Political and Socio-Economic Repercussions of the 1877-78 Russo-Turkish War

in Southeastern Europe
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Abstract

The war waged by Russia against the Ottoman Empire in 1877-78, was one of the most important events in the history of Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. Its significance for Southeastern Europe may be compared to such events of first-rate importance as Germany's and Italy's national unifications in the sixties and the early seventies of the past century. Without any exaggeration it may be stated that diplomatic activities of the large European countries on the eve and in the course of the war were unprecedented in scale. The Great Powers were well aware of the fact that the Eastern Question had reached its decisive phase, that the war inevitably would lead to profound political and economic changes on the Balkan Peninsula, and these changes would affect their age-old interests in the Near East. It is for these reasons that they committed themselves directly to the dramatic duel which began on Bulgarian land after the Russian troops crossed the Danube toward the end of June, 1877. The major political result of the war was Bulgaria's liberation from a five-century long Ottoman rule and the restoration of its national independence. But the war dealt a crushing blow to the decadent Ottoman military-feudal system in all of Southeastern Europe and opened up wide prospects for the progressive development not only of the Bulgarians but also of the other Balkan peoples. An important step was taken along the road for the liquidation of national oppression and for the achievement of a transition from feudalism to capitalism in one of the most beautiful parts of the European continent, whose development had been delayed for ages.

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