Austrian Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878

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YM
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Austrian Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878

Post by YM » 28 Sep 2005 05:17

I recall that German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck stated that the next Euorpean
war would be started by some foolish thing in the Balkans. I read that
that the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 rearranged things in Balkans, recognizing
Serbian and Romanian independence and granting the right to Austria-Hungary
to occupy and administer Bosnia-Herzegovina while still recognizing nominal
Ottoman sovereignity. The decision in 1908 of Austria-Hungary to formally
annex the territory was rather the last straw leading to the events of 1914.
My question is: Why did Austria want this territory in the first place. Didn't
they realize that with all the restive minorities they had in their empire, that
adding another wasp's nest of Slav nationalism would end up destabilizing
their empire even more? Why did the Austrians view the Balkans as being
so vital to their interests? I realize that the shrining of the Ottoman empire
led to a power vacuum in the Balkans, so perhaps the Austrians feared
someone else (Russia?) getting the jump, but I must admit it is hard today
to understand why such an undeveloped area with squabbling groups was
so attractive to Austria.

VeldesX
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Post by VeldesX » 30 Sep 2005 15:39

Not really difficult to understand. It was a natural direction for their foreign policy to take. Dalmatia's hinterland was Bosnia-Herzegovina, though the Dinaric Alps separated the two provinces. Hungarian nationalists recalled a time when the Magyar crown rode over both Dalmatia and the two provinces. Expansion into Serbia was limited by the legal princely status and then independence of the country, even though the Habsburg crown had extended over that land for a short time. Replacement of one empire by another was considered critical for the stability of the region, and so if the Turks should leave, another strong power should intervene. Consider the problem in the context of the era, rather than with hindsight, and it makes far more sense.

G

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 01 Oct 2005 16:02

It was a port Austria needed. Venice was already out of reach because unified Italy took it from Austria after Prussian-Austrian War in 1966. The only remaining exit that Austria can take at the time was Thessaloniki. Austria's 'Drang nach Osten' was essentially based on its claustrophobia.

Karl
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Post by Karl » 02 Oct 2005 00:56

Well they still had Trieste.

I think it had also much to do with the fact that the Kaiser saw the loss of much of his territories and I guess he wanted to compensate, to add, and, there was really no other direction to go. Also, Russia was becoming more and more influential in the area and this had to be countered.

I always thought it was one of his biggest mistakes but I know what happened after, and he didn't.

Karl

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 02 Oct 2005 13:03

Karl wrote:Well they still had Trieste.

I think it had also much to do with the fact that the Kaiser saw the loss of much of his territories and I guess he wanted to compensate, to add, and, there was really no other direction to go. Also, Russia was becoming more and more influential in the area and this had to be countered.

I always thought it was one of his biggest mistakes but I know what happened after, and he didn't.

Karl

Yes, they had Trieste. But, Trieste was too far from the Mediterranean Sea. If Austrians wanted to go to the Mediterranean Sea, they had to go to the strait of Otranto, which could be locked by Italy at any time. So, this was not a safe sea lane. They needed a more safe and difficult-to-interfere port. That was Thessaloniki.

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BrankoB.
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Austria-Hungary & pre-anschluss Austria

Post by BrankoB. » 09 Nov 2005 15:46

First, apologies if this reply comes a little too late, but better late than never. Bosnia, although undeveloped at the time, had a plethora to offer- water, raw materials (wood, coal, etc.); it’s not something to throw away. Recent analysis shows that Bosnia has 3% of all drinkable water in the world today. Certainly, this could be a future asset more valuable than oil. Of course, that was not the case over a century ago, but still, it was not an unattractive country to posses. Besides, to own a territory which was a political center of western part of the Ottoman Empire is not such a bad thing after all. And finally, let’s be fair about it- WWI would eventually start with or without Sarajevo Assassination.
Best regards,
Branko

doc159
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Post by doc159 » 12 Dec 2005 19:31

Austria didn't had the colonies on other continents neither had chanse to expand on west and north,so only way to expand their borders was to take blank teritories which left after Ottoman withdrawal from Balkan.They couldn't expand on Serbia and Romania which although was officialy independent in 1878,were practically independent from the begining of 19th century.Problem with Bosnia began after change of Pro-Austrian dinasty in Serbia with pro-Russian in 1904(?),so in 1878 there was no much opposition of this act.Bosnia than would be starting point for a "jump" to other Ottoman teritories like Albania and Macedonia and finaly who knows mayby Istanbul :wink:

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