Σάββατο, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2015

The Western negative intervention in Greece : From the Greek Revolution 1821 to the Crimean War

The Holy Alliance was a coalition created by the monarchist great powers of Russia, Austria and Prussia. It was created after the ultimate defeat of Napoleon at the behest of TsarAlexander I of Russia and signed in Paris on 26 September 1815. The intention of the alliance was to restrain republicanism and secularism in Europe in the wake of the devastating French Revolutionary Wars, and the alliance nominally succeeded in this up until the Crimean War (1853–1856). Otto von Bismarck managed to reunite the Holy Alliance after the unification of Germany, but the alliance again faltered by the 1880s over Austrian and Russian conflicts of interest with regard to the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. By extension, the Alliance can be considered the most potent prevention against any other general wars on the continent of Europe between 1815 and 1914. Despite this noble wording, the Alliance was not only rejected as non-effective by the United Kingdom (though George IV declared consent in his capacity as King of Hanover), but also by the Papal States and the Islamic Ottoman Empire. The Quintuple Alliance met for the last time at the 1822 Congress of Verona to strive against the Greek Revolution and to resolve upon the French Invasion into Spain. The Congress of Verona met at Verona on October 20, 1822 as part of the series of international conferences or congresses that opened with the Congress of Vienna in 1814–15, which had instituted the Concert of Europe at the close of the Napoleonic Wars. In the Greek Question, the probable raising of which had alone induced the British government to send a minister plenipotentiary to the Congress, Wellington was instructed to suggest the eventual necessity for recognizing the belligerent rights of the Greeks, and, in the event of concerted intervention, to be careful not to commit the United Kingdom, beyond a supporting role. As for Russia and Austria, the immediate problems arising out of the Greek Question had already been privately settled between the emperor Alexander and Metternich, to their mutual satisfaction, at the preliminary conferences held at Vienna in September. Metternich's primary focus remained on preserving unity among the Great Powers of Europe and hence his own power as mediator. He was also concerned by  the greek liberal-minded Ioannis Kapodistrias' increasing influence over Tsar Alexander and the continual threat of Russia annexing large areas of the declining Ottoman Empire (the so-called Eastern Question). In 1821, while Metternich was still at Laibach with Tsar Alexander, the revolt of Alexander Ypsilantis threatened to bring the Ottoman Empire to the brink of collapse. Wanting a strong Ottoman Empire to counterbalance Russian, Metternich opposed all forms of Greek nationalism. Before Alexander returned to Russia, Metternich secured his agreement not act unilaterally and would write to the Tsar again and again asking him not to intervene. For extra support he met with Viscount Castlereagh (now also Marquis of Londonderry) and King George IV of the United Kingdom in Hanover in October. Fortunately for Metternich the Tsar's dual proposal for the St Petersburg meetings, a settlement of the Eastern Question favourable to Russia and limited autonomy for three Greek principalities, was a pairing unpalatable to the other European powers, and potential attendees like British Foreign Secretary George Canning slowly turned away, much to the annoyance of Alexander. Metternich believed for several months afterward that he had gained a unique level of influence over the Tsar. He received constant reports, including those of ominous developments in the Ottoman Empire, where the Greek revolt was rapidly being crushed by Ibrahim Ali of Egypt. He also had to deal with fallout from St. Petersburg where the Tsar, although unable to convene a full congress, had talked with all the major ambassadors. By mid-May it was clear the allies could not decide on a course of action and, as such, the Holy Alliance was no longer a viable political entity. On 5 November 1827 British, Russian and French forces destroyed the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Navarino. Metternich worried that further intervention would topple the Ottoman Empire, upsetting the balance so carefully created in 1815. To his relief the new British Prime Minister Wellington and his cabinet were equally fearful of giving Russia the upper hand in the Balkans. After another round of his proposals for congresses was rejected, Metternich stood back from the Eastern Question, watching as the Treaty of Adrianople was signed in September 1829. Though he publicly criticised it for being too harsh on Turkey, privately he was satisfied with its leniency and promise of Greek autonomy, making it a buffer against Russian expansion rather than a Russian satellite state. The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856), also known in Russian historiography as the Eastern War of 1853–1856  was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, the United Kingdom, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. The immediate cause involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Eastern Orthodox Christians. