but the note was too ambiguous. After assassination, the ultimatum to Serbia was designed to be unacceptable. Serbia accepted all points except those its constitution forbade, but “Austria wanted war against Serbia, so Austria’s Balkan states would not rebel, and told Francis Joseph to “declare war before the Great Powers could bring about a peaceful solution.” Germany gave Austria a “blank check” to fight Serbia, though when it was too late the Wilhelm 2 pleaded for waiting. As minister of war in Ottoman empire, Enver Pasha allied with Germans. Ottomans massacred Armenians because as Orthodox Christians they could have allied with Russia. Germany asked for a guarantee of neutrality from France that it couldn’t give.

 

Script © 2017 by James Found

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SOIURCES
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1989 edition.
World Book Encyclopedia, 1991 edition.
The cultural Library, Volume 7. Parents’ Magazine Enterprises, 1966.
The Penguin Atlas of Recent History, by Colin McEvedy. Penguin Books, UK, no date

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