Saturday, October 28, 2006
Creation of the Macedonian Question
By the end of the nineteenth century the collapse of the Turkish Empire was well advanced and the national awakenings of Serbians, Roumanians, Greeks and Bulgarians led to establishment of their respective nation-states. However until the Congress of Berlin (13 Jun 1878) revised the terms of the Treaty Of San Stefano (3 Mar 1878), the Macedonian question did not exist, because it was simply part of the general Balkan question.
The Treaty of San Stefano established the ethnographic boundaries of the Bulgarian state based on the recognized diocese of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
the independent consensus which had been previously minuted at the Constantinople Conference of Ambassadors (Nov 1876)
The British, who had a secret alliance with Turkey, became alarmed by what they perceived as Russian expansionism, and after reaching a secret agreement with the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in Vienna (6 Jun 1878) had the terms of the treaty dramatically altered by the Treaty of Berlin. Consequently the size of the Bulgarian state was considerably diminished, with Macedonia and parts of Thrace returned to Turkish rule. However in 1885 the Bulgarians of East Rumelia unified with the Bulgarian state, much to the annoyance of Serbia and Greece, and the anger of Russia which withdrew all its military advisers. Serbia sensing a weakened Bulgaria launched a full-scale attack but was convincingly defeated and its territory only saved by the intervention of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During that short Bulgarian-Serbian war thousands of Macedonians crossed into Bulgaria to bolster the Bulgarian armed forces.
In his text "Fifty Years in Constantinople", Dr George Washburn, director of Robert College and delegate at the Constantinople Conference of Ambassadors (1876), writes the following
The Treaty of San-Stefano was, of course a hard, one for Turkey, but it would have been better for England and for all the peoples of Europe and Turkey if it had been allowed to stand. Thus far the results have been the revolution of 1885, which resulted in the union of Bulgaria and East Roumelia, the war with Serbia, the insurrection in Macedonia and the province of Adrianople, and all the massacres and unspeakable horrors of the last thirty nine years in Macedonia, to say nothing of what Bulgaria has suffered from the intrigues of foreign Powers ever since the Treaty of Berlin. The awful massacres and persecutions from which the Armenians have suffered since 1886 have been equally the result of this Treaty.
Of course the suffering has continued through the Balkan Wars, WWI, WWII, all the inter-war periods and right up to the present day. All the millions of lives lost, and the millions who have endured torture, hardship and have forfeited the right to a decent life, can be directly attributed to English Foreign policy, and in particular Lord Beaconsfield's Treaty of Berlin.