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the unwillingness of the United Kingdom and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. It has widely been noted that the causes, in one case involving an argument over a key, have never revealed a "greater confusion of purpose", yet led to a war noted for its "notoriously incompetent international butchery." While the churches eventually worked out their differences and came to an initial agreement, both Nicholas I of Russia and Napoleon III refused to back down. Nicholas issued an ultimatum that the Orthodox subjects of the Empire be placed under his protection. Britain attempted to mediate, and arranged a compromise that Nicholas agreed to. When the Ottomans demanded changes, Nicholas refused and prepared for war. Having obtained promises of support from France and Britain, the Ottomans officially declared war on Russia in October 1853. The war opened in the Balkans when Russian troops occupied provinces in modern Romania and began to cross the Danube. Led by Omar Pasha, the Ottomans fought a strong defensive battle and stopped the advance at Silistra. A separate action on the fort town of Kars in eastern Turkey led to a siege, and a Turkish attempt to reinforce the garrison was destroyed by a Russian fleet at Sinop. Fearing an Ottoman collapse, France and the UK rushed forces to Gallipoli. Then moved north to Varna in June, arriving just in time for the Russians to abandon Silistra. Aside from a minor skirmish at Constanța there was little for the allies to do. Karl Marx quipped that "there they are, the French doing nothing and the British helping them as fast as possible". Frustrated by the wasted effort, and with demands for action from their citizens, the allied force decided to attack the center of Russian strength in the Black Sea at Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. After extended preparations, the forces landed on the peninsula in September 1854 and fought their way to a point south of Sevastopol after a series of successful battles. The Russians counterattacked on 25 October in what became the Battle of Balaclava and were repulsed, but at the cost of seriously depleting the British Army forces. A second counterattack, ordered personally by Nicholas, was defeated by Omar Pasha. The front settled into a siege and led to horrible conditions for everyone involved. Smaller actions were carried out in the Baltic, the Caucasus, the White Sea and in the North Pacific. Sevastopol fell after eleven months, and formerly neutral countries began to join the allied cause. Isolated and facing a bleak prospect of invasion from the west if the war continued, Russia sued for peace in March 1856. This was welcomed by France and the UK, where the citizens began to turn against their governments as the war dragged on. The war was officially ended by the Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 March 1856. Russia lost the war, and was forbidden from hosting warships in the Black Sea. The Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia became largely independent. Christians were granted a degree of official equality, and the Orthodox church regained control of the Christian churches in dispute.The war had a permanent impact. Through nationalist movements incited by the war, the present-day states of Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia,Georgia, and regions such as Crimea and the Caucasus all changed in small or large ways due to this conflict. It also helped set the backbone of several geopolitical conflicts between the Western world and Russia and other Eastern world powers, which would include the Cold War in the 20th century. The Crimean War was one of the first conflicts to use modern technologies such as explosive naval shells, railways, and telegraphs. The war was one of the first to be documented extensively in written reports and photographs. As the legend of the "Charge of the Light Brigade" demonstrates, the war quickly became an iconic symbol of logistical, medical and tactical failures and mismanagement. The reaction in the UK was a demand for professionalization, most famously achieved by Florence Nightingale, who gained worldwide attention for pioneering modern nursing while treating the wounded. In Crimean War, it involved approximately 1000 Greek volunteers alongside the Russians and became known as the Greek Legion. Leaders of the Greek volunteers were, among others, Aristides Chrysoverghis. The Greek King's Otto prestige, which was based in large part on his support by the combined Great Powers, but mostly the support of the British, suffered in the Pacifico incident of 1850, when British Foreign Secretary Palmerston sent the British fleet to blockade the port of Piraeus with warships, to exact reparation for injustice done to a British  Hebrew subject. The Great Idea (Μεγάλη Ιδέα), the dream of uniting all Greek populations of the Ottoman Empire, thereby restoring the Byzantine Empire under Christian rule, led him to contemplate entering the Crimean War on the side of Russia against Turkey and its British and French allies in 1853; the enterprise was unsuccessful, and resulted in renewed intervention by the two Great Powers and a second blockade of Piraeus port, forcing Greece to neutrality.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Alliance

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